Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rats Take II & Danger Demo

Yesterday = Rats. The absolutely worst job E has ever done. It wasn't a picnic for me either. The bright side is that I will no longer look at a pint sized pile of rat poo and shriek. No, not me. I am an official member of the 3-gallon club. The 3-gallons was just what the world's most abused vacuum cleaner picked up. The rest was either embedded in the insulation as it was tossed down from the attic or rained down upon me as I scrambled to pick up the insulation. The "ha-ha" funny was that when E finally descended from the rat den he asked what all the screeching was about. Mmmm. You'll never guess what song was stuck in his head either... "It's raining (poo)". Sigh. The process took all day. E suited up in a full body suit, respirator, goggles and bike helmet. He sprayed a bleach/water solution on all the attic surfaces. He used a shop vac with a long extension taped to a pole to vacuum up most of the poo on the surface. He then jimmied a hoe onto a pole and my ice-scraper onto another pole. He used these to separate the stapled down insulation from the bottom and then hoed the insulation to the attic access hole of doom. I, likewise suited up (sans bike helmet) and piled the insulation into drawstring bags. Guess what ma, I even found a dead rat embedded in the insulation! It wasn't a pretty death either. E then took another pass with the vacuum and voila! 

Yesterday we also finished demoing the decks with a hand from a laborer, loaded the big dumpster, E's dad U sanded the carpet glue off the concrete slab and took apart a free standing closet.

Today consisted of danger demo. The laborer and I were left to our own devices. I opened up the drywall around the back house kitchen sink, using a sawzall - not the dangerous part. The laborer dude, henceforth known as dude, did stuff and I did more stuff.  Then the fun began, when dude couldn't work the circular saw, dude attempted to cut off rotted siding using the sawzall. NO BAD. Saw blade was a wiggling, jagged lines were being formed on the building's surface. I had mental flashes of a saw gone wild. That was when I decided it would be a good idea to set him to demoing a chimney on the main house, cuz I'm smart. Well, it's done and the end result is that no one was hurt and we saved $1000. 

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to working with U the father-in-law. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rats Take I

K&E: Wait for dumpster to be delivered at 10am, meet with craigslist folk for spa removal.
K: Back house cabinet/counter removal (learned rats like to nest below cabinets)

E: Back house bathroom demo (learned to flush toilet before removing toilet).
K&E: "Calmly" wait for dumpster to be delivered at 1pm, meet with more craigslist folk for lumber.

K: Back porch demo top

E: Go "lumberjack" on the redwoods and 3 large trees in side yard. 

K: Meet with plumber.
K&E: "Not so calmly" wait for dumpster to be delivered at 3pm
E: Cut trees into logs for more craigslist folk.
K&E: Get really hungry and dumpster arrives at 4:30pm
K: Retrieve piece of rat poo from small dog's mouth.
K&E: Discuss removal of rat infested insulation in Back House attic. Chicken out and go eat dinner.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It Begins

The last few days have been filled with documenting the current state of the house and yard work. I never thought yard work would be the first thing we'd tackle but it seems it is the first item to take care of when you have rats. Yes, large, juicy, squirrel sized rats. E is counting on the small dachshund to catch a few - I'd prefer if they just left. The yard work on the other hand has gone a long way to make good neighbors. I'm sure we'll hear some great stories in the near future.  

This weekend my in-laws came armed with a chain saw, multiple pruning sheers and a shovel and a few saws. We dug out black berry bushes and they took out a dead tree, 
two trees in the front that were right up next to the house.  The bonus discovery was that we have a pear tree that produces good sized fruit. 

I managed to transfer most of the junk from the yard onto the driveway where we'll load it up tomorrow when the dumpster arrives. The list of yard trash includes but is not limited to the following: mud engorged teddy bear, propane tank, gas can, 5 broken chairs, computer printer, table, piles of cigaret butts, random household hardware, a sink, a pallet of fire wood (craigslisted), a spa (craigslisted), 7 - 5 gallon buckets of half used spackel, 23 gallons of paint/stain/unknowns, a trash can full of expired canned goods, 2 boxes of hazardous waste, a half gallon of black pickle relish, Christmas ornaments and decorations, broken glass, more mud and mold engorged fabric / pet beds / heating pads / inflatable mattresses.  Pretty much you name it, I probably found it. 

The kitchen cabinets were filled with expired half used food and the fridge is 'to be duct taped shut'.  When showing a few friends around this evening we discovered that the awful smell in the kitchen was from a previous dog urinating on the exposed subfloor - yum. Go-go gadget kitchen remodel. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

It is official - we are the proud owners of a bouncing bundle of joy.  The 1,392sqft renovation challenge course is all set and bids are underway. Of course it wouldn't be much fun unless we were trying to tackle most of it ourselves. I have dubbed myself General Contractor and I am subcontracting the electrical, HVAC and finish carpentry to the husband (henceforth known as E aka e-man).

I say "bouncing bundle of joy" because the lot - as lovely and full of furniture, household combustibles, rats and plagues as it is - lies close to a fault. The foundation is the first order of business and here's hoping that the next Big One doesn't decide to show up until after everything is reinforced and seismically retrofitted. 

Of course there is joy in the new house as well. There are some beautiful details that need a little love and elbow grease to bring to life. My favorites are the inlaid hardwood floors and the fireplace with three Claycraft tiles. E-man personally loves the utility closet and has been drooling over websites depicting lurid sketches of solar water/radiant heating systems. 

A note to the reader: The provided sketch was created by an imaginative artist on the mls listing for the property.  Photographic images of the 'actual' property are forthcoming.