one of the worst things about having a rowhouse (and a really old one at that; i think ours was built in 1907) is that you inherit your neighbor’s problems. we have a sometimes-vacant house on one side and an old man (that, when we don’t see him for a couple weeks, wonder if, well…yeah) on the other. [the exterminator we convinced him to hire told us privately that he has floor-to-ceiling papers and books (he’s an ex-librarian). which makes us worry. i mean, what if he’s cooking and falls asleep? hello, fire hazard. but it’s a friday, and i’m not gonna go there right now.] between the mice from the vacant house (with an ignorant landlord, i must add) and the old man’s backyard rat factory, it’s a lot to deal with. throw in terrible gutter “systems” (and that’s putting it nicely) on both sides–i.e. all of their water winds up on our back patio–and there’s even more problems. namely water. and it all winds up in our basement.
we’ve done pretty much everything–except hydro-cement the basement walls, which is our final step and final hope–to keep the water from coming in. french drain. grading the yard back towards the alley. we’ve even sent masons down to add new cement into the walls. oh, and while our once-crackhouse was in its demo stages, we even had a bunch of guys dig down to the foundation and tar the exterior basement wall. so yeah, with this tropical storm hanna heading towards baltimore, we’re kind of freaking out. we have a lot of stuff down there. and i’m sure tonight (after everyone in the metro area is finishing buying a year’s wortha tp, bread, water and milk–exactly what ppl around here do right before it snows a half-inch) when everyone’s snuggled up all ready to listen to the rain whooshing above and around their cozy homes, we’ll be down in our children-of-the-corn basement, creating makeshift platforms for all the boxes and boxes of stuff that’s being stored on or near the floor.
with any luck, it won’t be that bad. but my gut feeling is that jessica & holly are gonna be shop-vac’ing (man that sounds really gay; in my defense, i didn’t even know what a shop vac was until we started renovating our house) out gallons and gallons of water this weekend. homeownership: gotta love it.