Tuesday, September 30 2014
Tomorrow, Gretchen and I would be closing on our investment rental house a half mile south of Uptown Kingston, so late this morning we did a walk-through. The existing owner was still in the process of moving out, so things were a little chaotic, but not anywhere near as much as they would have been had it been me moving out. The moving company had layed temporary cloths across the carpeting so as not to damage it as they tromped back and forth with heavy boxes and furniture, though it hardly mattered, since our intention is to rip all that carpet out and expose the wooden floors beneath. It was nice to see the house without all the racist black-face collectibles packed away in boxes.
I'm still getting a sense of the neighborhood and the traffic rules near the new house. Over time, of course, these will reside in my subconscious, but for now I'm having to look at signs to know what they are. Today on the drive to the house, for example, I was heading south on Fair and stopped at St. James Street and then kept going, assuming that it was a four-way stop (which it still might be). But there were a bunch of people in a car on St. James coming my way, and they all began to yell viciously at me as I proceeded through the intersection as if I was the one fucking up. (Gretchen and I had driven to the walk-through in separate cars because she had to go to work at the literacy office in Uptown afterwards.) [Later I would realize that the thing I'd somehow processed as a stop sign was actually a traffic light. Whoops! In a city like Kingston it's easy to get into a pattern of stop-and-go at the many stop signs, even to the point of continuing to do it at the traffic lights.]
Down in the greenhouse basement, I'm getting to the point were I will need to install some sort of sump pump in order to keep digging. It's just as well; once we've closed on the new house, I will have to spend a lot of my time over there making it awesome, so I can't continue with the dubious project of seeing how far into rock a human being can dig.
Today in my digging, I dug into a soft and crumbly layer about 87 inches below the floor deck. The "rock" (if you can even call it that) was like a mix of rotten shale (or perhaps hard clay) and coarse sand. This stuff still existed in layers that could occasionally come out in pieces as a large as a dinner plate, but mostly it just dissolved into a mix of mud and sand. Though I could dig through it just by using a crowbar as a digging stick, all the jackhammer could do with it was punch holes into it. The material was too soft for it to break up. I hope this "rock" doesn't exist as a thick stratum, because it won't form walls of sufficient strength. As I continue deeper, I will eventually have to firm up the wall in this rotten layer with a layer of concrete or portland cement.
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