Home Is Where the Mold Is

When you work with kids, you have to get used to catching colds. The phrase "virulent carrier monkeys" comes to mind. It's just part of the job. Well I caught a dewsy of a cold a couple weeks ago. It came with a cough that is usually associated with the part of the movie where the beloved character coughs terribly into a kerchief and then collapses their hand flopping to reveal a bloody kerchief. It's the kind of cough that makes people stare with grossed out faces.

When I caught the cold, I began my normal treatment of teas and elixirs. After a couple of days I felt a tiny bit better. And for the last two weeks, that's how it is. Each day I think I feel a tiny bit better. What's that formula called, the infinity of halves? The worst part of the whole thing, is that the cough flairs up the most when I laugh. Laughing just happens to be my favorite thing to do in the whole wide world. And now, I have to keep it to a polite chuckle. Yesterday, Shaughn actually apologized for being funny.

Anyway, Saturday, I did not feel very great. I was still coughing, my chest burned, and my head was hurting. I managed to get a lot of the house cleaned before decided to poop out and watch a movie. I wondered if maybe a heating pad on my chest might feel good--increase circulation, relax my chest muscles, stimulate wellness. The last time I used the heating pad was bc, before couch, meaning it was probably under my bedside table--it's one of those old phone tables with a little bench and a shelf for one of those stand up phones. But when I walked into the bedroom, as I rounded the bed, I saw something that stopped me cold. I saw black, brown, and white spots leading behind my bedside table. Mold! I peaked behind the table and put my hand over my mouth. I almost cried right then and there. It went from the baseboard about a foot away from the heater to the corner of the room where it had spread up the wall, level with the bed. I hadn't noticed it before because I have a fan on the corner of the table. It traveled on the adjacent wall's baseboard and lower wall all the way across the room and even into the closet.

I quickly left the room and did the heebie jeebie dance. I couldn't have been more grossed out if it had been a spider or a mouse or a rat, or a rabid squirrel or any of the other things I'm afraid of. It sounds silly but it really spooked me. Here I am, coughing like a bum, sleeping next to mold!! It's like having stomach pain and then finding broken glass in your eggs.

At this point in the story, I wish that I could say that I looked online at how to clean it, put a protective face mask on and did it. Wiping my hands in a satisfactory can't-bring-me-down moment, just as Shaughn came home. "Hi honey, I kicked mold's ass today" But that's not what happened. That's not even close to what happened. I mean 'ass', 'kicked', and 'mold' are still in the sentence of what happened, just rearranged a bit.

First I looked online at how to clean it. It seemed reasonable. Then I looked up symptoms of mold inhalation. Here are a few (I highlighted the symptoms I felt I had):
~Immune system suppression
~Respiratory problems including asthma and infections
~Eye irritation with burning, watery or reddened eyes
~Cough – dry and hacking
~Nose or throat irritation or both
~Skin rashes or irritation
~Memory impairment (!!)
~Irritable bowel syndrome
~Body aches and pain (Chronic Fatigue)
~Food Intolerances and allergies
~Mood swings
~Nasal and sinus congestion

According to this, I was barely alive. I mean I was breathing, but what was my quality of life at this point? So I called my mommy. Not only did I feel a bit better but she had lit no small fire under my ass to call my landlady. It was then, that Shaughn came home.

And he was so wonderful. I showed him the mold and began crying. He told me he'd clean it. I kept crying and told him we were going to have to move. He made me step away from googling "can you die from mold?" and I kept on crying telling him our apartment was killing me. We each took a shot of vodka and I kept on keepin' on. He cleaned it with laundry detergent and had a beer while it dried. I texted my sister and wept. Then he went over it with a bleach solution. I texted Amanda and sobbed. Then he told me cleaning it really wasn't that bad after a couple beers. I laughed and then coughed.

Finally I calmed down enough to order us some pizza and we went and got a movie. We had a really nice night, in fact. Shaughn even broke out one of his fancy bottles of wine from his cellar.

The next day, we rearranged all the bedroom furniture, so my side of the bed was far far away from the scene of the crime. And we cleaned and organized the apartment until it shone. We even hung up Shaughn's beer signs in the kitchen creating a homey tavern feeling. Jen, Paul, and the girls stopped by and we all ate little snacks on the new couch and talked about how nice the apartment was shaping up. After they left, and Amanda had come and gone, I cozied up to Shaughn on the couch while he played his video game. Our big south facing window is all gussied up with Christmas lights and the wreath Mom sent. It's so homey and pretty. I sighed and told Shaughn I really liked our apartment. Nothing like a little mold to force us into making a home.


  1. Oh no! I've been struggling with a mold problem, too. Shit is scaaarrryyy. Although I've been told some of the stuff out there about mold on the interwebs are fearmongering crapola, it doesn't do much to reduce my debilitating fear of all things black and hairy and wall-borne. Blech! Glad you guys took this opportunity to re-arrange the furniture and make errething prettier. BTW, UHHHH...WE NEED TO HANG OUT! Wtf? I haven't seen you since, well, probably even before the death of Michael Jackson. Has it really been that long? Call meeeeeeeee.


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