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Posted: 2/9/2006 5:43:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/9/2006 5:43:35 PM EDT by DPeacher]
Tuesday morning at 5 AM my wife woke me up to inform me that there was no running water in the house. It got my attention.

I went to the window hoping to see a gyser shooting up from the street, but luck was not on my side. There was however a three foot wide stream of water running from the area around our water meter across the sidewalk and down the curb into the street. That did not look too good.

I went outside to get a better look and in the light and shadows cast by the streetlight I noticed there was an area in my front lawn about 18 feet from the water meter that was about eight feet in diameter and 18 inches taller then it should have been. It confirmed my observation from the window, it was without a doubt, not good at all.

The wife called the water department. I called my boss to let him know that I probably would not be at work that day, then I went to get some breakfast tacos. The guy from the water department arrived just long enough ahead of me to calculate the leak was running about 13GPM and shut off the supply to the meter. He filled out a card we can use to omit the leaked water from our next bill and pointed out the/my property owner's shut off valve that was hidden from view. I turned off my valve (a gate valve, BTW, more on that later) and he turned the water back on at the meter. No more water leak. The water department guy said "Sorry about that" and headed off to thank God it didn't happen to his house.

We ate breakfast and sent the kid off to school, then I layed a 4x8 sheet of OSB (to hold the dirt, 'er mud) near the area where I would be digging. I started digging near the meter and worked my way along the line towards the rupture.

Digging in black clay sucks.

Digging in saturated black clay fucking sucks real bad.

The water line angled slightly downward as I went along, and my yard angles slightly upward, so the trench I am digging is getting ever deeper. The clay was sticking to my shovel so I had to smack the point of the spade on the sheet of OSB to get it off. I broke the hickory handle of the spade trying to get the clay off. I found myself covered in mud and without a spare spade or running water to clean up with. I have noticed over the years that God has a sense of humor like that.

I wiped off as much mud as I could, changed into 'clean' clothes and went to Home Depot for a new spade, an 8' length of 1" PVC and few in line PVC couplers.

I came back and proceeded to get aquainted with my new fiberglass handled spade. Five hours after I began digging I found the leak. It appears the undocumented Mexican laboror who installed my waterline did a real good job of priming the joint, but somehow failed to cement the damn thing. It also appears the clay has shifted about an inch or so in that area and the joint was pulled apart slowly over time. There were a number of roots that had managed to reach down 3 feet below the surface to the leak, and those were the only roots encounterd below the grass roots so I would say this has been leaking since the house was built in 2000.

I fixed the PVC section of the waterline and let the cement cure for about 30 minutes. I then went to turn on the previously mentioned gate valve. The knob just spun and the valve would not open. The damn thing had only been turned off ONCE since it was installed six years ago and now it won't work?!

Once again, God had shown his keen sense of humor.

I shut the water off at the meter and tried to take the valve stem out of the gate valve housing. The top nut below the knob unscrewed just fine, but the nut that holds the valve stem to the valve body would not budge even with a 12" stilson wrench.

I was physicaly exhausted and I was frustrated to the point that I wanted to take an axe to the gate valve. I was afraid I might break something that I would not be able to fix. Like Clint Eastwood says, "A man's got to know his limitations". I called a plumber.

It cost me $350 to get the old $2 gate valve replaced with a $4 ball valve. BUT it took a trained professional with 25 years of experience almost three hours to do the job. The plumber said I did about $600 worth of the work myself.

I was so worn out that at dinner that I kept dropping my slices of pizza due to cramps in my forearms, biceps, and triceps. I left the trench open overnight and back filled the next day after work.

Just for the record. Running water IS a GIFT from GOD that we take for granted most of the time. Thanks Old Man, for reminding me what hard labor and patience is all about, for reminding me who is really in charge, and for a good laugh after it is all over!

But I wouldn't wish digging that hole on a broke dick dog.

Link Posted: 2/9/2006 6:07:52 PM EDT
congrats.

sounds like you gutted it out just like G.I. Jane.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 6:22:01 PM EDT
DAMN!
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 6:31:15 PM EDT
Good job, Peacher!

Sounds a lot like a little adventure I had once, except mine was on the sewer side. When I got to the point where I called the plumber, he arrived and took a look at my work and said, "Hell, you've done all the hard work already.". Yeah, don't I know it!

