According to my husband, this is me and my plants in Texas.
So we’ve hit a bit of a delay writing-wise. We’ve been remodeling the office, and stuff has piled up, and now on top of everything else, we need a new work computer because the old computer is no more.
I spent Monday calling around looking for a new desktop and I swear, everywhere I called everything was sold out. Best Buy was sold out of desktops. I don’t know if it was the Memorial Day sale or Covid or what, but there was no computers to be had. I even checked Sams. Display models only.
Long story short, we are sitting here, metaphorically, since we are actually running around and putting together book cases and doing other stuff like that, and waiting for an all-in-one to be delivered from Amazon. They said it would be today, but nobody actually knows, because the shipping is all messed up.
Because we sit next to each other, the desk arrangement requires a bit of fiddling. We’ve already dismantled our set up in the house, so we’re kind of in between things. Once the computer arrives, we need to load up half a dozen of different programs on it. Ryder will be Friday or Saturday, heads up. We really need to talk to a Methodist minister for the next scene, and failing that, we may have to read a bit of stuff for research. Phhh. We also need to fix the flooding problem.
This is the culprit of the flooding.
This trench runs along the office wall and it’s blocked by a grate, otherwise small dogs escape. The trench clogs. We’ve already cleaned it twice this spring, and here it is, needs to be cleaned again. In our part of Texas, it rains hard. We get crazy thunderstorms, which is why Austin floods so often. The trench wouldn’t be a problem except that some genius did this awesome number when running AC and electric cables.
So, the trench backs up, fills with water, water runs between the cables, and we have a flood. I have no idea how to fix this. I don’t know whom to call to fix this. My solution would be to buy a can of expandable foam, stick it in there, and just fill it with as much foam as we can, but I am not sure it will work.
We have to solve this problem somehow, because otherwise we’re just asking for more flooding. So sorry guys, Ryder will be around the weekend.
Update: It’s 9:20 pm. Computer isn’t here. Grrr.
HI know a Presbyterian minister who has worked internationally and across denominations between Huston and Austin i think …. if you want me to connect let me know – i am the person who told the Smetana and Malako story on Twitter 🙂 – will also check back here.
hang in there!
If you’re not moving…a drainage trench + electric cables seems like a pretty high priority. Do you have Nextdoor in your area? That neighborhood app is pretty useful where I live to find local repair people. Or maybe slap some Flex Seal on it and hope for the best.
Ummm… you’re not going to want to DIY this but…
Cut a piece of conduit pipe to width, split it lengthwise. Augur out a half-hole for the drain tube, fit a gasket around same. Use waterproof builder epoxy to stick the pipe back together and seal the gasket in place. Cover the juncture of the pipe and the sides of the trench with waterproof cement.
OR get an actual contractor to figure out what needs to be done – instead of a DIY idiot like me…
Lisa Smith says
This sounds about right, although I would have someone licensed and insured do it (as the above poster mentioned would be an option). In addition to putting the cable in waterproof conduit, I’d make sure the height and angle (down and out of the house) was correct. Looks like a suspiciously flat run to me. How recently did you buy the house again? May be some coverage through whoever did the inspection, if they missed this?
Good chance to catch up on some of life’s necessary tasks.
Love your updates.
Thank you for your writing.
Stephanie L Craddick says
If you have a pest control company, call them and ask them to fix this. This isn’t just a water access problem, it will eventually be a bug problem too. Usually they will go around and find all possible accesses to the home and block them for you. It didn’t cost me much to get it done and I imagine they could problem handle this. Good luck.
R Coots says
Oh yikes! Computers and flooding and rearranging. All headaches and all happening/a worry at the same time! Hope the new computer shows up! And yeah, I’d lean towards can-o-foam too, but I have no experience so of course it sounds like a good idea to me. Good luck!
My thought was expandable foam covered with silicone caulk, but….
Ugh, flooding… 🙁
I would replace the expandable foam with straight silicone caulk. Might have to do in layers if the whole is large. An alternative is that Flexible Rubber they advertise on TV. Have tried it and the stuff does work. The only issue is if the cables move around it could break the seal so you want to stabilize them so there is little to no movement in them and then seal.
My handyman father had similar advice
“ Go to local hardware store and talk to them and just get a good waterproof sealant ”.
He also mentioned that the foam would work but only for the short term.
Thank you for all the smiles and joy you spread in the world. Sending positive vibes your way!
Here’s hoping you find a computer and a solution to your flooding. Your backlist is mighty. We can wait.
There is a water proof sealant that you can use on that. I have used DAP silicone max before and it works. There is also lexel comes in a tube like caulk but for outdoors. It should seal that up! Have had that problem before.
As to the computer most laptops can be made to be the equivalent of a desk top these days and can be portable if you want to vacation and work at the same time!
I actually use a MSI gaming computer for my research and work and it is perfect. Large hard drive great graphics to render my data and very fast.
Can’t wait for Emerald Blaze so excited have pre-ordered it! You guys are the best!
foam followed by flex paste (rubber sealant) maybe?
Lora Tyler says
So sorry y’all are dealing with this. Thanks for all you do. It sounds like y’all need a vacation without any problems. Whew!
Life happens. You do what you need and we can wait for our treat. Good luck with your projects
Elizabeth lee says
Don’t known if this will help. But since I love your books…. I’m an unordained Lutheran minister MA in theology(i got outed to my school no ordination for lesbians). I was raised Episcopalian and am now studying for an interfaith ordination – you know the saying if at first you dont succeed…. I could try to answer your questions if you would like. My speciality is liturgy and pastoral counseling.
We used Great Stuff Pond & Stone to fix the outside of my mum’s well which is in her basement (old PA Amish house). Worked well – we did foam then steel wool then foam to keep out the critters.
There are no computers available because distance learning.
Depending on the outflow level, I’d install a French drain system to lower the drain level behind the fence and encourage proper flow out of the area.
If the point of outflow is too high, install a pump to get the water out of the back yard and delivered to a curb drain, then concrete that area. Clean the pump grill bi-weekly.
Well stated and my thoughts exactly.
French drains sound nice, but if you can’t keep up with the maintenance they can be a beast. Our house came with them and we were not going to dig up the whole damn yard to fix them.
We added a rain garden and a couple of rain barrels that we drain out to the marsh behind us.
No more standing water and mushy spots.
Same thought. Best bet is to keep the water level low. You could also run the French drain through the trench to empty further away and then backfill with gravel. Fixing the cables / lines is going to be more difficult and involve multiple contractors (electrician, plumber to empty the coolant, etc.). I think a French drain down the middle of the trench with proper outflow should handle your main issue. I would definitely caulk the snot out of the lines on the inside (if you can get to the point they exit the concrete) and outside.
Hi. Unfortunately, French drains are fine in low volume situations. In a storm, overland flow occurs and French drains will not mitigate it in time.
May I suggest you get an electrician in to relocate the cables. I have worked in construction all my life and that is pretty bad. I know that means patching the wall, but most alternate treatments will only be temporary.
On the blockage of the grate issue, can you put a temporary grill further “ up stream” to keep the dogs out and hence no have the problem of water backing up there? Especially until you relocate the cables.
I sympathise with your rain issue. I live in Queensland, Australia.
I second the idea to fence the small dogs out farther upstream. The trench looks narrow; no idea how long it is, but if you can put in three or four sections of fence and solve the problem, it’s time to find a post-hole digger. Looks like an HVAC unit to work around too; still not insurmountable from what I can see.
The foam in a can will not work. Open cell and it will just suck the water up. Caulk would be a better bet
Research, flooding, computers, moving…….oye there too many balls in the air this week that need time to fix right. Your week is already too stressful and it is not yet over. And if IA are not happy…..
I think it would be ok with the BDH to postpone this week’s Ryder and maybe get a bonus installments next week if the BDH are very very lucky?
Shannon from Texas says
+1. Actually, I *think* a majority of us would be happy to say, “we’ll love it when we see it!”
Especially if you just post a picture of Gordon’s boot almost hitting the ground, with the words “BDH Whining” getting squished underneath.????
I’ll love it when I see it!
Ooooh! Love this idea!!!
I completely agree. I feel grateful and thrilled when you post an instalment, but you have quite enough on your plates. We can wait.
Christine McCann says
You guys have your hands full! Hope you find the necessary resources and results soonest. Sorry you’re having to deal with all of that. And no worries about us. We’ll still be here whenever you’re back in business. ????
Research, flooding, computers, moving…….oye there too many balls in the air this week that need time to fix right. Your week is already too stressful and it is not yet over.
And if IA are not happy…..
I think it would be ok with the BDH to postpone this week’s Ryder and maybe get a surprise bonus next week if the BDH are very very lucky?
Ouch!! Sending virtual hugs to you both!!
(Re: the minister reference – I could get you half a dozen Presbyterians (cousins, cousin-in-law, cousin’s kid – yes, theology runs in the extended family), but I don’t have any current contacts at the local Methodist church.)
Hope the mechanical issues get better! ????
