Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Adventure of Trying to Make Lemonade

   Life loves to deal in lemons, doesn’t it? Lately our crop of lemons came with owning a 70 year old home, which is why I haven’t blogged for a while. We keep on trying to make lemonade, but for some reason it continues to stay sour and holding too much moisture. You’d think moisture would be good in lemonade, but not particularly in this brand.
   Sooner or later you have to come to a point where the situation in your life must be laughed at. The problem with that is the folks around you start to wonder if you have indeed finally lost your marbles. I’ve been looking for mine, but they are rolling around well out of reach.
  The adventure of taking on a do-it-yourself  project on a very old home is so exciting as you wait for that proverbial can of worms to open up and they start crawling all over the place. I know for a fact that you cannot corral worms of this sort.
   We’ve been pretty happy with our 1940   *cough, snort*   gem of a home. Charming old place. Started out as a cabin in the early days as folks ventured into the foothills of Colorado.  Full of history, days of old, stories only the walls know. Ah, yes, charm - full of worms and lemons.
   A leak in our basement started out the delivery of a lemon. One simple little lemon. A little digging on the outside of the foundation, just a little ways down, really, maybe a foot and a half, brought the barrel full of lemons. A hole in the cinder block. Ah, no wonder we leaked. This was not good old dependable building grade cement block. Cinder! Weak, unpredictable, unstable blackened cinder block, called such because they use ash/cinder to mix in. Makes it lighter, easier to work with. So glad they didn’t have to work too hard. I was now determined to find all sources of this leak.
   Now, this wasn’t one of my brightest ideas since we were in the middle of monsoon season here in Colorado, but never the less, I needed to know. I’m a little stubborn that way. Okay, most ways.
   It’s kind of like when we explore Colorado. Out hiking all you can think is, “I just want to see what’s over that next hill.” Guess what? It’s another hill, then another, then another. At some point you have to turn back or become Jeremiah Johnson and live off the land.
   More holes appeared as we cleared the dirt. All different sizes. Some big enough for my hand.
   The lemon delivery was now up to dump truck size. As we maneuvered a back hoe into our small section of back yard, Ron dug and dug as far as the arm of the machine would reach. Then it was shovel time.

Here's the day I hurt my back. Wonder why?

   To shorten this story, (ha) he cleared the dirt (I hurt my back mixing cement. Apparently I needed a break. So my sour lemonade had already reached its limit on becoming sweet). All holes and gaps were filled with cement including sticking enough in the hole that it went down all nine levels of block to fill the inside of the cheap old cinder blocks.
   Then we power washed. Ha, you know what? That was such a bad idea. Cinder block doesn’t dry well. Or ever. Didn’t know that. So my hubby mixed up some Quikrete mortar and smeared a layer over the whole works. We were going to make sure it didn’t leak again. Guess what?? Moisture from our sour lemonade is leaching through the mortar layer for – oh- let’s guess about ten days now WITH a fan on it, so much moisture, we can’t put the tar layer on to keep future water out of the basement.
   To say the least, we have a large hole in our back yard that I’m pretty sure will be there forever. Someday, this is going in one of my books. It’s too good of a Laurel and Hardy routine or maybe Jackie Gleason and ol’ Ralph to pass up.
   I know what we'll do…a new swimming hole? I could raise chickens. They’d never get out of the hole. Ah, no wait…I’ve got it. I’m gonna plant me a lemon tree. I wonder if they grow at this elevation.

And hey, the basement wall didn't collapse. We found the problem before that could happen! Right? That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

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