TC
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 6:56:35 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 6:59:37 PM EDT
good job... now if only we could get the water running at the farm....
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 7:12:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By mikejohnson:
good job... now if only we could get the water running at the farm....



I thought it was after the ravine/erosion repair job. Peacher busted his ass on that job too!

TC

Link Posted: 2/9/2006 8:19:35 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 12:12:57 AM EDT
Been there. I dug up 85 feet of sewer line to recover my nephew's plastic cars. Due to the slope the trench got deeper the closer I got to the main line. I put in three cleanouts to prevent a repeat.

Also had a LONG talk with the wife about running the washer when I'm kneeling in a trench working on an open pipe.

Had to have acupuncture to get the pain out of my right arm and elbow. I then found out The tool rental place has this really neat miniature DitchWitch for 85$ a day.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 2:26:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/10/2006 2:31:10 AM EDT by leonUK]
cool story, wahts the broke-dick dog stuff mean? I swear I heard whoever played Billy say that in Predator
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 6:16:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Johninaustin:

Had to have acupuncture to get the pain out of my right arm and elbow. I then found out The tool rental place has this really neat miniature DitchWitch for 85$ a day.



Only problem is the mini ditch witch or backhoes are damned near impossible to get a hold of.

Try working with cast iron pipe

Hard and brittle when you don't want it to break.

Damn near impossible to cut when you do want it to break. Yes they rent chain cutters for this stuff, but it's as much fun as trying to give a rabid monkey a coffee enema.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 6:28:18 AM EDT
"It's as much fun as trying to give a rabid monkey a coffee enema."

I may have to buy a membership just so I can have that on a sig. line.

R.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 6:29:18 AM EDT
In typical Arfcom fashion, I will now proceed to rub salt in your wounds.




Originally Posted By DPeacher:
I found myself covered in mud and without a spare spade or running water to clean up with. I have noticed over the years that God has a sense of humor like that.






It appears the undocumented Mexican laboror who installed my waterline did a real good job of priming the joint, but somehow failed to cement the damn thing.


Why does he have to be a "Mexican" ? Sounds racist to me, blaming all your problems because you made a bad choice on a house.... on some poor immigrant, just trying to feed his family.


and I was frustrated to the point that I wanted to take an axe to the gate valve. I was afraid I might break something that I would not be able to fix.


I have seen you like that. It aint pretty.


I was so worn out that at dinner that I kept dropping my slices of pizza due to cramps in my forearms, biceps, and triceps.


Sounds like you need to work out a bit more.


And now class, everyone point and laugh at Mr. Peacher.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 6:33:06 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 7:09:20 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 7:11:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DPeacher:
I called my boss to let him know that I probably would not be at work that day,



I forgot to add - you were being lazy... and were paid for a day of work at your employer... while you loafed at home on personal projects?

WTF man?
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 7:50:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:41:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:53:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Zhukov:
Keep yucking it up FALARAK buddy - your home ownership will eventually catch up with you too.



Hell, I have had plenty.

But I am not lazy, I go to work, I dont blame Mojo for my issues, and I work out.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:00:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Zhukov:

Keep yucking it up FALARAK buddy - your home ownership will eventually catch up with you too.








awaiting FALARAK's homeownership tails



Damn Peacher, that really sux. you should've called Zhukov. That is what friends are for
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:11:05 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:54:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Zhukov:

Originally Posted By DPeacher:

I fixed the PVC section of the waterline and let the cement cure for about 30 minutes. I then went to turn on the previously mentioned gate valve. The knob just spun and the valve would not open. The damn thing had only been turned off ONCE since it was installed six years ago and now it won't work?!



Funny you should mention it - I used mine twice, and it's broken too.

I replaced an outside faucet at the rear of the house, and ended up screwing up the pipe coming through the brick. Ended up having to chisel some of the surrounding brick to get to the pipe. I had shut off the water, but it kept leaking in a steady stream. I had started the project at 5 in the afternoon, and after the pipe fiasco it was now 10 o'clock. I opened faucets. I drained the water heater. I shut off the sprinkler system. I waited. Water was still running. I finally flipped the lid on the water meter, and figured how to shut it off at the city side. Water leak stops - the fuggin gate valve on my side is fucked up. Utter and complete BS for something like that to fail after such little use.

I finished buttoning everything back up, including refilling and lighting the water heater, around 2 in the morning.

