Usually when I post about hot water it’s because I have found myself boiling in it… almost always through no fault of my own, of course. Today, of course, my post is a little more focused on actual, literal hot water… or more specifically the lack of it.
All the appliances here on the homestead are originals and put in place back in 2000. I know I can’t reasonably expect the average appliance to last much longer than that, though I’m eternally hopeful that they’ll actually last forever and spare me the expense and aggravation of replacing them. That hope, today, proved to be in vain. I’d seen the warning signs a few weeks ago in unexplained damp around the base of the water heater and again last week when it had gone from damp to wet in a few spots. I’d hoped I’d be able to nurse it along for at least a few more months – deferring the expense of the fix or repair as long as possible.
The steady stream flowing from the heater towards the sump pit this morning told me that my optimistic plan of deferred maintenance wasn’t going to be a thing we actually got to do. Now as a man who knows his own limitations, my next call was to the service outfit I use pretty exclusively for all the moving parts and plumbing around the house. There’s a premium to be paid, but they’ve never failed to show up as scheduled and fix the problem. It’s the kind of service I’m willing to pay the premium to get.
So now we’re part way there. By this time tomorrow all should be resolved even if my wallet will be significantly lighter for my troubles. The joy of home ownership is probably a real thing… but maybe more a real thing felt by those unburdened with the mechanics of paying the bills and keeping all the bits and pieces up and running.
1. Getting moist. It finally feels like I have a good handle on the major issues that led to the basement here at Fortress Jeff regularly taking on water both over and through the side. After a good day and night of hard rain those problems may not be completely resolved, but have diminished to the point where I’m not obsessing and losing sleep over them. Now that I’ve got the water directed away from the path of least resistance, of course, it has wasted no time seeking out the path of next least resistance. In this case that path seems to be the joint between the poured concrete floor and the cinder block basement walls. In a few spots it’s not exactly a puddle, but it’s definitely darkening due to the presence of water. It’s getting moist. As much as some of you hate that word, I hate the actual issue that much and more. I get the distinct impression that the basement is going to be the ongoing bane of my existence for the duration of our stay.
2. Celebrity opinion. Celebrities are entertaining, almost by definition. In some cases they’re even pleasant to look at. However, being eye candy doesn’t qualify one to have an opinion any more informed than the rest of us. That’s why I’m always vaguely perplexed when anyone points to the celebrity-of-the-day and makes life decisions based on their opinion. I look to my celebrities for their entertainment value. That’s their skill set. Some of them are whip smart of course, but that’s not generally my first consideration when deciding to follow them on Twitter.
3. Voicemail. Looking at my phone I currently have 17 voice mail messages that I haven’t listened to. I don’t intend to listen to them. I know why those callers called and I responded with the appropriate information in a timely manner. Why in 2016 do people insist on leaving voicemail? I see your number. I’ll call you back as soon as I’m free, willing, and able to do so… but you could have saved us all a lot of time if you had just sent me a text or email in the first place. Those I get to right away.
Today was largely the part of the project where we shatter the eggs in hopes of making an omelette at a later date. Lots of concrete came out. Lots of shrubbery went away. The air conditioner is, somewhat precariously, perched a foot higher waiting on the backfill to arrive tomorrow. The window well is cleaned out and ready to be reset. Basically three guys did in eight hours something that would have taken me three months to plow through a few hours at a time. Is it worth the cost? Probably. But that doesn’t make it any less humbling.
Tomorrow the real digging is going to start. Trenching will crisscross the yard in an effort to redirect every possible drop away from the house. Combined with the improved elevation that should theoretically resolve most of what ails this particular side of the house. For the time being I’ll be satisfied with that – even while knowing there’s at least that much work to do in the front at some point.
Still, I’m willing to call the first day a success… even if the actual heavy lifting is yet to come. All in the name of a dry basement.
I’ve been waiting on a good hard rain to get a look at how water flows around certain parts of the yard. That rain was delivered early this morning, so I missed the live show, but it left plenty of evidence for me to ponder when I got home after work. The bit of diversion I did in front seems to have done the trick. It’s not a permanent solution, but it bought time. My little back yard diversion worked as planned, but also revealed that water wasn’t just sloshing against the foundation and door sill from an ill-placed downspout. The sidewalk slab in that spot has subsided enough to channel some amount of water flowing off the hill and through my back yard. Even with how hard it rained last night it didn’t appear to be what anyone might call a flood, but there was enough residual water on the garage floor nine hours later to make it obvious that it was something more than a drip… and explains why that door and sill were rotted to the point of needing to be replaced before closing. Correcting the drainage situation in that part of the yard has definitely jumped up a few spots on my list of major projects to undertake.
I knew coming in that this was a “wet” lot and a damp area in general. From walking around I’d be willing to bet there’s more than one underground spring within a quarter mile of the house – probably far closer. The basement block is nicely coated with Drylok, which seems to have done a respectable job so far. The corners I was most worried about appeared to be dry this evening, although there was one unexpected spot on the basement slab where hydraulic pressure looked like it was doing its thing.
None of it is cause to make me want to dig out the back yard tomorrow, but nobody likes being in the wet spot so it’s something I’ll have to make right at some point sooner rather than later.
It’s only taken nine months to get this done, but I’m finally writing from the basement. It’s cool and is dark, and there are no annoying glares on the television screen. It’s possible that aside from cooking and sleeping and assorted other daily necessities, I may never leave again. That could be just because I’ve finally be reunited with my ratty old La-z-boy recliner. After collecting dust and dog hair for most of a year, I’m happy to say that it still fits like a glove… a fact that I proved by sleeping there for the better part of three hours after dinner last night.
I like to think there was something more exciting that basements and old furniture to this weekend, but unless you count yard work and early morning grocery shopping trips as excitement, that’s about as good as it gets. Now that the house is more or less how I want it (and I’ve made my peace with sticking around for a while), I suppose it’s getting to be about time to find something else to entertain myself with. Or I could just stick my nose in a book and continue ignoring whatever happens to be going on out there beyond the fence line. Yeah. It’s a pretty safe bet which one of those two things is going to happen.
It’s a little less moldy here at Casa de Jeff tonight. The mold remediation company was here today. They appear to have done all the right things so far. The offending drywall was cut out, fungicide was sprayed, and things are airing out as we speak. A cursory (and completely uneducated) look around doesn’t appear to show any mold intrusion into the wood. This is a good thing and makes me at least a little optimistic that soon the drywall will be back up and I’ll be able to finish shoving stuff around the basement and make it into something approaching usable space… or at least let it be halfway organized storage.
With starting back to work this week, I have to confess that I haven’t made any real progress on sprucing things up here or even putting much more away. That seems like something that’s going to be reduced to a box-at-a-time pace for the foreseeable future. I’d at least like to have everything upstairs finished. The basement can be out of site and out of mind almost indefinitely, but the real living space still needs some work. I should probably knock off the blogging and get back after it.