Tomorrow, my house will be lifted. Despite the fact that I work with “rocket scientists”, I never cease to be amazed by what mere, puny humans can do.
This house is my very first house. I bought it in 1999, a few years after I had moved to Texas. I’ve always been aware of this sort of downhill feeling while walking down the hallway, and some of our bedroom doors are always swinging closed such that they have to be propped open to stay that way. Until now, those little quirks never really bothered me — I just considered them part of the house’s character.
Despite my emotional attachments to this abode, I can no longer properly take care of it. I just don’t have the energy (and I’m not sure if it is the MS or older age that is talking). The real estate market has improved greatly in this neighborhood, and I’m finally ready to sell. But there was this one remaining thing that kind of stood in the way: the hilly hallway.
After tomorrow, I hope that I can describe my hallway as being more prairie-like — nice and flat. The work that has been done to get to this point is truly astounding: 4 men have been digging holes like gophers for the last 2 days, around the perimeter of the foundation. They dig down about 3 feet, and then make a sort of little 10-inch-deep cave back under the house. Not a task for the faint-of-heart, even in the best of soil conditions. But here in north Texas, the entire neighborhood rests on this layer of … I don’t know what you would call it. It’s a chalky rocky substance that is just chock-full of fossilized shells, which fascinates My Man to no end (he hoards away these chunks of rock like there’s no tomorrow, despite the fact that we’ve got a whole damn yard full of the stuff!) So these poor guys had to hand-chisel twenty 3-foot cubes inside this rock layer — whew!
After all the digging is done, the real fun begins. These concrete cylinders, about 15 inches long and about 6 inches wide, are driven down into the ground, into the bottom of the dug-out holes! I would have never believed that a blunt-ended chunk of cylindrical concrete could be pressed into seemingly solid rock, had I not watched this miracle with my own eye! After they’ve pressed as many of these cylinders, end-to-end, as they can … they put a concrete block on top, and a couple more of these cylinders on top of the block, which act as a pair of “hands” to hold up the underside of the foundation.
All of this house-worrying has really taken a toll on me. Whatever genius first noticed that MS and stress don’t play well together, should get some kind of prize. Seriously, my right leg has been noticeably weak, almost to the point of dragging, over the past several days. And I’ve noticed all kinds of weird twitching. Just as I was about to do the Copaxone injection last night (last night was an “arm night”), I could literally see the muscles in my upper arm fluttering. I’ve never had that kind of thing happen before.
Anyway, I’ve went through the textbook stages of grief this week over the condition of this house. First, there was denial: oh, this hallway isn’t sloped, I’m just experiencing vertigo (which. lately, wouldn’t have been a bad bet). But rolling ping-pong balls don’t lie! Then came the bargaining: maybe I’m the only one who will actually notice! During her first walk-through of the house, my realtor quickly ended that fantasy. Of course, there was the depression, and shortly after came acceptance: right, now how are we gonna fix this?
Tomorrow is when the pairs of “hands” are installed and the house is lifted up on the saggy end, so that it (in theory) droops no more. Let the house-raising begin, so I can get my sanity back!
And, just to illustrate how my yard now looks more like swiss cheese than a property that is soon to be put on the market, here are a couple of pictures from today’s activities:
Picture 1: 2 of the 20 holes that now grace the perimeter:
Picture 2: What the concrete pier looks like, before it is driven down into the
Picture 3: The concrete block that goes on top of a pier that has already been driven down. 2 additional concrete cylinders will rest on top of this block, and will serve as the pair of “hands” holding up this part of the house. See all that white stuff along the sides of this hole? Yeah, that’s rock — I can’t really tell where the concrete of the house foundation stops and where the surrounding “ground” starts. It’s all just hard rock!