Keep yucking it up FALARAK buddy - your home ownership will eventually catch up with you too.



Been there and done that !

Those gates go due to lack of operation, the hard minerials eat at the seat and housing of the fixture.

I had an outside faucet cheap pieced together fittings leak at the seat and of course you cannot just twist it out of the wall because the soldered joints break apart ! Half ass way of doing it. Now I have a solid frost free piece and the hole unit comes out of the 90 degree fitting in the wall. I had to remove three bricks to get at it..Lots of fun at night and in the cold but I know how to get it done now and what to look for.

I also had sprinkler pieces pull apart as Peachers did on his drain. The angle of the pipes were such it would have cracked and snapped off. I leveled the pipes after dealing with this great black clay, cleaned the fittings and pushed it all back together..Now its done right ! Tthe labor was not cheap since I did it all myself. ha ha..but its done right damn it !!



Boy the things that make us proud home owners
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 4:11:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/10/2006 4:17:28 PM EDT by DPeacher]

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
In typical Arfcom fashion, I will now proceed to rub salt in your wounds.



If that didn't happen I would know y'all are pissed at me!


It appears the undocumented Mexican laboror who installed my waterline did a real good job of priming the joint, but somehow failed to cement the damn thing.



Why does he have to be a "Mexican" ? Sounds racist to me, blaming all your problems because you made a bad choice on a house.... on some poor immigrant, just trying to feed his family.



All bullshitting aside, I had KB Homes build this house and for the most part they did OK. I also drove past it twice a day five days a week while it was being built. I stopped by at least twice a week. I assure you I KNOW who was on the site working. The only one who spoke English was the foreman. The description of "undocumented Mexican laboror" is 100% accurate. Except for the fact that I misspelled 'laborer'.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 4:31:39 PM EDT
Damn Peacher that sucks.

I have to hope and pray that the same "undocumented work crew" wasn't working on my KB home. Been in it 11 months and haven't had anyhting major happen.

Friggin slab settling is pissing me off though. I have some indentations in the drywall where the nails have started coming back through from the walls settling.

In the event of plumbing work I think I'll be yelling for my cousin that does new home construction and owes me $700 and a favor :D
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 4:31:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By leonUK:
cool story, wahts the broke-dick dog stuff mean? I swear I heard whoever played Billy say that in Predator



That is where I got that quote from. Billy says "I wouldn't wish that on a broke dick dog" in reaction to learning the route they are going to walk is straight through some very difficult terrain. To me the term 'broke dick dog' is fairly amusing in much the same manner as a well timed and executed fart. In general I would say it is a colorful substitute for 'any poor creature', I.E. 'I wouldn't wish that on any poor creature' would be the polite manner of speech.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 5:05:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DPeacher:

Originally Posted By leonUK:
cool story, wahts the broke-dick dog stuff mean? I swear I heard whoever played Billy say that in Predator



That is where I got that quote from. Billy says "I wouldn't wish that on a broke dick dog" in reaction to learning the route they are going to walk is straight through some very difficult terrain. To me the term 'broke dick dog' is fairly amusing in much the same manner as a well timed and executed fart. In general I would say it is a colorful substitute for 'any poor creature', I.E. 'I wouldn't wish that on any poor creature' would be the polite manner of speech.



Thanks,, I'll use it all the time now, much to the bewilderment of my peers
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 6:08:17 AM EDT
So where is the part in the story that involves guns
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 12:22:23 PM EDT
I was unaware that guns were a prerequisite component of any thread in the Texas Hometown Forum.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 12:44:17 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 1:07:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 1GUNRUNNER:
I would have went to drinking early.



Your statement makes it seem as if there is a drinking "start" time.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 1:14:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FALARAK:

Originally Posted By 1GUNRUNNER:
I would have went to drinking early.



Your statement makes it seem as if there is a drinking "start" time.



I do believe 1NutGummer has previously stated that you can't drink all weekend long if you don't start by Wednesday.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 1:33:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DPeacher:
I was unaware that guns were a prerequisite component of any thread in the Texas Hometown Forum.



I was hoping that in your frustratations, you were going to shoot the water main or something
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 2:00:17 PM EDT
There was no need to "draw down" when the Yellow Pages are full of professional shit men, err hit men, I mean "plumbers".
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 8:04:31 PM EDT
Gate valves bite ( Use a ball valve ). And always remember, some plumbers are very good at "wet work".
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