Monday, May 24, 2010

Courtyard Designs

Our new house has a courtyard which is mine, all mine! I haven't done anything to it or in it yet, besides stand at the side of it and think. I think about what I want to get rid of, what I want to plant, how I want to decorate it, where I want to put furniture.... and the list goes on.

This is what it looks like now, in its present neglected state of ugliness:

I have some ideas in mind for what I want it to look like, but I want to strip it back first and look at the bones. Some of the ideas I had in mind are a little grand, and won't really fit a suburban backyard but I still plan to make it a little nook of loveliness where I can sip a wine, read a magazine, enjoy the (rare Tasmanian) sunshine and spend time with friends and family.

Any suggestions? Would love to hear them.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Water Woes

"When it rains it pours". You've heard this saying, right? It is generally used in situations where everything happens at once, after having nothing happen for a while. We have unfortunately been using it in a very literal sense in our house lately.

About 5 weeks ago we noticed that the neighbour's front garden was leaking water out onto the footpath. It just looked like a wet patch, nothing to worry about, and since we live in a culdesac of prolific water-wasting-garden-waterers, we didn't think twice about it. Many of our neighbours are retired or older couples who take great pride in the green-ness of their front lawns, using ridiculous amounts of water to maintain its colour throughout even the driest weather. I refused to bow to their water wasting ways, and stood my ground, telling Husband we would not be Keeping Up With The Jones' and their green lawn, while unashamedly thinking of ways we could hide our dry patchy quickly-browning front yard (green spray paint, anyone?).

Fast forward to 3 weeks ago, the neighbour still had the wet patch outside his place. I was used to it by now, and didn't even notice it any more. Said neighbour is selling his house at the moment and when some prospective buyers organised a building inspection, the engineer found that it wasn't water from the garden, it was from a leaky pipe. Council came in to look at it, did some investigation, then popped over to our place to hand deliver a defect notice on our water main, giving us 7 days to have it fixed. Further investigations by us found that our water main was under our Concrete Monstrosity of a Driveway, and some feeble digging around the yard and driveway only created more dramas with water now running down the driveway on our side as well, leaving our yard now looking dry, brown, and like a rabbit has taken up residence.

A plumber was called in, and the decision was made to avoid future dramas by cutting off the water main at the tap and redirecting the pipe up through the front lawn straight to the house, instead of digging up 35,000 tonnes of concrete to try to find the problem, then having to re-lay the concrete monstrosity. A trench was dug by Husband, BIL and Nephew#1 (5yr old, who supervised with a chocolate milkshake in hand), and plumber returned to lay pipe. Problem solved. With a week between plumbers first and second visits however, we took to turning off the water at the mains in between all washing/bathing activities. Fun.

Life in the trenches

Now picture this. It's a freezing Saturday morning. You are rushing to get to the gym as husband has the car and you have to walk there. You get dressed and ready, quickly put a load of washing on, grab your things and race to the door. Stop. You hear a trickling noise. A strange drippy trickling noise. You go to the dining room where the carpet is a darker shade of grey than normal. Take a step into the room, realise that dark-greyness is actually due to the carpet being absolutely sodden. You then find the kitchen with over an inch of water washing through it, laundry the same. Carpet in hallway outside laundry door also quickly becoming dark grey at a rapid pace. The culprit: the drainage pipe from the washing machine, of course. Of course!

Luckily it was still in the process of filling up so it was clean water, but unluckily, as it was draining straight out, the machine wasn't registering any water depth and continue to suck water through and out into my house. I grabbed all of the towels out of the linen cupboard, rang my sister who raced over (she lives 5 houses away) with all of her towels, and we started the rescue mission. Only stopping when my BIL comes upstairs (he and my other sister are living downstairs until their house is built, but that's another story) and asks why there is water dripping through the ceiling into the flat and garage downstairs. Great. We eventually got it cleaned up, but it took a while, and the washing of all the towels has taken hours and hours but we're almost done.

So what will the next episode in our water dramas saga be? Hopefully there won't be one. Let's wait and see with everything crossed that bad things don't come in threes.