Archive for the ‘home repair’ Category

Why I Quit Blogging — For An Entire Year.


by Keith Yancy

I stopped blogging for an entire year.  There were a variety of reasons for this, actually, including increased work responsibilities, crazy schedules, stress, some internal angst… but most of all, because I had to put my house back together.

It all started after we had our now-infamous beehive removed from the ceiling and wall of our living room.  It left an incredible mess, ruined an entire corner of our living room (including the carpeting, which needed to go anyhow), and generally made the room unfit for habitation.  My wife and I had agreed that, once we removed the bees, we would re-model both the living room and the attached dining room — both were bland, boring, beige (sorry, I hate the color beige… it’s the American cheese of colors) and were rooms no one liked to be in.

So… I remodeled both rooms, starting with the dining room and working my way through the living room.  The pictures below offer a visual timeline of the experience.  I enjoyed it thoroughly, though I made plenty of mistakes along the way. 

                        

The original living room, boring, bland and beige.

The original living room, boring, bland and beige.

Another view from the living room into the attached dining room.

Another view from the living room into the attached dining room.

Both rooms were the same color, though the dining room included a beat-up chair rail molding on the walls.

Both rooms were the same color, though the dining room included a beat-up chair rail molding on the walls.

The partition wall between the rooms was boring too.  These rooms were utterly destitute of anything interesting.

The partition wall between the rooms was boring too. These rooms were utterly destitute of anything interesting.

While the rooms were boring, they both had windows that let plenty of light in, which was a big plus.

While the rooms were boring, they both had windows that let plenty of light in, which was a big plus.

Then came the day of the beehive removal... which was our "point of no return."

Then came the day of the beehive removal… which was our “point of no return.”

This was one part of the beehive, after the combs were removed.  The mess was incredible, and dried honey everywhere made it amazingly difficult to clean.

This was one part of the beehive, after the combs were removed. The mess was incredible, and dried honey everywhere made it amazingly difficult to clean.

Once the hive was removed, I built wainscot panels for the dining room.  The panels were pre-built in my basement workshop, then installed in place.

Once the hive was removed, I built wainscot panels for the dining room. The panels were pre-built in my basement workshop, then installed in place.

More wainscot in the dining room.  Each wall had to be carefully measured to ensure panels were consistent widths, and electrical outlets had to be planned carefully to avoid placement behind stiles.

More wainscot in the dining room. Each wall had to be carefully measured to ensure panels were consistent widths, and electrical outlets had to be planned carefully to avoid placement behind stiles.

While the work was fun, I made mistakes... like this one, where I hit the wall with my hammer.

While the work was fun, I made mistakes… like this one, where I hit the wall with my hammer.

I built out the dividing wall between the two rooms to add some character and define the spaces better, but preserved the light by installing posts halfway up.  Moldings added some detail and interest.

I built out the dividing wall between the two rooms to add some character and define the spaces better, but preserved the light by installing posts halfway up. Moldings added some detail and interest.

Same dividing wall, looking into the living room.  Ensuring that the wainscot panels were consistent and integrated for these was challenging.

Same dividing wall, looking into the living room. Ensuring that the wainscot panels were consistent and integrated for these was challenging.

Detail work for the dividing walls was intricate, but fun.  These details took extra time, but I enjoyed making them.

Detail work for the dividing walls was intricate, but fun. These details took extra time, but I enjoyed making them.

Because the posts were already in place, I had to cut the oak shelves in half, and re-join them around the posts.

Because the posts were already in place, I had to cut the oak shelves in half, and re-join them around the posts.

Another mistake.  I had hoped to simply move this outlet from one side of the wall stud to the other (adjusting for the wainscot layout), but found -- after I cut the wall open -- that there was a vent that my stud finder failed to detect.

Another mistake. I had hoped to simply move this outlet from one side of the wall stud to the other (adjusting for the wainscot layout), but found — after I cut the wall open — that there was a vent that my stud finder failed to detect.

