Last week was a setback. Today, it was a sucker punch.
Andy and I were investigating why the walls in the rear stairwell were always damp. I’d previously determined the walls outside weren’t leaking, but we went outside and had another look anyway. Nope, still fine. But the walls were definitely abnormally damp, even after repeated priming and spackling. Then Andy said those fateful words: “It can’t be coming up from the ground, can it?”
He asked if it was wet under the stairs. I said “You can’t get under the stairs, it’s sealed off,” and my stomach dropped a little as I could see where this was going.
Down to the basement we went, around the corner and to the drywall panel next to the lonely basement toilet. Andy touched it and it was damp. POP! His fist went thru it and it all just gave way, falling apart like cheese as he pulled it back. “Oh… that’s black mold.” The stench of rotting and mold and wet sealed away for years came pouring out as Andy coughed and I stepped back. “Yeah… it’s all covered in mold under here.”
Not only is there a mess of black mold to be ripped out and scoured with bleach, but that means the outer wall is leaking in a fifth location. That entails ripping up two more slabs of sidewalk and digging out a six foot stretch of the foundation to seal it.
There were nine of us today working at the house and we got a ton of work done (scraping, priming, painting, and cabinet hanging) but this is the second week in a row that we’ve discovered more work than we’ve accomplished. I now have the holy trifecta of old home dangers: asbestos, lead paint, and black mold. Yahtzee!
A discussion about planning the annual Oktoberfest party has started on Icrontic and every time I see it now it fills me with anxiety. It’s less than three months away, and our pile of work keeps getting taller instead of shorter. All I can do after ten hours at the house today is have a glass of bourbon and get up and do it all again tomorrow.