mardi 24 novembre 2009

Black mold, I told you so

The cross

This is the cross to which I would like to lash myself for having neglected to treat the brand new oak French door in the end bedroom before the rains began and the damp weather settled in for good. See the dark spots. That is the dreaded moisissure noire, or black mold. The dripping stuff? That's shower cleaner.

I have so far used vinegar, a mix of 1 part detergent, 20 parts eau de Javel (bleach), and 30 parts warm water, a cleaning brush, an electric sander, shower cleaner and a toothbrush, and I still see spots.

I did our French door some two or three weeks ago only, and there wasn't a spot of black mold when I opened it to stain and seal. Nothing. So, I wasn't expecting anything when I opened this window the other day, paint brush and pot of sealer in hand. I must have looked something like Edvard Munch's The Scream when I saw all the black, settled into the corners, on the flat, horizontal surfaces, and even on the frame. On one door panel in particular. The other was nearly moisissure noire free, which made almost no sense. How could a difference of one door panel to the other matter that much in terms of exposition?

I gaped. My soul crumpled. I shut the door. More importantly, I said nothing to my husband. I couldn't bear the "Je te l'avais dit; il fallait que tu les fasses tout de suite."

I know, I know. Oh, do I know!

I let a few days go by, thinking I really ought to do something about it, but that didn't matter. It's like your bank account when you know you are seriously overdrawn but have to write a check to pay the plumber. All you need to do is make a transfer of funds, but why is it so hard?

I left the electric space heater on last night, the doors open and the metal (vented... ha!) shutters latched, to dry out the first efforts, and I woke up this morning in a panic. First, the electric bill. Second, I could just imagine the two panels of the oak French door, scorched to within a centimeter of their lives. I smelled bleach. My hands. How was it my husband hadn't noticed and commented on that, asking why I smelled like I spilled a bottle of eau de Javel on myself, when last he asked me (last weekend) if there wasn't any for la toilette to put in le cabinet and I said, "Non"? I waited until I heard him take the dogs out.

"Sam?" I waited. "Sam!"

"What?" came the aggravated reply from his room. By what right did I dare call out to my son?

"Could you please turn off the electric heater in the kids' room?"

Silence. I lay in bed in the early morning dark, listening for sounds of Audouin returning, or proof that Sam had opened the communicating door between the two bedrooms and turned off the source of expense and danger. Nothing.

"Sam?" Silence. "SAM?"

"What?" I did it again. I dared to disturb him.

"Did you turn off the heater?"


I went and looked when they had both left. No burn marks, just black spots. I went and made coffee, and got the toothbrush.

And I scrub and hear, "You shouldn't have to be doing this, you shouldn't have to be doing this, you're to blame, you're to blame," which becomes an inchoate expression of refusal to accept what I have allowed, "Argh. Argh. Argh. Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh," as my hand begins to ache from the carpel tunnel, and I sink back onto my haunches in abject misery.

Maybe I shouldn't get a piano, after all.

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