I haven’t talked about it much over the last month or so, but back in January, our family experienced a very minor water leak in the kitchen of our home in coastal Virginia. Moisture made it’s way in between the hardwood and sub-flooring and created a black mold situation that extended throughout our kitchen and quietly began to enter the adjoining rooms before any of us were actually the wiser.
I’ve never known much about mold, specifically the strains that are particularly unhealthy for humans–and for us those two types were Stachybotrys and Chaetomium. I never had to make myself an expert on it, until now. I can tell you that from the moment you hear those words, your life will be turned upside down and inside out like you can’t even believe.
Until the house and our personal property were remediated, my wife, kids and I have had no other choice but to shack up at the only hotel in our little town. While the staff here has been nothing short of wonderful (and we’ve achieved first name basis with the cleaning and maintenance team, as well as Miss Shelley who takes care of preparing that daily continental breakfast), have you ever had to co-exist with your entire family (including 3 kids under 7) in a 400-square foot hotel room and share a single bathroom and dorm fridge?
Some of you may be thinking “Wow, that’s a great opportunity to come together” or “What a fantastic bonding experience” and I’m here to tell you – that isn’t the case and don’t come any closer with your Suzy Sunshine voice of optimism or I’ll throw you into a ditch and crank down with purple nurples until you say UNCLE.
It’s not just my general disdain for extended hotel living with your entire brood, but it’s been compounded by a newly minted fear of the unknown. It is truly a mind-bending experience to know that the entire first floor of our home looks exactly as it was the day we had to leave it… on the surface, it looks completely normal. Half-eaten plates of breakfast in the sink, backpacks tossed over the shoulders of the pub table chairs and fresh fruit stacked in a bowl on the peninsula.
The rub is that there are mold spores sitting all over counter tops, cabinet faces, utensils, flatware and drinking glasses – things that me and my kids use every day – spores just waiting for the proper climate to amass a full-blown army, get inhaled and potentially become a major health issue down the road for us.
This whole experience has given me a complex.
After getting the kids off to school every day, I return to our hotel room and meticulously wipe, wash and clean our surrounding surfaces with Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes with Micro-Scrubbers. While Clorox is water-based and not the recommended method of assault on mold – it does kill 99.9% of germs, bacteria and viruses that can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours – which, right now, is succeeding in tamping my overall fear of what I can’t see.
As for our mental health (or at least what remains)… group baths, fighting over who gets to sleep in which bed and with who (never mom & dad together) and finding new places to hide the kids’ leftover Valentine’s Day candy bags they got from school have been just a few of the daily gems that have been unfurled onto us. Being in a single room (no adjoining rooms, nor bedroom suites here), my wife and I have been forced to go to bed when the kids do, and we sit in the dark munching cookies and binge watching Fixer Upper–these two things strongly keeping our sanity in check.
My weekly visits to our local bank branch office to request rolls of quarters for the downstairs washer/dryer room (the travel-sized Clorox® Bleach Pen is a must) has garnered me my own parking spot and a free savings account at Wells Fargo.
And while the housekeeping staff is certainly on their toes to keep us stocked with hand lotion and fresh shower caps, we’ve taken action to make this room more like home – bringing in a stockpile of preferred toilet paper, paper towels and myriad of Clorox products to polish up the nooks ‘n’ crannies they may have missed–because hard as they try, it’s still a hotel room, and — germs. And in trying to stave off the stank of moving trucks (officially relocating this week) and freshen up after a good pillow fort Netflix viewing sesh – I even went out and bought an essential oil diffuser…
Does this mean that I’m getting soft in my old age? Or has the mold actually crept inside my head and made me nuts?
That’s a rhetorical question – don’t answer.
As they say, this too shall pass and we can finally see a light at the end of this life-altering tunnel…
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Clorox, however the painful story of living in a hotel, opinions and thoughts are all mine. For more information on Clorox products, visit their website, the Spincycle Blog, check them out on Facebook and Twitter or if you’ve got the time, download their MyStain App!