Termites, mold, and mice...

Hello there!

Well, all my inspiration to start a blog came from the work we did this weekend, so I suppose we should get right to it, hm?  Project #1 is Operation Gut The Basement.  Hubs has been working on this slowly over the past year, and we've been storing all the junked materials down there as dumpsters are Not Cheap around here!  Well, we finally decided now's the time, so we bit the bullet and had a dumpster delivered Saturday morning.
Lil C and the HUGE dumpster
Lil C, our cat Meow-ers, and the HUGE dumpster
 Then it was MY job to fill THAT dumpster.  Eventually.  We expected to be able to demolish the entire basement, plus the exterior walls of the main level and throw it all in here.  Boy were we wrong!  But more on that in a minute.  First I have to prove to you that we (and by "we" I, of course, mean Hubs) actually DID something!

This is the southeast "bedroom" that was in our basement.  The rightmost door is out to the rest of the basement.  This view, now:

There is no "After" yet.  When there is, I'll be sure to let you know.  How about we start over with the "Before", "Middle", and "After" sequences?  

Southeast corner of the house, basement, BEFORE
Concrete floor, green painted paneling, busted radiator covers...sounds homey to me!  NOT!  BTW, that's a sump pump hole in the corner.

Middle - See the mold?  How about the termite tunnels?

On the left of the busted-out part, we have termite tunnels running nearly halfway up the wall.  Yay.  But we hadn't found any actual termites, so we figured they were all gone.  That me MUCH less squeamish while cleaning up after them!  And there was plenty of mold in that corner, but once it's out, it's out!

Middle #2
Lack of mold.  Lack of termite tunnels.  But lots of insulation-turned-squirrel-bedding on the ground.  (Read: I didn't finish MY job yet.)

So there you have it - no ceiling, no more studs.  Those blocky bricks in the middle of the wall houses a flue that runs within the chimney.  The den upstairs (RIGHT above this) has a fireplace, and, well...they carried some of it down.

Close-up of the termite tunnels on the drywall
 Cuz I know you were all DYING to see it.

Mold on the insulation

Mold AND termite tunnels!
Hello?  Why did you all leave?  This is MY house after all!  Oh, I get it - y'all forgot your coveralls.  Ok, since this is the first day, I'll forgive you, but be sure to bring them next time or I'll dock your participation points.

After about 2 hours
This shows about 2 hours worth of work on my part.  And Hubs was busy doing everything you already saw.

Sunday morning's starting point
And this is after Hubs gave up waiting for me to clear him a path through his destruction, so he pitched in and helped me.  Sunday morning, we started with a half-full dumpster.  We've cleared out about 1/3 of the basement.  Doesn't really look like the main floor is gonna fit, does it?

Here are some miscellaneous "homeowner special" things we found.  

Bent drywall
 Ok, so I know it's really hard to see this, but I'm including it anyway.  Usually, floor joists (those boards running all the same way) are capped off by a sill plate.  Basically, that means that you shouldn't SEE this drywall at all (which is at the base of the front wall of the garage), much less should it be curved inward by almost 2 inches (the thickness of...*gasp* a SILL PLATE!) in order to be anchored to the joists.  The sill plate would have evened out the thickness of the wall, and given the drywall something to anchor to all the way across, not just at the joists.  Because, you end up with this:

View from the garage side. See the crack?

Genius!  Let's cut a squirrel-sized hole to run new piping!

Words fail me for this rad heat supply and return.
And for the grand finale, we have ACTIVE termites!!!  Can't you hear my enthusiasm for all the damage they've caused? This is looking down at the outer wall (to the left of that window you've hopefully noticed before now).  The sill plate (bottom flat board) is completely crumbling in Hubs' gloved hand.

The sill plate to the left isn't AS bad, but that's just because it's not AS wet.
There ya have it, folks!  Welcome to my world!  I'll take more pix and post more progress as we get it done!

To wrap this up on a non-termite note, please enjoy these pictures that I took at 6:00 this morning as I snuck in an hour of extra clearing-out after Hubs left for work and before Lil C woke up.

Again... totally thinkin' this is NOT going to all fit!!!
What a sunrise!!! I love the sun just barely touching the tree tops!


  1. So many pictures. lol That is a lot of work. No doubt about it. But I know you guys can do it. Quesion: what are you turning the basement into once you're done with the gutting and cleaning? Your daughter is so friggin' cute, by the way. Just thought you should know (as if you didn't). lol I can't wait to see more pictures of your progress. Is it weird that I commented on your latest blog first and worked my way down back to the beginning? lol Hope not. lol ~Natalie B.

  2. Lol you have NO IDEA... I've still NOT taken pictures of 1/2 the basement... We plan to leave it open to concrete and studs and use it as a utility area for the next several years. Maybe in 5 years or so, we'll refinish it with basement-appropriate materials and have like a little wetbar, maybe a daycare area...stuff like that. Also, Hubs is going to enclose a corner and turn it into my Food Storage Walk-In Closet. :D

  3. The mold is so gross. At least you guys are pulling it out of there.

  4. Molds, termites and mice are definitely bad for your pursuit of a pretty home! It is good that you take time to eradicate these pests and clean the basement. This trio can cause lots of damage to your home if left unattended. They can weaken the structure of your house and lower the value of your property. Plus, they are quite unpleasant to look at. Better do some serious inspection on the other parts of the house to know if there is any damage or another infestation.

  5. Yes, these three are a deadly combination and a major deal-breaker for you to achieve your goal. I think no homeowner would want to have these three on their houses. Although dealing with these three can be a pain, it is best that you make an effort to eliminate these pests. Aside from the structural damage, this trio is dangerous for you and your family’s health.


Please leave your name so I know who you are! Thanks!