This is the most recent project that this family has taken on….and when I say family, I mean Renee and the kids, because this is not my forte….for several reasons.
I'll start from the beginning 🙂
A couple of weeks ago, we went to visit my mom for the day. My mom and her husband live on a farm, where there are plenty of hay mounds, cows, horses, and less than secure barns full of wild cats, that fornicate ALOT!
Every time we go there, the kids want to cross the street to the farm. They feed the horses, give bottles to baby calves, jump on hay stacks, and sometimes they get on the tractors.
My oldest daughter however, has always been drawn to the little barn, mostly because that's where the wild cats, and more importantly, the kittens are! She is obsessed with cats! On one occasion, she found a sick kitten and nursed it back to health, before placing it back in the barn. My mom likes to tell that story ALOT, telling her that the kitten wouldn't have survived without her caring techniques. I however, am fairly certain the cat is dead!…..I used to live with her as a kid, remember! 🙂
I, however, have never been a fan of cats. This is partly due to a fear of them, after running from all the rabid, wild, barn cats, hissing at me in my youth, and partly because I don't appreciate the litter box hassle/aroma, or the toxoplasmosis that comes from the tame ones. But that's neither here nor there!
Anyway, on this particular visit, my kids were playing across the street for awhile, and my daughter was pulled, like a magnet, to that barn again! When they returned, she was out of breath, she was grinning ear to ear, and could hardly contain herself with excitement! “Mama! Mama! I found a doll house in the barn”! And then she sounded like this… “Ifiaskgrandmaificanhaveitcanwetakeithomeilldochorestoworkitoff”?
Having lived with her this long, I knew what she was saying…I speak the language! I said “Why don't you ask grandma if you can have it first. But wait…where was the doll house”?
She said “In the barn…The cats were living in it”!
Hmmmm. I wasn't sure this was going to work out. My mom of course said okay, but warned me that it was nasty! I told my daughter I would have to assess what we were talking about first. Excited that she even got a maybe, she took off across the street to gather it!
I think I may have grimaced at this point…how could she not be scared of mice, spiders, or rabid cats…she certainly doesn't have my genes! She must get them from Renee. 🙂
While they were gone, I asked my mom why she even had a doll house out there. After all, we never had this dollhouse when we were kids! She then told me this disturbing story of a man she used to date before marrying her, now third, husband. This man had made this dollhouse for her from scratch….. The thing is, all of her children were grown, and we had no children of our own at this point. Who does this?…
She never utilized the doll house…well…because she was a grown woman, with grown kids…and she didnt have a vintage collection of Barbies, or porcelain dolls!!! So, she put in in the barn…
When my daughter brought it back, I realized that it really had been an awesome dollhouse, at one point. There were shingles on the roof, windows that slid up and down, wood flooring, tile in the bathroom, a fireplace in the living room….any girls dream!!! It would be hard for me to tell her no, but it was disgusting…full of hay, mud, cat urine, and mouse stool! I told her to rinse it out really good, and we then would discuss it further.
An hour later, we were ready to go. After she cleaned, and double bagged the house, we loaded it in the car, and we had officially claimed the project as ours! We rode with all of the windows down the whole way home!!!
I stopped for a quick second in the grocery store, before going home, so I rolled the windows up and locked the door. Upon returning to the car, after a short 15 minutes, we were all gagging and sputtering over the overwhelming smell of ammonia….cat urine!!!
My daughter was already starting her retort, even before I spoke. “I know mama, I'm not going to bring it in until its cleaned up”! That still didn't keep me from giving her a long speech anyway.
So, the project began over Labor Day weekend…The kids have done almost all of it, with a small amount of help from Renee. Renee gave them Kilz to paint the whole thing with, in hopes that it will kill the smell. I bought them contact paper to use as wall paper or flooring, and then they got into a variety of paint, to give it some flair.
After working all weekend, I finally got to see their progress today. My daughter was so excited to show me her masterpiece! Admittedly, they did pretty well for a few bratty kids! 🙂 She told me that she wasn't done, and told me of her futuristic plans. However today, they couldn't wait until it was done, to play with it!
So…for now, until I have the full assessment…both visually and sinusly….they're gonna have to play with it in the garage!
I'll gladly take any advice about ridding of cat urine odors in wood!