The Joys Of Homeownership: Part 7.02: Coffee Fisking

Now for a fisking.

The Art of Manliness, Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee, starts as follows:

“Every man should know how to brew a decent cup of coffee….”


If you cannot brew coffee you are not a man. I don’t care how old you are. I’ll repeat for clarity; if you can’t make coffee you’re not a man. You might be “male” as defined by properly plumbed to piss on a stump… but you’re not a man.

I also have reservations about any male who can’t use a clutch, won’t gut a fish, and doesn’t have a set of wrenches.

“It’s an everyday skill that should be passed down from father to son, like shaving or mowing the lawn.”

Really? Obviously one must teach their children the things they need to know, but what kind of yutz expects to get lovingly brewing coffee from underage wretches? Coffee is IMPORTANT. Have you seen boys? Have you talked to them? Do you think they should be doing IMPORTANT things? Boys are wonderful young people who will eventually become productive members of society. In the meantime some portion of their mind is occupied with schemes for their XBox and some part of their body is occupied hitting other boys with sticks. You can’t presume a kid’ll make you decent, timely coffee any more than you’d trust them with a nuclear reactor. Seriously… talk to a boy someday. They’re partially wonderful and partially feral.

Also enough with this shaving thing. I have a big scruffy beard. I’ll shave when I either get good and ready or when I’m dead. I shaved when I was younger. Why? Girls. My kid will learn to shave when no teenage girl will make eye contact. Probably not a minute sooner.

As for my lawn, he certainly does help around the [glances out the window]… Goddamnit, that little cretin ducked out on mowing the lawn again! I’ve got bears in my lawn. BEARS! I told him to mow the… Ugh… kids!

There is a better way to teach a kid about coffee: convince them to take on two summer jobs at once. Preferably jobs that really suck. Possibly the night shift at a salt mine or a complaint desk at Walmart. Anything that involves shit and shovels is ideal. Nothing too pleasant. If they’re in school they’d better be taking chemistry, calculus, physics, and AP everything… and they still should spend many hours per week manning a hot sweaty fryer or slaving away at some other low wage job. (This will also teach them what taxes are and who pays for free shit from the Government. This is a lesson about half the population didn’t get.) In their spare time kids should be prepping for a marathon or maybe competing in rodeos. Running a trap line or enlisting in the Marines would be fine too.

Don’t coax them into coffee, work ’em until they need coffee.

Eventually they’ll discover that work sucks, taxes are too high, and Mountain Dew or Red Bull is just not enough to make it through the day. That’s when a boy becomes a man.

“…Now, I don’t profess to be an expert barista…”

Translation: “I actually have a job and I’m not going to bore you with stories about my SKA band.” Good for you!

“…1) Get decent beans….”

Death Wish Coffee

For good beans I recommend Death Wish Coffee. (I prefer Odinforce Blend. Click image for link.)

“2) Grind the beans yourself.”

Yes. (Exception duly noted for camping and war, instances where carrying a hand crank grinder is pathetic.)

“3) If you’re serious about coffee, ditch your fancy automatic coffee maker and try the French press.”

Yes. (Melittas are allowed as backup but only if you’re too much of a fuck up to manage the JetBoil’s tendency to erupt its French Press gadget if left unattended.)

And another fisking. This time of The WoodPile Report’s analysis of the above article:

“The author recommends a French press. Most laudable, but second best. I’ve given various methods a couple year’s trial and settled on cold brewing. Brews overnight, or twelve hours minimum.”

Are you fucking kidding me!?! Tomorrow? I may be dead by then. I want my coffee now. It’s coffee and therefore I can’t wait. Brew it and serve it. NOW.

“Mine’s a Takeya. Nineteen bucks or near enough. Two of ’em, one for drinking while the other’s brewing in the refrigerator. Pour a cup ‘n heat it in the microwave.”

Oddly I don’t mind cold brewed coffee heated by microwave… but this whole thing started with a power outage.

