Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been in the process of having our crawl space de-ratted, cleaned, and sealed against future rat incursions. The crawl space was, I have to say, utterly vile. It may’ve been the nastiest stank I’ve ever smelled, and since I’ve changed poopy diapers, that’s saying something. Whenever we had the misfortune to open the crawl space hatch, this miasma of rat-piss would rise up and nigh choke the hatch-opening victim.

In short: Vile.

I finally got my act together and called the exterminators, who proposed a monthlong program of cleaning and insulation removal, sealing up, inspecting, trapping, and re-insulating. Friday we finish the last step, re-insulating.

For new insulation, we chose spray foam. Not only does it have a high r-value and never need to be replaced, but rats don’t mess with it. It doesn’t make good rat nests because it’s hard plastic — perfect if you want to prevent future rodent visitors. Ideal for our situation.

Except… it off-gases when they install it. You have to vacate your house for 24 hours to let the gases disperse after installation. When they told me that, I figured it’d be inconvenient but manageable; my parents have space for us, or we could always go to Ian’s parents.

When I scheduled all this, we couldn’t realize that the state would be in near-total lockdown, with nary a business open and nowhere to go during the day. We couldn’t realize that my mom would be on day 15 of an inexplicable fever (she tested negative for COVID-19, but the doctor told her to still quarantine herself until she’d been fever-free for three days). We knew that Ian’s mom would have just arrived back from a trip to Pennsylvania, but we couldn’t know that we’d want to quarantine away from her for 14 days after she arrived home.

All that to say, both our Friday-to-Saturday 24-hour hangout places were unexpectedly eliminated.

What do we do? We need somewhere we can retreat to that offers a quiet place to work on Friday (for at least one of us), plus space to kill most of Saturday.

We talked about rescheduling the insulation, but the fact is, we can’t be sure when a better time would come. When will my mom recover? Will Ian’s mom get sick and have to stay quarantined longer? Will one of us get sick? Anything could happen. Putting it off doesn’t guarantee we wouldn’t be in the same position, or worse, when the new installation date came around.

After a great deal of anxious and, at times, heated discussion, we decided to stay in a two-bedroom suite at the Residence Inn in Bothell. We made a two-night reservation, for Thursday and Friday night, so we could arrive first thing Friday morning. It’ll still be a long 24 hours, but we have two bedrooms and a living room area to retreat to, and we can still adhere to the spirit of the shelter-in-place order.

All this went down while when Ian and his dad spent yesterday running speaker cable under the house to our two surround speakers. Logically it made sense — with the crawl space clean and insulation-free, there’d never be a better time. (Somehow Ian’s dad ended up in the crawl space — better him than me, I say!) They worked hard and got all the cable run and, in the evening, Ian finished hooking the cables up to the new speaker plates. It was good progress, but what a mess:

Speaker Chaos
Speaker wire installation: It has to get messier before it gets cleaner.

And, at the same time, Ian had some urgent work to finish, and of course that’s difficult even in the best of times right now. Now we’re looking at relocating to a hotel for 24 hours after he already took all of Wednesday off. That adds a certain frisson of stress to an already stressful situation.

Meanwhile, Benji spent most of yesterday morning doing “crayon races,” by putting crayons through different “challenges” and seeing which passed.

Crayon Races
Crayons fly out of a tube into bowls in one of the crayon race challenges.

The rest of the day he spent not-at-all patiently doing shorter and shorter amounts of online Nana School. I think the novelty is wearing off, and he’s getting bored. Too bad we’ve probably got an entire school year left to keep doing this.

As for me, I’m satisfied because I received my much-anticipated smart trainer just in the nick of time, before stores close altogether. Today I plan to set it up, since the weekend looks wet.

Kickr In the Nick of Time
I’m content.

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