AM Scott says
Since I’m not there, I can only base this recommendation on what I see and some experience with post-disaster flood cleanup and other house renovations. I am not an electrician or foundation expert.
I’d recommend a decent electrician to properly re-route those cables, because I seriously doubt that meets code. Once they’re rerouted, the electrician can cut the existing trouble-makers, you can hopefully pull them out, and patch the concrete with concrete patching material.
Otherwise, if the cables can bend a little, you could try building a bit of a dike around them, preferably with concrete and no more than half the width of the trench. But I think that’s fairly futile.
Best of luck!
What he said is a really good thing.
Agreed! You need an electrician to reroute those cables and then a plumber or general contractor to fix the drainage issue. I agree that probably doesn’t meet code. Temporary fix might be silicone caulking, outside and inside. Best of luck to you!
Melissa B says
I agree with everything above. It’s a shame that the work was done that way in the first place. I hate short work. Good luck with finding the right contractors and solutions. Don’t forget to breath or count to 10 though during all the quotes and resolution steps. ????. Take care
Agree with the re-routing as a first step, for safety reasons plus.. take this weekend off for Ryder, to clear your head and manage to get your stuff where you want it, and the way you need it to be happy. You deserve it!
We really appreciate the wonderful snippets, but not at the cost of your peace of mind.
Electrician and/or telecommunications person. You want a professional for this. Caulking is just gonna be a neverending story.
Best of luck.
My hibiscus is wilting here in Florida – Mom just gave it to me, yanked that puppy out of the ground, in May!, and said “Here, enjoy.” Yikes!!
She is spontaneous like that.
Oh man! Good luck guys! Our love is unconditional. Moving is a pain, but maybe this is another point in your pro-moving column?
Ellen D says
Desktops are probably because of covid. The stimulus checks making it possible for an upgrade. Your hibiscus are beautiful! I do a lot of container gardening myself. Everything from petunias to Japanese maples, herbs, vegetables and everything in between.
We can skip a week of Ryder. You have a lot to deal, and we can wait. You are so generous with all you post, so get your desktop, find a solution to your most.
Plant some hibiscus ????. Have a barbecue.
To Gordon, a belated Thank you for your service to this country.????????
This is not the same trench problem but it was still a huge pain. My parents have a trench that runs along the length of their two garage doors. They discovered after moving in that as soon as there was a downpour, the trench flooded because it wasn’t deep enough. The water had nowhere else to go other than forward, seeping in under the garage doors. I moved in with them last year so each time it rained I had to run down and help push the water back with brooms before it flooded the entire front area of the garage. Fun times.
Last fall, when my parents repaved their driveway, they had the workmen widen and deepen the trench. So problem solved, the trench no longer overflows and floods the garage every time it rains. I have no idea how’d you’d solve your cable/trench on the side of the house though. I hope you figure it out because these kinds of things are so annoying to fix. I’m not an expert so I can’t give any advice.
Good luck with the floods.
I’ve been binging on a relisten of hidden legacy. I really like the way that Bern’s character has quietly developed.
Hum, i am sure you already thought about this but how about something to prevent leaves from blocking your drain with a drain guard ?
No problem – I can hardly figure out what day it actually is much less know what is supposed to arrive that day. Result of total knee replacement last week.
Love my all in one & you HAVE to deal with flooding first. I love that foam stuff – works wonderfully to keep little critters out of the house, but don’t know about water.
Love your work!! Keep on keepin on!
Life keeps.interfereing which is understandable. Do what you need to do I can wait.
No worries. We’ll read it when it’s available. Good luck with everything.
William B says
I was a building maintenance person for many years. Spray foam sucks. It gets on everything and doesn’t come off. It’s also porous and doesn’t give a good seal. If you can get the tip into the conduit I’d try caulk. Pick a paintable outdoor type and then get a can of Flex Seal, I think Lowe’s sells it, Amazon if not. Follow the directions and spray the heck out of it, multiple coats work best.
I second FlexSeal! It comes in multiple formats (I would recommend the tube kind for this) and actually works. The commercials are over-the-top, but it lives up to the hype. Now, it’ll be a pain to remove, if you have to in the future, but I think it’ll work. ????
Lots of people I know have had to buy ipads, desktops, laptops etc because of mandatory online virtual school curriculum so that could be the issue.
House issues are really a pain to deal with. Can only wish you the best in getting that resolved!!
Thank you for the update on Ryder! It’ll be a great weekend highlight for me and I’m sure many others!
Space X launch was just canceled! So maybe another highlight would be the rescheduled Space X launch.
Suggest you add a top (hardware cloth) screen at a diagonal that can catch the cruft & shift the cruft out & away from dropping in trench. The (top) screen leans on wall, covers trench with bottom of screen on ground outside of trench so cruft does not block trench & allows water to flow
Or use bathroom silicon gasket seal, do many layers NOT push in whole tube at once.
OR Cut out the concrete & fix the seal to your office–might have to rewire if you break any wires while making it waterproof. Add some umm anti-seeping powder to concrete as you are making it for the patch.
IF they make waterproof window foam that does NOT expand too much that might be safe.
Ooooh! Love this idea!!!
Lisa Pepper says
Wow! I run into that at my house where the previous owner thought he knew a lot more about home repairs than he did. I can’t believe that was done by a regular contractor. Have you thought about putting wire fencing over the trench to keep a lot of stuff out (kind of like you can do with gutters)?
Thanks for the information!
For the flooding, I wish I could help! We’re in the middle of huge renovations ourselves (for a house we just bought where we were expecting to just have to repaint..), so I feel for you!
I’m sending lots of good creative vibes, so you can figure out a solution
Ryder can wait. Have you checked with a plumbing contractor? Not just a guy who fixes leaky faucets, but someone with experience with flooding issues. If you have a general contractor, perhaps they can recommend one.
hmmm… expanding foam disintegrates when exposed to light. What about putting the sponge gutter leaf guards in the trench to allow water to flow in the space but keep the leaves from filling it? Leaves may fall on top, but space is still underneath for flow? Either that or gravel. Gravel will reduce the amount of water the trench can carry significantly though.
Not sure what happened with my first post. Have you checked with a plumbing contractor? An experienced plumber can help with all sorts of flooding issues.
There’s a delay in the refresh of comments of about 15 minutes I think. This is why after submitting a comment I now close the tab and reopen a new one as it will give me the refreshed content.
Olivia Shepherd says
Do you want to email the minister questions or speak on the phone? My husband is a Lutheran seminary student, but has many Methodist minister friends. He offered to answer questions first, but is willing to pass them along.
I wish you all the best, hopefully the BDH community has someone with experience in water-clogging situations to help. Ryder is a joy for us, not an entitlement. Have fun with it, and also with decor!
On the bright side, that one bloom is purdy.
So, according to that picture, you’re husband considers himself to be Batman. Not surprising! 🙂
Hehehe.. this made me lol! ????
OMG, please take care of life first. Computer supplies in general have been high on demand since everyone, I mean, everyone has to be on computers these days.
I’m really thankful that there is still Ryder installments from time to time.
No worries. TAKE CARE OF YOU! It’s really hard to work when frustrating life-stuff isn’t done.
Cherylanne Farley says
Oh dearest hunnis! So sorri. That all sounds terrible. Hubs is seriously one of top system designers in state. We are old school use TIGER DIRECT and HP DIRECT. Kills me but pro brainiacs all say NOW pretty much complete system replace every five years as internals must connect with signal upgrades. I resisted that advice. I was wrong. Now needing WFH catchup not great. It’s 108 degrees here. BEE well as we await the next chapter.
I sent a screenshot of your cord problem to my electrician/welder/all around handyman husband. He says spray foam *might* work for a little bit but you will eventually have the same problems again, if you are lucky, but more than likely it will just make it worse when it does eventually fail. In his opinion the only way to truly fix this is to break up that section of concrete redo the electrical and re-pour the concrete. He also says that that would require an above-novice level of skill with concrete, electrical experience and possibly permits. In other words, get ready to spend some money for a permanent fix.
The hibiscus is so pretty. I hope it survives. If not, maybe try again with an Earth box? Or some other kind of self watering system? My sister swears by hers and the stuff she grow in those are mammoth. I kid you not.
Ultimately, you might want to have someone who does concrete work to place that bundle of cables/wires/doohickeys somewhere else. We had a thing like that (thanks a lot, builder), and just had to rework the whole thing. It’s not fun to pay the money to have it done, but it also wasn’t fun to have black mold in the basement that needed to be remediated.
I always look forward to your guys’ blog posts. The chapter posts are such a treat, and don’t let anyone who pesters you for the next installment get you down! You guys are awesome. 🙂
Mary Benge says
When talking to a Methodist preacher, well First Methodist ( stricter) is slightly different than United Methodist (more relaxed). Then there’s First United Methodist, as I was raised more rigid… well you get the picture. Wow they have women preachers now, not way back when.
I hope you solve the flooding issue soonest!
Charles Corp says
Leak: remove any loose concrete and debris, chiseling concrete if necessary to get all surfaces clean and dirt out, and then patch with a roofing sealant or similar material. Possibly use the stuff they sell on TV to make a screen boat float.
