The “joys” of home ownership

Old Man Winter is awfully cranky lately. Below-zero temperatures. Battering wind chills. And, lately, ice and snow joined the mix.

It’s enough to make a person want to stay inside with a crackling fire, thick socks and thicker blankets.

Inside the Kovak house, Old Man Winter (or maybe it’s just me) has been awfully cranky lately, too. There are thousands of reasons why.

New water heater, Check.

New furnace motor. Check.

New sewage pipes. Check.

It's not a pleasant smell after a cast-iron stack pipe is cut.

It’s not a pleasant smell after a cast-iron stack pipe is cut.

As for the thousands of reasons, it’s all monetary. These fixes, replacements and repairs run well into four figures.

Springtime can’t arrive soon enough.

If you’re a home owner, you can probably relate. Things always need fixed, upgraded or replaced. During fortunate times, light bulbs, furnace filters, door knobs and paint jobs are among the laundry list of chores. These, however, aren’t fortunate times.

The water heater and furnace motor were two things, the stack lines were entirely another.

The problem dates back to late fall, when Erin and I bought a washer and dryer as Christmas presents for each other. (I was only down for this if the dryer was gifted to me.) The hose drains into a double-tub basement sink, which shares a stack line with our second-floor bathroom.

The tubs were quick-filling and slow-draining, but the problem didn’t swell to the point of alarm until about a month ago. That’s when the water line rose awfully close to top of the sink. Well, it wasn’t long before those waters started overflowing, creating a mucky pond on the basement floor.

Now, I’m no MacGyver. I can’t build a house from match sticks and chewing gum,. but I’m a bit handy when it comes to plumbing.

So I went to work.

The sink was snaked. Lead pencils, ribbons and pens caps were pulled up (exactly what did the previous homeowner do with themselves!). Sadly, the waters still rose and overflowed.

Industrial strength pipe cleaner was purchased in bulk. It seemed to loosen things up, but the waters still rose and overflowed.

Finally, a shop-vac was used to pump gunk from the pipes. The gunk kept coming and coming and … get the idea?

Convinced a professional was needed, a call was placed to Try County Plumbing. The owner arrived, prepared for a quick repair.

No such luck.

The stack pipe, made of popular 1950s product terra-cotta, was broken. Sewage was basically sitting underneath the basement floor. The job required jackhammers, an unending supply of buckets to haul away debris, a healthy constitution to fight off the smell and patience. The second-floor bathroom, where the bathtub/shower is located was off-limits. The washer and dryer were rendered useless.

Ahhhhh, the joys of home ownership.

Yep, this winter had me reminiscing about life as a renter, when problems were an inconvenience but the financial responsibility of a landlord. Life can be simpler as a renter, but not necessarily fulfilling. Since moving into the Hillcrest neighborhood of Greensburg, we’ve undertaken a long list of projects, and there’s no end in sight. But this house is a home. And it’s hard to put a price on that.

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2 thoughts on “The “joys” of home ownership

  1. Todd

    Sounds like our winter as well, Furnace quit working yesterday afternoon. Thankfully, Jerry from Interval Heating and Cooling took almost 4 freezing hours in my house to fix the problem. Its always something Mike. Good luck..

    Like

    Reply

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