This insulation blows

In the trend of using construction materials in unconventional applications, today I filled my pallet floor with blow-in insulation.

When I went with my glorious pallets, I figured all that air space was a pretty good start, but it would be nice to have something I could pour in for some R-value.  Perlite and vermiculite were considered, but vetoed because of their admirable (in other contexts) properties of absorbing moisture and holding it.  That’s all I need, for my floor to suck moisture out of the very air and then hold it there, like a miser.

I called my beloved lumber supply store, where no staff member has mocked or scorned me for anything I’ve ever asked them advice about, in ten whole years.  Not even a smirk.  For all I’ve got up to in a decade, that’s saying something.  And I still get treated with universal respect there; sometimes I’m even greeted with effusions of delight when I show up after a long absence (I have been bear-hugged by yard guys), so they apparently don’t compare notes and mock me when I leave, either.  They should get a medal.

Whoever answered the phone said blow-in.  I’d thought in that direction already but was concerned that it was too light and would stick by static to absolutely everything, including me, and the walls.   I was reassured.

Then I ordered the stuff, after my volume calculations.  They phoned me back, to ask if I wanted to rent the blower to go with my modest order of cellulose.  No, I said, I think I’ll break it up by hand and agitate it in a bucket if I have to.  Someone else phoned me back, and told me he thought I really wanted the blower, I just didn’t know it yet.  Ok, give me the blower!, I said.

Then the truck pulls into my yard with an ancient beast of a machine on it that takes up its own pallet and I say to the driver is that my blower?  Yep.  Well, @#$%, I say, I’ve no idea what I’m into now.  The driver laughs with me.  He hasn’t even parked yet.

I swear, at least once I’ve been on site where the insulation guys are doing blow-in, but the whole process has somehow completely gone unregistered by my brain.  This is all new to me.

Blower comes off the truck (with the boom).  Blower gets assembled.  Blower gets reassembled correctly.  Blower gets demonstrated.  Blower flips breaker.  The driver’s been here an hour now, maybe, but I think he’s amused.  I’m delighted at the hose spews chewed paper everywhere- so easy and fast, I don’t even care  that I’ve already got it all over me, and the hose is very awkward and easy to lose a grip on.  The driver leaves to drop off the rest of his deliveries, promising to pick the blower up if I’m done by the time he is, and leaves me to my own devices.

I love this thing!  It breaks the circuit a dozen more times, it regularly stops churning, and it rumbles away to itself like a big blue robot, but it vomits fiber faster than I can nimble around and direct it into the gaps in the pallets.  I can hardly keep up.  After everything is mostly full, I let the final few pounds discharge on top of my floor, and it ends up looking like a big pile of fluffy grey wool.  I imagined sweeping it to sift it all down into the spaces of the pallets, but it’s more effective to work along on my knees and tuck the extra in by hand, making sure it’s evenly filled, without voids.

The dust everywhere was temporary.  It didn’t hang in the light very long, and although it was ALL over me – I looked ghostly with white eyelashes and arm fur, it didn’t irritate my lungs at all or itch.  Hoo boy, if this stuff were itchy, that would be a whole ‘nother story.

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