An Ode to Carolyn’s Garagemahal…

Okay so maybe this isn’t an ode so much as encouragement…  I rarely find the time, but occasionally I read a few other bloggers out there, and I have to confess that I am really drawn to the humorous ones.   I’m not sure what convoluted path I took to find “Carolyn online“, but I find her a riot.  And a couple of her recent postings have inspired me to recap our Big Dig that rivaled Boston’s $14.8B 15 year Big Dig project.  You first have to read Carolyn’s posts documenting phase one of their Garagemahal.  Here’s the first one, and here’s the second one.  Laughed my tuckus off!  And sighed… deeply.  In remembrance of this: BigDig 

We only meant to replace the dip in the yard and 2 wooden steps with a nice level walkway for PianoMan’s wheelchair….  HA!   One 14 foot hole the width of our house later….  We had water drainage problems you see…  So every time our happy contractor man dug the holes for the footers, the soil was soft, because it had been wet.  The inspector would not sign off on them.   The entire front of our house had to be re-waterproofed.  And at various times in the intervening 6 years months, our front yard looked like this:


My sister-in-law dubbed it Tonka Land, and that described it perfectly.  The machinery types came and went, and the little boys in our neighborhood thought they had died and gone to heaven.  Because of all the incognito mud that had our front yard, the requirements for our simple little project soon ballooned into requiring this:


which we affectionately refer to as the Shark Tank.  We were trying to recoup our losses by offering to hide some bodies, but we had no takers.  It was also reinforced with rebar, and had you accidentally walked out that front door while say intoxicated, or more likely for me – sleepwalking, you could be skewered on multiple spikes in some grotesque reinactment of a cannabalistic Shish kabob.  Ick…  just grossed myself out!   And we hosted my entire family, all 76  28  10 of them for Christmas with Tonka Land intact and exposed rebar.  We even put christmas lights on the back hoe, or was it the digger?  Tot would know the difference.  It was all very festive, though the subcontractor didn’t seem to appreciate our decorating.  And no, I forgot to get a picture of that one….  I deeply regret my oversight….


We experienced several losses in the process, in addition to our bank accounts, hairline, sleep quality and sanity.  We lost a Japanese Maple, but knew ahead of time, that it was a lost cause, being moved at a bad time of year for survival.  We mourned its loss, and fiercely protected the surviving sibling, cringing when a big branch was found broken.  We also had to put to sleep a very very large tree, as we had exposed half of the root system that was snuggling up close to the house, and feared that it might decide to collapse in our direction, and give us a whole new project to tear our hair out over.  They had to remove it in pieces which was truly a sight to behold:


The biggest miracle of all is that we have remained friends with happy contractor man, a very good friend of ours.  So good, in fact, that we insisted he and our happy real estate agent (his wife) move in with us while they were between homes.  They had sold their house, hesitant to turn down the sale in this market, but hadn’t yet finished their own House-gutting project – the magnitude of which makes our Big Dig look puny in comparison.  Scary, hunh?  You have to have a strong stomach to take on something like that, or a lot of faith in yourself.  His faith is well grounded.


One final gem that was culled from this little project was a precious addition to my Tuckus file – the rare triple moon:


At least they weren’t plumbers…

For those of you who haven’t seen the final result, I figured all this lead-up would be cruel to just leave you dangling, so yes, the project did get finished, and I won’t say how much it cost for fear of more water drainage issues of a personal nature.  (Hmmm that doesn’t sound so good.  Crying!!!  I meant for fear of crying!!)   I’m also posting these final pictures for the sake of Carolyn, who may never read this, but if she does, to encourage her that there is hope, even after that overwhelming phase one. 

Drum roll please….

FrontPorch FrontYard

4 comments to An Ode to Carolyn’s Garagemahal…

  • Oh.



    I know that was supposed to make me feel better with the beautiful end product – and it really does look fantastic – but all of the unexpected speed bumps along the way make me cringe for you. And a little bit for me.

    I’m glad you live to tell about it. I hope I do the same!

    • totseyeview

      Sorry about that. But we figured the water problems were a tiny bit like finding out you have cancer, but it’s treatable. It was a lengthy, expensive cure, but if we hadn’t found and fixed the problem, the front of our house might have collapsed, injuring or killing someone, soooo, really it was all a good thing…. At least, I keep telling myself that. If you haven’t discovered any soil issues yet, you’re home free!!! I just knocked on wood for you, you know, just in case…

  • [...] remodel since the day we moved in, but ohHHH NOOOO, that little front walkway that turned into the BIG DIG hogged all the extra funds. .  But the kitchen was still ugly.  And I couldn’t stand it any [...]

  • [...] remodel since the day we moved in, but ohHHH NOOOO, that little front walkway that turned into the BIG DIG hogged all the extra funds. .  But the kitchen was still ugly.  And I couldn’t stand it any [...]

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