email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Attic Work

I'm been negotiating with an insulation company for several weeks.  It's not that I'm trying to drag things out or trying to get them down a dollar at a time, but each quote they send has either some errors or descriptions of work that need some further explanation.

Well, for example, I have part of the center of the attic covered with plywood flooring.  The complany is focussed on the insulation gains, so they proposed to remove the flooring.  They just want to fill the entire attic 2' deep in blown-in insulation.  And they wanted $100s of dollars just to remove the plywood.  So I replied that I would remove the plywood myself and that if I decided to replace it after they were gone, that was none of their concern. 

There were also some questions about access to the basement framed paneling.  The cavities between the cinderblock wall foundation and the paneling covering the 2"x4" framing need blown-in insulation.  They wanted to do that for about $1,900 "along the entire perimeter of the basement".  The paneling is only along 1/3 of the basement.  That sort of thing...

And part of their cost was moving the many many boxes I've saved.  The boxes are just in the way of their work (and I understand that).  There was about $500 involved in that work. 

Well, I've saved boxes all my life.  It's practical.  As I used to move from apartment to apartment when I was younger, it was really useful to save the packing boxes for all the various stereo and minor appliances.  What better packing for stereo equipment is there than the original boxes and styrofoam shapes?  And good sturdy boxes are always useful for packing "stuff"!  I mean, I always expected to move "someday".

But I've decided that I'm not going to move anytime soon, and when that day does come, I can afford to just buy matching moving boxes.  So I didn't need the ones I had (except for a few recent product boxes I'll keep).  So I started tossing attic boxes down the stairway. 
 It was enlightening!  I had a box for the Commodore 128 I brought with me here 28 years ago.  I cracked up seeing it.  That computer is SO long-gone!  Seriously, for those of you who have never heard of it, it was 128K memory.  But you COULD actually do things on it.  I wrote letters, learned spreadsheets, and played some rather interesting games on it.  The best part was that the programs for the Commodore games were so simple, you could buy codebreaker programs to copy them for friends (and if you learned Fortran and Basic, you could even improve them.  But I digress...

So I had all these boxes down the stairs (and more remaining in the attic.  I spent an hour pulling the styrofoam and bubble wrap out of the boxes.  The cardboard boxes are recyclable, the styrofoam (generically, polystyrene) is not.  So my game for the day was to fit the small boxes into the middle-sized boxes, and those into the larger boxes.  Then fitting them into the Highlander SUV.  Packing is a fun game.

I needed 2 trips to the recycling center Friday to get rid of most of the boxes, and one trip bringing all the styrofoam to the associated landfill.  And I really tried to find a place to recycle the styrofoam.  The nearest place was 100 miles away.  Apparently, styrofoam is dirt-cheap to make, buly to transport, and to energy-expensive to bother to melt down for reuse locally unless you live next to a styrofoam-producer.  Sad but true.

Unfortunately, I had to make the styrofoam disposal trip twice.  The landfill closes at 5PM.  I left on a 15 minute drive there at 4 PM Friday.  But there was an accident right at the intersection leading to the landfill.  I sat in traffic for 45 minutes and only got to the landfill 5 minutes too late.

I made a second trip Saturday and got rid of all of it. (and some odd old items, and a few boxes full of styrofoam "peanuts").

But it was worth it.  Only 6 boxes left in the attic (all old Christmas decorations I insist on saving).  I'll just bring them downstairs temporarily for the insulation work.

At least it was some productive work!


Katnip Lounge said...

That's gotta be INCREDIBLY satisfying, and fun! We did a big purge during our home repairs/painting this spring and I agree, the volume of stuff you "save" is amazing. Incidentally Scott and I were talking about doing the last two closets this week...we need the room. I sure wish we had a basement OR a usable attic!

Derby, Ducky said...

I cleared a lot from the basement last year when I had the foundation done. Good to get rid of the excess.

Ellen in Oregon said...

I couldn't find any recycling place to take all the styrofoam peanuts I had received in packages either. So, I found a good way to put them to use. I do a lot of container gardening and there is no point filling big pots completely with potting soil, so I fill half the depth of each pot with the peanuts & then add the soil. The peanuts provide excellent drainage and repurposing them saves me from wasting expensive potting soil since the plant roots will never reach that far down in the pot anyway. I used to used soda cans, but found they eventually filled with water which stagnated and was unhealthy for the plants.

It must feel good to get rid of all those boxes. Since I got rid of mine I find that my storage room stays much cleaner. The cardboard was shedding so much lint as it degraded that it coated everything else I had stored. We always have good intentions when we decide to save certain things during the course if our lives, but the reality is that very little of what we put in storage ever gets put to good use again. Time moves on & different projects catch out eye, crafts projects go out of style and chemical & paint have a limited life. I just wish I could have all the money I wasted in unused items, but I will settle for hoping someone else can use all those items in their lifetime better than I did.

Megan said...

Great job Mark. I wonder whether you might have found a buyer on eBay for that computer box. You just never know what people want to spend their money on. LOL

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