Category Archives: health

I’m an overpronator. (Or, I roll my feet when I run.)

New shoes!

I never knew there were running shoes geared toward overpronators. Heck. I didn’t even know there was a such think as an overpronator, nor did I think I was one.

I started running a few weeks ago and much to the dismay of the runners in my circle, I was not wearing the proper running shoes. So, Monday afternoon I was on a mission to get a pair — and a pair of running shoes that work for flat feet. (My mom calls them Flintstone Feet.) A colleague recommended a running specialty store, Inside Track, which is located in the Lancaster Shopping Center.

En route, Joe asked me why we weren’t just going to the outlets. For starters, I like to support local businesses as much as possible. But second, any and every runner will tell you that you need the right running shoes. I did not want to put my trust in someone with an after-school job at the Tanger Outlets with my precious beginning running feet. I also didn’t want to NOT get help and be left to choose the “neatest” or “cheapest” pair of running sneakers. (Heck, last time I bought “running” shoes, they were actually aerobic sneakers. My waterproof trail sneakers I bought for the Olympic National Park trip? Way to heavy for running. See? I need guidance.)

Going to a store where the salespeople are also runners, where a shop was opened out of passion is the best bet for getting great service. Granted, with one person on staff during my visit, we had to wait a few minutes to be helped or acknowledged, a local store may not have the amount of people working as an outlet. But — when the athletic gentleman got to me, he was a great help.

I was asked to walk down a small hardwood track, and then asked to turn around and walk back. The salesman then informed me that my feet roll in when I walk. I knew I had flat feet, which has always been an issue when trying to buy slinky sandals or fancy heels (for the record, this is why I am always in “chunky” shoes.). After my walking style was identified, he selected two pair of shoes he said would work best, and then suggested a few “second best” choices. He turned all the shoes right for me slightly off the display to make choosing easier.

I selected a pair of Saucony ProGrid Stability, size 8 if you were wondering. They were $114.95. What makes these shoes better for my flat feet is that they are broader on the bottom, and support is further back. I wore them today, and what a difference! I didn’t break them in first, so my knees hurt a bit from a different way of moving, but I anticipate better days ahead on the asphalt.

running-shoes-wide-bottom flat feet runner

You can see how the bottom of these shoes are broader - there's not much of an arch. This supports my flat feet and prevents me from rolling.


I never really thought too much about my flat feet, but I did some researching. Flat feet is also called Pes Planus, and it’s the leading cause of shin splints. Having the right running shoes for flat feet will definitely help prevent shin splints. Also, people who have flat feet tend to roll their feet inward when they walk and run. I am more aware of that now. It’s amazing to realize the dynamics of our own bodies 32 years into our lives! So, this motion of rolling your feet inward while you walk is called overpronating. I Googled that today too. Actually, I searched for “running shoes for flat feet.”  That’s how I found out about overpronating. I followed a link to running shoes for overpronating, and guess what. The very shoes my running shoe salesperson suggested earlier this week came up as the best choice. And that my friends is why you should seek professional advice when purchasing running shoes.

Oh yeah. Joe, Mr. Outlet, was impressed and he, too, walked up and down the track. He rolls his feet, too. Our children are in for it.


Started Running… and at a good time!

A few weeks into my new job at E-town College, one of my new, awesome colleagues asked if I ran. Of course I laughed and mentioned how I could barely walk up stairs without gasping for air.

Despite my fear, I knew that at age 32 and having high cholesterol (for which I fill my Zocra prescription “when I feel like it”) I had to get more physical. I had woke up early and walked a few times since I’ve moved to a perfect walking neighborhood. I said that I would run with her twice a week during lunch.

So far, so good. She’s a wonderful coach; she knows I am new to this and, in fact, she taught a beginner’s running course, so she’s really making sure I get started right. We’ve been alternating one minute of running and one minute of walking for about 30-minutes, with a cool down walk and stretching and still finishing before our hour lunch is up. The truth is, I feel great when I am done. I guess I get a bit of runner’s high because I feel so clear-minded. My body physically recovered well after each run.

