One week ago today, Chris and Toddler Child were in the basement rolling around on the floor. [I don't know what they were doing.] Chris noticed some discolored moisture near the peddles of our piano - an antique upright.
Chris pulled the piano away from the wall and discovered a wet, chunky mess. Huh, he thought. He cleaned the big chunks with paper towels and was coming up the stairs into the kitchen just as Toddler Child was telling me, "We have a messy house."
I looked at Chris curiously. He said, "Yeah, something weird happened down there. Someone spilled something under the piano."
I told him that was impossible, the piano's too big and heavy plus the kids don't eat or drink in the basement. Maybe Mary [the dog] puked, I suggested. She'd have to stick her little snout right at the base of the piano and projectile vomit to get it under the piano, but it could happen.
"I bet that's it!" he said.
Proud of our genius, I followed Chris to the basement to see what he'd found.
In Chris' defense, he had been focused on cleaning the big chunks and hadn't spent much time investigating the source of the problem.
Our over-inflated genius heads deflated. Quickly. Fear, panic and visions of money flying out the window began visibly filling us. Like orange water being poured into a clear vessel. We were running around, orange water sloshing and spilling out of every orifice in our heads - his contaminated water was getting on me, and mine on him. We were a mess.
Where's Dwayne Schneider [One Day at a Time], Mr. Roper [Three's Company], or Tim Taylor [Home Improvement] when you need them? We've had every inept plumber, roofer, *mold specialist, and generic repair person at our house the past week. A professional comes in the house, shakes his head, mumbles, tries to fix something that isn't broken, then charges us at least $100. We have few answers... and a leak.
We don't have a nightmare-mold situation, but there was organic material growing in a small area under the piano. Some of the staining on the carpet was paint and old mystery stuff that leeched from the piano - not mold. But the original chunks Chris cleaned? Most likely... mushrooms.
Because Chris had cleaned the bulk of the mess, I couldn't describe it to the mold guy. I called Chris at work.
"Hey. The mold guy's here. What did the chunky stuff look like?"
"It was like pieces of pasta noodles."
"I don't know. It just looked like pasta."
I told the mold guy what Chris said. He made a few notes, said he's seen much worse and seemed to be amused by my disgust at the entire situation. Hardy f**king har, asshole. Here's YOUR hundred bucks. [It's like a strip club in our house, only I'm doling out hundreds and my dancers are fat guys with ungroomed mustaches, jackets that smell like gasoline, and very dirty shoes. I feel frustrated and irritated I've spent so much money. Sound familiar, fellas?]
We have a water softener specialist scheduled to arrive this afternoon. We [Chris and I, NOT the professionals] think the source of the leak is the water softener. Using our crack analytical skills, we're certain we've honed in on the problem.
The damaged carpet, baseboard and drywall have been removed, and the contaminated piano has been wrapped until we can find someone to move it, and I don't know... remove the organic material from the bottom of it?
There's a HEPA air filter in the basement that's been running since Friday afternoon. I think we're pretty much defunkified.
I'm convinced there are mold spores growing in my lungs because I've developed a sudden respiratory condition. I've been the one at home dealing with all the professionals, showing them the mess, watching them touch it and stir it, and float potentially dangerous spores in my airspace. My condition is one that mimics a virus that's prevalent in our area, but I've reminded Chris if he remarries upon my death - I'll haunt him. Just in case I have the deadly mold spores in my lungs.