Entry 140: Downspout to Nowhere

I’m sure that regular readers of this blog would prefer that there be no further mention of our gutters, and that you believe my obsession with our gutters is bordering on pathological and I should seek professional help, and not from a roofing expert.

So let me just say that we have had our gutters completely replaced, with new gutter covers and everything, and that will be that.

Except for one minor detail.

We had noticed that in a heavy downpour, water would cascade over the front corner of the house, and we assumed the downspout on that corner was clogged, so we asked the gutter installer guy to unclog it.

(I should point out here that all our downspouts disappear into the ground and the water comes out on the other side of a stone wall behind our house, kind of like when you play miniature golf and you get the ball into one of three tubes and then you have to look down below to see if it came out of the tube pointed right at the hole or one of the other holes pointed at the sides so that you still have to make a couple of putts, without hitting the ball into the unnaturally blue-colored water, to get it in.)

The gutter installer guy told us that he was unable to unclog the downspout because the clog was occurring somewhere down in the nether regions, after the downspout disappeared into the ground, and so was not in his area of expertise. I was appreciative of his honesty, because, in my experience, home maintenance people don’t generally care whether something is in their area of expertise, and, in fact, frequently don’t even bother to have an area of expertise.

This is why, for instance, our landscaper not only also does snow removal, he can be seen re-paving people’s driveways.

Anyway, the gutter installer guy told us we needed to bring in a drainpipe declogger guy, which, much to my surprise, turned out to be Roto-Rooter®.

I’ve always associated Roto-Rooter with indoor clogs (“And away go troubles down the drain.”), but apparently they can deal with just about anything that’s clogged, except, perhaps, an artery.

So the Roto-Rooter guys comes with his truck and he inserts a hose into the hole in the ground where the drain pipe went and he prepares to administer what amounts to a very high-powered enema. My wife Barbara and I tell him to wait a second while we position ourselves at various places on our property to see where the water comes out.

This, however, is unnecessary, because the water comes out right below where it goes in, at the foot of the seven steps leading up to our front walkway. And it doesn’t flow out as much as it bubbles up, as if our house is sitting on the La Brea Tar Pits or something.

The Roto-Rooter guy tells us that when they built the steps, they must have blocked up the end of the drainpipe. This doesn’t quite make sense to me, unless the steps were built recently, which I don’t think they were, because how were people getting up to the front door before that?  By climbing up the drain pipe?

So now we have to figure out the best (by which I mean cheapest) way to lead the water off to someplace where it won’t freeze during the winter and create a small ice skating rink at the foot of the steps so that we would almost certainly get sued by some delivery person or, worse, one of us would slip embarrassingly onto our ass while our daughter laughed uproariously, unless she was the one who slipped, in which case Barbara and I would have to show sympathy and concern until much later, when we could laugh in the privacy of our bedroom.

The Roto-Rooter guy told us it would cost $5,000, but he did it in that way that contractors have that lets you know he really doesn’t want to do it, but if you force him to, he’s going to overcharge you.

So we brought somebody else in. Our landscaper.

Now I’ve got his estimate for $2,340.00, which seems very exact, considering that it includes digging a 12″ deep by 12″ wide by 47′ long trench across our driveway, removing and replacing a section of stone wall, laying pipe and patching the asphalt. I’m not saying that the estimate is high or low, just that it’s exact.

I mean, which part of the job do you think the $40 is?

See you soon.

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3 Responses to Entry 140: Downspout to Nowhere

  1. Janice says:

    Maybe we should all be renting now, ask Barbara to tell you what we’re about to do
    I need sympathy

  2. Vinny Bond says:

    The $40 is for beer and pizza…any long-term homeowner knows that!

  3. Pingback: Entry 490: Anti-Septic | The Upsizers

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