A truly competent electrician should be able to deal with your problem, or at the very least, tell you exactly what is needed to fix it.
Mary Cruickshank Peed says
Oh man, I can sympathize with desktop issues. Last year I contracted with a long time client. He sold a big chunk of his business and kept a small part (his version of retirement) and because of… things …I needed a high end server. I bought myself a brand new shiny system… Top of the line. The server I had was 10 years old and mostly held together by gravity. In March of this year the new server froze… And when I rebooted, it refused to come back up. I’ve argued with the motherboard manufacturer, bought a new motherboard, bought a new cpu, new memory and a new graphics card. Now I have 2 complete new systems which don’t work. Apparently the new AMD chips don’t work with existing motherboards “out of the box”.
Hopefully, after contacting a couple of CEOs, the package I received today will fix both new systems. I’m not holding my breath.
In the meantime, my old server is chugging right along… Held together with spit and gravity (and duct tape… Lots of duct tape)…it’s happily running backups all over the country, doing zoom meetings and web hosting for our web development stuff. I should have had more faith in it…
Maybe an electrician or handyman? You could always call your dad for advice. I know he does a wonderful job fixing up your house when he’s around. Lol.
Good luck says
I have no advice but I hope you’re able to get the flooding fixed! And manage all the things! And get a computer!
I live in Texas too and am very familiar with backed up trenches and flooding rain. We have solid red clay and a weird layout of our landscape to the house so the rain just floods straight at the house. (House was built in the 70s and unless we burn it down there’s no way of getting around it.) We handled our issue by digging/cleaning out the trench throughly and then backfilling with large size gravel. The rocks are 1/2”-2” in size. The rocks will allow the water to drain by prevent debris from clogging it up. It’s basically a French drain. Haven’t had an issue since on either tench we have had. And it’s held up well for the past 5 years or so it’s been in. Hope it provides you with an option!!
Yee God’s, somebody must have wished you an “interesting life” because you certainly seem to roll that way!
I’m pretty sure that cable arrangement is not up to code. You might give the city electrical inspection office a call and 1. Check if a permit was required and if one was pulled and 2. Ask for a inspection because of flooding problem and 3. Which inspector department would be best contacted for the drainage issue. Did your home purchase inspection address that area? It could turn into a huge can of worms for you but if it’s not up to code and something serious happens your insurance coverage may not cover it. Maybe ask about putting in something like an underground culvert or French drain type setup and that would give better water management. Interesting issues, I’d like to know what you find out just for my knowledge base.
I also lost my computer during this quarantine. Although it doesn’t help you now, I had amazing service from Staples. I acquired a gaming desktop for less than $1k, and got it the next morning. I admit to being astonished. It takes forever for me to get everything reloaded, so best wishes for an easy process! It’s no problem, waiting, your work is always worth the wait. 🙂
Silicon would waterproof that for you or at least look in that department. There are some awesome waterproof products for outside. The things we do for our pets ????????????????
On computers – have you thought of buying a refurb corporate desktop/laptop as a backup to the All in One? All in ones can be harder to repair so having an inexpensive backup might help reduce some stress in the future. A refurb Dell Optiplex desktop or perhaps Lenovo Thinkpad laptop? There’s lots of parts and usually corporate oriented IT servicable. https://www.reddit.com/r/msp/comments/6e90en/anyone_have_a_good_source_for_refurb_dell/
Hiya! I am sorry you are having to cope with flooding. The electric cables in the trench has fired my imagination. I think perhaps a water tight covering of the electric cables ….with a bridge for the water. I am not sure if you have ever exercised such poor housekeeping that your dish towel sits in a bin of water in the sink? Well, sadly, I have. Water seeps through the towel and drips, drips, drips onto the floor. I suspect a PVC tube or plastic mat going over said water tightish cable protector might do the trick. Ideally the water would traverse the bridge. When I was reading about the problem two videos popped into my head. One was a project relocating fish….using high powered water slide. It was something to see…and a video of the in sewer water turbines. Here is the fish tube – https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/animals/a28678200/fish-tube-video/…but thinking about it….it might be wiser to get an electrician out there and run the power over the trench through a conduit. I do wonder what they were thinking when they did that. The fish tube would be more fun but probably not really up to code. 🙂 Good luck!
Nancy’s suggestion of a French drain makes sense. Also the suggestion to reroute the electric lines.
It would probably be best to consult a contractor that handles drainage problems to see about installing a french drain and possibly a pump to ensure water flows into a pipe and gets discharged elsewhere away from the house.
Water problems are a pain. Flooding damage is very insidious. Good luck!
A sump pump with pickup points throughout our backyard has solved our flooding problems (as long as the power stays on). And it cost a lot less than I thought it would. The drawback is that they have to dig it up to replace it, which thankfully has only been once in 20 years.
Hope setting up the new office is fun.
Richard Barkley says
Your hibiscus is beautiful. Last spring (2019) I was in a plant store and saw a woman at the counter with a hibiscus; it was so beautiful I bought one and it grew outside my home. Because I live in Colorado, however, I knew it would not survive the winter. I moved it to our indoor plant room and it has thrived. It has grown about eighteen inches and is now about seven feet tall. Every day when I go up or down the stairs, I see it. When it has a bloom, it makes me smile. When a hibiscus flowers, I can survive almost anything. Enjoy the plant, and I hope it helps you get through your current drainage troubles.
Cherylanne Farley says
Thanks for this. I am suitably inspired to try now. BEE well
We had luck finding a computer at Costco. Good luck!
We bought a new desk top and laptop at Costco last month. Both were Apple computers and Costco added an extra 2 years on the warranty and the purchase price was less than Apple’s online.
Angela Torrence says
Install a pump (clean it bi weekly); get an electrician to look at the wires, because electricity and water are a very dangerous mix.
I’ll volunteer my Methodist minister. He’s great! He also went to Emory so he knows Atlanta. Let me know. ????????????
Michelle M says
Guess what, you do not have to stress about Ryder, its a lovely gift when we get it (I am and Innkeeper fan myself and am waiting to see what is going on with the brother) and that will be when the Universe decides it’s time. Focus on the things in your life that need to be fixed up to make you happy and have a comfortable work space. When that happens then you will be more inspired and write faster and then everyone (you and the fans) will be happy. Have a great day, I can hardly wait until you start baking again and post photos of your efforts, need to live vicariously through someone.
It’s more important that you guys have a stress free organised work space for yourselves and one that works for you and makes you happy. Anything you post whenever you post is a bonus and hugely appreciated Stay healthy and stay safe . Thank you for all the wonderful stories
My mother is a Methodist pastor and would be happy to answer any questions y’all have.
I wish I could keep plants alive for more than a week!
As for the flooding, as a civil engineer, I would look at increasing the size of the trench if possible to increase the flow that it can handle. In this case it looks like it could only get deeper.
Do you have access to the other side of the fence, or does that belong to someone else?Depending on your budget, I would either pay an electrician to reroute the cables and a handyman to patch the gutter, or on the cheap I would lay a window screen netting across the top to catch the debris and my no doggie escape bars at the near end instead of the fence. You’d still need to clean it seasonally, but having the back up away from the cables would help.
No worries about a Ryder snippet, please take care of your problems-gives the writer’s mind a rest.. I have used spray foam and it seems to be a short term fix. I worry when electrical cables and water are mixed. I was a history major, so I fix things with duct tape or a hammer. The joy of owning a home.
Not an expert but what is the purpose of the trench? Drainage? If so it may need to be repitched. The wires look dangerous to me (potential for expose wires) and may not be up to code. An electrician would need to look at them and possibly reroute them. If rerouted the cement hole could then be patched properly,. I think foam is just winging it and won’t really fix the problem. Good luck.
Thanks for the Ryder update.
I’m with the person who said fix the trench first. I used to live off of 290 and Cameron rd flooded all the time we had to build a French drain trence. It’s the long black plastic huge pipe with wholes and cover with small river walk. Hone depot has it all. My bedroom and kitchen flooded all the time until we dug this out an additional 24 “ down all the way to the street. On the flower notes mix the hibiscus with the mandelons and try bougainvillea if they can grown in Brownsville heat they can grow anywhere in Texas
Get the type of sement mix that is meant for marine useage. Build a kinda-box (doesn’t have to be gret carpentry, just enought to contain a rectangle along that wall.
In essence, make it so that yo get at lest 8″ deep, and atleast 3 ft long the wall. I don’t know how high, but higher than those cbles, ad higher than it floods. You are going to make a dam, a pad along the wall, another layer before it bets into your house.
1) I would take silicon and block everything around the cables.. Let that cure, dry for a couple of days
2) mix cement – if I can do it in my 60s, you can do it, bucket by bucket.
3) Take the first, and trowel it on, around the cables. It may or may not stick but you can see if there are any cavities you can fill.
4) then start filling the whatever-you-have-constructed shape that will hold the cement where you want it.
