OPERATION: Springtail Shutdown

Ok, Dudes. I HATE bugs. Like really legit have a phobia. I trap them under cups and make the man get them and make them dead. If the man is not around, I maaaaay resort to chemicals, hairspray or fire. Or all of the above.  Almost had to with this little gem:

I never kill bugs in the outside or garden. No matter how gross, so simmer down soldiers. But come in my house, my territory, and its on little dudes, IT’S ON! Anywho my latest bugaboo is this crowd of nasty Springtails on some of my windowsills. Not in the bathroom or the sink where these moisture-loving teensy tiny buggers would normally hang out. They are coming in on my crank windows and under the doors (I think). According to Orkin they live outside in mulchy spots and eat decaying leaves. And, according to pretty much all of the people in the universe these are no big deal:
Vacuum them up” …
“When it rains more they will go back outside” …
“They don’t damage anything”

You overreact”

I disagree because, well, EW! I am not having it, they DO damage something. They damage my ability to be ZEN man! So, I am in the midst of executing a full blown attack, consisting of 5 missions. OPERATION: Springtail Shutdown is a-go, people!

Phase 1: Diatomaceous Earth was deployed on all of the sills. They used their trap-detecting pest radar to literally walk around the granules. Phase 1 was a complete failure. This is the first time the DE did not come through for me.

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This is the first time old faithful DE could not protect the territory.

Phase 2: All radiator covers were removed heating elements were vacuumed. Pipes were also checked for leaks all over the house. Sills were cleaned and disinfected to ensure death of everything. Initially an effective mission, but the enemy returned in droves in only two days time.

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Enemy scout tries to hide unnoticed, high above the sill.

Phase 3: All shrubbery was removed and trimmed and the lawn was cut waaaaaaay down around the house. A hose was called into action to power-wash the siding and nuke all bits of stuck-on organic materials from the fall that was leftover on on the back yard patio AstroTurf. The enemy took a hit that time. They fell way back. Only small band of revolutionary’s dared to return to the area. Most of the remaining enemy troops were found dead.

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A fallen enemy soldier.

Phase 4: The little bastard insurgents are rallying back in alarming numbers of 1-2 per sill. That’s just way too many. During the last few neutral territory sweeps on the exterior of the house, they were seen traveling in bands! Next weekend I will bring out the big gun and launch a series of caulk based missiles to the interior and exterior of the house.

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The “Big Gun” is ready and waiting.

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A battery of three types of assault missiles will be deployed next mission.

Phase 5: The damage to enemy troops will be assessed and then I will replace all of the weather stripping on the windows in hopes of sealing out the enemy FOREVER.

Wish me luck and ROGER THAT, nay-sayers, ROGER THAT!!! Please let me know if you found a way to combat these gross little nasties that is not outlined in my attack plan.

<3,
Roni

Scheming Squirrels

Squirrels are not that menacing, you say. I am silly, you say? Well, why don’t you take a gander at this, smarty-pants:

20131121-093327.jpgSee?! I am not crazy and this is not an irrational fear. They are plotting. Raising an army high above the junk piled high in my neighbors yard. Just look at what they did to poor Barbie! Probably snatched it from the sticky little clutches of a screaming toddler, poor thing. If I disappear, it was those squirrels, dammit!

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Jeepers, Creepers: Redux

Ok, so y’all know how much I hate creepy crawlies. Yet, somehow they keep comin’ around. Must be my charm.

Anyway, I have been religiously spraying Ortho Bug-B-Gon (r) out around the perimeter of the house. I have been overrun with Mosquitos and other crawlies. Biggest issue is the skeeters – with no water in the house, the hose is the only option. No fun being mosquito bait, I tell you!

