Friday, June 13, 2008

Guest Friday

Well, I swore up and down to my friends that I would never do this, but here I am, writing a post. Since it's not my blog, I guess it doesn't really count, but try telling that to my friends. Mom figured since this post is about the adventures of the C/W clan, we might as well get the whole family in on it. Open-Mic Fridays, so to speak. And the first joker up is...D! As a matter of fact, that's me in the white shirt, swinging' the mattock. By now you probably know all about the condition of the house on the inside and some of the out, but I'll give you a brief run-through anyway.
While the foundation of the main house is solid and not going anywhere, the addition is a whole different story. The foundation consists basically of three layers of decent-sized rocks laid in the ground and then a substantial oak beam laid atop them. (roughly the same size as the ones holding up all our floors) While I will give the builders credit for doing this entire house with nothing but strong backs and hand tools (no cordless drills!) that was not their smartest decision. The beam has been exposed to the weather for over 100 years, and has also been saturated for most of its life due to the lack of working gutters on most of the house. This means that the beam has deteriorated alot and now needs to be replaced. Since this family does not believe in sissy things such as backhoes that can do two days of work in roughly one hour, we decided to dig a ditch. We didn't really know what we were going to do yet, but obviously, if progress is going be made, a ditch must be dug.
So here's me and G doing what we do best, playing in the dirt. If any of you are familiar with the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou", we were swinging mattocks to the chain gang song, Lazarus. Not bad, once you know the words and get into the "swing" of things.
Before we can saw out the beam in sections and pour concrete, making a new foundation, we (meaning Dave, of course; we left all the thinking work to him) had to take out the old, rotten base plate (read: bottom board of a wall, to which all studs are attached) and replace it. So that means that Dave had to get in there and saw off the bottom of all the studs, chisel out the old base plate, then somehow get the new one in.

Swangin' and shov'lin', swangin' and shov'lin', thats what we do around here.

Dave getting the new base plate in. Apparently the house is only standing out of force of habit, because as soon as he took the base plate out, the wall sunk and he had to get the hydraulic jack out and push the wall back up to get the base plate in. And a sledgehammer, of course. Another one of our old standbys. We have a family saying, "If it doesn't' need a sledgehammer, it ain't worth doing." That goes for any tool requiring brute force, such as mattocks, sawzalls, and pry bars.

And the ditch (or trench, more like) is now finished. G's just cleaning it out, but it is now a mans' width wide and the requisite 32 inches deep. That doesn't sound like alot, but it is when it's by hand and in 90 degree weather.
So, now we have a good sized trench in which we will work hard, bracing up all the joists under the kitchen and utility room floors, and eventually (hopefully before someone important shows up to appraise or do insurance stuff) we will get a new beam in there, make some forms, and pour some concrete, thus making our house able to stand the next 200 years or so.
And for all you bemoaning the fact that this was our last ditch, take heart! We have to do the same exact thing to the other two sides, which means (you guessed it!) more ditches! I'm so excited, I just can't stand it....on the other hand, it's tradition. whoopee.

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