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18 January 2006 — Fixing a Hole (2)
I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in, and stops my mind from wandering... — The Beatles

Kris and I spent the weekend battening down the hatches at Rosings Park. The flooding in the cellar is under control and we've begun focusing on the leaky roof.

In the basement, the sump pump now works. We've seated it in its hole, have jury-rigged the plunger, and everything seems fine. (For a while after we'd "fixed" the automatic switch, the plunger would occasionally fall cockeyed, failing to shut off the switch. This is bad as it caused the pump to run constantly. Nothing a little twine couldn't handle.)

Leaving nothing to chance, we've purchased about a billion feet of black plastic sewer pipe (the kind that coils — sort of). We have twenty-five feet of pipe draining from the sump pump down the hill toward the garden. We have another twenty-five feet draining from the back corner of the house toward the locust. We have twenty feet of pipe draining from the back porch to the lawn. And we have fifty feet of pipe draining from the kitchen toward the workshop.

"Good grief," said Dave when he saw our handiwork. "You're serious about keeping the water away from the foundation, aren't you?" The only drawback is that the sewer pipe is ugly. Fortunately, it's a seasonal thing. (And perhaps with advice from Craig and Jeremy I'll get some sort of drainage constructed around the house. Then the black sewer pipe can go away forever.)

Dave and spent some time Sunday exploring the leak in the roof. We tore down a piece of the ceiling and peeked into the attic. (And boy did we get lucky: the small chunk we chose to tear off was the only piece that would have worked. Every other piece is blocked by a layer of planking. The piece we tore off had no planking above it.)


Our visual observations revealed several large wet spots, and lots of mold. However our tests with a water hose only revealed a single leak (at the vent, as I had expected). I gunked things up as best I could, but when it rained on Monday evening, it was clear I'd not succeeded. The leak in the vent was reduced, but not eliminated. Worse, water was seeping in heavily from someplace high on the roofline, someplace I could not see. (The photo above not only shows some of our knob-and-tube wiring, but also the leaky vent. The problem exists where the topmost plank intersects the vent.)

Our "attic" is divided into three sections (though we did not know this until we tore open the hole). One section shows no signs of leakage. The section we opened, which was too small for us to crawl inside, had some minor leakage. However, most of the trouble seems to be coming from the third attic section, the section above the spare room. Unfortunately, we can't see inside very well. Below is a photo of this third attic space that we cannot access: I held the camera at arm's length and shot randomly. Though it may be too small to see in this image, a dowel is present in the center of the shot.


We drilled a hole and thrust the dowel up into the insulation. Unfotunately, we could not see it from our access point. On Monday I tried to pull the dowel out, but it was stuck. It took all my weight to loosen it. It was soaked with water, and the wood had swollen. Sounds like confirmation of a leak.

Kris and I have agreed that we'll cut a larger hole above the spare room, creating a permanent access point. (How exactly we'll do this is still unknown.) With luck, this will allow us to locate the leaks so that they can be repaired.


After Dave left on Sunday, I had a huge mess to clean up. Rather than carry all the tools out to the garage, I put them in the guest room for future use. Later, I noticed that one of our cats was missing. "Have you seen Simon?" I asked Kris. She had not.

Then, coming out of the computer room, I saw him peeking down. He had climbed the ladder to the attic and was now peering at me with wide, glowing eyes. How I wished my camera was with me! I retrieved the ladder and Simon climbed down. Now the ladder is standing in the hall (though out of reach of the hole), and Simon amuses himself by climbing up and down. (Remember: he's been doing this since he was a kitten.)


One final anecdote: I got up this morning at 5:10 and surfed for a bit on the computer. Kris stayed in bed. After a few minutes I heard her groan, "Stop it Toto. Stop it."

"What's she doing?" I asked.

"Banging the picture," she said.

When Toto has decided that you've stayed in bed too long, she has two techniques for waking you up: she can paw paw paw your chin, or she can pull a picture from the wall and let it thump thump when she releases it. Both are annoying. This morning, she banged the picture. Meanwhile, Nemo was in the hallway, flailing at a toy mouse, scrabble scrabbling across the floor. And Simon? Simon had climbed his ladder and was making claw claw claw sounds of his own. Five-thirty in the morning and all three cats were engaged in noisy mischief.

On this day at foldedspace.org

2007Site Statistics   In which I share traffic numbers for my sites.

2005Living with Rain   In which PB wonders about strategies for coping with Oregon winters.

2004Only I Have the Power to Absorb All Data   In which my new Powermac G5 is gradually absorbing all of my existing data: music, photos, documents, etc.

2003What If?   In which I imagine a group weblog written with all my friends. In which Simon watches the neighbor dog?


Comments
On 18 January 2006 (04:43 PM), Tiffany said:

Let me know if you need an extra set of hands for any of these projects. :)


On 18 January 2006 (10:09 PM), J.D. said:

Notes to future self:

Just now, as we pulled up after a fine meal with Lisa and Craig, we bumped into the house's former owner. He was able to confirm that the concrete wall in the basement (and, presumably, the floor) was erected about twenty or twenty-five years ago, which is the same time the sump pump was installed. However, the pump really hadn't been needed over the past decade because the water level had become less of an issue.

He also noted that walking on the flat roof is a Bad Idea. When the roofers put it in in 2003, they recommended applying as little pressure as possible to it. This means I really need to restrict how much I'm getting up there to walk around.


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