Once all the dining room woodwork was done, I moved into the bigger project -- the living room.

Once all the dining room woodwork was done, I moved into the bigger project — the living room.

Throughout this construction, our dog was quite comfortable, and learned to sleep through all the noise, hammering, sanding, etc.

Throughout this construction, our dog was quite comfortable, and learned to sleep through all the noise, hammering, sanding, etc.

The living room renovation began with planning and building a gas fireplace.  This base was installed the night before the firebox was put in.

The living room renovation began with planning and building a gas fireplace. This base was installed the night before the firebox was put in.

Because I'm not comfortable hooking up natural gas, we paid a contractor to do the rough install of the firebox.

Because I’m not comfortable hooking up natural gas, we paid a contractor to do the rough install of the firebox.

Once the firebox was installed, I framed out the fireplace.

Once the firebox was installed, I framed out the fireplace.

Framing continued with the mantle, hearth, and wood shelves on each side.  I also added arches above the fireplace and on each side shelving unit for interest.  Bookshelves were built and assembled in my workshop, then installed.  The hearth was built in place.

Framing continued with the mantle, hearth, and wood shelves on each side. I also added arches above the fireplace and on each side shelving unit for interest. Bookshelves were built and assembled in my workshop, then installed. The hearth was built in place.

Tile makes me nervous, especially rough slate tile... but I decided to try it myself.  Christine chose the tile colors, which was a great choice, in my opinion.

Tile makes me nervous, especially rough slate tile… but I decided to try it myself. Christine chose the tile colors, which was a great choice, in my opinion.

The fireplace hearth, with drywall and tiles installed.

The fireplace hearth, with drywall and tiles installed.

Later, after trimwork was installed and painting had begun, I would occasionally find small objects (like the clock) randomly placed amid the construction area... my wife likes to see "how things will look."  :)

Later, after trimwork was installed and painting had begun, I would occasionally find small objects (like the clock) randomly placed amid the construction area… my wife likes to see “how things will look.” 🙂

Painted walls and wainscot panels in the dining room.  The white painted wainscot brightened the room dramatically, while the color above kept it feeling "warm."

Painted walls and wainscot panels in the dining room. The white painted wainscot brightened the room dramatically, while the color above kept it feeling “warm.”

Another section of the dining room wainscot.  Door frames, light switches, etc -- all had to be planned and placed carefully, as accurate panel measurements were critical.  I had to build around ill-placed vents and the house thermostat also.

Another section of the dining room wainscot. Door frames, light switches, etc — all had to be planned and placed carefully, as accurate panel measurements were critical. I had to build around ill-placed vents and the house thermostat also.

The finished mantel.  The crown molding at the top was actually recycled from a previous family room re-model.  The trim used to be on the family room fireplace hearth, but matched the crown molding, which was no longer available in stores.

The new trimmed-out picture window.  Note we still need curtains.

The new trimmed-out picture window. Note we still need curtains.

4

Another view of the dining room, from the living room.

Another view of the dining room, from the living room.

2

The finished living room, during Christmastime.

The finished living room, during Christmastime.

Other than the window treatments, I’m pretty much finished with these two rooms… thankfully.  I had a great time working on this project, but I’m glad to be done.  I would give myself a “B” grade, overall.  If you have any questions or comments, be sure to ask — I learned a lot from this experience.

Until next time… 🙂

Want to feel smart? Read this post


dumb

by Keith Yancy

People often feel smarter when they see someone do something stupid.  That’s why I’ve decided to share a recent experience that will help my friends and followers feel better about themselves — kind of my very own “self-help” post.

A quick note before we begin: I’m a sucker for self-help books.  I have a vast collection, probably because I’m a harsh self-critic; while I’ve collected quite a few “read this and you’ll improve”-type books, they rarely make much of an impact on my day-to-day life.  But I keep reading them, hope springing eternal that I’ll read my way to better fitness, better leadership, better charisma, better whatever. 

