Why I may never own a house.

My parents just haven’t been able to catch a break on their house this year. Maybe it has something to do with them starting their thirteenth year living there. Maybe the planets have been in a certain alignment to guarantee that this one house will have problems. Maybe God just doesn’t like the shed we built in the backyard. Whatever it is, it seems like just about anything big that can go wrong with the house has.

I went home to visit the parents yesterday. When I got home, my mother showed me this trench that was dug in our backyard. It ran from the southwest corner of the yard to the house (about twenty to twenty-five feet) and was about a couple feet deep. I was shocked because it wasn’t too long ago that we had another huge trench running through the backyard (more on this later). Turns out the electrical service line running from the power company’s junction box to the house had corroded and failed. My parents were without power for much of last week.

So, the old service line had to be dug up and removed. A new line and conduit had to be installed. The breaker box had to be rewired. On the plus side, my parents and my uncle were able to do most of the work and save a thousand dollars. They just had to have the electrician shut off power to the line and rewire the breaker box. Now, they’re left with one hell of a muddy mess in the backyard (again).

Having a mechanical system fail in that house is nothing new. It is twenty-five years old, you gotta expect the occassional problem. However, it was just a few months ago that there was a major problem with the sewer line. Namely, the sewer pipe was shattered by tree roots. I had always wondered why the grass was so green and grew so fast in that one area. Now I know: the sewer line ran through it and was fertilizing the yard right there.

A huge trench had to be dug from the house to backyard of the crazy neighbor behind us. It had to be three to six feet deep, and the county sewer line had to be tapped. It took a week to complete this. That was a week where my parents had to get by with flushing the toilets only occassionally or else waste water would back up into the bath tubs. Soon, the work was done, a couple thousand dollars was gone, and the backyard was a muddy mess.

Go back to this past summer and we have the event that seems to have started this trifecta of residential mechanical disasters. The air conditioning system died. Completely. The components in the attic (basically the condenser) were only a year old, so they got to stay. The outside compressor and the ventilation ducts got replaced though. At least the result of that wasn’t a muddy mess.

On the positive side, the air conditioner, sewer line, and power have never worked better. However, I’m wondering if something’s going to happen to the water main (since that’s about all that’s left to go wrong).