The humidity is cloying. The daytime high today is predicted as 32C, the humidex will be much, much higher. In this type of heat and humidity my only option is to sit very still, not moving, not generating any additional heat. The keyboard and my eyes are my only source of distraction! Two more days, only two more days and the temperature should drop!
Little House in the City
The visit to the little house in the city last weekend was an eventful one. It was a rare two day weekend, and began with the drive down on Friday night.
“Health is not valued till sickness comes.”
Dr. Thomas Fuller
1654 – 1734
It has been hot, and humid. Attila, in his attempt to control the effects of Hogweed, has been wearing clothing to protect his skin from the sun. This is almost unbearable, as his job is very physical, he works out of doors, and he sweats profusely during heat waves. By Saturday night the itching was so intense that sleep was impossible. Off we went to the hospital emergency, at 2:30 a.m.
After returning home to wait for the call to pick up Attila at the hospital, I fell into a fitful sleep, fully dressed and ready for action. Sometime after 4:00 a.m. Attila, who had walked home from the hospital, gently called my name. He had received a shot, had a prescription for Prednisone, and had a new diagnosis. Our GP had told him he had a yeast infection, which may be true, but none of the remedies we tried for yeast infections had the least bit of an effect on his skin.
The hospital doctor told Attila that he is suffering from Eczema. Attila slept till late in the morning; a peaceful sleep, free of that overwhelming itching. While he slept I perused the internet for remedies for Eczema. With a bit of information under my belt, I headed for the drug store to fill the prescription for Prednisone, and to search for a treatment for Attila’s irritated skin.
The solutions at the drug store were expensive! Considering the considerable spread of the rashes that were afflicting Attila, the off-the-shelf solutions would have cost a small fortune.
Undaunted, I headed for the local grocery store. There I purchased a jar of pure coconut oil, cooking grade, and a bottle of sunflower seed oil. Both of these were word of mouth recommendations for the treatment of Eczema.
As soon as Attila was up for the day, we gently washed the affected areas of his skin, and applied a generous amount of coconut oil. Within hours the rash began to look as if it was abating. Attila began the regime of applying coconut oil to the affected areas as soon as they seemed dry or flakey. By Monday night there was clear evidence of healing.
We don’t know to what extent the relief is due to Prednisone, and what is due to coconut oil. But the coconut oil is the remedy of choice for the moment, for his Eczema.
Attila faces real challenges at the moment. Skin affected by Hogweed MUST be kept away from sunlight. Eczema benefits from exposure to sunlight. He has to experiment with his clothing to try to maximize protection from (hogweed) and exposure to (eczema) the sunlight.
I can state with authority that severe itching can temporarily alter a persons personality. Attila has not been himself for a few weeks, becoming increasingly irritable as his inner resources have been worn down by the insidious itch and severe rashes. On Sunday, after the Prednisone had kicked in, and the coconut oil had relieved most of the itching, he bounced back, and became his old self again.
We cannot buy coconut oil where we live in the country. So, I returned to the grocery store, near the little house in the city, and stocked up on jars of coconut oil!
We might try the sunflower seed oil another time. But right now Attila is going to be using what works, not that he has found coconut oil.
Although Attila was suffering over the weekend, it did not slow him down! On the visit to the little house in the city he managed to cut the lawn, a big job on a double lot, and to work on the bathroom.
In order to insulate and install vapour barrier on the external wall of the bathroom, the tub had to be removed. We had thought to keep the existing tub, but once it had been lifted out of place it became obvious that its days were numbered and that our efforts would be much more rewarding if we put in a new tub.
So, instead of attending the music festival that we had been looking forward to, we bit the bullet, and visited the nearby Home Depot to purchase a new tub. It was a challenge getting that new tub into our car, I can tell you! Attila ended up removing some of the packing materials to finally get it in. I sat knees to chest, cramped into the passenger seat, on the journey home with the tub. It was worth the discomfort to have all the materials needed to proceed with the bathroom renovation.
Attila managed to get the old tub out all by himself. I am useless when it comes to carrying heavy objects in confined spaces, too much twisting involved for my back. The old metal tub was pulled out, then dragged to the front door, thrown out onto the front lawn, and finally carried to the back porch where it will be stored until we figure out how to dispose of it.
When the old tub came out the true extent of previous failed renovations became all too evident. The layer of plywood over the floor planks, was rotted through in places and blackened with mould. It was truly disgusting. When Attila removed most of that layer of plywood, we discovered a strip of orange shag carpeting by the door, that had been underneath the plywood “subfloor”. And the original linoleum tiles were still there. But the really disgusting thing about the tiles was that their surface was WET, and had been for years! They were badly damaged and will have to be replaced.
The heating vent in the bathroom had been covered over by the laminate flooring, and was exposed when the plywood came out. Why anyone would block a heating vent is beyond my imagination!
Attila installed three new studs to support the cement board that will be installed around the tub. Drill bits for the electric drill made this task simple. On my last lone trip to the little house in the city I did not have an electric drill with me to install studs, and although Terra lent me her drill for a short while, the studs could not go in until the tub came out.
When I next return to the little house in the city by myself I will be attempting to remove the bathroom tiles and use aqueous oxygen to clean the mould left behind. I would also like to tackle the task of insulating the exterior wall and installing the vapour barrier.
There will be no tub available on my next lone visit to the little house in the city. The only functioning fixture in the bathroom is the toilet, and that is something to be grateful for!
In the meantime, the bathroom faucet still leaks constantly when the water is turned on. For the moment a large plastic tote is placed strategically underneath the tap to capture the water, which will be used to water the garden. The water is turned on only during visits to the little house in the city.
The Country House
The deck project continues at the country house. The deck was cleaned with wood cleaner last week, and is quite dry after the weekend of sunny weather. We found old oil based wood stain, and although the colour is not a perfect match, it will do. The acrylic based stains are useless, in my opinion. Within two years the acrylic product has peeled in some areas and is completely worn away in others.
The heat and humidity prevent me from exerting myself; there would be health risks for me to overdo during a heat wave, at my age. Attila is amazingly unaffected by the heat and humidity. So, he decided to begin staining the deck yesterday evening. It was after 10 p.m. when he finally called it a night, and by then had most of the first coat applied. He worked in cloud of mosquitoes. Attila plans on finishing the first coat on the deck right after he comes home from work. I will have a tall cold drink and supper waiting for him when he is finished!
I worked yesterday, a surprise offer of a six hour shift; well worth the travel time. The office where I worked is air conditioned, so the day was comfortable and passed quickly.
The country house does not have central air conditioning, nor does the little house in the city. The window air conditioner at the country house has not been installed, and thus far we are managing without it. The windows are wide open as long as the outdoor temperature is lower than the indoor temperature. When outdoor temperature rises to the same temperature as indoors, the windows and blinds are closed. The house remains relatively cool for the rest of the day. This method of temperature control is only effective when it cools down at night, which has been the case during this heat wave.
The day has been hot and humid. I sit quietly in the darkened living room, windows and blinds closed against the heat, with the fan aimed at my chair, a tall glass of water by my side, moving as little as possible so as not to overheat. I am thinking of Attila, working in the heat of the sun on such a day, and I am grateful for what little physical comfort I am able to enjoy on such day.
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Wind: W 9 km/h
“Thy modesty’s a candle to thy merit.”
Henry Fielding, Tom Thumb the Great (1730), Act I, scene 3, line 8.