The Saturday started like any other. I awoke at dawn and pinballed my way into the bathroom. I brushed my teeth and dressed. One eye cracked open, and I stumbled into the kitchen. I fed the coffee and then made some dogs. No, wait. I fed the dogs and then made some coffee. The other eye cracked open. I shuffled back into the bedroom and
blackmailed Handan out of bed with the threat of no coffee enticed Handan out of bed with the promise of coffee. We went outside and sat on the deck while our caffeine infusions shattered the lingering shell of sleep.
The morning was hot. The day would be brutal – 90s and humid. I thought of all the things I could be doing inside in the air conditioned house or in the cool basement. I thought of all the things I could be doing in the yard, maybe following the shade. I looked at the shed on the other side of the pool. There was something in there that I needed for the pool. I walked over and opened the door. God, I hated this shed. There was no room to walk – I couldn’t get to the pool pump controls. The floor was covered in buckets and tools and bags. Bags. Like that bag of black oily sunflower seed I had left in there. The contents of that bag were strewn everywhere. Mice. Lots of mice. I had seen whole families migrate from corner to corner as I beat a path from the door to my lawnmower. Hell, they’d even taken up residence in my mower’s engine. Four times. Four! They were coming in from two holes in the roof line. They made the holes with their teeth. I beat a path to the mower area. There are double doors there. And look how they hang. Look at that space underneath the doors. Any animal smaller than a grizzly could fit through that gap. I sighed. Enough of this sh!t.
“BARISH!” I yelled back towards the house for my son. Who was I kidding? Getting the boy to answer a call-to-work from this far away would never work. I strode to the kitchen and mashed the intercom button with my finger.
“Boy! Get up! Get dressed! Socks and shoes! Eat breakfast! Come outside!” I turned to leave then jammed the button once more. “SNELL!”
I went back outside to await his arrival.
Barish turned up a short while later, shoulders slumped, face a perfect study in misery – a typical pre-teen faced with work on a Saturday.
“C’mon, Boy, we’re gonna clean the shed, so I can walk in there again. Start taking stuff out and throwing it on the grass.” He groaned.
The sun peaked through the trees as the humidity surrounded us.
Throughout all this Handan stayed on the deck with her coffee and her iPad, oblivious to my plan. It was only when the yard started to fill up with
junk crap stuff that she looked up from her tablet and took an interest in our work. She called to me. “What are you doing?”
“We’re cleaning the shed.” I said.
“Do you want my help?” She asked.
“Nope! You just relax. We’ll take care of this part. When it comes time to put the stuff back, then you can help.”
She considered this, grabbed her camera and walked to the shed. She looked at all the
junk crap stuff we had already removed.
“Did you take a “before” picture?” She asked. A ‘before’ picture? What the hell? It never dawned on me to write about a stupid shed-cleaning. I just wanted to get rid of the mice and clear a path to the pump controls.
“Ummmm. No.” I said.
“Babes, you can write a post about this. Don’t take anything else out until I get a chance to go inside and take some pictures.” She said.
Barish and I stepped back while she documented the scene like a CSI photographer.
So here are the “before” pics. Not exactly as it was on the inside, but you can get the gist of it based on how much
crap junk stuff was already on the outside. Oh, and don’t you dare call this a shed “clean-out.” Handan was adamant that she would organize it in such a way that we would be fitting more stuff in than we took out, and we would still have more space to maneuver.
Okay! That covers the load-out. Time to clean and reorganize! We started…well, we started by, *ahem*, loading out some more stuff. But this load-out needed Handan, a ladder and an impact driver.
Handan removed the old “ceiling,” really a patchwork of scrap wood. She figured this would not only take away some mouse habitat, but it would open up the space as well. We wanted to eliminate as many hiding spots as possible.
While Handan was busy removing the ceiling, Barish and I worked on the floors. First we swept up the big stuff, and then I vacuumed with my new shop vac. We started the day with my older 9 gallon shop vac, but I felt like I could use some more suck, so we went to Home Depot, and I upgraded to the suckiest shop vac they had. I’m not a Home Depot shill, nor are they paying me to say this, but Holy Cow, this thing is frickin’ awesome! I don’t know how I lived this long without this much suck! This thing could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch! It could suck a golf ball through a garden hose! It could suck the beard right off my face…okay, enough. I just get excited when something sucks this much.
If you are in the market for a remorseless sucking machine, look no further.
Oh yeah, it also blows. o_0
Okay, moving on!
When sweeping and vacuuming, it is important to wear the proper attire. You never know who you might meet, so I find it best to be prepared with genuine Calvin Klein underwear.
I’ll spare you the rest of the photo. This is a DiY blog, not a science fiction and horror blog. Now I know why Handan kept telling me to pull my pants up when she was taking pictures.
Once the floors were cleaned, I turned my attention to the two holes near the roof line.
When we went to buy the shop vac, I also picked up a few cans of expanding foam sealant. I bought a can of a product I’ve used before, Great Stuff, and a few cans of Loctite Foam – a product I’d never used. I started with the Loctite.
Look, I’m no foam expert. I don’t hold a Masters in Advanced Foamology, but I gotta tell ya – this stuff is awesome! The other brand may be “Great,” but Loctite is phenomenal. It is a Cadillac in a parking lot full of Oldsmobiles.
I foamed the two holes and then foamed anywhere else I suspected might grant entry to mice.
By now, Handan had finished removing the old ceiling and had started to hang some vinyl coated garden fencing wire between some of the rafters. The fencing wire could hold our stuff, but one thing it wouldn’t hold – mice!
To organize most of the tools, Handan found a long scrap piece of wood and drove nails into one side from which the tools would hang.
She then hung this board, nails facing the wall, across the studs. This way, none of the nails can cause harm if someone trips or isn’t paying attention while moving around in the shed.
This is how she planned all of the hanging – there would be no nails or screws sticking out of the studs – only from the recesses between the studs.
Okay, I skipped right to an “after” shot above, but that is because it was so hot and we were so tired, that pictures were forgotten. Oh, did I mention that it was now Sunday evening? That’s right, this little Saturday morning project turned into a two-day, dawn-to-dusk marathon. Ho-Lee-Crap, were we beat when it was over! I’ll carry on now with some more “after” shots.
Well if you’ve made it this far, I give you credit! Not everyone can slog their way through a 2100-word screed about organizing a garden shed. Kudos to you!
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