Hello, Neil & Florence Jespersen progeny!
Well, here it is the first day of autumn, and we can finally see some progress being made on Grandma J's dwelling place. Since I know most of you are interested, I thought I'd give you an update.
The excavation, or perhaps the "archaeological expedition," turned up some interesting and unexpected surprises. Our house was built in the 1940s, years before there was sewer service (and likely city water) in the area, so we anticipated finding a septic tank, and the old oil tank that was left over from the oil-fired boiler. But there were 3 or 4 various mysterious concrete boxes buried in the back yard. The backhoe guy asked if it was our "Mormon bunker." One was quite deep; I'm speculating it was an old Cold War -era missile silo.
Another challenge was connecting to the existing house, specifically a new stairwell we're adding to the basement, and working in very limited space, due to inside walls and sewer pipes coming out.
"Why a new stairwell?" you ask. The existing stairway is a "split level" sort of affair, with a landing halfway down, and a 180-degree bend. And - it's about 6 inches too narrow to conform to current building codes. When the new bottom-half stairway is in place, I intend to widen the "top-half" in the existing space, and do away with the current bottom-half. We'll have all the modern conveniences - even handrails!
We may have a few more "gotchas," but I believe most of 'em are out of the way now.
I've attached a couple photos I took this morning. The first shows the footing that they poured just yesterday; the other shows more detail of where it hooks up to the house. The new stairwell will go off to the right, and you can see where the opening to the basement will be. I hope we can soon report more progress.