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The Critical Difference Between “Some” and “All”


I am sore. Since we got back from Chicago a few days ago, we’ve been picking up the lower level of our house in preparation for some messiness: We have to have the east end of the slab mudjacked to raise it a little and keeping it from sinking any further. The damage isn’t huge so far, thanks to a little-known method of framing lower levels of homes like ours, which basically suspends the walls from the main level. The lower-level slab can thus move independently (mostly) of the walls.

The mudjacking contractor originally told us that they would only need to pull back the carpeting on the east and south facing rooms a few feet. Further analysis (which we learned only yesterday afternoon) showed that those east and south facing rooms will have to be emptied completely. My workshop is mostly unaffected, but the eastmost section of slab has sunk a little, and I have to move whatever sits on that section, to the first seam.

Alas, what sits on that section are two 150-pound particle-board shelves containing sixty years of QST (with a density only slightly less than National Geographic) plus 35 years of CQ, the full run of Ham Radio, a spotty collection of 73, plus fifteen ARRL handbooks, four shelf-feet of component databooks, and several dozen other miscellanous tech books. Oh, and the tops of the shelves are piled high with homebrew projects.

And that’s just my workshop. In the great room are another eight or nine hundred books on six robust Hundavad shelves, a treadmill, a couch, a 1937 Zenith cathedral radio, and two oak tables supporting a 61-inch TV and associated electronics. In the guest bedroom are two more tall bookshelves (fortunately not densely populated) a bed, a two-drawer lateral file cabinet, and two waist-high teak cabinets. In Carol’s office are another two-drawer lateral file cabinet, her desk, a rocking chair, a tall bookshelf, and miscellanous furniture.

Readers who have been here may begin to get a grip on the magnitude of the challenge. All that stuff has to be moved onto firmer slab, which exists in only three places: the furnace room, the unfinished bedroom, and the western two-thirds of my workshop. All three of these places have stuff scattered about in them. So we have to empty those places out so that we can fill them with furniture and boxes from the rest of the lower level.

Oh…we have seven days to do this, and counting. From a dead stop.

So last night I was downstairs stuffing books in boxes, schlepping stuff to the garage, and piling it on the higher sections of steel shelving that we already have. (I’m going to buy another Gorilla Rack when I go out later to buy more boxes.) One of the lateral file cabinets is broken and will be scrapped, but Carol has to empty it first. ARC is going to get several goody-bags of resale material, which means that more time will be spent culling the collection.

It’s almost like moving, except we’re not going anywhere.

So I’m sore from hoisting boxes of medical books and photo albums onto a cart and then onto shelves. The QSTs haven’t been touched yet. I had hoped to write a longish Contra entry yesterday evening, but by 8:30 PM I was too wrecked to do anything but sit in my big chair and take notes on the coming days’ logistical challenges. I think I can do this. It may well be excellent strength training. (Moving here from Arizona in 2003 certainly was.) But man, it’s gonna hurt.


  1. Larry N says:

    A few years ago I put hardwood flooring upstairs. I had about 3,000 lb of hardwood to get up to the second floor.

    My neighbors have a bunch of teenage sons. The $20 apiece I paid them for a hour’s worth of their sweat was the best deal I ever made. They were thrilled with the $20.

    Look around your neighborhood for a good Catholic family. It worked for me.

  2. Chris Dellacroce says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Welcome back from Chicago. Since what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or better, or wiser, or whatever ‘they’ — the ephemereal experts somewhere out there — say … perhaps your next blog post could be on how this made you stronger, besides the obvious phsycial benefits. It will help you look on the bright side. Ha ha.

    Holler if you want help – it would be a great way for you to meet my hubby and me to meet Carol. That is, if I can talk Brian into helping.

    — Signed Have big, long-bed truck, Chris

    1. Actually, it’s going pretty well. I’ve already boxed up 800+ books and whatever boxed software I still feel a need to keep, and did a lot of schlepping up and down stairs, putting whatever can handle the cold out in the garage, etc. etc. etc. We’re going to have a couple of burly guys some down here early next week to move furniture around once the space is cleared out–which is what we’re furiously working on right now. Rearranging the furnace room took a lot of fiddly time, since a lot of stuff was just lying around in stacks, not even boxed. Much is being given away, some trashed, some packed and stacked. I’ve been careful, and haven’t hurt anything too bad, nor bled on anything essential. We’ve decided to replace the carpeting down there since it’s all going to be torn up anyway, with new vinyl in the closets etc. Big project, and it’s gonna be a mess down there for awhile. But so far so good.

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