In my last blog entry I mentioned that some water was found in the ceiling. While removing the lights for their makeover, one of the bedrooms had wet sheet rock around the light and the back of the light was really wet. This spelled out trouble and made me very nervous.
One of my friends came to look at it, but couldn't get into the attic to find out what was wrong. Why? BECAUSE IT'S TOO SMALL! My attic is about two feet tall at it's highest point. After looking into the access to the attic, it was decided that I was the only person that was likely to fit. It was already late that night and I decided to investigate another time.
I came back to the house the next day with long pants, a turtle neck, beanie, safety glasses, and my super trusty gloves on. I was ready to go explore the attic to find the source of the leak. It was suspected that an old swamp cooler line was still up there potentially causing the problem.
Welcome to my attic! There is fiber glass insulation EVERYWHERE! I had to push all the insulation back and then try to start maneuvering. There was no crawling on my hands and knees, this was basically an army crawl on my stomach. I was trying to be very careful, moving from truss to truss so that I wouldn't fall through the ceiling. I was surrounded by all of this insulation, having to burrow through it as I went. I could not help but think of all the hamsters we had as kids. They live in that "bedding" crap that smells real bad after it gets peed on. Yeah, I felt like a hamster burrowing through insulation bedding.
I was kind of having fun at first, like I was an adventurer. Knocking the insulation out of my way with ease! Carefully, but stealthy moving to each truss. Eventually I reached a location that I thought was the approximate location of the light and started digging through the insulation. I was being very careful to close my mouth so that I wouldn't get that itchy crap in my throat. Eventually I found the light box and there was minor signs of water damage with a small amount of mold. Nothing major. The area was no longer wet.
Flashing the light around the attic I couldn't find any tubes that would lead to the old swamp cooler. I decided to follow the beam that the light was next to. After going down about another foot, I found the sheet rock right next to the beam was darker. It was still damp from water. The strip was about a half an inch wide and went all the way to the edge of the roof it seemed. It eventually got so far that I couldn't fit to follow it.
I had gotten so excited from my lead that I hadn't noticed something... I couldn't breathe! I had been breathing through my nose, but I also have ridiculous allergies. The fiber glass had been causing a severe irritation, but I hadn't noticed at first. My entire nasal cavity was blocked off and felt like it had swelled to the size of a baseball.
Not being able to breathe through my nose forced me to have to breathe through my mouth. However, that did not promote breathing either. With each breath I took, my lungs started to get very angry! So I'd take a breath, then have a hacking cough. While coughing I would gasp for air, which would only cause more coughing! I had to get out of the attic FAST!
I immediately got to the center of the attic and started back to the opened. The entire time I was coughing and gasping for air! When I made it back to the opening, I was facing the wrong direction. I couldn't drop out of the attic head first! It the tiny space I had to try and flip around do that I could drop out feet first. Ever seen a hamster start going up those silly colored tubes, but then about half way decide to flip around and go back. Well they make it look easy, but it's NOT that easy. I was basically stuck by the opening to the attic and I still don't know how I managed to flip around.
Once out of the closet I immediately ran into the bathroom. My body had begun producing mucus to capture all of the fiber glass and prevent it from getting into my body. So once again I couldn't breath because there was too much schmuck in my nose and throat. So I'm in the bathroom trying to get it out (I'm purposefully eliminating details here) so that I can breathe. Meanwhile, my body has started to itch furiously from the fiber glass that made contact with my skin. I ripped my shirt off and knew that I had to get home ASAP and shower. So I started running through the house, getting what I need...with no shirt on.
Lucky for me, my mom has left a jacket there on accident and I was able to wear that on my drive home. Mind you, I was still battling for consistent breathing. I was coughing so hard that it made water come out of my eyes. Don't be fooled, I wasn't CRYING. I wasn't that upset about the situation, just trying to stay calm.
Once home I stripped down and took a hot shower until the water ran out. All was well, though it did take me about 36 hours to be able to breathe through my nose. Hopefully we can investigate the leak some other way. I'd prefer not to, but if I have to then I have to. Oh the joys of home ownership! Next time I'll make sure I wear a mask so that I can breathe without getting masses of insulation in my respiratory system.
To the moments that take our breath away,
5 years ago