Monday, March 28, 2016

Doing the Best I Can: March Updates

It's been a while since I posted an update for you guys, so while I have some free time (and by "free time" I mean waiting for a response so I can actually start working on a project), I thought I'd do a little writing here.

First, I know you are all dying to know what's new in the Mold Saga. Unfortunately, it's not good news. Our apartment was inspected and it was found that one of the windows is actually leaking, causing a significant buildup of moisture on the windowsill and the floor below. They didn't find moisture in the bathroom in our bedroom, but that's probably because we stopped using it. Basically, although the inspector recommended installing exhaust fans and replacing the windows, the owner said no. We were told to just leave the doors open while we shower (which we were already doing, in addition to hanging our wet towels outside the bathroom to dry) and to wipe off any condensation on the windows. Meanwhile, we all continue to be sick and poor Copper has been wearing the "cone of shame" for a week and a half now. I have contacted a lawyer and am waiting to see if we have a case to sue the owner over this. If not, then we're stuck with our moldy apartment until December when our lease is up.

My poor baby! We did buy her a "comfy" cone that's a little softer (and reusable). But every time we take it off, she immediately starts scratching her face. :(

Remember way back when I said I was giving up bananas and avocados since they can be cross-reactive in people with latex allergies? Well I gave up bananas for almost a month. Then I had one banana every day for three days in a row. I noticed zero changes except remembering that I'm really burnt out on bananas and I enjoyed not eating one every day. I gave up avocados for a shorter period of time, because guacamole. Again, I didn't notice any difference with or without avocados in my diet. I'm currently under a lot of stress right now with the problems in our apartment, trying to sell our house, and a lot of other stuff. I may revisit this idea in the future, but I think right now, I'm done experimenting with my diet. I'm going to continue trying to eat as healthy as I can for as cheaply as I can (with a few convenience frozen pizzas thrown in here and there), otherwise I might go insane.

I do have some good news to share, though. A few weeks back I had two job interviews. One for a job I was really interested in and the other was for a job I applied for only because I was qualified and was at a point where I just needed a job. It wasn't something I truly wanted to be doing. Well, I didn't get an offer from the one I was interested in, but I did get an offer from the other one. I initially accepted it, but around the same time, I landed a freelance writing gig. The more I did the writing and the more I realized I might have to give it up if I took a full time job, the less and less I wanted that job. If I was going to give up writing, it definitely needed to be for a job I really wanted. After crunching some numbers and deciding we could make it work, I turned down the full time job offer. I am currently writing [almost] full time and also working a part-time job. It's definitely not as much money as I'd like to be making, and it means we won't be making much progress on paying off our debt anytime soon, but I'm already much happier and feel so relieved that I don't have to take a job I don't want just for the money. I took a risk, and I'm hoping it pays off!

I've got a lot going on, some of which I may write about later in a separate post. Right now, I'm spending almost all day, every day writing and it makes me immensely happy, so I'm trying to focus on that.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Mold Saga Continues

Over the weekend I discovered mold growing on my ivy plant. Yes, the very plant I brought into my home to help eliminate the mold (in the air at least) started growing mold on it. Perhaps that’s why after the first few days in our apartment it started to droop and die. It’s now out on our balcony where I’m hoping it will perk back up. I removed all the dead and moldy leaves and removed the top part of the soil that had the mold on it. With any luck, it will start growing again soon. If not, i think I may need to throw the poor thing away. I’d love to start over with another ivy, or another type of plant altogether, but I’m guessing that if a plant that’s supposed to reduce mold starts growing mold on it, others will too. My future houseplants might just have to wait until the mold in our apartment is removed. 

On top of that, yesterday I discovered mold on my hair brush. I don’t even know what to do about that. I can buy a new hair brush, but it will inevitably grow mold too until the problem is fixed. And poor Copper gets worse and worse every day. She’s scratching at her eyes, which are red and swollen, constantly and she’s licking/chewing on her paws. Chris and I don’t feel much better. I think we both have had sore throats, headaches, and sinus congestion, and I get itchy/watery eyes and have a rash that won’t go away (it’s probably not food-related). 

