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There are some things even a respirator doesn't completely help with - things which make me want prescription swimming goggles to go with the breather.

Ripping a 1905 Victorian's ceiling is one of those things. Two showers and really sad eyes later, with about 1/2 the ceiling down, I've found a nice little list things in the ceiling - many of which fill me with horror.

1) The cut in the beams for upstairs bathroom drops that area 2-3 inches, not 1.5 as initially thought. That said, the reason we still have the second floor bathroom at all appears to be a sistered 2x10 in the original construction. That means that even though it's dropped, the length has kept things stable.
2) The fix for the 2x10 sister that's been chopped appears to be doable in wood - more 2x10s - with further sistering. Still not all the way down the sistered joist in clearing crap, but I'm watching the ceiling unbow just a little as I bring things down.
3) The lath, plaster, drywall, and popcorn makes a layer over an inch thick. I don't have a good metric for what that comes out to in terms of weight, but square foot sections that drop shake the whole house.
4) Dead things. As in, rodents from years past. If you've ever found rodent *pieces* over 50 years old, you'll have an idea of how dry and dusty they are. Glad I was wearing a breather.
5) Blown in insulation at exterior edges. Badly blown in. This means a probable need for either sprayed in (expensive) insulation or fiberglass. Nowhere in the chamber space, aside from the edges, was there any insulation.
6) Toys.
7) Old wiring pieces.
9) Old construction debris left over - probably - from the initial ceiling damage, "Repair," And toilet addition/replacement. No, our plumbers kicked ass and didn't leave crap everywhere in the chamber spaces.
10) A massively over-wired knob and tube installation which will be pulled and capped as soon as I figure out what all is running off it. Pretty much to the point of not caring and just yanking it, but need to check with housemates because there's a good chance that some of the lighting in the kitchen entry is run from that crap.

The implication - not terribly surprising - is that all the older outlet and light feeds are knob and tube, which means down the road, the need exists to rip and run risers for the entire first floor, the older parts of the second floor, and all the attic. Thankfully, the basement is a new - if exceptionally stupid - installation.

11) Coal dust. I cannot emphasize enough how nasty coal dust is, and getting it back off myself was the reason for two long, long showers.
12) Something else which I'm hellishly reactive to - guessing that at some point there was treatment in-house for ants, and that it's an older long half-life poison of some sort. Happily, seems to be contact based. Sealed room = happiness, however. In eight hours of work, I had about four of recovery time - but that recovery was pretty efficient, so at least it's something I can (TMI) back out of my system. Not a pleasant experience, but been there before, and used to the process from a couple of other older and and termite poison passings.
13) A cat. Except not. Before I realized I was poisoned and somewhat loopy the first time, while working under the cat room, I forgot there were cats in it. They said hi. I danced atop the ladder with the crowbar a bit and spent 10 minutes checking chamber space trying to figure who the heck had gotten in trouble.