Mold’s Nemesis

Boats tend to be mildewy–especially in the Pacific Northwest, but my snuffling and sinus headaches have motivated me to Do Something About It and Destroy All Mold (in the boat, that is.) And so today I began my campaign.

I am implacable–even if it means running, watery eyes, scrapes, rash, and the stink of bleach, and, oh yes, sacrificing a lovely day when I meant to take photos of Pioneer Square and environs for reference. Instead, I tore apart our bunk and scrubbed it in an effort to reduce our mold problem. Like a naughty pet, it likes to hide under the bed.

I began by removing the foam from the mattress cover and taking each piece up on deck to air and get some sun on its mildew. Then the sheets and mattress cover got taken to the laundry for a rumba with some bleachy-soapy water while I carried the Dri-Dek the mattress normally rests on out onto the dock to be washed. But first, back into the bunk to tear out the Astroturf like material the boat builder installed–ostensibly to provide waterproof insulation that was resistant to mildew. Shows what they knew back in the mid 1970s.

Having removed and disposed of the shaggy stuff, I thought I should probably scrape all the glue and backing residue off, but I was feeling lazy, so I didn’t and jumped straight to the spraying down with bleach phase. But first I had to remove the ferrets from the forepeak. I figured that they’d be just fine in the main salon since they were sleeping anyway and they’d just curl back up and sleep in some clothes on the settee or maybe in the Octo-Play. But no. Even though I erected a barrier just in case, I was doomed to be ferreted

They took turns trying to get into the forepeak and help me with the bleach so while I toiled with bleachy spray cleanser, I was frequently interrupted by clever weasels finding ways through or around the barriers I’d erected. Finally I was done spraying bleach around and was able to pay attention to the exploits of the Foo Gang until they gave in and went to sleep. Well… Dexter went to sleep in a shirt on the settee, but Taz was obstinately staying awake to see what I’d do next. All of us were nearly overcome by bleach fumes until I got the fan tucked into the forepeak, only to find Taz standing on it a few minutes later.

So I left the bleach to stand while I carried Taz with me to the laundry to retrieve the sheets and cover. The sheets weren’t quite dry, so I had to carry them back to the boat with a dopey ferret riding on them all the way and put him down while I hung the sheets over the rail to dry. Back to the ferret, I discovered he’d gone to sleep. Oh joy!

I paused for a quick lunch of yogurt and water.

I went outside to scrub the Dri-Dek and let it stand with bleachy stuff on it and return to the boat to rinse off the bleachy stuff in the bunk. And find Taz having lunch of his own and wanting to follow me around. I put Taz in the shirt with Dexter and proceeded with the rinsing from behind my barrier and discovered that Taz really really wanted to help me with this fan problem I seemed to have by climbing up onto it after teleporting over the barrier.

Once the fumes had been reduced by the rinsing, I gave up and put the ferrets back in their cage, figuring that since the fumes were now fading we’d all have to get along as best we could. The ferrets opted for a nap while shooting me dirty looks.

I finished rinsing the bunk–possibly inadequately, but as best I could with a bucket of cold water and a rapidly disintegrating sponge.

Now the bunk was wet. So I put the fan up on the bunk to move air around in hopes it would dry the bunk out (and remove more bleach-stink from the area). After that, I decided it was time to wash me, too, but no bleach this time. I just went to the shower where, for some reason, there was suddenly a dearth of cold water.

That’s right. Usually there’s no hot water, but of course since it was over 80 and I was sweaty and covered in bleach and other nasty stuff, there’s hot water galore and the only way to get cooler water was to trick the shower by turning it only half-way on. I have no idea why this worked, but I managed a reasonably-tempered shower, somehow. I returned to the boat all happy and clean, got the hose, and rinsed the Dri-Dek.

And now, as the fan in the forepeak whirs, the Dri-Dek is still drying on the dock, the foam is airing in the cockpit, and the sheets are flapping gently in a very mild breeze, I pause to look at my clock. And discover it’s after 5.

Where did my day go?

And what will happen to Chapter 4 at this rate? (I hate Chapter 4.) It is not advancing as quickly as the cleaning of the boat, I’m afraid. But at least it’s not mildewed. Though… if it were, I might be working harder on it….


About Kat Richardson

Writer, editor, eccentric pain in the tail, bestselling author of the Greywalker novels.
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2 Responses to Mold’s Nemesis

  1. ElaineG says:

    Thanks for this. I’ve been wondering what it’s like to live on a boat since I learned that’s what you do. Any chance of a documentary? Love the ferrets. What whimsical creatures. Having a sort of spring experience myself. Good luck with 4. Am having to push to keep editing/refining my first novel. I hope to one day be as lucky as your friend.

  2. Documentary? Yuck. Imagine the title! Mold and Ferrets: the life of a writer afloat. I feel seasick already. 😉

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