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What I Did To (WID2) … Repair the House After The Flood, March, 2007

Liana dancing in the house, March 2007

For those who don’t recall, I had many gallons of rainwater flow through my basement in the flood of 2006.  The back yard turned into a shallow lake, and the swale on the side of the house was a running stream above my ankles. All this on tiny 0.13 acre lot, no less!

In March, 2007, at the same time as I was continuing to fight through the mountain of debt, I was finally ready to do more of the repairs.  This is the thing about major projects like mountains of debt and dozens of pounds to lose.  Regular life just keeps hitting you with stuff even while you’re working on the major projects.  When you’re living incrementally, one of the important things is to remember to keep trying on the long-term projects, even while short and middle term (and sometimes new Really Big Stuff) gets in the way.  The long-term projects generally don’t disappear when they get overwhelmed by little stuff, so even a few minutes or a few dollars each day makes progress, over time.  Time, really, can solve almost everything.

Anyway, I’d already had the downspouts replaced and roof repair work done. This part of the project covered all the drainage problems around the foundation, and included:

  • Replacing failing window wells
  • Replacing the associated windows (they’re now up to modern fire code standards, as well as not leaking)
  • Removing the deck
  • Re-grading the area under the deck
  • Putting river rock and stepping stones in a swale that was eroding much more quickly than it should have
  • Replacing the deck with flagstone patio

I also re-faced the stoop and steps and replaced the badly cracked concrete sidewalk.  They were all 60+ years old and were starting to show their age.

I paid for it all in cash.  Some of the money was gifts from my parents, who love home improvement the way some people love chocolate, and some was money that I built up in my freedom fund over the previous several months.  If my parents had not given me the gifts, it probably would have taken 6 months longer to build up the money to do the critical parts, and I would have put off the sidewalk and stoop repairs for another couple of years.

Liana giving me the “Sure I’ll smile, but I’d rather dance” smile, March, 2007

One fun item was to put a hopscotch pattern into the flagstone patio. You can’t really tell it’s there unless you look for it, but Liana was thrilled with it.  We never did play hopscotch as much as I would have liked.  Some of that was me, some her.  I have hopes that some other kid will eventually enjoy it, too, though.

Not too long after this, I also added some professional landscaping .  Obviously a luxury, but from 11 years later, I can say that it has held up pretty well.  The rest of the work has also held up well. Having the basement available as a guest room has served a whole host of friends and family well, and the drainage works pretty well too.

There’s only been one time when a bit of water came in, in the midst of one of the recent severe storms.  That came in through the one window will I didn’t replace back then, so it got taken care of when we did the house remodel in 2014.  Yes, owning a house is a great way to spend money.  That whole thing about 8% of the value of the house if probably pretty accurate in the long run, but in the short run it’s several years of nothing and then suddenly tens of thousands all at once.

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