Sunday, December 14, 2014

the old farmhouse

This was a day to take stock of our environment. Here's a key question that I posed to Ed -- it'll give you a sense of the kind of day I'm slated to have:

Early in the morning, I ask him -- do you think you're allergic to me??
He answers -- I don't know...

Ha! It grabbed your attention!
Well, here's the issue: this Fall, something in this farmhouse has been causing his old asthma to act up. Whatever it is, it's not present in the sheep shed, because when he is there (the days I was in France, for example), he is fine. (So Isie boy is not the culprit, as the cat follows him to the sheep shed in my absence.)

There are the usual suspects: we had a strong showing of mice this year. Stronger than ever before and we did not get aggressive about eliminating them until late in the season. (We seems to have caught the last one -- we've been clean for a whole week!) And so today, I did the awful, hideous job of vacuuming up every corner and surface and beam of the basement so that any mouse related matter would be sucked right out of there.

And he has changed the air filters. And I have vacuumed (with a different vacuum cleaner!) the entire farmhouse and all the upholstery. And aired out the place. The farmhouse shows no signs of mold, though of course, that's just a best guess at this point.

But it was early in the morning, before all this flurry of activity, when Ed admitted to the telltale asthmatic symptoms, leading me to ask -- what if it's me???

I can't tell you how hard we worked three and a half years ago, to restore this place to some form of glory. (Well, it probably never had much glory, but now it does! For us at least...) Ed spent days dismantling the old chimney -- chipping away at it, brick by brick. Every electrical outlet is a state of the art masterpiece fitted in by him. The floors were lovingly selected from the cheap options at Home Depot -- hickory here, pine there. Doors, wood trim, window frames -- all stained by me. It is a bit painful to see this place letting him/us down now.

Of course, part of me thinks this is just a rouse to get rid of the couch and bed -- both pieces of furniture he regards as superfluous and I'm sure if he could convince me that they are the source of his troubles, he would. (Though we may have to reconsider the heavenly quilt that keeps us warm -- it's filled with down and that's a possible trigger.)

It may take a while to figure out what causes his flareups. It could be that he'll have to take apart the ducts and wash them well, to get rid of traces of mice and men. In the meantime, I feel like our blissful moments at the farmhouse were made vulnerable today. So I post this photo with even sweeter recognition of the preciousness of it all. So sacred today, so vulnerable, too.

("you want me to take off my jacket, don't you...")

("oh, alright...")

And the cheepers? Oblivious to all the drama within the farmhouse, happy to be the beggars that they are, right at our front door again, adding color to a foggy, gray day.