Well I just had a showdown with the man responsible for the mess in my house. Anyone who knows my husband knows he is a calm rational man who gets what he wants by his unique ability to work with people's personalities. I am not my husband.
This morning we left the hotel to meet with the heating repair man to discuss whether or not the smell still existed. I walked in and of course the smell still exists because the ducts have not been replaced and the only solution offered so far (not by the heating man, whom I shall call Bill) is a huge ionizer running through the house and through the system. And it has helped a lot. But even it cannot disguise the hideous smell of petroleum still blowing through the vents.
So this morning this man stands there and tries to tell me that I'm "just sensitive," and that "another family who had this problem ten times worse never complained." Let me tell you, friends, I saw red. I told this man that whether another family has had to tolerate his mistakes without complaint is irrelevant to me. And that Petroleum is a toxic substance and if he would like the see the facts about the substance he works with I'd be happy to compile them. That if he thought for one moment that I wanted to spend another minute in a hotel he was sorely mistaken. That if he thought I would accept anything less than a house healthy enough for habitation he was also mistaken. And that it was his mistakes that created the problem and the solutions, financial and otherwise would come from him. And lastly I had two children to consider one of which still has a developing brain and I would not for one minute tiptoe around Bill's ego, pride, and/or pocketbook at the expense of my children.
Then I told him very calmly that if he was not willing to fix the problem that he could leave my house and I'd find someone who would because I was finished screwing around.
He then looked at me and said he appreciated my bluntness but he didn't really feel that replacing the duct work was going to help anything, but if that's what we wanted he'd do it.
Tom was right there backing me up telling the guy that my sensitivity should be the only gauge to go by. That how other people live is not important.
I don't know which made me the angriest: the man trying to convince me there's nothing toxic about pertoleum, the man telling me I'm being overly sensitive and basically a pain in the ass, or his inability to take responsibilty for his mistakes in the first place. His ignorance borders on insensitivity.
I honestly do not remember the last time I've been so angry.
I hope you all can forgive this use of my blog to vent. Hopefully it will be literature as usual next week.
- Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.