Friday, June 28, 2019

There's a Funny Story in Here Somewhere (This could take awhile)

Image by roegger from Pixabay

Things were going along swimmingly. The start of summer was on the horizon, my Jersey tomatoes were planted, and I was planning to bring my Laughter Wellness class back in July. I had a wonderful time presenting The Smile Side of Life to a group of lawyers in a lakefront park, spent a weekend at a Wellness Conference at Rutgers University, and GE was about to deliver a new laundry unit to replace the defective one delivered a week earlier. 

For reasons that may never be understood, I became uncomfortable about the route the delivery had to take to get into my house. Up the driveway, into the yard, onto the deck, around the gazebo corner, and over the crawl space trap door. I knew it was possible, after all the old one had been delivered that way, and the new defective one also. But something was bothering me.

It may have been the overabundance of rain we had been experiencing. It may have been the fact that the temporary crawl space trap door plywood seemed a bit too “flexy” and wet. It could have been the never-far-from-my-mind anxiety that just likes to conjure up worry about things that are very unlikely to happen.

Convinced that the trap door was going to collapse just as the laundry center was being delivered (during the delivery window time period torrential rains were predicted, again), I asked the LOML if he could unscrew the wood, and affix some 2x4 crossbars on the underside, to firm up the hatch.

While I went off to the conference, he got the wood, gathered his tools, donned his safety glasses and work gloves, then opened the portal to … crawlspace hell.

Now, whomever built this series of houses on my block, built them on 3 foot crawl spaces, with dirt floors. Plumbing and electrical lines snake through the overhead area, and the water shut off and water meter are both located in secret locations requiring poking through insulation in pitch darkness. Basically, not a maintenance-friendly area.

There is also a water table issue. Actually, all of New Jersey has a water table issue, except perhaps the Watchung Mountains. Flooded basements, swampy yards and extreme high tides are daily occurrences. (See my book, “Treading Water”). So it wasn’t unusual that my house came with the traditional New Jersey sump pump. The unusual thing about it, is that it is situated in its own cinderblock pit, adjacent to the foundation of the house, with a gaping hole in the foundation allowing access to the crawl space. And just to make it interesting, this pit, and the trap door for access, are located directly outside the back door of the house. You will only forget to close that trap door one time.

So, the LOML removed the hatch, intending to shore up the “flexy” wood. However, upon looking straight down into the pit, where the infamous Jersey sump pump lived in its watery grave, he could see that the pump was indeed deceased, and water in the neighborhood of 6 or more inches was gently lapping at the walls. Not having hip waders or scuba equipment, he proceeded to add the supports to the door, then put it back in place, and called me at the Conference. I heard nothing else after he said “water in the crawlspace” as I was immediately transported back to a watershed moment of my childhood — My Parents Vs. The Waterproofing Company

to be continued...

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