My dad studied mushrooms. People used to send him slides of mushrooms they had photographed so he could identify them. They sent the slides in the mail. That is how people used to share images before the Internet. Before Slides and The Mail, people just kind of wondered about their mushrooms, and maybe made mental notes of random data such as whether anyone was observed to drop dead directly after eating them. I like mushrooms because they’re beautiful and/or interesting and I feel a family obligation to be an appreciator, but I don’t know their names like my dad did. I do like Shaggy Manes, with butter. My least favorite kind of mushroom is the kind that likes to eat my house.
I am mushroom-like in many ways, from my button head to the fact that I like to live in dampish places. I would be horrified to have to live somewhere hot and dry. If it’s no good for salamanders, I’m not going to like it either. Nevertheless there are drawbacks to living in a squishy climate.
Fungi have a whole kingdom to themselves (“Fungi”) and yet nevertheless have no compunction about waltzing over to your castle and eating it. You might not even know they’re doing it until your tower falls down. There were indications probably fifteen years ago in our own castle that there might be trouble in the struts, but thanks to my world-class ability to ignore difficult subjects, I was able to live a worry-free life just about up to the point a flower started growing out of my house. To my credit, I did consider that a “tell.” But that was after fifteen years of relative serenity, and you can’t put a price tag on that. Well, I couldn’t, until now. It costs ten thousand dollars.
Fungi can do a pretty expeditious job of hollowing out structures you might have been counting on. We saw a nice example of that up close and personal when one of our Adirondack chairs sprouted mushrooms along one side. It got spongey pretty quick. Still, the patio looks better with four Adirondack chairs than with just three, so out it stayed. You know those games where there’s a timer going and you’re trying not to be the one holding the bag when the buzzer goes off? We love that game. I might even have professed innocent horror when our guest finally caved in the chair, except that, if I were being honest, I’d been avoiding that chair for months.
This is how denial goes. House addition goes up in 1996. By 2000 or so, on the inside, there seems to be a crack in the timbers between the bedroom and the tower floors. A couple years later, one floor below, the baseboard separates from the wall and the wallboard looks dimply. Here’s what you do. You put it down to settling. Houses settle! You can’t expect things to stay pristine when houses are known to settle. I can look at something suspicious and say to myself: that looks suspicious. Followed by: I wonder if there are any cookies left. Followed by a stretch of peace of mind until I see the suspicious thing again. And repeat.
A few years later it looks like the clapboards on the outside of the house are warping a bit. That’s to be expected! They’re long and thin. Those are known qualities of warpable things. Yes, they’re warping mostly in a vertical plane corresponding to a long downspout, but that could just be happenstance, couldn’t it?
Then your friend points at it and says “You’ve got a water problem.” Right out loud and everything.
Then a plant grows out of the side of your house. Blooms, and everything.
The particular water problem being referenced is, in fact, that the water is inside the walls, rather than outside, where it was presumably engineered to be. In fact, during a good rainstorm, a person still struggling to maintain denial might be able to observe a particular patch of siding where water is gushing out. A spring, as it were, of life.
You really don’t want life in your walls. All the way indoors, or outdoors, that’s our motto. No intramural life.
The nice contractor man was not willing to predict a final tally. “We don’t know how bad it is until we get in there,” he murmured, thumbing through a BMW brochure.
This bad: top to bottom, rotten clear up to the tower and into it, not much holding up the house but force of habit and the spotless, untroubled mind of the eternal optimist. Breathe, have a cookie, and try not to be the one in the chair when it goes down. That’s what I say.
I kind of envy you your optimism and peace of mind. I'm the exact opposite. I can look at some minuscule problem and predict doom from it. I can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
I've read that pessimism is actually a more realistic attitude than optimism. If it is, then Reality, indeed, bites.
Pessimists invariably refer to themselves as realists. I'm more agnostic about my reality.
Ha I think I would have drawn the line at the flower growing out the siding. I too can ignore "problems".
I did draw the line there. It took me a year to get the contractor to come out.
Whoa, ten thousand dollars is a lot of cookies. I must admit to thinking that 'intramural' was that nightmare where I was stuck inside a two dimensional image.
Eww! Every time I think "intramural" I think of playing fullback in a soccer game. We didn't really learn how to play soccer. I was told to stay well back and kick the shit out of the ball whenever it came my way.
I'm sorry about your mushrooms, but, ooh, you do write well.
I'm sorry about your mushrooms too. If you have any obstreperous mushrooms, that is.
My friends, Jack & Jane in Maui ran their air conditioning constantly & it apparently couldn’t handle the stress. One day Jack came out of the condo & said to Jane, “I didn’t even know you’d planted a crop, but it’s ready for harvest.” Moisture must have been running out of the A/C vent because there were actual mushrooms growing in the carpet just below it.
Denial – not just a river in Egypt.
I too have been known to treat things with ignore. Simultaneously with worrying about other things I cannot change. Both of which are probably huge character flaws.
I wouldn't say flaw, but it ain't ideal. I have been known to worry like anyone else but it rarely lasts long. I do consider that one of the perks of being me, but it does mean things can veer out of control.
Say what now? You somehow manage to give worry the heave-ho? I would love to find a way to do that. Worry/anxiety are like malware running in the background of my brain.
