So evidently the valve that sends water from my pipes to my refrigerator has been leaking for about a year and a half. Not gushing, mind you. I would notice gushing. Dripping instead, and one drop every six seconds to be exact (I’ve counted). You can’t hear dripping like that, not amongst the noises of a stovetop, a dishwasher, and the normal chatter of a normal household. That’s what I tell myself. And though I also tell myself I should have known something was wrong—very, very wrong—I counter by asking who in the world makes it a habit to look behind their refrigerator?
Ten drops of water per minute for 547 days.
Know how many drops that is all together? Almost eight million.
Know what eight million drops of water can do to those parts of your home you can’t see? Grow the sort of mold that resembles something out of the X-Files. Scary mold that kills people.
And apparently, it’s now everywhere in my home.
I called The Guys (there are always Guys, those who make their living solving most every problem one can have, even X-Files mold). They came over the other evening to check things out in the deep recesses of Casa de Coffey. They were polite, almost sorry they had to be there. I was sorrier. They spoke in soft tones and carried Buck knives on their belts. Almost every Guy I’ve ever known has carried a Buck knife on his belt.
They took air samples and pictures, showed me what was happening. Asked if we’d had any recent health issues. They brought in an air scrubber that hums with all the stealth of a jet liner and said to keep it running every day all day.
Guy 1 and Guy 2 took turns relaying the bad news. Two walls would have to come down. Cabinets and floors would have to be replaced. A quarantine zone would have to be put up, which meant we’d have to go elsewhere to live.
“As far as cost goes…” Guy 1 looked at his boots. I looked at Guy 2, who had suddenly taken a great interest in the painting on the wall beside him. I’ll admit that was the moment my palms began to sweat. “…well, it won’t be inexpensive. I can’t give you a number until we get the air samples back. But it’ll be okay. We do this all the time.”
It’ll be okay.
We do this all the time.
The Guys left with the promise they’d get in touch once the lab finds out exactly what sort of poison we’re all inhaling. A nice thought, that.
Normally in such circumstances—as if such circumstances could ever be thought of as normal—I would be freaking out. Big time. But I’m not, at least not yet. Mostly because of what else happened around here the day we found our creeping mold.
Stand on our back deck and turn your head to the left and you’ll see some woods, beyond which lie the western half of town. That’s where the tornado hit. Hurling and destroying and whipping and gnashing through neighborhoods and farms and leaving behind a scene that one would literally take your breath away.
Just on the other side of the railroad tracks live one Amish family in particular. Their house burned the day after Christmas. No injuries, but most everything else was lost. True to the Amish way, relatives and strangers from as close as next door and as far away as Ohio showed up to rebuild everything. It was quite a scene, one that made the front page of the paper. The sort of story that made you feel good inside.
Now, just a few months later, their farm gets hit by a tornado. The new house is damaged, but not nearly as badly as the grove of oaks that ring it.
The mother and father were on the news tonight. Standing on their front porch, he with his long beard and she in her homemade dress. Smiling as they answered questions that bothered us all.
The mother answered for them both when she said, “God is good.”
Yes, that’s what she said. God is good, despite it all.
My family and I are making plans to find a place to stay for a while. Insurance won’t cover the cost (seepage, they said, which seems to be a fancy word for You’re On Your Own). We’ll have to take a loan out for the repairs.
It’ll be okay. That’s what The Guys said. I believe that. Trouble comes to everyone uninvited. It barges in and kicks up its feet and announces that it’s going to stay awhile. It says, “What do you think now?”
When it does, I’ll give the Amish mother’s answer.
“God is good.”