I am not a contractor, I am a retired Home Ec teacher with an 1830 house with many additions. Just this week, I was figuring out how to chip out some of the original bricks, and replaced them.
Nancy Upchurch says
Vis a vis plants not surviving… have you tried Jasmine? Or does this trigger allergies at chez Andrews? I put them in the ground, as around here, the heat just flat kills everything potted. After 2 years in ground, it really takes off. As it is originally from Arabia, I expect it will survive Austin, too. Goodness knows it’s ‘feet’ will dry out between rainy times, which is the only thing it despises. I have one that is coming back up despite my husband having taken it all out two years ago. Other than that, may I recommend Lantana? Stuff survives everything.
Vis a vis trench of doom: I’m pretty sure you’ll have heard of this before and will now summarily roll your eyes at me, but looks as though you need a larger french drain to carry water out of area. Larger gravel around the hole-y french drain pipe should help with the clogging, although nothing fixes it forever other than post and pier construction.
Victorria Wytcherley says
I feel for you. Flooding sucks.
My cousin in Minnesota is a Methodist minister; she serves a few parishes in southeastern MN. Let me know if you’d like to talk to her and I can arrange that.
As another Texan, flooding is an issue at our house, too, especially when we get our gully washers. The best answers for Texas thunderstorms are French drains. You will want to get a good landscape person to put it in properly. We had to do that to keep my husband’s shop area from flooding. Growing up here in Texas, my parents had to put in a French drain to keep our converted garage/gameroom from flooding when it rained. Also, I second all those who said the electrical does not look up to code. If we are right, you might as well fix it now along with the French drain because you will probably have to fix both to pass inspection if you sell the house. Yes, it will cost, but the headache will be gone. Totally worth it in my experience.
Big Mike says
Take your time. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we will still be here no matter how long it takes for the next Ryder
So many wonderful solutions have been provided! Most importantly I love how most everyone absolutely backs you in taking your time, fixing what needs fixing, and taking time for yourselves. We aren’t going anywhere, and if we need to wait for a treat… it’ll just make it that much sweeter when it arrives. You are under no obligation after all!!
I personally think your best getting the wiring re-wired by an electrician, cut out the old wiring and patch the hole permanently… and then install a French drain (open pipe covered in gravel).
Good luck on getting your new pc set up!
…and there was much rejoicing. (Yaaaay
I think perhaps the person who did this must’ve done work on my house. LOL.
Shouldn’t those cabels be underground? Or not through concrete like that? I mean I’m no contractor….but I also have at least 2 brain cells to rub together…not sure how many the guy who did this had.
Hopefully a contractor can get this fixed up for you guys and it won’t be too expensive.
You are under no obligation to post anything! Especially something like Ryder that is a super bonus! Also, with your Hibiscus, water it twice a day; as the day starts getting really hot and midway through the hottest part of the day. It should keep it not just alive, but keep it from getting the heat droops lol.
I just finished rereading Iron and Magic, and really want the holes filled in. But you do what you think is best.
As for the Methodist, there’s United Methodist and Southern Methodist and A.M.E. and probably more. It’s very intriguing for me to wonder what you need from a minister. As Tom Skerritt said in “A River Runs Through It,” we’re just Baptists who can read.
Getting that pulled apart and re-done is really your best safest option. Pretty sure that’s not to code. Another thing you could look at is a hydraulic cement. I used it to patch leaks like that minus the cables. Home Depot carries it. You can pack it from outside and it will expand see if that’ll seal it. Just be careful of the cables. For the drain adding some Stones to the drain will reduce the water capacity but it will not clog as easily. I used that around my house.
Hi, I may have missed it if this has already been suggested. A good fix, until you have it done to code, is the FlexSeal product. I know, as seen on TV crap. Not So! I have used it twice on emergency water issues. I planned to have the fixes done professionally but the seal stuff is still there after a year. My fix was similar, I just coated the stuff on like putty and pushed it to fill any open cracks and crevices. Hope you have good luck fixing it.
So, they’re kind of stupidly expensive, but I use these for all my plants, indoor and out: https://www.lechuza.us/planters/. They’re just kind of magic and make it so I only have to remember to water once a month for outside and once every couple for inside. Not great for plants that don’t like wet feet, but I have a magnificent 30 year old spider plant on my porch in one. 🙂 good luck!
My dad is a minister if you’re still looking for someone to chat to! He’s not methodist, he’s Anglican/Brethren, but I’m sure he’d be happy to chat with you if you need some theology questions answered. He lives for this stuff.
You might want to think about having a landscaper look at it. It my need to have a foundation drainage system installed. This would include a trench like you already have, but filled with gravel, perforated pipe, filter fabric, crushed stone, gravel or crushed stone. This trench should drain away from the foundation to a percolation trench, dry well, or daylight area. You can also check out the “Guide to Proper Home Drainage Systems” on DoItYourself.com for further ideas or “Install an In-Ground Drainage System” from FamilyHandyman.com. Of course you can also talk to someone at the Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Theodore D. says
I was thinking that same thing before reading your ‘idea’ for fixing the leak! 😀
It IS worth a try, though!
Thank you for the wonderful snippets!
Jeffrey F. Smith says
I work at a WalMart and we’ve been out of computers of all types for the better part of 5 weeks. With most of them being made and assembled in China it may be a while before we or any other store will get any back in stock.
Facepalm. Who did this?! I’m so sorry. A big fix may be called for, but who can wait? Closed cell spray foam can be used to waterproof concrete and RedGard is pricey spreadable rubber that’s waterproof and fairly easy to apply.
I’d secure the cords together and stabilize them so that they are going to flex a little less (for the sake of the foam – lots of options there), fill any excess space in the cord-hole with waterproof spray foam and then keep it going contiguously up the chords a ways to try and move the connection point out of the water zone. If I was really tired of this I’d cover the whole thing, including the surrounding concrete, in RedGard (imagine rubber that goes on like spackle) because it’s very waterproof and it might facilitate a better seal at the edges than the foam. Last step, make it pretty enough to live with it. I am not a builder and haven’t done this before, but thus is what I’d do. If I wanted to keep cost down andThe cords were well seated in the concrete I might try for just the RedGard and run that up the cords for a ways. If I thought that’d be too ugly or not practical for the specific spot I’d look into getting the cords out of the concrete and redoing that section (I don’t know how to do that)… or concreting them across the bottom of the drain and up the other side again so that the water doesn’t actually touch the chords and the junction of concrete/cords/water stays covered until further down the line since that junction is the crux of the problem. Sorry, probably rambled there. I’m sure anything you choose to do will be good :).
Sorry, I was totally distracted by the reason for the flooding. You guys handle what you need to :). We can happily wait for Ryder. Thanks for the heads up and good luck. You guys are the best 🙂
Linda Trainor says
Hi that’s the question you want to ask the minister? As I could may know the answer???
I’m guessing hydraulic cement and silicone for the pipes.
Thank you for the updates. I hope everything comes together for you two. Everyone I know seems to be working through through a What the Heck? list right now. You are in great company. ????
My boss’s brother is a Methodist minister. If you want the connection, I’d be happy to see if he’s willing.
One of the things my kids have a tough time learning is the concept of a gift.
You are not owed a gift. Ever.
If you are owed a thing, we can’t call it a gift.
As far as I’m concerned, Ryder is a type of gift (wherein we are not given dominion of the thing… The gift is to get a peek.)
You have generously chosen to give us a stream of gifts and we shouldn’t be dingbats about it if the steam stutters or stops.
Have fun configuring the office!
And probably not much fun with your flooding issue or setting up a new computer ????
Looks like a waterproofing issue.
One of 2 options if keeping the shape of the drain is optimal: contact a pool installer or a commercial roofer. I was in roofing for 10 years & there are a products that will completely waterproof the cables coming out of the wall & prolong the life of the concrete gutter. They may also give you some ideas for keeping the water flowing during storms yet keeping pets safe when not in a deluge.
Thank you both for your work to feed the BDH. Take your time & get yourselves sorted. We can be patient!
Lisa M says
I’d suggest a general contractor. It’s not a huge job, but it needs to be fixed correctly. They should be able to handle any electrical, plumbing, and concrete work so you only have to deal with one company.
There are a few products that you can spray into the small holes around the tubes to plug it up. Here is a link to a company that has a product lineup for almost any kind of sealing fix.
Patricia Schlorke says
Please do what you need to do for the office and don’t stress out about Ryder. The BDH can wait.
Good luck with the drain problem.
Sherry Watts says
No ideas on the flooding, but have you tried the hardy hibiscus varieties? They’re a perennial that dies down to nothing every fall then springs back to 3-4 ft every summer getting bushier & larger blooms the older they get. I’ve never seen a Texas summer they don’t love (and I’ve been here 30 years). At my last house we had the original red variety, which would put out 10-12” blooms daily. At our new house, we just put in a selection of the pink varieties, which are a relative new variety. So far the blooms are ‘only’ 5-7” but it’s the first first year, so…
Best part, maintenance is somewhere in the “when did you last run the sprinkler system….I didn’t run it, I thought you did” & trim back the dead stick in the winter category.