Anyhow, when it comes to the self-help genre, I know my way around pretty well.  So sit back, read this post, and by the end, you’ll feel smart.  Trust me.

___________________________

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a home improvement project.  This project is like most of my projects: time-consuming, expensive, exhausting.  As part of this project, I needed to purchase a variety of materials at my local home improvement store.  Normally, I make about 300 silly trips to this store, sometimes several per day, in part because I’m forgetful, and in part because buying materials in small quantities makes me feel (wrongly) like I’m somehow spending less money.

On this day, I decided to break my pattern and buy all the various lumber for my project at once.  I chose a cold day for this, about 33 degrees, with gusty 30+ mile-per-hour winds and a steady rain.  I wanted to get the entire trip done in one fell swoop, because I was anxious to make progress quickly and didn’t really want to go to the store anyway. 

I decided to take my wife’s minivan, because it had more room for lumber, and did a quick clean out of the incredible variety of junk and materials our family minivan regularly contains: empty cups, wrappers, homework papers, music books, etc. etc. etc.  I complained aloud throughout my rushed and not-very-thorough cleaning, getting rained on as I carried what felt like a million scraps of stuff from the van to our garage.  Already wet and getting grumpier by the minute, I decided to fold the back seats down into the floor and leave the middle seats half-folded (with the seatbacks forward).  Satisfied I had done enough, I closed up the back and sides of the minivan, got inside, and headed off to the store, cold, wet and crabby.

The store was busy: the winds whipped up and the rain got harder (and sideways) as I went inside, and even though it took me about 45 minutes to gather all the materials I needed, it was going strong as I went through the checkout.  The lumber cost a fortune.  I had several large 4×8 plywood panels, at least 30 eight-foot boards, a wide assortment of 12-foot moldings, and several hundred dollars later, I began the slow walk through the rain and wind toward the van. 

This walk was made harder by the fact that one of the wheels on my lumber carrier had some sort of problem that made the entire cart bounce constantly, veering and jitterbugging everywhere except the direction I was pushing it.  I indulged in some colorful name-calling as I zig-zagged through the parking lot to my van, twice having to stop in the wind and rain to make sure the lumber didn’t fall off.  After what seemed like forever, I finally got all my lumber to my minivan, and opened the back to load it in.

You’re about to feel smarter.

I loaded all the lumber into the minivan, messing around to get the panels in first, then stacking all the lumber in various creative ways until all of the lumber was in the van.  I was cold, wet, and had a couple of splinters in my hands when I went to close the liftgate.

Of course, the liftgate wouldn’t shut.  The panels, which I had put on the backs of the middle seats, stuck out about two inches too far in the back.  After trying to force the liftgate shut a few times, I looked through the van for some string or a cord to tie it down.  In the rain and wind.  Of course, I had nothing like string around, so I did the next best thing: I moved the driver and passenger seats forward as far as they could go, then pushed the lumber forward just enough to get the liftgate closed.

Thinking I won, I took the jiggly push cart back to the corral (muttering a few parting insults) and got in the van to drive home.  Cold, wet, tired, breathing heavily, and now in a foul mood, I wedged my body into the driver seat.  It was then I discovered that the seats were so far forward that the steering wheel literally was pressing against my chest; my legs were so jammed in, I couldn’t operate the pedals. 

I felt and looked like the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man in a phone booth.

As I sat there, an overstuffed man squished into an overstuffed minivan, I actually tried to convince myself that I could drive like this.  The trip was short.  There’s only two traffic lights.  Hell, it’s only about two miles — what could go wrong?  As I temporarily escaped the wind and rain, I tried desperately to rationalize how I could make this silly situation work out.  I even started the car and sat for a moment before I finally admitted that if I couldn’t steer or use the pedals, then I really couldn’t drive.

Someone once said stubbornness is when you double your efforts when you no longer have a clear vision, and I set about proving that to be true.

