When City Contractors Attack

Last week, Himself found a notice hanging on the front door when he went for the mail around 6pm. It was from a contractor hired by the city to “rehabilitate” the city’s sewer lines. We’d seen them working on streets all around our neighborhood during the last few weeks, and this was telling us they’d finally gotten to our street. We were instructed not to wash dishes or clothes, flush toilets, take showers or baths, or otherwise send anything down our drains between the hours of 8:00am & 5:00pm the next day.

At least they gave us a few hours warning. Unfortunately, it was too late to reschedule visits from the A/C maintenance tech and the fellow doing our annual termite inspection, which meant we couldn’t do the prudent thing of spending the day in an elsewhere with useable plumbing. So we toughed it out and gave the contractor points when they did, as promised, finished around 4:00pm that day.

I should have known it couldn’t be that easy. Fast forward to this past Wednesday, a bit before 8:00am, when an otherwise quiet and productive morning was broken by what sounded like an invasion of my neighborhood by a tank division from Ft. Hood. Himself went outside to find out was going on, and came back with another doorhanger, this one hand-delivered by the contractor’s onsite contact person, who apologized that it hadn’t been delivered the day before. Work was already starting and would continue, between 7:00am and 6:00pm, until the end of the month, as they “rehabilitated” the connections between each house’s sewer line and the city’s main pipe.

The words were hardly out of his mouth when we heard a concrete saw fire up and what sounded like something Really Big about to crash through the front wall of the house. Himself headed back outside, I headed for the front window. The section of our walkway nearest the city’s sidewalk was missing and a tank-treaded backhoe, size enormous, was attacking the dirt under where the walkway section used to be. Piles of dirt were everywhere and there was a hole big enough to bury a VW bug in, nose-first.

That backhoe driver was *good*. He was working scant inches from the mailbox, with many opportunities to cause damage. As near as we can tell, he didn’t even touch it.

The racket diminished a bit as the backhoe and crew moved to the next house, and stopped around noon when the crew took off for lunch. Himself went out to take a look. The hole was still there, without barrier tape or cones. At the bottom, there appeared to be some type of fabric wrapped around the junction of our pipe and their pipe, secured with what he described as “really big cable ties”. Around 3:00pm, the backhoe and a couple of the crew came back to fill in the hole, compacting the fill dirt every so often. What was left when they finished was a hole roughly a foot deep. Himself went down the street and liberated one of their cones and positioned it in the hole “just in case”. At least no one removed it when they broke for the day.

Thursday, they worked further down the street. Friday morning, we had thunderstorms and no one showed up. But – hey! – I’ve got a moat! And now it’s the weekend.


1. On Saturday, March 25 2017, 1:26 by Jamie Boughen

Love the new blog. At least you got a little warning. Here, we lost all services dealing with water on a seemingly random series of days last month. Spotted several people headed to the local Subway to use their bathroom, due to not having access to one anywhere inside the complex itself.

2. On Saturday, March 25 2017, 3:20 by Lee Martindale

And a very good thing I haven't needed to go out the front. My wheels aren't rigged for chasm-jumping.

3. On Saturday, March 25 2017, 8:45 by Y'r Capt'n

That's an impressive moat. Was thinking of it in terms of using a trebuchet/moat combo for derring do the next time we do some derring. I hope hole gets filled in eventually--are they going to deliver a half-yard of dirt or sand, or is it all up to you?

We have what looks like the world's biggest mole trail in the back yard of the Party House, the result of finding out how many leaks (some of them under or in the slab that's the floor of the back room) were in the propane line. The new line doesn't go that way.

4. On Saturday, March 25 2017, 10:20 by Lee Martindale

Welcome, Ma Capitaine! Trebuchet/moat combo sounds like fun.
There's been no information passed along regarding repairs, although the implication is that the crew will take care of it. I expect them back on Monday, and there are phone numbers on the doorhanger.
I read about your gas line adventures. Definitely not my idea of a good time.