Sunday, January 6, 2013

This Is A Sticky Mess

Sunday: (01/06) I prepared to go to San Jose to install a sump pump in the basement. For some reason it's been collecting water in the basement recently. On the way I dropped Lou off at Kaiser to have here foot looked at. That took longer than expected. While I waited, I stopped by Orchard Hardware for some hose fittings and jig saw blades. I also visited Harbor Freight and of course, picked up a few things like a wide jaw short handled crescent wrench. I returned to meet Lou but she wasn't ready yet so I returned to Orchard Hardware for a couple of downspout pipes and fittings for San Jose as well. Unfortunately, they no longer carry any downspot materials. How odd? I stopped by Home Depot and got my downspout stuff. Normally I do a good job of tying things on the roof rack but for some reason this job didn't go well and I had to stop suddenly for a signal and the pipes slid off the roof. No damage done but I did do a better job this time since they stayed on after that. We stopped by the Country Inn for breakfast/lunch. I had a wild mushroom omelet and Lou had ham and eggs. They both came with Swedish pancakes which I had to eat since Lou is eating gluten free. Good for her and me! Then we finally headed on to San Jose. I needed to install a drain line for the new sump pump under the house, about 40 feet. I really did not feel like crawling so yesterday I stopped by Best Buy and they had a nice cheap radio controlled truck for $15. I used it to fish a string through then a rope and finally the hose. The little truck had some difficulties because it was a small truck so it would fit through the vent and there are lots of obstacles under the house as well as dirt clods which were boulders to the truck. But it did the job that I didn't want to do. I pumped out the water but now I think I'll return and install a real sump for it so it can be automatic. Oh jpy, another project to do before we get out of here. Now if I can just keep the job simple. I didn't get to installing the two downspouts that I need to install. There is always tomorrow. We stopped by Lowe's to see what could be done about a sump and they have one I'll use but I didn't bring my store credit card so will pick it up tomorrow. Dinner was chicken with rice and broccoli.

Monday: (01/07) Lou and Dawn had hot corn cereal for breakfast and headed off to appointments. I had agreed to watch the neighbors two boys for 15 minutes after they had gotten off to work and until the boys carpool arrived to take them to school. With that done I finished loading the jeep with drain rock and base rock, 12 each 5 gallon buckets for use in San Jose for the sump pump installation. It gets rid of the excess I had piled here at home. I then headed off stopping at Lowe's to pick up the sump box then stopped for breakfast at La Victoria Taqueria in downtown San Jose for a chorizo breakfast burrito. I replaced a bad section of the new pump discharge hose, rat proofed the area around the hose exit from the crawl space and then moved all the rock to the basement. I then had empty buckets to use to get rid of the dirt (mud) I needed to dig out to place the sump below the basement floor area in the unimproved area next to the basement where the old furnace used to be. That is where the water collects and it is above the basement floor level. The water is obviously not coming from a high water table but from intrusion form somewhere like a shortcut from some downspout or the like. It needs to be pumped out because it has flowed over the short 18 inch wall and into the basement on a couple of occasions  With nine buckets filled with wet mud, sort of like jello, I had a full load. Bringing the dry rock I had stacked some of the buckets. Not a good idea with mud. Of course, I was carrying an additional bucket of mud on my pants. This is going to be a fun dig? It will probably take at least a couple of days to finish. That's OK since Dawn's friend from Africa has been delayed in their arrival a couple of days as well. My lunch was a Jack In The Box egg nog milk shake. Lou made spaghetti squash spaghetti served with avocados for dinner. Today started like recent days with a hard ice coat on the windshield. Fortunately the rest of the day was really nice and warm probably in the 60's.

Tuesday: (01/08) Lou and Dawn were off early to an appointment. I made it to San Jose, after poking along in a traffic backup on the freeway. While it was sunny in Palo Alto, there was heavy fog in San Jose so likely the backup was because of an accident, or several  When I arrived at the hose there, Lou and Dawn had already finished there meeting and looked my job over. I started by finishing replacing a couple of downspouts and making sure al the rest were set to keep water away from the house as best they can. With that done I had lunch, while I was reasonably clean. I then started digging out the hole for the sump. I needed it to be 50 inches deep  so it took a little digging. I trucked off a load of dirt before returning for another load. Before I left the sump box seemed to almost fit, just a little shaving needed tomorrow and to dig out for the drain rock to feed the sump.  I had filled all my buckets just as it was finished. Looks like I might finish tomorrow  Pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Mr Chau's Chinese Fast Food for lunch. Grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Wednesday: (01/09) Sausage, eggs and potatoes for breakfast. I was off to San Jose again. I finished digging out for the sump and drain area. Then I installed the sump and drain line and all the drain rock. The pump was then tested and worked fine but the float doesn't work right so I'll replace it tomorrow. I cleaned up all my tools and stuff just before it started raining. While I was working the neighbor came over to see what i was doing so I showed her. She showed me that her basement has the same problem so it is the high water table. Lou and Dawn visited the Crepevine for lunch. I didn't have any lunch so I called ahead to Lou and dinner was ready when I got home. Lou made hamburger patties with grilled onions, carrots and mashed potatoes for dinner.

12th Street Sump Pump 12th Street Sump Pump 12th Street Sump Pump
Above left is after getting below the 8 inch layer of mud. Above center ready for drain rock. Above right almost finished.

Thursday: (01/10) I had some leftover popcorn as cereal with honey and milk for breakfast. Lou and Dawn had conventional cereal. I started by emptying my load from the Jeep and cleaned it of some. Lou took it to our local car wash for a good cleaning and waxing so it's nice and ready for the highway mud to come. I was off to find a good replacement float that will work for my pump and sump. I struck out finding nothing at Orchard Hardware, and Lowe's as well as a full service local plumbing shop. I did find a good float type at Home Depot but none of the six they had on the shelf had all the parts, even when mixing the contents. I also checked at Harbor Freight where I bought the pump but they had nothing as well. I was headed to another Home Depot when Lou called for lunch. I found a good package with the new float switch then met Lou in Cupertino at the Country Inn again for lunch. I had the wild mushroom omelet and Swedish pancakes again. Lou and Dawn shared corned beef and cabbage. I went down to San Jose and installed the new float which worked perfectly. I then returned home avoiding a problem near the house where a construction crew had hit a gas main. I finished cleaning up the muddy buckets and can call this project complete.

12th Street Sump Pump
The pendant float didn't work properly for this size and depth of sump so I replaced it with a better float which worked perfectly.

Dawn prepared chicken and avocado panini sandwiches for dinner.

Friday: (01/11) Bacon, eggs and muffins for breakfast. We got word that Dawn's friend Abdul and his wife Anna and their new baby arrived early this morning so we went to visit with them. Leftovers for lunch.

Doghouse Crawl Space Fan Cover
I finished up the crawl space exhaust fan dog house. and prepared a mount for our pole mounted cell phone antenna. Then we met Abdul, Anna and our friend Barbara for dinner at our local Pizza Chicago for pizza, of course. Now we should be able to get out on the road sometime tomorrow. I still have to pack and do a couple of things to the RV but we should get away.

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