I sighed, got out, and then had a flash of (what I thought) was insight: I’d fold the seats into the floor without unloading the minivan.  In the cold and rain, I got to work trying out this moronic idea.  It only took me about 10 minutes — after trying to fold seats under at least 100 pounds of bulky lumber (bristling with splinters, btw) to admit that this idea was even dumber than trying to drive a minivan while smashed against the controls.  I paused, in the rain, and consciously ignored the stares of other shoppers as I admitted defeat. 

I then began a new round of muttered swearing and insults (directed at the rain, lumber, minivans, carts, anything but myself) and set about unloading all the lumber I had worked so hard to squeeze into my minivan.  The rain poured down and the wind whipped up as I got yet a different cart, brought it back to my van, and put all — and I mean ALL — the lumber I had just loaded into the van back out onto the cart, swearing under my breath with true gusto. 

This cart, unlike the previous one, rolled great.  So great, that it would roll without pushing, which made wrestling all the lumber onto it (in the wind and rain) incredibly difficult, and time-consuming too.  This situation soon became the focus of my sarcastic self-dialogue of swear words, insults, and colorful descriptions.  I finished unloading, folded the middle seats into the floor (after telling them what I thought of them), retrieved my cart of lumber — which was rolling several car lengths away through the parking lot — and started the loading process all over again.

By now, the wind had started gusting stronger — so strong, in fact, that when I tried to put a large panel in my car, the wind caught it and almost ripped it from my hands.  I soon found myself bent over backwards, holding desperately onto a large wooden panel that was trying to fly over the roof of my van, literally growling (!) with anger and exertion.  I would probably still be there had a passing stranger not stopped to help, looking at me with a mixture of confusion and contempt as he helped me wrestle this now wet, cracked piece of plywood into my van.  All dignity and pride were gone by then, and as the rain blew into my eyes, I finished (for the second time) loading all my lumber into the van.  As I slammed the rear liftgate shut in disgust, I noticed that my feet were now cold and wet, mostly because I was standing in about 3 inches of icy water that had collected behind my van.  

By the time I got all my lumber loaded into my vehicle, it occurred to me that:

1.  I should have picked a better day,
2.  I should have put the seats down before I left,
3.  I should have picked a better cart, and
4.  I should have picked an easier project.

After a trip to the store that cost me a fortune, stripped me of my dignity, and lasted twice as long as I wanted it to, I ended up cold, wet, with a collection of slivers in my hands, literally beat up by my own lumber purchase.  What’s more, it was clear to me a few days later that I didn’t buy ENOUGH lumber, and had to go back to the store anyway.

_______________________

In self-help books, there’s often a strong element of “at least you weren’t this bad.”  So… I hope this true story makes you feel better about yourself, and that my stupidity makes you feel smarter. 

Until next time… 🙂

A Letter to England: Thanks for the jokes… :)


Note: This letter is written to Peter, a friend in England.  He is a pub owner in the town of Huddersfield, and I hope to visit there someday.  Peter has followed my battles with the bees for a long time, and while I was performing the semi-disgusting task of cleaning out the remains of the beehive from my living room ceiling, Peter decided to send me a steady stream of jokes and puns.  As I suspect this was as much for his amusement as for my own, I decided to share with Peter exactly what my experience was like, if for no other reason than to explain my somewhat limited sense of humor at the time.

_____________________________________

Dear Peter:

By now you know that, after three long years, I’m finally rid of the bees in my house.  You’ve heard about my ridiculous adventures: bees chasing me around the yard, stinging my face, and getting vacuumed up in my work vacuum, and you’ve been a good sport and interested friend through it all. 

You can certainly appreciate how excited I was to finally remove these damned bees from my living room ceiling, after all my battles and failures.  As I suspect, you were also interested to hear about how I finally removed all the bees — and the beehive — after such a long process.  That may explain why you took so much pleasure in sending me such corny jokes as:

  • How do you hunt for bees? With a bee bee gun.
  • How does a bee brush its hair? With a honey comb.
  • What flies but tastes good on toast?  A BUTTERfly!

