Now I got quarters in my loafers tryin’ to fight inflation
When it only used to take a cent
Sometimes I wish I was back in my crashpad days before I knew what cash flow meant
For some reason this song has been wandering around my head lately. “We are the people our parents warned us about.”
Yep, we are. Last night we attended a party to celebrate the 70th birthday of one of those people. Needless to say, the creative, old hippy back-to-the-landers were out in force. In honor of our friend we wore tie dye. We ate, drank and made merry and then wended our way home slowly, as the deer population was out in force enjoying the light drizzle and the warm night.
But that is not what this post is about, not really. It is about the wishing we were back in our crash pad days, before we knew exactly what is entailed by owning your home, thus being responsible for it.
Remember our downstairs neighbors the skunks? (You can read all about it at that link, and the post I have linked to has links to other posts on the same subject.) It has been quite the odyssey, the whole skunk episode. The upshot of the situation was that indeed we finally were able to exclude Mama Skunk. Mostly that involved living through the early babyhood of the young skunks, which included Mama Skunk utilizing a “chemical warfare” pre-emptive tactic that consisted of laying down a small quantity of eau de skunk in and around the nursery before she left on her evening excursions, a sort of “No predators need enter these premises, nothing to see here, move along now” message. This led to my clients wrinkling up their faces when they arrived for their massages and asking “Did Ruby get skunked?” or “What is that smell?”
At any rate, eventually around April the skunk kiddies were old enough to get shown the ropes and went off night stalking with their mama and when that glad day happened, Jim went around the house and closed the skunks out. And when I say closed, I mean he really closed off access. The broken vent that provided the last access was thoroughly closed off with plywood and rocks. The crawl space access also was very thoroughly closed as well. The idea was that at some future date the broken vent would be mended and replaced, but alas, the future date was procrastinated for a couple of years.
Quite some time ago, we became aware that the aging process of our house had started to include a certain amount of deterioration of the beams that support the floor. This is an unfortunate predilection that wooden houses have, to develop rot, especially when the houses exist in humid climates. We knew that this was something that we would have to address sooner or later, and eventually we had one of our contractor friends over to go under the house and assess the situation.
Oh my. Many of you may have an inkling of what he found when he went under the house. Closing off the vents so thoroughly was really not a very good idea, at least not for a long term tactic, and when our friend and Jim emerged from their exploratory foray, which lasted a very short time, I can tell you, they were both sweating heavily and virtually covered in mud.
The crawl space of our house had developed all the qualities of a wet cave. Condensation was rampant, and the dirt under the house was thoroughly saturated as was the insulation. The water in the insulation had made it heavy, and begun to separate the fiberglas from the “moisture barrier” paper, it was hanging down in horrid stalactites, and making it completely impossible to see or tell what was actually going on with the beams and the rot situation. On a more positive note, there were no skunks…
The men wandered around the house, discussing such esoterica as air flow, venting, moisture, and mud. The vents were re-opened, and our friend informed us that really nothing could be done until things had dried out somewhat under the house and the ruined insulation had been removed.
This all occurred near the time that the big tornado hit Joplin, and one of the things that was big in the news was the lung rot/disease that people who were cleaning up were experiencing due to exposure to fiberglas insulation that was moldy. So I informed my husband that if he was going under the house to clean up wet insulation he by gum was going to be wearing a respirator.
We spent the summer directing hot attic air under the house by using a squirrel cage fan attached to duct that runs from the attic to the crawl space. Eventually things dried out somewhat, and the insulation removal began.
Jim crawls under the house dressed in a get-up that consists of his work overall, under which he has several layers of warm clothing. He wraps his head in a pillow case to keep the insulation out of his neck, cinches it down with a ball cap turned backwards. Over that he puts the dust mask, wears rubber gloves, and rubber boots. He makes quite an appearance when so garbed, and when he came in the house the first time, he caught Ruby by surprise and she basically went ballistic, barking and guarding the house from the monster which had so blithely entered without even a by your leave.
In her defense, she was already a trifle on edge due to the clunking and banging and weird slithery noises that had been coming from under the house while Jim was under there working.
This is Jim getting prepared for today’s shift.
Ruby watched him don his “gay apparel” and was disturbed. It remains to be seen how she will react when he is finished with this days stint of insulation removal.
In other news, we have been enjoying some rather lovely sunsets lately. This was a couple of nights ago.