As a few of you know from my last post, we’ve recently had a bout with black mold in our kitchen. The last six weeks have seemed like a massive game of rope-a-dope, with me stumbling from one corner of the ring to the next. The good news is that we found a great place to resettle – albeit at the sanity cost of a month in a hotel room, countless U-haul trips, an in-depth knowledge of leading mold remediation chemicals and a big ole’ empty house complete with a leaky air mattress as a sofa and cardboard box as a coffee table. See, the problem with mold is MOLD MOLD MOLD – that’s the freakin’ problem. But also, you’ve got to wait for your personal items to be properly cleaned, packed and delivered to you – which could take several weeks to months.
Last month, the five of us (2 adults, kids 3,5,7) somehow managed to not maim nor poison one another during our entire 30-day hotel stay.
Even with the late-night bed-jockeying from the dual Queens to the pull-out sofa, multiple U-haul trips and the turmoil involved in having to use 1-ply toilet paper on a daily basis – not only did we not crumble, but we persevered – and even came much closer together.
I know, it sounds like an after-school stinker you’d see on The Hallmark Channel, but the experience stoked the fires of our humility and turned us into legitimate suburban survivalists. Even Mason has helped out by wearing Ava’s hot pink backpack (has no clue, thinks it’s a new one) from last year to Pre-K like a boss. THESE ARE THE SACRIFICES, PEOPLE.
It goes without saying, but we wouldn’t have made it out of Suite #325 also known as the ‘toddler germ incubation unit’ last month, had it not been for Clorox with their Triple Action Dust wipes and Scrubsingles Kitchen and Bathroom pads. So it’s fitting that as soon as we arrived to move in at our new house, there was a package from Clorox waiting for me on the front step.
The folks over there KNOW how quickly I’m burning through product at the height of flu season and coming off a hefty battle with Stachybotrys and Chaetomium, so they also included the big guns – Clorox Disinfecting wipes. Because they know that my vigilante crusade to eliminate 99.9% of all the germs in my new house is a reality for me.
And while it may sound like we’re all living in a gleaming, brilliantly sterile castle made of crystal – even with no furniture aside from a chair that my mother-in-law picked up from the side of the road a few years ago, my kids have still managed to find a way to level the place, covering the counters in dried yogurt and discarded lollipop pop sticks, with Goldfish snack crackers jammed into our Wii.
The reality is that until our belongings are delivered, we’re living like (somewhat clean) squatters. Last week, I asked the neighbor if we could borrow a pot to boil water in. I’ve found myself running plastic silverware through the dishwasher to reuse at a later meal. I used to make fun of my wife for stockpiling the extra sauce packets from fast food runs, but since I’ve been saving up and hiding the salt & pepper packets that come with the to-go utensils at the Indian place, I’ve seen her genius and was temporarily lured to the dark side. And at this point, we all have our own favorite, specific cardboard boxes that we like to sidle up in front of us as we sit in the luminescence of a 55″ TV sitting atop two shoe boxes. THESE ARE THE STRUGGLES, PEOPLE.
But in all seriousness… while the past few weeks haven’t been optimal, we’re fortunate to have each other, our health and a roof over our heads. And as our boxes of personal memoirs, kitchen ware, sofa and rugs arrive, I’m not hesitating to take some time to really look at all the ‘stuff’ we have, clean it up with some Triple Action or Disinfecting wipes and either fall in love with it again or donate it to someone who can enjoy it. Gone are the plastic sporks, sauce packet collections from Taco Bell and Chik-Fil-A and napkins from Wendy’s doubling as toilet paper in the guest bathroom – and welcomed to the forefront are opportunities for memories together, again, together in the same home.