And, I’m panicking…

Ever since we moved our horses to the ranch (very early in the pre-buying process), Jeremiah and I have been talking about, finally, being able to entertain large numbers of people.  For the first time in our married life, we finally feel like we have the space to have big get-togethers.

A few weeks ago, in my eternal optimism, I decided that we would definitely be moved back in by the middle of October.  (I have no idea why I thought that, but I did…)  With that in mind, I decided we should hold a bonfire/housewarming at the end of October.  You know, really celebrate moving back in after all of the set backs and “rug pulled out from under our feet” moments along this crazy ride.  And what’s not to celebrate?  We are, after all, moving onto our dream property.  Our horses are there!  Eggs are fresh every day!  I have little ponies!  I’m taking care of llamas who I have LOVED since I was a teenager!  This place, and everything it is and can be, is amazing and beautiful and a huge gift to our lives.

I figured we could have a lot of our projects done by then.  We could be moved back in.  All would be more settled and right with the world.

But, the thing is, we’re not actually moved back in yet.   And, the more I think about it, the more I have no idea why I thought we would be.

So that started me thinking.  (I should not be allowed to do that…)

It’s going to get cold soon.  In fact, the cold settled in for a bit over the last few days.  Thus far, it hasn’t gotten cold enough to require turning on the heat in the big house, but it will.  (And never mind heating a house I don’t live in…)  Once it does, we won’t be able to vent out the house like we have been; since we moved out, it has been shut up a few times, and each time the mothball smell and mold issues came back like a raging flood.  Jeremiah and I can’t even really work in there when the house is not venting.  There is pretty much no chance we can consider moving back in, with the cold, until we can bring Serv-Pro in to clean up the basement.

And while we’re on the subject of things I’m vaguely panicked about, I’ve had Jeremiah’s truck for several weeks while he’s been running around God’s Half Acre with my car.  And suddenly I’m realizing how much it costs us to keep the vehicles running back and forth to the ranch every day.  (I think it’s around 10-15 dollars a day for the truck…)  I could do the math, but I really don’t want to.  I am pretty sure that amount would more than pay for our hay for the winter though…

Oh, and speaking of panic, the snow is coming guys.  According to the Farmer’s Almanac, who totally nailed their predictions last year, the snow in my area is going to be another snowmageddon…  Last year, going back and forth during the worst of the winter was pretty bad.  There were times when the roads were so bad that it took over an hour to make the twenty minute drive to the ranch.  We were hauling water from one barn to the other, coming out multiple times a day to knock ice off the horses (who didn’t want to go into their nice, bedded stall with the heat lamp), and the only thing that made all of that ok was the knowledge that we wouldn’t have to do that routine from the Heights again.  And, it seems, maybe we will.

last year knocking the ice off of Vinny...
last year knocking the ice off of Vinny…

And, so, I’m panicking a bit over here.

I think I’ll go breathe into a paper bag now…

 

 

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The one where we moved in and then moved back out again…in less than a week.

I spent the morning riding a 17.3hh Friesian Sport horse.  It was a nice change of pace to do something purely for the enjoyment of it, not because it had to be done.  My lesson went exceedingly well, and I left feeling positively gleeful.  That was also a nice change.

The past few days have involved a lot of…erm…poo…hitting a really big fan…metaphorically speaking.  (Probably literally as well, but that’s just life in a barn that runs fans.  We don’t like to think about it too much.)

August 22nd marked the first night actually sleeping at the ranch.  (If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been posting so much, that’s why.)  Over the past week, we have been nearly frantic with packing, then unpacking, painting and cleaning, and, of course, all of the things that we have to do every day to keep the animals happy and the farm running.  Our moving day began with a massive thunderstorm, then progressed into one of the hottest, most humid days of the summer.

And that was the good part.

After moving to the ranch, Jeremiah and I started to get ill.  First, I blamed my allergies.   My eyes were itchy.  I was sneezy.  (Incidentally, “Sneezy” is one of Jeremiah’s nicknames for me; I call him Grumpy in return.)  I had a vaguely sore throat.  Jeremiah had a headache.

