ferret pee and ladybug invasion


Posted: April 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: gross, kitchen | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »


asian lady beetles

asian lady beetles

Today at the house: we finally conquered a stubborn radiator that we’d been trying (and failing) to get out of the kitchen for a few days. The winning trick was using a 5-foot-long crowbar. This enabled us to finish getting the last of the wallboard off the last wall! I firmly believe that we are FINALLY done removing sheet rock from that room. It was a gorgeous warm day which brought TRILLIONS of ladybugs out of hibernation to swarm the insides of our windows in a truly revolting manner. They’re actually Asian Lady Beetles, which sounds like something really sweet and lovely but is kinda gross when there are so many of them covering every window in the house. According to the internet, in nature they like to hibernate in cracks and crevasses in rock faces, but they’ll happily settle for squeezing themselves into any opening in anything large and pale-colored, which apparently includes every crack and crevasse around ever window of our house. Luckily they don’t breed in there, and they don’t eat anything, they just go to sleep and in the spring, on warm sunny days, they all wake up and crawl sluggishly around the windows and window-frames and ceilings until they make their ways outside (or drop dead, littering the floors with bug carcasses). We vacuumed up about 5 gazillion of them from the living room, then did another 3 trillion in the kitchen, and by the time we made it back to the living room there was a whole new crop of them covering the windows! Impressive. Hopefully we will have time to do some caulking and sealing to reduce this invasion next year.
In other wildlife news, as the weather warms up we spend more and more time wondering what the hell peed all over ever single inch of the entire house! (and reminding ourselves that the purchase price was so cheap that we don’t mind dealing with pervasive piss stink). Really, every single room, even the closets. Well, today in a box of old junk I found a purchase certificate for SIX ferrets. I don’t know anything about ferrets or their habits but I feel like it might be hard to house train one of them, let alone six of them. Mystery solved?

darned FERRETS

darned FERRETS!


getting started


Posted: March 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: excitement, photos, progress, slow progress | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »


We’ve only just begun… but we’ve finally begun! We’ve started to form some ideas about what to tackle first. There’s so much to be done! There is one upstairs bedroom that had wall-to-wall carpeting that REEKED of piss. So gross! This past week we got in there with a utility knife and started by ripping the carpet into three big strips (thanks Judy for the strategy advice!), then rolling them up and dragging them out. Tough going because two sides of the room have baseboard heaters and the nails holding the carpet down are under the baseboard heater, which is all fragile (take off the cover and it’s just copper piping with billions of delicate little fins that are ridiculously easy to mangle if you even touch them) so despite our best efforts we kinda messed up those heating fins, oops. This was the worst part of the process, the carpet is so heavy and clumsy that we ended up getting way more up-close-and-personal than anyone would want to get with something that thoroughly pee-soaked. Then there’s another layer of stained and stinky batting, and underneath there is a layer of stinky and crumbly particle board, nailed down to the floor. Had to pry this up gently with crowbars, we developed a good teamwork strategy and figured out how to ease it up in relatively large chunks. This also presented further complications with the baseboard heating pipes. And underneath… beautiful wood floors! Covered in lead paint, of course. But still lovely! We opened up some windows to get the smell out.

Ripping out pee carpet upstairs We ripped out the carpet!

Before & after… we ripped out the carpet!

I got the cabinets out!

Mike got the cabinets out!

At the same time, we got started on the kitchen downstairs. We’re gonna gut it completely, since the exterior walls need to be insulated, it needs new electrical wiring, and everything in there was super gross and old. We smashed out the fake bricks and tore out the old cabinets, saving some for possible re-use and just tearing others into firewood. Found tons of rat poop, one entire rat skeleton, one mummified rat, and one box of shaw’s orange jello powder. Also found a weird birthday card and a five-year-old 7th grade report card for a little boy who had a very bad academic year. It’s just so weird to find yourself picking through bits & pieces left from someone else’s life. Who were these people? Where did they go to? Why did they install wall-to-wall carpeting and who peed all over it? Why did they leave a plastic christmas tree atop a sea of baby clothes in the upstairs bathtub?
So, lots of trips to the dump! It’s so satisfying to destroy all the crappy stuff and rip it out and drag it to the dump. Sometimes I feel bad about throwing things away, I don’t like to be wasteful but… it’s really satisfying to hurl the stinky carpets and chunks of stained particle board into those dumpsters. No guilt about that.
As of this writing, we’re done working on the upstairs for this year, focusing all efforts on the downstairs. Still need to rip out a few more cabinets from the kitchen, rip out wallboard and plaster and insulate, run new electrical wires (with Richard’s master electrical guidance of course) and then install some recycled cabinets (found some in good condition in one of the apartments in the ell). Found a good price on beech wood counter top at Ikea (cheaper than Formica!), perhaps we can use the same stuff to build a matching island or kitchen table?! Very excited about designing and reconstructing the new kitchen. Then… on to the downstairs bathroom!!! Again, we’ll need to completely destroy and rebuild.
Oh, also… in the ell apartment, there is a REFRIGERATOR FILLED WITH FOOD FROM LAST YEAR. My mom of course opened it up to show us… and it smells BAD. We have a date to put on respirator masks, long rubber gloves, drag it into the front yard and tackle it. (in order to drop refrigerators at the dump you’ve got to remove the door and empty them!) Next Monday afternoon. Ugh.


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