Kenwood Update: Plumbing Stinks

If it seems quiet regarding the Kenwood house, that’s because it has been. Very quiet.

Why, you ask? Two words: Plumbing inspection. What do I mean, you ask? One word: Failed.

So, here’s what happened. First, in the City of Chicago, you need to allow a minimum of 2 weeks to schedule any inspection. The City will not even respond to your request for 4 days. The website will then tell you that they did not receive your online request while you are simultaneously getting 4 confirmation emails that your request has been received. The plumber came out quickly to install the rough-ins in the basement we’ve been digging out for over a week and was extremely efficient. Then the City responded and said they would be there…at the end of the following week. This wouldn’t have been a big deal except that with the basement dug out, the house is not structurally sound in some spots and I refuse to have laborers working upstairs in unsafe conditions. So, the house was empty for a full week.

Tick tock.


A week later, the plumbing inspector arrives – he looks at the rough-ins, approves them. Then, he looks at the rear exterior basement stairs and tells us that there has to be a metal railing. Fail. So we have to schedule another inspection and the cycle begins again.

img_0148(<——- My foot)

We officially have a big problem: cement.

Great news, construction is still booming in Chicago! TERRIBLE NEWS, construction is still booming in Chicago! We now have to delay our cement guys 2 weeks before Thanksgiving and – lo and behold – everyone is booked for a minimum of 3 weeks, some after Christmas. Remember what I said before? We cannot do any work until that basement is secured with cement.

My initial response: Beer and a shot. My eventual response: Let’s turn up the charm. While all of this is going on, there was a death of a close member of my family. So, Kenwood’s recovery was heavily placed on the shoulders of Robert and my investor…and they did beautifully. My investor convinced the plumbing inspectors’ office to allow us to take pictures of before and after since the major work was approved. This way we can move forward without waiting for another inspection. Robert not only convinced a cement sub-contractor to come out this week, he also negotiated down their premium (we still paid a premium, don’t get too excited). So, with only 3 more days of delay and $9,000.00, the cement truck arrived.


Annnnnnd, it was 24 degrees outside! When I pulled up to the house, Robert was assembling a 10-gallon heat generator, there were 2 cement trucks in the alley, and 5 laborers were already floating a portion of the basement. It was very loud. I was immediately yelled at to find a better “bad word” funnel for the “bad word” fuel tank in the “bad word” generator. I climbed in a dumpster and found the perfect plastic bottle to customize for our purpose. It worked…just as a garbage truck pulled up and laid on their horn for us to move. I schmoozed them into taking the other side of the alley.

Then, I got my very first construction task:


Plug in the extension cord! I totally rocked it…until we realized there was no power to the house because the electrician had been here a few weeks ago (remember?). We have to have heat blowing into the basement so the cement sets.


So, now I’m calling our neighbors to see if I can use their electricity, I’m calling our hardware store to see if they have an electric generator in stock, I’m staring back at Robert. My investor walks over and asks what the “bad word” this is:


Then, Robert points into the basement and says “Wait.” I bend down to see what he’s pointing at – and there it was. The cement guys were using a portable light in the basement. This said light was plugged in to an outlet in the house.



This was at lunchtime. At 7:45pm, the cement guys were packing up to leave.


Here’s to next week!





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