16 August 2009

Drill, ye tarriers, drill...

Fun weekend here.

Seems Dad's place has a problem with water coming in during storms. Not a trickle of water, mind you, but flowing-with gravel washing in, which in my world indicates a hole. Now where he lives is at the bottom of the bluffs along the river and the river itself, so the water table is fairly high relative to the house.

What would be done in a perfect world is to raise the house, build up the grade, and put in a poured foundation with impermeable membrane and proper tiling and drainage. The house isn't worth doing anything like that, frankly. So my brother and I got together with another guy to bodge together something makeshift 'upstream' from the house. We put in a perforated stretch of 4" tube, wrapped in a tube, and surrounded it with a bed of gravel. It's set up to run down a slope and God willing and the creek don't rise, run out the open end. I wasn't able to get up there until Sunday, by which time my brother had a trench dug for the pipe. They did a pretty good job cutting a slope for drainage-the rule of thumb is 1" drop per 10 ft of length which is...I don't know in metric. Figure it out yourselves. They were sighting with a transit and stake and getting confused on the numbers. OK. I've had surveying class. First thing is to get some stuff down on paper so you know what the hell you're doing. Second thing is to measure from the same surface at each point. Once the Engineer Corps got there and straightened the numbers out it went well. After that, a glorious morning of shoveling gravel and heavy old river bottom dirt, which is like clay.

The theory is that next time it rains heavily, a lot of the groundwater after a storm will percolate through the gravel bed, make its way to the the drain pipe, and run out the end.

Will it work? Beats me, Lieutenant. I'm a doctor, not a hydrologist. Not sure it can hurt, though.

The games continue on every space of the board. I'm going to vent so if you don't care to read it, skip to the end of the chapter.

My mother has gotten to the point-and maybe it happens to a lot of people of a certain age and condition-where she wants me to take charge of affairs-unless the result doesn't suit her purposes at that time. Then I'm to spend all kinds of time coming up with alternatives and calling up people for services which may or may not be needed.

Some of the latest incidents have gone like this:

She wants me to call, say, a government office to check on some finance from my stepfather's death. After talking to a customer service person, they ask to talk to my mum, and she ends up talking to them anyway.

She manages to work the phone to call me.

The latest incident involves getting an auctioneer to dispose of some of the stuff they'd accumulated. We talked with a guy about that this weekend and we had a good plan that would be very time-and-labor efficient. Today she calls and doesn't want to do this.

Reckon what I'm going to have to do is tell her that she's free to dig up some auctioneer in the phone book, round up some people to get all the stuff to take to wherever it's to be auctioned, and take care of this herself. But quit wasting my time with doing all the fiddly work, because I'm not doing it.

I suspect that will put the kibosh on her disrupting progress. We both can't lead-and I'm the one that can see well enough to read the phone book and drive a vehicle.

Why am I beginning to feel like Norman Bates?

Honestly, each time I go to the old hometown, I come back depressed. Most of you have figured out that I can hit low points, and they're starting to get deeper and more frequent. I rarely find a lot of joy in anything these days. The baseball season has been a chore to slog through. Blogging is a bit hit-and-miss. I don't really feel like writing or talking to anyone that much. A lot of the stuff I like doing has become blah as well. We've got a men's fastpitch softball tournament going in town this week. We went to a couple of games, and about the only thing I can think of is what I should be trying to get done for someone instead of wasting time there (though, as an aside, I didn't know so many New Zealanders played softball. We watched a team, nominally from near Des Moines, Iowa, that had 6 Kiwis on it. Paging Doc Yobbo...please elaborate on the prevalence of your countrymen on the baby diamonds.)

Any women reading this? Is this what it's like to raise kids, run a house, and hold down a job? And you don't go nuts? Youre better men than I am, Gunga Din...

I dunno. Perhaps when things get all squared away, I'll feel a bit better. I hope so anyway. I'd just like some of the people in my life to think a bit and don't mess with the battle plan. Events will always conspire to do that anyway. Oh, and getting back to a 40 hour work week would help too. Any time the economy wants to get going would be good. What a bloody mess.

Well. I suppose things could be worse, though. Shouldn't complain, I guess. And I have to say it felt good to move some dirt around. Good for the soul.

yankeedog out.


  1. YDog the pipe can only help. I hope you're feeling more chipper when things have settled down.

  2. Don't look at me mate, last time I looked my passport still says I'm Australian!

    Softball isn't necessarily big here but for some reason the NZers are good at it, regular performers in the world champs. That, rowing, triathlons, a bit of cycling, a big Fijian girl who's now two-times world champ at shotput, and Scott Dixon in the Indycar series is about the sum of NZ's world championship level performances in recognisable minority sports. But that doesn't detract from NZ's core sporting business - losing games of rugby union in world cup semi finals.

    Anyway go out and ENJOY your downtime on the diamonds, it's essential for mental R&R, and stop guilting yourself about it - sounds like you need it.

  3. Sounds like you're in a bit of a slump, not suprising given all that is happening and not happening.

    Won't suggest anything trite, I think I tripped the last person who said 'don't worry be happy' or 'its not that bad' when I was feeling down.

    But regarding the water through the house, did you consider a Frank Loydd Wright approach and let a steam run throug the main room of the house. Call the place Fallingoverwater and you might get an award.

  4. Bangar-I hope so, otherwise I don't know what the hell they're realistically going to do. As for the rest, well, better this than The Leech-though here we can at least shoot that type.

    Doc-Sorry. Thought you were a transplant. Heard a lot of the classic Oz/NZ accent in the dugout and the stands. Felt like I was in your part of the world for a bit.

    Actually there are a few Australians scattered among the teams. Quite a few from Canberra, and the rest from various locales (Qld, Sydney, Adelaide).

    Barnesy-That might just work! Channel the water and run it right down to the river.

    Appreciate the thoughts, all.