The Campsie Project

An account of the renovation of The Neglected House on the Wonderful Street in Wonderful Downtown Lexington, Kentucky.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Old-Fashioned Amish Basement-Lowering

(this was displaying funny on some computers, so I fiddled with it some. No new content, just easier to read! -- mick)

Well, well, well, we had ourselves a work party. It was just an amazing thing, I tellya.. The turnout! The tons of dirt moved! The incredible grime! And, oh, the friends who helped make it happen. Let's take a look back. In words and pictures! (photo link at the bottom)

Since before we bought the house, Saint Todd was preaching house-jackin, friends, house-jacking! See, we've had these, ah, foundation issues that we've known we were going to have to contend with. These are the kinds of things that led to the popular question You're not gonna BUY that house, are you?

And yes, we did, as you can plainly gather by this point.

But downstairs, all was not right, and we knew it. Or upstairs for that matter. Or outside. But it sure is a nice, um, street, friends!

The bottom line: we needed to excavate major dirt from the basement to get to the foundation walls so that the sill plate could be repaired in several places where terra-mites (as Lucy likes to say) had chewed it down. (Ancient history people! Don't Worry! TJ, the Insect Technologist was here!) Hence, the jacking.

But first, the digging!

This was not something that you particularly look forward to. Todd had two words to ease the pain: Work Party! Now, it's entirely possible that, based on my social history, there was a misunderstanding about what this meant. Traditionally, this would have meant "work," as in, working on making a cocktail or working on a new dance. So I must apologize to those who didn't realize that, this time, it meant "work," as in "hauling dirt." It's a mistake anyone could've made, right?

And so, with some reluctance and recalcitrance, we marked the calendar, and sent out emails to about 30 people. You know the kindóhardworking, guilt-able... your best friends. No, reallyóLucy and I had no idea who would possibly take this kind of bait. We offered food, beverages, shovels, gloves, dust masksÖ who would go for this sort of thing?

All I can say is: We were truly blessed by some fine fine friends on Sunday.

People started showing up at noon sharp, as requested and pretty much just started digging. I kid you not. And this basement of ours was quickly looking like some sort of World War II tunneling operation or Escape From Alcatraz.

Within minutes the air was thick with dust that we could've been on some archaeology expedition. And we were, a bit. Unearthed were many an antique bottle (see pictures), but thankfully no bones or other gruesome stuff. This was a plus as it kept any of our shovelers and bucketeers from running out in a tizz. Did I just mention bucketeers? Have I explained the procedure?

See it's like this, Indiana Jonesó

With the help of many kind and wonderful souls, we bucket-ferried about seven tons of dirt out of our basement. I am not kidding and I'm not lying. I can't think of all the people that get thanked, because I spent a lot of the time up in the dirt, like y'all did, but I'm gonna try: Meridith, Esther, Travis, Jennifer, Dave, Todd, JoAnn, Perrin, Melissa, Kate, Meridith (2 separate days!), Rona and Steve (for food), Loris (for food), Clark, Kenn, Phil, Diane, Double D, TT, Jamie, Josh, Jim, Sonya and if I forgot you and you're reading this, leave a comment and I'll correct that omission, because we're so very grateful!

Now, the pictures!


At 1:57 PM, Blogger Lori-Lyn said...

Wow. That was amazing. Those tiny hootch bottles are kool.


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