Jo versus a moldy GoliathIt’s not easy being a single homeowner when you lack upper body strength and your only weapon is a rusty, dull carpet cutter.
By: By Jo Colvin, Life Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
It’s not easy being a single homeowner when you lack upper body strength and your only weapon is a rusty, dull carpet cutter.
It was me against the moldy, stinky, ripped carpet on my front steps. There was no one to help me fight the battle. I grabbed a loose corner at the top of the steps and yanked. And yanked. And yanked again. It didn’t give an inch. This did not bode well for the remainder of the fight.
After a couple minutes, it appeared as though the carpet would emerge victorious. But I summoned up my I-am-woman-hear-me-roar attitude, armed myself with my (t)rusty sword and persevered. I was David, the carpet was Goliath.
Apparently I missed out on a science lesson in school – mold spores are like parched sponges. Thinking the carpet was dry when I started to rip, I discovered that every microscopic drop of moisture had been sucked out of the air into the rotting fabric. The soggy, wet mess weighed a ton.
Slice, rip, pull; slice, rip, pull. The carpet was releasing its stubborn stronghold on the cement only inch by inch. My pin arms were becoming weaker and weaker with each forceful yank.
My slingshot was losing its spring.
But I pushed away any thought of defeat and willed adrenaline into my muscles. I was determined to do this.
Then the carpet enlisted the aid of its allies – the buzzing mosquitoes and the knife-sharp pebbles. The insects were in full-attack mode, feasting on my arms and legs and buzzing in my ears. Between sawing and ripping, swatting and scratching had now become part of the skirmish, which I had to fight on my knees to get proper leverage and avoid injury to my back. All the while, my rocky enemy – the tiny pebbles – dug mercilessly into my kneecaps.
I was awarded small victories when occasionally, a large patch would rip off with one pull. My rallying spirits were deflated though, as I noticed that not only was the carpet getting pulled off, so were big chunks of cement. In inflicting injury on the carpet, I was leaving permanent scars on the steps.
A soldier can’t show fear. A soldier for sure can’t cry like a big fat baby and turn into a blubbering emotional wreck. So I wouldn’t either. As hunk after hunk of cement ripped off, I kept telling myself it would be easy to patch the wounded cement with a poultice of hand-mixed mortar. I could do it.
About an hour after the battle commenced (although it seemed like forever), it was over. The stinky pile of carpet lay in a defeated heap on my sidewalk. Victory was mine!
But as I gloated over my win, I sensed the moldy Goliath rallying for one last desperate fight. It taunted me, knowing that somehow, I had to summon up enough strength to drag it to the alley. I marched straight at it, grabbed and drug with all my wavering might through the front yard. I yanked and shoved it through a narrow gate and across the backyard. Almost at the verge of complete bicep failure, I barely got it through another gate and kicked it into a pile in my driveway.
Finally, the carpet lay on its asphalt grave, awaiting proper burial at the dump.
I shook with relief as I examined the battle scars – more than a dozen mosquito bites, several scratches on my arms, a small cut on my hand, and aching knees. But I would bear them with pride and know that in the end, I was the conqueror, I was invincible.
I visited the battlefield and surveyed my success. Even though chunks of cement were missing and it was a dirty mess, recarpeting would be an easy feat compared to what I had been through.
But as to laying the new carpet, I decided to leave that to the true soldiers – the professional carpet layers.
After all, it's much easier to destroy than to rebuild.