However, during the run I have trouble breathing. E. has taught me to use rhythmic breathing, but still, I sometimes have to stop the rhythm and gasp. So, I really need to work on that. The other issue is that I don’t have the right shoes, which every runner will tell you is the most important thing. I have NICE sneakers of many assortments and I’ve tried them all. After one week where I ran twice with E. and two times on my own and then a Sunday full of walking during a downtown excursion in my Converse, the next Monday I developed severe shin splints, just in my left leg. The pain was so excruciating that we had to stop. Tuesday is a rest day, and Wednesday I pushed through, but it still hurt.

I am getting running shoes either today or Monday because my car is at the garage and Joe is away at Wilkes for class this weekend. I’m not stranded; a friend is coming to visit, so I may ask her to stop in at a running store.

Why it’s a good thing I started running

So, three weeks into my new running, I find out that it’s a good thing I’ve already got into the habit of exercising at a higher level than just a little stroll. E-town College offered it’s employees a discounted preventative health screening. Since I knew I had high cholesterol and have a sleep disorder and have trouble breathing while running, I decided to get checked out.

This particular package included four tests: pulmonary, thyroid, and three heart/artery tests. All were done with noninvasive ultrasound technology. The pulmonary was obviously a breathing machine. I got a print out the breathing results to take home, while a doctor reviews the other four and I get the results sent to me in two weeks. The breathing test – I am 32 and have the lungs of a 41 year old. That explains my breathing issues. The woman asked if I grew up around smokers (since I am a non-smoker myself) and I said yes. We both shook our heads in shame. Sucks when it’s not your fault.

As the other woman checked out my arteries and such, she did one test twice because she thought she got a misreading. Nope. Turns out, and I don’t know the details since I get the results, but whatever the measurement is, it should be 420 for my age, sex and weight. It’s in the 700s. I have the vascular age of a 50 year old. I’m at serious risk of heart disease. The woman told me this, but I know that the real results come in a few weeks, so I’ll hold tight. Either way, it’s a good thing I started to run. I already eat healthier. But, have to do better.

Don’t Leave 2009 Behind! Do it Again in 2010!

Ah, New Year’s Eve.

I woke up this morning from a dream about work. It happens a lot, really. But in this one, my dream guy was our company co-founder, Scott Sanfilippo. He announced over the office loud speaker we could leave at noon, but first we all had to write a year-end “Best of” blog post. I texted my friend immediately to tell her about this dream. She texted back, asking if I was going into work because the roads were bad from an unexpected morning snow fall. Wow, I thought. Maybe my leaving at noon dream will come true.

As I remained in bed, hitting snooze two or three more times (or, 18-27 minutes), I thought about what I would write about if I had to, by noon, write about the Best of 2009. Then I realized something.

If something was the Best of 2009, why would I not want to also carry that into 2010 instead of making resolutions for all new things? This morning, I wrote a blog post on my company’s blog with this same title, but geared more toward the eCommerce business owner. I encouraged people to take an inventory of what worked well for their business in 2009 and continue to keep those practices up in the New Year.

All day, though, I thought how I could apply this hybrid resolution into my own New Year.

I did a lot of things right in 2009. I started a lot of great, new things that I must continue in 2010. Things like this:

  • Starting to attend more local creative and arts-oriented events, where I also met a lot of new, inspiring people, many of whom I can now call friends
  • Started my MFA in creative writing, which is just about finished
  • Started journaling and always keeping a Moleskine with me to jot down story ideas or ideas for dialogue that come from personal experiences and random observations
  • I started a new medication for a sleeping disorder I have
  • I reunited with some family members I have not seen in over a decade
  • I have attempted to get back in touch with other relatives that I don’t see often by sending hand-written cards that express I missed them (this was not successful; however, there’s still this year…)
  • Started doing speaking engagements on social media and writing/public relations – and was hired to teach this Spring at Wilkes
  • Started a few new blogs – and another one related to the sleep disorder I have and both have received some nice response from the people they serve
  • I can’t believe I am even sharing this in this blog, but I’ll end this bulleted list with one other thing I started — and, it’s still new, so I don’t want to jinx myself — but, I finally let someone in after almost two years of not dating and it’s pretty awesome so far. But, I don’t think I would have achieved all I did this year had I not been alone.

