So, the plan was "wait for the basement to dry out completely, then chisel up the loose crumbly existing sealant until I reach the foundation. Lay down fresh new cement over the cracks in the foundation, and call it done." It was a good plan. It was a noble plan. But, alas, it was tragically flawed: it required that I reach the foundation at some point.
If I look at the floor six inches in from the sealed area, it's nice smooth solid concrete. The sealed joint between floor and wall doesn't go all the way along the outer wall: it stops after three or feet, presumably because there's no leaking in that area. And the floor there -- well, it's a bit patch looking, but it's basically hard, firm-looking concrete.
But where it has been sealed ....
I found out there was a big problem with the existing sealant because it started coming up with a wire brush. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that a wire brush is not supposed to tear up concrete. It didn't tear up the concrete when I was cleaning the interior wall, anyway. It did a number on the paint, but I figured that was supposed to happen.
Unfortunately, while it sort of came up with the wire brush, it wasn't the most effective way of removing it. I tried using the chisel end of a mini-crowbar we had, with indifferent results. I bought a real chisel and learned that you're supposed to use them in conjunction with a hammer (duh!) and have been since hacking away at the joint between floor and wall with chisel, crowbar, and occasionally a new wire brush and a palette knife.
What I am getting is a scary-looking hole in the floor. That leaks. A lot more.
What I am not getting to is a nice hard concrete foundation. I've found some thick pasty stuff that might be glopped-on paint or plaster, serving as "fill" between ... I don't know what, some kind of masonry. It's like I have nobbly bits of solid rock that I can't chisel up, interspersed with large quantities of stuff that I can only classify as "crap". I've dug down to something brownish which isn't really like dirt, but is much closer to being like dirt than I really want anything that my house is in direct contact with to be.
On top of that, it's raining today.
I'm giving up on the part of the plan that called for the basement to stop leaking before I sealed it, since that's obviously not happening. I don't want to give up on the part that says "I clean out all the crap before I lay down new cement." But it's starting to look -- and this is really frightening -- like it's all crap.
Maybe I should call a professional.
Nah. Where's the fun in that?