Wednesday, November 14, 2012
I like to sweep as I make a mess in the basement. Partly this is because I don't want stuff tracked upstairs into the house. Then I remember my mom telling me stories of my uncles who used to build houses. When they had female brick layers, the job site was cleaned at the end of each day and there were no bits of cement flung about. I am female, so I guess I have to be as good as they were!
Today was the day I set aside to clean on top of the walls. The basement was empty for a long time. We have discovered mouse droppings. We put out traps and caught a few and we let the cats stay down there when we had no electricity this summer to cool off. So we THINK there are no active mice. Now I want to be sure. So, the plan is to vacuum all the mice droppings from up along the edges of the walls.
There are places where it looks like mice set up housekeeping and then spots where they used the top of the wall as a runway. The goal is to vacuum up all the droppings and then any new ones will mean we still have a problem. I also want to clear out any gross insulation and expose any holes to the outside so that I can fill them with foam to prevent further invasions.
All this has to be done before we plaster the basement. We can't finish the equipment room as there are pipes everywhere and if they get in there, they can have the run of the basement and we can't get to them.
Now I have had pet mice and Tara had a hamster, so tiny droppings are not new to me. But I have a brother who is an epidemiologist, so I am not unfamiliar with things like Hantavirus and the Bubonic Plague. I know these things are carried by rodents and mice, being little rodent types could be carriers. But really, they can't all be carriers, can they? Nonetheless, I didn't wear a mask and I didn't wear a hazmat suit, but I did vacuum up a lot of wee droppings. And it was a bit gross.
I took the opportunity to suck up spider webs and sawdust behind where the walls will be. Sure they will be covered with plaster, but clean has to be better than dirty. And then I swept the floor.
I had planned to do the whole basement today. Who wants to get gross two days in a row? But after moving the ladder two feet, climbing up with a long hose from the vacuum and contorting my arms around wiring and plumbing and ducting to reach these spots, then climbing down and starting over I have had it. Oh, and don't hit your head on the nails poking through form the floor above. I only worked for three hours and now I feel gross and tired. I washed my face and hands and feet and changed my clothes, but I really feel like I should take a shower.