Sunday, November 13, 2011

You're standing by your grey ice water, out in the wind above ground out in the water (Well Done Broke Part 8)

The next day, after a trip to Lowes, the wife and I donned clothing and dust masks that were as close in proximity to hazmat suits as we could manage. We gathered up all the tools we thought we might need, as well as some we thought we probably wouldn't, but would rather have on us just in case, and then brainstormed as to any odd ass thing we were forgetting, cause we didn't want to have to make multiple trips out of the crawlspace to fetch things we had forgotten. Then we put all that stuff in my tool bag, grabbed our mini-shop vac and a roll of aluminum door screen, then headed into the darkness of the crawlspace.

One of my purchases at Lowes was a headlamp flashlight. I was tired of having to hold onto a regular flashlight for all my sub-house work, and the camping lights we also had weren't all that great.

"I just hold the flashlight in my mouth," the wife had said, still standing by the flashlights in Lowes.

I pointed out to her that in order to reach the area in which she would need a flashlight, she would be crawling through a layer of dust largely composed of the powdered corpses of bugs and mice, not to mention their feces. Did she really want to use those hands to put a flashlight in her mouth? Somehow this still didn't persuade her to buy a headlamp of her own.

Once beneath the house, we split up. I would go and inspect and vacuum as much of the interior of the central duct as I could beneath the front of the house, while the wife would crawl to the other side of said duct and staple up sections of screen over the gaps in the floorboards where our bathroom plumbing hung down. The area had previously been screened before we gutted and redid that bathroom, a couple years back. We found loads of mousey evidence during the renovation, but had not put the screening back up for reasons we could no longer recall, though I suspect involved laziness.

At the duct box, I pulled off my tape from the previous day and reached in for the acorns. I really didn't want to try and vacuum in it, as it seemed like a far bigger job than we could even accomplish with a three foot vacuum hose. What I could see of the interior of the duct box wasn't even all that bad. Just a few acorns that looked like they could have been from years ago. I didn't even seen any mouse poops, though this probably meant that the regular air flow had probably dried them into powder and we'd just been breathing them. After sitting there for a bit, though, and seeing as how I'd already hauled the vacuum down there with me, I decided to vacuum as much as I could of it. Unfortunately, I didn't have a power cord.

We have two crawlspace doors, one in the garage and another on the other end of the house. However, there's not a real easy passage between the two due to all the duct work and sundry plumbing. So I had to crawl back out, walk around to the garage, plug in our extension cord, then crawl in through the garage crawlspace door, crawl as far as I could toward my previous position, then fling the other end of that cable over the air-conditioning unit itself, crawl back out, walk around the house and crawl back in. Took a while to achieve, but I spied a couple more mouse holes in the flexi-ducting. Those eventually were patched with the aluminum tape we'd bought.

After vacuuming out the duct and resealing it with aluminum tape and a brand new zip tie, I did the same thing at the next duct connection down. Inside that, I found an actual insulation mouse nest, which I got to clean out and vacuum up. No evidence of actual residents of the nest could be found, fortunately.

Around this time, the wife ran into problems with her efforts to screen up the underside of our tub, so I crawled over to assist. I wasn't much help with that effort, but I did spy a single drip of water hanging from beneath our tub's drain. Evidently the seal had come loose or we'd just not done it right to begin with. We pulled the drain out from the tub and, after reconsulting our installation instructions, sent me back to Lowes for plumbers putty and silicone.

The whole tub matter, though, reminded us of another tub-based home improvement project we've been looking to accomplish for over a year, which was to improve the structural integrity of the tub itself. The reason it's taken us this long to do, though, is that we knew it would involve removing a wall.


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