I think our dusty house may be trying to kill us.
By the time we get to the end of the winter season, when the windows have been closed more or less continuously since October, our house has dust bunnies so numerous that the president takes them off the endangered species list. Granted, that’s mostly our fault. We could be more diligent about hunting them down. It seems like such a waste of time, though, when there are still books I haven’t read, naps I haven’t taken and web sites I haven’t doinked away the afternoon poking through.
This year has been especially dusty. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve been remarkably non-diligent about cleaning. I don’t doubt that could be the case, but I’m not ready to make that admission yet. It could just be an especially bad year for dust. The cats have been shedding quite a lot. I’d feel a lot better about blaming it on them than taking responsibility of it myself. Tell me you wouldn’t do the same.
And up until now, having a dusty house hasn’t been a problem, so we haven’t wasted a lot of thought to mull over how to make it less dusty, or energy to do anything about cleaning it up. This year, though, we discovered that a dusty house is, in fact, a problem. This year it’s come to light that dust can make you really, really sick.
My Darling B ventured into the basement last weekend to clean up the room where she starts her garden vegetables under a bank of grow lights. Really, just veggies. Tomatoes and peppers. Nothing else. If this was a basement operation for growing other things people seem to be growing in there basements year-round, B’s growing area wouldn’t need a clean-up every spring to clear away the stacks of boxes, magazines and whatever else gets thrown in the basement “just for now.”
She cleared all the collected junk away first, then swept up the floor. An hour or two later she had a nasty cough. The next morning she was coughing up lung cookies. She thought it was a relapse of the chest cold she’d been suffering the week before, but the doctor she visited said her symptoms sounded like an allergy, and she she asked B what she’d been doing right before the coughing started and B told her, the blame fell on the dust.
Kay. That made sense, given that we already know our house is infested with dust bunnies and that B got the hacking ickies last year at about this time. First thing I did the night she got back from the doctor’s was change the furnace filter because I don’t know when I did that last. Probably last fall, but maybe a year ago. Maybe more. I always forget to write the date on the side of the filter. Didn’t forget this time, though.
And after summer I vacuumed the basement stairs where some of the biggest dust bunnies have been hanging out. It’s been live and let live up to this point, but I have to draw the line when they keep My Darling B up nights.
Then today when we did our housecleaning today we vacuumed and wiped and dusted like maniacs. And B’s been looking for a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter, a high-priced acronym meaning that it’s supposed to clean all the dust out of the air and/or all the money out of your wallet.