Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Of Drywall and Mold and Carpets.

One of the reasons there is such a lack of posting to WCC (besides Pei Yusei being a lazy-assed shyster) is that I have a job.

Yes, a job (a swear word to most socialists...).

But not just any job. I'm a carpet technician. My primary duties include cleaning carpets using the Hot Water Extraction method, flood restoration, fire and smoke damage restoration. I have, on occasion, cleaned furnace duct systems and industrial-sized grease hood systems. Now, all of that together is more than enough to keep a guy employed full-time. But the scope of my job is so much more broad than that. For instance, the "call-out". One of the wonderful bugs features of my job is that the company pays for a cell phone. I am to carry my cell phone at all times, in case of an emergency. This makes sense, as you can well imagine if you have ever had a basement flood! The last thing a flood victim wants is to leave a message on an answering machine on a Friday night, and not receive an answer until Monday morning. With the cell phone, I can be contacted at any time, and within one hour I can be ready to deal with the issue.

I really appreciate my cell phone. It has saved my proverbial arse many times. With it, I can contact the office and receive clarification on my next job, get directions to a house if I am unsure of where it is, and inform my customers if I am running a little behind (very handy, since showing up late is not pleasing to most people). As well, I can contact my friends and invite them out if I happen to be having coffee, or on my way somewhere. Since the majority of my friends are married, it also enables them to call home and let the wives know that we are going to the ol' watering hole for a couple of hours :-) Conversely, it enables the wives to get a hold of their husbands through me.

Alright, I didn't say having it was without blemish.

All kidding aside, there are a few times that I have wished I didn't have the cell phone. Last Saturday, I was in the middle of a rather large carpet cleaning job. My phone rang, and Karen from Carter's Jewellers proceeds to inform me that the float-chain in the public toilet at the Smithers Mall has broken. Naturally, no one at Carter's Jeweller's (or anyone else at the Smithers Mall, for that matter) has any inkling of an idea of how to re-attach a chain. Since the company I work for has contract to clean the public washroom, parking lot, hallway, and foyer at the Smithers Mall, it is up to me to repair the broken chain.

What a valuable commodity I truly am.

I drove all the way to the Mall (granted, in Smithers that is a maximum of 15 minutes from anywhere), spent a grand total of four seconds re-attaching the chain, and departed.

This is but one example of how the cell phone can be a beacon of irritation in my life.


As mentioned before, part of my job duties involves flood clean-up. Today, I had the distinct pleasure of doing it twice. One was planned, the other was... not really. The planned one was a house in Kispiox Valley. The house is located north of Swan Road, and a couple of months ago had a water pipe burst near the hot water tank. From what I understand, the owner of the house was having some health troubles at the time (ie he was in Vancouver getting his ticker checked out), and was unable to fix the problem and deal with the water. For a month or so two bedrooms and a storage room were wet. I mean real wet. When I arrived last week to do the preliminary tear-out and emergency services, I happened upon three carpets that were moldy and stinky, as well as birch wood walls in the two bedrooms that were slighty moldy. But the worst was in the storage room where the water tank was stored. The drywall in that room was literally coated in mossy mold- walls, ceiling, everything! There was a cure for something on that wall, I guarantee it. Fast forward to today: my co-worker and I returned to the house to haul away the remaining debris, bleach any remaining mold into oblivion, and do a general check-up on the status of the carpets, walls, etc. Not bad, and nothing unexpected.

However, just before we went to that job, we were to check in at the Hazelton RCMP and treat the bad odour smell coming from their basement. They had some water issues as well last week. My co-employee and I went downstairs, and noticed a rather moldy odour coming from the locker-room. Upon closer examination (well, not really that close), we noticed a large forest of grassy mold growing on four walls, as well as the underside of the staircase. It was quite something, indeed. Keep in mind, this is the Police Station. An hour and a half later, we had hauled away a large pile of digusting drywall, bleached the heck out of the wooden studs and floor, and treated the remainder of the basement with a nice smelling odour counteractant.

On top of these two flood jobs, we also waxed the floors of the old "Hazelnut Grocery Store", which has been transformed into a rather nice office building. The owner wanted the floors shined up, so we shined 'em up real nice.

This may seem like a large abundance of work, but it was only a nine hour day for me. Yesterday was even more bitter: an 11 hour marathon of carpet cleanings, drywall tear-out, and general craziness. But you get the idea. When I get home from work, I'm sacked right out. My mind wants to blog. It really really does. And there is certainly enough stuff going on in the world to blog about. But my body is just weak.

To conclude, if you are a homeowner, and you have a flood/broken water pipe/etc CALL A PROFESSIONAL RIGHT AWAY. Make sure that they test any and all drywall that was affected. Mold takes no time at all to grow on drywall, and when it grows, it grows like mad.

As well, if you've got carpets in your house, it couldn't hurt to get them professionally cleaned once in a while. The Hot Water Extraction method of cleaning really is the very best way to remove dust, dirt, spots, allergens, and any other shunt in your carpets. I'm convinced that a large percentage of people who have recurring allergies/runny noses/sore throats are suffering needlessly. Imagine wearing a pair of socks for an entire year without washing them. Even if you don't walk through mud, those socks are still going to be disgusting. Or if you ate your meals off of one plate without washing it. You would never go without washing your dishes or your socks. Why are your carpets any different?

Update 8:18- No, I don't smile at work like these two.