Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tunnel Rat Warms My Heart

Y'all know Mason has managed to maintain his boyish figure despite his penchant for beer, burgers and sweets. The rat bastard! But after the latest home improvement project, I'm forced to withhold my grudge.

That's Mason, above, crawling under the house, leaf blower in tow. The project? Cleaning out the crawlspace, laying down a plastic moisture barrier and then sealing up the crawlspace to keep out cold air and the "no shoulders" -- that's Tennesseean for snakes.

We started this project last winter, but once spring was on the horizon and it got warmer, we put it off ... and off and off ... because, as you can see, there isn't much room under the house. And it's filthy. And these photos were taken at the end where it's downright roomy.

So while Mason was working under there, I'd pop my head under and check on him from now and then. At one point, after belly-crawling under the tightest spots, he yelled out: "Good thing I never got sent to Vietnam. They would have made me a tunnel rat for sure." He does have a talent for wriggling into tight spaces.

(Interesting side note: Mason was a Marine and was about to be shipped to Vietnam in 1971 when President Nixon decided to stop sending troops. Also, if Mason had not taken an extended leave -- UA, Unauthorized Absence, as the Marines call it -- soon after boot camp, he WOULD have gone to Vietnam with his original unit. But while he was home on that first leave -- six months in the making, by the way -- partying with his friends seemed like much more fun than life in the Marines. But he went back, eventually. OK, one last interesting side note: When Mason enlisted, the Marines decided to make him a truck driver. Why? He had racked up 62 traffic tickets in 3.5 years of driving, so clearly he had a knack. Luckily he didn't think to tell them that he was just a check ride away from his private pilot's license. Those helicopter pilots in Vietnam didn't have it too good, either.)

OK, back to the home improvement project. So here's how the crawlspace looks now (we still need to install corner pieces and do some paint touch-up):

We sealed off the crawlspace completely on Monday,  just in time for that arctic blast that brought brutal negative temps to our friends/fools in Minnesota and dipped our temps down to the 20s for the first time this winter. The good news is the house is now several degrees warmer and holds the heat better. Mark it down as another successful project on Flat Top! Beers for everyone, especially Mason.


  1. Replies
    1. Tomorrow it's rain/sleet/snow and the whole city is shutting down in advance for it. Rookies!!