Chapter 69: Whole-house Igloo? Yes, please!

April 4, 2013 • Written by Christina Berry

Well, well, well, it’s been a great long while since I updated this thing and sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much has happened since last time. I mean seriously, soooooooooooooooo much has happened, it’s kind of ridiculous the amount of progress. Honestly, it was a little overwhelming, the thought of writing witty and hilarious commentary on all this progress. Well, let’s just say I had a little panic attack at the thought of it all. But then I took a super long bath in my amazing jacuzzi tub, got all zen-centered and voila, one semi-witty and hilarious PVR update coming up! You ready? Let’s do this thing!

Maybe you’re wondering how on earth we were able to make such progress, considering how we’re always complaining that we have no time. Well, we made time, or rather Errek made time. He took about seven months off from work to focus 100% on the house. We were broke, but holy crap does construction go a lot faster when you’re not trying to fit it in during your nights and weekends.

And why, you might wonder, did Errek decide to take time off work to make such epic progress on the house?

Well…cuz of me. I was going a little crazy living in an unfinished house, and I’m not all that pleasant to live with when I’m going a little crazy. But seriously, who can blame me for going a little crazy when this is our living room?

Our bedroom?

Our dining room?

After something like six and half years of living in this unfinished rat’s nest of a construction site, I was due for a little crazy time. But there is a fine line between a little crazy and a lot crazy, so drastic measures were taken, and we got some progress, glorious progress!

First up, insulation to weatherize us. Remember that time when all of our pipes exploded in the cold weather? Well, that’s because we had ZERO insulation in this house. It was time to nip that problem in the bud. We decided to go with spray foam insulation, which is super duper efficient and helps completely seal the house up from the elements and the insects.

But before you can insulate with spray foam, you have to get everything into the walls that’s ever going to go into the walls, because once that stuff is sprayed in, the wall is solid and there’s no going back…no adding in a stereo wire here or there for home theater audio or whatevs.

So, Errek worked with a security company, Dyezz, to wire up our security system, and worked with an A/V guy to map out our entertainment and networking wire needs.

Hey baby, don’t mind me, I’m just pulling the ceiling drops for our future 5.1 surround sound.

Hey baby, um, can you move your ass out of the way. I’m trying to watch my stories!

Gotta whole lotta wire! Home of the future home network hub.

Also, there was a whole bunch of outside stuff like lights and plugs that needed to be finished up.

Errek had a list, and he was checkin’ it twice. Once all of these little details were tended to, it was time for the insulation guys to do their thing. What? Did I read that right? Insulation, so soon? It’s only been six and a half years! Whoa.

But wait, one more thing. Le sigh. What now?

Well, before insulation we decided to spray every piece of wood in the house with borate. Bugs hate borate, and since we hate bugs we thought we’d coat the house in the stuff so we can avoid any future issues with ants/termites/etc. Apparently, a borate treatment consists of attaching a nozzle to our garden hose and dousing the entire house with a borate and water mix. So, we had to cover everything we owned in plastic. Joy!

As you can imagine, it’s really hard to live in a house where everything you own is covered in plastic, so we coordinated the whole thing really carefully. We scheduled the borate guys (ABC Pest Control) for Monday, and the insulation guy for Tuesday and Wednesday. Then I booked us into a downtown hotel for three days. What a novel idea — livin’ large while other people work on our house. Why didn’t we think of this before?

Day 1: Borate spray, check!

Things were going exactly according to plan.

On Monday, I took a day off work and spent the entire day reading in bed, living large, lovin’ life, and waiting for Errek to dry the house out so he could join me at the Jackalope for a celebratory shot. It was Metal Monday and we had a great reason to be happy. We clinked our glasses, downed our tequila and patted ourselves on the back for a plan well executed.

But…wait…if you’ve followed our blog at all, then you know that absolutely nothing goes according to plan. Right?

As if the tequila shots were a jinx, no sooner has the booze burned its way down our throats that Errek’s phone rang.


He took the call outside, and when he returned, our celebration ended with news that the insulation guy’s truck had broken down. There would be no insulation on day 2 and 3. Actually, probably no insulation until next week, at the soonest.

But…wait…we have a hotel room! We have our entire lives wrapped in plastic! What the hell, Universe? Way are you being such a jerk? Can’t you throw us a bone just this once?

Clearly, no, because we’re cursed.

That night, the only thing that kept me from going into full-blown, pull my hair out by the root crazy explosion mode, was the 16th floor view from our increasingly worthless, yet still expensive hotel room…that and some rum. Dear city of Austin (and Kraken rum), thank you for keeping me (mostly) sane.

So, while we tried to nail down a date with the insulation guy, Errek unwrapped the house from plastic, and we moved back in.

To add insult to my impatience, the insulation guy stopped returning our calls. WTF? Color me cranky. After two weeks of waiting, which felt like two years, we finally started shopping for a new insulation guy. Lame!

It wasn’t all bad though. There was an upside to all of this — Errek found an insulation guy who was willing to do the job for $1500 less than the first guy. Totally not lame!

Insulation Prep, Take 2! Errek wrapped all of our stuff in plastic, again.

We checked into a hotel room, again. And we waited, again. But guess what, this guy showed up! Woot! Dude, should you be smoking around all those chemicals? Eh whatever, if you need us, we’ll be at the Doubletree.

So here’s how this insulation works — they spray it in as a liquid, it expands to fill the cavity, and then you cut it down so it’s smooth in the walls, or you leave it all poofy in the attic for added R-value. It’s nifty.

Leave it to Errek to not be able to just sit back and watch. Baby, we’re paying them, stop volunteering to do their jobs for them! Eh whatever, if you need me I’ll be at the Doubletree.

By the way, it should be noted that the first insulation guy is not a bad dude at all. He just had a lot of life stuff to deal with, including getting his mom out of the path of a hurricane, so we forgive him, and we saved $1500 in the process, and I got another hotel stay out of the deal. And, look, we’re moving back in. Woot!

Check it out! A 32 degree temperature differential from outside (106) to inside (74). I heart you so hard, foam insulation!

Good riddance, rigid foam. You served us well as we lived in our traveling one-room igloo, but we’ve got a whole-house igloo now and that’s just sooooooooooooo much better.

All’s well that end’s well, I guess, and hell, we got a second round of celebratory tequila shots out of it, too. Cheers!