October 5th, 2016

krazy koati

And stops my mind from wandering

Building a channel under the basement floor was a good idea for handling water. The problem is it turns out we don't really have anything under the basement floor. The house, test drilling revealed, was built directly on sand, rather than on a couple-inches-thick base. That probably saved some construction time and isn't wrong per se by the lights of 1928, and that the house has withstood almost nine decades without serious issue again points out the builders knew what they were up to. But it did mean they couldn't build a water channel under the floor. There's nothing to channel in.

What they could do instead was put vinyl sheets up against the wall, building a gutter system inside the house. This would also require we get a second sump pump, as the basement's partitioned into two rooms and the floor, naturally, curves away from the dividing wall. So on the one hand, less digging into the floor was needed; on the other, a second sump pump system was needed. We went ahead with this slightly further crazy scheme.

They started work at a little after 8 am. I had volunteered to get up first (not easy at that hour) and let them in and be around in case they needed someone who could have problems explained to. The astounding thing is that even though they spent hours literally drilling holes into the foundation of the house, bunny_hugger wasn't woken up by this. It would make sense if I weren't woken. I'm a heavy sleeper. bunny_hugger is not. She's often woken up by the sound of dawn cracking. But she did sleep tolerably well through the first morning, and even the second day when they were wrapping up the work and testing that the water was draining through the vinyl gutters after all.

After that there was just one more nagging bit: getting new, dedicated lines running from the circuit breaker to the sump pumps. (If they pop we don't want other stuff taken out with them.) For an unexpected extra hassle that involved surprisingly little hassle; it's a refreshing change to have some home-repair thing done without trouble.

And then all there was to do was sit back and wait for a rainstorm and watch as our basement didn't turn into a damp, mildewy puddle! ... Which is probably why mid-Michigan didn't get any rain from the middle of July through the middle of September. I exaggerate a tiny bit. But we only had a few little storms, not enough to really test the system. Finally we got some real deluges in, the kind with all-day rains that in the past would see puddles produced inside.

Not so, now! The water seeps into our foundation and right back out again, to the sump pumps and from there to the shrubs out back.

There's a few tiny glitches, spots where a protruding bit from the fireplace vents or a hole in one of the basement windows lets water in. But that can't be held against the system and we're figuring how to fix that. Or just let it go, particularly the basement vents. After 88 years our house has shifted from ``having a Michigan basement'' to ``having a reasonably dry basement'', at least as long as the dehumidifier is working too.

Trivia: The transistors in MIT's experimental TX-0 computer of 1954 were made by Philco. Source: A History of Modern Computing, Paul E Ceruzzi.

Currently Reading: How The Post Office Created America: A History, Winifred Gallagher.

PS: How September 2016 Treated My Mathematics Blog, which was, pretty slow considering I left my blog to go fallow or something.