It has been tough to not bite each other’s heads off lately. We’re both sick and exhausted with all of this. While our landlord/property manager has been pretty great about getting people to our apartment to fix other things very quickly (I put in a maintenance request this morning because we suddenly have very low water pressure in our shower, and someone will be out tomorrow to fix it), they have been extremely slow with the mold problem. Initially, they sent someone out right away. I think now that they’re realizing it’s going to take a lot more work (and money) than they first thought, they’re much slower to respond. I sent an email last week that was answered but my response to their email was not. I sent another this morning. Still waiting for a response on that one. I was told they have contacted several companies for quotes for the ductwork, but that’s it so far. They have yet to reply to my response that “I understand that there is more work to be done, but I’m concerned as to what will be done about the existing mold…doing the ductwork and installing exhaust fans is only going to prevent future mold from growing. It does nothing for what’s already there. Meanwhile my family and I continue to be sick from it.” 

Today’s email was a request for an update on the status of this problem and an inquiry as to when the renovations on the apartment across the hall will be completed because if it’s mold-free and has the proper ventilation and exhaust fans, we would be interested in moving. Still waiting for a response on that one.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February Recap

Copper and I walked 125-ish miles this month! That’s 20-ish more than January! (Remember, my app isn’t 100% accurate, so it might be more.) I can’t believe how much we walked! And March is off to a good start as well (thanks mostly to the nice weather). 

As far as my goals for the year go, I’ve been slacking a bit. We haven’t made any progress toward budgeting/paying off our debts because I still don’t have a full-time job. (You can read about my frustration with job hunting here.) I do have a part-time, work-from-home job that I started recently, but I’m still training and not getting regular projects yet. Hopefully once I really get started with that we’ll have some extra money to start tackling our debt. I’m also hoping to start a retail position soon, which would also be part time, to earn some extra money while I’m still looking for a full-time job. I do have a potential freelance client in the works as well, so that will be helpful too! I created an online resume/portfolio in the hopes that it will help me land a great job. Check it out and let me know what you think! Any feedback is appreciated! 

I’ve finished reading two books so far this year, but have made zero progress on writing my own book, so that’s a bummer. I need to ramp up my writing this month. We are trying to be better about eating at home more, both to save money and eat healthier. We’re not doing as great as I would like for us to do on that front, but I think after we realized just how much we spent eating out last week, we will make more of an effort to eat at home! 

For those of you following along with our Mold Saga, our problems continue. They were supposed to install exhaust fans in the bathrooms on Monday, but the electrician said there was some duct work that needed to be done prior to the installation, so he said he would let them know and then left. I haven’t heard anything since. So today I put in another work order asking about the status of the duct work/exhaust fans and also asking what will be done to remove the existing mold (because exhaust fans are only going to prevent new mold from growing). I am allergic to mold and feel like I’ve been sick since shortly after we moved here. My asthma has gotten worse, my sinuses are constantly congested, my eyes get itchy and watery, and my throat hurts almost daily. Chris has started showing similar symptoms as well (although I think he’s slightly better off since he isn’t home all day, every day like I am), and Copper licks and chews on her paws constantly, which may or may not be related to the mold. So it’s becoming a serious health issue for all of us, which I made sure to include in my work order request. 

Unfortunately, my thumb isn't as green as I had hoped and my poor English Ivy plant doesn’t look like it’s going to make it. It got really droopy in our bedroom and I thought it wasn’t getting enough light, so I moved it out to the kitchen where there’s a lot more light throughout most of the day, but it just keeps getting droopier. I also thought I was overwatering it, so I’ve lightened up on that quite a bit, but it’s still not perking back up. 

When I first potted the plant and put it in our bedroom, I noticed a big difference in how I felt almost immediately. That only lasted for a few days though. Once it started drooping, I went back to feeling crappy. I’ve tried to look online for solutions to get it to perk back up and save it, but nothing has worked, and I’m constantly reading conflicting opinions. Some articles I read seem to think ivy does better in shade or indirect light, while others say they need more sunlight. Most have said not to over-water, so I’m trying to let the soil dry out more in between waterings, but that hasn’t helped. If anyone has any experience with indoor ivy plants and has any suggestions for saving this poor guy (and me!), let me know! 

Here’s to hoping March is full of good things, like a full-time job, an offer on our house (we recently lowered the price!), and no more mold!