Friday, April 5, 2013

Seven Pounds

So a few posts back I showed y'all the horrible ceiling in the back bedroom and decided that it had to come down.  I figured the best way to do that is a layer at a time, so I started with the dropped ceiling.  At first things went well.  I took down a few tiles, removed the metal strips as I went along, and pretty soon the ceiling looked like this:

Not too bad, right?  In some places the next layer of ceiling tiles had fallen down, so occasionally when I pulled on a ceiling tile it had a stack of those smaller tiles on top of it.  I worked my way over to the other half of the room.

And here I want to pause to thank everybody who reminded me to wear a respirator.  I am really, truly, wholeheartedly thankful for that advice.  Really.  If y'all lived here, I'd bake you a pie.  Although you might not want to eat it after you read this next part....

Fair warning:  In just a minute I am going to tell you the most disgusting thing that's ever happened to me while working on this house.  Some of you might remember when Larry and I uncovered the mud dauber catacombs and nursery on the side porch and how I ran out into the yard and gagged after seeing hundreds of mud dauber larvae wrapped up in green leaves all over the side of my house.  This is worse than that, and that still makes me shudder when I think of it.

Okay.  So, I was standing on a ladder in the middle of the room, wearing my standard work-on-the-house uniform:  my lucky Pierce Manufacturing cap, a hoodie, yoga pants, and old Converse with no socks.  On this particular night I was also wearing my geeky glasses, Charlie's safety glasses on top of those, a pair of orange chem gloves, and a respirator mask.  The top of my head was about 18 inches below the level of the ceiling.  I pulled on a ceiling tile and it was heavy, but I thought that was just because it had a stack of those other ceiling tiles on top of it, so I gave it a really good yank, it popped down out of the ceiling, and...

seven pounds of mouse shit rained down on me.

It went down my sweatshirt, fell between my two pairs of glasses, peppered my face and my hair, stuck to my pants, and filtered into my shoes.  About two pounds of that seven pounds of mouse shit ended up in the hood of my sweatshirt.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I screamed like a little girl.  I jumped down off the ladder and said...wait for it...."Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!"  Yes, I did.  My first instinct was to rip off my respirator and get the hell out of there, but then all that training we have at work about HazMat situations kicked in and I realized two things: 1. I do not want to inhale any of this junk; and 2. I need to contain this mess to this room. So I did the sensible thing.  I stripped off all my clothes.  (If you've never tried to take off a hoodie while wearing a respirator, I don't recommend it.)  That was when I found the two pounds of mouse doody in the hood of my shirt and nearly barfed in my respirator. I shook my clothes out thoroughly, put them into a trash bag, tied it shut, and left them in the middle of the room.  Then I walked across the room nekkid except for my poop-filled Converse and the respirator--I was looking pretty sexy I bet, and thank God I hadn't yet taken down the curtains--to the bathroom doorway, removed my respirator, put it in another trash bag, took off one shoe, brushed the kaka off my foot, stepped partway into the clean bathroom, repeated the process with the other shoe and foot, tied the trash bag shut, slammed the door closed, and ran the rest of the way across the bathroom to the shower, where I took a very long, very hot shower with lots of soap and much scrubbing with a body brush.

Now, I know what y'all are thinking.  Seven pounds of mouse shit?  Really?  It's not like you weighed it or anything.  But that's where you're wrong.  See, after showering and putting on nice clean clothes, I looked up the dangers of mouse doody and how to clean up mouse doody safely.  Because I'm a geek like that.  So after I napalmed the whole room with bleach water the next day--the CDC says wait a week, but I'm pretty sure the mouse poop is more likely seven years old than seven days old--and picked it up with a cat litter pooper-scooper and threw it in trash bags, I weighed the trash bags.  Almost nine pounds.  I figure wet doody weighs more than dry doody, so I subtracted a couple pounds.  Therefore, seven pounds of mouse shit.

I can hardly wait to see what else might be up there in that ceiling...

37 comments:

  1. Next layer up, cut a hole in a large trash bag, just big enough to put your head through. If (what's the chances of it only being if? 0%??), so when the next layer of unknown yuck falls it should shed to the floor. Rain coat with hood teid around face so neck is sealed shut? Paint suit to cover all clothes and bag over ankles. Thinks creatively... thanks for being smart.

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    1. Good ideas! I think the thrift store has some of those paint suits. I'll go down there and see.

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    2. No need to worry about the thrift store. Lowes has basic ones for like $12.

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  2. What are the odds you could borrow a hazmat suit...

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    1. I could probably borrow a training suit. Hadn't thought of that. I've borrowed tools from the department before. If the thrift store doesn't have any paint suits, I'll ask about the HazMat suit.

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  3. OH MY SWEET JESUS!!
    You are one brave women!.. I can't imagine 7 pounds of shit.. You should of taken that picture. Wow~ that is just incredible!
    imagine how sick you could have gotten breathing that day in and day out? As I was reading I was imagining you gagging...
    OH Wow...You never know what you may find.. My sisters in-laws bought an old home and after several years cleaned the attic and found thousands of dollars.. back then.. some people didn't believe in banks.. Good Luck keep us posted and be careful!

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    1. Oh my gosh, they found money in the attic?? I'll keep digging through the insulation--maybe I'll be that lucky, too!

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  4. I was going to warn you in your last post, but didn't want to discourage the roll you were on. I know the get-naked-and-run across the house dance well - our drop ceilings were rat superhighways, peppered with mummified squirrels and dead mice caked in a century of soot . . . I'll keep my fingers crossed that the worse is over for you!

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    1. Haha! I'm glad you didn't warn me, I wouldn't have gone up the ladder!

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  5. Holy crap!!!!!

