This process has been so slow, but on Friday, they finally started doing some building! The first part of the week was spent with more excavating. Digging takes a long time, but it isn’t very exciting in pictures. They worked on Monday and Tuesday, even though it was very wet. They had to remove water from the area with buckets before they could work one morning. On Wednesday, they dug the footers (it looked like a moat around the remaining dirt).
Thursday afternoon, they poured the (concrete) footers. The boys and I were gone for a couple of hours in the afternoon and happened to miss this part, which was sad. Footers are exciting because they are the first step towards something being built instead of torn down or just moved around.
Friday morning was a flurry of activity, when I think I counted ten men here at one point. There were five guys from the masonry company, two surveyors, and three guys from our contractor. We think they were doing a “footing inspection” to make sure everything was how it should be (level and staying within the zoning setbacks) before moving forward.
Then the really exciting part started as they prepared to build with concrete blocks. They started with the blocks Peter got a couple of weeks ago and then used multiple pallets of blocks they brought in. It was fascinating to watch, and I had a hard time tearing myself away from the window.
I watched as they built part of our basement wall block by block. I was happy to see them checking each block with two different levels, on all sides, to be sure that each one was level. By the end of the day, they had more than a quarter of the block basement walls complete (part of the basement walls will be concrete blocks and the rest will be wood framing).
One of our workers thought they might be done with the blocks by the end of Monday. I think the process will move much faster now that they are building, and it should be even more exciting to watch. Of course, there will probably also still be some setbacks that slow things down (holidays… blizzards… why did we do this over the winter again?).
This weekend, Peter has been removing old ductwork from the crawlspace. We will be putting in a new heat pump and are putting in all new ductwork as well. The old ductwork had some holes in it, was very dirty inside, and Peter found a number of dead camel crickets inside the old ducts (reinforcing the decision to replace the ductwork). Peter also stuffed some insulation in the vents, to reduce the amount of cold air coming into our house.
A bonus story for you: one day this week, the workers removed the jacks that held up the house, leaving only the big temporary beams. That evening, we were eating dinner in our ditchen when there was a really loud pop, and the house vibrated. The workers were gone for the day, so we could not blame the sound on them. We were sure that it had something to do with the construction and that our house might possibly be falling down (either that or it had been a gunshot pretty close to our back yard). We went upstairs to the one window that looks out back, but couldn’t see anything because it was dark. Peter was putting his jacket on to go outside and see what he could find out when our neighbor appeared at the door. He asked if we had heard the loud pop. We told him that we had, and he somewhat sheepishly explained that years ago, a friend had given him some small fireworks. He had decided to pull them out and use them that night, but did not expect it to be so loud and powerful. He said he was going to go soak the rest in water and throw them away. We were grateful that he had come over to explain; otherwise, we probably would have worried all evening that a support beam had cracked.