The other day, while speaking with my mother, I casually mentioned that we had finished filling in one of the hotel's "Yikes-holes". A brief pause ensued, that was followed shortly after with her inquiring what, in pray tell, a "Yikes-hole" was. Although I commonly use this phrase while talking to myself, apparently it hadn't made it's way back to New York and into everyday lingo. So, I felt this term blog-worthy and would like to coin this verbiage so that now all are in the "know" before it trends on the tonight show as #yikeshole. (You're welcome Mom!)
"Yikes-hole" is a broad classification for a much larger sub-species of holes; it's the Genus so to speak. "Yikes-holes" can be identified and termed based upon numerous factors. Some of the most common include; the size and depth of the hole(s), the degree of surprise one has in finding the hole(s), the difficulty in getting into, up to or over to the hole(s), the amount of time/money/supplies needed to fix the hole(s) and of course, the ever popular, is there anything resembling treasure in the hole(s).
In the beginning of the hotel remodel, during what I coin as the "honeymoon phase" (this is the point in any renovation project in which the plaster literally shoots glitter at you and the rainbow colored unicorn-of-simplicity frolics around farting 4-leaf clovers while promising you that this will be an easy and fast project), the old girl had a nearly zero level "Yikes-hole" factor. Roof was good, foundation solid. Oh there were a few broken window panes (not even in the Yikes category) and the old coal holding rooms (but those were only minor, as in, "Yikes, we better plan on fixing those"-holes). Piece. Of. Cake.
But then I turned 40, which wasn't a really big deal, except that it forced me to accept that I can truly no longer look or act 20. And also, that gravity wins. However, I digress. On my birthday, while nearly on my deathbed with Influenza B (a welcome to middle age present), Ben called and said 10 words that I may never forget: "Yikes, I found a big, %$#@ hole under the hotel." Well played, gravity, well played.
Well doing some concrete removal to run a new septic line, Ben felt his jack-hammer fall into a void (a very posh and tidy nickname for a "Yikes hole"). After removing some debris, he located the "Yikes, this is not good and may stop this project" hole.
This discovery was then followed by an army of "Yikes-hole" inspectors. After much deliberation and exploration, it was concluded that the original hotel that burned in 1915 was buried on-site and that over time, combined with a leaky roof/chimney combo, the dirt had settled. It had probably been this way for 50+ years, just waiting to be found. Lucky us. Since a new roof was placed about 15 years ago, the water issue was long resolved, but, for everyone's peace-of-mind, we now needed to fill the, "Yikes, this is going to be expensive"- hole.
It is actually quite funny how news can travel when it's juicy, and this was no exception. People would pop in wanting to see the "Sinkhole the size of a truck" (it later became rumored that it was as large as a house!) I may have even fueled the fire by throwing out that maybe Jimmy Hoffa was buried there..... although that didn't seem to gain much traction.
To fill the "Yikes, we didn't see this one coming" -hole, we called in another army of "Yikes hole" filling experts and eventually opted for utilizing very high density foam (think hard as concrete with a fraction of the weight). Although quite stinky during application, this stuff was amazing. A HUGE shout-out to Mitch from K2 Concrete Leveling for turning this "Yikes hole" into one that I don't lose any sleep over anymore!
So from a "Yikes, worst possible scenario"-hole, we graduated to the basement septic capping project. Apparently cast iron was nearly free during 1916, as evidenced by the miles and miles of tangled and intertwined sewer pipe. Although not too deep, these fell under, "Yikes, there are a zillion holes now in the basement"- classification.
Finally, just this week, since the weather finally threw us a bone, we circled the wagons back to the original "Yikes, we are gonna need to address these"- coal holes. The original hotel was fueled by 2-dinosaur sized boiler units (think the scene in the Titanic where Kate and Leo are running through the bowels of the ship. That is what the original Historic Hotel was using for heating; Titanic-sized coal furnaces). In order to store and deliver that amount of coal, 3 large, brick rooms were constructed with removable lids so the coal could be shoveled in from the delivery truck/horse-drawn wagon and be stored until use in the basement next to the boiler.
These behemoth's of brick served their purpose in their day, but now were just ways water, critters and other unfavorables could make entry into the hotel. It was time to put these "Yikes holes" to bed too.
Enter several large pieces of expensive-looking equipment with drivers who have ZERO, I repeat ZERO, fear of "Yikes, this digger-machine could easily fall into this enormous hole" kinda guys. On a side note, as a joke, I mentioned that I would like to salvage all the brick and stack it to use later. No one there found my humor even remotely funny and I have to say for a second I worried I might end up the one buried in this particular "Yikes hole"!
To secure the old openings into the boiler room from being inundated with the fill dirt and sand, huge sheets of reinforced steel were lowered, coated with tar and secured in place. Please cue, "Yikes, that's some fancy stuff in that hole".
So, far be it for me to say, but I kind of hope "Yikes hole" will catch on and be the 2018 buzz word in the renovation industry. Maybe we can score an HGTV show because of it?? Meanwhile, while we're waiting, I'll just hop on my unicorn and leave my trail of 4-leaf clovers.....