The World Needs Ditch Diggers Too

So I finally started my basement bathroom project this weekend.

About two years ago I finished my basement, making a play area for the kids, TV area and an area for the big kids (pool table, pinball machine, etc). Well, I also framed out a bathroom when I did this, but never got to it and lost the motivation to begin the project. For the past couple of years it’s been used as a closet. I’ve had to hear Mama Bear complain that the one bathroom in the house was not enough, despite my counter argument that the extra closet space was needed (Oh well, I tried).

In the recent months Mama Bear got quotes from area contractors and plumbers. The prices hovered around $10K. After seeing these prices we quickly got motivated to do this ourselves, but I was still not ready to start the project. However, my father-in-law came over with a concrete saw Saturday and I took the hint that it was time to start the project.

I also figured it would be best to capitalize on my father-in-law’s motivation. I’m not going to lie; he is the brains behind most of these projects. He is very handy and he gives me the confidence that I need that we can do it. We actually make a good team. Usually he hems and haws and is tentative to get going on something, and it takes me to start the project to kick start things.

For example, this weekend, even with my procrastination, he came over with the saw. He stood there and stared at the floor for a while, broke out the plumbing book and sat down. I just grabbed the saw and started cutting.

In case you were wondering, we are going with an up-flush system so we don’t have to cut the floor all the way across the house to the main septic line and get into that mess. The pump in the tank is often referred to as a “sausage grinder,” which totally grosses out Mama Bear so I try to say it as often as possible.

Mama Bear: “When are you going to start the bathroom?

Me: “You mean the one with the sausage grinder? Soon.”

Mama Bear: “Jackass.”

Another conversation.

Mama Bear: “We need another bathroom.”

Me: “I know. One with a sausage grinder.”

Mama Bear: “Jackass.”

Getting back on track (you’ll find I’m easily distracted), to start the project we cut a two-to-three foot square outside the bathroom in the unfinished part of the basement, creating a ton of dust and horrible fumes from the gas-run cutter. We then had to dig three feet down. As we got half way into it, we were wishing we had a few other people here to help. It gets tiring digging into the dirt below your house (it’s very hard by the way, harder than you think) and lugging up the dirt one 5-gallon bucket at a time up the stairs to dump outside, but it wasn’t the digging and hauling that was the worst.

Junior Bear and Cookie Bear were here (Mama Bear and Peanut Bear were having a special day at the spa). So we had the "help" of a 5-year-old and 3-year-old. You can imagine how that went.

“No you can’t dig.”

“Please get out of the hole!”

“Pleease stop dumping that dirt back in the hole!!!”

“Pleeease get out of the hole!!!”

“Pleeeease let go of the shovel!!!!”

“Pleeeeease get out of the hole!!!!!!”

“Pleeeeeease stop trying to jump on my back!!!!!”

“Pleeeeeeease get out of the hole!!!!!!!!”

Sunday got a little easier, but not much. Junior Bear got into watching Batman with Uncle, but Peanut Bear wanted to catch up on what she missed out on Saturday.

“Dad, can I get in the hole?"


“Dad, can I dig?”


“Dad, can I get in the hole?”


“Dad, can I use the shovel?”


“Dad, can I…”

(Thinking I can distract her) “Where’s your mother?”


“I think I hear her calling you.”

(Fast forward 30 seconds).

“Mom wasn’t calling me. Can I get in the hole?”

I think you get the idea.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the bathroom project.

PS - In case any Upper Moreland officials are reading this, we have a permit so no need to stop by and check. Thanks.

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