Monday, July 13, 2009

The Hydra

You know the beast from Greek mythology? The one that, when one head was cut off, would grow back two? Well, that is what this hobbit-hole project was starting to feel like. I reported in my last post that I had fixed the leak. Well that was true, but the next time it rained hard, there were more leaks, and so I have taken drastic measures. I realized that the structure of the back wall was fundamentally flawed. I had built it in haste at the end of last year, trying to get it done before the snows began. I took a couple of shortcuts, hoping that it would work OK and, well, you know the rest. So, I have torn down the back wall. Yep, gone, except for the low cinder-block retaining wall, which I have kept for looks. And its a good thing, too, because the wood structure had begun to rot due to all the leakage that had been happening over the winter and wet spring. If I had let that go, then the whole interior could have been contaminated with mold eventually. As it is, the bad stuff is gone, and the interior is not damaged. The hydro-hydra is vanquished. Well, sort of. Instead of a leaky wall, I now have no wall.

My new plan? I'm not going to mess around this time. I'm going to use concrete--just like they usually do when dealing with culvert pipes under highways and such. I'm building a form for a 10-inch thick concrete retaining wall to cover the back wall and extend beyond it to hold up the future hill around it. The form will include an opening for the window and ventilation. This will be reinforced with some rebar. Yes, it will be ugly and un-hobbitlike at first, but don't worry, I will make it round on top and cover it up with a nice fa├žade so it won't look like a culvert.

If only I had thought of this method in the first place! Oh well. Live and learn. That's what you get when you are an amateur taking on a job like this. Not to worry, though. After all, Bilbo and Frodo were amateurs too, when they first set out on their adventures.
A hobbit-hole in my backyard? It may sound crazy, but I can tell you that my kids love it. It is the coolest playhouse ever. Plus, they can enjoy the grassy hill for sledding in winter and water sliding in summer. This was all my wife's idea. She dreamt it, and I got to be the one to bring it to reality. I'm not a construction expert; this was a total do-it-yourself job by a complete amateur. It has turned out rather nicely, I think. Here is the story of how it came to be.

Since this is in blog format, the posts are in order from newest to oldest. To read this in chronological order, start with How it all Began and use the "Newer Post" links. Or click on the links under Blog Archive, in order.
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