A Clean Sweep

I'm not finished, but getting close.
Finished what?

I'm trying to get the house back together after we moved stuff around for the air ducts to be cleaned. Jonathan got his stuff back together Friday, but there was considerably more to be done upstairs.

First off, Jess picked up a new air filter yesterday, and we took off the louvered vent in front of it so I could scrub it clean before putting it back.

With furniture moved out of corners, I scrubbed the floors before the furniture was moved back. In the den I also had 3 throw rugs that got washed and put back before two sets of shelves and the rocking chair resumed their rightful places.

Since the ductwork to the den presents the biggest problems, being exposed in a crawlspace under the house, I also covered the two registers in there with a fine wire mesh so no mouse of any size could make it into the house through them. They may chew their way into those two ducts again, but each end is now blocked to prevent them from going any further.

Perhaps the house can "breathe" easier without stuff clogging up the ducts, clean registers, and duct tape applied to ductwork tears. (Actually using duct tape for ducts!)

The floors have been cleaned and registers put back at the top of the ductwork in the kitchen and dining area as well. Rugs were washed in bathrooms, floors cleaned, registers cleaned and replaced...

I have the covers washed and replaced in the living room, but one corner in there still needs vacuumed and furniture needs scooted back in position.

Once that's done, my cleaning spree is over for the moment. My body is not happy with me, and I need time to recuperate before we go on vacation next Friday!

It may not be a totally clean sweep in the house, but it's a lot cleaner than it was!

About that dirty ductwork. . .

A day late and $10 more.

We were supposed to have the ductwork cleaned yesterday, but at 7am the phone rang and this cheery voice said, "Mrs. King, would you mind if we postponed your job?" Before I could struggle to form a coherent thought (I am NOT a morning person anymore), she rushed on to inform me that a lady with FIVE kids had called and asked for a rush job because the ductwork in the house seemed to be clogged up and they had no air conditioning.

Well, what am I going to say to that? "Sorry, I'm a mean witch, and I want you to get your sorry posteriors here TODAY as scheduled?"

So because we had to move stuff away from vents so they could get to them to do the cleaning, our furniture was left sitting in the middle of a lot of rooms for an extra day.

They got here at about 9am today. Two people worked steadily from about 5 hours to hook stuff up to the vents, blow air through, run brushes through, and otherwise clear all the junk out of the vents.

Now I am in the process of soaking the registers from each vent in a solution of soap and bleach, then scrubbing them with brushes (I'm using Jess's toothbrush for the fine cleaning... think he'll notice???), cleaning the floor that was under the register, and putting them back. It is tedious, hurtful work.

The vents were such a mess they had to take both ends off instead of just one, and push stuff through. I don't know if they got any live mice sucked up, but they did find at least one decaying corpse hanging onto the edge of one vent. (Yuck!)

AND he did remember to put the wire mesh barrier up to try and prevent any new incursions of mice.

So a day late, but their part of the job is done. As for the $10, that's for the vent I forgot down in the basement that wasn't included on the estimate.

Now to finish cleaning and putting everything back together. Jonathan is working on the basement, running the sweeper, and taping up the one duct the mice had chewed through, and putting the ceiling fabric back in place.

Tomorrow I'll try to finish the rest of the cleaning and get the rest of the registers back and let the guys help me move the furniture back in place.

and I hope it is a LONG time ... how about NEVER... before we have such a mess again.

I hate mice!

Of refrigerators, mice, and ductwork!

Life is crazy. Bet you've noticed that. So what is our particular brand of craziness at the moment?

For one thing, our refrigerator needs Depends. Yes, I'm afraid it has become incontinent, and no amount of fixing the plumbing seems to help. I keep a towel on the floor in front of it. I think this has more to do with the defrost sequence than a hole in the water line.

Also, the ice dispenser hasn't worked for a long time. I can live without that, but it really is nice not to have to open the freezer door when you want ice. And it's also nice to be able to get milk and other drinks from the fridge without opening the refrigerator door. This model has what's called a "refreshment center" with a drop down door that allows you to access a shelf inside which has a drop down shield on the other side that helps prevent cold air from flowing out.

Both of these things are more energy efficient, and I like them both, especially the drop down door. However, our present fridge is now over 21 years old having been bought when we were living in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Which strikes me as rather hilarious, because this nice refrigerator must have looked SO out of place in that run-down house we were living in with the kitchen floor that required climbing shoes lest you fall off one side or the other.

