Witchfinder tomorrow

I decided to do sheets while I wrote.  This is a good thing.  Our basement is flooded with sewage.  It was completely dry last night

To explain the back history — when we bought the house, they told us we would have to rotto-root every six months.  This was okay.  But the rotto rooting was always… weird.  They told us our lines were actually fine, but we kept flushing baby wipes.  Guys, when we moved here, the boys were 8 and twelve.

THEN about four years ago, the city came and fixed the drains on the street. They explained we had a community drain (like a party line) and that it was that part that was blocking.  Since they fixed it, we haven’t needed rotto rooting.  And it’s never been THIS bad.  It looks like it flooded to the door of the laundry room during the night (about 200 sq feet.)  We used to have a little backup, not sewage up to the door.  What it looks like is like the drain was COMPLETELY closed during the night and filled with not-our-sewage.  The neighbors across the street are making a new basement, and I wonder if they’ve done something particularly creative. The city is also doing SOMETHING on the other side of the street.  G-d knows what the heck is going on.

Of course, this always happens when I’m backed up on laundry, so Robert and I waded in — literally — to move aside baskets of dirty clothes.  Rotto rooter says they’ll be here within two hours.  If they can’t solve it I’m decamping to a hotel with the family for the duration and billing whoever is responsible.

Given this, I can’t concentrate to do Witchfinder.  I’m sure y’all will understand.  Right now I wish I could take a shower and change my clothes, but that will have to wait till this is fixed or we get somewhere else.

Sorry for the postponement.

UPDATE: The rotto rooter man hit the blockage at 150 feet, but nothing to justify complete block.  It still opened up.  He thinks it’s on the city junction (we almost don’t have a lot.  Handkerchief sized lawn, so unless the drain is laid out in spirals…  And we need to call Wastewater and get them out here to check.  Honestly, the basement has smelled like dead meat for a few days and I wonder if one of my neighbors is doing something funny or — the rotto rooter gentleman suggested — a squirrel died in the line. 

NOW I’m cleaning the entire house because, well… tracked all over, right?

GIVE ME YOUR OPINIONS: We’re now up to around 4k of unexpected expenses this month.  We already paid for Liberty Con flights for the entire family, so I can’t back out — and I’d like to see Jerry Pournelle again, anyway, as it’s been nine years. 

I could do Project Jump Start for 10k for The Brave And The Free but I’m afraid I’ll get like 1k.  …  At any rate that will take a while.   I’m going to open a zazzle and cafe press shop for my-stuff-related merchandise, but I don’t think that will be enough.

The other thing I could do is work through the weekend and put together a collection of DST- universe short stories and/or novellas (They need revising, mostly) and then offer them here for sale in e-arc format at $5 (Probably 40k words?)

Or I could do all of the above.  What do you guys think?  It’s just that at this point we’re eating into our tuition-money and I just want to cry.

72 responses to “Witchfinder tomorrow

  1. ppaulshoward

    Take care

  2. Is this where the inevitable onslaught of sheet puns commences? Well, sheet!

  3. Understand completely. Been a victim of a failed septic system myself. At least your stuff goes somewhere when it all works right; mine stays in my backyard.

  4. Sorry to hear this–I could hear my stumbling growling and my nose started to smell the sewage from your description. Ugh. Hope this go well today. Plus you don’t get any fancy diseases because of your neighbors and the city.

  5. masgramondou

    Well sheet happens. You have my sincere sympathy. The times when this kind of thing has happened to our house in France it’s always been outside the actual house except for a little seepage.

  6. *jaw hits floor* Yes, I think this qualifies as a life roll – get this straightened out, and yeah, I’d be too stressed out to be able to focus on anything else. What a pain! So sorry you had to wake up to this.

  7. Aw crap! You have my sympathies. I got to do the apartment bail out thanks to a Brillo ™ pad and lasagna chaser in the community garbage disposal / master drain. The overpressure then cracked a pipe farther up the system, so four months later, I’m moving into a hotel and having to clean everything in the apartment because of the 1) sewage 2) gypsum powder from cutting the walls 3) crud tracked in and out by the repair crew and 4) sand in the kitchen from the jackhammering, excavating and repairing part of the foundation to get at the problem.

