We have a mold problem. I’m not sure how bad it is but there is some nasty black stuff font eh wall of our playroom downstairs and we had a pipe leak which brought water damage to the already nasty rug down there. We’re changing that and will repaint but I know we need to do something more.

I asked around and ended up with the name of this woman who has had huge mold problems and become something of an expert. We spoke and she freaked me out a little. I decided that I really didn’t want to too far with her. She was clearly obsessed and I feared where pursuing her lines of inquiry would lead…

She told me how difficult it was, how contactors and workers here didn’t get it, how you had to make them take down all the edging… on and on.. She also told me that you can get some mold remediation stuff at B&Q, which is basically a British Home Depot and which has several stores here but which I had never visited.

We finally had someone come over and measure for a new rug in that room. Which I think will alone solve a lot of the problem but I wanted the floor cleaned with this anti mold stuff before the new one goes down… so I finally headed for B&Q today.

The place was just like a dream Home Depot. It was organized in pretty much the same way on the first floor, with a warehouse-type setup, though the second floor had a more normal-store like vibe. The employees even wore orange aprons similar to those at HD. But there were a couple of big differences. For one, the place is spotlessly clean and uncluttered. And more profoundly, there were four or five employees waiting at every department to help customers. You can shoot howitzers down the aisles at the NJ Home Depots and not hit any helpers.

I went in and walked right up to the paint department, which seemed like the right place. A nice young woman helped me and I told her I wanted something for mai-yo (no) mold” and she started asking me what color I wanted. No, no I said. I finally realized that when I asked Becky’s office manager Lily how to say mold, she text messaged me the word for “molding” instead. So I was asking the paint store asking for something for “no molding.” No wonder the poor salesgirl was confused.

She went to a store phone and got a manager or someone who spoke English but of course that didn’t help either. I sort of realized I had the word wrong and tried to explain – “Mold is the stuff that grows if there is water first and it is bad, very bad. It is black.. it can be green.. it makes you sneeze.. Ah-choo… Bu hao (no good)…” on and on to no avail.

Then I realized that I might have the mold lady’s number still in my text message from when Theo sent it to me long ago. I looked and it was there. I called, she answered.

“Uh, hi. This is Alan, Theo’s friend who called you a while back to talk about mold.”

“Oh yes.”

“I am in B and Q and I can’t find the mold stuff.”

“It is on the second floor, through the kitchens, on a shelf close to the back wall, near the vacuum cleaners. It is a German product, with English writing.”

“Thank you.”

I went up there, ran into two ladies I know from the compound, said hi, kept going.. and found the stuff. I bought three bottles and now we’ll see about getting it on and how effective it seems to be.

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