For all the years I worked from home in a basement office, I had fire on the brain. With my horror-story sensibilities, I’d ask myself how I’d get out of the two foot by three foot window that–frankly–no one had ever opened.

Thus began the “egress discussion” that Jim and I would indulge in every six months or so. How to get out of the basement? This year, we finally decided that we’d look into getting an egress window dug. The impetus? HGTV. Of course.

We found Foundation 1, a local company and last week, they came out to hand dig around the foundation and put in a window. Here it is, Day 1.

We kept hoping it wouldn’t rain and, except for a light sprinkle on Day 2, we got lucky.

The prep for this was to utterly destroy my north bed where I had ferns and hostas. I was able to transplant most of the ferns–newer plants. My Master Gardener friend, Linda, graciously gave a home to the baby hostas springing up all over. Sadly, I lost the five-year-old Japanese Painted Fern, which had multiplied times three. I did save one of its babies, so there’s hope.

We did find a few frogs in the basement at the start of Day 2. Hmm.

Here is the window at the start of Day 2. A hole in the wall and a big pile of clay. That clay is a bit of a caveat on a five-star review. I can’t plant in it and the pile is high around the window, supposedly keeping out water. Since it rained an inch the day after the window went in, and our basement stayed dry, maybe there’s something to that. We’ll see if it settles as promised.

And the finished project at the end of Day 2. Of course, we still have to fix the interior wall, but we now have an escape hatch, complete with ladder.

A temporary but significant mess. And noisy.

We always say that this project is the last project. Maybe…