Tuesday, August 3, 2010

House 1, Homeowners 0

On Sunday, the new house tried to kill J. We're hoping this is a one-time deal and that we can renovate the house into submission, but it is worth sleeping with one eye open now.

From the top--the upstairs of our beautiful new home had horrifically ugly and stained wall-to-wall carpeting. When we put in the offer on the house, the previous owners said that they were planning on replacing the carpet. We told them not to, as we like hardwood floors, and there appeared to be beautiful old oak floors under the pink (yes, pink) carpeting. The POs are such a standup couple that they gave us the money that they were planning on using for the replacement as a credit. Awesome.

Now, fast forward to possession. Our first day in the house, J took up the carpet on the upstairs, leaving the carpeting on the stairs in case our spindly greyhound Obie wanted to get up and down the stairs. (If you've never seen a greyhound on stairs, it's kind of like when Linda Blair goes downstairs on all fours backwards in The Exorcist. Except less graceful). We have a floor refinisher coming on Wednesday, so it was time to take up the carpet this weekend.

I was working on painting the nursery while J started pulling up the carpet. He began sneezing. Now, I'd like to take a minute to tell you that I am quite used to extraordinarily loud nasal exhalations. My mother, a beautiful, delicate, and petite woman, can make a sound like a moose in heat when blowing her nose. It is a sound unlike any you have heard before, and I grew up with it. (Apologies, Mom!) However, J's sneezes beat her nose-blowing by a mile. One of his sneezes convinces you that there is some truth to the idea that the force of a sneeze rivals that of a bullet. I, who could sleep through (and have slept through) a 5-alarm fire raging just down the street have been wakened by the force of his sneeze. The point, in short, is that my husband is an explosive sneezer.

Normally, when there are only one or two sneezes (or three--they always do seem to come in trios), I say "Geshundeit" and he gives me his silly "I just sneezed" grin, and that is the end of it. But J's sneezes were monumental in their number. They would not stop for love or money. Between bouts, I suggested that perhaps he should be wearing a mask. (He does have a dust allergy, after all). He replied that the sooner the carpet was out of the house, the better it would be for him. I shrugged, and continued painting.

About 10 minutes later, he called from downstairs that he needed me to vacuum. I came down and he told me he could feel his throat closing up a little when he hauled the carpet out to the garage, and he needed to get away from the dust. Silly me, I still was not completely concerned. So while he jumped in the shower to wash the carpet filth off of himself, I ran the vacuum. Seeing how much dust lay under the carpeting and had been left on the floor was a kind of horrendous that I cannot even begin to contemplate.

Then I knocked on the bathroom door, because I remembered that a closed throat was a symptom of anaphylaxis. I, who tend to be a worrier, had visions of him falling to the floor gasping for breath while I wasn't able to hear his choked cries of my name because of the combined noise of the shower and the vacuum.

He was still upright and conscious, but he sounded terrible, so I went online (sweet, sweet WebMD--it's always time to worry, according to WebMD) to see what we were supposed to do. I found a checklist of symptoms of anaphylaxis, and we went through them one by one. He had most of the symptoms except for the hives. I determined, with the full weight of my non-existent medical knowledge behind me, that we should go to Urgent Care and get my man some epinephrine. He said he'd sit out in the fresh air for a little while and drink a beer. I said okay to that, but that we would be going to Urgent Care if he wasn't better in 10 minutes.

Through sheer force of will and the medicinal help of a frosty tall one, he felt better in 10 minutes.

I am now convinced of the evil of carpeting. I started wondering what was under the carpet everywhere I have lived with carpeting. Was this particularly disgusting because stairs are harder to vacuum? (The rest of the carpeting had made J sneeze, but had not nearly killed him).

The house may have won this round, but we will show it who's boss. Now I just need a lifetime supply of Swiffers.


  1. Beer is the cure for what ails you.

  2. I love your descriptions of your mother's sneezing! Thanks for visiting me at Jester Queen, and I am VERY VERY VERY glad your husband survived attack of the carpet. Anaphylaxis comes fast and doesn't always have hives (as my mother who survived a bout via the same stubbornness as your husband) can attest!