Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kitchen sewer

Step 18: pipework done! And they've started filling in the trenches with sand. We may actually be at the stage where they can start pouring the new concrete floor tomorrow :)

Kitchen sewer

Step 17: the new 4" line takes shape in the trench.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


We're sitting here enjoying(?) an odd mix of smells this evening.

The pipe that they dug up today in the kitchen had obviously been leaking for years- the more of the soil around it they dug up, the ranker the smell became. The plumber's answer for this was to go out and buy a gallon of PineSol and liberally douse the soil with it; fortunately he also bought a bunch of bags of sand to spread over the top, which has gone some way to dampening down the smells.

We came in from dinner (Applebees after Crispy's focus group) and it was a little pungent in the apartment to say the least, so at my suggestion Jackie lit a couple of her nice vanilla candles. So now it smells of a lovely mix of sewer, chemical pine and vanilla ;(

Anyway, here are a couple of better pictures of that pipe, you can really see why we had to do what we're doing!

Kitchen sewer

Step 16: the trenching work is now pretty much done, and they are starting to work out how the new pipes will fit together under the floor.

While digging they found the old pipe that had failed- as you can see it is almost completely blocked with rust, and the black, damp soil they found around it means it was cracked and had been leaking for a while.

Kitchen sewer

Step 15: continued trenching work.  They are still using the jackhammer for the tougher bits,  so Holly is in my office again.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rye Town Park

The new copier was not cooperating,  so I didn't get out of work until nearly 5:30.  So, as well as spending the day cooped up in my office, Holly has to make do with half an hour with the tennis ball slingshot at the park :( I hope I can make it up to her tomorrow.

Kitchen sewer

Step 14: most of the major jackhammering is done and they've gone to empty the truck. From here it should hopefully just be digging.

Busy day!

And of course as well as the kitchen work, the boiler maintenance that happened this morning, and the organ tuners in the church - today's the day the new copier is being delivered and installed!


... in her temporary quarters (while the jackhammering is going on) under the desk in my office.

Kitchen sewer

Step 13: let the jackhammering begin.

Boy it's loud!  Holly is very confused,- she's in my office on the other side of the building because of the noise.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kitchen sewer

Step 12: wall opened up.  Now we're ready for the guys to come and dig up the floor.

Kitchen sewer

Step 11: cabinets gone, floor almost gone,  and Declan is opening up the wall.

Kitchen sewer

Step 10: fridge moved, last sheet of plastic up and the plumbers have just arrived - now the fun really begins!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kitchen sewer

Step 9: all the cabinet that are not being removed have been wrapped in plastic.

This lower section all comes out, as does a fairly large chunk of the wall behind them.

Fingers crossed that if all goes well they don't have to take any cabinets off this wall!

The whole floor has to come up (luckily the cabinets are not installed on top of it) and I shall lose access to the control center office for the duration- hope my laptop can cope!

We decided to leave moving the fridge until tomorrow morning so we can have one more evening of semi-normalcy ;)

Fantastic news!

We're out for dinner at the Mamaroneck Diner,  and Jackie just got a text telling her that the NY state budget has been agreed and the funding for the 4201 schools has been reinstated!

This is what they've been fighting for- it means Fanwood can stay open :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kitchen sewer

Step 8: kitchen emptied!

Very hard work by my lovely wife,  with huge thanks to Kathie who came over and helped for hours!

Tomorrow we just have to move the fridge and tape plastic over the upper cabinets and the one set of lower ones that don't have to be removed.

Holly finds this all most confusing!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kitchen sewer

Step 7: start packing up the kitchen and rearranging the sitting room so it can house all the essentials we will need for a week sans kitchen.

This corner of the kitchen is is the first to be cleared, The fridge will eventually go in the sitting room in this doorway to block it.

A few of the many bags of stuff we threw out this evening- that's one good thing about this whole process- It's forcing us to spring clean :)

And here is the sitting room (we've switched it to "summer mode" with the sofa in front of the fireplace to gain some more floor space) starting to look like a bedsit- with the freezer, the pet's food cabinet and a shelf of paper plates for us to eat off.

