Thursday, December 22

All's Well That Ends With A Well (Part II)

One of the great ironies of the Well Project was that connecting the piping and power supply between the well and the house involved getting our new tractor out and digging a (four foot deep) trench diagonally from the corner of the house, through the yard, and across the driveway to the side of the garage… exactly where we'd already planned to dig one to run power to the garage. (Regrettably, garage power and well power aren't allowed to share a trench. * sigh * See: Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal.)

The second portion of that particular irony is that although we were equipped to do that portion of the project ourselves, we couldn't do it until the giant rig holding the pounding equipment was finished and moved.

Just to round it out, we threw in a third bit to that irony: the weather. Almost two full weeks into not having any water, the Well Guys promised they were really close to done. That Thursday, they showed up but only stayed long enough to drill 10 feet. Then they decided the weather it was too distasteful (cold rain) and they were going home. Now, I sympathize, I really do, but it had been all over the news that the weather was going to be nice and Friday and then take a very nasty turn that Saturday. Ergo, I was more than a little frustrated about that let's-just-go-home decision.

As predicted, that Friday was nice, and they showed up around nine in the morning and drilled a whopping 5 feet before they hit the gallons per minute they needed to be done.

So what did they do? They went home!!

Never texted or called either of us to say “hey, we hit what we needed to, FIY.” Even though they knew we needed to finish digging the trench once their truck was out of the way, and the weather was great, and we all knew the weather was supposed to turn horrible on Saturday. We had no idea until we got home that afternoon and we called them! I may have been slightly not happy over the fact that both of us could (and would) have left work immediately and had the trench done by dinner time, if only we'd known. Blarg!

Anyway, obviously we got started asap and worked until it was too dark to keep going Friday night, but we still ended up out there in freezing rain and snow Saturday morning desperately trying to finish. Finally, soaked to the bone, with everything coated in mud, we were able to get everything finished, up, and running that Saturday. (Then spent the next day Sunday out there finishing up getting the giant trench in our front yard/across our driveway refilled.)

We were officially without water for 14 days, and the entire fiasco was gruesomely stressful across the board. It was also thought-provoking and, in a few unexpected ways, reaffirming. We came through, learned some things we hadn't expected (or necessarily wanted) to, and crossed one more enormous project off the list for 2016.

Muddy Arthas, muddy floors, mud everywhere!
All's well that ends with a well, I suppose!

Wednesday, December 21

All's Well That Ends With A Well (Part I)

A trench from the corner of the house
up through the driveway. Blarg.
Columbus Day Weekend (waaaay back in October), we woke up Saturday morning with a pretty clear plan for the weekend, as is our habit. (Hazards of me being an ISTJ… I plan somewhat compulsively. What can I say?) Everything started out normally – coffee, getting ready for the day, and then up and out for the first thing on the list which happened to be a quick run to Lowes to pick up something we needed.

When we got home, we each had a few things to do. When I turned the handle on one of the water faucets and got nothing, I didn't panic. I assumed my Love was just changing the water filter or something and I'd missed a memo. Not a big deal… until he walked up behind me, took one look at the not-running water and said “that's not good.”

Obviously, investigations ensued. Naturally, we checked all the easy stuff first and worked our way out from there. Long story short, we discovered (to our substantial alarm) that the morons who built our house (without planning anything) installed the well alongside the driveway… right next to shifting ledge rock… which, over time, shifted into the well casing, causing a catastrophic collapse well below the surface.

Not surprisingly, everything got progressively worse from there. The top of the well was so collapsed in that mice had made a residence in it, which was disgusting. (Thankfully, the wall of rock they'd built it on top of kept them and their nest fully separated from our drinking supply prior to the abrupt loss of everything.)

Given that the well casing was destroyed, the well pump couldn't be recovered and we were faced with the unwelcome prospect of digging an entirely new well. Or, more accurately (because this is a mountain of shale), pounding a new well rather than drilling. Which, as it turns out, is a nerve-gratingly slow process – particularly when you have to do it just as the weather is turning from Fall to gross Winter-is-coming dramatics.

The well guys brought in a giant, truck-mounted pounder and parked it in our driveway alongside the garage, and began the drawn out process of getting us a new well. This, of course, delighted our furry babies. Did you know that digging a well creates oodles of MUD? Mud is the Best. Thing. Ever. according to bored border collies. (Note: I completely gave up trying to keep the floor more than passably clean for the duration of this adventure.)

So, for two full weeks while the well guys worked on that, we had no water.

Logistically, of course, that meant doing water runs to a neighbor's every day to fill up five gallon buckets with water for bathing, dish washing, filling the toilet tanks, and other necessities. Thankfully, once we got a system down, that was far less stressful than it could have been. (Thank the Force for empathetic neighbors, a ready stock of five gallon buckets, and the fact that all the drains/septic/etc. still worked without interruption!) It just made everything take longer.

Not how we planned to spend most of that month, for sure.
Fun fact: With access to enough mud,
Nenya turns into a direwolf...

(Rest of the story tomorrow in Part II.)