Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hope springs eternal ... and yet, can we really GO BACK?

Pete and I made an early morning scouting trip yesterday. An offer of a small cottage-home was more than we could pass up. A friend had an idea for us, and we felt that spark of hope light up. Almost without attachment (now, is that 'detachment'?) we were both up very early with potential. I climbed behind the wheel before first light and wound my way through the Everett streets headed for the freeway. Our thought was to get an early before the commuter-drive. It worked in that respect, though we were already part of a thick southward moving clot, the drive was without major sitting in traffic and in less than two hours we were in Olympia.

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



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)


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 ?


Joan Tucker said...

Moki, I can relate to a small degree; I do not have any solutions and I am so sad that you cannot find a safe haven . We have wood smoke in our area and a gas furnace.
We do what we can do to be ok; you are so much more sensitive and it seems so frustrating. All of our neighbors use scented dryer stuff etc. I send wishes for some miracle. JT

Mokihana and Pete said...

Hey Joan,
Our life seems such a constant frustration. Amazingly there are some very, very good moments and those are the ones that keep us going.
I am who I am and can't be what I'm not ... think that was Popeye said that.
Thanks for your commiseration ... a miracle would be fun:)

Mokihana and Pete said...

Another view of what I/we experience might be the Saturn in Libra perspective: accepting life as it is. I watched and listened to this
and it's a good kinda "miracle" that helps me see how struggling is my 'problem' and the solution ... set the boundaries (no can't live with x, y, z) and there's no judgment nor blame.


Joan Tucker said...

Moki, Elsa is great.I am at times hopelessly co dependent; I work at it and it still dwells within.
I always think I should be able to do!! something. In truth I have trouble getting through my own days mind less solving anyone else's problems. That does not mean I do not notice or care, I just am learning to back off and mind my own garden. I have a very weedy life and I sure as heck need to weed.
I hope you continue to live in a
state of grace and find safety and also some fun and joy. Pete and you are certainly on a cosmic journey. I send clean air and peace, JT

linda said...

oh dear. I pray that there is strength a plenty for you until you do find "home".

Joy said...


I lived in a gas-heated house for 1.5 years. My solution was to turn off the gas entirely, and use a hot-plate to cook (you're already there), and I got some baseboard electric heaters, portable, one of which I still have and you can have. Unless the hot water heater also is for the hot water, might this be an option?

I can SO relate to this. It is the story of my past 7 year house-hunt also. Hopes up high when something sounds so right, then dashed to pieces after it totally does not work. The only thing we can do is keep on keeping on.

Where did you find that house, on Craig's List? I keep meaning to look, but for some reason get so depressed when I do (wonder why!). I went to look at a cottage style condo on Bainbridge last week, very cheap, all original hardwood, all electric, renovated three years ago and not been lived in since, so zero fragrance issue. Can you spot the problem in that previous sentence? Yes, renovated three years ago was just way too smelly for me, especially since it had not been properly aired out or heated in that time. Sigh. Everything else about it was perfect, though. Great price, wonderful south side of the island with amazing fresh air, no woodsmoke in the area, etc. That's the thing that gets me, when ALL the dominos line up so well, and then one thing knocks them all down again.

Anyhow, hang in there and maybe I'll see you soon at a new year's party or ?

Love to you, Pete and Jots,