Everyone driving by could see that we were chilly that winter. To help keep some heat inside, Chris ended up stuffing our doorway with pink insulation! Not very good for curb appeal, but it helped a bit.
Granted, we did this during our initial renovations, and we had children ages 4, 2 and a baby. Two had just been potty trained. We were already tired and overwhelmed from working on the house. Our belongings were here, but not settled in their rightful places. We spent our free time helping with various church groups. I was already beyond tired!
When the men first came to make the big plan, they told us they'd need to make holes in our siding. A 2 inch round hole very couple of feet. Typically, the siding is removed where they need to drill, and afterwards it's put back in place. Our aluminum siding isn't durable enough for that, so we faced a decision. Either they could pull it off and we'd have some warped siding afterwards, or they could drill from indoors, into the walls. To us, that was a no-brainer: walls are easy to patch! The siding is old, but should last a long time. Why mess with something in our house that's actually NOT in need of repair?!
I planned to stay out of the house for a few days. The kids, as you can see, were very young. Too young to spend days away from home without naps. I needed to buckle all three of them every time we got in the car, and tantrums were still a daily occurrence. But I was ready, I told myself. We'd find things to do, and the insulation would be worth some hard days. Then we came home on the first day.
Insulation was EVERYWHERE. The work men had told us that dust would blow around. They'd given me fair warning. But as I took in the scene, my heart sank. After a tiring day of going places, now I had to clean. With older kids, we could have gotten away with leaving things somewhat dusty. But I had one crawling, and another two who still put toys in their mouths. The pesticide-laden paper dust had to be washed away.
I put Maddie in the playpen, set the other kids on the couch under orders to stay on the couch and not touch anything. (I knew that order would not be followed!) Then I swept the floors. Then I mopped them. I wiped every surface with damp cloths: the counters, tables, chairs, shelves, windowsills, and walls. I was exhausted. And then I made dinner. It was probably sandwiches.
The next day, we went to the library and park. We had another picnic lunch. When we got home in the evening, I knew what was waiting inside. But I still cringed as I saw the dust. There it was, covering every surface. They worked in one room at a time, but the dust rained down in every room. I swept and mopped. I wiped everything. I made dinner. I felt frustrated, knowing that I'd do this again every day.
Our days grew harder as the week wore on. The kids were cranky and tired and wanted to be home. I was cranky and tired and wanted to be home. I had no energy for them. Every night we repeated the cleaning routine, and every night I hated it more. I put sheets over the furniture, but dust found its way under them. The work took longer than planned, of course. Twice as long, to be precise. The men told us they'd never seen a house with absolutely no insulation, and had never spent so long on one house. Lucky us! As they blew insulation into the dining room wall, someone looked out the window and saw it in the yard! We actually had open holes going straight outside!
Finally, after two weeks of this, our walls were full. They did a test to see if the insulation was adequate. A huge fan was put in the back door, and they turned it on. As it sucked air out of our house, a frantic mouse ran out of the kitchen wall, across the counter, and into another wall! Our home was pronounced sufficiently insulated, and the workers left.