So, with all of those things, both personal and professional, public and private, I don’t feel I should focus on starting a bunch of new things in 2010, and rather, really hone in on this stuff that has a good start. There’s a great quote, I think from Wil Rogers, that goes like this: Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

I’ve been on the right track for so long, but I was in great danger of getting run over. It was as if I was that damsel in distress in the silent films, the one that’s tied to the tracks, in fact. It’s time to be my own heroine and get going. I made some great progress and have some great ideas — now I must focus on the doing. What I’ve started in the later part of 2009 needs to continue stronger into 2010.

However, there are some things that I want to achieve this year:

  • Find an agent for my memoir.
  • Start an after-work routine so that I don’t just go home and slump over the computer. This may be the gym, but it’s not a resolution to lose weight or get in shape. It’s more of a solution to my problem of being in a slump at home. Going to a gym or going for a walk or going to a Zumba class will energize me and clear my mind and get me in the mindset to be creative when I get home.
  • Focus on getting closer with my family.
  • Instead of work on ten ideas at once, I want to choose one new book project and start a new manuscript — and get serious about it. I need to be done with my writing ADD.
  • Clean out my storage shed and get my clutter down to an amount that will fit in my apartment. That will also require some cool new organzation of my closets and basement. But, I will feel so great to finally get rid of junk. This may need to wait for Spring because the flea markets and yard sales don’t go over too well in PA in the winter and there’s too much stuff to toss; I want to sell it.
  • Start writing short pieces to submit to literary or consumer magazines.
  • Try to land more teaching or speaking engagements.
  • Cut down on drinking and going to bars. This will help accomplish what I just said because it will be better use of my time, both at night and the next morning.

Quality vs. Quantity

That’s it. I am not making unrealistic goals. I am not putting numbers out there. I am making more of an effort to improve the quality of my life, and that is just measured by smiles, feeling good about myself, and not feeling stressed.

That’s a bit of my outlook for the New Year. It’s not about wiping out 2009 and starting over. It’s about keeping up with what you are doing right all along and making tweaks here and there.

Happy New Year, everyone.

A Walk Through Luzerne & Swoyersville In Pictures: Thoughts of Local History & More

IMG_0530I’ve started walking again. For a while, I was going to the Back Mountain Trail. When I say for a while, I mean three or four times since the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day. But recently, I decided just to walk my neighborhood so I didn’t have to drive to the trail. I really enjoy it. I walked the neighborhood a few times this summer, too, going a few different directions throughout Swoyersville and Luzerne. But, finally chose a route that I like and have been walking that ever since. My regular route is pretty interesting. When I say regular, I really mean the past four days. That’s about as regular I’ve been with exercise all summer. Ha!

On Tuesday, just making my way down two houses from mine, a neighbor’s outdoor cat brushed up against me. I bent down to pet him or her. The orange kitty followed me for about a block and a half. It was cute. So I took a picture and posted it to Twitter through Twitpic. Whenever I do that on my iPhone, Pandora shuts off. It’s annoying.

After I saw the cat, I saw a bunny rabbit hop across the street. I thought to myself, “Do bunnies walk, too? Or do they just hop?”

Then, I passed a tan, blond dude who I met in my basement once (sidebar: he was building shelves for my landlord in the other half of the basement I never go it – my neighbor’s side- so he scared the crap outta me. But we talked about the Bob Dylan show I was headed to that week). He was just stepping out to his porch, and hollered, “Hey! How was Dylan?!” After that, two or three neighbors waved and greeted me. I realized that aside from the people who live on either side of me in my own house, and that bandanna guy, I don’t know any neighbors.

