they saved the old brick wall.
the sign we have in our yard out in front of that brick wall is a proclamation of things we hold to be true. a few phrases down is: water is life.
yes. water is life. and for the last few days, we have been dealing with yet another water issue…this one seemingly the culminating water issue, though just writing that makes me want to knock wood. suddenly, the underground water line from the curb to our house was leaking, gurgling up through the muddy grass, puddling and icing on the sidewalk and down the neighbor’s driveway and into the street. we blocked the walk with our old rickety adirondack chairs that featured signs that read “sidewalk closed”. and we called the utility department, which labeled it “an emergency”.
the water utility folks came out monday morning and the week’s upheaval started. the engineer who came and gave us all the information about having the service line replaced was kind and patient and reassuring. i have spoken to this man at least thirteen times over the past couple days and we are considering him (and his wife who we haven’t yet met) – and all the participants of what seemed like grand central station in these last days – members of our new friend group.
though there are less invasive options to replacing the get-out-the-lead old service line, it would seem that the universe was having a good ole time and made those options impossible for our situation. when the boss came inside to tell me they had to trench the yard, i could tell by the look on his face what was coming. already working for about four hours, they were unable to “pull” the pipe through our old line and so it was back to ground zero.
they left about six hours after that. back hoes and dump trucks, pickups and extra scoops and other large equipment lined the street, the front yard was dug up, big slabs of sidewalk by the road and by the front door removed, bushes gone, our big old tree limbed to accommodate the equipment, the basement floor jackhammered, the closet wall along the front of the house removed and a new hole installed in the foundation for accessible water line placement. shiny copper was laid in the five foot deep trench from curb to our home. and the number of very hardworking people through our house or out front during a very long day was at least a dozen.
dogdog was in the bedroom having a hairy snit all day, eliminated from the fun. we were in the midst of it all, alternately working on stuff and pacing. it was a lot.
i’ve seen the yard ravaged before; when we first moved in, decades ago, we had an undisclosed underground oil tank removed. the oil tank surprisingly rotated on the front-loader and sludge spilled out, which they rapidly covered with kitty litter and then excavated it all out, digging inches below the surface, removing everything that resembled landscaping.
and so i know that there is a next day to what the yard looks like today. it will take a good long time for the trench-fill to settle and the city-guy recommended not sodding until next fall to avoid disappointment with the very large dimple that would invariably form in the yard. so…patience through the winter and the spring and the summer. i told him we’d have our neighbors call him if they wanted to complain about the aesthetics of our yard.
jen wrote, “it’s so hard to see bits of our life story destroyed.” pretty emotional in the middle of all the chaos, i agreed.
the guys in and out of the house were aware. we knew they didn’t want to dig up the yard and wreak any more havoc than we felt. we are grateful for their careful demolition, their problem-solving expertise and for the obvious camaraderie they all have, working together to a common goal. every spoke in the wheel counted yesterday, counts every single day. together is something for which we should all express thanks. none of us do this – life – alone.
before they left, most of these excavating, plumbing, mechanical, engineering specialists wished us a happy thanksgiving. thinking of everyone and everything we hold close and for which we have enormous gratitude, we wished them the same.
we’ll rebuild the yard and put in new flowers and bushes, new ornamental grasses, new landscaping. we’ll hope that the old tree will withstand the jostling and limbing and its root system backhoed into pieces. we have water again. in this world where so many do not, we are lucky enough, lottery-lucky if we really think about our globe, to have fresh, clean water … and now through shiny copper pipes.
and the old brick wall is still standing.