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So that's why it's a 'crawl space'

By Cathy Cress Eller

A while back we had our yearly visit from our exterminator. He said everything looked fine but suggested that we put a moisture barrier down under the house. He told us they would be glad to perform the service for $500. My husband thanked him and said we would let him know.
After mulling the $500 price over in his head for a few days, my husband said, “You know, we can put down the moisture barrier ourselves and save $500.” Now at this point, I’ll tell you that he worked for the telephone company for many years, and crawling around under houses was something he did without a thought. I, however, worked in an office and only crawled under my desk to retrieve pen or paper. His plan was as follows, and I quote, “We’ll get a big roll of plastic and put it down at one end and you can just stay there and hold it. I”ll crawl to the other end of the house and pull it as I go and then we can unfold it. We can do this!” Well, that sounded simple enough to me, so I said, “To save $500, I’m in.”
First he purchased the plastic and collected all the tools we would need. Then, we donned our “working under the house” uniforms which consisted of coveralls, knee pads and ball caps. We also had flashlights and, of course, I had my cell phone. I truly had flashbacks of Ralph and Alph from the TV show “Green Acres” … we bore a strong resemblance. Finally, he handed me a stick. He explained it was to knock down the spider webs and kill the snakes. He instructed me to just “kinda wind the spider webs around the stick like I was making a cotton candy.” Needless to say, I handed the stick back to him and told him that he could “make cotton candy out of spiders webs.” He grinned and said, “Oh, don’t worry about it. You’ve got a ball cap on anyway.” That statement didn’t comfort me in the least, and I found myself pulling my ball cap down even tighter.
And so we began … I held the large roll of plastic and he pulled it to the otherend of the house. Then I fished my box cutter from my coverall pocket and cut the plastic. This is quite a feat when you are lying flat on your stomach under a house, and my legs were moving constantly to deter spiders and snakes! I did the military crawl, pulling my body with my arms and pushing with my toes as I crawled under the duct work. We rested every now and then to catch our breath. We actually laughed out loud a couple of times. I must confess, I prayed that neither of us had a heart attack or any other attack while we were under there … I mean, what would people think?
It took us nearly four hours to complete the job. I cannot tell you how tired we were, but it took us days to recover. We have had several requests to install moisture barriers, and we both told them that they couldn’t begin to pay us enough to do the job! But we saved $500. The exterminator visited recently again and told us that someone did a really good job installing the moisture barrier. That was a nice compliment, but I haven’t seen my cut of the $500 yet. I can’t imagine how much we will save on our next project … whatever it may be.
• • • Cathy Cress Eller lives in Salisbury and is the author of three children’s books. Email: cceller08@gmail.com

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