(It also had metal drums for a septic system, but that's another story. . .)

So we're looking for a replacement fridge, only wouldn't you know that they stopped making models with the "refreshment center" last year??? GE says they no longer have any of those kinds in their warehouses anywhere. The only hope left is to find a store that has had one sitting around for a while.

We tried looking locally without success. I found a place online that said they had it, but guess what? Their supplier didn't have it either. I went to the next online place, and yesterday received an email saying the fridge was backordered. How can you backorder something that isn't being made anymore? the only hope is that they are ordering it from one of THEIR store warehouses since I already know they aren't getting it from GE.

I don't know what I'm going to do if I can't find one like I want. I am pretty set on having another fridge like the one I've got. I'm not the least bit interested in their stupid "French doors" that are so popular. No refreshment center in my fridge after 21 years of having one is not going to set well with me. This may get ugly.

Then there's the mice.

We seem to have gotten rid of the big fellas, the rats. They were too fond of the pelleted poison I kept putting out for them on the back porch. Every night they'd eat one or two packets. After about 4 days I started seeing deceased rodents around the back porch and nearby yard.

But the mice laugh at traps and poison. All kinds of traps. All kinds of poisons. They are cunning little devils that evade every means we have tried to eradicate them.

And they unfortunately like our ductwork. They think it's tasty. They chew on it. Insulation comes floating up through the vents. And they have chewed holes in the plastic ducts under the den and gained access to their very own habi-trail.

We don't have cute little hamsters or ferrets in our critter trails, oh no! We have filthy little mice running around. They are especially active in the wee hours of the morning, and wake Jonathan up as they run through the ducts running along the floor over top of his bed.

Having tried everything else we can think of, we are calling in the experts. No, not exterminators. I don't see what they can do we haven't already tried. Instead, we have someone scheduled to come clean out the ductwork.

He'll hook up a big vacuum to the air intake system then go to each vent, one by one, and use brushes and other equipment to push through the vent and clear out all the junk. Hopefully including all the mice and their nests and droppings. Once he's got the ductwork cleaned out, he also uses a disinfectant.

While he's at it, he is going to put a wire mesh over the opening between the plastic ductwork coming in from under the den and the main metal ductwork. At least that way even if the rotten little rodents chew back into the ducts running under the den, they won't be able to run through all the ductwork in the entire house again.

He's scheduled to come Thursday, so tomorrow Jonathan and I have to move everything away from all the vents in the house so he can get his equipment there, and also from around the furnace and air intake in the basement. Oh boy, this ought to be fun. (NOT!)

And that's the way it is here on the farm, trying to take care of refrigerators, mice, and ductwork!

Another 4th of July

So happy 4th of July everyone! (Even if you're not from the U.S., you can still go for a happy day, right?)

For some reason I was thinking I started this blog on the 4th of July, but looking back I see I missed the anniversary date, as I started it on June 7, 2007.

Wow. I didn't realize it had been 4 years since I first started blogging. A lot has changed since then, and my poor blog gets sadly neglected. It's not that I'm not blogging, but generally because I'm working on business blogs instead of personal ones.

For instance, right now I am working on my laptop but can see the screen for my desktop where it is split into 4 sections to show 4 different projects running at once. I love automation, but oh! LEARNING how to use it drives me round the bend sometimes. I was having trouble getting this particular set of projects to run correctly, then finally discovered the ONE little radio button I'd not marked that made all the difference.

But it's always the same. When I'm having to learn how to use new software I grumble and complain and wonder why on earth I wanted to do this, but when it finally starts to click I wonder how I ever got along without it!

I'd say "kind of like email" because when the boys were first trying to talk me into using it I couldn't see why I had any need for it and who on earth would I email??? Ha! That's really changed too! Now I get way too much!

At the moment I have a love/hate relationship with email though. First it's been glitchy, and then it's been too much at once. There are probably 1500 emails at any one time in my inbox. I filter now. If I forget to put someone important in the filters... well, I'm likely to miss that email as it has rolled up the screen past what I can see.

I unsubscribe from a lot of stuff. But some things are necessary evils and I have to do a quick check through that mess of mail to see if any business stuff came through that is necessary. But most of those are filtered too.... narrowing my focus to only a few.

Anyway, I digress, but the point is.. times they do change! And I guess it's true you'd better change with them or get left behind.

So for now, I'll just say Happy 4th of July, and although I missed the 4th anniversary date of this blog... I really will TRY to do better at keeping it up!