Thursday, April 27, 2006

Closet to Hell

This week I began what I thought would be a simple and brief project: paint the closet in the Molino's master bedroom. It seemed a good way to do a test run with the new paint we bought (a color in the "Kenya" family at the store here) while spending relatively little time.

Monday afternoon, with enthusiasm and false hopes, I began scraped the walls, ripped out the old wall hooks, fixtures, etc., spackled and mortared the cracks and holes. At this point things seemed dandy, and it occurred to me that, since I was all set up, it would be logical to paint the inner closet too (in addition to the walk-in area I'd just prepared).

With boldness and a vain sense of heroism, I began by tackling the upper part of the inner closet -- a moldy area that we’ve never used and that has been the ugly repository for only items we neither want nor use. I began to scrape, and the trouble began. This closet sits in the corner of the house and apparently it has, over the years, absorbed a great deal of moisture. Unsurprisingly, everything I touched fell apart, rotten. This didn't make me happy, but I pressed on, figuring I could scrape away the decayed material and get to the bare wall, which would be easy to paint.

But the more I scraped, the further I penetrated a world of mold that appeared to have no end. Soon, the closet area as well as the adjoining bedroom were filled with a storm of pungent, grayish-brown mold dust whose eye swirled around my head. I kept scraping, and it kept getting worse. I feared I’d not stop until I hit the roof.

I finally donned my painting mask, something that I -- now quite lightheaded -- should have done much earlier, and bore down. A couple of miserable hours later, I felt as though I'd been dipped in putrid cocoa powder. (Indeed, in my feeble condition, my mind flashed to a television show I’d been watching, "House," in which a fabulously misanthropic and brilliant diagnostic physician, Gregory House, solves complexly mysterious cases while abusing his underlings. Each episode is, in effect, a new mystery, a physiological crime to be solved. The patients' maladies are bizarre and often harsh, in my mind’s eye I imagined myself as one of those unlucky patients -- the mold dust entering my airwaves, traveling to my lungs, into my blood stream, straight to my brain. I decided to stop watching the show until I'd finished this particular task.)

Soon I had to resign myself to the fact that before painting this part of the closet, I’d need to do a bit of carpentry. Exhausted, angered, and not feeling terribly well, I did my best to remove the piles of detritus from the upper closet, and called it a day.

This story, unfortunately, will be continued....

No comments: