Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Clearing the Dungeon

If you're thinking to yourself that's not that much stuff, keep in mind this picture was taken when we were three quarters done clearing out the crawlspace. Taking up half the basement, this storage dungeon is characterized by a convenient waist-high ceiling, and unsealed concrete floor.  The latter kicks up so much dust that everything in there, including the air, takes on a whitish-gray hue. After about a minute of being doubled over in this junk-collecting abyss, my lungs and nose become clogged.  Note, it took significantly more than a minute to clear out all this stuff. If I develop lung cancer later in life, I no longer have to blame the solvents and charcoal dust I breathed in my art school days.

While my husband swept and vacuumed the dust, and applied the first coat of sealant, I was supposed to begin discarding items we no longer needed or wanted. Unfortunately I have the mentality of a hoarder. What looks like a mass of junk is actually a trove of treasures.  If I kept every item that triggered a pleasant memory, or that might have some future use, I would keep it all.  Part of me thinks I could keep it all, if only I organized it properly. After several minutes of staring at the pile I didn't know where to begin, so I took a break.

Later, I was in charge of putting on the second coat of sealant, a liquid the colour and consistency of skim milk. It claims to be odourless, which is code for "it doesn't smell all that bad." The canned fresh air smell brought to mind a swimming pool full of moss. I'd rather breathe that than the dust at any rate.  Before I started, my darling husband reminded me to paint next to the door last, so as not to paint myself into a corner. I was mildly irked that he would presume such stupidity on my part, but that's probably exactly what would have happened had he not mentioned anything.

After a few swipes of the roller the milk quickly foamed into beaten egg whites. I rode around on little red wheeled stool, my retractable-handled roller zipping across the surface. I was feeling pretty efficient when bang, the end of my handle knocked the energy saver light bulb, which promptly caught fire.  I'm going to say that again.  The light bulb caught fire. My first thought: the house is going to burn down. I attempted to blow out the electrically fed flame burning so close to the wood supporting our entire house. Then I called for my husband. Then the damaged burning lightbulb crashed to the ground right in front of me. Then I screamed.

The fire extinguished itself fairly quickly once the bulb fell and my husband turned the lights out. I got a flashlight, an extra bulb, and a broom to sweep up the glass.  Apparently, the energy saver bulbs are bursting with toxic mercury, but I feel okay anyway having not burned to a crisp.

After that I finished the second coat without incident, and added a third coat yesterday for good measure. Now all that remains to do is to fill this pristine space with junk.


Cara said...

Your crawl space looks great! Just imagine you could put up drywall and make a little den for the little people. LOL!

Parting with stuff is not easy for me either! It's a long and overwhelming process of coming to the point of being able to let go.

Sharon said...

Wow, good work, Jen! We had a crawl space in our last house and it was full to the brim. Lost count of how many times we all scraped our back on a major I-beam.

Grumpy Bulldog, March Madman said...

You've been tagged to join the Great Star Wars Blogathon! Details here: http://www.troublewithroy.com/2012/03/so-you-say-youve-got-this-idea-on-how.html

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