Archive for October 4th, 2008

10/3/08: It’s all shot

Word count: 126288 | Since last entry: -772

The bathroom remodel has been more than usually stressful today.

The plumbers came to unclog the basement drain. We knew it was bad, but it proved to be even worse than they’d thought. The drain pipe in the floor had completely disintegrated, which means that for the last no-one-knows-how-many years, every time we used the kitchen sink or dishwasher at least some of the wastewater went into the soil beneath the house rather than into the sewer as it was supposed to.

They had to jackhammer out six feet of rotten pipe from the basement floor, leaving an open a trench in our basement floor and dirt everywhere. They decided to leave it open until Monday so that the sodden dirt under the floor can dry out a little. Next week they’ll jackhammer out the remaining eighteen feet or so, then fill in the trench with concrete.

At least we can use our kitchen sink and dishwasher, though not the clothes washer, this weekend.

The few of you who have read the magic lesbian plumber story (which has now been at F&SF for over 40 days, which indicates they are at least giving it serious consideration… either that, or the rejection got lost in the mail) will be amused to know that the problematic basement drain is the same one that, right at the beginning of the story, has a nixie living in it.

One thing about remodeling a bathroom is that you get a real feeling for the bones, sinew, and nerves of your house. Also a real feeling that whoever did the plumbing for this place back in 1913 was an IDIOT! He had no sense of the fact that water is supposed to run DOWN and air UP, and a real tendency to cut through important structural elements of the house’s frame to make his plumbing life easier.

The other bathroom-related thing that happened today was that the plasterers came by to put on a second coat. But it’s been cold and rainy, and the first coat wasn’t nearly dry enough for them to do anything. So they’ll be back tomorrow (Saturday), and until then there’s been a constant roar of fans and space heaters in addition to the intermittent jackhammering.

I couldn’t concentrate too well today, for some reason, and wound up cutting less than 800 words. But more than the small number of words removed today, I’m concerned about the fact that I’m on page 245 of a 572-page manuscript and I’ve cut less than 3000 words in total. No way I’m going to cut 30,000 words at this pace… I might get 10,000 if I’m really ruthless. I’m either going to have to do a second and probably a third pass, cutting stuff I’d really rather keep, or go ahead and submit it at about 120,000 words. Currently I’m leaning toward the latter plan. We’ll see how far I get in this pass… maybe I’ll find a whole chapter that can be excised (though even that would only buy me 5000 or 6000 words.)