Now this is love. My husband suiting up to go into the sub-standard crawlspace to remove the flooring insulation by hand because the fucking contractors all want $3,000 (yep, three grand) to do it. Considering they said it can be done in 3 hours by them, a thousand bucks an hour is, pure and simple, horse shit. So husband is doing it manually and while it’s taking longer, he’s getting over his fear of confined spaces, saving us a shit ton of money, and being my hero!!! Note to others doing this: the outfit he’s got is a $9 Tyvek suit, gloves (with his wrists taped up with shipping tape to prevent any fiberglass from getting in the cracks), an expensive-as-fuck respirator, goggles, AND baby powder on every exposed area which helps keep any particles from going into the skin. So far it’s working pretty damn well but as you can see, he still doesn’t consider it the highlight of his day. Because it’s hellish work and the crawlspace is hot as hell (thanks to the seller for putting a shitload of mulch and dirt over ALL of the outside vents which meant we had to dig every single one out so he could breathe down there, grrrrr) and not standard height (meaning, he’s wriggling in and out), we made a deal that he’ll do 2 bags’ worth each day to keep it tolerable. Once this is finally done then we can have the crawlspace sprayed for wood-boring beetles, which is the reason we are doing this in the first place. WHEW!
And my pride and joy has arrived ! A 1,000 gallon cistern for rainwater collection – woo hoo! I backed up to shoot this so you can see how tall it is compared to the barn, where we’re going to have a guy come by in August to install a gutter on the one side of the barn so that we can collect the rainwater and use it for the garden. It was pretty badass seeing my husband and our next door neighbor getting this from the driveway back here (it’s fairly lightweight at 175 lbs empty but you can’t roll it because it’s got things sticking out of it that can break off – not something worth risking when this baby cost $800 (almost half of that was freight shipping btw). The wooden square by the way is the first part of the skeleton where, post-gutter-install, Dan will be making a concrete base for it to sit on which should be a fun project in itself. But SO worth it, y’all. Rock ‘n’ roll!
And speaking of major purchases, first thing we did was sell the old washer and dryer on Craigslist for $100 that came with the house. They were at least 15-20 years old and my thought is, yeah I could probably get more but they were “free” and ultimately I’d rather someone get them who truly needs them. And of course because of that we sold it in 24 hours and replaced it with this gorgeous set of Electrolux on sale at Sears (yep, turns out there are still a few small Sears stores out there, including here in Astoria). I don’t usually gush over these things but the dryer, y’all, it really does know when the clothes are truly dry. Until we get our clothesline up (and for the rainy winter and spring days, of course), this is solid gold. Oh and can I say I adore not going into a basement to do laundry? Ironically we have an upstairs now which means we throw our dirty laundry down the staircase out of laziness, now inspiring a “how to build a laundry chute” search on Pinterest…wheeeee!
Oh yes, and hell hath no fury like Moi with a first-ever case of asthmatic bronchitis, which has been shown to be caused by an excessive exposure to chemicals/dander/dust/etc. The master bedroom was the ONE room in the house that for some reason never had hardwood floors installed and instead had this horrific green carpeting in it. Well, we decided that we’d put our king mattress on the floor in here and sleep in here while we were getting the other two bedrooms up and running, and while we always thought it smelled funky, we assumed it was just dust. Well, turns out from the neighbor that this is where the seller’s cat LIVED (never even knew she had a cat til post-sale, btw) and after getting seriously ill and taking a lovely cocktail of albuterol, antibiotics, prednisone and codeine for the past 5 days to try and extricate this shit from my lungs (a wee bit better but not cured by any stretch, btw), Dan was ON IT with getting the carpeting ripped out of there (I made him wear a mask) and the stanky foam padding underneath it. Stanky? Yes, stanky. As you can see from the bottom two pictures, there are stains EVERYWHERE ON the subfloor, so the seller really did not give a shit about keeping the place clean. I fucking swear, we left our house in Portland goddamn IMMACULATE – even paid to have the windows professionally washed! – and this woman couldn’t even be bothered to dust or have the carpet shampooed. Note to those buying a home – have it put in writing that this kind of shit will be done, and do a walk through before closing to make SURE it’s been done, it seems minimal but let me tell you, at least a week of what we’ve been busting our asses on has been directly related to cleaning up her shit, not the cool decorating stuff! So anyhoo…now we wait to get an estimate on installing hardwood floors, and I’m going to be hiring a professional cleaner to come in and clean everything top to bottom because my lungs deserve better!
So with all of the above, my husband removed the carpeting in pieces that happened to be around the size of raised beds, rolling them up then tossing them off the second floor balcony (I seriously recommend this way to get out pent up frustrations!) so we’re using them to kill the grass where the future beds will go. Ultimately these will have to go to the landfill, as we don’t want stanky PVC carpet to be the basis for these garden beds (and there’s no carpet recyclers anywhere over on this side of the state, unfortunately), but they will be useful for this in the interim. You can’t see everything but I’ve basically got this set up now for 36 beds. Yeah bay-beeee! That’s the duck run at the top of the photo, and we’re going to use two sides of the existing pasture fencing to create the outline of the garden/duck area. PS – see those straw bales in the run? Dammit if that didn’t finally get the girls to go lay eggs in their actual coop – they did NOT like the unfamiliarity of the pine shavings, no sirree bob! So we’re using the pine shavings for random bedding in the run so it can be easily raked and used as compost in the aforementioned beds-to-be-built.
And because god forbid we focus on one room at a time, this morning we decided to rip out some of the overhead and “built in” cabinetry. I use air quotes because it’s not actually “built in”! They basically made the kitchen smaller to put in butt ugly country-fake-oak cabinets – see that ceiling in the picture on the left (photos is from the listing btw, so you can also see some of the nasty chiffon curtains as well that we liberated and donated to Goodwill!)? It actually is a box of sorts to fit that overhead cabinetry that’s hanging there, and the kitchen walls actually go back further! So anyhow, as you can see from the picture on the right that I took this afternoon, when we pulled out the cabinet to the left and atop the fridge, you can see that they were lazy as all fuck and didn’t even finish the walls before jamming those cabinets in there, and on the bottom we’ve temporarily put a piece of plywood because yep, you guessed it, there was exposed insulation batting! And if you look at the height of it all, my guess is that area was actually a doorway back in the day. I’ll have to ask the neighbor but it’s my guess. Anyhow, glad to remove this crap and slowly be on our way to giving this kitchen the TLC it deserves not to mention liberate it from the seriously 1980s depression it was in…and yes, I’ve got dreams of a French door refrigerator in our future once we get a few more steps down the line…
Ah yes, and this weekend marks the end of Dan’s first full week on the job with Fort George Brewery! I encouraged him to “get a fun job this summer” as we got settled in and he is definitely loving it. While the benefits are crap (but not as crappy, ironically, as union-backed Safeway who wanted him to wait 6 months or more for healthcare and even longer to cover dependents! Needless to say he turned them down.), the management and HR team there have been really phenomenal, not just having their basic shit together but really caring about him and the rest of the team in a way that was NEVER seen at New Seasons. Now, Dan’s direct managers at NSM were awesome – except for the pricks in Meat who outright discriminated against him based on his disability – but store management and corporate were the most pathetic bunch of idiots I’ve ever encountered…particularly the store’s HR/Accounting team who could give a rat’s ass about legal compliance, not to mention paycheck accuracy. Anyhow, the folks at FG have been the polar opposite in looking after Dan’s well being as he works with his TBI disability, and so I’m grateful he’s somewhere he can have fun and finally feel respected at all levels in the organization.