So, I sent another tweet: I should meet more neighbors- everyone’s so nice as I walk by. Yes. This is live ‘stweam’ of conscience while I’m trying to uh, ‘twexercise’

At that point, I decided what the heck, I’ll record my walk. Pandora was already off from taking pictures of animals and tweeting. Here’s some thoughts and sights from my walk from my house on Oliver St. in Swoyersville to when it turns into Oliver St. in Luzerne, down some side street I forget, down Miller to the dead end, around the old railroad tracks, and up Charles about six or seven blocks, making a right onto Church Street in Luzerne, and taking that until it turns into Main Street in Swoyersville, and then finally taking a right back down Oliver.

Donna's walk: The Cat

This is the orange cat. When I first moved to his apartment in September 2008, I thought he/she was a stray. But then I saw its collar. However, she’s an outdoor cat and roams the neighborhood. Its brother or sisters also roam around. They are like Heathcliff and Friends!

Airplane in yard in Luzerne

Miller Street. 200 block. Wow. There is an airplane in someone’s yard. A real airplane, like the ones you jump out of when you skydive. I wanted to take a closer pic, but I was afraid I would get yelled at.

Donna's Walk The Rabbit

Miller Street. 200 block. Not the bunny that made me pose the question about bunnies being able to walk too, but Luzerne is filled with rabbits. Too bad it didn’t tell me we were late for a party and take me with him on an adventure.

F. W. Roberts Sons Roofing Luzerne

Miller Street. 100 block? Now this is nostalgic. Never knew this was here. This is right at the dead end of Miller, where the railroad tracks are and a bunch of old warehouses. There was also a train station one block over here in the old days. This was probably a prime location for this family business. Now, desolation. Or not. The windows looked new, so I Googled the name when I got home, and looks like this still may be in operation. Found something about it being incorporated in 1974. So, could be a family business that DID last over 100 years. However, the building still has that old, nostalgic feel. (I want to research this now!)

stray yellow ball

Not sure. Maybe Eley Street? Whenever I see a ball, even one this small, I get sad because it means some child probably lost it playing catch.

Railroad Tracks in Luzerne

Not sure. Maybe Eley Street? The railroad tracks, all filled with stone. Don’t think these are used anymore. There was SO much litter along the sides of the tracks. Sad.

Andy Peruginos Luzerne

Charles Street. 200 block. Andy Perugino’s. I always forget this restaurant is here. They have good food. I should go here more often. It’s off the beaten path on Charles Street in Luzerne. Again, right off the tracks. Probably used to get lots of traffic from the people at the train station.

Milk Crate in Street

Charles Street. 400 block. Milk crate. Remember getting milk delivered and those old wooden crates? I don’t. But I wish I did. My mom’s high school best friend’s father was a milk man and delivered milk to homes. She told me he worked for the dairy until he retired (maybe still does?) but his role changed as technology changed.

Door with no stairs

Charles St. 600 block. Odd. Guess they don’t use this door. No steps. A very high mailbox. The door was open, however, probably for natural AC. I am hoping they have a front door. If not, they must be A) Agoraphobic B) A high jump champ C) On house arrest. The picture is a little blurry because I thought I saw a shadow coming and I didn’t want to get yelled at. Especially if the answer to my multiple choice question was C.

Luzerne County Corruption Citizens Voice Newspaper Box

Church Street. No matter how peaceful a walk is in NEPA, you can’t escape the recent headlines of corruption. I am starting to wish I was around for railroad’s boom and milk delivery.

Empty Storefront in Swoyersville Old Sporting Goods Store

An old long-empty sporting goods store that really pushed that it sold shotgun shells. It made me sad because there was still an “open” sign on the door with a sticker beneath it that said, “Buy your fishing license here.”

Swoyersville Pennsylvania Faded Street Sign

Crossing the border of Luzerne into Swoyersville. Just look at how faded the sign is. After seeing the railroad tracks, the old roofing company, the milk crate and other empty store fronts, I thought about how faded this area is. There are nice things here and nice houses. But mixed within it all are reminders that things used to be better.(The days of coal!)

Looking Down Oliver Street in Swoyersville

I always thought of the upper part of Swoyersville to be like a shelf. The main street in Swoyersville runs from Luzerne all the way to West Pittston. Most of it is at a higher elevation, looking down to the valley. In the picture above you can see down the street, into the valley, but then also see the other mountain that creates the Wyoming Valley. On the other side of that is the Pocono area.