Tomorrow we need to finish emptying the cabinets and clearing all the shelves and countertops, and then start covering all the cabinets that are not being removed with plastic to try and keep them clean when they start breaking into the concrete under the floor.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kitchen sewer

Step 6: assemble boxes, tape and bubble-wrap so we can spend the weekend boxing up everything in the kitchen so they can take the cabinets out and the floor up on Monday.

Kitchen sewer

Step 5: disconnect and remove the washer/dryer and the dishwasher.

Kitchen sewer

Step 4: new pipe with the "Y" installed.

Kitchen sewer

Step 3: break out one section of the old sewer line so they can fit in a new "Y" to accept the line they will run under the kitchen floor to the sink etc.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Handsome Lad

Out at the deli for dinner with my wife and my handsome son (who has just had a very stylish haircut).

Kitchen sewer

Step 2: make a big hole outside our kitchen door.

The good thing is the pipe is exactly where we thought it was, with joints in nice, convenient places, and seems to be in good shape.

Kitchen sewer line

So it looks like they are going to have to dismantle our kitchen and dig up the floor to lay the new drain line for the sink and washing machine etc. :(

Today they're going to open up the floor outside the apartment to confirm the main sewer line runs where they think it does so they can eventually tie into it.

Step 1: remove the carpet.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Super moon 2

Jackie, Crisp, the super moon, and Holly the possessed, devil dog!

Super moon

Down at Rye Beach with Jackie, Crisp & Holly to see the "super moon".

I really should have brought my better camera...

Spring is in the air!

I'm out with Holly a little later than usual on a Saturday 'coz of the first two organist auditions that happened today.

Spring is in the air and little green shoots are starting to appear through the carpet of last years leaves, although it's not as warm as yesterday and there's snow in the forecast! Let's hope that won't actually happen- but just in case I'm leaving my snowshoes in the car!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Corned beef and cabbage from Jerry's for dinner- Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy Hound

A warm sunny day, woods to romp in, a tennis ball to chase, and a stream to cool off in- Holly's a simple dog with simple pleasures :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Crispy zipping along with the scooter.


Last SCUBA class of this session, but we've already signed up for the next one starting in April.

I'm very jealous 'coz they get to use the scooters today (on the left in the picture- the little propeller pods that pull you along).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Shelter setup time again...

...with the confirmation class.

It's funny how the boys seem to get far more excited about baking the brownies than the girls. Maybe it's because we always make more than we need and they get to eat the extra :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's a whole new (online) world!

Crispy has a buddy over and what are they doing? They're both on computers (Crispy on his desktop, his buddy using my laptop) sitting right next to each other, and they're both controlling characters in an online world called Wizard 101.

So they're virtually running around and playing ... I've gotta get this boy out in the woods a little more often now the weather's starting to get better! ;)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chico in the rain :)

We have Chico staying with us for a few days while Robyn & David deal with Jacob having pneumonia and being in the hospital.

When Chico stays with us he has to fit in with Holly's schedule- which means 2 or 3 miles around the woods every afternoon. Everyone says he doesn't do rain- so I was interested to see how he would deal with it today as it's absolutely pissing down.

He did fine, in fact he seemed to enjoy himself romping about- yes, that white blur in the picture is Chico at full speed :)

He does give Holly funny looks when she tears off after a tennis ball and then comes back and leaps in the nearest stream or puddle, but he does lots of exploring of his own.

And he's awfully cute when he's just been towelled dry.

Now, if we could just do something about the whining and the barking like crazy when anyone walks by outside our apartment...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ash Wednesday evening

In my little A/V control room during the 7:30 pm service.

Ash Wednesday

The church is all set up for our new Ash Wednesday family service at 5:00 pm. We've moved the altar down to the crossing and will use a simplified liturgy and readings from "The Message".

We did ashes at 8:30 & 11:45 this morning (and Matthew did ashes at the train station from 5:30-8:00 am!), and we have the full choral service this evening at 7:30 pm.

Lots of dirty faces!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Shrove Tuesday

All set up in the hall for the pancake supper later. Now I'm off to walk Holly before they come to explore the sewer line under the apartment later...more to follow ...

Friday, March 04, 2011

Happy dog!

