Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our Underworld Adventure

As promised, I need to tell you about our little (ahem) under-the-house adventure.
Let me just start from the beginning.
Our kitchen sink's faucet has been leaking for several months. It's gotten worse lately, and finally I couldn't take it any more, and I told Paul we HAD to replace it. So we went to town and got the new faucet. Should have been simple - old one off, new one on. The end.
Of course, it never could be that easy for us.
When we turned the water back on, the hot water didn't work - barely a trickle was coming out. We thought something was wrong with the new facet, so we hooked the old one back up - same problem. So then it became apparent that something had happened with the old line, somewhere on the other side of the shut off. Paul figured it was time to replace them. He and his dad are pretty good do-it-yourself plumbers, so they decided to tackle the project the following week.
Getting to the area under the kitchen requires belly crawling from the west side of our house, around some duct work, through a hole in the rock foundation, and finally under the kitchen. Once you're under the kitchen, you can actually sit up and have a bit of head space to work on your project. Paul got back there with the plumbing, and next time he came out, he came inside and said, "I figured out why our pipes freeze so much. There is NO insulation under the kitchen." (Our pipes freeze at least a four times each winter.) Also, he told me that the insulation under the back porch is sketchy (random pieces tacked up in random places, and half of that falling off onto the ground), and the north side is not set on a concrete piling/wall, like we had thought, but was merely set on a wall of cinder blocks, and the wind was whistling through them. (That would explain that major draft that comes from the back porch.)
The daylight is the hole where we crawl in. I'm about to crawl through the worst spot - where a heating duct makes the crawlspace barely wider than my backside, and not tall enough to get my knees under me to actually crawl. (I have no arm strength to pull myself with my arms.)
He and his dad got the plumbing fixed. The next day, Paul and I decided to tackle the insulation. We started with the kitchen floor..... Getting all the stuff back there you need (like 3 huge rolls of fluffy insulation), while having to belly crawl 20 feet is a feat in itself. We got in the swing of things - put the insulation up, he'd staple up his end, then I'd staple my end while he got the next piece ready. We were just finishing up one side, when I decided to staple myself instead of the insulation. Despite the "EXIT" written on TWO places on the staple gun, I held it upside down. I saw two staples go flying, and thought it was just because I didn't have the gun squared up against the board. So I grasped the bottom with my other hand and pressed it again.
Apparently the bright orange writing wasn't obvious enough.....
Pain. Lots and lots of pain.
And blood.
And we were stuck under the house.
When I got brave enough to take my hand off of it to inspect the damage, my finger was already swollen and turning purple. Blood was gushing from one of the holes, making me suspect I had nicked a vein. So I clamped my hand back over it and sat watching Paul finish up what he could do on his own. Fifteen minutes later, the bleeding had stopped, so we crawled out.
Of course, this would happen on the week I needed to play piano for a special at church. I made arrangements to have someone fill in for me, anticipating the worst. However, the worst was at the moment of injury. The swelling was down by that night, and I did have some bruising a few days later, but nothing what I anticipated.
We finished up the project on the following Saturday. Paul and his dad worked on a drain problem (as I said - projects are never simple), while I finished up under the kitchen by myself. (No pride or anything.) Then I cut sheets of insulation board for Paul to tack up against the concrete block wall, and handed them back to him.
This weekend is our first truly COLD spell (highs in the 20s) since we finished up, and I can honestly say, the house does feel warmer. If you walk to the bathroom barefoot in the middle of the night, you don't feel like you have two bricks of ice attached to your feet when you get back to bed. And it seems to have helped with the draft. Maybe that's wishful thinking, but at least at this point, I haven't noticed as much of one.
I think that project is completely done now. Now, on to the next one...........
I have about 20 pictures of this adventure, but after 3 days and multiple attempts each day, these two are the only ones Blogger has uploaded for me. I don't know what's going on, but I'm going to go ahead and publish this, and hopefully add more photos later.

1 comment:

The Other Rachel said...

Well I feel like a total wuss of a wife now. ;) Go you!