This is the tale of one of the first of many surprises as new homeowners. After a short while, I finally got around to emptying all the garbage and scrap wood bequeathed to us out of the little workshop downstairs. There was evidence here and in other house areas that the previous owners hadn't cleaned sections of the home in their three year tenure. The rafters had accumulated a quilt like layer of dust large enough to hide several fasteners, a small latch mechanism, and a large screwdriver. The house listing said “Mrs. Clean lived here.” Apparently she didn’t take her work home with her. The sighting of an abandoned mouse or chipmunk nest, and spider breeds even I have never seen before made putting a "bug bomb" fogger in the workshop seem to be a good idea.
I set one up in the room, and tossed another "Fire in the hole" style into the coal bin. (I'm guessing the coal bin was a package deal with the bomb shelter room, deck plates in the ceiling, steel siding and metal window shades. The builder moved out from Brooklyn in 1970, I sense a strong fear of nature.) The next day, I noticed a couple dead carpenter ants and trilobite looking things (the “YOU FIRED” bugs from A Bugs Life) on the laundry room floor outside the workshop. I was too busy making fingers Julianne by picking up the air conditioner the wrong way to notice anything more than they had come out around the door.
The following day I found out where they really came from. The bombs had efficiently herded a large army of the little crawlies above the drop ceiling in the laundry room. Some dying ones rained down between the tiles, while many others ended up fried in the fluorescent light covers. We called the 'sterminator, and my wife refused to go downstairs for a while.
Mr. Bug Killer Man came, did a check, and told us we had carpenter ants ("Yeeees," I thought, "that’s why we called.”) He did his spraying, we went Up the Lake, and when we came home I set about vacuuming up our dead crunchy downstairs guests.
I had several theories about where they came from:
Maybe they were living in the scrap wood in the workshop…
Maybe they were in the coal bin and I scared them inside with the bomb.
Maybe the bin door wasn’t closed all the way and the snuck in over time…
Each very possible, but in all honesty I'm pretty sure the ants got in (he said in a Lewis Black ranting type style)
BECAUSE THERE' WAS A BIG @*$&ING HOLE IN THE WALL!!!
As I vacuumed out the now finally empty workshop, a draft surprised me. I bent down to look under a shelf and saw…OUT-freakin'-SIDE. There was a baseball sized hole - clean through the concrete. It looked like there was, at a happier time, a pipe that ran through there (possibly to a Hot tub the original owner had on the deck, which based on the iron clad nature of the rest of the house, I’d assume he was too afraid to go out to sit in.) You'd think when they removed the pipe; someone might have thought it was a good idea to fill that space in. You'd also think that in the three years they lived there, the people who sold us this house,
WOULD HAVE NOTICED A BIG HOLE IN IT!!!!!!!!!!
Especially since they left mouse poison hidden IN THE ROOM!
DID THEY THINK THE MOUSE WAS JIMMYING THE WINDOW OPEN TO TRY TO STEAL THEIR ROTTING BUILDING MATERIALS!?!?
Instead of the cleaning I was supposed to do, I ended up playing with concrete patch for an afternoon. That drastically lowered the amount of commuters and let me get back to what I was supposed to be doing. Until the next surprise, that is. This was our introduction to the idea that a house isn’t really a home; it’s just a pile of stuff that needs to be done.