Re: [gardeners] Hoist in my own petard

penny x stamm (
Thu, 2 Sep 1999 02:16:11 -0400

George, when I stumbled out to the kitchen this morning, Jimmie
greeted me with, "Good morning! I've been waiting for you to go
outside and check all the downspouts off the gutters!"  Uggh -- 
I thought he's WAY too old and unsteady to be lugging that 30 ft 
ladder around, and how many shrubs will we break, and how many
flowers will we trample...? But i knew that a contractor would be
arriving shortly, and we were still searching for the source of all
that mean water which invaded our basement last Thursday. 

I was happy to see what he had rigged up to do the job with 
less risk...:  he had an enormous telescoping aluminum pole
which he had lashed to an old washing machine exhaust hose
with a crooked neck that he had forced on to a 12" length of old
garden hose with a female coupling at the other end where he
could screw on a real garden hose. Good old Rube Goldberg! 
This gimmick one of us would reach up and hook in a gutter
while the other one first turned on the water faucet below, and
then ran to the back yard to observe the flow of water thru a 
fractured clay pipe down about 3 ft below ground level, under
the kitchen stairs. To our surprise, not a drop of water  arrived,
either from the front or back runoffs!  Obviously the gutter water
found its own way the 60 to 100 ft to the rear stone wall.  We
have not discovered what could be filling up the deep drain under
the back porch which floods over an 8" sill right into the workshop.

The waterproofing expert this morning talks about a $3500 inside
French drain and sump pump, or else a $900 outdoor sump 
pump right in that well. But Jimmie is a stubborn do-it-ourselfer,
so I can forsee Penny with a rented pneumattic drill knocking out
both the cement flooring and her own teeth...  Wanna put any 
money on it...??? 
Penny, NY

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