Construction, House and Acreage Restoration

Operation Dig a Big Hole

Some of you are already aware of this little endeavor which we started out on…and I don’t mean the house.

Surprise! Time to break out the jackhammer.
Surprise! Time to break out the jackhammer.

Let me tell you a little story.

Why did we, The Pedersens, decide to purchase this property in the first place? It all started about four years ago. There was a wedding, and one of us had a job (the same one of us that currently has a job-haha!) and this little apartment. As discussed, we both liked the idea of having some land….Scarlet O’Hara style. (Tyler never said that-that’s all in my head). But, land was wanted.

Why do two musicians and teachers need land?

For the wood and metal shop. And the music studio. And the large garden. And the chickens. And the farm toys. And to not be so close to people all of time. And….well just and….

The beauty of the property we currently have is that it is zoned light industrial. Which is strange because it is also inside city limits. The zoning allows us Pedersens to build whatever buildings on said property we would like. As many out buildings and garages, etc, without the strict residential ordinances that accompany living in a residential district.

But you see, there is one caveat.

Getting some hammer-help on Day One of Operation Dig.
Getting some hammer-help on Day One of Operation Dig.

The house? It’s grandfathered in. Meaning, we need to keep the footprint of the little old house in order to reside in a non-residential property. Hence…we are restoring said house to the best of our abilities.

Hence…we’ve found a few problems.

Have you ever watched that program from HGTV called “Holmes on Holmes” or “Holmes Inspection?” I’m a big fan of that Mike Holmes guy. He swoops in to save the day when contractor and diy-ers mess up on home repairs. He fixes it so the problems are corrected and the house is put together the right way.

We have a little bit of the Holmes philosophy here in Iowa. So, when demolishing this little old house, when we’ve found a problem, it HAS to be fixed correctly. No shortcuts, not ditzing about…in both renovation and life the Pedersens like to do things the right way. Believe it or not…sometimes there is a right way (and a wrong way).

So…what began as a five month project has been somewhat extended…to say the least. And, might I mention, through no fault on abilities of my handy-man. (Dude-did you guys I know I married the Hulk? I did not realize this until this summer and I’m pretty sure I got the better end of the deal marriage-wise).

Day Two of Jackhammering.
Day Two of Jackhammering.

The latest problem has to be the last problem. I am willing it to the be the last problem.There isn’t much more that could happen (short of a tornado, or fire or the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man).

Our construction guru (who wishes to remain anonymous and has asked that his name and likeness not be shared on the internet with you fine folk) stopped by one day to report a problem. A problem with the addition foundation. (Big surprise here…this addition has just been one headache after another).

If we wanted to extend the upstairs by adding a second story onto the addition (which we do to get us a little more space since we can’t change the footprint of the house…you following me here and how we ended up at this point?), we needed a new foundation under the addition.


Taking Apart the Old Cellar Steps and Giant Rocks Used as a Wall for the Foundation.
Taking Apart the Old Cellar Steps and Giant Rocks Used as a Wall for the Foundation.

Well, the Pedersens are gonna do it the right way…and there was no turning back.

Bring it on.

Bringing it on basically meant that we (ahem…Tyler) had to jackhammer apart the concrete foundation and footings, rent a big machine to dig out a new basement, get some foam blocks to pour a new foundation and do a whole lot of other crap that has since extended the project considerably more than we ever imagined.

Do you know what is worse than removing lathe and plaster? Moving thousands of tons of concrete and rocks back and forth across your yard in the insane humidity of July while mosquitos chomp at your flesh all day long. (What is with these mosquitos this year? Am I right Midwesterners-this has been insane).

Oodles of rocks and broken concrete.
Oodles of rocks and broken concrete.

So…stay tuned. We’ve really got ourselves a project now.


P.S. I did try the jackhammer for about 1/5 of a second. It was too heavy for me to lift. And we apologize for all the early morning jackhammering to our neighbors….or, rather, neighbor.

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