…malware running in the background of my brain.
PERFECT description and I am afflicted with the same malware, unfortunately.
Honestly? I think it's my natch'l brain chemistry. It's my default wiring. Nothing I did to earn it, but I do like it. My childhood was pretty solid, nothing to have to recover from–that might have helped, too.
Is that a pelargonium?
No. It's a bleeding-heart.
Oh. Dear. OH. DEAR. Yes, denial does tend to cost money.
We had a leak in our wall that ran down the chimney and rested on the beam at the bottom. My husband would be still denying it except I kept telling him (read: nagging him, for nearly a year) that the room smelled musty. There was quite a bit of work needed there, too, once it was opened up, but not ten thousand dollars' worth. *Somebody* might have to give up cookies for awhile to help pay for that 🙂
Somebody might need extra cookies to cope with that.
I don't believe I have ever seen water damage that severe before. At least it is fixed now. Hopefully, no unwanted indoor mushrooms anymore.
Yeah. The inside. There's some mudding in my future, but I think I can handle it myself. I probably won't, anytime soon, but I can.
I’m currently ignoring the loud, unusual noise my washing machine is making during the spin cycle. I’m sure it’s due to the Polar Vortex that passed through this area last week. Things will be back to normal soon, I’m sure.
Have you accounted for the cat?
We're currently ignoring the silty orange sandy matter in our water. We have a drilled well that had served us well (ha) for almost 40 years with lovely clear clean water. We've now installed a filter – which is getting clogged up with the silty stuff in a heartbeat – so that we are changing the filter monthly instead of semi-annually as was the suggested time period. We are also telling ourselves that the fact that a lot of people The Husband has run into in Lowe's are installing water filters for wells that have previously run clear means that the problem is not a cracked casing, but rather the copious amounts of rain we've had in the past year. If it ever stops raining maybe we'll find out. And! We are also ignoring the fact that our old copper plumbing pipes that we installed 40 years ago are starting to develop pinhole leaks. Which resulted in one of those "why does that interior wall have water running down it?" moments several months ago. Have we decided to have all the copper pipe replaced? No. No we have not. We are instead waiting for the other shoe(s) to drop – and replacing bits piecemeal as problems occur. Fortunately, or (often) unfortunately, The Husband insists on doing all these sorts of things himself – so at least we're not paying a plumber.
I'm sorry. I blacked out halfway through this. You were saying?
At the time of writing (I've always wanted to say that) we are experiencing the Monsoon.
Back when I was a relatively carefree 20-something, Monsoon was the name of a trendy boutique where I shopped for trendy clothes.Now? Monsoon means flood water. Where I live, just more water than we've seen for a few months.Further north the meaning has left the standard dictionaries and has become referenced only in the Bible and possibly in clay tablets from Mesopotamia.Interested readers can ask the internet for images of Qld floods.I'm too busy sweeping the carport. Again.
And when it recedes? Oh, we will no doubt have a bumper crop of Stinkhorns.I am just glad those bastards don't grow indoors!
I've been watching the Qld floods on the news and wishing all that water was going into catchment dams (Ginormous dams) and being piped out to the rest of Australia which is sorely in need of water. I've read in the past that Queensland's annual rainfall is enough to supply the entire country with water. I do think it is harsh of mother Nature to dump a year's worth of rain in just seven days though.
My dad grew up in the desert and used to rhapsodize about the torrential downpours of only a single day and how the whole dang place flowered at once. That sounded nice. I'll take my drippiness though.
Oh dear, I do hope the rest of the house is sound. Have you had it thoroughly checked? will you get the new boards painted to match the old or will you go for a jigsaw look? I'm just glad most houses here in Australia are built of brick or stone. on the other hand, we do still get water damage if roofs are old and leaky, and rising damp in houses old enough to have been built in the days before damp proofing was invented. And we get termites who eat away the wooden frames between the brick walls.
That sounds festive! Uh, we'll paint it. Maybe in the springtime. If I get around to it. If they'd only used pre-primed shakes on top (I even had a box of them in the basement, DUH), I could put it off a lot longer…
The leaves look more like Pelargonium than Dicentra, but the flowers are so blurry on my tablet they could be from either. Beth
True dat–but I'm still holding with Dicentra formosa, from the flowers.
The Atlantic just had a most interesting article on the death cap mushroom, Amanita phalloides. There's a guy in British Columbia who is tracking the spread of this. Don't eat it. Glad you got the water issue fixed and house repairs going on. We got a new roof this year. $15K. OUCH. But the damp spot by the fireplace has gone away.
I'm not as whacked out about it as I could be, only because It Had To Be Done, just like your roof. So there's only so much boo-hooing allowed.
This winter it started to rain inside the window instead of out. Not moisture running down the window; a steady stream from the wood framing the window. Luckily, I'm renting now. I'll wait until the warm weather to break the news to my landlord. I'm sure he'll be thrilled.
Aww, MAN! Hate when it rains inside. And I like rain.
My brother, who is renting, has the same problem from the south facing window of his seventh (top) floor apartment. So do many other tenants in his and surrounding apartment blocks. Everybody has complained, Body Corporate seems to be ignoring the issue.
Until one of the windows falls in, all the tenants move out and sue BC over fungus infections or something similar. Smart building management, right?