  8. You sound busy. Would that there were ways to lift that burden from your shoulders… ;)

  9. adventuresfantastic

    Having dealt with plumbing problems, you have my deepest sympathies. Good luck with getting everything cleaned up and compensation from the responsible parties.

  10. Sometimes I wish I had a basement. Other times I am glad for the high water tables and occasional torrential rains that make them unwise around here. Good luck, Sarah! I hope _someone_ owns up to the blame, and the expense.

  11. scott2harrison

    Good luck indeed (after this you are due some). You might try going outside and hosing yourself down with the garden hose. At least it would get most of the crud off.

  12. Melvyn Barker

    Hope you get it fixed and cleaned up soon. I hate dealing with blocked sewage drains. The smell just seems to linger in my nose.

  13. That happened to us about fifteen years ago, only we had four inches of sewerage all over the basement. That flood is what cost me three autographed novels (including “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) and my high school yearbooks – all twelve years’ worth. We also have problems requiring the roto-rooters to come out at least once a year (maple trees in the front yard, one almost directly above the sewer line, planted by the city. They take NO responsibility, of course). We’ve since discovered “Rid-Root”, which kills tree roots in sewer lines. It’s not perfect, but it’s changed the time between clean-outs from once every three-four months to once a year.

  14. ew. I’d go with all of the above, unless of course there’s some kind of cost to setting those up that would make it inefficient. Much as I enjoy your site, I’ve never gotten around to reading your books, so maybe this would be a good time to go out and buy a couple.

  15. My vote – go for all of the above. Many money streams are good… I know what it feels like about not having enough money. I am in tooth territory the last few days and I run screaming when I look at the bills.

  16. *donates* *knows it’s not much, but hopes it’s a little help*

  17. New Writers: Very insecure, needing constant approval, but cannot afford therapy.

  18. When sewers go bad at my house, they empty out into a corner of the backyard. I am usually the last to know, and I only find out because Sad Dog turns into Happy Dog and really, really wants to go outside. When a stout, elderly beagle starts prancing, you know something’s wrong.

    I can at least lock Happy Dog into the garage and shovel the mulch clear. Your situation is much sheetier . . .

    • First thing we did was lock Havelock-cat up. He is VERY fuzzy. The basement door is normally kept closed, but I could see the rotto rooter gentleman (who truly was SO nice) letting him past. Havey’s hair absorbs dust and water and… it’s like a sponge! Imagine that. EW.

  19. EARC! And the kickstarter like preorders to.
    I’m not a knicknack person but if it won’t take long to setup, well its another income stream to merge into the bank account.

  20. BobtheRegisterredFool

    We understand. RL happens. Take the time you need to take.

  21. That much sewage in the basement would drive almost anyone to tears. :(

    I’d go with the novella/short story e-arcs for $5.00 idea. It seems as though it would take the least amount of your limited reserves (mental/emotional, I mean), and I for one would certainly buy in. Also, I know another author who’s writing short stories/novellas on her website (new stories from old worlds that she’s written), and it seems to work for her. I’ve bought several, which doesn’t mean much, of course, but she started it as an experiment and keeps writing them, so I’m guessing it’s proving to be worth her time and effort.

    For what little my advice is worth, but you did ask. ;) And you all have my deepest sympathy for the sewage problem.

    • That’s probably the first thing we’ll do — I can do it tomorrow and Sunday. THEN I’ll consider kickstarter — my problem with is that it’s too much like contract. So maybe I’ll just write novel and put it out. First I must finish novel for Baen, though — my last contract. I’d still like to give them another space opera this fall…

      • Space Opera Idea #1484c – A spaceship lands in Sidney, Australia. A bunch of spear-bearing, heavyset women wearing Viking helmets get off. They sing a long, trilling song in chorus and, and, just as they hit the final note, the planet explodes with an Earth-shattering kaboom. Probably to clear someone’s view of Venus…

        • You’re not talking about my family are you???? looking at Scott suspiciously (a hidden Viking helmet in my closet)

          • Australia. Kate’s family. (RUNS.)

