Our attic insulation project underscores why Mike & I will never be on HGTV’s Renovation Realities.
If Mike & I were on Renovation Realities, the show where couples take on home improvements to save money, they’d cancel our episode before the sun went down, day one. The only usable language would be the occasional “and,” “the” and “but” sandwiched between ever intensifying profanities. Our episode would make George Carlin join the FCC.
The cameramen would be pissed they had to get up at 3am. These yahoo couples on the show always start their projects at 10am, when the day is half over. By 10am, Mike and I would be done with and drinking our 10am glass of wine. Attic insulation projects don’t mean traditions get thrown out the door.
Sans bleary-eyed camera crew, we spent last weekend adding attic insulation to our very long and totally useless attic/glorified crawlspace. It was a fairly simple project:
- Remove everything from the attic
- Argue about why half the crap ended up in the attic in the first place
- Explain to Mike that that bag is the bag of size 4 clothing I’ll wear again some day (as soon as Amazon sells tapeworms)
- Punch hysterically laughing husband in the chest
- Widen the 4″ walkway (the only walk-able area) that runs down the center of the attic because we’re not Mary Lou Frickin’ Retton
- Roll new attic insulation on the old crumbling pink crap that is probably now banned in 158 countries for causing mice to grow trees out of their faces
- Cough up a lung wrapped in 4lbs of attic insulation
It was a little like Indian Jones and the Poorly Insulated Temple of Doom. First, the aforementioned lack of stable walking area made maneuvering treacherous There are also nails sticking out of the ceiling, so 6’2″ Mike had to spend all his time shaped like a question mark. If at any point he had straightened too quickly, I would have spent the next few months teaching him how to talk again.
Beware Rabid Attic Insulation Dwelling Gophers
“You want me to do it?” asked Mike, feeling tall and useless as he watched me crab from joist to joist down the length of the attic, my knees screaming for mercy. Being 9″ shorter, it only made sense that I stuff attic insulation into the tight spots.
“I don’t know, Go Go Gadget… can you fold yourself like a field tent?” I asked, feeling a nail graze my head. “Do you want to be able to use your skull for a colander?”
That was when Mike yelped.
“What?!” I said, nearly plunging through the drywall to the living room below. “Mice?”
I actually sort of like mice, but trapped in the eaves things could go from ‘Cinderella being dressed by smiling field mice’ to Pit and the Pendulum pretty quickly.
“Something’s moving under the insulation!” said Mike, pointing with the flashlight. “Behind you!”
I turned and surveyed the sea of crumbling 40 year old attic insulation. It was little like Caddyshack meets Aliens, waiting for the tell-tale tunnel to rise as some rabid, attic-dwelling gopher zeroed in on me like a heat seeking missile. I tried to remember; had I ever met the previous owner? Or had he just gone missing, his attic gopher-molested corpse lost here, somewhere beneath the fluff?
“If I move left, will I be moving away from the movement?” I asked (let’s call it alliteratively though it is clearly repetitively.)
Mike considered. “Yes…”
I crabbed left. Turns out every time I moved, one patch (of what looked like cotton candy dropped in fairgrounds dirt) rustled. Eventually, we realized I was touching a wire that terminated in the scary spot. Just a wiggly wire. No bloodthirsty attic gophers.
By the time we reached the end, I had little for which to be grateful, other than not plunging through the ceiling. Then, as I tucked in the last piece of attic insulation, my foot slipped and I hit the ceiling dry wall. The last piece. End result, two nail pops in the guest room ceiling that now must be patched.
We’re done now, money saved, old muscles aching. My face feels like it has been cut by 1000 tiny daggers, like some sort of Hellraiser torture. Maybe having attic insulation fiberglass rip the flesh from my bones is actually a great makeover tip, sort of a redneck glycolic peel.
But whenever I wonder if it was worth it, I remember finding a computer mouse while clearing out the attic. With Mike waiting for me to hand down the next box, I said, “What’s this mouse doing here?” and tossed it down to him. He shrieked and leaped away from it, letting the mouse explode on the floor at his feet.
He thought I’d just thrown him a dead mouse.
I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of the attic.
And that makes every back spasm worth it.