What sucks more than having your house cave in?


There we were, eating dinner. Corn. Chicken. Homemade Bizkits (hard, not Limp). I reach for another tenderloin and fucking

BOOM! Every plate on the table rattles as the floor under us drops, enough for us to feel it. One of the cabinets in the kitchen pops open.

CLANG! Unmistakably the sound of something metal hitting the oil burner. What the fuck? Did a pipe just break loose?

Claaaaaang! Whatever the hell just fell and hit the oil burner clatters to the floor.

All this in 3 seconds.

Sara and I are standing up now. She thinks the oil burner just exploded. I find that supremely ironic having made fun of that idea just a few weeks ago. Since we’re all still in the kitchen and not in the basement and on fire, I’m guessing she’s wrong, but I still have no idea what just made the entire house feel like it just fired a trio of battleship guns.

The very next thought I had was not a new one. It’s the same one I have whenever something of profound financial impact occurs:

No! No! NO! NO! Really. What am I doing wrong? I work 40 hours a week. I gave up my only real hobby to save money. I buy the $4 a gallon gas and the still-not-any-cheaper-a-year-later-even-though-its-required-by-law health insurance. I’m scraping by and trying to pretend I’m not. Which freaking god has it out for me?

And then another thought dunks that thought’s head in the toilet to sober it up:

We actually have money in savings. We could just about buy a whole new oil burner now if we absolutely had to. Wow.

I was still curious to find out what had happened, though. It turned out to be this:

pipe.JPG rust.JPG

We have three supports in our basement bearing the weight of various floor beams. One is made of stacked cinder blocks. One is a pressure treated 4×4 post. One completely rusted away at the bottom, failed, and crashed into the oil burner. The burner is fine. The pipe is now trash. And as far as I can tell, the house settled almost a quarter of an inch.

I sure as hell wasn’t going to be getting any sleep tonight worrying that the kitchen might be in the basement by morning so I hauled ass over to the nearest home improvement center and bought another pressure treated 4×4 that I cut to length and surgically sledge hammered into place. I really wanted to go for the replacement (I think they’re called monopoles) that screw into place, but the smallest one they had was 7 foot something and the space I needed to fill was only a bit more than 6.

shouldbe.JPG replacement.JPG

So… glamorous? Not likely. Holding up my housamous? Absolutely.


6 responses to “What sucks more than having your house cave in?

  1. Oh crap! At this very moment I am REALLY glad we don’t have a basement to collapse into! (And did you really get out of the hardware shop without buying anything else? Really??)

  2. Now really, a monopole?!? Please use proper engineering/architecture terminology here – what failed was the lally column.

    You know what’s funnier than having your house cave in? Okay, pretty much anything, but try this one on for size: an article on lally columns that says:

    “If a column has been used in an inappropriate manner, if it is improperly installed, or if its condition has deteriorated, the column may be unsafe. Common defects include the permanent use of a temporary column, improper installations and severe exfoliating rust, all of which can lead to a sudden crushing and collapse of the column and the structure it supports.”

    Boy, if only I had sent that quote to you 48 hours ago, we wouldn’t even be reading this blog posting!

  3. I’m glad you’re all okay! Must have been a scary few moments…

  4. Karen – I did make it out with just a 12 foot wooden post. But then I went next door to Wal-Mart…

    Brian – I didn’t believe you. No way could anything as silly sounding as a lally column possibly exist outside of a Cirque du Soleil show, let alone be the true name for a load bearing structural support device. (Grrrr! Manly!) But I looked it up on the wikipedias. Damn. Now I’m even happier that I used a wooden beam to replace it. No house of mine is gonna be held up by no lally gagging column.

    Mad Dog – the best part… I’ve convinced the kids that running and jumping in the house might make the house fall down. Heh heh.

  5. lally column???

    Sounds like something straight out of a gay porn flick.

  6. Yeah, we Canadians call it a Jackpost, eh.

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