Just dig a hole underneath the pipes for the water to flow. If you’re worried about the direction of flow, make a slope by digging more.
I built my last desktop. PC Magazine is a good starting point and google is your buddy. I am a 74 year old retired trucker, They are really easy to throw together. I built a gaming machine but the same build with tons of fast loading memory would work with any type of work desk. There are two families , AMD and Intel, I think the AMD family R the good guys, cpu and motherboard have to match, it all plug and play. Get a huge case for it so it easy to get into and work on you can up grade it for the rest of your life. Find a guide with the parts all lined out, again PC magazine is great lots of articles on building your own. Watch out for renewed parts, they always bad. you build a 4 grand machine for 1500 and replace parts forever.
April White says
My aunt owns a restaurant and her computer died the day before payroll was due. This happened two weeks ago. She and my mom went to three towns and called businesses in two more and could not find a replacement. Wal-Mart, Sam’s, Best Buy etc…. the only thing in stock was floor models and you had to wait two days for them so the memory could be wiped. I assume it’s a Covid thing.
David Kanevsky says
Hi. I’m a part-time handyman. You have two problems: the trench flooding, and the hole in the wall. To fix a trench you need to keep the trash out in the first place. There are foam triangles you can buy at Home Depot designed to keep trash out of gutters, but let water through. Those might work. For the hole, I would fill it from outside with insulation foam and, just to make sure, coat the foam that sticks out outside with roof cement.
Thank you so much! I bought those and am waiting for pick up.
I’m sorry that you are experiencing flooding difficulties! I appreciate the snippets, and while waiting can be hard (it’s just life.) And I enjoy the ‘the waiting for Christmas feeling’ that I get from waiting for the snippets, and the eventual publication. You guys have been adding much needed zest, and enjoyment to my life.
I have been rereading the Kate Daniel’s series. I got to the part where Ascanio and Julie broke into the bunny cat breeder’s house so Julie can see the bunny cats. I laughed so hard. Part of the fun is imagining how it happened, who did what. And I can’t help but wonder who brought up the idea of seeing the baby bunny rabbits?
I am hoping that some of Ascanio and Julie’s adventures as teenagers might somehow come up later in Julie’s series (and it is cool even if it doesn’t.)
Best wishes! I am looking forward to the next installment when the time comes!!!
Thank you for the update!!
You’ve already had lots of offers, but if you need a specifically United Methodist minister, I could probably put you in touch with one. He’s on the younger side though, so if you’re looking for an opinion that could be from the dead minister, he might be too young for you.
We can wait for Ryder until you’re ready. Please don’t feel pressured to hurry and post for us!
Best of luck with all your things that need done! ????
We’ve lived all over the northern hemisphere and I have my favorites plants that I want to grow wherever we are. However, we are now permanently in the desert and my hubby could have posted the gif and claimed it’s me.
Yeah, another vote for rerouting the cables and sealing the deeds of the dumb. You don’t want to add electrocution fun in there as well.
I wish you success. I bought one concrete slab foundation home and NEVER AGAIN. You might as well buy a jackhammer and get your contractor/plumbing license.
Hoping the rest of your week is less hectic.
“…sealing the deeds of the dumb.” Thank you for that.
Valerie in CA says
For a long term fix call a licensed contractor please. And if he calls in an electrician or plumber double down and make sure they are licensed and insured
They all need the work right now
*accountant for a maintenance company**
How about that gutter sealant in a can they advertise as being so waterproof you can turn a screen into a boat? Not a forever fix, because getting it done properly is way the best…but as a, “Crud it is going to storm again” sort of thing….might help? Every.single.piece of yard maintenance stuff, from mower to trimmet to sprinkler, has been dead this year. I am afraid to turn on the A/C cause I am pretty sure it’ll do something awful too. I feel your pain! Hang in there, it has got to get better soon.
Kelley D. says
My Mom is a lay minister in the United Methodist Church. Although not ordained she has been doing services for local churches in her conference for years and I would say that she is probably more knowledgeable then most ordained ministers I’ve met. She just moved into a retirement home and would love the opportunity to talk to people about her faith and the UMC since she’s been pretty much Covid-19 housebound since 3/19 when NY shuttered. I’d be happy to put you in touch, she’s a retired English teacher.
Hello! We live up in Austin and have a hibiscus sitting in a huge pot at the end of our driveway in full sun. It loves the heat as long as it is watered regularly, and it hates the cold. If you get the hibiscus inside during the few days a year the temperature gets down into the 30’s, it will be fine. Good luck!
John stratford says
If you are ever in a pinch for a computer check your local pawn shops. They usually take in decent things and they are affordable . Most stores will haggle to get rid of merchandise.
Pawn shops make money on the loans . Any merchandise on the floor is usually defaulted loans the clerk will act like everything is precious but they want and need to move it quickly.
DOROTHY SIZEMORE says
Who ever did that with the cables should be hogtied and forced to fix it. That problem can have more serious issues than flooding and insects. If that is connected to the foundation than you can have cracks running inside the concrete. Over time those cracks can cause catastrophic damage to the foundation worth thousands of dollars to fix and can house molds that can cause serious harm to your health. You need someone to actually access if it’s gotten that far before you use any quick fix you don’t want to trap the mold inside with you.
Laura Pavlas says
If you’re looking for a Methodist minister, I know a few in Austin. I grew up Methodist locally.
Best of luck on all fronts and I hope you stay safe!
Flooding is amazingly disruptive, I hope you find a solution. I am active in a united methodist church weekly discussion group that has a logical (method ist) discussion of local and global challenges in terms of ethics and morals. If looking for the apply the tenets to novel (and yes coronavirus is one of our recent topics) opportunities, challenges, and problems this group/pastor would be a good resource. depends on what you need…. Pretty liberal group , lots of refugees from other faiths. Interesting and nontraditional group. Contact me if looks like a fit for you needs. Thank you again for all you do, it is a bit sad how eagerly I check to see if you have a blog entry. It is the only one I read. Kyrie Eleison 🙂
We used a gutter mesh to cover some places on our property that had draining issues. Maybe a roll, with cinder blocks to hold them in place?
My Mom has hibiscus and plumeria planted in her dooryard and in pots on the small enclosed patio at her condo near Phoenix. Just yesterday I moved the potted hibiscus, dwarf lemon and lime trees and potted herbs under the patio cover so the direct sun doesn’t destroy them in the triple digit heat, today it reached 107 on her patio thermometer with nine percent humidity. All the larger pots are on rollers to make it possible for her to push around too. I also set up an automatic watering system that goes on few minutes twice a day. Otherwise the potted plants will burn to a crisp. Lavender, monardia, rosemary, oregano and basil do well in the built-in planters, but they have to be covered during the hottest part of the day and watered heavily at night. The basil is amazing and gets huge and if the flowers are pinched off often it can grow well into December. She has managed to provide the hummingbirds a habitable place to hang out in all seasons, but it is a chore to keep it alive and thriving in the AZ summer.
Cheryl z says
If your only in situ was getting a new desktop that’s enough life irritation. I bloody hate having to replace a computer. No matter how good your back up is bad juju will happen. The only plants I grow are kitchen basil and lavender which is very hardy. Hug your beautiful dogs, tomorrow comes too soon.
You could build a French Drain? We had a flooding problem (our guesthouse is built into the slope of the house next door). It’s an underground pipe laid on gravel with holes on top of the pipe that leads out to the street. the whole thing’s set at an angle so the water collects and move downwards and doesn’t pool.
Screaming into a pillow solves all problems. RIP to that electrician, because anyone who thinks water and electricity go together are, most likely, no long with us. On the plus side I just googled your highest temps and we are similar here in Aus. I have hibiscus by the truckload in pots (I probably need a five step program), so you should be good to go 🙂 :). Thank you for Ryder. I can’t wait to see who works out who Julie is first. I’m betting on Aunt Andrea or Raphael, because they’d keep it a secret to save Kate. Ascanio’s face is going to be gold 🙂
A couple of good Texas companies sell a liquid flash that will fix this band aide style. Huber zip sells their liquid flash on amazon. May need a large caulk gun. Can even apply wet because it cures from moisture. Other wise poly wall sells a liquid flash but you need to order direct from their website. I have used both. Good products. Used to seal penetrations through exterior walls. Best fix is pull wires and re route then cut conduit and try pull back into office. Plug hole with bentonite cement. Or similar. Would recommend you fill hole with some type of backer like spray foam use a butyl material to gasket interior of the hole then pack with bentonite. There is also a product called duct seal that will pushed in around wires where the conduits terminating into a panel to keep moisture or gasses from coming up through the conduit into the panel.
Ahhhhh the endless home issues….
To Quote Sean
It will be fine, you got this…..or am I really quoting Gordon?
It’s always something my little Rosanna Rosanna Dana….(Saturday nigh5 live ????
Try feeding it lettuce. That’s what my mom would do. She’s don it here in Florida as well as in Texas.
My mom grew all types of plants in Texas the few years we lived there. And. My older brother stay a the small farm my parents had. And the flowers are still thriving.
