Monday, October 22, 2012

My Summer in the Crawl Space

While preparing to sell my mom's house there were lots of things to take care of.  Beyond the normal things you'd expect (new carpet, paint, etc) we had a few plumbing issues to take care of.   A leaky tub and shower caused water damage to the flooring and insulation under the master bathroom.  Nothing a couple of plumbers couldn't solve.  After that it was closing up the insulation and cleaning up the vapor barrier.  Boring stuff right?  I mean are you even still reading?  Stay with me.

Under the house is the crawlspace.  This isn't just a generalized term to describe "under the house" but was a true description of the type of space there was available under my mom's house.  At the roomiest height there was only enough room to sit and any actual movement required crawling.  Not on hand and knees either...I mean crawling like you're in the bootcamp scenes in the movie Stripes or in my case maybe Private Benjamin.

I have on eye protection and a respirator since the air is full of rodent poop dust and I am crawling on my belly and sweeping with a horizontal hand broom.  I make a long sweep with my right hand and then heard what sounded like wind chimes. Just so you know, that's the sound it makes when you're sweeping a raccoon skeleton across 6mm sheets of plastic.

I admit that this was freaking me out a little.  I'm holding my breath while I move the skeletal remains of this poor animal along.  I continue crawling along on my stomach just a few feet behind the trail of bones with each sweep of progress.  I swept the bones over and across this large mound under the plastic and then stopped for a second to catch my breath.  While trying to calm down I heard something else that I hadn't heard before.  It sounded like buzzing.  I took off my respirator and shouted over to my brother.

"Hey, do you hear that?"  My voice barely carries.

"What?"  My brother stops tearing at insulation. "What did you say?"

"I hear buzzing or something?  I said after another big breath.  "Can you hear that?"

"Oh," he said then stopped for a second.  "I did see bees over there earlier."

This tiny back area of the house which took me five minutes to crawl into took me just 3 seconds to get out of.  Crawling over the raccoon skeleton and away from the sound of bees I was able to get out of the crawlspace.  No stings, just a bump on the head where I smacked it on a beam, crawling quickly while breathing out a panicked shriek.

The exterminator later pointed out to me that he was able to kill thousands of bald faced hornets in the nest that were still in the large mound.

"Um, large mound?"  I asked.

"Yeah, those hornets made a huge mound under the plastic, I'm surprised you didn't see it down there."  He held his arms out in a big circle as if to demonstrate the circumference of the place I nearly died. Only a couple of hours earlier I was crawling over that mound while sweeping along a dead raccoon.

Seriously, that day really sucked. 


philnjill said...

OK, that gave me the creeps!

lynda said...

eek! i'm glad you are ok!

Gino said...

damn, i love your stories.