Some happier news:
My dad and I planted new grass over the whole place the weekend before last. It rained on the next two days, but every day after that I've watered everything by hand. It takes between 90 and 120 minutes every day :O
But it's working! Today I finally saw tiny sprouts popping up over much of the lawn. Now I don't mind the fresh air, but it's nice to know I haven't spent all that time for nothing.