Reno. Week 6- Septic Success!

You know it is going to be a good week when you step out of your house bright and early on Monday morning, all ready to go to work, and you put your foot right into a gigantic pile of mud…


Good thing those were my backup shoes, and that this wasn’t actually an indication of the week to come.

Week 6 of our renovation adventure actually brought on a huge success, the completion of our super expensive, state-of-the-art, poop tank (Okay, sorry for the gross term but it’s hard to believe we are spending this much on a big hole in the ground for our family’s waste to go into)! Since we bought the house we have been griping about how the cesspool that was in place was actually fine and it seemed unnecessary to rip out 5 trees, haul 56 dump truck loads of dirt and sand, and spend $42,000 on a new septic. Well, after excavating and investigating the cesspool, we determined that we were wrong. This thing was in serious need of replacement. It was essentially just a small pit in the ground, not even that far down below the surface, that was lined with bricks, and was leaking into the adjacent dirt (… come to think of it, I seriously hope that was MUD I stepped in…).

Totally sanitary, right?


It was in fact, very inefficient and gross. So at least that gave us some piece of mind and I can sleep better at night knowing that I didn’t sign off on the destruction of mother nature for no good reason.

The septic crew disposed of the nasty cesspool and before long, they were installing our brand new septic tank. The tank is made of solid concrete, and as you can imagine, weighs a ton (I am actually not sure of the weight so I am using ton figuratively). Check out the progression of how they did this. It seems insane to me that 2 or 3 guys got this done in a few hours.

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Next up they covered the tank with sand and dirt and graded the yard so that it was a less drastic slope. They also redesigned the stone wall we had there so that we could fit a new parking spot into the lower driveway since we lost one in the upper driveway.

In the process of the boulders being unloaded and the 56 dump trucks delivering dirt, several parts of our driveway were destroyed. We had planned on this and got a quote from a paving company before all the work began. We were pleasantly surprised when one day we got home and the septic crew had brought asphalt in and covered up the damage they had done, plus paved the new parking spot! Now we only have to pave a little patch off to the right where a 5th car can be parked. We are super happy with how the front yard and driveway are turning out. Everyone keeps telling us it looks so much better so that’s a good sign (or the house was just THAT bad before)!


The main yard was also seeded and blanketed with straw and should be green in no time (as long as frost doesn’t come in too soon, we are racing mother nature)! It looks freakin’ awesome, if we do say so ourselves. The only thing we have left to do is put up a split-rail fence, so nobody accidentally goes diving off the edge of the 6ft wall into the road.


While we anxiously awaited the completion of the outside jobs, we got to work on the inside. Seth had a lot of stuff to do in the basement, so in between that he finished sheetrocking the majority of our bedroom. I spent a few days spackling and got the 1st coat in our closet done, and a lot of our bedroom. Teddy was, of course, good company.

Seth’s work in the basement was not the easiest and frankly I was pretty nervous about it. Basically he needed to add some supports underneath the first floor to maintain the integrity of the structure. One of the support beams was actually a tree limb. No, not like a piece of lumber that was designed for the job. Like, a piece of a tree that someone found in the woods one day and said, hey, this looks like it could hold up part of a house. Clearly that failed inspection.

The work involved cutting into the concrete floor, sledgehammering chunks of it out, digging down about a foot and a half, then installing 3 lally columns and cementing them into place. It was a sweaty, exhausting and extremely dusty process. Concrete dust from the basement even made it’s way up to the first floor of the house. Nothin’ like a cloud of concrete dust to make this asthmatic feel good…

But alas, the tree limb was reinforced with a proper lally column and we will hopefully pass inspection this Tuesday (fingers crossed for us people). Obviously we kept the tree limb up for nostalgia, and a conversation piece.


We did hit a wall this week with our frustration level. On Friday night we just decided we needed to get away and go somewhere else for a few hours (my sister’s usually, A.K.A. the land of good food and wine). It has been hard to work full time jobs and then come home and work full time on the house. And it feels like it is going to be this way forever! But we just needed to throw a pity party for a night and get over ourselves. And that is exactly what we did. It was also nice to be reminded of why we fell in love with this house in the first place… its beautiful setting in the woods. One day I spent some time just observing our fish and frogs, and saw a cute little inch worm crawling around. Then another morning Seth went to the kitchen sink to do some dishes and saw a cute doe back behind the house. It is moments like these that make it all worth it (or so we keep telling ourselves!).

I leave you with some pictures that to us, speak volumes: some before and afters of our yard spanning just 6 weeks time. We need to remember how far we have come when we start getting stressed about how much more we have to do! We have also discovered oil diffusing aroma-therapy this week, and got another 5 gallon supply of grape juice that we will be turning into wine, so stress-relief is underway.


It might be a work in progress, but at least it’s ours 🙂 Now, let’s just hope the inspection gods smile upon us this week….


Costs this week:

Home depot trip #1 (lally columns & dry wall): $234

Home depot trip #2 (outlet extenders, dry wall, and an orange soda apparently): $104

Home depot trip #3 (cement, spackle, a bunch of outlet and lightswitch covers): $139

Oil-diffuser (totally necessary…): $25

Total costs: $502



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