On Thursday night, I went into our spare bedroom, planning to spend about an hour shoving boxes and leftover Christmas wrappings and books that have overflowed the bookcases into the closet in order to make the room habitable in time for MoMB's* Friday-evening arrival.
About an hour and a half later, I had just about finished hauling all of the stuff that was in the closet out to check for mold. Yes, mold. Some of you may recall this lovely scene, from last September:
It seems that when the upstairs neighbors "destroyed" their toilet (according to the maintenance man; I did not ask for clarifying details) and we had water running down our walls, bubbling our ceiling paint, dripping out of our doorways, and squishing around in our carpet, it was also seeping into the back corner of the spare room closet.
It would be a bit of an understatement to say that I was pissed off. Quite a bit of one. I was composing this entry in my head as I went through all the stuff from the closet, and it was going to be a doozy, too. But I worked off most of my anger, and by the time the closet was re-packed (with the lowest row of boxes wrapped in garbage bags for protection), the room cleaned, and the moldy cardboard boxes hauled to the Dumpster, I decided to just be glad that it wasn't worse.
The mold gods spared our camping gear, a box crammed full of stuffed animals given to me by MB and my parents, and a box of books. The only real casualty was a bit of a heartbreaker, though. In the back corner, we found a box where we'd stashed some of our wedding gifts. (Silly me, I thought they'd be safe, tucked away in the closet. GRRR.) One of them is this really nice photo album / storage box thing with a fancy silver frame as a front cover. It's even engraved with our names and wedding date. I hadn't put anything in it yet, but I'd always planned to fix it up with our favorite photos. When I pulled it out, the end of the box it came in had black mold all over it. I pulled it out, MB and I looked at the wooden back, and it had white dusty stuff all over. I started scrubbing at it and the stuff brushed off, so we thought it would be okay, but then I opened it and the fake velvet inside of the front cover has a patch of nasty ass yellow-orange fuzz on it, and there are spores all down the side where the picture pockets are. Spores, people.
I almost cried. We don't have a whole lot of nice stuff, even from the wedding, and we'd probably never be able to justify the expense of paying to replace it, so if I can't figure out a way to clean it up, that's pretty much it. If anybody knows how to get mold off of fabric, please give me tips. Everything seems dry, now, so I think if we could get it cleaned up it would be okay and the mold wouldn't come back. If we can't clean it up, I figure I'll try to salvage the engraved frame. I'm trying to be mature about it and not spend a lot of time stomping around and whining.
Besides, now I can post a totally gnarly mold photo and freak you guys out! Score!
In the closet, I also found this pair of jeans:
I almost put them back in, with a couple of huge sweaters I never wear and some thermal shirts I bought the year I did a research project for my geomorphology class that involved canoeing in November. After all, these were my first pair of hip-huggers. These were the very jeans that finally got me out of my late-high-school skater pants phase and into my still-enduring hippie phase. In memoriam, my skater pants:
They also went with me to 6 1/2 weeks of geologic field camp in Montana. We have a history together, man. A lot of history, involving 8-hour treks up and down scree slopes, 100-degree desert days, cacti, and spear grass, this evil little plant that Google fails to track down. Spear grass had little hooks on the end of each blade. They'd catch in your clothes and slowly work their way in as you moved, so that every now and then you'd feel a sharp poke in your ankle, and you'd have to fish the damn things out of your sock. Anyhow, I really didn't want to throw my trusty, ratty jeans away, but I finally had to face the facts. Fact 1: My poor jeans had become more hole than jean. Fact 2: my ass is probably NEVER going to fit into a size 9 again. Then I remembered some posts from Fussy, in which she photographed clothes that she was donating to the Salvation Army and told their stories, so she didn't have to feel bad about giving them away. Eureka! And so, it was done.
I now present a closet that is finally living up to its potential:
This means that the spare room is clean! Woo-hoo! A New Year's Resolution achieved! (At least until we call the landlord to deal with the mold and have to haul everything back out of the closet again.)
*MoMB = Mother of MB (har har)
Reading: Multiple Choice by Janet Tashjian, the author of the fantastic The Gospel According to Larry and Vote for Larry
Playing: Lay it Down, Black Eyed Man, and Miles From Our Home by the Cowboy Junkies