I started in on the basement relatively late in the day, because I wanted to enlist my daughter’s help.
We moved around some furniture. Every time furniture got moved, carpet under it got thoroughly vacuumed. I saw some big dead spiders.
The cabinets I bought at IKEA 15 years ago are very heavy pressboard and really not in good shape. I moved one right up against the wall, and then shoved the huge tomato-red steelcase filing cabinet against it, so it would stay square. Then decluttered the contents, such that remaining items are: the big purple spread my husband’s high school girlfriend crocheted for him (and can not be discarded); linens from the 1930s from China that I need to figure out what to do with; air mattresses for guests/emergencies; and a few spare throws and blankets for really cold nights and those guests/emergencies.
The other big IKEA cabinet stayed in place. It has grandmother’s beaded flapper dress, my wedding dress, my grandfather’s black silk and wool-lined Mongolian coat – these sorts of items that I can’t quite get rid of, but what am I keeping them for?
Then I moved the big brown cubby cabinet and shoved it against the wall. All the housewares that are in the basement got all taken out for review.
One set are things that I used only rarely, but want to keep: the turkey roaster, the juicer, probably the dehydrator.
Then there’s items that my parents gave me when I helped them move out of their condo a year and a half ago, that I am retaining, to give to my daughters when they establish a new household – probably to my elder daughter when she graduates from college a year from now. These are things like a complete set of dishes, various pots and pans – she has already taken a number of these items away already.
Then there’s some really nice stuff that my parents gave me from when they moved that I am not sure what to do with: crystal shot glasses, enameled plates from some place in central Europe (Czech Republic?), etc., that maybe my daughters will take, because I don’t think I’m keeping them.
Then, there was several boxes of things that belonged to my grandmother, that probably were passed on to my dad after she died in the early ‘80s. These were subsequently wrapped in newspaper and boxed up when my parents sold their suburban home and moved to their condo, in 1997. When my parents moved out of that condo fifteen years later, those items were still in the same box, wrapped in those same newspapers – I could tell by the dates on the papers. The bulk of this collection: fine champagne glasses and wine goblets that she received for her wedding. The etching on the rim matches the pattern of the china she got for her wedding, which I use on special occasions. It’s nearly burdensome to receive this, because the glass is so thin on these, you know you’ll break them if you use them. But not to use them – what good do they do sitting in newspapers? Ach.
I was in the process of sorting through putting all these items away in the cubbies, when I pulled out two orange burlap wall hangings that my mom had up on her wall in their old condo. When they were on the wall of the condo, they collected an enormous amount of dust. I had rolled them up and directly put them in a bag. I unfurled them in our basement, and all that dust flew up into the air.
Inhaling the dust did not immediately affect me. But I began to have difficulty breathing. I came upstairs and googled “shortness of breath” because this is not something I really know much about. Then I called the consulting nurse. I was on the phone with the consulting nurse and after telling her how difficult it was for me to breathe (and she could hear me gasping on the phone), and then, after telling her I was really dizzy and I didn’t think I could be upright any more, she said in this adamant voice, “You need to hang up right now and call 9-1-1”.
So I called 9-1-1. I also tried to call out for my husband, but he was as usual in his office tucked in the complete opposite side of the house, and my daughter was still in that basement room, sorting through old photos.
The nice paramedics came. They took all my vitals, determined that I was Going to Live, and said they’d take me to the hospital if I wanted. They also fetched my husband from the basement. Based on my conversation with everyone, I decided not to go to the ER. I just took a hot bath, and went to bed early.
I’m still really tired. I am not going to do anything extra-strenuous today. The basement and all its housewares still strewn around the room can wait. 1 month ago