Do you guys have weeping tiles in Texas? We had to fix them all around the house bc we are on the downward slope of our subdivision. They do cost in terms of money and time for the work to be done but they solve the water drainage around the house.
I’m also with everyone else who suggested an inspection by an electrician. That set up just can’t be right if it goes through water. Of course, any inspection will probably mean work orders to spend MORE money to fix the problem, but it looks to me like it just has to be done.
Finally, remember that houses, like people, require a constant battle against death, disease and rot. Yup, I’m a glass half-empty person.
Good luck. House repairs, especially outside ones, are a bitch.
Forget the foam, go silicone! I would talk to a pest control company about blocking access for bugs and if they give the all clear, silicone it up! Maybe slap some flex seal over it for good measure. You have my sympathies with the trench clogging. We had a septic field line in Louisiana that would require retrenching during every heavy storm. Hope it all smoothes out!
I didn’t see this solution in the comments, but a way to help fixing clogs ove found is to cover the trench/intake area with chicken wire to strain out the leaves. Easier to clean and prevents problems, quick fix.
Also, take however long you need with Ryder. We are patient and happy to wait. We place your health, happiness and relaxation above anything else
I am an Episcopal priest and friends with several UMC ministers, if you still need that connection.
Computer issues are so horrible.
Love your books and blog.
There are native hibiscus, so it should jot be a problem. Heck i was i troduced to a hibiscus based beverage in Central America, so the heat is probably not an issue.
Since they are in continers and jight dry out faster than in the ground, you might consider a Plant Nanny (plantnanny.com) They are terracotta spikes into which you insert a water filled container. Some come with decorative bulbs, some you provide your own bottle. They make a bigger wine bottle version as well. I found they are very effective for conatjner plants… as long as you remember to check them :-/
Holy Moly! That is A LOT to deal with. Ryder can wait. Don’t push yourself to write when you have so many other things to handle. You’re dealing with so many difficult and stressful challenges to working from home. I am sorry that managing all those other things take much longer than before, too. No quick run to Best Buy to get a new computer…nope, you have to backorder now, make appointments for pick-up, and “armor” yourself to go out in public. In the grand scheme of everything, I’m relieved to read that you and your family are healthy and safe. I’m excited about the prospect of a new novel arriving in August! I also feel grateful for this blog because it allows me to hear about your life, and also to have the opportunity to comment, read, and share a little of my own thoughts and feelings.
But, I am so sorry that your desktop died. I think the entire world is realizing how vital technology and computers are to being supporting our financial, medical and educational systems. Unfortunately, I do think the shortage of computers is due to COVID-19 because both supply and demand are being affected. The supply chains are stressed because so many people in the world are sick, manufacturing and shipping are suffering. In addition, the demand is higher because all non-essential employees are trying to work from home and keep their jobs. Rural businesses and communities that previously did not embrace technology, now are encouraged to adopt it for day-to-day use. There are some businesses trying to breakdown the digital divide between the rich and poor, giving computers to those in need. And, then there’s other people, people like me, who just want to upgrade. We already have phones, laptops or tablets. We may have used these devices recreationally, but now, we’re using them constantly. Unfortunately, laptops just weren’t designed for 8-10 hour work days. We all want desktop computers, even if we don’t urgently need them, because our backs and eyes are screaming for a better home office set-up. (Yeah, I know…first world problems!)
Again, thank you for running this blog and sharing a little of your life with us. It’s nice to hear when successful writers are dealing with the same stressors that the rest of us face as well. (I know it’s total fantasy to believe that authors write at some quiet, idyllic locale.) Thanks for keeping it real! …and letting us read and share, too! Be well, House Andrews!
Fwiw I live in SEA and the hibiscus is our national flower. My grandma has three trees (more like giant bushes because they’re about 2m tall). They’re pretty hardy since our weather is hot and humid. I know you have dry heat so praying for yours to flourish.
Any pictures of the flowers this time of year?
Call an excavator for a French drain, or the system that works in your climate. He will put conduit under it for the wiring into your house.
The lawn guy can blow the area clear each week.
The roofing company can install larger gutters and downspouts to handle heavy rains. The downspouts need their own pipes.
A tree guy can trim or clear any junk trees that shed onto your roof and clog your gutters and downspouts.
Our family’s red hibiscus ???? tree has been blooming like mad this spring/summer. If it offers a smidge or hope, it has survived the Houston (The Woodlands) HEAT for many years with some TLC from my father, the gardener.
Please take care of you & your checklist. We can wait for the next Ryder Installment. The wait will make the next part of the story more delightful. It is more important that you are safe & feel less stressed.
Thank you for being such generous novelists!
ps. Comment photo is proof of the blooming hibiscus! It is averaging 5 blooms a day! ????
Of course it would survive in the Woodlands. You guys have actual trees. 🙂
Just to ease your worries a bit… my friend planted a hibiscus in a big half barrel. It has no consistent source of water, but a pitcher of water every so often and more often in the summer. It has been alive and going for a couple years now. We live in the Phoenix metro area.
Next time you need new computer or computer parts try microcenter They have online and brick and mortar stores Otherwise I suggest newegg.com they also have good prices and service As for the story I can wait until the life stress dies down. Stay safe and healthy
Georgina Day says
I live in Dubai and my Hibiscus(es)? Plural are doing quite well and have survived 50 degrees celcius in the shade during the summer here but needs a good watering every other day. Hopefully yours will do well! Fingers crossed! Attached is a one in bloom today. P. S. Thanks for your blog, it’s been a big help during these trying times.
Dear Ilona and Gordon,
I am a lifelong Methodist in Massachusetts by way of Michigan and Cornwall UK, and as a Methodist minister have served as a church pastor, hospital chaplain, and campus minister. My professional and research interests include Wesley studies and early Methodism, Holy Spirit studies, and conflict transformation. Part of my work is to know about about the variations, history, and politics of the Methodist movement in general. By this time I know enough people that if I don’t know about something, I can find it out. If I can be of any help and you want to talk, please let me know.
Your work brings me great pleasure, especially Innkeeper, Hidden Legacy, and The Edge. Our son and daughter-in-law gave me an hibiscus for Mother’s Day, so I join you in raising one in a place that is not Mauritius. All best for your trench and computer projects, and thank you for Ryder whenever it shows up.
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you for the laugh. Amazon will get there. They found me by asking the neighbors since GPS is rather incorrect here due to geographical features. Took awhile yes.
Regarding the trench…. start with a licensed professional structural engineer. Since Dad died I have used the Professional Engineering Society listing to find in locality I need for house inspections (They are required to know local codes be it electrical, structural, civil….). Since you are in Texas call university engineering department for local contact number. Or local building inspector office. The engineers found some problems that would have cost a bundle in future repairs….. like the shingles laid perpendicular to other shingles on roof In one section or the too few under house load bearing structures or inferior cinder blocks instead of solid concrete block pilings….
Personally I think a French drain would really help with flooding problem. However, Paying the big bucks to a structural engineer saves money and frustration down the line and you know you are in compliance with local codes. Electrician for the cables— replacement and rerouting.
Ryder will be when it will be. Good luck.
Alana Joli Abbott says
Looks like you already have a ton of offers, but I too have Methodist ministers I’s be happy to recommend. My sister is getting ordained next month, and my pastor sometimes preaches on sci-fi; I think either would be glad to help you!
Good luck with both the house and the plants!
Debi Majo says
It’s French drain time!
Oh hey! I feel like I remember you recommending Kim Harrison and Jeanine Frost. Thank you! I am enjoying reading through everything they have written too. I tend to latch onto one author and read until I am waiting on new releases so it is good to have new folks to read. Best of luck with the drain.
Oh man. I hope everything gets figured out soon. Making house repairs when you want to is one thing, but when you need to, it can be so stressful. Good luck! We’ll all be here when you have the time to give us another Ryder installment ????
I had several hibiscus in El Paso. I kept them in planter boxes. When the temperature was below 40 degrees, I moved them to my unheated garage. The plants need good drainage, and the soil needs to be moist wherever they were. I used Miracle Grow fertilizer. A planter box broke, I used a doubled plastic grocery bag to hold the plant together while I looked for a planter box. I couldn’t find the exactly right container for a year and a half. The hibiscus thrived, while undergoing several grocery bag replacements and seasonal moving in and out of the garage.
Mary Allen says
You might send a picture of your problem to Ask This Old House.
Bruce R says
One question to ask (if I understand what you want to do): where will the water go if you block the access to the trench?
Erica A. says
Have you considered a French drain for your trench? They can move a lot of water and keep the mud and debris out. We installed one during vivid since we had time. They’re pretty easy and inexpensive. Good luck!
Karen the Griffmom says
How do you feel about rosemary bushes? I was in awe of the perennial rosemary shrubs in San Antonio.
If you know the brand and type if desktop you want, you can purchase it from amazon. I went through the same issue for a printer and had to purchase one online and have it shipped. As for the drainage problem, a good plumber and or hvac specialist is what you need. The hvac specialist maybe able reroute the lines w/o the plumber and seal the hole. Or the plumber can possibly reroute the drain. Contact both and have them come take a look to see. Hopefully this all works out for you. As well as for your plants.
