Today was my day for working with caustic chemicals. I like to batch my exposures instead of spreading them out over an extended period of time.
A few weeks ago I found a deal on an little, old telephone stand. Solid wood....covered with layers of paint....the most recent, a hideous brown. I took my heat gun to it first and uncovered layers of cream, green and brown paint. I finally reached a nice red stain. The type of wood is still a mystery to me. When I removed most of the paint I pulled out the paint stripper. I will tell you now I use the methylene chloride version. I have tried the non-caustic strippers and have many, many half used bottles in my basement. My theory when working with old (and probably lead based) paint is to get in and out fast. Get that old paint off as fast as possible and dispose of it properly. To that end, I have a cute little stripped telephone stand outside my front steps as we speak (well, as I type). I still need to get the odd paint specks off...and then I think I will restain it the original red color and finish it.
My next chemical exposure was not nearly as fun. I once had a bat, but that bat is now gone. This is a very long and complicated story (that I will post about one day when I have the energy), but suffice to say that bats eat lots of bugs...including ants. Carpenter ants. And there are a lot of ant treatments....and many old wives tales on how to get rid of ants....but few of them work. So, today I drilled holes in my plaster wall and applied permethrin dust into the wall cavity. Then I raked up all the oh-so-attractive-to-carpenter-ants wood mulch and created a perimeter around my outside foundation dirt with permethrin spray. I then laid down some rubber mulch in the two feet surrounding the foundation (it actually matches the real stuff that is now pulled down into the flower bed). All in all a lot of work for not so great rewards.