Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mold Is The New Black

We've lived in North Carolina for 14 years now. We arrived in January of 1994. Temperatures were in the middle 40s and we went around without coats on, making the locals think we were crazy people.

I like North Carolina, and I like living here. It gets nasty hot and humid in the summer, but it did in Illinois, too. We have a great church to belong to, wonderful friends, a snug and cozy house, a woodsy backyard, Tom has a job he enjoys and appreciates, we have good neighbors. In short, I like living here.

ONE thing could make me move away from North Carolina. Just in case you notice some day that I'm gone...take note now of what drove me away. The culprit. The perp. MOLD!!!

Before I moved here mold was something that happened to bread that sat on the counter for too long. Or to leftovers lost in the darkest corners of the fridge. Or to damp laundry stuffed into a basket and forgotten. Or to boys' clothes in a forgotten gym bag.

But here, the stalks me. It haunts me. It wants to devour my house and everything in it. It seeks to destroy my lungs and my sinuses. It is evil and I hate it.

Our house isn't the cleanest house you'll ever see. But we make an effort, we truly do. I clean the bathroom once a week...the deep cleaning part, I mean...those Lysol wipes are great for in-between swipes. But once a week I scrub the tub, sink, and toilet with caustic chemicals. I scrub hard and I afflict my lungs yet more with the fumes of the best that modern chemistry can offer.

Yet, every single week I find black crusty mold on the faucets in the tub and sink, and around the edges of the grab bars in the tub. I find it on the frames of the bathroom window. Every single week.

This mold starts out pink. Cute, pretty, peachy pink. During the week I swipe at the pink whenever I see it. Toilet tissue, towels, the aforementioned Lysol wipes...whatever's handy, I use to fight the menace. And STILL by bathroom cleaning day it has managed to grow and harden into the nasty black crusty crud.

It's not limited to the bathrooms either. It lurks on the window frames throughout the house. It plagues the kitchen sink. It used to creep and crawl around the edges of the carpet till we ripped it all is probably trying to attack the vinyl floors now.

There are other molds outside. I don't care about them from a cleaning standpoint, although I do know someone who frets mightily about how the mold has discolored her concrete patio and sidewalk. I can call that patina and be in denial about it. But I can smell the mold outside, I can feel it in my lungs and sinuses, I can see the black spot on my roses, it's out there. There is no escape.

There is even a special kind of mold that attacks tobacco in North Carolina. Blue Mold. Doesn't that sound pretty? I wonder, would I mind the mold in the bathroom so much if it was blue? The bathroom is blue...hmmm...can I exchange molds?

So, if I'm missing some day...check my credit cards, see if I've traveled to some other place...someplace dry and clean. Some place where it gets cold enough in the winter to kill the mold spores. But, maybe, before you do all that...just look for a big, black, oozing pile somewhere...and listen closely for the sound of little mold spores singing a victory song over my conquered body.

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