Monday, January 24, 2011

Room Without a View

The view from our back windows is a pretty one. Our backyard faces out onto a school park, which slopes down into a ravine. This piece of suburban nature is home to many different species of small wildlife, and every morning this past summer I could spot the little bunny rabbit that came hopping through our fence in search of fresh vegetables (sorry bunny, no garden this past year!). In the warm weather, our windows were always open, and I could hear the children's shouts and cries in the schoolyard during recesses and lunch. Now that winter has arrived, I have still enjoyed peering out and watching the neighbourhood kids making fresh tracks down the toboggan hill.

As of late, there has been no view out our back windows. The reason for this is an extreme cold snap (-30 here today, and that's without the wind chill!) and an increase of moisture in our house. This has created an incredible amount of ice buildup on the windows, which my hubby captured beautifully yesterday morning. We have decided to "embrace" the ice.

I'm having a hard time with this level of acceptance though, as with moisture and ice comes....MOLD. I am very scared of mold. I have visions of A weezing and coughing in a hospital one day, and a doctor quietly telling me "it was the mold, Ms. Pratt. There's nothing else we can do." There is so much information about mold on the internet, but I don't really know the best way to deal with it.

Okay, the best way would obviously be to replace all the windows. But until we can pull $10,000 out of our back pockets, that's not going to happen. We're saving up right now to replace at least 3 of the windows this summer, but the rest will have to wait.

So in the meantime, I must clean the mold. I have tried Borax. It seemed to clean it up, but I wanted something that I could spray into the cracks in the wood where my cloth can't reach, and the Borax doesn't seem to be killing it. So then I turned to the dreaded chlorine bleach, but I had such a reaction from the fumes that I couldn't bring myself to use it (plus, we just read this morning that bleach is not good for getting rid of mold). So now we are just sticking to hot water and soap. But before I can even start, I have to sit at the window for 10 minutes with a hair dryer, melting all the ice so that I can get the window to even open. They're so old that the previous owners had new windows "added" to the old existing storm windows.

Oh, the joys of owning an older home. I love this house - I love it more than anywhere else I've ever lived. I don't mind that the wallpaper we have is from the 80s, or that the wall in our living room is a garish maroon, or that the light fixtures are ugly chandeliers with fake jewels dangling down, or that the floors are worn and scuffed. I don't mind the dated kitchen, or the vinyl floor, or the loose banisters. None of that matters to me, because I know that over time we'll make it "ours." But what bothers me are the damn windows, the moisture and mold, and the wastefulness of having a leaky house.

Not much we can do about it now, though, so I'm off to clean with my trusty bucket of water and soap. Wish me luck, and send me any tips you have on how to deal with household mold.

This is Danny Michel's "Snowglobe":

I follow footprints through the snow,
right down the middle of the road.
The xmas lights across the lake,
the xmas cheer, the angel cake.

The mistletoe, the candy cane,
I ride your bumper down the lame,
the panning steady cam slow-mo.
Zooms with hypnotizing flow.

Here in this perfect snow globe night,
you keep shaking my life.

The smell of fire wood and rum,
carolers sing par um puma pum.
I heard that one and one make 3,
does that mean you and us make me?

Here on this cold December night,
here on this coal black ice.
Here at the bottom of this hill,
the camera jams and tears the film.

And the sky is falling tonight.


  1. The December issue of Harrowsmith had an article about a family that went to war on mold in their house...check it out! Our basement is so damp in the summer that mushrooms grow, and laundry left sitting for more than a day grows mildew. I always just see it as part of life in an old home...wonder if I should be more vigilant? I've always lived in homes with damp basements, since I was born...

  2. check out
    not sure if they service ottawa but maybe there's something similar out there...


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