We’re back on track. Jonathan, our excavator, set up the pump and spent 5 hours last night pumping out the water from around the foundation. The rest was pumped out with the help of a large diameter hose attached to the pump today. My rental bill is adding up as we had to get a generator out there to power the pump. Solar panels should have been the first thing I built as it doesn’t appear we’ll have power on the job site any time soon.
I went out after a long, hectic day at work to get the basement prepped for the concrete coming in two days. I was working solo tonight so I parked the VW and grabbed my tool bag and walked across my concrete studio foundation. Was good to see my duck pond had disappeared. Upon reaching the deck I gazed out towards ProjectCam as I always seem to do. Lo and behold, a buck looking right back at me from about ten feet in front of ProjectCam. He was perfectly still with the meadow obscuring his body. I suspect he was hoping I didn’t see him, but I did. I slowly walked across the deck, hoping that if he stayed there by time I reached the corner I could snap a pic with my phone. I was unsuccessful, for as soon as I moved he leapt across the meadow past the west preservation area. I’m glad I saw him because he basically melted away all the trials and tribulations of the day.
I laddered myself through the large hole in the deck into my basement. Sigh. All the water was pumped out but there was still a lot of water on top of the 6 mil vapor barrier Christine and I had set a few days earlier. Our recycled panels are covered in black soot, so everything was a mess after the rain. I had to single-handedly pull, drag and flip each ten foot wide piece to roll the dirty water off. I removed the 2’x8′ rigid insulation panels Christine had previously laid down and aired them out. I then had to reinstall all the plastic barrier material. What a pain.
6 mil vapor barrier material after I re-laid it out. It rests on top of the gravel.
I then went about laying down the 4″ rigid insulation on top of the plastic sheets. I did not stagger the joints and I left the little notched channels up, figuring the cement could grip the sheets when poured on top. I used a hand saw and jab saw to cut the foam around a couple of the steel support columns. It’s starting to get dark earlier so by time 8:30 rolled around I was about done for the day. I laid out most of the full sheets and saved the cut sheets for Tony to finish tomorrow.
Laying the 2x8 sheets of rigid down on top of the vapor barrier. 4" of cement will go on top of these sheets. You can see the notches in the wall foam. We'll put the 2x4 inch pressure treated boards in there to create a thermal break between the cement floor and cement walls. The basement floor is basically flip-flopped thermally compared to the walls. The cement floor is "inside" the house, thermally speaking.
Flipping the barrier material and laying down rigid foam sheets was exactly what I needed. The labor wasn’t too bad and the peace and solitude relaxed my soul. I would’ve worked out there indefinitely had it not been for the setting sun and late hour. It’s a far cry from the hectic world of reality. Working in my basement I’m devoid of all the responsibility, and at times the non-sense, of the world “out there”. Just me, foam and a clearly defined goal. No thinking, no worries, no bills, no crazy neighbor, no constant push and pull of a day job…….nothing. Just the solitude of driving down there, working and driving back.
If I could bottle that I’d be a millionaire.
And for me nights like tonight replenish the reserves of my soul. I’d go so far as to say because it’s “work” it lacks a certain degree of guilt one might have when doing something like fishing when one should be cutting the grass back at home.
It doesn’t really hit me until I crawl back up the ladder for the last time today and look up at the clear orange-colored dome of sky above the “land”. And I look out hoping to see another deer. A part of me wants to go back down in that hole and put down one more piece of foam. The same foam I’ve grown to resent because it’s covered in black soot and I’ve moved each piece at least three times already.
Down in that hole, you see, is a place where I live in absolute freedom of mind and soul. Down there I get to pull off the side of the road of life, even if it’s just for two hours on a Tuesday. In that basement I’m me. I’m not anything or anyone else. I’m not your dad, husband, son, brother, friend, boss, employee, customer, neighbor, or random stranger. I’m just some guy cutting foam. And when I come out of there and look at the world around me I realize what a great little rectangle of this world our family has. My mind is clear and I can imagine again…..and plan……and smile.
I hesitantly reach down putting my saw into my black tool bag and pick it up. I walk across the foundation that will support the studio where, in a few short months, I will paint on rainy Spring mornings. I look down and see my foam block ducklings, marooned where the retreating water left them earlier in the day. I smile and take one more look back, desperately trying to devise my greatest design ever: a way to bottle a moment.
I stow my bag and close the hatch of the VW. I don’t want to go but I have to. I can hear the highway in the distance reminding me that the world is still spinning on its axis. I look up at the sky fading from orange to purple, bookend-ing my day.
And I can’t help but laugh as two bats fly by.
One way or another this will work out just fine.