When me and Maeghan bought our house, the front porch was cracked. We figured it would be ok for at least a little while. However, when I had a mason redoing the chimney I asked him to take a look. A few whacks with a hammer and, well, we had a problem...
The 2022 Fix
Apparently the area underneath the porch might have been an old coal shoot? The house is circa 1945 so, who knows... Regardless, a big hole in the front of the house wasn't exactly the motif we wanted. Mail delivery stopped because of the "scary pit" near the mailbox, whatever that meant...
The first step was to rebuild the wall and put something structural in place to be able to use the front door. It wasn't intended to be aesthetic... I reinforced the cinder blocks with lots of concrete & rebar so that I could use them structurally moving forward. Framed a little subfloor with lots of concrete screws and put a juicy piece of pressure treated plywood as a floor. Sealed everything with some parging.
The Tomb of the Past
Now, before sealing the old shoot (or whatever it is), there was an opportunity to put together a time capsule. Originally, there was a lot of enthusiasm and we had a party on Canada Day where I invited people to bring items for the time capsule. Alas, nobody seemed to care and nobody brought anything... except for Louis!
Louis and me went forward with our own version of a time capsule. We put a plastic skeleton into the hole (which, btw, is quite difficult to source in July...). We left our skeleton friend with various libations to survive the times. Louis wanted to leave pictures of Sister Marie Clarence because it would be funny (see the note we left behind to explain this) so we did that too.
Me and Meg hope to live in this house for a long while. Perhaps in 50 or more years, someone might stumble upon this time capsule. I ended up putting various artefacts inside that might be interesting to that future prospector, even if that happens to be the future me. The inventory included lots of items that I wasn't willing to throw in the garbage, but didn't want to keep; things I was happy to gift to that future finder.
The time capsule inventory included:
Copies of my draft theses from my Masters and Doctoral programs
Name tags, business cards, and identifiers from my old life
The bill of sale for our house
Photos of my new life
My old wedding ring
An old wooden clock
Preserved food that may or may not represent the times
Other random stuff
It was really about letting go of some baggage and celebrating moving forward in my new house in my new life!
The Tomb of the Past is now sealed and ready for whatever future event sees the area re-opened.
The 2023 Fix
The deck didn't get finished until 2023. I wanted to make sure we weren't making a haven for rodents or bringing unwanted drainage issues to the properly. We checked some boxes on that front and moved forward to make things prettier. I started by framing and strapping the wood structure overtop the concrete.
I had assumed the concrete steps were hallow, and expected them to be easy enough to break apart and haul away.
It was not.
I had to chip the concrete steps apart, bit by bit, and setup a wood staircase overtop. This was definitely annoying, but less annoying than removing the concrete staircase completely and driving the pieces to the dump with my Prius.
Something that I'd never done before was use the new expanding foam stuff from Home Depot instead of using bags of concrete to set my posts. This was SUPER easy and useful and less annoying than mixing and pouring concrete.
I did black metal stringers and cut my own wood for the railings. It turned out quite nice!