“Every cup is a fresh cup. Those who don’t know why “cafe Americain” is on offer abroad will want to dilute it.”

Do not dilute it. If it’s too strong you haven’t been working hard enough. Once you’re exhausted like the rest of us it’ll be just right.

“If your idea of “real” coffee is Starbucks, hot brewed from burn-roasted so-so beans, you have a pleasant surprise in store.”

Agreed. Also you’re about to find out that water’s wet, the sky is blue, and real girls aren’t like the ones you’ve seen on YouTube. Welcome to the real world.

“Even store brand supermarket coffee grounds taste smooth and satisfying when cold brewed. I use dark roast, whatever’s on sale. No need to go Full Fanatic and hang around the waterfront for incoming beans to roast and grind yourself. It’s coffee, not a calling.”

Yes it’s just coffee. So long as it doesn’t suck you can nut up and face the day. If it’s Folgers it sucks.

The Takeya blurb says, “The traditional hot brewing process releases undesirable acids and oils, resulting in bitter flavor and acidity that is intolerable to many.””

Yeah whatever. I like warm brewed drinks. I live where it’s cold. When it’s cold I want a drink that’s hot because nature is a bitch and wants to kill me. On weekends I want a hot drink with bourbon added because nature is a bitch on weekends too but I can have liquor for breakfast. This goes double when I’m camping. It may be acidic but I’d drink a battery if it’d keep me warm.

Also, and this is no fault of anyone but my own, things left in my fridge tend to go feral. I can’t abide the thought of cold brewed coffee that sits there evolving for six months just because I accidentally stuck it behind the big jar of pickles.

With cold brewing, only the naturally delicious coffee flavors are extracted, leaving behind the bitter oils and fatty acids, creating a perfectly balanced, smooth extraction of concentrated coffee.” If it’s over the top it ain’t by much. Here’s a field expedient: use a Mason jar as a canister and make a “coffee bag” from a coffee filter. Works at 33°F and above.”

Fair nuff. However, this all started with “power down coffee”. Refrigerated microwaved cold brewed is good but grid down I want it hot and now. My impatience isn’t a reflection on The Woodpile Report’s desire for the perfect cup but rather on my… did I mention impatience? Woodpile Report wasn’t thinking about coffee brewed when the lights are out or on campout it’s cold enough to make your testicles rattle like castanets.

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The Joys Of Homeownership: Part 7.01: Revisting The Coffee Outage

In a recent post I struck a cord. Here’s a Cliffs Notes rehash: the power went down and Mrs. Curmudgeon couldn’t (or wouldn’t) make coffee without a functioning electric coffee maker. Without an assured coffee supply civilization teetered on the edge of annihilation.

Folks love them some coffee… as they should. So I got a lot of comments… most of them about how excellent and handsome I am. (It’s my blog and I can make shit up if I want to.)

Now to pontificate further.

Lets start with the facts:

  1. Mrs. Curmudgeon needed an electric coffee maker. Not me. I can make coffee anytime anywhere and it’s moderately good too.* Dead electricity ‘aint a problem for me. All I need is water (the wellhead is electric). However, I was 700 miles away. (That said all I did was drink Starbucks in my truck cab and I think we can all agree Starbucks is pretty much the low end of palatable). (Another note: in the back of my truck, even as I was sipping Starbucks, there was a “coffee kit” stashed in my tool box.)
  2. I decided that if Mrs. Curmudgeon needs an electric coffee maker then by God I’d better make it happen as a matter of survivalist prudence. That’s ’cause I’m such a cuddly, sweet, kind, thoughtful, gentleman and also a perfect husband and generally a ray of sunshine all around. (Note: Mrs. Curmudgeon probably isn’t reading this so I can definitely claim to be all that and a bag of chips.) Also if the grid goes down and a the Russkie/Zombie/Freeshit Army/Robot-Drone-Terminator horde is about to breach the perimeter I’d still be safer with them than dealing with a household in caffeine withdrawal.
  3. Mrs. Curmudgeon’s (and my) favorite brand is “Death Wish Coffee”. (Though we buy other beans too.) Any coffee that has a skull motif is meant for us!

