We found the address I'd written on the back of a reused paper and as promised it was an older single story home in a well-established neighborhood in Olympia, WA. Not part of the 'urban sprawl' the small gray sided home had a single garage and a narrow driveway. There is a part of me, and us that has been tested over and over again. Yes, there are many parts of us that have been tested that way over the years of being on the move. But ... this part is the one that hopes against all odds. This is the part that says, "This one might work."
The key tucked in its hiding place opened the side door which leads into the laundry room. I am not sure whether this belief is a hope that we will be able to return to the world we once called 'normal.' When we talked this morning, Pete was the first to say "We can't go back." The affects of being in the little cottage for perhaps two hours wiped us both clean out. Pete bagged up cleaning supplies from the laundry, bath and kitchen and stowed them in the garage. Though we hoped our friend's description that the housekeeper only uses things that are 'benign' ... a bottle of Palmolive dish soap and Irish Sping in the bathrooms is enough fragrance to send us into another level of being (not such a good place at all!)
We continued to hope. Maybe with the offenders cleared out ... Maybe, this little cottage could house us for the winter and be a parking space for the vardo. The house is heated with natural gas. That should have sent us out the door immediately, but we hoped anyway. The furnace is housed in the laundry room and not a separate furnance room outside; there is no basement. We are not ignorant of the ramifications of an unsafe living space. Still, something happens when you are long on the search and in the steep climb of learning to leave old ways and a way of life behind. Pete raised the temperature on the therostat and the old radiators (filled with water ... benign, yes) heated up. What was going wrong was the burning of natural gas and the emissions that include carbon monoxide. I knew this was a possibility and more than probable. We should have turned around as soon as we saw the furnace. We didn't.
I continued to putter and believe ... especially as one thing after another on our "Safe House Checklist" was answered positively.
1. Does it have a laundry?
- A washer and dryer YES
- Is it electric (vs. natural gas) ELECTRIC
- Is there first-level tell-tale signs of fragrances (laundry products; soap/dryer sheets) NO
2. Is there mold present? Well, yes Olympia is a rain bucket. But no old mold smells filled the house.
4. Does it have a bath tub for long soaks? YES
5. What's the chemical and pesticide history ? THE LAWN CARE FOLK CAME WHILE WE WERE THERE; THEY'VE NEVER USED FERTILIZERS OR PESTICIDES ON THE GROUNDS.
6. What are the floors like? ALL SOLID OAK THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE; TILE IN THE BATHROOMS
Outside and the environs
1. Neighbors adjacent WONDERFUL AND FRIENDLY NEIGHBOR NEXT DOOR! SHE WAS SCENTFREE AND INFORMED (she has a sister who lives with MCS)
2. The neighborhood PROGRESSIVE AND ECO-FRIENDLY
Pete and I walked through the old single story home, both hoping this was a possibility. We considered how the vardo would park; we would sleep in it with a sweet old house where we might even be able to have 'people over' and socialize. The Fantasy of hope is powerful. Within the hour my lungs were burning and my ears irritated. I said nothing yet. Maintaining the hope, I rode back while Pete maneuvered the mid-day traffic. We made a stop at our favorite International District store, found two perfectly ripe persimmons and the last package of Ahi (Tuna) tips for a tasty lunch.
The little cottage will not work for a place to live. We are exposed and no longer in denial/masked with hope. The natural gas exposure has triggered lung problems and asthma for me. I used the nebulizer with compounded glutithione liquid to ease the inframmation and bring the phelm up. Today I need to rest, recoup and accept facts: Going back is not the direction forward. Our tiny home of wheels is less than a year old. We have lived in her since April and have so much more to learn about simplification. I remember my friend Leslie from the Oko Box writting about how long it takes to learn to do things simple. It's the truth. Old habits do hold fast, even when you know it's a futile habit.
From an article "Natural Gas is Unhealthy"
The founder and director of the Environmental Health Center in Dallas, Tex.,
William J. Rea, MD, states that, "Of 47,000 patients, the most important sources
of indoor air pollution responsible for generating illness were the gas cook
stoves, hot water heaters, and furnaces." (Chemical Sensitivity: Sources of
Total Body Load, 1994).Gerald Ross, MD, former president of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, writes, "Traditionally, natural gas is a pollutant chemical that can worsen both classical allergy and chemical
sensitivity-[patients with complex allergies and sensitivities] will have only
limited success with their treatment programs if they are living in a home that
has natural gas or if they are in an area where there is natural gas
transportation or leakage."
Can any one relate ?