I spent exactly 24 hours last weekend visiting my folks near Toledo. I usually try to knock down a few chores involving ladders, tree saws and sometimes plumbing tools when I visit. Sometimes this turns out not to be the beneficent service I intended, as happened yesterday. My dad had complained about a sinkhole developing around one of his downspouts and theorized that some ceramic tile below the surface had been crushed by a recent contractor’s backhoe.
With 2 hours left before I had to hop in my rental car and head to Detroit Metro for my flight to Milwaukee, I picked up a shovel and started digging meticulously around it. God, I’d forgotten how heavy that Wood County clay can be, more like concrete that never quite sets up. Anyway, I managed to excavate around some pvc pipe and saw that a piece that was supposed to connect to the downspout was actually a foot below where it needed to be. I dug all around that piece as well, and saw that it stubbed into an older drainage tile system There was no way to adjust or finesse the extra 3/4 of an inch needed to fit everything back together snugly without running to Home Depot to buy another length of pvc pipe. On top of that, as I was wiggling the pipe this way and that to try to fit it, I heard an ominous crack from a sleeve that secured one end.
There was no way, at that point, for me to make any of this right. I explained the particulars to my dad, packed up quickly and headed for DTW, leaving a non-functional drainage project, one admirable but futile hole and several piles of gooey clay in my mother’s flower bed, poised to run all over their sidewalks with the next downpour. Well, they can spend a couple nights agreeably heaping scorn on me instead of sniping at each other, and that may be more of a service than actually fixing the downspout would have done.