Here is what my day looks like to the casual observer. A stay at home mom goes biking with her two children. Then she meets with a mold inspector and a roofer as they assess some home repairs. In the afternoon she takes the kids to a matinee then makes dinner for them all.
Here is what really happened.
We say goodbye to my husband who will be out of town til Tues night and will be gone again Wed morning til Thurs night – his newly structured role at work is keeping him on the move.
Running low on the GF (gluten free) bread and cereals my daughter eats, I make GF pancakes from a GF mix for breakfast – a double batch to put a bunch in the freezer which should get us through about 2 weeks. I cannot eat these pancakes this morning because I already ate something from a GF mix yesterday (brownies served at my father in law’s Bday dinner we made for them) and as a result my finger joints are already painfully swollen. Curse you xantham gum, especially when you are disguised in chocolate yumminess! I have to make myself a different breakfast which is inefficient and I hate that. We (and by we I mean me) are working towards rotation diet efficiency but it is a complicated process so look for a fun future post on that one!
I do indeed go for a bike ride with my kids around the neighborhood which is normal and lovely.Then the mold inspector comes because of this ongoing water damage and some suspicious health problems in the house. He is a talker and so that takes quite a while but it is always worth the time to pick these guys’ brains because home repair decisions are the bane of my MCS existence and knowledge is power (School House Rock and Francis Bacon reference!) Mind you, his visit went smoothly because I took extra time when setting up the appointment to ask, in very careful words, if he could refrain from using aftershave or cologne the morning that he came out to my house. Always a fun conversation to have with a stranger over the phone. The full report will come in a few days with air sample analysis of questionable usefulness but now I know that the moisture content behind that damaged wall does not suggest standing water and that while the wall dripping on rainy days indicates a roof leak, the location of the water damage actually points to a crack in the upstairs shower as the culprit. So in addition to repairing the wall damage and cleaning out any mold inside the wall, we will either need to fix the roof or fix the shower. All of that is incredibly complicated with an MCS house and kinda makes me gag just thinking about it
Next up – the roofer. I just keep him outside to avoid his aftershave. He is here to search out any damaged shingles that might be causing the leak and to give us an estimate on re-roofing the whole thing because it is a 13 yr old roof and we live in FL on the water. Good news – the roof doesn’t look that bad, it might be leaking around the A/C unit on the roof which could just be a small repair rather than a re-roof. But there is no way to tell unless we open something up and we would know a lot more if we opened up the interior wall where the water damage is. That is drywall, spackle and paint. Very very complicated stuff. Like me moving out of the house for a while kind of stuff. More mental gagging.After the gentlemen leave, I am forced to admit that the mold inspector is right about at least one point. Our A/C guy did not clean our return intake grates like he should have at regular maintenance time last month. So I do it. Actual gagging.
I have now ignored my bored (because it’s summer and all my friends are on vacation this week) children for hours. So after lunch, I take them to a movie. The one they want to see is at the new theater which is a bit smellier (by that I mean it contains more VOCs outgassing from new uholstery and carpet) than the other one. That’s OK, I will probably have a mild to moderate headache for the evening but I don’t have to do anything critical then. This is the kind of internal negotiating and trade-off I do all the time. A little discomfort is worth some semblance of normal. If I had already had some exposure today I would not have risked the movie theater because that might have driven the headache all the way to major brain fog and then my response time is effected and I can’t drive. Not with the kids in the car. I avoided earlier exposure today by keeping smelly men out of my house and cleaning A/C grates with carefully selected products. Advance planning is key. The movie was just ok but we snuck in popcorn which is a family tradition the kids love. No, I cannot eat popcorn and it smelled really good.
The car air filter that allows me to handle car exhaust issues in city traffic dies on the way home so I add that to the list of stuff that is falling apart and acknowledge that my headache is definitely on the moderate rather than the mild scale. Which means I do not mind when the kids disappear into their electronics while I make dinner. Afterwards we watch the History Channel’s Wierd Weapons. Because, it turns out, I am raising total geeks.This was a normal day, a good day even. Tonight when I pause to review the day’s moments of Grace (my version of evening prayers) I will find many. I am grateful for the ability to negotiate tradeoffs within my health’s limits. I am grateful that we have the resources to do the needed home repairs, once I figure out how to safely do them. I am grateful for the time with my children and the fact that they are not embarassed to be seen in public with me yet. My frame of reference remains intact.