            • Apart from the “heavyset” part, this could be one of my sisters. Seriously. Six foot blond viking.

              Sydney is old stomping grounds, too. We used to live in Newcastle (about 60 mile north direct, 100 miles by road) and regular day trips were common.

              You’re not allowed to explode Sydney. Canberra, feel free to make the crater as deep and wide as you feel like.

              • We had a handful of RAAF types working across the hall from us in Vietnam. Went down to their reconnaissance base (Woomera?) for a three-day “meet and greet” in 1971. We flew over Alice Springs on the way in. I’m sure that if you blew up that town, most of Australia wouldn’t notice…

                • Woomera or the Alice, probably most people wouldn’t notice, although with Alice Springs, you wouldn’t want to get too close to Ayers Rock – that would upset a few people.

  22. On fund-raising proposals … well, at the moment my cash flow resembles your sewer line as of this morning, and we can’t tell when we’ll get the dead squirrel cleared. Five on an e-arc collection of shorts I can do — that’s couch cushion money.

    Am I the only one who thinks “e-arc” sounds like the battle cry of a character from the old Steed & Peel Avengers episode: The Winged Avenger?

    • On fund-raising proposals … well, at the moment my cash flow resembles your sewer line as of this morning”

      If you have so much money that it is filling the laundry room in your basement, I wanna come visit you :)

    • Yeah, I have the same problem with cash flow just now. I should — prays — get money for A FEW Good Men in soon. That will keep us from actually submerging, so to put it. Then there’s finishing Noah’s boy so I can get that money. I won’t do The Shakespeare Gambit for a little while, because — this is horrible — I’ve already been paid for it years ago, and it’s nto on the schedule. Toni told me I didn’t have to do it, I feel I have to, so I will, but meanwhile I’ll try to do stuff that brings in cash FIRST

  23. I’ll vote for the e-arc shorts. And if kickstarters are one method of financing you’ve been meaning to look into, this seems like a good time to start.

    Means other than writing? You’re editing for NRP? So probably sick of that. Design covers? Dog knows mine tend toward ugleeee.

    And everyone who donates to support the blog, this sounds like a good time to do the annual donation.

    • I CAN edit. I can’t copy edit. But I hate editing,w hich is why I keep putting it off. It requires MORE concentration, if that makes sense. I CAN do covers, but what the heck does one CHARGE for a cover?
      Kickstarter… I’m of two minds… I need money NOW and that would help. OTOH again, I don’t know if my fans are the sort to go for it. And yet again, I hate being obligated to write something at a certain time. I did it too many years. So… Maybe I’ll just do e arcs and write fast? (I might be insane.)

      • Depends on the artist. http://haikujaguar.livejournal.com/999976.html has a bunch of artists with their rates. (I’ve paid between “I will throw money at you, dammit, so don’t dodge!”, $45 or so, and $560 (for a pair of covers).

        You might consider, rather than kickstarting for new material, bringing old material out with various bells and whistles… E.g.,

        $5: Ebook stories X, Y, and Z (already created)

        $10: add Ebooks Q, R, and S. (already created)

        $15: add a signed photograph of the author.

        $50: add a CreateSpace-printed anthology, signed by the author.

        $450: all this, and third choice of the original of one of the covers
        $475: all this, and second choice of the original of one of the covers.
        $500: all this, and first choice of the original of one of the covers.

        Remember, for anything physical, have an additional prize category that includes shipping outside the US! Trust me on this; a friend had to eat international shipping ’cause she didn’t think of this.

      • Free-range Oyster

        @Sarah: Related email is floating your way, when you have time to check your inbox. :)

      • I understand about being sick of editing! How about putting a collection of your “How to write” blogs up on Kindle?

        It’s the “fast” part of the problem that limits the choices.

