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Houses = Exhaustion?

After two years of living in the city and renting my home to tenants, I came home to discover this major mess. Since I was broke, I lived with this exposed mold for about two years.[/caption]I was going to drive back to my home town today. But as usual, it took longer than expected to finish laundry, wash my camp dishes, re-assemble the car bed with its multiple layers of different kinds of foam, shower, etc.

The physical work was not really more rigorous than I’ve handled at my campsites. So I was surprised and dismayed when I found myself getting more and more tired. I made three major mistakes assembling the multi-layered car bed, including finishing everything and then realizing that I had forgotten the two biggest pieces of foam — which were right next to the car.

By six p.m. I was exhausted. I lay down, propped up my aching feet and legs on pillows (see today’s entry on cheddar cheese), and rested. When S came home I asked to stay another night; she was fine with that.

Lying in bed it occurred to me: This happened the last time I was here. Pretty much the same script: instead of leaving on the afternoon I had planned, I became exhausted (and that time also emotional, almost weepy) and stayed another night.

Damn.

I combined that data with the fact that since moving out of a house, I have felt MUCH better physically and cognitively. I assumed that was because my house and the house I had been staying in temporarily both had had had water leaks that led to mold infestations. My primary reason for moving to Arizona was to get away from mold.

But S’s house is much newer and has no water issues that I know of. It is also old enough to have outgassed — i.e. the chemical in the carpets, wallboards, countertops, cabinets etc. etc. etc. have had enough time to disperse into the air that I smell nothing now. (If I smell it, a chemical is in the air, and a reaction is possible.) S does not use toxic cleaning chemicals, nor does she wear perfume when she knows she will be seeing me (god BLESS her, that is so much more than some other people are willing to do).

I lay in bed comparing today’s activity with that of other recent active days. Was I physically more active? Is that why I feel worse? No, I don’t think so. Is it the higher temperatures down here? No, I really wasn’t outside much except when I was making up the car bed.

I’m left with a discouraging possible conclusion: Could I be allergic to houses?

If that sounds ridiculous, please read up on environmental illness (a.k.a. chemical sensitivities), indoor air pollution in homes and workplaces, and the high toxicity of most new cars.

For years, I have said that I have a “mild” case of chemical sensitivities. It is certainly much better than when it started around 1996, when my employer moved the office into a remodeled complex. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s not so mild.

At that party I recently attended, I talked with a woman whose home includes screened-in rooms in which she and her husband spend most of the good weather. My dream house is now that kind of arrangement. Heck. I could have built a screen house plus enclosed winter quarters for a lot less than I put into that money pit of a house I bought.

I’ve told a few people, although I don’t want this to come back and haunt me: I really am okay with sleeping in the car. I like the fresh air. Except when it rains and I have to block out the fresh air by closing the windows. Except when I get one drug-runner scare too many. Except when I have to sleep with both dogs in the car. But, you get the point: Fresh air is good for me, especially good for me given my health issues. 

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