And, my personal favorite:

  • Why did the queen bee kick out all of the other bees? Because they kept droning on and on.

Peter, since it’s obvious you’re in a joking mood and looking for a few laughs, allow me to relate how my day went today.  I think you’ll soon understand why I’m no longer fond of bees, or honey, or anything to do with the subject.  I also suspect you will laugh at my experience.  Let’s get started.

Consider, for a moment, what you think of when you think about a beehive: thousands and thousands of bees, working day after day after day making two things: more bees, and more honey.  Then consider what happens when you kill all those bees, in a closed in, small space hanging in the ceiling of your home, right above your living room sofa.  Yes, that’s right — you’ve got a suitcase-sized blob of honey, honeycomb and dead bees with nowhere to go but DOWN — through your ceiling, or, if you cut a large hole already (we did), down into where you and your family live every day.

In other words, it’s a huge mess, and it has to go.  Fast. 

With this knowledge in mind, I proceeded to start trying to clean this mess up to avoid it becoming even MORE of a mess.  This was the first of my many mistaken notions.  Within 10 minutes and despite strategically placed garbage bags, plastic sheets on the floors, rubber gloves, etc, I had somehow spread honey and bee guts everywhere.  It was impossible not to do so.  Honey was dripping from the ceiling, down the walls, and all over the plastic, and no matter what I did or how I tried to manage the mess, I found that this honey — gooey, sticky honey — had spread like a virus to virtually every surface inside (and even outside) my house.  Honey, bee wings, bee heads, bee legs, and various other bee parts quickly coated the floors, my shoes, my clothes, the front porch, our sink faucet handles, and later on, my tools, my hair (and eyebrows, and eyes), my ladder, my flashlight, my eyeglasses, and even my wife’s bathroom mirror, which I used to see just how much of a mess was still in the walls. 

But this was just the beginning.  The honey was sticky, but I discovered, with some irony, that the closer I actually came to the beehive, the harder and harder the honey became.  This was because the temperature outside was cool, and the colder the honey is, the more and more it becomes like a combination of glue… and iron.  Once this became apparent, I described this discovery using some colorful language that I won’t repeat here.  I also realized why the exterminator left this part of the job for me to do.

After chipping and scraping at this honey/glue/iron mixture for a few minutes (punctuated with a yet more genuinely heartfelt swear words), I came up with a brilliant idea: heat.  Warm honey is much easier to work with and clean up, I thought, and this would make the job much easier.  So, I went and got a heat gun, and being that the hive was in the ceiling, I had to stand underneath the hole to heat it up.  I’ve had lots of bad ideas in the past but this one was one of the worst as I learned that heated honey does two things: 1) becomes liquid and drippy very, very fast, and 2) burns morons who stand below it with a scraper and a heat gun.

So, if you’re following along closely, the scene is this: one not-so-smart middle-aged man, standing in a sea of plastic tarps in the ruins of his living room, swearing at a dripping shower of honey from his living room ceiling directly over his head, holding a scorching hot heat gun (covered in honey) in one hand and a hot metal scraper (covered in honey) in his other hand.  Middle-aged moron is also covered in honey, which is now boiling (yes, boiling) on the heat gun and scraper, running down his gloves and onto his bare arms, down his forehead, through his hair, inside his t-shirt, down the outside of his pants, and all over his shoes. 

I should point out that, while the initial destruction of the ceiling and removal of the honeycombs by the exterminator gathered the audience of my daughters, this clean-up process quickly became a lonely, one-moron job.  Whereas everyone wanted to see the bee hive and dead bees, no one — NO ONE — wanted to be around to hear me invent new colorful terms and adjectives as I narrated the cleanup experience.  Even my youngest daughter, who is pretty good about bringing me tools when needed, quickly vanished, and my wife only appeared periodically (and briefly) to make sure I didn’t seriously hurt myself.

