Saturday, January 22, 2011

Robb's Adventures Down Under (the house)

Today, I am resting after spending several hours yesterday doing various projects in our crawlspace. It's a challenging place to work in. If you were 5'3" you could easily stand up in the crawlspace at the front of our house. If you were 2'7" however, you would hurt your head if you tried it at the rear.

Whenever I go down there, I find myself just sitting and taking in the underpinnings, the wiring, the plumbing, etc. Usually, I'm marveling at the huge old-growth redwood timbers the house was constructed from. I try not to look too hard at the truly shoddy recent construction down there.

Things I learned under the house:

- If you dig a two-feet deep hole it will collect six inches of ground water.
- A lazy electrician spent some time down there about fifty years ago.
- The "Old Girl" has good bones.
- Walking in a crouch is nearly impossible for me unless I grab my pants leg by the knee and lift my legs one at a time.
- Unsupervised carpenters need supervising.
- I need to get a sump pump.
- I need a time machine so I can go back eighty years and get good, honest, durable materials and skilled, meticulous carpenters ( OK, maybe we just need to do a better job of finding them in the here-and-now).
- Emerging from a dark place, filthy and exhausted, having accomplished something, is extremely gratifying.


Stefaneener said...

And all those lessons from a trip to the crawlspace. Our house has good bones, but the old lady is objecting to the young'uns running around, I think.

Good house vibes coming your way.

Mel said...

I'm thinking about an older post from Lisa about discoveries under the house. I am grateful this post didn't contain any images that squick me out. You are an admirable person for braving the crawl space!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Robb neglected to mention the spider graveyard under our house.

Nor did he mention that a muddy cheap sweater is a great magnet for feral cats. Robb set the sweater he was wearing on our back railing, and Sleeves, one of the backyard kitties, took a carefully balanced nap on it. So cute!

greg said...

When you go back 80 years, take some modern wire, and a copy of the National Electrical Code with you. ;-)

Christine said...

What, no box filled with treasure down there?! Our house has had similar lazy improvements over the years. We refer to the responsible party as "Pappy" as in, "Oh, Pappy switched the ground and the hot in this electrical outlet that my table saw was running on for the last year." Oh, Pappy...

Anonymous said...

Ha! Welcome to the club of "filthy do-it-yerselfers" homeowners club!

I have advice for you- you don't have to get the most expensive sump pump. But DO get 2 of them. When during a terrible wet period ours had died and we were like "F**K!" because the entire basement was under like 4 inches of water and it was pouring in like an ocean thru a hole in the wall that recently opened up (Thanks, shit head neighbors illegally draining onto our property).
That was a bad, fear filled moment! But we realized my genius of a sister who we had bought the house from had a new one stored away on an upper shelf and we took out the old one, and slipped in the new one. It wasn't heavy, just awkward since we had never done it before- and in 20 minutes -NO LIE- that basement was pumped clean. So in conclusion, my theme of this story is "never underestimate the power of a spare". That is lesson number one. So when we went back to the store to buy a replacement for the replacement, they were sold out. Planning ahead will save your ass and your basement.
And then I took a shovel and went screaming over to my neighbors. Lesson number 2- Never underestimate the power of a crazed neighbor with a shovel.

And always supervise the workers- you are paying them to do a job-not have a "lets see what we can get away with" party under your house. Been there and seen that. You learn as you go-



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