Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.

2/06/2007

CELLAR HELLER epilogue

Actually, looking around the basement, there’s not much more to add, photo-wise. The battery back-up--and let me tell you, that is one big-honkin’ battery--has been installed, so that’s ready to go. The cement is drying. All our crap is still stacked up, waiting to be, well, not exactly organized, but rather dispersed around the basement.

It’s going to take about a week for the cement to cure completely, so I think I’m just not going to go down there until then. And I encouraged my wife to (not) do the same. Because, well, honestly, because The Scientist has lost her mind regarding the basement. But wait, one more thing about the work in the basement before I cover my wife’s madness.

As part of the process, an inspector from the city had to check up on the job mid-way through. Now, I pretty much hate every single person who is in the employ of my city. Except the firefighters, because they were very nice to us when we showed up at the firehouse one day for an impromptu field trip with the girls.

And when I say “my city,” I don’t mean Cleveland; at least, not Cleveland proper. We live in a suburb on the east side (the, ahem, better side, if I may). The government of this particular suburb apparently believes in iron first rule, judging from various ridiculous city laws. Like, for example, if you leave your trash can out on the tree lawn after trash pickup, you’re subject to a $150 fine. For leaving your cans out! Or how about this one… my driveway was in violation because a couple of the slabs sunk, leaving an unacceptable gap of one-half of one inch. The city informed me that I have to fit it, toot-sweet, or they’d fine me bigtime. Never mind that the STREET is full of potholes that far exceed a ½-inch in depth. That’s right, a few feet from where my ½-inch deathtrap lie, there’s holes of six inches. So I need to fix my driveway RIGHT NOW, which the city can occasionally drive around and slap some asphalt in the holes, which inevitably cracks and works itself out a month later.

But I digress.

So the city guy shows up--hmm. One more thing about this particular inspector. We’ve been talking with him since we had the sewer line replaced.

He looked at our basement, and saw the water problems we were having. He’s the guy who told The Scientist “Y’know, this is an engineering problem with your back yard. You shouldn’t be responsible for other people’s water,” setting up the false hope that the city would actually do something about this “engineering problem.” Which, of course, they did not.

And this fucker backpedaled like crazy on that issue when I talked to him. Just as I expected, he gave me the “there’s ten thousand houses in the city, and if we did something for your property we’d have to do something for everyone’s property” and “a lot of people have it much worse than you” and blah, blah, blah.

He poked around in the basement, and asked me what I thought. “Me?” I said. “I don’t know anything about this stuff. I’d rather hear what you think.” And then he went into a lecture about how “if inspectors like me had our way, home owners would never put in basement systems like this” and “well, the system works, but it’s far from the best solution” and so on. His bottom line was that the right way to fix the problem is to dig up the yard all the way around the house and install new footers.

To which my thought was, “Well, no shit, buster.” The Scientist and I investigated that option, and the sad truth is that while it’s the better solution, it’s also tens of thousands of dollars, opposed to the low thousands that we’re paying for the in-basement thing. When I told him as much, he was quick to add that oh yes, he knew, he used to be a general contractor and realizes that it’s much more expensive that way and people do what we’re doing because of financial reasons and again, the system does work and y’know what? If you understand why we’re doing this maybe save the fifteen minute lecture about how we’re doing it all wrong, huh?

Add to it this gem: The Scientist was adamant about having a clear-out on the far end of the pipe. The guy selling us the system said we really didn’t need it, but if we wanted one, then no problem. I tended to believe the waterproofing guy, but I asked the inspector about it anyway.
ME: So, do we need a clear-out valve on the far end of the system?
HOME INSPECTOR: If you want one, just tell them.
ME: Well, I’m asking, in your experience, do we need one?
HI: Tell them to put one in, it’s no big deal.
Christ! Just answer my question! I ended up having them put in two clear-outs, one on each end, just to be safe. Do we really need them? I have no clue. The home inspector did nothing to alleviate my animosity toward city workers.

Okay, now. My wife’s craziness.

The basement is covered in tile. It’s not especially nice tile, it’s an ugly gray and many of the tiles are worn and cracked. When we were talking about the job with the waterproofing guy, The Scientist asked him if the crew would remove one tile away from the wall, or two tiles? Or maybe three? So it would be a consistent number around the entire basement wall? Would they save the tiles and put them back after they were done?

Her concern being that the floor would look bad with missing tiles. My thinking, of course, is “Look bad? To whom? The nobody we ever invite down there?” No-one goes into the basement except The Scientist and myself, we don’t even allow the kids down there. So what does it matter?

Apparently, a lot. Now she wants to re-tile the entire thing once the cement is dry. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about having a nice looking house, but I’d rather put my energy into improving the parts of our home that people actually see. And there’s no shortage of jobs upstairs, starting with the UGLY wallpaper in every room.

So, honey? I think it's dumb. Let’s focus on the rest of the house instead. Besides, even if the basement isn’t the most attractive part of the house, at least now it’s dry.

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4 Comments:

Blogger dressagemom said...

I don't want to re-tile the WHOLE basement (well, I did, but I've come to my senses about that) I just want to replace what they've ripped up. And replace some of the really cracked and trashed tiles that they didn't rip up. Okay?

11:12 AM

 
Blogger craig said...

Just make sure you don't pick tile that clashes with the walls. Or are we re-painting the walls now, too?

11:35 AM

 
Blogger dressagemom said...

The walls! I didn't even think about the walls. How about puce?

12:18 PM

 
Blogger craig said...

Or how about red? Because then the blood won't show so much when I bang my head against them.

1:08 PM

 

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