Labor-Day and Labors of Hercules

My old (almost 30-some years) street-riding, dual-sportin’, dirt-riding, Squid-Hunter buddy and his wife are is moving up here – two more refugees from the social and economic hellhole that is fast becoming the Land of BayAryans.
They found a place up the ridge along Pleasant Valley Road towards Pollock, on the edge of the National Forest. It’s in need of some work. The previous owner was a 70-something yr. old smoker who sold and moved in with his girlfriend.
(Cue stable-scene:) The 30-year old gold-tone wall-to-wall shag carpet in the house absolutely reeked of smoke, so like the Augean Stables and with a dumpster in the side yard, my buddy has been systematically hauling out the stinking crud, washing down the walls and windows, and scraping off the stinking late 70’s-period popcorn ceiling.
We went up to help since we had a minor load from the Ranch-work to also toss in the dumpster.
Standing on the pickup truck’s tailgate and with a foot up on the dumpster, the eye-watering old smoke-stench from the carpet and ceiling-crud almost made me fall over backwards. Luckily we are experiencing a cool-down, and the breezes up the mountain contain the fragrant balsam smell of sugar pines and fall colors and new beginnings. The smell of that revived me and I remained upright. Also some of the lumber I brought went into immediate use in a stair-repair. And we have a screen door that will fit in place of the old bent one with its stinking screen.
With ten gallons of primer/sealer on hand my friend is carving away a clean and habitable corner of the house in which to homestead while further repairs and cleaning takes place. Fortunately the garage of the house has survived without need for such treatment and provides a temporary secondary residence before winter closes in. They have a short escrow and will be up here in full by next weekend. Good luck and welcome to the neighborhood!

About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

10 thoughts on “Labor-Day and Labors of Hercules

  1. One of my rentals had bad smoker’s residue. New floors, new paint (with Killz down on both first) and it still smelled. Had to use Murphy’s oil soap on kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, then coat with fresh oil, replaced all the window screens, and paid ridiculous amounts for a duct cleaning. Now only the wife and I can smell it, and it may be only in our heads at this point.

    I guarantee that will be the first house we try to sell, if and when.


    • He was cleaning like a fiend. Washing the walls, and each window three times filled the bucket with blackwater. Killz is goign up everywhere. Scraping the popcorn helped, fortunately there’s no duct-work, but screens are a “fertile” deposit-area. We have a bunch of spare screens in our basement for whatever he needs… All the cabinetry is getting taken out.


    • No guarantees, of course, but it sounds like he’s well on his way and doing all the things I can think of. Best of luck to him.


  2. You can’t overcoat smoker’s residue. It will bleed through everything. It has to be stripped to the wallboard or wall surface. It’s been a while since I’ve had to deal with that problem. They may claim new coatings will seal it, but I wouldn’t want to bet on it. It really needs to be physically removed.


  3. If your friend has the original kills… alcohol based – really a shellac base – it dries in about 15 minutes. Though it is probably hard to come by these days where everyone is afraid of VOCs.

    I will also go on the record as saying that I HATE wall-to-wall carpet. It is impossible to clean it. Or clean under it. Terrazzo, tile or hardwoods are the way to go. At least you are able to roll up the carpets – even if you don’t very often – and clean under them. And they need it.

    Cleaning up after smokers is bad. Cleaning up after pets is 1000 time worse.


    • Hi Deb! Yes he has the shellac-type alcohol stuff, it works super good. And I totally agree with you about wall-to-wall, we have wood or tile wherever we can.
      Now I can tell when the house needs vacuuming because I see dust-bunnies! 😉


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