On Monday, an acquaintance from the years I was on the board of the fire station heard about my situation and invited me over to the tiny 1940s one-bedroom settlement house she recently started renting. Also in dire straits, she generously offered me use of the shower, kitchen and living room in exchange for contributing to propane and other ways I might help.
The next day I spent about three hours there, doing laundry, cooking a meal, reading and playing with her ferret-like miniature Dachshund. (My dogs stayed in the car under shade because although K has five acres, other close-in neighbors have animals that I figured my dogs would chase. And just a playful nip from Carlos could harm the Dachshund.)
I got more and more sleepy while I was inside. As I lay down on the couch for a nap, I realized what was going on: Damn. Mold. Only mold knocks me out this thoroughly. By the time K got home my body felt like lead weights. I was going to shower, but I realized I better get back to the site while I still could.
The house’s roof is old corrugated metal, rusted in spots, and open to the rain in spots where a recent storm damaged it. The original wood floor is beautiful (to my eyes, perhaps rough and old to people of “more refined taste”), and K had been told that the wood ceiling was also made of older flooring.
When I told her of my mold reaction, she said, “There might be nothing between the wood ceiling and the roof.” Peering through one spot in the ceiling she can see daylight. “I wonder if mold is why I haven’t been feeling well lately,” she added.
The next day, today, K asked me to look in on her dogs while she was at a job. We both assumed I’d shower then. But Wednesday morning I was still dragging; the lightning storm we had the night before didn’t help me recover. I felt so bad I realized I had to accept that I could not be in her house without a mask. I donned a mask to check on the dogs, took them for a couple walks, but did not shower as that would mean a direct mold exposure.
I hate muggy weather. My body was clammy. I’d been looking forward to a shower but a clear head is more important. I have to sleep this off. It is cool. It’s good sleeping weather.