I Need to Lose 10 Pounds - Or Gain 25!

Video first.

So, ask yourself - would you go in there. There’s a concrete foundation wall blocking half the access. It doesn’t show, but there’s a 4” plumbing drain line to the left of the opening. There’s also communications wiring tangling everything up. The shelf above is just a bonus head-knocker.

I always give it a try but I’ve developed a phrase for nearly impossible to get into (and get OUT of, too) places. Home Inspector Yoga. This one fit the definition. And, while I always give it a go, nothing says I get to enjoy it.

The problem was that I didn’t exactly fit that hole. It took about five minutes of twisting, turning, jabbing various body parts into the opening in different sequences before I found the combo and managed to slither in.


Then I had a seventy foot crawl with dust everywhere, spiders everywhere, and no clearance to speak of. It was drag myself ahead with my elbows and push with toes. Get my butt any higher than that and I’d have wedged myself into the joists. It got lower and lower as I went, too.

I found some wood rot but not as much as I expected. Found a ladder down at the front of the space. That piqued my curiosity, so I dug my way under a plumbing drain to see what was going on.

Any hopes for a secret tunnel to hidden treasures were sadly dashed. It was an old plumbing main. Bummer, dude.


Off to the right though was a thoroughly impressive habitation tube. No signs of live insects, which is encouraging. (Still referring the whole thing to a Pest Control Operator.) I like the way it wrapped around the heating duct work.

At that point, I was done. Time to extricate myself. Problem number uno - I didn’t have room to turn around. So, baby scootch backwards until I can find a slightly wider spot to pull a U-turn. Then, back to the access.

Remember the gyrations I went through getting in?

I had help.

From gravity.

Getting out? Oh, boy. I tried following the path I had used getting into the crawlspace (and, arguably into trouble.) I twisted, I turned, I pivoted, I cussed. If I find out what idiot plumber put that pipe there, he and I will have a discussion, probably at very high volume. About half way through the process it occurred to me that I might not be able to get back out. That would be bad since I was in a vacant building. No client to go for help, either. So, once I got done being a mite angry, I put my thinking cap on.

I tied the communication cables that were trapping my legs up to the plumbing with an old dust mask some other workman left behind. I went ninety degrees off my entry angle, and levered one arm up and out. So far, so good. I used that arm to take the weight off my side so I could press with my legs. Hah! Success!

It took nearly ten minutes to get back out. I took a picture of my coveralls. They were spotlessly clean (and navy blue) before I went into the crawlspace.


The whole process took about 35 minutes and presented my with a dilemma. If I were ten pounds lighter, I think that would have gone a bit easier.

Alternatively, if I were 25 pounds heavier, I’d never have tried in the first place.

Somebody pass me a donut while I figure this out. And some potato chips?

So What Do You Think? A Meth House?

Earlier this week, I went into a house at the request of a bank. The real estate agent that was generating a BPO (Broker Price Opinion) for them and became worried about what she saw. Not having a lot of training in some of the oddities of inspection but possessing abundant common sense, she told the bank to hire an inspector to evaluate the property.

That was me.

It didn’t take more than a few seconds to go from normal inspector mode to “don’t touch a thing” mode. It was that bad. The odor, bitter and strong, hit me hard at the front door. The kitchen was to the right and the rolling smoke stains told the story of repeated cooking.

The bath tub was etched and scarred, abused by all the chemicals that got dumped down the drain.

Chemical stains were everywhere.

Unfortunately, there were no chemical bottles present except for a pair of oxygen bottles. I think they were used for transport of anhydrous ammonia. Anyone taking a hit off the tanks would like be dead. The meth cooks have used propane tanks for years to disguise their ingredients. I think they are evolving again.


The most disturbing part of the process was finding a bedroom door with a lock hasp on the outside.

The meth cooks had kids and were locking them up.

Sometimes I get to see a little too much.

Pullman Air Quality Is Terrible Today (8/20/18)

This happens every three or four years. We're surrounded by forests to our south and west and forests, by their nature, tend to burn after lightning strikes.

The air quality in Pullman is rated at very unsafe today. In Clarkston, it's even worse and has hit hazardous. For those of you who have central air systems but no air conditioner, you can put the fan into the "ON" mode to filter your air. If you have a/c, you can do this so the air is constantly filtered, but you're not paying to cool things down when you don't need to.

Be careful with all your outside activities. If you have folks (children or the elderly) with respiratory issues, keep an eye on them. Asthma sufferers (like me) should use their inhalers early.

Take care, everyone, and be safe. Send some prayers or kind thoughts, as your preference may be, to the firefighters working to save homes and our forests.