I now present the Curmudgeon’s guaranteed coffee method:

It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s so idiot proof that you can do it while hunkered under a tree in a blizzard. Also no electricity needed. Did I mention the part about the blizzard and the tree?

Step 1. Get a JetBoil. Any of the different flavors of JetBoil is fine. You can get ones that look like a Nike productin camoflage (really?), or a pattern suitable for a Speedo. Whatever. Yes there are 10,000 other camp stoves. Everyone thinks their brand is best. Don’t Ford versus Chevy me on this. JetBoil has served me well but you can carry your brass alcohol burner if you want. All you really need is water that’s hot (the ability to boil matters while camping too). I really like the “radiator fins” on the JetBoil. They make water boil NOW. Sometimes making coffee NOW is very important.

I could do without the graphics that make it look like a fancy sneaker.

I could do without the graphics that make it look like a sneaker.

2. Boil water. (Incidentally I’ve made tons of coffee from lake water. Boiled or not I filter it first. You only need to get fucked up once by bad water to start carrying a filter as a matter of course.)

3. If you’re patient use a Melitta. These make fine coffee. I used one for years until I accidentally threw it in a lake with the mouse that jumped on it. (It was the mouse or me and I hadn’t had my coffee yet! I fished it out and washed it and used it the rest of the trip but the magic was gone. Once a mouse has crapped on something it’s time to upgrade.) Melittas are slow but they work great. You’ll need filters. They’re nearly impossible to break. They’re light enough to take backpacking. You can run a few rounds of hot water through the same grounds to stretch your supplies. They’re slow though. Did I mention slow? I’m not a patient man at dawn. Slow.

Cheap but serviceable. Like me.

Cheap but serviceable. Like me.

4. If you need coffee RIGHT FRIGGIN’ NOW you should cram a French Press gadget in your JetBoil. This is the fastest good coffee known to man. It’s faster than the electric coffee maker that you can’t have in a power outage. (Slower than a keurig but only a little slower and that’s pretty good for off grid. Also a keurig feels like I have to join a cult to get my coffee.)

PAY ATTENTION: As soon as the plunger starts to rise turn down the heat. You’ve been warned. If you’re watching the sunrise or observing the loons or scratching your ass or thinking about boobs… BLAMMO! The coffee will erupt and make a mess. That said coffee made this way is always good and it’s FAST. (Also you don’t need to carry filters.) Don’t forget to rinse the JetBoil after your coffee or your morning oatmeal will taste funny.

Good coffee but watch it like a ticking bomb!

Good coffee but watch it like a ticking bomb!

There you have it, four steps and two are redundant. Trust me on the JetBoil thing for non-electric coffee with speed and efficiency. I’ve tipped a canoe and had a hot cup of Joe in hand within 5 minutes. When you’re soaked to your skivvies in icy lakewater a cup of coffee will be the attitude adjustment you need (plus it’s one of many backstops against hypothermia).

More to come…


*It is true that Mrs. Curmudgeon makes better coffee than me with the electric coffee maker. Usually I’m far too bleary eyed to pay attention to how much coffee I put in. Sometimes it’s weak and other times it makes the dog’s eyes water.

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The Joys Of Homeownership: Part 7: Time For An Off Grid Electric Coffee Maker

An hour later I got another text; “The power is down here too!”

Mrs. Curmudgeon had driven from our house, where the power was down and therefore the coffee maker was kaput, to her office, where the power was down and therefore the office coffee maker was kaput. Ouch!

