The New House

I'm really excited about moving on Wednesday, but I'm also shuddering at the sheer volume of work that needs to be done.  I feel like I just got one house into habitable condition where I feel comfortable that nothing needs immediate attention, maintenance-wise.  And now I'm stepping into a new place that has been seriously neglected for a decade and really needs some TLC- NOW. We had a basement flood right before final walk-through.  The sellers wouldn't give us anything to fix it.  We did have several days straight where it was raining almost constantly, so I didn't think too much of it.  The sellers assured us that once we cleaned out the gutters, water wouldn't pool around the foundation and seep into the basement.  They were BSing us.

We had a light rain on Saturday.  There was more water in the basement.  After taking a walk around the property with Craig, I've figured out a few of the reasons why.

First and foremost, whoever did the grading there should be dragged out behind the woodshed and shot.  The grade is pitched toward the house under the porch, the result of someone failing to do a rough grade before the builders started work on the porch.  We're going to have to bring several yards of fill in and have someone manually shovel it under the porch and rake it out.  The rest of the grading around the house is terrible - there are settled areas near the driveway where water is coming out of the gutters and pooling on the driveway next to the foundation.  There are other areas where water follows a series of little depressions from the lawn back toward the house.  Most of the gutters simply drop roof water right next to the foundation.  Until I fix this, I'm going to have moisture in the basement every time it rains.

The solution Craig recommended is to drop two drywells in on opposite sides of the house, and get some elephant trunk to direct the flow of water off the roof into the drywells.  He's also going to regrade things somewhat.  The fill we need for under the porch can come from the excavation for the drywells.

That's just one big problem that needs immediate attention.  There's a whole list of them:

  1. There are holly bushes growing on top of my central A/C units.  They need to come out.
  2. Speaking of the A/C, it's not working upstairs.  There's $3K in escrow to take care of that problem.
  3. There is a massive mosquito-breeding operation in the back yard, which used to be an above-ground pool.  I drained it.  There's a foot of decomposing leaves at the bottom.  I have to choose whether to try to salvage it until I can afford an inground pool, or have Craig demolish it and cart it off.
  4. The master bedroom and the bedroom in the basement REEK of smoke.
  5. About two dozen trees need to be transplanted or chopped up for firewood.
  6. The back yard fence is coming down.
  7. Nobody has raked leaves in a long time.  For a heavily-wooded lot, that's bad.  That leaf blower Lauren got me will get a huge workout this year.
  8. We need to finish getting rid of all the stuff the prior owners left behind.
  9. That includes the carpets they left in the basement, which are wet and mildewy.
  10. I need to clear out a spot for my vegetable garden.  Pronto.  Otherwise I'm going to have the world's largest container garden in a couple weeks.

Even though there's a lot of work, I'm still very excited.  We've managed to get a lot of work done on the rooms, including spackling and sanding the whole first floor.  We also totally finished (spackled, sanded, primed and painted) several rooms - the kitchen, the den, the dining room and Kate's room.

Oh, and we got a new lawn tractor.  Basically, there was no way I was going to mow an acre with a push mower and then go back to my old house and mow the lawn there.  I'd be doing nothing but cutting grass all weekend.  So we bought a Deere.  It's the LA175 model.  The story of how I got it is a long saga I'll tell another time, but once I got it home and started it up, Lauren came outside to tell me that she wanted to go to the new house to do some painting.  She asked me to put the tractor away and get ready, then she went inside to go use the restroom.  Instead of putting it away, I fired up that 54" cutting deck.  By the time she got back from the bathroom, the lawn was cut.  No kidding.  I cut the grass in about four minutes.

We're moving all our stuff Wednesday.  Should be an ordeal.