Like this weekend, for instance.
Having spent the previous long weekend freaking out, and then cleaning up the impending workspace for our sill repair, we took a step back this weekend, and thought about things logically. To whit, we're going to be needing to haul 80 lb bags of concrete, eight and ten foot boards, steel columns, and other such delights down into the basement in order to get the work done. Trouble with this, is that the exterior basement stairs are *or were, prior to yesterday,* approximately worthless. They had been sort of Frankensteined together in the first place, out of inferior, untreated wood, and then sheltered under a 'roof' that was decidedly not waterproof, and so where they hadn't rotted through, they had sprouted great white fields of mold and fungus. Last time either of us stepped a foot onto them, we went through -- a step that had been two inches thick when installed. The other access to the basement is in slightly better repair, but is a tight-wound spiral staircase, and getting long timbers and columns down that twist was just NOT going to happen.
So we devised a plan. And said plan involved demolishing the exterior stairs, and replacing them with dry-stacked cinderblock. Given that the entire basement entrance pit is going to have to be re-dug, and lined with reinforced concrete sometime in the next five years (damn frost-heave, anyway!) we decided that dry stacking the block was the only reasonably sturdy, and non-wasteful approach we could achieve without diverting ourselves drastically from our planned repairs.
The demolition went terrifyingly easily. It was disgusting, it was filthy, it involved some far bigger spiders than either Dominus or I were entirely prepared to meet at eye level, and it also involved some hasitly improvised supports for steps that were in free fall, and we hadn't realized it all summer. (Remember what I said about us not using the exterior basement steps for a long time?) But we got 'er done. Then we schlepped 24 cinderblocks into my truck from Home Despot -- about all we could fit onto their cart, and all we were comfortable loading into my VUE, -- then got them from the street to the back yard by dolly. From there, I handed them down to Dominus for placement in situ. It took us most of the day, and at the end if the job, we established that we needed at least 35 more blocks to finish it out.
Today, we picked up 20 more, as well as the 2x8 we'll need to frame up the concrete molds that will go in the basement, under the new support columns. Once we've both rested a bit, we're going to break the Dolly back out, and truck this load around to the back yard. Given that there'll be no demolition and cleanup involved today, it should go a bit faster, I'm hoping.
We're withholding comment on whether we'll get the last of the block we need tonight, or just wait until tomorrow to do it -- it's fairly important to remember that neither of us is 20 anymore. And that we've nothing to prove by hurting ourselves. The upshot of it all is, however, that we'll be ready to drill the rebar and pour concrete by next weekend, and that thenceforth we'll not have to be scared to take the exterior entrance into the basement.
Except where the spiders are concerned, of course.