Sunday, March 21, 2010

But what about the basement?

So now you know all about me, but what about Amy's question - "which half of the basement is flooding?" By this, she is asking, is it the nice concrete part or the filthy muddy part?

Well, we've come a long way since Amy saw the basement in November. Here's what it looked like in November (and also for its previous 60 years of its existence):
The good folks who built the house apparently got tired halfway through the basement and decided to leave half of it a muddy mess. We spent most of a year, and all of last summer, me digging and E. and the kids dragging the dirt out in buckets, before we fully understood why the original builders didn't finish the job. After removing a thousand or so buckets of dirt we found immovable ledge (solid bedrock granite, higher than the floor. Here's a picture of the pile of dirt we made in the backyard (it's still there):
We all but lost hope after finding the ledge. We brought in a couple of local ledge removal experts (there are a lot of them in this town), who refused to touch it ("I don't have enough insurance" "You'll bring the house down if you try). Finally, we hooked up with Tom Hill and his Sons, masters of concrete and masonry. Eleven cubic feet of concrete later (for those who don't know, that's A LOT of concrete), we had three 12' x 12' "steps" in the basement, where the muddy ledge used to be:
M. and I built 2' x 20' shelves all along the edge of the giant steps as shown below:
and, Voila!, now we have a basement clean enough for a ping pong table and with lots of shelf space. Behind the shelves, the headroom is a progressively limited, but we have plenty of (dry?) storage for all the crap that used to be all over the basement (thus making more room for the pingpong table):
So, finally, to Amy's question...
We used to have a bipolar basement - one side was nice dry-as-a-bone concrete and the other side was a filthy muddy mess. Now, the water comes in (where apparently it came in all along) but, instead of soaking into the mud, it now runs across the nice new concrete and floods the entire basement.

The best laid plans of mice and men...

p.s. A. beat me at pingpong this week.