If you have been around the disaster work zone as of late you will recall that there was a lake with a mountain of stuffs in it at a nearby back yard. Actually, I suppose the shining mountain is what caused the lake in the first place, but its not relevant now. That’s mostly cleaned up but there is still a smattering of, we’ll, just stuff. I mean lots of stuff. Stuff that can collect water and create a plethora of perfect damp hideaways. Hideaways for the unholy West-Nile carrying jerk faces to happily continue to breed and raise nasty little baby unholy West-Nile carrying jerk faces. I am outnumbered. I am losing the war, here People! The spray works sorta okay for a few days…then just sorta for a few days more. Oh we’ll, Fall will come soon enough.

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In happier news, the carpenter ants seem to be gone, but now with the kitchen gutted I am getting beetles. I thought they were roaches at first, but after some research it turns out to be patent-leather beetles. Not too happy about that. Hoping they’ll go away after I get the walls back up in the kitchen.

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Lastly, we have house centipedes. Just look at those mutha’s:

20130724-214255.jpg These things are TERRIFYING. Really. Don’t even mind the bazillions of spiders now that I haves exhanged pleasantries with these little monsters. They ARE monsters, too.

One such little beast challenged me to a battle.

(Place your bets now, please).

I had moved a slab of wallboard over to get to some supplies I had in the closet. He was chillin back there on the back and I passed by without noticing him, as the room has no lighting yet. I wish I took a pic of the insane bite I got on my leg now ’cause I think it was this little charmer. Mosquito bites usually get really giant on me but I had one with a silver dollar red blotch with two larger rings of lighter color red radiating out. Any-who, I was scurrrrrred to smash him since he was playing possum sideways on the drywall remnant since unholy things like bugs often don’t succumb to the laws of gravity. If I missed and he fell, gravity would, however briefly, apply to this creature – the floors are dark, the space is small and, again, no lighting to aid me. And he was about 3 inches long. I’d be creaped out forever knowing he got away. Can’t have that.
So I got my crap shop vac and went in with no cover. Lined it up behind him. Moved it closer…closer…easy now…closer…wait for it…I got him now….

BAM.

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Little jerk scurried a foot ahead on the wall board. Annoyed and feeling braver I jammed the shop vac hose right up to his hiney. He scurried another foot. This. Can’t. Be. Happening. Enter plan B.

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I grabbed my ant killer stuff and sprayed him over and over. He just ran away. Never to bee seen again, I hope. Now I am creeped out forever knowing that he got away. Need to get these walls closed up so this type of evil monster cannot get in to the house. So, yeah, I lost that battle.

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Jeepers, Creepers!

Decided to do some spring cleaning last weekend. I had to show you all the gross things that I found in the previous owners shed.

Now I don’t want to even THINK about the 17 year cicada brood that should be waiting about an inch below the surface of my lawn right about now. Ugh!

Enjoy! (Haha)

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Mighty, miiiiight still be in that bucket. Don’t judge me, the trash cans were full and I wanted to keep the pail. So next week, next week…

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Damage Control

Hey folks! So, it’s been awhile. Been busy doing stuff at the house, ran into a hiccup or twothousand since the post where my kitchen walls had been kind enough to reveal a pretty decent infestation of carpenter ants. We got that damage all sorted and started in on the bathroom. As you may recall from images in a previous post – the walls of the bathroom were rotted and were pretty much held in place with contact paper. To which I said, “Awesome!” I kinda always wanted a Florida Room. Though this is not quite how I had pictured it: 20130429-135139.jpg

Well, the walls are fixed up, reinforced or replaced and the little shed on the other side made the cut. It is still there – along with the rotting mouse carcasses that had lived in a two bedroom apartment located squarely on my property. They had it made. One room was a drafty shed – rather spacious for our little guests. The other was a tiny damp space under the tub IN MY BATHROOM!

