I started my Saturday off with a loud crash and the sound of claws on Styrofoam.   I’ve known for a few days that we had either a cat or a skunk getting under the house and I had been dreading getting into the crawl space to deal with it.  It was on my “to do” list.  Also on the list was fixing leaky sink and shower valves which required shutting off the water to the house, yet another reason to go below.

Like most projects of this type, I figured I was on my own.  Steven’s knees are bothering him and he had spent the night at a friends.  Erik was already up and playing video games when I got up.  I informed him that I would be needing his help, expecting to hear the usual “unhappy cow sounds” he makes when he’s told such things.   He eventually goes along but does the minimum necessary to get me off his back.

Saturday, no such moan.  While I started collecting the tools for the job, he told his online friend that he had to get to work and that they would play later.    We dressed for the occasion in long sleeve shirts, hats and boots and armed ourselves with brooms, a bottle of ammonia,  and a very bright light.   Down into the hole we went.

Fortunately it was a cat.  We discussed home ownership with the cat, I made it clear that I am not taking on renters.  The cat did not seem to understand.  Erik, rockstar that he is, was ok with staying below alone while I went back up.  I went to the kitchen, just above the cat, and jumped on the floor.   The cat made a very quick exit to the amusement of Erik.

We spent some time clearing cobwebs and I repaired the vent screens to prevent future critter access.  Meanwhile, Erik explored the plumbing and shut off the water.  Then the two of us took apart the defective valves and went in search of replacement parts.

I have always enjoyed working with someone who had a positive attitude.  One doesn’t have to enjoy the actual task to enjoy the work.  In this case I hated the task.  But I can’t express how wonderful it was to work together with Erik yesterday.   He did the part of the job I hated most, he did it willingly and with a smile on his face.  He didn’t just come along to the hardware store either, he got actively engaged in selecting the necessary items.

In the end Erik was rewarded with his favorite prize:  donuts.

Steven and Erik explored the crawlspace together later.  I think Steven was disappointed that he didn’t get to help more on this project.  But he’s helped on plenty of others and there will be more, maybe even today.

Here’s what we got done:

  • Evicted cat
  • Repaired vent screens
  • Turned on water to hose on west side of house
  • Replaces hot and cold water valves in master bath.
  • Replaced diverter gasket in master bath
  • Replaced gaskets in laundry room sink hot and cold valves.
  • Washed three loads of laundry
  • Put 5 bottles of the 9/25 beer in the fridge to chill
  • Did some of the grocery shopping
  • Took some coats and jeans to Goodwill

It was a productive day.  Best of all was the time spent with Erik.