Rent or own?


According to neighbor Garland, our house along with five others was built over a wetlands that adjoined a creek.  The Creek, which feeds into the Four Mile Run, once ran down the middle of the street behind our house. Today its overplanted with trees and contained in a huge concrete culvert in the median strip.

Side yard after we installed the drainage system, 1987

Side yard after we installed the drainage system, 1987

Backyard before the drainage system

Backyard before the drainage system

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Working on the compost bins, 1980s

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repairing the compost bins, 1990s

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Soaking wet after he installed the rain barrels, 1990s.  Anything Else???

Owners of the houses have coped with varying degrees of water issue resulting from the closure of access to the creek for years. Once upon a time, we shared a portable sump pump with the neighbor and ran the water to the nearest storm drain (which runs across the backside of our property).  Later, using my design, David built an elaborate system of underground pipes and attached it to a permanent sump pump in our crawl space. For years these pipes have channeled the water from under our house into the back yard.  The elaborate system of pipes sends the water from under the house into the rain garden.

This week, the sump pump under the house stopped working (completely rusted) and I called our plumber who installed another one for around $700.

I asked David to show me exactly what he had done before the gardens were established and brick pathways laid out.  For a few moments, he was confused and couldn’t understand what I was asking him.

The piping travels in a huge U-joint and doubles back on itself.  It ascends vertically from the crawl space then runs between the house and the sidewalk to a window well in the front yard.

It then travels under the brick walk where I constantly fight moss (now I know why this area is always damp), to the garden lining the other side of the walkway which lies next to the neighbor’s property but inside our fence.  The water then travels under our fence between the front and back yard and under the damp brick floor of our lean to a drain next to our shed which reveals the now visible pipe.  Next the piping goes under the shed floor into the back yard side garden where it follows the edge of our brick walk to its terminus in the gravel walk.  The pipe then travels along the gravel walk to the rain garden in the far left corner of the back yard.  Here the Chokecherry and other shrubs, as well as a Holly tree fill the corner.

When I looked in the crawl space, I noticed water running from under the house.  The culprit must be another broken pipe because the front yard cannot be draining this much. At any rate, the sump pump is now churning away, carrying the run-off water to the back yard.

Now that David is fading and can’t remember how he dug up the entire yard laying this elaborate drainage system (there’s much more to this), all the maintenance stuff is falling on me.  Living in a house built in 1977 with hard running water is making things difficult.

Our quarterly water bill was $700 again this August.  In comparison, Kathy’s bill was $110.  I must do something about these high water bills we’ve had for over a year.  So far I’ve replaced copper pipes over head in the ceiling at least three times (insurance covered the damage), water heater, toilets, faucets (indoors and out), and now have had the sump pump repaired.  Next comes repair of pipes under the house?


This week, I read an article in PBS’ publication Next Avenue about how many seniors are choosing to rent instead of continue to own property.  A gal at the pool, who recently moved into a newer rental property told me she would NEVER own a home again.  Statistics show that rentals are becoming very popular and on the increase.  I am a not ready for this type of move because I like looking out my window at the breakfast table and watching the bird feeder in the morning, but some days I wonder.



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Above: Grandson Sean catches a Blue Gill somewhere in CA, 2015 When I was younger, one summer my parents took their children ( including me) to Tomahawk WI for the only vacation we ever had.  Mostly we traveled to visit … Continue reading