      (

Insert ee-bee jee-bees here

    )

Now that my little friends have been evicted, on to the plumbing.* Simple drain fix. NOT. SO. FAST! Hadta jack-hammer the whole danged place up till good happy healthy pipes were located. Which, of course, was PERFECT! I had few thousand dollars I didn’t really want anyway…besides, being poor suites me.
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In other news, the air unit got wired in. That was super great, except for the awkward hole they accidentally drilled through the wall-slash-ceiling on which the new thermostat was going to live. Not to worry, that was a truly easy fix for once. 20130429-195552.jpg

Amidst all the drama I decided to circle back on my plans and keep the second bedroom as a computer room that will double as a guest bedroom. This means I needed to move the washer and dryer to the second floor since there is no way I was putting them back in the kitchen. Here we found that the exhaust for the plumbing was not done correctly. Needed that professionally fixed, too.
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Have I mentioned how horrible awesome an experience it was for me to get a home inspection? They are fantastic procedures. Here is how it works: you, the purchaser, have no firm idea what’s going on and you are scared you’re going to buy a lemon. You don’t know jack about plumbing, electricity, roofs or how to tell if the house is structurally sound or any of that stuff. So you give this guy a ton of money and he walks around your house-to-be with a clipboard saying how great it is for an old home. You know, to make you feel better. Then he points out one or two old bricks that should be pointed and little spot of cracked vinyl siding. You know, for dramatic effect. You ask when he will take look at the roof, he tells you it’s pitched too much and that you will need to pay more or hire a roofer to look at it. “Oh well, wish they told me that sooner” you think to yourself. But you are ignorant and this guy knows what he is talking about so you say, “oh, ok then lets skip the roof.” Later that week, you get pictures and a fancy binder with coupons for vendors *they* like. The report says that there is a leaky sink – it doesn’t tell you that the entire bathroom floor needs to be jack hammered up. It doesn’t tell you the home is drafty due to holes in the rotting walls that are only covered by siding and held up by old drywall. They point out a leaking pipe upstairs (that is right next to a faulty soil pipe rigging). They seem to overlook all kinds of obvious things that unsuspecting common folk like me would have no idea about, such as said messed up soil pipe. Every professional that has come into my home has pointed out things and said, you had an inspection? And they missed this (insert really expensive disaster here)? In fact, the roof that the inspector did not want to go on is the only thing that is turning out to be structurally sound in the whole shebang. C’est la vie. Next time I will just pay a plumber and an electrician to check out my potential digs, and that’s it. And it will likely be way less that 400 bucks.

Anyway, the point is, you haven’t heard much from me ’cause $#!t got real – real ‘spensive. There wasn’t too much to say about it – or shoot pictures of – more reinforced studs, tearing out rotten drywall, removing bug eaten wood, jacking up ceilings, it pretty much looks just like the previous few posts. It would have been duplicate photos and me whining about this and that. While thats all true, loads of work has been done. And loads of monies have been spent. If I can make it to destitute, I am trying so hard and am well on my way, I’ll know my hard work has paid off. Lol! I think destitute may even make my a-double-scribble look smaller. Ha!

Silver lining? Well, when I am done I will certainly have a brand new home.

Literally.

*Back off and spare me the PETA hate-mail, please. No little mouses were harmed, they were actually already D-E-D dead when we discovered them.

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The Carpenters (…as in ants, not Richard & Karen)

Recall my last post about old termite damage? Yeah, well, about that…it is carpenter ants. Not was. IS. They ate my house and are still feasting. Yes, I had an inspection. Yes, the old owner disclosed old termite damage from ‘ages ago’ had been repaired – on the roof and new 2nd floor. I don’t think it was ever termites just these dudes. YES – they did a bad inspection, YES – the owner must have lied. YES – they all took my damned money and NO – I am unsure I can do anything about it. Such is life.

Thas-a no good!

Here is a visual diary of my misery:

This is what most of my house-guts look like.

As a result there are holes to outside world. Who needs walls anyway. I have been meaning to do more camping…

We think this was the hive. Hundreds came out with a little prodding.

More damaged house-guts.

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Say hello to my little friend!

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Yo, these guys are BIG sons’abitches!

The little one is Karen. The big one is Richard.

Richard is no more.