That’s that, I thought. No coffee meant civilization was over. In a week we’d be living in mud huts. In a month we’d be dead. Well actually that didn’t apply to me. I was 700 miles away. I considered myself “pre-bugged out”. I stopped off at Starbucks with a feeling of gratitude, tanked up on caffeine, and got back to work. I had shit to do and there was nothing I could do for Mrs. Curmudgeon but hope for the best.

On a practical note, power down over a radius that large meant things were more serious than just coffee. Interruptions normally measured in hours would now be measured in days. I started thinking about our freezers. Was the bacon safe?!?

We have a generator but it’s a very old and tiny piece of shit that never runs and couldn’t power a freezer anyway. Getting a “real” generator has been on my “to do list” forever. Like many things in life, it just hasn’t happened.

Meanwhile, somehow somewhere Mrs. Curmudgeon managed to get coffee. I have no idea how. Then, by mid afternoon the power at her work site kicked on. From there she got online and got back to her routine. The gradual slide into savagery was arrested.

Back at our homestead the power stayed down much longer (which is entirely reasonable and not something I hold against the power company). The dog didn’t mind. Mrs. Curmudgeon kept the freezers shut and bought coffee in town. An ad hock solution that’s fine for a few days.

Well before the outage might threaten our freezers the power came back on. Bacon disaster averted! Whew.

I consider it a shot across the bow from fate. “Hey there folks, I’m the power grid. Remember me? Never forget me. I could bail on you any time! This is my third big outage in two years. Are you paying attention? Are you getting the hint dumbass?”

I decided to move “generator” up my list of priorities. (Note: I’ve got adaptations that don’t include generators that are still in place. Fortunately, much of the year is so cold that the whole world is a freezer. Heat is something we’ve got nailed down. We’ve got oil lamps and rechargeable lights. Etc…)

Given a new sense of urgency (I really don’t want Mrs. Curmudgeon or myself going without coffee!) I’ve been rethinking my generator plans. By that I mean rejecting my original aspirations to a huge, stationary, full house, automatic start, generator. I’ve never been able to afford one and never will. I’ve let “perfect” be the enemy of “good enough”.

It’s time to scale back and adapt. Even so I refuse to punt with one of those cheap ass overrevved lawnmower engines on a frame. Especially the new ones, they’re prone to shrieking away until they die after 150 hours. That is, if they start at all.

When I “gear up” I’ll blog about it. A quality generator on a budget won’t be easy.

A complication is that I’ve learned “emergency priorities” includes an electric coffee maker. Who knew? I’ve fretted over furnaces, communication, freezers, and well pumps (and now sump pumps) but I’d planned on percolators or a French press and a Jet Boil. Now I know better. Mrs. Curmudgeon must have her coffee maker. “Coffee pot stays running or we bug out no matter what” is officially added to our zombie plans. I can get behind that. I know what you’re thinking but you’re wrong. Planning isn’t just about “staying alive” it’s about “maintaining civilization” (at least for your family). If my wife can put up with my shit and all she wants is an electric coffee maker I shall endeavor to provide one. (And yes, we have one or more “spare” electric coffee pots stashed in case one breaks. Duh!)

Stay tuned because as soon as the power came on a new and totally unrelated emergency emerged. Thus the coffee pot was immediately forgotten.

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The Joys of Homeownership: Part 6: The Coffee Outage

I’ve been rambling about home maintenance catastrophes for a while. You’d think I’d be done. You’d think it would be over. Time for a Curmudgeonly Gem of Insight:

“It is never over.”

Less than twenty-four hours after “solving” the basement situation (including dropping a wad of cash!) I headed out on a work trip. Everything seemed peachy keen.

The next morning, 700 miles and three states later, I texted Miss Curmudgeon; “Good morning dear how is it going?”

The response was instant; “There Is No Coffee!” Of course all hell broke loose as soon as I left. Why would I expect anything different? Life is like that.

A lack of coffee was unexpected. We don’t just have coffee, we have stockpiles of coffee. Behind the stockpiles of coffee we have more coffee. Here and there, in nooks and crannies in our pantry, there’s more coffee. That’s the coffee we forgot about while we were stacking the piles of coffee in front of our other piles of coffee.