  24. Wow. Does everybody in Colorado have this happen multiple times? (At another house the Hoyts had similar flooding.) I’m sorry to hear that. Call me if you need any hauling or bailing type help. And the ARCs and Goodwills often have high-top rubber boots that don’t have zippers or such to leak. Darn, at the bookstore we sold that old set of fishing waders we had lying around.

    • The house is clean, the problem is solved. Seems to be the city. Actually, Charles, this happened at EVERY house we’ve lived in except Charlotte, which didn’t have a basement. I’m starting to think it’s a curse.

      • Not a curse, you just stated the problem, it has a basement. Every house I have been around with a basement, has at some point flooded, either with sewage or with groundwater.

        • Ours had some very minor water from the humidifier pump going out of whack, once. Of course, we’re on a hill, on a granite ledge; they had to blast the basement out of ancient stone.

          • we managed a basement flood in those circumstances. Some joker — I wish I were joking — had rigged our sewer with an holding tank in the basement. Last house. No, we can’t even imagine why, but er…stuff… was stored in a vat before flowing out. I’m going to guess it was something having to do with sewers in the nineteenth century when that house was built. Perhaps the sewer pipes were tiny or something? Anyway… So…. Dan and I were in the kitchen, out fifth? year there. He’d taken the kids to (elementary) school, and for some reason he was staying at home — I think we were going shopping for something? — so we were sitting down to breakfast, when we heard this “Woosh” sound. The tank — of nineteenth century vintage — had corroded enough that… yep. Sewage. And the tank was ABOVE in the crawl space. we lost boxes of books, our luggage, the kids’ store rocking horse… pretty much anything that couldn’t be immersed in bleach. On the good side, after we re-routed the drain WITHOUT the holding tank, the basement was far more wholesome and pleasant, but THAT sewage back up NEEDED the disaster recovery people and it took days to fix (not counting the fans to dry it.) We had to relocate to a hotel for the duration.

  25. Oh, good. The city confesses? Good. I think it’s a variation of the “In NC no one knows how to deal with snow, in CO no one knows how to deal with rain” issue. Very few people in Piedmont North Carolina have basements, because they would be below the water table.

  26. Decide which is easiest for you – and let those who wish pay in advance or preorder.
    It’s not like you do this all the time! Besides, you write very humorously about it. Here’s an easy extra idea: take your description, and push it to extremes (for max amusing effect) – put it right next to the donate button.
    Now, if you could just figure out how to add to the humor and the horror by adding SMELL for Internet.
    Ack.
    Loved the part about the cat.

  27. Dorothy Grant

    If you put the Earc up, I’ll buy it.

    Good luck keeping the cat out of where she really ought not to be: I think Murphy is not only the minor subdeity of misfortune, but he has a special affinity for cats. and plumbing.

    • Dorothy Grant

      Argh. good luck keeping the cat out of where he ought not to be, I mean. I intended no implication of gender-mischief on the part of your cat. Any other sort of mischief…well… you named him Havelock!

      I assume the Earc would be here on your blog, not NRP, given you’d like the money sooner and they pay quarterly?

      • Yeah, it would be here. I’ll see if I can put it up next week. First I have to look at the stories I have and see which will take LESS work to fix. (Well, they’re 15 years old.)

        Well… How do I put this delicately? Havelock and Euclid are… uh… Very special friends. So, your mis-gendering wasn’t totally awry. :D (even our vet was forced to admit that while lots of things might be “dominance behavior” mutual oral with kitty-sounds-of-pleasure is something else.)

        We did manage to keep him out. Truly, the others were a problem, but Havey of the sponge-fur was a nightmare.

        • I… have seen male cats amuse themselves, and I have seen a neutered male allow himself to be “nursed” by kittens their mother was weaning, but I have never seen cats, er, 69.

          That’s kind of awesome of them, really.

          I’m glad you didn’t wind up with a sewageHavey!

          • Back when I had an agent I was once on the phone with her and the cats were so distracting I threw a pillow at them (the office is half the bedroom) and screamed “no 69 on my bed.” There was this long silence, and then my then-agent said “beg your pardon?” I don’t know if she ever believed my explanation.