But I digress.  The honey didn’t stay cold, or hot, but varied in temperature and behavior.  The honey on my tools and heat gun first became liquid, then began boiling (I still find the scene of looking at the honey boiling on my gloves to be endlessly fascinating) then fused into some type of substance that is brown and absolutely impossible to remove.  Honey on the walls hardened as it dripped down, so near the ceiling, it was like water… near the floor, however, it returned to a near-molasses-like state.  Honey on my arms, forehead, chest, etc. started as scalding hot, then cooled to become both glue-like and incredibly itchy.

It was at this point that I learned something new about myself: I have some sort of minor skin allergy to — you guessed it — honey.  I broke out in hives in all sorts of strange places, including my chest and back, where the honey had dripped down either under or through my shirt.  This whole discovery was made more disgusting by the fact that, when I say “honey,” I’m again talking about honey mixed with bee heads, legs, guts, etc… which all immediately fused to my skin and clothes.

When a not-so-smart person is covered in such a disgusting mess, the process really comes down to a simple choice: to proceed, or to quit.  I decided to keep going, and this entire scene continued for another hour or two as I pulled large amounts of honeycomb, dead bees and honey out of my ceiling and walls.  Another lesson I learned during this phase was to be careful about how much to talk/curse and how important breathing through one’s nose is in a situation of this sort.  Having a large, hot blob of honey/guts drip into your mouth was embarrassing, unpleasant, and brought my wife to the room to wonder why I kept spitting down my own living room wall.  She left quickly, trying (unsuccessfully) not to laugh.

It was about this time that I saw your jokes, and while I’m always grateful for humor and friendship, I was admittedly in a poor position to fully appreciate them.  I spent a lot of time cleaning, first the ceiling and walls, then the floors, then my shoes, then the ladder and tools, etc, etc. etc.  My clothes were in a terrible condition… in fact, the shirt was a total loss, and was thrown out with the plastic and other beehive-related waste.  Cleaning the baked-on honey from my eyeglasses took a long, long time, and my tools and ladder may never fully be rid of it.   

In the end, I was tired, scalded, disgusted, itchy, crabby and generally in no condition to converse with anyone, however sympathetic they may have been to my situation.  Most importantly, I had shed any semblance of dignity, decency and modesty, and decided — without guilt — to leave my honey/guts-covered pants in the downstairs laundry.  This necessitated my walking through the house in only my underwear and socks, which isn’t something I do very often, especially at 4:00PM in the afternoon. 

My wife, who knows me better than anyone, elected to not comment on my lack of clothing nor the bee guts stuck to my hair, forehead, body, etc.  Not so my daughter, who, with considerable amusement, asked aloud, “Why is Dad walking around in his UNDERWEAR?!?!?!?”   I chose to ignore the question and proceeded to pour myself a cup of coffee, too tired and bitter to care.  Eventually, I moved off in my underwear-socks ensemble to take what would be a long, hot shower.  Even with the shower, my arms continued to stick to my shirt sleeves for the next couple of days.  In one of the final lessons of this cleanup odyssey, I’ve learned that honey is almost as tough to get off of one’s skin as it is to get off of walls, tools, etc.

So… after all that, I wanted you to know that I appreciate your sense of humor and the jokes you sent.  And, per our agreement, since your jokes were so corny, when my wife and I eventually visit Huddersfield, I get a free order of bangers and mash with a pint of Black Sheep ale.  In return, I’ll bring you and Rebecca a nice jug of American honey.

And I promise, I won’t open that honey before we visit.  Trust me.

Always,

Keith

Removing a Three-Year-Old Beehive: Photos From The Scene


My days of collecting bees are over.

by Keith Yancy

It’s over.

Honeybees have been part of my life for the past several years.  In fact, bees have been living in my HOUSE for the last several years.  This past Thursday, after repeated attempts to exterminate them myself (see previous blog posts) and after trying different exterminators, I finally had enough.

It may seem strange, but I was sorry it came to this.  We had fought each other for a very long time, and I had grown to respect them; no matter how many I killed, they just kept going, more and more of them, apparently oblivious to how many I had vacuumed.  I had hired an exterminator or two in the past, but nothing overcame their ability to keep up their work, and the swarms and steady stream of honeybees flying into my outside fascia continued.

