Friday, January 25, 2008


Behold the giant hunks of frozen earth - and this is the least frozen side of the house so what you are looking at is only 8" thick.

I cry Uncle. I give up. After our non-pass from the foundation inspector we had to get a soil engineer in to make a recommendation. The soil engineer came last Friday. He was dressed in penny loafers and a button down shirt and his wife was in the car waiting. He tip-toed around the area that was not muddy (uh, nowhere) said "you've got to get rid of the water" (uh, duh!), and was gone in 5 minutes. He was supposed to stay to meet with the county inspector but he was gone by the time the inspector arrived. On Tuesday we received his drawing. The plan called for digging a trench 8" below the bottom of the footing all around the exterior of the forms. Then we are to put a 4" layer of gravel, a 4" perforated drain pipe, and another layer of gravel. The point being that the ground water will drain into the gravel and pipe in the trench and be diverted around the house instead of sitting on the pad.

This plan is better than ripping out all the forms but worse than we had hoped for. The rain let up and we are now in a deep freeze. We rented a tractor to help dig through the frozen ground (thanks Grandpa!) thinking that one day should be good enough to get all the way around. Mother Nature had other plans. On day one of the rental Tom and Matt made it all the way along the west side of the house and partway along the north side of the house. Every foot things seemed to get worse. We revised the scope of work at the end of the first day. We thought if we could just get through the ice and finish up the north side until the thaw that would be good. We started up on the north side again this morning and didn't even make one foot of progress. The ground is frozen over 1 foot down and the tractor just couldn't pry anything loose.

So. I concede. I bend my knee in surrender. This foundation will not be poured anytime soon. We have done everything possible to appease the inspector and work around the slings and arrows Mother Nature is throwing at us. It is not enough. I am going to stop fighting and raging and just go with the flow. Otherwise I am going to burst something inside - either a vital organ or my emotional stability (which is already in question). The foundation will be done when it is done. The house will be done when it is done. My time line means nothing to the rain, mud and ice.

Digging on the west side of the house. This side was easiest because we had to dig down the farthest. We were able to get below the frost line and pry the frozen ground up. The rest of the perimeter was frozen down well below what needed digging out.

Matt working the tractor.

1 comment:

Pioneeress said...

So did the inspector have a pastel shirt? I can just picture it. How incredibly frustrating for you!Construction in the winter where they actually have winter is not going to be easy. Are you keeping warm in the meantime? Maybe it's time to take a trip to the Bahamas.