It’s amazing the longer you are in a house you realize at times the builder and or the subcontractors were idiots and didn’t know what they were doing and you have to fix it.
Mary V says
What she said. Our house had apparently been completely renovated by the former owners for electric. & plumbing and had the local building inspector ‘s blessing. Two years into mortgage we have had electricians over for way too many issues. Shoulda bought a home warranty.
Teresa Bradley says
With all you have going in your life, you still find time to write snippets for us – you are amazing and I’m just glad to be able to read them when you have them ready! God bless y’all and praying for less flooding in your lives!
People are buying computers like mad because of work from home. My laptop died a couple of weeks after this started and I had trouble buying a replacement. I was told this was why. I did finally get what I wanted, though!
Bill G says
All this, and you’re fighting to get us a gift; thank you for thinking of us. I hope the new computer, when it arrives, works as well as it should. And I hope the flooding is fixable.
My thought, on seeing that picture, was silicone caulk, but I’m not knowledgeable enough to say.
If you need a United Methodist contact, I have a friend in my book group who is a retired minister and whose husband taught theology and also served as a pastor. I would be glad to make a connection if you still need this. Thanks for your wonderful work through the years.
Flood first. Ryder is a bonus special treat. You come first. I would spray expanding foam to block.
Computer issues and house renovations, you do have your hands full. The cabling that’s an issue but not one I know enough to comment on but can I recommend for the trench that fills up with water, putting in a couple of soak wells with drainage plates. I’m in Australia so I don’t know if you guys would call them soak wells, but here we would go to Bunnings (hardware store) buy the soak well which would get buried below ground with a pipe that comes up to a drain plate. Should reduce the actual flooding a little, but won’t fix the cabling.
Loving the Ryder story. I enjoy all your books and the stories you post. Thank you for sharing your worlds with us.
No apology required! I enjoy reading whatever you offer, whenever you offer it. Sorry about your flooding issue. We have electrical issues from the way the idiot who owned the house before us chose to do things. Our bulbs burn out quickly and my husband has been shocked at least once (the grounding wire was run wrong). I hope you find a good solution. And I hope your computer is eventually delivered.
Any reason it has to be a desktop? I work in IT and over the last several years there has been a trend in large organizations moving away from desktops toward laptops with cloud infrastructure. I haven’t done the cost analysis on utilizing some of the direct-to-consumer cloud services like Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive professional but combined with the processing speed of some of the newer model laptops/surface books you might be able to meet your needs that way. I chose a Microsoft Surface pro with docking station and monitors for my desk computing needs. It runs Civ 6 great not to mention Adobe Elements. Plus it has the added bonus of being extremely light when I un-dock it and take it with me when I travel. I bought the husband, who only uses his to remote into work and play Fallout and Skyrim, a Lenovo LEGION Y545 Gaming Laptop and he loves it.
I hope the Hibiscus thrives, it’s beautiful. Good luck with the trench and I hope the computer finally arrived. I’m looking forward to Ryder, it’s been a huge bright spot during a horrible time, but I’ll be happy even if you give it to us weeks from now. I really appreciate this gift from you and Gordon.
Erin Valentine says
I have a cousin who’s a Methodist pastor in Oklahoma City if you’d like to ask her some questions. I bet she’d be more than willing to answer. I have another cousin in some suburb of Houston who’s daddy was a Methodist pastor, and she’s a former librarian – she’d be more than willing to help an author. 🙂
Susan Tipton says
If you like hibiscus, have you ever considered a poodle hibiscus?
Angela Do says
I have a couple of women United Methodist ministers in my family and another (male) United Methodist minister I go to church with in case you are still looking for someone.
Hope you get everything resolved soon. I know home repair stuff is never fun while in the midst of it. Good luck.
I wish I knew more about your area. I had my last computer built for me. It is fantastic. Solid state so it’s super fast. And pricewise it was not much more than buying it from Dell or Best Buy. I hope you have a good luck getting your replacement computer. Take care
All the patching and spraying and digging and screaming in the world will not fix your flooding issue. I also live in a house where the easy way to be lazy was used when it was built. You can temporarily “fix” is with caulk, Flex Seal, or patching concrete, but the solution is to actually get someone who won’t cut your cables out there to open that concrete and get the cables out of it and above the ditch going into the house. Keep in mind that it’s cheaper to pay more to fix it right the first time than it is to fix it 99 times the wrong way. You lose less hair from ripping it out in frustration, too. I moved a lot of times, and I found that the best way to find someone to fix issues is to either call your local home insurance agent and ask them who can fix whatever it is or to contact a real estate seller who knows how to bring a house up to code before selling it. They know all the people who can fix stupid stuff nobody else will even look at.
I’m kind of surprised that you don’t know anyone who can put a computer together for you. When I need a new computer, I call the local guy and he gets me parts and puts them together for me. When my husband needs a new computer, he always wants a laptop, and he buys through my guy and gets it quickly. Dealers get things faster than customers.
Meanwhile, without choices, let Ryder slide for a little while. I’m sure than when you have what you need to work on it, your minds will have figured out where to take it and it’ll go quickly. As we have all told you time and again, we’ll be here when it’s been written.
Good luck with the hibiscus! When I had to live in Texas, I was told by my neighbors that bromeliads were about all that would live in that climate. Bleah!
Your hibiscus is so beautiful !!
Good luck with work, trench and flood ????????
OK, I facepalmed when I saw the half-assed way they did the wiring–my grandfather was a master electrician (probably spinning in his grave). No way that is to code. I would find out who did the pre-sale home inspection and lodge a complaint to the city/county Planning dept, code enforcement division. Then get a competent contractor to fix it properly. For the hibiscus using a large terracotta pot would be best. You can soak the clay and keep the roots cooler with evaporation. A wooden half barrel would also work, but stay away from plastic unless it is double walled. The pots heat up and cook the roots. At least once a week spray down the whole plant with water to keep the leaves clean (when it is shaded so the leaves don’t burn). Using a drip system on a timer will eliminate some stress on remembering if you watered or not. I’m enjoying the visit to the KD world, but it can wait until the Mundane issues are fixed.
Ann M says
I am sorry that you are having all of these difficulties. I used to be an electrician when I was in the Air Force and I am adding to many previous posts that your cables/conduit and trench set up is dangerous. I do think that hiring a licensed electrician would be a good idea. French drains would also be a good idea, I hope that things settle down for you and that someone has the perfect fix for you.
Please don’t worry about your story. It is a gift and whenever you are able to post it will be wonderful. It’s a pleasant surprise to see it in my email. Take care.
My daughter lives in Austin and there are hibiscus growing in her backyard (previous homeowner planted them, I guess. I know she would never plant anything in dirt. LOL)
I like Tiger Direct for computer shopping. Never had a problem with them.
Will take what I can get when I get it, as far as Ryder updates goes: you don’t have to apologize to ME!
Have no idea on your flooding trench problem. I think I would have an engineer look at it (especially if you have documentation for how it goes over time) for maybe redoing the whole damn thing. Personally, it seems really, really stupid to me to have electric running along a trench where water runs off.
Kenneth Burkenheim says
Amazon also sells all types of computers. Just do your research for a good brand. They usually are very fast on delivery.
PS I know you are computer literate, but, remember to get your old drives out and copy the important stuff to the new one. I have a server in my house, but there are many out there to keep. Good luck and don’t worry about deadlines with us. We are all safely at home waiting to be free.
I don’t need a rush. I love your work and want you to be able to take your time for a perfect product.
Careful about spell check, your proofreaders don’t always catch everything and you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen, which I understand.
Doris Martindale says
My hubby is an S1 contractor in C for over 20 years. (HVAC) He said have it rerouted, always going to be an issue. Sorry!!!
Am I the only person who depends on Dell for computers and supplies? What don’t I know?
I can throw in a brilliant Baptist preacher with a Doctorate in Philosophy. I think he knows everything about every religion in the universe!
Chill with Ryder! While you may find us all sitting in a corner in the dark chewing lichee nuts, we will recover once we do get a fix.
I will attest to the fact that you treat your fans more generously than any author I know!
Bill from nj says
A couple of thoughts on this:
1) I agree,rerouting the electric would be smart, having cables underwater is a recipe for disaster. Until someone can reroute them, I wouldn’t use caulk where the cables come in,I would use hydraulic cement, if packed into the hole where the cable goes into the house it will expand and fill around the cable and will stand up to standing water.
2) I would talk to a drainage expert about trying to divert the flow of water away from the house entirely, water like that can undermine the foundation or cause problems do to hydrostatic pressure.
Bobbi Jean Price says
I have been Methodist since birth and have attended the same Methodist church since I was 8 (now 51). I would be happy to connect you with my minister and/or his wife (who is also ordained) if you would like. Just let me know…. Love your work!
