Weekend Reading: That One Time I Committed Suicide

how old do you have to be to buy Clomiphene Buying a house was one of the first things Kristin and I did when we decided that we were almost ready to start a family. However, trust me, when I say this, it was quite an arduous task to do! Let me tell all my readers beforehand that if you are in the mood to buy a new house, then instead of doing all the burdensome tasks all by yourself, seek the help of professional real estate agents, which in our case, we did not take.

That is why it took us almost a month or so to find the house that would be to our liking. Only if we had contacted a real estate agent, we could have perhaps found a better deal. Who knows we could have found the best deal in places like Rhode Island and settled there peacefully as most new home buyers do.

However, we did not, so, there is no point in talking about it repeatedly! Anyway, I should come back to the topic. After months of searching, we found a house that was perfect. Perfect. Only… well, there was only one bathroom. And the kitchen was terrible and dark and small and there was no dishwasher. And there was no shower in the upstairs bathroom, only a tub. I mean, I am not asking for something special like walk in baths (crafted for improving the accessibility of the less abled) but for an ordinary bathroom fixture. But even that was not there. Only a tub was available. Moreover, there was no laundry room; even worse was the sparkly, asbestos, popcorn ceiling.

While looking at the house, the part of me that was raised by a contractor, came out in full force. Trust me that was visible in my behavior. I wanted to have the walls painted without any flaws, especially without any visible lumps, which is why I thought that I need to talk to painters near me.

Other than the abovementioned demand, I had a few questions on my mind. Terrible kitchen? My dad can help us tear a wall or two out and expand. No 2nd bathroom? We’ll put one in the basement. It’s not impossible, plenty of people do it. All you’d really need is the time and the right Wetroom Design service to get supplies from. And so on through the list of deficiencies until we hit the popcorn ceiling. I had an answer for that one, too. “Oh, I have an aunt and uncle who had to remove that stuff themselves. They said it was a pain, but it’s possible. We’ll just take it down ourselves.”

Fast forward 2 years. We’re actively trying to conceive our first child and Kristin, the bio mom-to-be, has decided that she will absolutely NOT bring a new baby home to the toxic stew that is our popcorn-ceilinged home. I, on the other hand, have just about had enough of remodelling (and we hadn’t even done the kitchen yet) and had grown fond of the asbestos stars winking at me as I lay in bed at night. Plus, I’d done some more reading on just what, exactly, it would take to get the stuff down. I was not looking forward to the adventure. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on just why I was so reluctant, though.

Turns out I have a bit of claustrophobia. Claustrophobia that expressed itself in a gigantic problem when I was in all the protective gear and the giant gas-mask-like thing needed to keep the asbestos fibers out of my lungs. It was summer. It was hot and muggy in our plastic-lined house. The plastic jumpsuit was clinging to me, and the air I was breathing in was the same temperature and humidity as the air I was breathing out. I became absolutely convinced that I wasn’t getting any fresh oxygen.

Now, Kristin and I had been sure, sure, that it would only take one session in all the gear to get the stuff down off the ceilings in our entire house. After all, it comes off super easy when you spray it with water. It should have taken no time at all. So we only bought 1 set of disposable protective gear for each of us. Stupid stupid stupid.

So, I’m in the gear, in the toxic area. There’s wet and cumpled asbestos everywhere. Kristin’s working at getting the stuff down off the ceiling and I’m just standing there, trying to breathe. I keep thinking about how I wanted to just paint over the stuff to seal it in. I had decided that living with painted bumpiness was the best way to safeguard everyone’s health, instead of stirring up this kind of stuff in an effort to remove it. I was being rational and Kristin was being the completely irrational one with her desire to REMOVE the asbestos instead of sealing it up.

I sat there, breathing faster and faster, convinced that I was suffocating. So I did the only rational thing that could be done. I pulled off my mask and protective head gear and took several big, deep breaths of the fetid (but slightly cooler) fibrous air. After all, I was dying anyway, what difference the method?

That’s when Kristin looked over at me and noticed that I was breathing in asbestos air. “PUT YOUR MASK BACK ON!” she yelled at me. Of course I could barely hear her what with the mask she was wearing over her own face. But my words, unfortunately, were quite clear.

“I HATE this. I didn’t want to do this in the first place and now I’m going to die. I’m going to die anyway. I said we should just paint the stuff, we should have just painted the stuff! If you want to keep doing this, fine. But I’m going somewhere I can die in peace!” And I stormed out of the room and into the air lock we’d created out of plastic. Where I divested myself of the protective gear and threw it away. Through the airlock I could see Kristin staring at me incredulously. She couldn’t believe that I just left her there to do this all by herself. I should mention here that Kristin is only 5 foot 2 inches tall. She couldn’t even really reach the ceiling, even using the step ladder that we’d bought for the occassion. But I did. I left her there, and she began scraping at the ceiling with a scraper attached to a big stick, paper-mache-like clumps of toxicity falling down onto her head. Serves her right, I thought. If I was dying the least she should have to suffer was getting thumped on the head with wet, gray, stinky pulp. When she came out of there and found me dead from asbestosis and suffocation then she’d be sorry that she prioritized smooth ceilings over my health.

A few gulps of less-humid, non-asbestos-tainted air and my head began to clear and my heart began to slow down. And then I felt really really dumb. I felt like a complete asshole. I WAS a complete asshole. How could I do that? Had I gone completely insane? So I rinsed off, got dressed, and drove back to the home repair store and bought several changes of protective clothing and mask filters for both of us. And then I drove home to apologize to my wife (who, by the way, was really, really angry at me, the kind of anger that is cold, and I deserved all of it.)

Working in short shifts, taking breaks to talk myself through my panic attacks over the air thing, and leaving the enclosure entirely when I had to, we managed to get all the asbestos off the ceilings and cleaned up and properly disposed of. And our ceilings look wonderful. But still, that little endeavor nearly cost me my marriage even as it was a beginning step to expand our family.

I’m relating this story in part because of J’s post on stress (this was definitely one of the most stressful things about trying to add to our family, and yet oh so important to us to do) but also because I’ve been thinking about remodelling a lot. Kristin and I are almost done with our house projects. In fact, we’re so close to done that we’re going to focus on the yard this year instead of the house. But Tex and Blondie are going in full force with their kitchen remodel (after just completing a bathroom remodel). And Oz at The Bean Blog not only just completed a really cool project, but is also about to embark on a bathroom/bedroom remodel project that makes my own bathroom endeavors look like the equivalent of putting up wallpaper. And, of course, there’s Estelle’s sun room addition from last December that still has me in knots of envy.

I’ll bet there’s others of you out there doing remodels and construction projects. If you are, leave it in the comments and we’ll all come over and ooh and aaah at your war stories and pictures.

No Comments

  1. Hi.
    Sorry Trista, to hijack your post with this, but we’ve moved our blog (Making Cakes the Hard Way) to so thought we should ask you to update our link.
    Thanks everso!

  2. If you had been MY partner and left me in with that asbestos… well, I’ll just say that Kristin is a more forgiving woman that I am. 🙂

    Of course, there was that time when we bought our house, tore out everything, including the lovely faux wood paneling, and decided to hang drywall ourselves. Then when it came time for the fun sanding of the drywall (post-taping), I did that for a bit and then decreed THAT WAS IT and I would not do it ANYMORE. Leaving my partner to that pain-in-the-ass job. But that was completely different.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.