Looking up to the Back Mountain.

Yet, from the main drag in Swoyersville you can also look up at what we call the “Back Mountain.” Swoyersville is like a shelf hung up between the Wilkes-Barre/Kingston and Dallas/Back Mountain. This isn’t a really great picture of it because of the iPhone and from my view with all the homes.

Culm bank in Swoyersville
A view of the culm bank, a Swoyersville landmark. You can’t zoom on the iPhone so this picture doesn’t do it justice at all. There are flags planted in the top. That heap of gray stands for our area’s rich coal history. It reminds us that these empty storefronts were once full. That all the little run down shacks (between other houses that were kept up with or restored) around Swoyersville once were home to coal miners. Wilkes-Barre, Kingston and lots of the mainline communities in Northeast PA are on the upswing. But these little off-the-path places like Swoyersville make me sad.

Pile of concrete slabs

Oliver Street. My Street. Every time I walk past these stacks of concrete, I think they are going to fall down on me. But who I am kidding? They are rusty all over. There’s plants growing in them. They’ve been sitting there for decades. They won’t fall.

Neighborhood cat cat-napping

I arrived on my porch to find the other neighborhood kitty asleep on my porch chair. She’s been sleeping there a lot the past few weeks. My neighbor J* thinks she may be on her way out. She looks very frail, and hobbles when she walks.  I pet her and went inside. I don’t know if I feel so hot after the walk.

Cat sniffing for other cat

My cat, Spectra, sniffs the heck out of me. I cheated on her with the orange kitty, I suppose.

I took a little rest on my sofa. My walk conjured up so many thoughts. I smiled and said hi to other walkers, and people sitting on their porches. It was a gorgeous day. The colors were vibrant, from the blue sky to the green grass to the rainbow of wildflowers dotting so many lawns. There were old couples chatting like they were teenagers in love. There were young couples enjoying coffee or beer or glasses of wine on their porches. There were kids riding trikes. There were kids riding bikes. There were smells of people grilling. There were sounds of splashes from backyard pools. (In fact, I mentally cataloged all the houses on my ‘regular’ route that had pools and noted that they were on the ‘friends-to-make’ list- just kidding.) So, those things all made me smile.

On the other hand, mixed in, there were dull colors of washed out houses, sheds, and warehouses. There were rotting porches. EMPTY porches. There was the smell of must. There were junk cars. There was a huge heap of culm. That made me sad.

It’s no secret that Northeast Pennsylvania is a depressed area. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many positive changes. There’s a lot to do here. There’s a lot of talent here.  You can have a career here. Some careers, you do need to leave. But there are opportunities. I love it. Many friends of mine moved away. Some came back, though. But I never left. I have big city dreams. Or did. I am not quite sure. Something about this area keeps me here. Still, things will never be the same. Wilkes-Barre and it’s surrounding ‘coal towns’ like Swoyersville were once ritzy, some would say, a mini-New York City. Coal was booming. Railroads were too. Mills. Car plants. A manufacturing hub, if you will.

The few pictures I took on my walk are teensy reminders. I never thought a walk to clear my head (and help me lose weight) would instead fill my thoughts to maximum capacity and make me feel so heavy.

Boxes of Stuff, Boxes of Tissues: Words from an Empty Apartment

It feels weird writing this blog in this apartment. I feel like I am an undercover agent for some reason, stationed somewhere doing a survelliance. I am in a completey empty apartment with just a laptop and a phone. I have no internet or phone at the new place yet, so I left the laptop and my make-shift desk up here. Aside from a few odds and ends that I have to move, everything is in the new place. But, I was called out for no new blog post in a few days so I figured I should make an appearance. = )

I am exhausted! I didn’t want to bother anyone to help with the move, so I’ve been moving myself little by little each day this week after work. Each day, I’ve made 2-3 trips to the new place. It helps that I already have stuff in storage so there wasn’t much to move. I did realize how many books I actually had when I had to clear out my shelves and brings stacks to the car. I made about 9-10 trips in and out of the Shavertown apartment to my car, and then the same into the new Swoyersville apartment, which was worse because my office will be upstairs. That wore me out– big time. As I handled all the books I realized that I have more of an obession with BUYING books than READING books. More than half were never read!