    Don't forget to take all that metal to the scraper. It's usually aluminum and you'd be surprised what you'll get for that.

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    1. I snorted when I read "Holy crap!!!" Hilarious. I have it all stacked up to take to the scrapper today. I'll let you know what I get for it.

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    2. Make sure they count it as aluminum (check with magnet). If they think you're a rookie they will try and count it as metal. Aluminum usually counts as special metals here in MI.

      We kept our receipts last year and we scrapped over 2K in various metals. Some of the kitty food is in aluminum cans. Some cans are tin with aluminum pull tops.

      Electric motors are classified at a higher rate too. Just recently they started tasking electronic stuff.

      Fingers crossed that you make enough to buy a good bottle of wine.

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    3. I made one dollar and 58 cents. Boo. Fourteen pounds of aluminum and I made a stinkin' $1.58. Oh well, I still bought a 4-pack of pear cider. :)

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    4. Oh oh.......my husband says aluminum here in MI is 50 cents a pound. That should have been 7 bucks.

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    5. I'm going to call them Monday morning and ask them what the rate per pound is for aluminum. I think they ripped me off. The rates aren't posted anywhere, and at no time did they tell me what I was getting per pound. I know I had 14 pounds of aluminum because I was there when they weighed it, and that's also what the check stub says. I haven't cashed the check yet.

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    6. I hope you called them today - on Fri we got 45 cents per pound for aluminum here in FL. I work for a printer and my recycler comes to me, weighs all the used printing plates and gives me cash. I'm guessing the going rate if you take it to them would be higher. So 11 cents per pound sounds a bit low.

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    7. In my town the scrapers are all located in the same general location and all of them have their daily prices posted so you can easily read it from the road.

      I had a female co worker hit a big pot hole and bend her solid aluminum wheel. She took her car to a large tire chain store. They then charged her a $25.00 disposal fee for the bent wheel. Not only did they make 25 bucks on a disposal fee but they also got to scrap a very heavy piece of solid aluminum. She was perfectly happy to pay the 25 bucks because she said she had no way to get rid of it. We told her she could have sat it next to her trash can and it would have been gone before she got back in the house.

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  6. Are you sure it was mouse poop and not bat poop? I was touring a cabin at Cades Cove in Tennessee when I saw a long pile of what looked like perfectly shaped tiny little bits of black charcoal. Puzzled, I kept starring at the pile on the floor wondering why the black bits formed a strait line in front of the hearth. Finally I looked up and inches away from my head were several bats in a row! It was bat shit! I screamed and ran out. I had recently read on a blog that bat crap is highly toxic. I'm glad you had the sense to wear a mask and shower afterwards because you don't want to stir that stuff up!

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    1. I wish it was bat poop. I love bats because they eat mosquitoes. We had bats really bad at Wentworth a while back, but I never saw their poop--I did see one hanging off the pop machine though! lol I'm off to google pictures of bat poop.

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  7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F14o5bl6otA

    I'm betting it's bat guano (poop). They hang from the same rafter and drop in the same location where a mouse distributes his poop everywhere. Be careful they don't get in your house.

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  8. You can learn more about bats in your attic from Kimberly @ http://einselstonehouse.blogspot.com, she also happens to a follower of your blog. She has four or five interesting and humorous posts in September 2010 on this subject, so go to her archives. BTW, she has a beautiful stone home I'd give my right arm for!

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    1. I love Kimberly's house! It's so beautiful, and the care they're taking to restore it is just amazing. I don't remember the posts about bats, so I'll go read them.

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  9. Kimberly has another post in July, http://einselstonehouse.blogspot.com/2010/07/baby-bats_13.html

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  10. And here I was complaining about grouting a bathroom floor. I'll stop my whining now, and wish you luck (and a whole lot less shit) with the rest of this project.

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    1. Laura, Whine all you want to about grouting! I hate crawling around on floors, so I totally understand.

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  11. Oh, Jayne, Jayne, Jayne. See if we knew what can of worms (piles of shit) we could be opening up we would never tackle any new (old) house project. And look, now you have another amazing story!!! The fun of living in a house with history!

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    1. Very true, Andrea! It's undoubtedly a good thing that we can't see into the future!

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  12. Your missing roof trim - not quite, but a clear pic of a similar one:

    http://www.casadecrepit.com/images/DSC_6711%20copy.jpg

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    1. Wow, that looks almost exactly like it, doesn't it?!

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  13. Off the subject.
    What time does your shift start and end?

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  14. Wow I admire you dor getting on that ladder ad tackling that project!!

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  15. Aiyee!And I thought I got myself into some sh*t …  Just know that I was laughing WITH you, not AT you!

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  16. Ya haul seven whole pounds,
    Whaddya get?
    Another day older and
    Deeper in sh!t . . .

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  17. I'm late to the game - I just found your blog through viewalongtheway (I'm about to paint my vinyl bathroom floor) and I have to say - I love your blog. It's like story hour and I wonder what you're up to with each post/chapter. Also I was laughing so hard I was crying over your description of the mouse shit. For some reason poop stories really crack me up (I admit I have a 12-year-old boy's sense of humor at times) and this one had me just about howling.

    I also want to say I appreciate reading the DIY-ings of a single woman. I'm single myself and most of the blogs I read and enjoy are from married women - which means they usually have someone to help with a LOT of stuff. Like you - if it's a 2-person job it either doesn't get done or I have to come up with a creative work around.

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  18. Hi Stacy! Glad you found me and that I made you laugh. Being single has a lot of advantages, but there are times when we could really use the help. Good luck on your bathroom floor! Mine still looks really good, except for one small place next to the toilet. I think the floor might be damp there or that I missed that spot when I scrubbed down the floor with TSP.

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