Sometime late last year, our house started cracking up. Not giggling maniacally like that crazy house in “Monster House.”
Cracking in half.
We first noticed when the bathroom door became a little hard to close, which meant I had to do my whole morning routine with a peeping corgi watching my every move. I would see the silhouette of giant bat-ears outside the shower curtain. He would sit and bark at the blow dryer, then carefully study me as I applied eyeliner. I think he’s emo.
But I didn’t really get worried until in the living room, a little crack started climbing down the wall. And then it became a big crack that looked like this:
So, we checked the warranty on our 10-year-old home. It, of course had expired like 2 months before the crack appeared. Yes, of course it had. So we called a foundation company, who cheerfully told us it would cost eleventy billion dollars to fix.
I’ve mentioned, right, that I quit my job to go back to college full-time and become a highly paid educational professional? So awesome timing, you shifty little foundation, you.
As much as I occasionally would like the children to have their own home, we didn’t think letting the house split down the middle was the right answer. Mostly because the kitchen would be on their side, and then they would probably burn the place down. So we scheduled the two-day foundation repair process.
Monday, a small army of foundation repair crews descended on our home, and started digging holes all around. Not little holes. Holes big enough for the construction workers to disappear in. With their radios playing really loud. Every now and then, a little hard hat would pop up out of a hole. Kind of like life-size whack-a-mole, only I couldn’t actually hit anyone with a mallet.
ALTHOUGH I WANTED TO.
Day one seemed to go very smoothly. They dug holes, they unloaded their patented Cable Lock Plus system, and then in the late afternoon, they let me know they’d be back tomorrow. With the jackhammers, so they could also dig whack-a-holes under the porch and driveway.
The second day, I was brushing my teeth and unprepared for the earth to start moving when the jackhammering started. And I discovered that when your Sonicare toothbrush gets jolted up and brushes your eyes, it hurts like hell.
The sound and shaking was relentless. And of course since I had procrastinated, I had a paper to write. I plugged in my earphones and some tunes, and started working.
Suddenly, everything went dark.
The construction supervisor knocked on the door. They’d tripped a breaker, could he get to the fuse box?
The jackhammering started again. Pop. Dark. Knock.
Again. This time, it wouldn’t come back on. I called the power company, the supervisor went to get a generator. I kept my cheerful smile plastered on.
They got finished, we got power back, and the house was re-leveled lickety split. The crack in the living room went back together, the bathroom door happily opened and closed again, and two of the jackhammered holes were patched back up.
I heard water rushing outside. I happily messaged a friend, “oh good! They’re hosing things down and cleaning up. Either that or they just hit a water pipe. Ha ha ha!”
Then, another knock.
“Uh, when we were working on the porch earlier, the jackhammer kind of hit a water pipe and broke it.” Shut my stupid mouth.
So the water was shut off, the plumber called, and the gaping hole left in the back porch. He came and guess what? More porch had to be jackhammered up to get the pipe fixed.
Day three, no water in the back half of the house, no plumber. About 4 in the afternoon, I called and said “where are the people who are supposed to be putting my house back together?” The construction crew arrived, went around back, then another knock.
“Uh, the pipe is not fixed, we can’t fix the patio.”
“I know. The plumber said he couldn’t get to it, and that you would need to jackhammer out more of the porch.”
“You guys work for the same company, right? Do you talk to each other?”
“Let me call him.”
So of course, the plumber would have to come the next morning. Day 4 of the 2-day process. The same morning my daughter was graduating from elementary school, so I informed them they would be on their own.
She graduated. We went to breakfast, we got pedicures, we stayed away from the jackhammers.
And when we got home at 3, NO ONE HAD COME.
So, I called. Not cheerfully. And finally, the plumber and his jackhammer of destruction came and fixed the pipe and turned the water back on. And shrugged when I asked about the porch situation and said someone would fix it the next morning.
So today, the first day of summer vacation, we all got up and dressed bright and early so we’d be decent for the construction crews. Of course, that was unnecessary, since said crews came at 3 this afternoon, on day 5 of the 2-day process. After I had called again, and done what is known in some colloquial circles as “ripping someone a new one.”
But now, it is done. All level, all patched, and I am ready to let it go, and get on with the summer.
Although I am more than a little sad that I can no longer make jokes about living in a crack house.