This job always gives me a terrible headache. Don’t know why.

I’ll use almost any excuse to procrastinate before crawling around under the cabin. When I was a kid crawlspaces didn’t bother me but I’m high-mid-sixties now and the part with the plumbing is really low. You are sincerely belly-crawling all the way.

Backstory: At the beginning of last winter I thought I had finally worked out my plumbing insulation issues for good and all. Apparently an enterprising pack rat thought it was nice, too. Either found or chewed an entrance over one of the sheets of rigid foam I’d bolted between the joists, clearly chewed it bigger, then moved in above the batting.

Oh, he probably thought he’d finally scored that split-level in the ‘burbs his wife had been on him about all those years. And he’d have been right, but – being a packrat – he just had to get hoardy.


That’s the half of the sheet that exceeded its weight-bearing capacity and tore loose from the joists.

Look at all those damned rocks…


Dude. What’s with all the rocks?

The other half of the sheet, the part still somewhat attached to the cabin, wasn’t quite as heavy of course…


But still had to come out of there so I can replace it in the fullness of time. Then of course there was the inevitable mess that spilled when the insulation tore loose. That would need to be cleaned out of the work area, so I had already brought an entrenching tool with me when I went under.


I knew about all this before winter was even done, but since it didn’t entail any actual plumbing damage but did entail one of my very least favorite chores, I didn’t assign any particular urgency to the cleanup. But last weekend Dharma, who’s a fervent ratter, went under there and – possibly in frustration at not finding any actual rats to match all that enticing scent – tore the hell out of the insulation sheet. All week long, at every puff of Spring wind, the cabin has bled shredded Styrofoam. Also it’s getting warmer and I could swear I smelled rot, so possibly she actually killed a rat.

Anyway I put it off for a couple of days because I really hate crawling around under the cabin and twice so if it involves rotted dead things. But this morning I determined to dress in expendable full coverage and get it out of my life the very first thing. So now the clean-up is done – didn’t find any rats, alive or dead – and the rest will wait until I can score a new sheet of insulation. And I can walk off the headache and get on with my pleasant Sunday morning.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to This job always gives me a terrible headache. Don’t know why.

  1. Quark says:

    The burn barrel with all the holes in it got me thinking about this swamp cooler. Have you ever considered fashioning anything of the like for those intolerably hot days? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aHbQYajfGqM

  2. Joel says:

    Yeah, that’s been tried. Gotta tell you it’s useless. Did the same thing with a fan blowing air across a block of ice in a Styrofoam cooler and that actually made a measurable difference but you really did have to measure to tell it was there. By far the best solution for a hot muggy evening I’ve found so far is a shady porch.

  3. Beans says:

    Have you considered hardware cloth on the bottom of your Casa so the darned rats can’t chew into your insulation again?

  4. TK421a says:

    Joel, that sure is a mess and I don’t envy you cleaning it all up. I think Beans idea to protect the insulation after you install the new stuff is a good one. You may also want to consider using a can or two of spray foam to fill in any gaps.

  5. Joel says:

    Yeah, the replacement will be substantially more elaborate.

  6. paulb says:

    Traps. Lots of them. then leave the carcasses about. The rats might get the message 🙂

  7. Jordan says:

    Try this, it really works. Easy to make and almost free.

    https://www.cleverly.me/diy-ac/?ref=fb

  8. Kentucky says:

    I’ll bet if you leave the carcasses lying about the other rats will just eat ’em.

    I say this because I got out a five-gallon bucket from the barn the other day and in the bottom was a relatively well-fed-looking mouse carcass and two skeletons. Darwin at work.

  9. Robert says:

    And here I thought going up on the smooth metal roof with 20 mph gusts to fix an annoying issue the landlord wouldn’t address was unpleasant. Thank Crom there’s no crawl space.

To the stake with the heretic!