Now, as a man, I have been informed by society that I’m a raving idiot. More to the point I had to find a way to ask Mrs. Curmudgeon what the hell happened to several hundred dollars worth of coffee without actually asking the question at hand which was “what the hell happened to several hundred dollars worth of coffee?” Such is the mystery of men and women and the way we communicate. I paused. I pondered. I gave up.

“What the hell happened to our coffee?”

The response was instant; “There was a big storm last night.”

Storm? Possibly the house had been blown “Wizard of Oz” style into the sky and dropped in a lake? This would explain the lack of coffee. I suspected Mrs. Curmudgeon would mention the destroyed house before mentioning lost coffee. I couldn’t be sure.

More information arrived; “The dog was totally freaked out.”

This wasn’t helping. The dog doesn’t drink coffee.

More information; “Trees are down all over.”

Still not getting the coffee thing…

More information; “The power is down.”

Suddenly I understood, the coffee wasn’t gone at all but the coffee maker was dead. “So there is coffee in the house but no electricity to run the coffee maker?”

“Yes! I want some damn coffee!”

Now Mrs. Curmudgeon doesn’t just like coffee, she LIKES coffee. I like coffee too. The two of us, if we had no coffee, would be a menace to civilization. This is why we stockpile it like some people stockpile ammo. If she was sitting in the dark, without coffee, something or someone was about to die. I wasn’t in the same time zone. I said a silent prayer for my dog.

Side Note: Mrs. Curmudgeon’s (and my) favorite brand is “Death Wish Coffee”. It’s delicious stuff! I mentioned it here. We’ve brewed a ton of it and every cup is excellent. It’s not cheap but it’s worth every penny. You should buy a truckload of their stuff because life is too short to drink shitty coffee. (Yes, I even drink from big fancy mugs because it makes things more awesome!) If you’re drinking Folgers you’re missing the whole point of coffee and failing to enjoy the best stuff on earth. (As far as I’m concerned the best use of Folgers is serving it to guests you want to leave.) Incidentally, you don’t piss off your wife when she wants her Death Wish! I’m just sayin.

Still; cooking coffee sans coffee maker ‘aint rocket science. “So make some coffee?” I asked.

There are about 10,000 ways to make coffee that don’t require an electric coffee maker. I rely on my camping coffee kit. (Don’t give me that “cowboy coffee” horseshit either. If you haven’t been mauled by a grizzly you’ve got time to make proper coffee.) Somewhere in my random piles of camping gear there’s a little “coffee emergency kit”. Basically it’s a canvas bag with a jet boil stove and the necessary accessories; French press gizmo, a few sealed packets of “emergency coffee”, fire starting gadgets, nesting cups, water filter, etc… (A hip flask lives in there too. Decorum requires it.)

Whether it’s a fishing trip or the zombie apocalypse I’m not facing dawn without my morning ritual. Neither should Mrs. Curmudgeon. My heart went out to her.

I keep my “coffee emergency kit” with my first aid kit when I’m in the wilderness; both being of nearly equal importance. Alas I wasn’t sure exactly where I’d stashed it. Thus I couldn’t tell Mrs. Curmudgeon where to find it. (Later I realized it was with me in my truck. Good thing I didn’t tell her to rummage through sleeping bags and stuff in the dark!)

I should get a “break glass in case of emergency” box and setup a coffee “kit”. I’ll put it next to our “emergency” rotary dial phone, a shotgun, and the fire extinguisher. Hmm… yep, that’s a good idea and it’s now on my “to do list”.

There were other options. I have an old-style coffee percolator on the wood burning cook stove in my workshop. (Yes it’s clean and ready to go but no complaining about sawdust on the lid.)

