Then and Now Christmas 2011 and Christmas 2012

Last year at this time our house was up on cribs.

Screen shot 2012-12-25 at 4.39.27 PM


The excavator had clamped onto the exposed foundation and snapped it out like a piece of soda cracker. The excavator operator commented, “Oh yeah, this needs to be fixed.”

I can’t describe the psychological impact of seeing your house hanging in mid air with no foundation. First, you realize the finality of all the choices and decisions you have made to that point. Second, you realize there is no turning back. The only way out is forward. Third, you realize your entire life investment, in this house and property, are in the hands of others: our wonderful contractor, Wallace Smith of Jatoba Contracting, his carpenter foreman, Rob Duncan, and the excavator operators who are running the machines that are peeling the dirt and rocks out from under your house.

The house was up on the cribs on November 24, 2011. As the excavators moved toward the southwest corner of the house we had bad news. The operator could smell oil in the soil, and we were going to have to clean it up before the house could come down. Panic! But Wallace worked with Pacific Environmental and the head of the Environment Office at City Hall and worked out an arrangement for us to accomplish the clean up in stages so we could get our house back down on a foundation.

So Christmas last year, our house was hanging in the air on cribs, I was on Gabriola with the dogs, and Matt was at the house, alone, wrangling the pump, keeping the rain and mud from washing our house off it’s perch.

crib integrity w mud 5

The excavator operator carefully placed the contaminated soil on a tarp and it was covered until I could get back from Gabriola and shovel the sodden load of sludge into a special bin for disposal.

contaminated soil 2_1

Yesterday I walked around the property, in the low slanting mid-winter light. This is how far we have come. Yes, we still have many tasks to complete before we can consider the job done, but to see the house in all her glory on her brand new foundation with a new electrical, plumbing and heating service, is really something.



1975 Ferndale 2012 12 24

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