I took these buggers for a drive to the local exterminator to ensure they were Carpenter Ants and buy some chemicals that will make them DEAD! I did freak out a bit when I missed them and these dudes had to live in my car for a day or two. Kept thinking, geez, if they can munch through wood, then this bottle may not be off limits…

Found some things in the walls. Who would drop an ant trap back in the wall where they know they could never get it out? Back in the old school medicine cabinet slot where you put old sharps out to pasture. What would posess a person to do that…hmmm…not randomness…but maybe…

I think someone who noticed the house was way drafty and ceiling was sloping and saw a bunch of ants flying all over maybe would do that? No? Really? You don’t think?

Well, that is all there is to say about that. I am up a creek. And Richard and Karen ate my damned paddle! LOL!

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Flyers and Termites and Beers…Oh My!

Get it?

Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!

Flyers and Termites and Beers…Oh My! Well, I thought it was clever, anyway. Read on and maybe it will make sense later.

Hockey:
Hockey came back. That means my Flyers are back (and workin’ on my nerves). Haven’t watched too many games – as I’ve been busy with house stuff. That’s not too sad ‘cause we are playing a little crazy this short season.

Termites:
Termites = not fun. This is obvious but it is also why you haven’t heard from me in a bit. Dad started tearing out the wall in the kitchen while I was at work one day and discovered lots of crumbly bits all chewed up by termites. According to the previous owner, paperwork and neighbors, this-old-house had some termites back when. That was apparently taken care of…thats why the roof was redone completely in 2009. All better. Or so I thought. Nothing to be done now but tear away drywall until we find where they ended the feast. (Pray for me that dessert was served in the next room over, the bathroom.) Meanwhile, I feel terrible for Dad and Steve – they are fixing this for me mostly while I am at work. (Work: the place I go to earn money to pay off my Home Depot problem – LOL)

Here is a rundown of the termite fiasco:
Our long lost friends had the munchies so bad that the floor above had fallen over 2 inches and all the studs seemed shortened by almost as much! 20130315-154313.jpg

While the little critters don’t seem to live here any more, they sure did eat like kings when they did. They ate up a stud, down a stud, across the sill plate for a bit and skipped a stud here and there before going up another stud. 20130315-181006.jpg
This all means that Dad & Steve would need to use jacks to hold the house up while the repairs were being made. This took a bit as it was bad weather and Dad needed to wait until he could get his jacks here without getting them wet.
Dad & Steve jacked the ceiling back into its rightful place while I hoped the windows didn’t all bust as they are one of the few things I had planned on getting some mileage out of in this god forsaken cute little home of mine. Apparently, the right way to do it is to s l o w l y jack it up, half turn each week or something to that effect. That would take like 2 years – so I went with the option to cross my lovely fingers and let them just hoist it back into place all at once. Windows came out all okay thank goodness, ‘cause ain’t nobody got time for that. (hehe)

With the ceiling reinforced so the house didn’t cave in on itself they could add some good weight bearing studs back in. No more happy munching termite friends. 20130315-182935.jpg

It would be a shame about the house if it caved and I sure do like Dad and Steve a bunch. It would be a worse shame if I came home one day to only a driveway with Dad and Steve legs sticking out from underneath a pile of house. (Yeah that is another Oz reference, so what? )

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Life Lesson: Inspections are not the end all. Dad was right about those inspections. They are a waste of money if you know what to look for. And they are not responsible for what you can’t see, like inside walls. At the end of the day, they have fine print at the bottom that says if they miss things inside walls and such, too bad, so sad.

Beers:
That’s how come I don’t have a breakdown and my helpers don’t murder me. I always have a fully stocked beer fridge at the house. Perhaps not the most adult coping mechanism, but it helps pass the time on a Friday night when all the other girls are out getting to wear makeup and heels. I am usually climbing ladders, looking very much like powder as a result of drywall sanding. People tend to show up to help for free food and alcohol. I’ll leave you with a five photo synopsis of the findings. Cheers!

Before

Before

After

After

Damage

Damage

Supplies

Supplies

Coping Mechanism

Coping Mechanism

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