Allergies, right?

But then it got worse.  I was fatigued.  I had stabbing pains in my abdomen.  My eyes went from itchy to burning (as in, I couldn’t even wear my contacts).  My sore throat became almost unbearable.  Jeremiah’s headache progressed from mild to near-migraine.  We both started having respiratory problems.

Turns out, the house has some issues.  We discovered the first issue when Jeremiah went downstairs to light a pilot light in the water heater.  To get to it, he had to make his way through one of the rooms with the previous owners’ belongings.  When he did, he discovered that the downstairs bedrooms have some serious mold going on.  That would explain my increased allergies.

The next day, when his mother came over and commented on the moth ball smell in the house, Jeremiah explained that moth balls are all over the place in the house, and that we had been removing them as we cleaned upstairs.  However, there are tons of them in the basement as well; we can’t remove them until the previous owners’ belongings move out.

She started thinking.

About an hour later she sent the two of us a text explaining the effects of moth ball poisoning.  Actually, it’s naphthalene poisoning, but you get naphthalene poisoning from moth balls, so moth ball poisoning.  Turns out, our symptoms read like a checklist of the early effects of exposure to naphthalene.

Did you know that moth balls are incredibly toxic?  Yeah…me either.

They can make you very sick if you breathe the vapor they produce as they break down.  They are also highly carcinogenic.  They can burn your retinas.  They can cause cataracts.  Turns out, they can even put you in a coma (but I’m pretty sure you would have to stir them up in your tea for that to happen).  Either way, nasty stuff.  If you have kids or pets, you probably shouldn’t have moth balls, and if you choose to use them, make sure that they are in a sealed container, like a garment or blanket bag.

But I digress…

Once my mama-in-law sent over that information, we started packing up (again).  Let me tell you, repacking household items only days after you had unpacked them is depressing.  I have no words really.  The first thing we did was load our pups into the car and take them to my mom’s place.  Tomorrow, I will bring them back to the Heights house, as we are temporarily set up again over there, but for the last day and a half they have been having a sleep over.  After that, we packed up the necessities and high tailed it back to the other house.

There is a plan in action to clean up the mold and the moth balls, so this is far from permanent, but for the time being, we’re back to managing the ranch from across the river.

This sort of thing is often referred to as a bump in the road.  Over the past few days, our road has gotten pretty darn bumpy.

The good news?  (And there is A LOT of good here.)

First, we figured this out RIGHT AWAY.  Long term exposure to either the mold or the moth balls can cause pretty nasty damage, so it is a huge blessing that we figured those things out when we did.  Props to Jeremiah’s mama for putting two and two together.  (Also, in case you were wondering, we’re both way better now; it took about 12 hours of being moved out of the house for pretty much all of our symptoms to go away.)

Second, we weren’t fully packed up, and a lot of what we unpacked can stay until this is remedied.

Third, we hadn’t moved any of the small critters.  The cats and hedgehogs were still in the Heights.  The moth balls could have caused serious problems for our hedgies delicate respiratory systems, so it’s fantastic that they won’t move in until this is cleared up.

The cats last night.  I think they were pretty happy to have us home.
The cats last night. I think they were pretty happy to have us home.

Fourth, even though it made us sick, living at the ranch gave us a bunch of time to get stuff done.  Half of the upstairs is newly painted.  The exterior of the house is about a quarter painted.  We got a bunch of cleaning done.

The house before Jeremiah started his work on it.
The house before Jeremiah started his work on it.
Slightly different angle on the same part of the house yesterday.
Slightly different angle on the same part of the house yesterday.

Finally, we both got a good taste of what it is like to wake up and be able to meander up to the barn to take care of the animals.  No drive.   No rush.  Bliss.  Even with all that has happened, I cannot wait for the day we can do that every morning.  I just have to get past a few bumps in the road first.

(SNEAK PEAK: Our fourth wedding anniversary is coming up in a few days.  I cannot wait to introduce you to…ummm…I mean show you…my present.  Stay tuned.)