Monday, July 1, 2013

Vanquishing Mold, and My Near-Lobotomy

I have learned to back into chores that are unseemly. If I list them, they might get done in a few years. So the best way to get them out of the way is to ambush myself.

The fridge has been pooling water under the crisper. The husband was notified about this a week or so ago and has made verbal noises about replacing some tube or other. In the meantime, I have been sopping up with rags. I must have been tardy in thinking to look under the crisper, because now there are dots of mold afloat.

It is triple-digit heat outside. I have a clothesline between trees in the back yard because I fancy myself a countrified girl who would hang up the laundry outdoors, although I never actually do. The most action that clothesline ever sees are the sporadic photo shoots of the patched-together garments I sew for my etsy shop.

Rags plus heat and sunshine equal mold demise. I decide to hang up the rags when I replace them with a dry set. But on the way from crisper to outdoors, the rags make a stop in the bathroom, where sits a bucket of bleach and water leftover from my last ambitious mopping blitz. We are out of bleach, so I must conserve what we do have until I have the energy to finish mopping downstairs, or until the husband has the motivation to endure the heat and fetch more bleach.

I wring out the rags in the bleach water and notice the shower stall’s aggravating new patina of hard water and soap scum. One swipe, then another, and soon I am vigorously wiping all the walls, digging my fingernail into the rag to excavate the grout gunk. Then I look up.

The black mold stares down at me. How long has it lived on the ceiling and upper wall? Years. I get up on a step stool and scrub at it. “It” may not be grammatically correct, as I am beginning to think they are legion, the way they spread.

“What are you up to in there?” the husband inquires. Bathroom cleaning is a rare occurrence, as you might have surmised. When I explain, he proclaims he is inspired, which I decide is code for “Assign me some task.” I send him to the garage for some protective eyewear to shield me from mold spray, which is the next step in my plan of attack.

The husband makes an offering of the goggles, and since I have dripping rubber gloves on my hands, I bow my head to indicate that he may approach and set them on my face.

Suddenly I erupt in a shriek. “It’s going in my ear!” I feel my right ear being raped by one of the handles that should go above, not inside, the lobe.

He jumps back and nearly drops the goggles, reduced to a shivering heap. The last time I had that effect on someone, it was my dental hygienist, who had struck an oil pipeline in my mouth and recoiled at the ensuing gush of red.

“I’ll go get you some bleach,” he calls over his shoulder as he shuts the front door behind him.

“Get an eggplant while you’re at it,” I shout back over the bathroom vent. There is a recipe for vegan lasagna that has been an open tab on my laptop for a few weeks.

I spray the mold killer liberally over the areas that are still slightly dark. I curse whoever invented stucco finish and whoever decided it was appropriate for a bathroom.

The rags are soaking in the bleach water, which is now dark. I should get them onto the clothesline, but that is classified as a chore. I think I’ll wait to ambush myself.