During my brief “down time,” I attended to a pent up home improvement chore – cleaning the downstairs carpets. Ever since the kids became mobile, prolific artists, the carpets have been subjected to unspeakable abuse. Milk has been spilt, soil has been grounded in, and dry erase marker has embellished. I’m not a neat freak, but it’s been bothering me for a while.
I considered renting a steam cleaner, but since it’s unlikely that I can do this in one setting, and the kids are unlikely to change their accidental ways, owning seems more worthwile. I couldn’t get excited about giving up a perfectly good Sunday afternoon shopping around, but remembered Amazon Prime, “all your free shipping are belong to us (unless the item is from the hundreds of merchants we feature on the site)” program. They happened to have the particular brand and model I was interested in at a price comparable with the big box stores. Shipping, which would have cost $47, was free. Three clicks and two days later, the box was sitting by my front door.
Someday, e.g. when we sell and move out of the house, I’ll clean the whole carpet. For today, I was going to do the high traffic walkways and areas under tables. While the kids were still waking up, I hauled smaller furniture out to the garage. A table and a leather chair were stacked on top of a couch, out of the way.
I was almost done when I started having some kind of allergic reaction: itchy all over, no hives, and shaking. It was very, very freaky. Except for some occasional, localized eczema (itchy, no shaking), I’ve never had a reaction like this. I changed clothes, slathered cortisone cream all over, and hunted for the benadryl-equivalent. My spouse, seeing how much I was curled up and shaking, even suggested the emergency room. By that time, the symptoms started subsiding. (Perhaps helped by the thought of my shitty private health insurance not covering for any of this?)
I went back to work, noticing a funny smell in the laundry room — soaking dish towels. (The kids spill things; cloth towels are a friendly way of sopping up the mess, but we don’t run a 24-hour laundramat.) The symptoms started again, leading me to believe there was some kind of funky mold issue. I tossed that in for a full cycle, and avoided the area until the symptoms subside.
I didn’t have a problem the rest of the day, hence, “festering laundry” was my working theory. The steam cleaner did a reasonable job on the carpet, removing everything except part of a large-ish dry erase marker spot. (I’ve tried hairspray on it, too.) I may resort to a “comb-over” of the fibres or strategic rearranging of furniture if it still bugs me.
On Saturday, I rode in the McClinchy Mile. During the first few miles of the outbound segement to Stanwood, I started getting the itchies again, though no shaking. Pollen, maybe? I don’t know what it is.
(Oh, one final note, I saw the CSI with Wil Wheaton. I enjoyed his performance, but it was a lot shorter than I expected.)