“This is the home we’re planning to have renovated. It’s a little bit dusty, I’ll admit, but it’s nothing new floors can’t fix.” Father said to Mr. Gigelwithy as we stood on the driveway, gazing upon the pink exterior of 337, Oakton Drive.
A large Dogwood tree that stood greedily in the front yard took up all of the sunlight, so the front door was covered in shadow. However, the modest home seemed okay with it, still managing to look enchanting without a spotlight. The front porch was damp with recent rains and smelled quite earthy, maybe even a little bit moldy. The house itself looked pretty old, not only because of the desaturated colors and musty smell but also because of the style of the home itself. The hexagonal-shaped wraparound porch, the circular window in the attic, the lace-like patterns on the columns; the entire structure reminded me of a Victorian middle-class house. I, being a twelve-year-old who had spent my entire life living in a small two-bedroom apartment, was truly amazed.
Our remodeling contractor’s first comment was a sigh.
“Let me guess.” He said. “This is some old family land you want to have renovated now that you’ve won the lottery so that you can go live in it and honor your ancestors.”
“Well, yes. All except for the lottery part, though.” Father corrected. We’ve been saving for this renovation for quite a long time, and now we’ve decided to stop procrastinating and actually get the house. After all, my youngest children are already five. We want to give them the space they need to grow up freely.”
“Ah, I understand. Well, then, let’s step inside, shall we? I’ll take a note of everything that needs to be fixed.”
The damp odor that emanated from the house became ten times stronger when Mr. Gigelwithy opened the front door. What I once smelled as earthy and fresh now felt like old socks were being stuffed down my throat. Mother covered her nose, not daring to breathe in the gas that felt like it was poisonous.
The man shut the door immediately. “Ah. Mildew. I suppose we cannot look inside of the house until a proper cleaning is done.”
“I didn’t know it would be so bad. Tony, that smell. . . are you sure you want to do this?” Mom said through a fit of coughs. She pulled out her inhaler and took a deep breath.
“Well, we can come back a few days later to look at it, right? I’ll have to hire someone to clean up all that mold. We can do this, right?” Father high-fived the twins.
“Well, it’d be a shame if you couldn’t get the house. It sure is beautiful. Just needs a few repairs, is all.” Mr. Gigelwithy agreed.
And so, he left, driving off with a whoosh. We were left standing there.
Father shrugged and climbed into our car’s driver’s seat. Mother followed his initiative and beckoned for the twins and me to join her as well.
It was a few weeks when we next revisited our enchanting future home. By now my excitement was affecting my daily life. I couldn’t imagine how it would feel like to live in a house that was so big and beautiful. This caused me to do many things I wouldn’t ordinarily do. During dinner, I would repeatedly tap my foot against the chair. While studying, I would doodle random pictures on the sides of the papers just to get all of my energy out; while showering, I would even sing.
When our car ultimately parked itself on the driveway of the house our family had now dubbed “Mildew Manor,” I scrambled out and took a deep breath. The smell of mold was gone, but the beauty of the home was still there.
Mr. Gigelwithy was at the front door. I didn’t know what to do, because, to be honest, I was somewhat afraid of the man. His eyes were hooded under dark gray bushes of eyebrows, surrounded by a complexion so pale, and yet so sallow, his skin looked like a banana milkshake. Every time I had seen him, his hands were held behind his slightly hunched back, and he showed no sign of emotion whatsoever.
I was saved when the twins ran out, Mother and Father following behind. Once the adults talked a little, we stepped inside.
It looked just like it did when we opened the door last time, but today the musty smell was replaced by some fresh cleaning spray of a sort. I realized that I hadn’t at all examined the inside on my last visit, being overpowered by the rancid odor, but this time I couldn’t wait.
The area that my eyes first laid upon as we stepped inside was the living room. Of course, presently there was no furniture inside, but the old wooden floor in itself looked regal (despite the stains and cracks) and the line that divided the wall with the ceiling was decorated with intricate designs.
Even the fireplace looked quite old fashioned. Though it was beautiful, it would be very hard to manage for modern folk like us.
My initial excitement toned down a little as we explored the other rooms, even though it was still stirring inside. There were the four bathrooms, the kitchen, the dining room, the attic, and everything else a house deserved. I was impressed.
Yet, when we stopped by my future bedroom, the rush of excitement returned. There was a huge hole in the ceiling through which I could see the attic and some of the planks on the floor were nonexistent, but I could imagine myself on a bed there, reading a book with some soft music playing in the background. It was ideal for me.
“Thank you, Mother. Father.” I hugged them both tight.
“Hey, hey. It’s okay. We love you too.” Father said. Mother smiled her big, emotional smile. The twins joined in for a hug as well. It was perfect. The day couldn’t get better.
Then Mother whispered in my ear, “We have a surprise for you!”
Mexican food was the best.
When we were done looking at the house and showing it to Mr. Gigelwithy, Mother and Father set up a surprise picnic in the front yard.
It was mutually understood that everyone in the family was a Mexican food craver, so that’s what we ate.
I spread out flat on the cool grass and ate under the shadow of the Dogwood tree, enjoying the wonderful day I was having. Life couldn’t have gone better. I let go of all of my troubles and just enjoyed the cool shade and the chirping of the crickets, and had fun with my family.
I was ready to start fresh at Mildew Manor.
Quick Note: I apologize if any of the information in this story is inaccurate because I have never had to get rid of the smell of mold in my house and do not know how it is done (and I’m too lazy to research), but I hope you like the story and that it doesn’t feel like I oversaturated it with complicated “thesaurus” words, because I may have accidentally done that. Please provide some criticism for me as well. Nothing is too harsh (hopefully, lol)! :)
P.S: I know there isn’t a theme, but I decided just to have a lighthearted experience with this one. Nothing to take away except for a feel-good sensation (again, hopefully).