Sunday, April 11, 2010

mud, mud, glorious mud

I am not sure it would be possible to be more sick of snow. Seriously. Yuck. Last night, a winter storm warning was posted with estimated accumulations of up to a foot of white stuff at higher elevations (guess where we live - yup.) I know, I know, I live in Alaska, not someplace warm, like New England or something. I'm not alone, though. The whole world is sick of winter up here in the Cosmic Hamlet.

It wouldn't be so bad, I think, if it weren't for these little teaser days of beautiful spring that we've been getting. Thursday and Friday were awesome - truly gorgeous days. I didn't actually get to see much of Thursday as I spent the majority of it under the house. I had an AHFC energy efficiency audit on Wednesday where they hook your house up to a huge vacuum fan and then walk around and look at where the air is coming in. Essentially, we found out it was coming in from everywhere, especially the crawl space, where many portions of the wall are completely uninsulated (I had no idea) and the junctions between the old house and the new addition, where a bottle of sprayfoam and some plastic would probably have saved thousands of dollars, not to mention reduced energy consumption significantly, over the past decade. But there are bigger problems, like the minimal insulation behind moldy drywall in the old upstairs section of the house. Drywall must come down, new insulation must go in (blueboard or some similar hard foam insulation) and new drywall must go up. Fun. And other things, like the recessed lighting in the upstairs bedroom, are huge energy leaks. Who knew? Not me. So the great thing is I can now address these things and get reimbursed, and have hired someone to help me tackle it all in the next couple months. This project will also include removing one side of the house, which has been leaking and crappy for years and needs to go. I'm psyched to deal with it all, and grateful for the opportunity to do it without losing my shirt.

Anyway, while I was down in the crawl space oggling at the lack of insulation in all those spots I always felt were really drafty, I realized there was another problem - a big puddle of water all around the spot where the water comes into the house. Not good. On closer inspection, a repair that had been done some 10 years ago was finally failing, and worse yet, I had no idea how to turn off the water so it wouldn't spray all over the wires, some of which were literally just laying on the ground with their ends exposed. Yikes. So I shut everything down as best I could and took a night to think about it. On Thursday, a co-worker mentioned her partner might be able to help. He called while I was in the hardware store trying to find replacement parts, and I gratefully accepted the help. A half-hour later, he showed up and we tackled the situation. He spent several hours not only fixing the problem, but also explaining to me my entire water system, as well as what I might want to install in the future. And we talked about this energy stuff, too. Great deal all around. And not a smidge of condensation - from the guy, that is. Truly a helpful person - I'm so grateful. But we did spend a good portion of a beautiful day in a dark, muddy crawl space.

So Friday, I was not going to repeat that mistake. When a friend offered to take me out on the Bay in the afternoon, I jumped at it. We spent several hours over there, walking around, visiting with friends, and just puttering around on the water. There is nothing like it for refreshing the spirit and I can't wait to get out again. Overall, it was a glorious weekend (another highlight included walking out my friend's door to the sight of an eagle swooping through the air, seemingly right at me, which caused my instinctual response - scream and run back into the house, slamming the door - much to the amusement of said friend), and when I picked Thea and Liam up on Saturday afternoon, we had a great evening, too, despite the impending storm. Today was a little more claustrophobic, but we weathered it with some transplanting (nothing like a bucket of dirt and some water to keep two kids enthralled for a couple hours) and finally, the snow slowed around 4 and we were able to rally outside. But Thea was half a bubble off plumb all day, and this evening, I found out why after she threw up all over her bed (why do they always have to do that in bed? And isn't it amazing how many blankets a single 2-year-old puking can do in?)

I'm holding out hope that spring will arrive, despite this setback. And I'm starting to realize that it's time to get myself moving on a variety of things. I need to dig out the greenhouse site, get poles going for the remainder of the garden, construct the boxes and ends for the greenhouse, and get that puppy up. But first, I must deal with a week of work madness as our annual fundraiser is upon us. Deep breaths. One foot in front of the next. Onward.

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