But the time had come, at last, for them to go.  My wife has wanted to remodel our living room for a long time, and the bees needed to leave to get that project started.  I finally admitted defeat, found an exterminator who knew how tough a job it would be, and paid him to do it.

Below is a photographic “step by step” of the experience, complete with descriptions.

It started here.  My living room, before the carnage.  The beehive is in the upper left corner of this picture, near the picture window.  Note the “sea of beige” (it was this way when we moved in) that will eventually be replaced.

Tom, the exterminator.  Great guy who did a great job.  Taught me (and my girls) a lot about bees, beehives, and cheerfully endured my photographs and videos.  Here, he’s poisoning them before opening up the ceiling.  You could hear the bees buzzing angrily when Tom was doing this, which increased the tension level of the experience.

Tom, using a long scraper to find the hive.  It was at this moment that I realized a) he wasn’t wearing any bee suit, b) neither was I, and c) neither were my kids, all of whom were sitting on the stairs behind me.  I was proud of them — after telling me they didn’t want to be there, their curiosity overcame their nervousness, and they watched the whole thing.

Once he found the hive, Tom cut that section of the ceiling out.  A few bees few out, but what I noticed immediately was the honey dripping down from the ceiling.  A LOT of honey.  You could still hear bees buzzing at this point, but Tom was completely untroubled by this.  He mentioned — repeatedly, throughout the process — that it was a shame they couldn’t be saved.

The process gets messy quickly at this point.  Tom is looking at the honeycombs here, and you can already see honey on the walls. 

We had put a large garbage can below the hole in the ceiling, which was a good idea… the can would get full very quickly. 

Pieces of the honeycomb.  There were many.

Another photo of the carnage.  It was — and is — a gooey mess.

The hole in the ceiling.  If you look carefully, you can see pieces of the hive still there, along with marks on the flooring above where the combs were hanging.  Note that the hive extends well to the right of this hole, and down the wall.  Bees were all dead by this time.

Tom realized that the only way to get all of the hive out was to go in from the outside.  The entrance to the hive is located just to the right of the gutter, where the top corner of the board he’s pulling off meets the siding.  I killed many bees in this location.

Tom reached into the wall and handed me this comb.  He later taught me how to make a candle with it.  Tom was a fantastic guy — he regularly gives bee nests and other stuff he has to “manage” to science teacher friends.  He was genuinely sorry he had to kill the bees, and was quick to point out how social honeybees generally are. 

Whenever people ask me, “Did you get the honey?”, I always think of this picture.  This is the condition of much of the honey that came out, complete with bee guts, bits of hive, etc.  I like honey, but I like sausage too — and I don’t want to see either before it’s been prepared and packaged for consumption, thanks.  (It didn’t help matters that I had the flu during this entire experience, so thinking of eating this was not a good idea.)

Another shot of the ceiling, this time after almost all the hive was removed.  Blech.  Cleanup is going to be an incredible pain.

Three of the combs.  I put my foot next to them as a reference to their size.   I wear a size 11 shoe, btw… 🙂

The aftermath.  Not so bad, I guess, but the whole thing is incredibly sticky.  Not much of a smell, though, and thankfully, no living bees.  Now the real work begins of cleanup and repair.

The end.  It’s as gross as it looks. 

I took this last photo to show that the honey is all over the place — the door handle to the house, on the front porch step (shown here), everywhere.  Those bees were productive, if nothing else… there was, and is, a lot of honey, and a ton of cleaning up to do.

I hope this has given you a small glimpse of what it’s like to have a beehive taken out of your house.  All in all, a much better experience than I feared.  Tom from Pestmasters is an excellent exterminator — and a pretty darn good teacher to boot.  Even their prices were reasonable.  I’d recommend them to anyone.

And now, I’m going to start cleaning this mess up. 

Until next time… 🙂