Nothing Can Be Perfect

Not such a charm, after all. Every day that I’ve been in this rental, I’ve had the doors and windows wide open. It smells new, so I’ve taken precautions to air it out. After three nights, I finally mustered the energy to hang towels in the bedroom window to block the morning light and then didn’t open the window because I didn’t want the towels to fall… This coincided with a weather change and, because of the rain, I kept the other windows closed. It also coincided with my husband discovering a hornet nest under the eaves, so I started keeping the front door closed. This is all to explain what led to my perfect home away from home becoming an off-gassing cesspool.

I lay in bed, breathing the chemical fog, trying to sleep, trying to convince myself I was imagining it. The next day I told my husband, if I didn’t know better, I’d think I was coming down with a cold. My nose was all stuffed up and running at the same time, one ear was clogged, my eyes and throat were sore(er). That night, I couldn’t sleep in the bedroom. Did I reach some sort of chemical threshold? Or was this simply because the windows had been closed? After choking for an hour, I dragged everything to the couch: doubled over duvet on the bottom for my aching bones, pillow, sheets, top blanket and duvet… so much work for me, especially at 2am. An hour later, after being woken up every few seconds by rain hitting what sounded like a metal pail somewhere… Drip drip drip… Like torture every time I drifted off… I got up and put in ear plugs. At 4am, after waking up every time I moved because this couch is basically like concrete, I crawled into the bedroom, got an unwieldy camping mattress and wrestled it under the folded over bottom duvet. At 430am, I stumbled into the kitchenette and put duck tape over the blue clock lights on the oven and the microwave. At 5am, I turned off the porch lights that were keeping me awake. At 7am, I woke up from the morning sun through the window. Dear lord.

I asked the landlord about the IKEA wardrobes in the bedroom, knowing that I had bad reactions to my own IKEA wardrobe for so long and, sure enough, they are brand new a week before I got here.


View from this rental's door

So, I’ve gone a little backwards. Two nights on the couch and a week steeped in chemical off-gas, I don’t quite feel as stable. I’m exhausted, heart palpitations started yesterday and I continue to have the cold symptoms above the neck and the flu symptoms below. I’m still going home today. I’m going to keep a segregated box of stuff separate that I don’t bring into the house in case I crash and burn and need to leave again. But, man oh man, am I excited to see my boys and sleep in my own bed. Fingers crossed that I can climb back up to where I was a month ago.


6 thoughts on “Nothing Can Be Perfect

  1. kneillbc says:

    I KNOW you will climb back up there!!! You’ eh done it once, so you know it will happen again.

    I know I said it in my comment on your previous post- but knowing how bad off-gasses are for you makes it that much more important! If you can possibly afford it (time to call your relative who is flush, or do a crowd sourcing- I’d toss a few bucks in for ya!), and get one of those BlueAir filters- I promise, you won’t regret a penny of the cost. I have made a sanctuary in my bedroom- when I’m in here with the doors closed- someone can be eating the most allergy-inducing hellish food, and I won’t smell or react to it. When the smoke from the forest fires got bad last summer, I stayed in my room for 3 days- and we have an electrostatic filter on the central air. If I left my room, I thought I was stepping into a campsite, the smell was that obvious. Enough recommendations- of course, you have to do what’s right for you. I’m sure you get enough unsolicited advice as I do, although I’m sure you are an angel, and it never ticks you off like it does me! 😉 the last thing you need is someone saying ‘you should do this, you should do that’. I won’t do it again.

    I am so, so sorry that you’re still feeling awful. It’s been two weeks for me, and I was feeling better for a couple of days, but now I’m down again fighting a secondary infection. Hang in there, Liz. It will do you a world of good to be home. I know you can take care of yourself, but there are times when being taken care of really makes a difference- even if it’s just to come in and check on you! The power of the mind in healing is so very, very important. This move should be good for your soul, if nothing else.

    Hang in there.



    • Karen, I am actually one of the few who welcomes advice. You never know when something someone suggests will help, so thank you. I should have listened to you (and my husband) years ago. While I was gone, he cleaned every inch of my room and removed all the furniture, books and clothes. The dogs are now forbidden upstairs and I have a bedroom sanctuary with air filter and dehumidifier. I really REALLY miss cuddling in bed with my dogs, though. Although, you’re right, it is very good for my soul to be able to go downstairs to see them.

      I’m sorry you’re struggling with an infection! You’re a very generous cheerleader when you’re going through your own difficulties. You hang in there, too! I really appreciate your comment. X

      P.S. I forgot your password, so I can’t read your blog. Would you email it to me? Akaemilo at gmail.


      • kneillbc says:

        I’m so glad your husband did that- it took me a while to get used to a book-less bedroom, but it does feel like a ‘safe room’ for me. Did he go out and get one of the Blue Air or HEPA ones? They’re way too big, and way too loud, but they do the job SO well. You’ll get used to cuddling the pooch downstairs, and have to suffice with a freshly washed (zero fragrace) hubby to cuddle instead. Fortunately, mine is a touch furry, so he makes a soft cuddly. 😉

        The address of my blog is:, The password is my initials: KEWN. I don’t mind putting it here, because I figure anybody who is reading this ‘deep’ into your blog may well be interested in mine, and while I haven’t made it public, I have no true expectation of privacy either, if you know what I mean? I’ve been feeling much clearer-headed lately now that I’m on fewer narcotics, so after Halloween, my next task us to go through and pull a few names and details to protect the privacy of others, and then I will open it to the public. Part of it is that my story fits what the media is focusing a lot on lately, and that’s gaps in the healthcare system. So, if it’s a public blog, and somebody in the media reads it, I need to be in a space where I can deal with that. I have a few friends in the media, and it can’t really tell them to hold back their stories after I make my blog public…ya know.

        I think that you’re very generous with your ‘cheerleading’ too. After all, as much as our loved ones understand what we are going through, it’s different to communicate with someone who has either been there or is there now. We can support each other, and all be the better for it.

        Hope the clean environment helps!!!


        Liked by 1 person

  2. currankentucky says:

    Enjoy being home and meditating in your space, relaxing in your space and yes, you will climb back up. Love and hugs to you. x


  3. Enjoy the new sanctuary. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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