Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Gotta Break a Few Eggs to Make an Omelet

I'm writing this drenched in sweat, dirt, and dirty sweat. I've been in the yard shoveling and pulling roots. It's almost noon and about 90 degrees outside.

We are in the process of turning a back storage room on our house into a master bathroom. Since our sewage line runs along the opposite side of the house it was necessary to put in another sewage pipe. That's what my friend Troy and I spent the last two days doing.

Troy operated the backhoe. We had to dig about a hundred feet of trench. Near the house the pipe would be buried under two feet of dirt, but at the other end, where it would connect with our original sewage line, it would be closer to six feet underground.

We lost some time because the backhoe delivery was delayed on Monday. It didn't arrive until close to noon, in the heat of the day. Fortunately it fit through the side gate into the front yard, so we didn't have to take any fence down. First thing Troy did was excavate a deep hole to locate the sewage pipe we would be connecting with. This is where we were really very lucky, because he exposed the pipe without breaking it. Once the sewage pipe was found we had to dig a long trench back to the house. While Troy tore up my front yard with the backhoe I struggled with shovel, pickaxe, trowel, and any other digging implement I could find. Digging went slowly because the backhoe was weak, we had to make the trough deep enough to provide an adequate rate of fall, and the soil was hard clay. Troy worked the backhoe until about 9pm, then stopped for the night.

We started again at dawn on Tuesday. Even working in the early morning we were quickly soaked in sweat. When Troy finished the trench the backhoe was straddling it, which made for some tense moments as he manuevered to bring the backhoe across the open ditch without getting tires stuck in it. The only obstacle at that point was the cement walkway in front of the house. At first we planned to tunnel under it, but when that proved impossible we rented a jackhammer and broke it up - more destruction in the name of progress. We finished putting the pipe in and Troy buried it. At about 4pm we called it quits. Both of us were exhausted and suffering from long exposure to the summer heat. Troy faced a two hour drive back to Houston and I had to be at work at 5pm.

And today I'm shoveling more dirt and pulling roots. Eventually the front yard will look nice again and we'll have a new bathroom. Troy has been a great friend, once again coming through to help us under less than pleasant conditions. Nasty conditions, really. And after two days of miserable work under the hot sun he still found time to take down a tall stump that Hurricane Rita inconsiderately left in our backyard. Thanks again, Troy!


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