As for heat, in addition to the jet boil we have two functioning woodstoves, the auxiliary burner on the barbecue, and several other camping stoves (in varieties that run on Coleman fuel, butane, and propane; all with fuel). Plus several other options too numerous to mention. We live where winter will kill you fast. I maintain dozens of options for heat.

“This is bullshit! I’m going to work.” Mrs. Curmudgeon interrupted my thoughts.

Sometimes I’m too much of a survivalist. Mrs. Curmudgeon, like all civilized human beings, has a coffee maker at her desk. I chuckled to myself. I’d have messed around with propane burners or camp stoves. I’d be fiddling with percolators and matches because driving to the office would not have occurred to me until after I had my first cup.

“Good idea. Good luck.”

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Good News From My Blogroll

Claire Wolfe is spreading her wings and moving from her niche at Backwoods Home (an excellent magazine by the way) to a site of her own. As is appropriate for man who frets over the AMC Gremlin, I’m a little late to the party in linking to her fundraising effort. I tossed a few bucks her way at this link and you might want to as well. (Update: like all new construction, the link to her new site seems down. It looked awesome just a few hours ago! I’ll post it when it’s back. Aaaannnd it’s back!)

Law Dog, who can tell a story like no other, has been cajoled into a book deal! I’m ready to buy it now and he hasn’t even started. You might want to go over there and cheer him on.

Captain Capitalism, who has been pretty prolific with the books and has the best consulting firm on earth, has released a new title. If you know anyone in the delicate age between when they know everything (teenager) and when they’ve royally screwed up (barista with a huge student loan and no prospects) you might want to point them to the Captain who’s trying to lead kids out of the trap.

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A Third Party Endorsement

I hereby endorse Rob Anybody as the best “man” for the job this election cycle.

rob anybody feegle

Hat tip to The Embedded Theologian. Also, if you haven’t read The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett drop everything and read it now.

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The Joys Of Homeownership: Part 5: I Will Sell You On eBay

The next morning our handyman/carpenter/hero arrived bright and early with a smile on his face. I hobbled around the kitchen whining about aches and pains but there’s no rest for the wicked and our handyman/carpenter/hero works like a machine. Can’t let ‘em see you sweat. Am I right? I was hard at work before finishing my 1st cup of coffee.

Water, tricky little bastard that it is, flows downhill. My basement is the perfect definition of downhill from everything. Thus, pumping it out was an exercise in frustration.

Of course I’m not the only guy who has experienced a flooded basement. The solution is to have a small portion your basement lower than all the rest and install a sump pump there. This includes a suitable discharge pipe, adequate power, battery backup, and… oh hell I might as well ask for a rainbow too. But it is true that most people around here are already prepared like that. I wasn’t and it was my fault and I suck and there was nothing I could do about it. It was time for me to repent and undo the tragedy of my ill preparedness.

This is a long way of saying it was time to bring out the jackhammer. If you’re a homeowner you know that it’s never good news to employ a jackhammer. It’s the nuclear weapon of homeowner’s tools. Once the jackhammer has been unleashed you are in for the ride all the way to the end.

The point of no return.

The point of no return.

So the handyman/carpenter/hero started destroying the one thing about my basement that works, the fact that it’s a water barrier. Busting it open annoyed me. After all, 90% of the time the goal is to keep water out. The fact that it can keep water in was proof that it could actually keep water out. Frankly nothing in my house works and it bothered me to destroy the one thing that was actually working. How was my poor little blood red “Silence of the Lambs” basement to know that the water was on the wrong side? In a fair world the basement floor would get a medal for bravery and the failed flexible pipe would be drawn and quartered.

I started hauling 5 gallon buckets of broken concrete up the stairs. I couldn’t keep up.

I did some math. I was missing out of work at X dollars per hour. I was hiring a handyman/carpenter/hero at Y dollars per hour. We were renting a jackhammer at Z dollars per hour. X plus Y plus Z equals too much.

