Pages

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Citizen Me: Drains, Drains, Drains ...

We bought the house in March 1983 and by Christmas we were living in the cellar and had a kitchen that almost functioned and a bathroom that left everything to be desired. The Man had bought an MFI kitchen -- which he proceeded to put together himself with the sometime aid of my 12 year old son. We also had installed a gas cooker/stove but how we were able to connect it all up -- that I can not remember. Initially our water supply  was a cold water tap outside the back door! I had two washing up bowls. One in the sink and the other directly underneath the drain, on the shelf of the cupboard, where the drain pipe would eventually go! An electric kettle provided the hot water. In the beginning I dumped the dirty water out on the driveway, until shortly after a neighbour complained that we were a sanitation risk. I can't remember what we did with the water after that. Anyway, the kitchen sink soon had running water and by the time the photos below were taken the hot water heater had been hooked up in the bathroom so we were already 'civilized'!

The problem was that we had to figure out how to locate the pipes so that they would have enough of an angle to drain away, but also we had to do some outdoor excavation  to enable the flow. There were pipes in place, but they were too far above the level of the bathroom. The big question was would we be able to get the right angle deep enough to be able to flow into the sewer? Luck was with us -- it could be done. But there would be a huge amount of digging out -- first to expose the existing pipes and then to access the sewer with the new ones. 



On the upper left is the original back door. This is before the old steps had been replaced and moved and the earth around the house had been removed to expose the old pipes. On the upper right and lower left some of the earth has been exposed to reveal where the pipes to the old kitchen sink had drained. In the picture on the lower right the window on the window would be replaced with a new window into the bathroom. The pipe you see here would be taken out and buried underground. This window was opposite  the stairs.


Nuff said!
The Man getting ready to put in a new window  after lots of earth had been removed and new drainage completed. Finally we had a plumbed in toilet and a bath. A washing machine was not far away!

Below shows the bathroom almost finished. Soon there would be a cupboard  around the water heater, made with louvred doors.





The Man built new stairs and the retaining walls. Eventually the house will be dug out all the way around. As you will see ... soon!

28 comments:

  1. Oh, drains! Everywhere we have been we always seem to have to attack the drains!
    No exception in San Jose...we're getting together with the neighbours to reroute a spring which is messing up the drains....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All I can say is you have my complete sympathy! Rerouting a spring -- wow! That sounds challenging.

      Delete
  2. Hi Broad,
    WOW! This was some DIY job!How did you manage to keep it all together?
    When we were doing the major bit of our renovations we didn't have any children. You have my complete admiration...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well sometimes, it's a matter of taking one day at a time. I was lucky to have my mother-in-law living nearby. Many times she would take the older boys. The oldest boy was also very helpful -- most of the time! It also helped to live in the town centre -- lots of places to go. And wasn't I glad to have a double 'buggy'/stroller! That was my lifeline!

      Delete
  3. Since my hubby is a general contractor who loves to tear his own houses apart and rebuild, I have been through a few of these of my own, but never something this extensive. I agree with GaynorB, you have my complete admiration too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Forgot: Thank you so much for your kind comment on my post about Trayvon Martin.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Having decent drains is something that we shall certainly never take for granted and so, by the looks of it, neither will you!! We have done so much peering into the 'murk' when we lived in the countryside that we never wanted to see inside a cesspit ever again.

    Looking back on these images, you must be amazed that you ever coped. We are certainly full of admiration for all your efforts.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We are sure that you, like us, will never again take for granted any fully functioning drainage system. When we lived in the countryside we seemed to always be needing to peer into the cesspit so it is such a luxury to not even know where the drains are let alone how they work!!!

    You have coped with such an amazing amount of difficulty, you must, in looking back on these images wonder how you did it and with children around too. Congratulations, we are full of admiration for your efforts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had never realized how much there is to take into consideration! Yes, I do sometimes wonder how I managed -- but at the time -- you just get on with it and hope tomorrow will be a better day!

      Delete
  7. Isn't it amazing what history our photos contain? You guys did an incredible job rebuilding a house from the ground up. Top marks to you and your husband!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad I took all the pictures I did. It seemed I took a lot of them -- but it's funny how much I now realized I didn't photograph that I wish I had!

      Delete
  8. Gosh, Broad, that really was such a lot of work for you! You have my deepest respect for what you achieved. At least we had builders doing the heavy work, while we both went out to work to pay for it all. Bt I still remember the lack of drains and the bucket under the sink and no hot water.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are certain things you just have to call in the builders to do! We were so lucky to have found this man, who was a teacher in our local college and gave The Man all the help and advice he asked for.

      So interesting the things we have in common!! ;-)

      Delete
  9. What a project. Your man must be one accomplished fellow to have all this expertise. Pat him on the back for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He always seems to have to have a project up his sleeve! I tell you though, Stephen, he would love to be able to paint like you can...

      Delete
  10. That Man of yours is a Dynamo!
    And you, a Saint!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really -- Saint Broad (I like it!);-)

      Delete
  11. What a feat. It makes me feel tired just to look at it. And imagine living with it.... well done and I am sure it proved well worth while!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It made me very tired! But it was definitely worthwhile.

      Delete
  12. Renovating is such hard work but it looks like you have done really well. Great having all the photos to remind you what you have accomplished. Diane

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dear Broad, . . . as "Rosaria" said in her comment, the Man in your life is a "Dynamo"!!!! I find this series of postings intriguing. They absolutely make me want to read more. How you hung in there with children and cooking and just simply living the day is amazing to me. Peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny how much I'd forgotten until I started putting together these posts. It's amazing the information our memories retain over the years.

      Delete
  14. My goodness, what a lot of hard work! Worth it in the end, I assume, but still...

    ReplyDelete
  15. love your mom and bro photo!
    VERY sit com!

    ReplyDelete
  16. We had exactly the same MFI kitchen - we bought it in a rush when they had a sale on........little did we know there was no rush really because they always had a sale on !!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nice to see this blog & you have done a good job.thanks for posting.
    Plumber Birmingham, Al

    ReplyDelete

Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!