From Snow to Rain in February

On February 13, I wrote a blog post about a cozy, snowy Saturday here in Maine at Camp Littlemore. That was less than two weeks ago. This morning, I awoke to wind and rain – and water running into the house.

Camp Littlemore
Camp Littlemore – looks pretty, doesn’t it?

You see, in May of 2010, we bought a “house” in Palmyra, Maine that was partially finished. We didn’t pay much and we got 2 acres of land, a well, a septic, a large 30×50 slab foundation and a two-story house. You know the saying “you get what you pay for”. Well, what we actually paid for was little more than a camp.

As we began working on the house, we thought we would be moving forward to finish walls and floors and bathrooms and kitchen to make a livable space. Ha! We went backwards and tore out walls and bathrooms and removed insulation so we could repair and replace bad wiring and insulation. We managed to put the walls back and added two bathrooms and a kitchen. We even got one bedroom mostly finished and the main living area downstairs remained mostly untouched, more finished than not. Then the money ran out.

That first winter wasn’t bad, here. We had a woodstove for heat and we were cozy, even if the house wasn’t done. Than January’s rain hit on top of builtup snow and ice around the house and we found some of the real problems. Water and lots of it.

Someone had put in French doors on the slab in an unfinished section of the house. To do so, the person cut the wall of the slab back to ground level, leaving this section lower than the earth around it in one place. Water running off the roof during heavy rains builds up right here on the ground and since the slab is the lowest point, guess where it runs? Yup, right up onto the slab and all along the back wall halfway through the length of the house which is 58 feet long.

We have tried trenching and digging and getting the ground in front lower than the slab, but are constrained by a small cement pad put in place in front of the French doors. Each winter we think it is going to work and keep the water draining away from the house and each winter we have been disappointed.

This winter, we really thought we had it licked. We were ready for the winter rains – or not. This morning? Water. Water running right into the house in the same place and right along that back wall. It is just as if we have done absolutely nothing to try and stop it.

So, our summer project is this – remove the French doors and put the sidewall to the slab back in place. A lot of work for a couple of handy people who “learn as they go”, but it has to be done. The sad thing is, the French doors are nice off that back room and would be handy once the house is finished. But, they are worthless if all they do in wintertime is let water run into our house.

So here I sit on a cold, rainy Thursday. Though I am cozy and warm inside, the rain coming down outside is not a welcome sound. I much prefer snow in the wintertime. At least we can shovel it away from the foundation. From snow to rain in February.

Incidently, shortly after we moved in here, our neighbor told us that this house was originally a one story camp. One of the owners raised the camp and put a level under it making it two stories. Later, another owner added on a 24 x 34 addition (the part where the French doors are located). So, we really do have little more than a camp. Hence, the name “Camp Littlemore”.

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