Thursday, January 17, 2013
Easy Steps to Create Your Very Own Moat™
Part II - Summer 2005
For the uninitiated, I posted about our foundation woes in what was supposed to become a three-part series, covering the three summers it took Eric to restore our1850's field-stone foundation.
Somehow, in the midst of our on-going and never-ending renovations, the CD with photographic evidence was misplaced, a common occurrence in our somewhat disheveled environs.
Alas, said CD was found and duly loaded onto my laptop for several months now. (Who am I kidding? It's probably been over a year. I'm time-challenged because I need to be. It's a survival skill I've carefully developed to keep my sanity in check). From there, the photos have been mocking me, begging me to finally complete the mini-series that the foundation repairs became in our lives. It's not a place I return to happily, but if this helps but one soul, my post is worth my time and effort.
Given the amount of people who find this blog by searching "french drain" and "how do I repair my field-stone foundation?", I thought it would be best to put a bit of effort into completing my little tome, lest I let any delusional and like-minded soul down. For what it's worth, I pity and admire you, rolled into one happy emotion, the kind that makes you shudder and smile at the same time. You poor, poor fool.
So, pull up a chair (hell, pour yourself a drink), read Part I from 2008 (no, I don't procrastinate much, why do you ask?), and hang on for the rest of the ride:
During the summer of 2004, Eric brazenly and optimistically excavated two of three sides of our summer kitchen, as well as the 32' that make up the back-side of our house. We dug, we drained, we repaired, we waterproofed and we insulated. It was back-breaking, never-ending and thankless. When everything was back-filled, you couldn't even tell what we accomplished.
I use the "Royal We" throughout, but it was Eric, of course, who bore the brunt of the work, and I simply as chronicler, and hose-wielder, and gofer and tool-washer and convivial cohort who knew just when to bring out another glass of water, before Eric slid into a dehydration-induced stupor from wearing the fishing pants above.
When summer 2005 rolled around, Eric excavated the third side of the summer kitchen, as well as the western side of the house.
I never thought that being a rock-fetcher could provide me with hours and hours of entertainment like it did. I'd run back to Eric like a hyper Labrador bringing back a stick during a rousing game of fetch. If my rock didn't meet regulatory approval, I'd hang my head, dejected, and go and look for a better one. If on my third try I came up empty, it would be at this point my pout would turn to anger, and epithets like "go find your own @#$|%&* rock" would be hurled in Eric's general direction. I'm congenial and patient like that.
Eric developed a patented wash-and-rinse method of removing the old crumbling mortar and loose rocks with a garden hose. This method proved effective but messy. It's also the reason the fishing pants were necessary, and scenes like below part of our routine scenery for months on end:
Eric also developed a technique of ensuring the mortar reached its intended rock. You have to understand that our foundation is about 4 to 5' or well over one metre in depth. The best way Eric managed to get the mortar to fill the gaps between his pet rocks was by forming a baseball-sized ball of mortar in his hands, winding up, and throwing a fast-ball into the hole. While I'm sure the stone-masons among you shudder, this technique proved to be the most effective way. He build up layer of rock and mortar this way, restoring things to their original state. Unorthodox, but it worked.
Eric works in a profession where time is money - lots of money. This is how I found myself, clutching my leg, furtively packing Eric's suitcase while Eric ran into the shower, and (gasp) driving with him to the airport to save him the time it would take him to park his car. (The things I do for this man, you have no clue). I still remember trying to staunch the impressive flow of blood as I had my leg up on the dashboard, and the looks of by-standers as Eric jumped out at the terminal, me taking his place behind the wheel, all the while looking like a major-crime victim in my blood-soaked jeans. One of those star-studded Moments in Home Renovation that simply leaves you shaking your head in recollection.
We created a level base for the french drain:
It's at this juncture that I realise I don't have any photos to show exactly how we finished insulating or waterproofing this part of the foundation. It's also the point where I realize unless a day held 30 hours, (like I believe they do), this post is going to be part of a multi-multi-part series. If that weren't enough, Blogger is giving me fits tonight and not allowing me to save my work at regular intervals.
Lest my work get lost in the shuffle, I'm posting this now for internet posterity, and promise to come up with part 2-B in under 4 years.