Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wet Basement A Blessing in Disguise?

Love Wellies

The carpet at the bottom of our basement stairs has been a little damp before, but this weekend, we discovered it was actually wet. Not just a little wet, but sopping wet. We pulled up the carpet tonight and discovered mold. We were kind of expecting it given how wet the carpet is.

When we bought our house, the home inspector told us that due to the age of our house (a little over 30 years), the downspout from the eavestrough should be moved. It was going right into the ground at the side of the house--in other words, right into the weeping tile. He told us that it could potentially become clogged and cause a leak in the basement. We moved in 7 years ago. This fall, hubby finally took the down spout out of the drain and moved it to pour on the driveway (not much better). Perhaps if we had moved it 7 years ago, we might have avoided this debacle? Who knows.

We've all been sick a lot this winter too. Now I'm wondering if it has been caused in part by the mold in the basement. We are letting it dry out for now and then we'll clean the walls and floor. We'll also have to figure out how to keep the water out. I have the feeling it is going to be an expensive project.

But there is always a silver lining, right? Right??? I'm choosing to look at this as an opportunity to declutter my basement. When we moved in 7 years ago, we had moved out of a bad situation. We discovered that our landlord at the time (who lived in the basement of the house we rented) was schizophrenic and not taking his medication. At least, that is what the police officer who came to investigate his claims that we were trying to kill him told us. We literally packed up everything in our house over a weekend. We lived with my parents for 3 months while we looked for our house. Everything was in storage and when we moved in, anything that we didn't have a place for right away got shoved in the basement. We packed up a lot of clutter and moved it which was also a big mistake.

Our basement was finished, so I had planned on making it an area where the kids could play and keep their toys since our family room is so small. With all the clutter sitting there (and possibly multiplying), it has never happened. Now that we have to deal with this mess, it is going to be a good opportunity to go through the stuff that is sitting there taking up space and get rid of it. It can be given away to bless others, or it can go in the trash (or recycling). The important thing is it is going to get out of my basement and out of my house. It's going to be an opportunity for me to release some stress by releasing my clutter and some of the stress it has caused.

Yes, I realize that fixing the leak is going to be a huge undertaking and may necessitate hiring a contractor and it's going to require money I don't have to fix it.  I'm choosing to look at it from a positive angle because if I focus on the negative, I'm just going to stress myself out and be unbareable to live with.  I will post updates to our wet basement ordeal as they happen.

Tonight, removed 2 bags of garbage (including wet carpet and underlay) and one bag of recycling.  Finally put paper products away in storage area (they were sitting at bottom of stairs--glad they didn't get soaked!).  Moved dirty laundry piled at bottom of stairs into laundry area.  Baby steps.

I have been spending some time on Mike Holmes' Web site tonight to figure out how to clean up the mold.  As soon as our daughter heard we had a wet floor, she said, "You'd better call Mike Holmes!".  If only it were so easy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Joys of Being the Only Vegan at a Family Dinner

290/365 Take-out

I've been vegan for a little over four months now. It is still something I'm adjusting to, and I guess I've brought my family along for the ride.

My husband has been surprisingly supportive. I think that he sees the positive effect this new way of eating has had on me. My oldest daughter doesn't completely understand, but she knows that I don't eat anything with any animal product in it. My youngest could care less, and that is fine with me.

I haven't made a big deal about it with my extended family. I told my mom first, and she was pretty great. I was surprised she didn't freak out too much. Mom even sent me an article she read about dairy products being a possible cause to cancer. Wow. Mom made me a special dish for dinner on Christmas. When I go over there for dinner, Mom will try to have something for me to eat, and if she doesn't, she's totally cool if I go down the street to hit up the salad bar at the grocery store.

It gets a little more difficult at my husband's family. They don't get it, and I can deal with that. I just hate feeling like I'm the family freak now. My husband picked me up from work this afternoon and we went straight to his parents. Everyone decided to order in Chinese food. When they were counting how many people to feed, I mentioned I wouldn't be eating the combo meal. My husband was actually great. He went through the menu and found a vegetable lo mein with rice noodles. His sister asked me if I couldn't just take the meat out of a dish and that's when I felt like I was being a pain to everyone. I don't want to be difficult. If I had known we were going to have dinner there, I would have been more prepared. I don't want everyone else to feel put out because I choose to eat differently. It's my choice. I'm choosing to be healthy. I'm choosing to make less of an impact on the earth. I'm choosing to be kind to animals.

I wonder what it seems like to everyone else. Am I a pain? Do I sound like the kid who is a picky eater? I guess I have become a picky eater in a way--although I prefer to think of it as being a conscious eater. I am more aware of what I am eating and where it comes from. Does that make me the annoying freak? I hope not, especially since I did share my lo mein! And my sister-in-law let me know where I could find some good soy ice "cream" too.