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


#245 In which even more money is thrown into a pit specially designed to accept said money.

The latest round in improvements in the money pit that we call home began last weekend. The Scientist and I decided to just bite the bullet and hire a guy to do what needs to be done in the back yard.

The basement waterproofing system works just fine; but the new problem we have is that when it rains really hard the window wells fill with water and we get leaking around the glass. So, we hired a guy to pull out the broken cement patio, install drains, and grade and landscape the yard.

Here's the back yard before work began:

Here's another photo showing the big problem with the patio:

See how there's a good four inches of slab above ground near the camera, but back by the house it's sunk below the level of the ground? So much so that the former residents built a stupid little cement ramp to the sidewalk? Well, since the patio is angled back toward the house, all the rainwater beats against the foundation. Not good. It had to go.

These photos were taken moments before the landscaping guy showed up with this:

When we first had this guy out to look at the property, I was concerned that he would have to do all the work by hand. It's a really tight fit between my house and the neighbor's fence, and I didn't think he'd be able to get any heavy equipment back there. As it turns out, I was wrong:

Guy can drive some equipment, I'll give him that. He got right to work tearing up the slab, and for about 10 minutes it looked like he'd make short work of it:

Then, we ran into trouble.

This cement slab is apparently the king of all backyard cement patios. The landscaper said he'd never seen such a thick slab before. I guess most patios like this are thick on the edges, but much thinner in the middle. This slab was a solid four inches thick throughout, and reinforced with rebar.

This wouldn't have posed a huge problem, except that when the landscaper went to pick up the equipment from the rental place, the skid steer-mounted jackhammer he rented was broken.

He tried to muscle it with the Bobcat, but it quickly became apparent that the patio was going to win that fight. So he had to run over to Home Depot to get a hand-held jackhammer.

That did the trick. When they started jackhammering was about the time the girls and I went down for our naps (this might have been an issue for amateurs, but the girls and I are pro-level nappers). When we got back up, the back yard looked like this:

The accursed patio was now broken and defeated in my driveway:

The landscaper had scheduled two hours to remove this thing, and it took nearly all day. So we're already behind schedule and over budget. Good start to the project, huh? And the back yard's quite a mess:

Little did I realize just how bad it was going to get.

More to come.




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