I did get some help last night. I rented a U-haul and Dave helped me move my furniture- it was great. One trip and we were done, although I am pretty weak so it could have gotten done faster if I had asked someone else with some muscles to help. We were done before 8:00 and started around 6ish. So, I am all settled in– just need to make 1-2 more trips with some things that didn’t make it yet. My current landlord has been awesome with me leaving. They are going to look into what is causing the musty smell, which will be great for the next tenant. She is wonderful and if she had another property, I would continue to rent from her. But, I am happy with my new place. Two bedrooms plus kind of a secret little room off the office. I will probably throw a futon in there. I am just a few blocks from my old place in Luzerne and less than a mile from my favorite watering hole. I could walk home from Hops andBarleys if I need to. I am no longer 1.5 miles from work, but I am still under four miles and with the lights it takes less than 10 minutes. My rather large sectional barely fit in the living room, so that’s a downer, but otherwise, it’s the perfect size for me.It’s all carpeted, too whereas this place is tiled floor so my new place is a lot cozier. I have about a thousand birds that live in the trees outside my bedroom window, so I guess I have a fully-equipped alarm clock, too.

In other news, I have the early stages of bronchitis– not sure if it is a direct result of the mold or if it just made me susceptible, but my doctor prescribed me the Z-pack to nip it in the butt before it really develops. I am on day three of the five day prescription and starting to feel better- but yesterday was by far the worst I was. I had a client tell me he felt sorry for me because I sounded horrible! Yeah- that bad. I was struggling to talk. You know it is bad when I broke my perfect attendance streak at work- over a year and four months without calling in. I guess the medicine was kicking in and working everything out, but it was a hell day in the office, worse than Tuesday when I stayed home. Today was better- still congested but I didn’t go through a box of tissues like I did on Weds. Hopefully tomorrow it will be gone and I can go back to being my shiny, happy self. There is nothing I hate more than being congested and sounding funny when I talk. I’d honestly rather have a stomach flu and be barfing all day than sound this nasally.

The Psychic at the Fair

My favorite time of year, fall, is marked by the annual Bloomsburg Fair. I checked it out last night, opening night, with a few friends. I’ve gone with different people each year the past two-plus decades of my life, but each year the Bloomsburg Fair is familiar. I couldn’t go a year without going at least once, usually two or three times. This year, however, I tried something new. I had my palm read.

Psychics would make excellent sales people. Take this. The sign said $3.00 Palm Reading. I grabbed a five out of my purse and entered the tent. A Zelda Rubenstienish lady held up a sign as I was sitting down. A real palm reading was $10, and she had three other readings listed for up to $20. She said, “The $3.00 is just a personality read.” I thought, ya got me, so I pulled out another $5.00 and forked it over to the lady just for shits and giggles. When she was done with my reading, she squeezed my hands and pulled me in close to her and whispered that she wanted to do spiritual work on me, starting at $25. Yikes. I told her I only had a credit card and no more cash and left, but if she really was psychic she would have known I very well had the cash, which I intended on spending on more fried food and a purse.

Despite her conniving nature, the psychic said some things to me that were true. Sure, they are good people readers and generalize a lot. But it is a little uncanny some of the things she said to me:

1. You recently experienced some pain in your neck and your left leg. Hmm. I was in the ER for an unexplained left leg problem. See a past blog post about this. And since I have vacated my bedroom because of the mold, my neck has been killing me from the couch.

2. You’ve only loved two men. Now, if by that she means two relationships, then that was right on. Just two thus far. She also told me that I would be getting close with someone soon. Hmmm.

3. You don’t have just one job, do you? You do something creative. That’s true.

4. You like to have fun, but not alone. You like to be with friends and you like to organize things for friends. This is true.

5. You make money but you don’t know how to save money. But that’s okay because you just want happiness. This is also true.

