Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   solution to pollution
Friday, January 7 2011
It snowed most of the day. It was a gentle snow with no wind whatsoever, meaning the boughs of the trees could pile up with it and the only force that could dislodge it was its own weight (periodically you'd see mini-avalanches falling from high in the trees at various spots in the forest).
Normally in winter I try to get the most benefit from the limited hours of daylight by doing outdoor projects in the day (usually scattered throughout) and doing more leisurely activities (teevee watching, sleeping, and bathing) after sunset. This morning, though, I decided to bathe during the daylight. Unfortunately, though, the bath was not as pleasant as baths normally are for me. As I soaked in the hot water with my two-week-old issue of the New Yorker, I realized that our basement had finally gotten that element it needed to be a truly disgusting basement: the fragrance of cat urine.
I almost always bathe in the middle basement bathroom, just across the hall from Gretchen's library. As you know, we recently discovered that Nigel had been using one of the library closets as a urinal. So we'd cleared out the destroyed paper matter, soaped up the carpet, and then sprayed it with chemicals that are supposed to be able to neutralize cat piss (and discourage future pissing events). We also closed all the doors in the basement, rendering it unsuitable cat habitat. Since then, Nigel has been a living room couch cat, and he even tolerates his archnemesis Julius (aka "Stripey") when he's there. But the damage that Nigel did to the basement remains, and in the low-temperature conditions of winter, that urine smell (and the smell of the chemicals used to combat it) are unlikely to dissipate any time soon.
So while I lay there in the tub with Dr. Bronner's mint soap smeared across my upper lip (a technique I'd learned from dramatizations of crime scene investigations on television), I hit upon a plan to deal with the cat piss smell. The piss had soaked into the wall-to-wall carpet in the closet. Beneath that carpet was a carpet pad, and beneath that was a concrete slab. All of that stuff was waterproof, so I decided to simply inundate the carpet with gallons of warm bath water (recycling!) and then slurp it up with my hand wet vac.
So that's what I did. I found it was possible to recover about 90 percent of the water I poured onto the carpet, which was better than I'd expected. All that warm water actually increased the stink level, but that dilution had to be having some sort of positive effect, unless (of course) homeopathy is for real (homeopathic gasoline, here I come!).

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