Humidity, arg

06/23/2011

I'm from the paper age.

Urgency Day 63

500 Things Items 433-36: Paper “Sponges”

  • History: Paper clutter spreads like mold, especially when stored in damp basements
  • Value: The books have $1.95 on the covers! But I bet I paid a quarter at a library book sale; the old papers and bad photos– zip
  • Parting pain: Only in realizing how much is still left to clean out
  • Un-possessing: Donations (books); shredding (papers and photos)

It ain’t the heat, it’s the…

And it’s still my number one reason, well number two reason, why I hate summer.

Humidity, arg.

What is humidity, arg, but too much water where you don’t want it: In the air around your head, for example– which puts it in the hair around your head.

I was recently admiring the way my friend Melanie’s glorious curls were strutting their stuff on a humid morning walk. My preternaturally straight hair, on the other hand? Lank lank lank. And unsuccessfully obscured by a tugged-low baseball cap. Pretty, huh?

Besides over my goofy hair, I wage a constant battle with humidity, arg in my basement where I keep too many things (I could end the sentence here) that are vulnerable to water:

  • Pictures
  • Papers
  • Books
  • Carpeting
  • Dry wall

I have a daily summer routine of asking the Self-Contained Unit to honey-please-empty-the-dehumidifier. Yes, daily: Daily requests and daily emptying. That’s a lot of cajoling; that’s a lot of water.

We actually had a flood in our basement within the first year of living in this house. The sump pump died sometime early on a Tuesday, and wasn’t discovered until sometime late on Wednesday when Sam and I went down to the basement to retrieve a book his Aunt Donna had referenced. I’ll never forget it: Alice in Wonderland. You can’t make this stuff up.  A few steps into the quickly submerging basement, and I felt like Alice.

We then entered an actual Wonderland of absurd insurance company regulations, Cheshire Cat (now you see them, now you…) emergency water-evacuation businesses, and tangos with a pair of unstrung carpet layers from the Land of the Queen of Carpets– a mad fiefdom run by a particularly frightening woman named Nancy, who continued my strange pattern of having unnerving encounters with women named Nancy.

To my dear cousin’s wife: Not you, babe.

Every time I ask the Self-Contained Unit to empty the dehumidifier, every time I retrieve another slightly moist paperback, every time it’s dewy outside and I don’t hear the sump pump immediately switch on, I wonder: Why oh why did we finish the basement?

Today, I am downsizing from each of the above categories I am able. Unfortunately, the carpet and dry wall are affixed.

  • Pictures: One of four boxes purged of unnecessary doubles and blurry mistakes.
  • Papers: Filing cabinet cleared of 1 shopping bag worth of outdated papers to be shredded.
  • Books: Two ancient paperbacks from the “Philosophy of Science” section of my library. I know these are classics, but, with apologies to Dr. Whitehead, I’m finding that I prefer my science a little more au courant than contextual.

So, that feels great. A tiny reduction in the number of paper sponges I keep in my damp basement. And if humidity, arg is the number two thing I hate about summer, what is still number one?

Maintenance.

If only there were a dehumidifier for my vanity…

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4 Responses to “Humidity, arg”

  1. Donna Says:

    Sister mine, as you know I have great experience with damp basements — and dehumidifiers. The last time we replaced ours, we set it up with the option to keep a hose running from the machine to the sump pump well. No more emptying! The dehumidifier is set to cycle on for a certain number of hours at regular intervals and then rest for a while. (So it’s not running all the time.) Might be something to consider after the SCU departs for college.

  2. sthibeault Says:

    I know your set up well. It works great, but I’m not sure it’s replicable in my basement. We have to run the dehumidifier in the finished part and the sump pump well is at the opposite end of the basement in the unfinished part. But, as you know, I am a writer not an engineer. Nor a plumber. I am, however, clearly a Trekkie 😉

  3. melanie Says:

    The humidity, arg on the day you saw me? The “glorious curls” could take only so much, surrendered to Mother Nature and proceeded to puff in an east-to-west direction, in “glorious frizz.” I would have prefered a northern-southerly presentation such as my straight-haired sisters have. Humidty. Dang you humidity (fist pump in a northerly direction).

  4. sthibeault Says:

    I will raise my fist and fie with you!…But I still love you curls 🙂


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