Probably (hopefully) the last unwanted “artifact” we’ll find in this house

Oh, but first, hey look, we’re back at Our Old Rowhouse! Sort of. We’ve just concluded a two-year-long scientific study of all DC households located at our address and the findings are in: Blogging consistently with a toddler in the house is hard. Though slightly less hard than actually doing renovation projects to blog about. So if we had time to do any projects worth writing about, we would find it slightly easier to write about said projects. Once we wrapped the basement around February or so, other than finally staining and finishing all of the six new interior doors (finished the final two a month ago), we have been taking it easy for the most part.

Though that’s changing quickly. More on that after this.

Man, THIS was frigging disgusting. From last night:

Shoe from the A/C return

Last night I was vacuuming up the entryway after cleaning up dust from a new small project (coming soon!) and I decided that I should probably vacuum out the inside of the a/c ventilation return on the floor too — also known as the favored hiding place for our mice.

How do I know?

Well, that’s easy: it’s full of mouse poop all the time! This a/c return here is the lone return for the house. It’s basically a piece of sheet metal nailed to two joist cavities in the basement that runs all the way to the opposite wall and then feeds into proper ductwork running back to the compressor. There’s a nicer powered filter unit there adjacent to the compressor, since there’s no filter up here on the floor. (And woo boy I wish you could have seen how many mouse skeletons spilled out during our home inspection when we popped the filter out!)

After having dealt with rejiggering the ductwork as part of the basement renovation, I was curious to look further down the duct this time. Maybe there would be a 6-foot-long mouse matriarch that’s been living in there for 80 years. So I was bent over looking a little further into the duct and saw a dark shape I couldn’t make out. Which kinda freaked me out for a second, and I nervously batted at it, unsure of what it was. I grabbed and fished it out (not at all yelping like a little girl), and lo and behold, I found a random woman’s hiking boot covered in dust shoved 4 feet into the return duct, just out of sight.

WTF, mate?

What in the world prompted someone to put just one boot in here? Did they get their foot stuck when trying to climb into an opening that’s 8 inches high? And then just say, “screw it, I’m leaving that boot inside. Who needs two shoes?” Without looking inside the boot, I just jammed the vacuum hose into it and heard the unmistakable (and satisfyingly gross) sound of a billion pieces of mouse poop being sucked up.

So I touched it long enough to take this picture and then took it straight out to the dumpster and washed my hands. With acid. I then jammed the vacuum down the duct as far as it could reach. Tonight, I’ll put mousetraps inside, which is perfect, since I don’t have to take them up each morning with toddlers roaming about all day long.

Now that we’ve almost opened every nook and cranny of this old house, hopefully this will be the last of this kind of surprise I’ll find. But as the last four years have taught me, you never know.

On to the news.

We’re having another baby — a boy this time! Or as I like to think of him, a renovation project instigator. This time around, the second trimester came with “slight” nesting phase for Rachel, and by slight, I do mean that we have literally unpacked and reorganized and purged and repacked and reworked every single closet, drawer, shelf, box, tote, attic, nook and storage space in the entire house. I was powerless to resist. I always thought of “nesting” as more like what we did last time: painting and prettying up the baby’s room. Yay, fun, exciting! Nope, this was a whole new level. On the bright side, our house more organized than it’s ever been, and I took about 6 loads of stuff to the thrift store.

But counting down the days to this baby’s arrival in late November means that there are new projects that desperately need to be finished before we go completely into a straight man-to-man defense for the foreseeable future.

Project number one is potty training. We will spare you the pictures and explainers of this one. On the plus side, it’s one of the cheaper projects we’ve embarked upon.

Project number two is building shelves and built-ins to totally reorganize the entryway. New shelves behind the door, potentially refinishing our entry piece cabinet, and building a shoe rack or bench.

Project number three is a new queen Murphy Bed for the guestroom as we move Lily to the guest room, prepare her room for the new baby, and try to make Lily’s new room into something that can be converted for guests. I’m excited and terrified about this one. I bought a hardware set, but the rest of it is gonna be built from scratch. Hoping to get started the weekend after Labor Day.

Projects number four through [insert large number here] are not worth recounting here. And unless I get projects 1-3 finished before late November, they’ll become “Projects for some unknown time in 2015.”

“To infinity, and beyond!!!!”

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