28 January, 2008

I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes, a Basement Adventure

I don't like spiders and snakes
and that ain't what it takes to love me
you fool, you fool.
I don't like spiders and snakes
and that ain't what it takes to love me
like I want to be loved by you...

I've had this song, Spiders and Snakes, going through my head all day. It's from Jim Stafford's self-titled album, one of my all-time favorite cassettes growing up--yes, I'm old enough to remember cassettes. Actually, it was my mom's tape, and I swiped it from her when I left for college. It was great roadtripping music between Chicago and Iowa City, where I attended university.

I don't really mind snakes or spiders. Spider egg sacs, however, I can do without. Particularly when they're in my house. Lest you think we've been slacking this week while the contractors sand and refinish the floors, rest assured we've been hard at work clearing out the basement of junk, sweeping, and sorting through the items left by the previous owners. We've put in two full work days so far. (The highlight of this week's Basement Finds: A box of underwear, including boxers, granny pants, long johns, etc. Ted threw it away before I could take a photo. But really, who out there wants to see a box of old underwear? I don't have to chronicle everything.)

So. Spiders. While I only spotted one live spider and a half-dead moth, there where hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of egg sacs surrounding each window and piled in the corners. I don't know if these are all from this year, just waiting for spring to inundate us, but I took no chances. With our handy dandy (actually, it's a bit of a junker) shop vac, I vacuumed the bulk of them up, returning with a broom and rainbow-colored dust grabber to get the rest. Eeew. Our basement has two boiler rooms (one for each flat), three separate storage/bedroom/office rooms (not sure what we'll use them for yet), a laundry room, an under-the-stairs storage area, and a main, general-purpose room. All but the under-the-stairs room have windows. That's a lot of spider eggs. I feel like I wiped out an entire civilization from our basement, a spider armageddon.

Lucky for us, today was trash day, and we were able to clear several bags of assorted basement junk all the way out of The Box House, to the curb, and away. However, not everything can be dealt with immediately. There are old glass table tops, half-used paint cans, nearly-empty-but-not-quite cans of twenty-year-old spray starch, and a host of other things that I need to contact the city about for the means of proper disposal. All in all, we can only get one car in the garage at present because the other half is being used as a staging area for this stuff. I'd like to recycle, donate, or reuse as much of the stuff as possible and keep it from the landfill, but it's not going to be easy.

So yes, we've been busy dejunkifying.

I was going to bore you all with more pictures of how the floors have been coming along, but unfortunately we've been locked out of our own house for the evening. We ran a few errands this afternoon, and came back to find that the contractors had used the chains to lock all the porch doors. We didn't plan on sleeping at The Box House because of all the fumes from the stain and the still-lingering dust clouds, but I did want to stand in the kitchens, which are accessible from the back porches, and survey the overall progress. We can't go up the front stairs tonight because the stairs themselves have been stained today. I was told in no uncertain terms "no walk floor" by one of the work crew, about the extent of our communication. (Only the project manager, who wasn't there today, is easy to talk with.) It's no big deal, really, but it is slighty funny in a frustrating way to be locked out.

Floor pictures will have to wait.

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