Holly didn't get a proper walk yesterday because of all the sewer shenanigans, and this morning she went to the vet for her annual check up and a couple of shots.

But now we're in the woods, she's been in the stream and she has a tennis ball- so she's a happy pup :)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang!

Washing machine hook up
Last night while doing the dishes we noticed that the sink in our kitchen wasn't draining properly; I thought that it was just debris in the disposer so I hit the switch and watched as the water swiftly disappeared. Minutes later I discovered where all the water had gone as we watched with horror the spreading pool of water coming from under the washing machine. It turns out that the sink, the dishwasher and the washing machine all share the same drain, which is blocked.

Sink drain
These two pictures of the pipes are from 10 years ago when the kitchen was redone, before they closed up the wall over them.

And even though the pipe where the washing machine hooks up is much higher, the disposer when running acts like a pump and pumps the water out of the sink- so the water has nowhere else to go as the drain is blocked but up and then out onto the floor!

We mopped up the water and left a fan running overnight to dry up what we couldn't reach completely under the fridge and the washing machine, and then this morning I called the plumber to come and snake out the line, foolishly thinking it would take an hour or so and all would be back to normal- ha ha ha!

To cut a long story short, the plumber arrived just before noon, and left around 7:30 this evening. He (and his helper) snaked the line by removing the trap under the sink (and discovered a leak in the disposer in the process that meant that had to be replaced). He snaked the line from here 4 times with 2 different snakes, he then snaked the line from the washing machine drain as well, all to no avail.

By this time it was about 2:30 and he called in the sewer company to come and snake the line. They arrived about half an hour later and cut a hole in the line where it was showing in one of the cabinets (the little angled bit in the sink drain picture above). This meant that all the stuff in that cabinet had to be removed and piled up along with all the stuff that had already come out of the cabinet under the sink. Our kitchen is actually pretty small when it's got all that stuff piled up along with 2 plumbers, 2 sewer guys, all their tools, 2 small and one large pipe snake machines and me.

Hole in the wall
After working at it from here for about an hour they decided they couldn't get enough purchase on the snake working inside the cabinet so they had to cut a hole in the wall above the cabinet so they could feed the snake down from higher up the stack to get more leverage. They actually did a pretty neat job of making a hole just big enough to allow them to cut into the pipe (picture taken later showing the pipe with a plug in the hole and some of our stuff put back on the counter).

They tried to snake the pipe from this spot for another hour and a half, even trying to use the big, outdoor sewer line machine when the other one (which was not exactly small) wouldn't do it. But in the end they had to admit defeat.

Rusty galvanised pipe
As I understand it the problem is one that is fairly well known with galvanised waste pipes of advanced age (and we can only assume that these are the original pipes installed when the parish hall was built in 1925). Over time the pipe rusts from the inside, and the rust expands, restricting the flow. What is a 2 inch line on the outside, adequate for the water flow from a sink, dishwasher and washing machine, may in fact be a 1 inch or even a half inch line inside because of the rust. And eventually some of the rust will break off, blocking the pipe. And unfortunately when you try and clear this blockage the only possible way- with a snake- you run the risk of actually making things worse by knocking off more of the rust and pushing it down the pipe and compacting it into an impossible-to-remove plug. Which is what seems to have happened here.

So we have been left with a sink that still just drains, but very slowly. We can wash dishes a couple at a time if we let the water drain, but we have been told not to use the dishwasher, disposer or the washing machine. And it is only a matter of time until the pipe stops draining at all. The only recourse is to replace the 2 inch line from where it disappears underground inside the wall behind the cabinet to wherever it joins the 4 inch line that runs under our living room floor from the bathroom (which, thank God, seems to be OK!). Unfortunately it would seem that the route is almost certainly straight across the kitchen floor and out into the hall outside, and there is no basement under the kitchen, it is a solid concrete floor. The plumber is going to meet the sewer guys back here sometime in the next couple of days to put a camera down the main 4 inch line to see if we can mark it's route and hopefully see where the line from the kitchen joins it. But it looks like the cabinets will have to all come out and the fun of jack-hammering up the floor is in our future.Oh joy!