Home Insulation Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,011 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,586 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Cleaning Up/Home Insulation Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I had to wait for a windy day.


photo by Tcie via Wikimedia Commons

That was no problem; seeing as how I had already earned my merit badge for weather, I knew precisely which day would be best and I was ready. Prepared. Armed to the teeth. Well, not armed exactly, but I had a lovely apple-pie-scented incense stick and a match—not to mention a caulking gun—and that’s sorta like being armed.

I mean, I could do some damage if I needed to with those three things.

What? Being prepared for a zombie apocalypse is just good planning on my part, okay?

But back to the badge. Stop distracting me.



photo by Tamiasciurus douglasii 000 via Wikimedia Commons

Now, the reason we need a lit incense stick is because we need to determine where the drafty parts of your house are. Ahh! Now you’re with me, huh? And you thought I had totally cracked for a minute there, didn’t you? Have a little faith, my farmgirls, I know exactly what to do. And by exactly, I of course mean, vaguely.

I like to be adventurous, and also I like to pretend I’m Nancy Drew on a semi-regular basis, so I waited for nightfall. Midnight, to be exact. And I may or may not have put on my detective hat and trench coat, but you can leave that part out if you aren’t as committed as I am.

The ambiance of my house at midnight with nothing but a lit apple-pie incense stick to light my way and the wind whipping it up outside was spooky to say the least. I stepped on a cat and nearly died.

Darn cats.

I paid attention (or tried to; I was a tad distracted by branches tapping against my window and the shadows on my walls) to the way the flame flickered. It really got to dancing at one point, and no small wonder: the window in question was being held shut by a hair scrunchi and the “M” volume from my Encyclopedia Britannica.

Okay, okay. If your windows are held tight by duct tape, plastic sheeting, or a hair scrunchi, you can probably forgo the incense method and just … you know … assume they need fixing. But if your doors and windows look pretty tight, don’t be fooled. Just cuz their appearance is groovy, doesn’t mean they’re energy-efficient.

Or zombie-apocalypse-efficient, either.

Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

Or two zombies.

Anyway, once you’ve done what I’ve done and located all your drafty areas, it’s time to draw, aim, and shoot! No, not the zombies; the caulking gun is for the leaks. (Although if you have any left over, go ahead and save it for the undead.)


photo by Achim Hering via Wikimedia Commons

Some areas just needed weather stripping, like around my cat door. I saved that part for the next day. I needed some sleep after my long night of detective work; I was exhausted. Nancy Drew never worked so hard.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    When we moved into our house in 1985, we must have used a dozen caulking guns to seal it up. Here in Florida, many houses are built with a crawl space under the house for ventilation, but if you don’t seal er’up…. giant roaches invade and take over! In addition to caulk, we used that foam caulk for the really big gaps. Honestly, down here, if you don’t seal your house, the outdoors just moves on in and getting that stopped is probably another whole badge!

  2. Karlyne says:

    When you’re ready to move on to installing insulation in the walls, let me know! Have I got a job for you…

  3. Rebecca Taylor says:

    I loved this post!
    When you said “I stepped on a cat and nearly died,” I cracked up so much I had to read it to my mom and she laughed too. I am also a Nancy Drew fan so I’m with you on the hat and trench coat thing. 🙂

  4. Karlyne says:

    Winnie, I love the idea for a whole other badge!

    • Winnie Nielsen says:

      Hahahaha Karlyne! If you live in the land that is semi-tropical, you learn to do what’cha gotta do to stand your ground against the pests. Actually, I think I earned the “Expert Level” badge on House Rat extinction two years ago. You probably DON’T want to even know the particulars!! For instance, did you know that placing a cracked half of a pecan in a rat trap is always successful? Apparently, it is the “crack cocaine” of rats. Who would have known??

      • Karlyne says:

        I’ll remember that, Winnie! I wonder if walnuts work, because I always have them around, and I’m planning on planting a couple of trees on our property. But, wait! would the trees attracts rats?!? Well, at least they’d be outside…

        • Winnie Nielsen says:

          Karlyne~ Walnuts don’t grow here so I am not sure if southern rats know of such delicacies. Funny thing is, the rats here in the city are known as tree rats because they do live up and around the big huge oak trees with all the spanish moss. Planting nut trees are most likely no bigger attraction than your wood pile, bird feeder, acorns(we have a gazillion in my yard from the live oak trees) and who knows what else. All I know is that they are really gross and extremely successful! Did I mention they got into my car engine last January, nested in the A/C intake area and died touching the car battery?? That is another tale for another day!!

          • Karlyne says:

            Rats in trees and car engines?!? No, thanks, Winnie! This makes the Wild West seem rather tame…

      • melyssa says:

        I totally read that as “a cracked half of a pelican.” I must need more coffee!

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