S King says
Just got down to bottom of your post and the photos have all my red lights flashing… Wowzers!!! Will preface that I’ve worked in building permits and code enforcement prior to retirement and what I am seeing is ‘hobby work’, not professional installation. It won’t meet any code I am aware of; it may be a fire hazard if at all near electrical… Then there is the questionable area of home insurance will not cover damage that is not permuted [any pulled permits on a property should be listed per parcel at either city or county agency responsible], and I can’t see this unique installation having been permuted or inspected during the installation process.
I’d not leave these photos up on internet for ‘all’ to peruse….
Please, please, please go to a licensed and bonded professional home remodler and get one to three estimates to have this work sorted sooner than later. The design flaw presented will continue to occur until corrected.
Local Home Shows have all sorts of construction folks present. Some areas have a ‘Best of’ annual submissions in local newspaper and there you can see One, Two and Three as voted by folks who use services. Do look at ratings and talk to folks who have had contractors do work for them to get recent input.
Doubt foam would be a lasting product in this instance, you might check out hydro static gel, but know neither long term correction for circumstances viewed.
Where is the water coming from? Roof? Yard? Creek? What is the flow over the property for this to be a pinch point? Deal with the water before it gets to house if possible. French drains, sump holes, perforated pipe … whatever you can do to change current hydrology on property to keep water away from your structures [and not direct to anothers] is a win.
Best of luck as you sort this interesting presentation.
D Hart says
Computer shortage is due to covid. 1. China got it, shut down their factories which makes the computer parts. 2. America got it and every company and school in the US needed to send home their employees and students exhausting the supply. 3. Tennessee where Dell has a huge factory was destroyed by a tornado. Basically, we expended the Computers and parts supplies by about March 15th. China got back online a month ago. Parts are on a literal slow boat from China to the lowest bidders to piece them together and ship them to amazon. If I were a fantasy writer I could probably make a good book about 2020, but I’m sure some editor would say it’s too unreal to have pandemics, floods, and tornados in only 1 chapter called March?!?!
Jennifer johnson says
What about the no clog filters people put on the roof gutters?
We were shopping for another laptop early on in the shutdown and had slim pickings. So many working at home and kids doing schooling also. However, now I wish we had just waited, because with everyone using the internet and phone, our internet service has been rubbish, sometimes worse than the old dialup. Which means it doesn’t work. Unless you use it when everyone is sleeping ????. I love living in the countryside , but that’s one of the few cons.
My husband is a Wesleyan minister. The Wesleyan church broke away from the Methodist in the 1800’s because they believed the church should be more active in opposing slavery. They were called Wesleyan Methodist for a while, and there are still some of those, but merged with another denomination (Pilgrim Holiness) to form the Wesleyan Church. Wesleyans are generally more conservative than some of the Methodist churches, depending on which churches you are evaluating. My husband and I have friends who are Methodist and Presbyterian ministers, however.
Hope all goes well with your various projects and your new plant baby! It feels good to get thIngs done and often it’s good for creative minds to have a temporary change of pace and place.
D. B. Reynolds says
You need an irrigation specialist, even though it’s not irrigation. Have you spoken to anyone about a French drain? Just a suggestion. Love, love your books.
Good grief what a mess. Other than bringing in the experts on the drains and cables is there any possibility of directing the water away from the house before it comes in to join you? We had a similar situation dumping water into our furnace room. Husband and son dug some pretty extensive gravel filled ditches ( French drains??) luring the flow down and away from the house. It worked for the remaining 11 years we lived in the house including one weekend where we received 13 inches of rain. Darned labor intensive though and you would have to take a serious look at where to send the water.
If you continue without the promised computer; what if the BDH contacted the customer service dept.? All on one pre-planned day? Or is that simply too terrifying an idea? Sort of like loosing the Mongol Horde to buy groceries?
Have 3 hibiscus in hot sun in Florida which I kept in medium containers for about 4 or 5 years. the roots filled the entire containers to the point that there wasn’t enough soil to keep them healthy, But we were always on the brink of putting our house up for sale. Finally, we bought, sold, moved , yet again. They were so starved that I transplanted them right into the old flower bed last fall, so they were right by the sprinklers , using the soil mixed with plant food and Black Cow. I feed them quarterly with Miracle Grow.
They have turned into thick big bushes that are almost a hedge, at least double height and fullness.I keep pruning them when they become too leggy, and that sends the growth into making the structure strong, and the miracle grow keeps them thick with leaves and the blooms, which had shrunk in volume, are now huge. They like hot sun, food, and drink. Yours should do fine with same. Just keep them from becoming root bound. Keep any aphids off them with a solution of Castile soap and water.
Kristan Paige Hall says
Did you go to Dell? There are advantages to living in Austin. You could also use your pen name, cuz, you know, there are also advantages to being best-selling author lords. Just saying.
Mary K Johnson says
My husband is retired Army chaplain, and a Minister for Disciples of Christ Christian church, and has served at UCC church & other denominations as a chaplain. Served local congregations also. We have lived in Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, & Indiana, and he served a year at the Pentagon in Washington DC.
Danny Lim says
The best way to fill that hole is Plastic Roof Cement. It’s the black liquid asphalt that roofers use on the roof. Smoosh as much as you can on the hole, let it dry, and smoosh some more. If the hole is wet, you can use the wet patch kind. One gallon should be enough.
NOTE ONE: Not too sure if you would be interested but I just looked at Office Depot in New Braunfels and searched for in-store desktop stock and this popped: https://www.officedepot.com/catalog/search.do?Nty=1&Ntx=mode+matchpartialmax&Ntk=all&Ntt=desktops&N=5&cbxRefine=550456
NOTE TWO: As I was walking out of Home Depot gardening section here in Anaheim, I noticed a 6-inch pot containing a full-sized hibiscus flower. When I looked closer, I saw that its growing dimensions were 12-18″ x 12-18 ” and thought, “Wow. I could grow that in my garden.” Further searching makes it appear that its actually dimensions may be closer to 36″ x 36″. Something that may interest you: https://www.jberrynursery.com/portfolio/summer-spiceplum-flambe.
Good luck with the mint. I thought I was wisely planting our peppermint so it wouldn’t spread too far by cutting off the bottom of the pot before planting it to limit its spread. It was a nice thought while it lasted. After taking over the slope and threatening to choke out our citrus and pit-fruit trees, it only took three years of ripping it out and treating it like a weed to finally re-take our slope back. =P
Stay safe and all the best,
Lex Keating says
Sorry about all the crazy. I have no clever home suggestions, and I have killed 3 of my 5 plants in the last week.
But I’m very curious about the research involving a Methodist minister. The nature of the storyverse’s mythology suggests one of two issues: the relics or the minister’s magic. If it’s the relic(s), ohmygod did someone steal something from Aldersgate??? Because, according to how the Kate Daniels world works, that would have enough residual power to both function on its own magic and potentially draw from that nifty faith-based silver magic. (Unless one of the relics is part of the carriage that killed young Emory–which I can see the Molech demons turning to their own use.) If, on the other hand, it’s the minister’s magic, that is also an interesting can of worms. The KD world started earlier in the century than some of the recent UMC politics, but the basic divisions still provide options. Does the minister have magic of his own, or does he draw from all or part of his faith? The more progressive Methodist option would give him the freedom and space to function in his own magic and take care of the community, which is consistent with what we’ve seen in the story so far. But you two are very good at curve balls. 🙂 The conflict between the minister’s (potential) magic and conservative religious views is also interesting.
Take care of yourselves, your home, and your family. But this is **interesting**. 😀
I just discovered and read all of the Ryder stories. I just finished re-reading the Kate Daniels series, so this came as an awesome find! Thank you for making my stay at home a lot more fun! Now that I am done teaching for the year (8th grade English) I needed something fun to read! I can hardly wait for more to be posted.
I saw earlier you were looking for name ideas. I thought “Magic’s Daughter” might fit.
Thanks again for all of your writing, especially during this messed up time.
Sorry for the troubles. We may crave more stories,but are quite willing to wait for that gift while you deal with real world. Those wires will need to be repaired and moved, trench addressed,etc. But if you got an inspection prior to purchase,all costs may be covered by insurances. Not sure if prior homeowners are liable at all. But it shouldn’t hurt to check both options. If you have any spare time that is. (Sarcasm heavy in air) That situation is not only damaging but also dangerous. Electricity doesn’t play well with water.
Be well.stay safe. And may all your troubles be small ones.
We really can be patient. ???? lol many thanks. One of the hoard
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Ove T says
We’ll be patiently waiting for the next installment, and those who won’t wait patiently, well, they can find something else to do.
As for the cables and drain I think I’d encapsulate them by adding a small “box” of concrete around the cables, perhaps about 4 inches from the wall and same on the sides of the cables. That should leave the drainage ditch free to work and at the same time encapsulate the cables so they don’t get submerged anymore. Also silicone (waterproof ) and/or expandable foam from the inside as it then shouldn’t soak up the water. But…check with a professional – the tape on the cables was…interesting !
Property Brothers has the fix! (Seriously, though. You’re all famous, so …)