Let’s see… the last update I wrote was back in September, when I was adventuring in Colorado and convinced I was going to permanently move out west.
A lot has happened since then.
I came back to North Carolina, refreshed and renewed, ready to take on my next projects. Within a couple days of being back at the house, I started to feel depressed, cloudy headed, and congested again. Over the previous several months, I’d slowly started feeling worse and worse… to the point of really thinking I was losing my mind. It all cleared up while I was high (pun intended) in the Colorado peaks… until I came home.
Then BAM. It hit again.
Long story short, I had the house I was renting tested for mold and it was very high in penicillium aspergillus. I looked up the symptoms for exposure and sure enough, everything I’d been feeling lined right up with the effects of mycotoxins produced by that mold. I notified the landlord, who drug his heels for two weeks before finally cleaning the AC ducts and having the house bombed for mold. In the meantime, I camped in front of the house in my RV. Parked in the street. Redneck style.
The mold bomb and duct cleaning basically did nothing, as revealed by a follow-up test. No real surprise, as the basement of the house got wet every time it rained and the home was built in the 20s. The mold has had a LONG time to grow up into the walls.
I actually got in touch with the previous tenant and discovered that she, too, became very ill from the mold. She also had the house tested and the owner did nothing. So she moved out and within a couple weeks, they moved me in (knowing the house was moldy).
In North Carolina, there are no landlord/tenant laws about mold exposure.
When I came back from CO, my plan was to just hang there for the winter and then move to CO in the spring. My lease went month-to-month in October so that seemed ideal. But then… I met someone.
And surprise, surprise, I decided maybe I wanted to hang around here for a while before jetting westward.
So I moved into another house in the same area. It’s not right in the middle of town like the last house, which is nice. I’ve got privacy, it’s more in the country. I checked my mail yesterday and saw a girl riding her horse down the road. I can hear cows mooing when I sit on my back porch. I like that. The dogs have a big fenced yard to run around in, which they *really* needed.
All in all, it’s been good. The house is big and open – it’s nice to have lots of space. I put up a Christmas tree… for the first time in my adult life. I decorated it all in sparkly pink and gold ornaments.
But what about Colorado?
Colorado will always be my summer spot. I think I’m going to go to Montana in the late spring so I can bike through Glacier National Park before the roads open to vehicles… then maybe I’ll do a second trip to Colorado in the late summer. The reality is that western North Carolina is beautiful, and the winter weather here is much more forgiving than it is in Colorado or Montana .
I don’t really desire to be up at 10k feet in the winter time.
For me, the time to be out west is the summer, when everything has come to life and when I can escape the heat of the southeast. I think the best plan is to have a summer home in the mountains… so that’s more of my long-term plan now.
The other reality is that I know happiness is an inside job. I must be able to create that wherever I go. The reason Colorado is so magical to me is because I truly take advantage of it when I’m out there. I force myself to find balance between working behind my computer and adventuring outside. There’s so much beauty right here in NC, in my very backyard… yet I have barely taken advantage of it. I’ve got to work more on that balance, finding harmony between work and play. When I don’t, I start becoming very unhappy. I think we all do… growth and progress are essential to happiness, but so is fun and rest.
I think this blog is part of that balance I’m trying to describe. I don’t know why, but I get fulfillment from it. I really need to write in here more.
Who’s the guy?
I’ll say this – he’s wonderful. The timing of the mysterious universe is perfect. I’m keeping my cards close for now because I have learned not to broadcast my love life (took me long enough). But this could end up being quite the love story.
In time, I’ll share more.