  28. I’m nearly done paying off my Christmas debt, so I can certainly afford to splurge on some of your works. I *was* holding off for A Few Good Men (I’m guessing it was “it’s going to take me a few months to pay this off so maybe it’ll be published by the time all of my money is mine again”), but I’m happy to try just about anything you point me at. :) I’d guess I could head to Amazon and figure out which ones of yours are up there self-published, or just wait for you to post about something new – whichever will help you out better. :)

    • well, of the traditionally published ones I get… 8% and it takes a long time — eh. You can wait for A Few Good Men if you wish. My problem with financials is the last two years of almost-no-income and this year when everything imaginable has decided to break. I guess this makes sense, since I’ve been deferring maintenance for a while, but…

  29. Sewage has yet to be a problem for me — I just want to know what congenital-mental-defective has designed *every* apartment I have ever lived in such that a water leak in the unit above me fed straight into the nearest lighting fixture….

    And the less said about the port-o-castles on the fourth day of a four-day chili cookoff… in the Los Angeles basin… in July….

    • oh, yes, on the apartment. Both our first two apartments developed leaks and mildew. Maybe I angered the water gods in a past life? :-P
      I’m more likely to go the Pol Anderson Operation Chaos route: WHO charmed a water elemental to follow me around wreaking havoc?

    • Mike Holmes, the most trusted person in Canada, has shows where he goes in and fixes up people’s houses after they bought them when a home inspector said they were hunky-dory and in fact were deathtraps.

      I love his shows but I can’t watch them too often because I get to the point where I’m afraid to flip a light switch for fear the house will explode. And I may NEVER be able to buy another house.

      I literally don’t understand how houses don’t kill people every damn day. Example: One house had a copper gas line (since when do they do that anyway?) which was in contact with a steel HVAC duct. “AHA,” shout the nerds in the audience. “Dissimilar metals touching each other is a Bad Thing.” And they are right. Eventually the two lines would have corroded to the point where gas was feeding into the HVAC duct.

      Mike then pointed out what would happen:

      1) Gas fills ductwork of entire house.
      2) Gas eventually reaches ignition density in ductwork. (Gas has to be in a certain concentration to ignite. Too little, and it won’t sustain the reaction. Too much, and it won’t burn for lack of sufficient oxygen.)
      3) Gas is ignited by pilot light of furnace.
      4) Entire house becomes a fuel-air bomb. Gas will burn just fine at lower densities. It just won’t ignite. Provide the initial ignition and the technical term for what happens is “ka-boom.”

      Quoth Mr. Holmes: “I couldn’t think of a better way to destroy a house if I tried. Not without dynamite. And this idiot did it without even realizing.”

      • I love Mike Holmes and his crew. The wife and I watched about 2 season’s worth of his shows taking notes (and ordering his book from Amazon.ca) before going house hunting in 2009. We spotted a couple of places that were obviously lipstick jobs when you knew what to look for and a couple that were just scary even though the online photos had been good.

        We still enjoy watching his show in the same way you watch Train Wrecks and other Disasters. We start checking off the major categories of problems and the homes that make it onto his show usually hit at least 5 of the 9 categories. 1) Plumbing 2) Electrical 3) Structural 4) Roof/attic 5) Foundation/drainage 6) Insects/Vermin 7) Asbestos 8) HVAC.9) Mold

  30. Melvyn Barker

    I’ll happily subscribe to the Earc and the kick-starter thing, or whatever will get me more of your writing.

  31. And this isn’t the time to be squeamish, about kitties, sewage, or publicity. Whatever you decide to do, hit up Instapundit for a mention.

  32. It might just be time to have that book sale you mentioned, especially if you could get Glenn to mention it… 8^) I don’t know when LibertyCon is, but hopefully I can scrape together a few $$ before then to help you out.

  33. Hey, I’ll gladly rent you a front lawn in exchange for a used copy of “Darkship Thieves”… 8^)