6. You will live a long and healthy life. I hope this is true.

7. A lot of people admire you, but a lot of people talk behind your back too. I am sure this is true; it’s just human nature.

8. You have two children. FALSE. She looked at me real funny, paused for a bit and said, well, you were meant to have two children. I thought about this later on the ride home from the fair- I had two miscarriages. Maybe she knew I was pregnant twice?

The psychic also told me I would be getting a letter in the mail with good news, and that I would soon be making a lot more money. We’ll see about that one! I myself have always been intuitive and could read things about people and sometimes even scared people by the things I knew would happen, so I can understand having a psychic vibe. Do I buy everything she told me? No- she’s doing it to make money not to really help people. Am I somewhat weirded out? A little bit. Do I want to believe there is a letter in the mail? You bet. Will I count on it? Nah. Haha.

Mold should only grow on my leftovers, not try to kill me while I sleep

Hindsight is 20/20. And it’s not just better vision– it sure smells a lot better too.

I made a hasty decision. I do that from time to time. The apartment is big enough for me. Sure, I had to put some things in storage, but it’s a one-bedroom, so it’s expected. Sure, the paneling sucks, but I can deal because it is 1.5 miles from work and I can leave at 8:55 a.m. and still make it to work with two minutes to spare. However, the more I live here, the more I realize I should have looked around for a better place.

The main issue right now is the musty smell. I thought it was just because it was an old place and that the ventilation wasn’t all too great. But this past week, it has become extremely unbearable. My bedroom is on the back of the building and along the far exterior wall of the building. The apartment is situated on a luscious hill, which means it’s damp. Hence the water getting in the basement and walls. I’ve never been down there because there is no access from my place, however there is no sign of mold or dampness in my apartment- so it’s just the aroma of mold that is taking over my bedroom.

I went out on Monday night and went to bed around midnight. I shot up out of bed coughing with a sore throat at 5 am and couldn’t fall back asleep for a few hours. I moved my blankets and fan out into the living room, where I also cracked the windows. There are no screens so I couldn’t open them all the way because Spectra may get out.

Last night, it was worse. It was so bad I moved my bed just to be certain there was not a big ring of mold or mildew under the bed- there wasn’t. My temporary bed was still on the couch, so I laid down there instead. I tossed and turned until about 3am. Every time I tried to fall asleep I took this big gasp of air that woke me up- almost as if my brain didn’t want me to slumber. To get more air, I opened my front door to let air in through the screen door. I locked the screen door, but mind you, anyone and there mother could have looked in and saw me asleep on the couch (I wasn’t naked) but I could’ve cared less. I still tossed and turned, felt dizzy and was getting a sore throat. I was a clutz in the morning and spilled a whole Diet Pepsi on me as I got of the car at work. Once I was in work for a while, I felt better– like my brain was adjusting to good air again.

I left a message for the landlord today about it and when I came home from work, around 8:30 p.m., I went to the neighbor, who is kind of the “super” and I told him I called the landlord but wanted to know if he knew if there was a mold problem. His answer? YES. Apparently there was a bunch of junk accumulated there and they recently moved it all out of the building and found a lot of mold. They are going to work on it I guess. But I don’t know what to do in the meantime. I wanted to stay in a hotel tonight- but why pay for it? My landlord should pay if it gets to that point. I think they should test this to make sure it is not toxic- because mold can kill you as a few people at work today told me. Maybe I just have allergies to mold- I am not allergic to anything so I don’t know what it feels like… maybe this is it. I just hope it is not toxic mold and that I do not die in my sleep. That would kind of suck.

At any rate, I do not have a lease, so I may just give notice and move. I have other reasons besides this potential toxic mold issue. I want a bigger place, I want more windows that have screens, I want white walls, I want a dryer that ventilates out a window (mine does not so I get lint everywhere) and a bathtub shower, not a stall. There are many things I thought I could live with that I really don’t want to anymore. So, I am kind of glad this mold thing is happening. Gives me a health reason to move quickly on this instead of himhawing around about moving. So, I made an appointment today to see an apartment in Swoyersville, which is right by Hops and Barleys… = )