The House Saga continues
I moved into my house on Good Friday. Do you know what it is it is like to load up a utility trailer in the pouring rain while trying to keep everything dry? I hauled what I had with me in my utility trailer and stopped in Hope to pick up Doc. We had breakfast in Hope and the car got fuelled before heading up the Coquihalla to Merritt….in the rain…and sometimes sleet. The Coquihalla is a mountain highway with high elevation so sudden weather changes are to be expected.
I had taken possession of my house on March 14 so most of my belongings were already in the house. I had pre-arranged for a contractor to meet me at the house on that day to re-route the main water shut-off. It was in the crawl space. I just couldn’t imagine having to go into a crawlspace in case of a sudden pipe burst. Especially in the middle of winter or the middle of the night. The access is on one side of the house but the pipes are on the other side. It requires bringing a flashlight, undoing the screws that hold the plywood cover onto the opening and a mask over your face because of the dirt and dust and old cat poo. The house is old, so you can imagine what it must be like under there.
I need to backtrack to explain the cat poo….which will lead to more of the story.
There was a woman renting a house behind mine prior to my buying this house. She was known as the cat lady in the neighbourhood. She used to leave food out for the feral cats. This is in turn led them to the crawl space to live. There was no cover the opening at the time. Apparently there were about 8 cats living under the crawlspace during the winter. The contractor guy told me he bonked one and disposed of it. The others ran away somewhere. Then the contractor put the plywood cover over the entrance so the cats could not go back in. That is why there is old cat poo in there.
When I first went to look at the house back in January…twice…the house smelled fine. When I went there again to meet the home inspector, it smelled fine. Based on what the home inspector said, I decided to buy this property. He found only a few minor deficiencies that I knew I could get fixed once I moved in.
When I arrived at the house on March 14, it smelled awful. If you can imagine rotten meat in your trash can, then you can imagine what it smelled like here. It was the smell of decay. We looked all over the place but could not find the source. We narrowed it down to a specific area, so I guessed that a rodent had got in the wall and died. Then the others said it might be the P-traps in the drains. For those that don’t know, if the P-traps dry out, then a sewer smell can happen.
Anyway, the contractor guy worked under the crawl space and in the kitchen to re-route the water shut off so that it is under the kitchen sink. In that time Doc and I made a few trip to my storage locker to get my belongings out of storage. Originally the plan was to stay over and take Doc home the next day, but due to the horrible smell, we had to leave. I took Doc home to Hope and then I carried on into Vancouver where I was still house-sitting until the end of the month.
The contractor guy said for $50.00, he would come back and investigate under the crawl space to look for the source of the smell.
March 30 was my official moving day. March 29, I hooked my utility trailer and drove across town to pick up a chesterfield (sofa, couch). I had taken a new plastic painter’s drop sheet to line the trailer and a new tarp for cover. I wanted to be prepared for rain. It just never seemed to stop raining. Fortunately the rain stopped for a short time while to couch got loaded, but by the time I got back to the house it was raining again. I loaded most of the rest of my things into the trailer and wrapped the trailer securely in the tarp with securements and a cargo net. I was confident that it wouldn’t be tampered with overnight. In the morning, I did the laundry so that the bed would be fresh for the owners coming home and packed up the last few remaining things of mine into my car and left Vancouver.
It was not an easy decision to make. I was born and raised in Vancouver, but due to the stupidly expensive real estate and high rents, I could not afford to stay. A lot of us have been forced out because we can’t afford to live there anymore.
I left Vancouver in the pouring rain and like Steppenwolf sang in Easy Rider….Get your motor running/ Head out on the highway/Looking for adventure/And whatever comes your way. Yes, I know it was written about riding…but this seemed to suit the situation. I stopped to get coffee to go and drove to Hope to pick up Doc. He offered to help me.
Upon arriving in Merritt, we stopped at the realtor’s office to pick up the house keys before going to the house. Unfortunately the house still smelled; but not as bad as before. I had plugged a hole that was under the kitchen baseboard heater and kept the bathroom window open, but the door closed. It helped somewhat to keep the odour contained. I took Doc home the next day and came right back. It is only 1 hour-15 min. to Hope.
I lived here for a few days but still could not find the source of the smell. All the drains had been checked. The toilet was so clean you could probably wash in it. I was feeling very despondent about my purchase. I couldn’t live like this. I emailed the contractor guy to find out if he had come back and looked under the crawl space. He said he did and couldn’t find anything. I finally decided it must be sewer gas and called a plumber. The plumber walked in and in one whiff he said, “it doesn’t smell like sewer gas. “ I agreed with him because I had thought it smelled like decay. The plumber looked everywhere and found nothing to insinuate sewer gas. He said he would look under the crawl space. He removed the plywood cover and went under the house. In about 30 seconds he called out and said he found a dead cat. He came back outside and said he would remove it for me. He got a gas mask type thing out of his truck and put on some gloves. I gave him a double bagged trash bag and he went back under. He brought out the garbage bag with the dead cat inside of it. It went into the garbage bin never to be handled again. Pick up for the garbage is an automated system on the truck,
I was happy to pay the plumber his service charge. He suggested I leave the entrance open for air circulation for now to help make the smell go away. I stapled some screen mesh to the opening to prevent any other critter getting in. I felt such relief at knowing the smell should go away now.
More to come.