We have kids. Kids are a joy and a light of life. There are also expensive and a pain in the ass. And now, they were going to be labor.

The kids are teenagers and therefore useless. They were still asleep! I hadn’t even had a full cup of coffee and I was covered with rock chips and mud. I intended to gently rouse my beloved offspring in a loving manner. Alas it came out something like this:

“Get your ass out of bed this instant!”

The kids blinked at me sleepily. They were probably wondering what the hell their lunatic old man was screeching about this time. I tried to be reasonable:

“I’m burning X plus Y plus Z dollars every hour. This is a goddamn emergency! It’s go time! Meet me in the basement.”

I stomped out, pleased that I’d communicated the full import of the situation.

Several heavy buckets of busted cement later I realized I was still doing all of the hauling and the carpenter/handyman/hero was doing all of the jackhammering and nobody else was doing Jack Shit! I stomped back up to the kids’ room.

“If you are not dressed and in the basement and hauling buckets of dirt in the next five minutes I will sell you on eBay!”

I don’t think Dr. Spock would approve. Fuck Dr. Spock. That asshole didn’t have to maintain a homestead.

The kids came down and helped out. I’d like to say that we all worked together and maybe sang old timey songs and cheerfully rose to the occasion. I even hollered a few bars of “Sixteen Tons” but they didn’t go for it. What really happened is we all collectively decided that life sucked, our backs’ hurt, and misery was our lot in life. The rather small hole we excavated really beat the hell out of us!

Maybe they’ll learn from this and do well in school and get filthy rich so they can hire shit done. Either that or they’ll be brainwashed in college and call their ObamaPlumber on their ObamaPhone from a safe space. Either way they’re not inclined to a career in plumbing.

On the other hand we got it done fast and I got that jackhammer back at the rental place in record time. Then I took the kids out for milkshakes on the way home from the rental place. Really what we were doing was hiding from our carpenter/handyman/hero who is a seriously hard worker. Honestly, I think that guy could work twenty men into the ground. I’m in awe.

Having hauled what felt like sixty metric tons of rock and dirt from the basement we started hauling buckets of mixed concrete back down. For those of you who haven’t experienced this joy, the process is to place a plastic form into the hole you’ve made and then to cram concrete in all sides to fill the void. It’s a messy job and I wound up covered from head to toe in concrete but, and all credit goes to our carpenter/handyman/hero, the end result was pretty nice. The kids vanished.

After that we installed a brand-new sump pump. We debated installing the old one, which was working after a bit of persuasion, but I opined that I wanted to 1.) Die before I had to replace another sump pump and 2.) Live a long time. So I bought a bigger and shinier pump and we installed that. We plumbed it right into the septic system. I wanted to spew water onto the lawn redneck style but my handyman/carpenter/hero asked “what if it’s frozen outside” and I deferred to his wisdom. I plan a better power hookup but for now it’s a short heavy extension cord.

In order to test it I dumped a full bucket of water in the vicinity. It flowed down into the hole (gravity works y’all!) and accumulated in the sump pump’s new lair. This lifted the float valve which automatically turns on the pump and it was sucked into the septic system. Sweet!

I cackled with glee! I capered about! I slapped everyone on the back (with my filthy hands) and congratulated our handyman/carpenter/hero on our amazing success. “Our long national nightmare is over!” I enthused. (Nobody gets Nixon/Ford jokes. Barbarians! OK fine, so it wasn’t that good of a joke. Cut me a break, I was tired.) The kids shrugged their shoulders and left amid a heated debate over who would be the first to take a desperately needed shower.

I dumped four more buckets of water just to prove that it would work. I had faced disaster and survived! Our carpenter/handyman/hero is used to my personality so he just chuckled. In the future, when life seems too much and the weight on my shoulders seems unbearable, I’m going to go into my “Silence of the Lambs” basement and dump buckets of water on the sump pump until everything seems better.

Behold the glory of the sump pump!

Behold the glory of the sump pump!

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