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Everything is Moldy

While the northern hemisphere is battling through the end of winter, we down in the south are battling through the end of summer.

And that means we have entered the Season of Mold.

Kindergarten students in America and Europe dutifully cut and paste snowflakes in January, flowers in May, and orange leaves in October. But down here in the tropics, we never see snowflakes or orange leaves, and we get flowers year-round.

But every April, when the rain barrels in to wage war against the heat, we get the Season of Mold. Fortunately, we don't require kindergarteners to cut and paste little green spores. Unfortunately, the mold decides on its own to paste itself to their pictures.

In April, everything molds. My kitchen table can grow a nice white layer overnight. The wooden arms of the couch. The couch cushions. The floor. Leather shoes. Belts. Vinyl lunchboxes. Pretty much anything that is capable of holding moisture manages to grow mold. Outside, the ground shoots up massive mushrooms.

Of course, that's because there's water everywhere these days. Overflowing the gutters, creating swimming pools in every yard, flooding the city. We even had two government-prescribed "rain days" last week when school was closed.

The bugs, which had been happily content in their trees and rocks, come out of nowhere. The flying termites and dragonflies swarm the air, seemingly popping out of the ground. Cockroaches scurry up flooded drainpipes. Giant African snails slime around on the walls. And the ants go marching two by two, hurrah hurrah....into my house....to get out of the rain (boom, boom, boom).

The air temperature plunges down into the high 80's (with 85% humidity), which means that most HOPAC kids come to school wearing sweaters. And my kids just don't understand why I won't let them wear theirs. I am such a mean mom to allow my children to freeze to death in this frigid weather.

The other night, as the kids were getting ready for bed, the smoke detector in the girls' bedroom went off. Gil had to yank it apart to get it to shut up. The next day, a smoke detector randomly went off in a HOPAC classroom. Coincidence? Nope. Extremely high humidity will do that. There's no fire, but even the smoke detector is protesting the condition of the air.

But like the snow melting away into spring, the rain eventually melts away the heat. The mold doesn't stick around, but everything is green and lush and growing--just like spring. It's beautiful and renewing and soul-refreshing, just like the changing of the seasons should be.

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