Friday, Aug 10, 2018

Something Dark This Way Comes

When I moved to Ecuador I had only one place I wanted to be living…on the beach. In my mind being about 100 feet from the sand and blue water was the best place I could ever call home. I love the beach. Being on it is one of the best places I have found for my sense of well-being.

I have learned however there is a dark side to living so close to the sand and surf. This darkness stealthily creeps in as I sleep, covering all that stands still in my home with hues of brown and black. What is this darkness that dare dwells within my paradise? Rust and Mold. It is a reality. I have learned living on the beach is not all warm sand and sunshine.

Wrestling With Rust

rust and mold

This is my “good” fan. I gave the really rusted one away.

I think the first thing to rust out were my metal floor fans. The fans still work, but are covered in so much rust I can’t deal with them any longer. The heavy condensation from the sea air has them dripping rust water. I went to clean the worst one the other day and I couldn’t get the metal tabs open that hold the wire cover around the fan blades. The rust was so bad the tabs were essentially welded shut. The solution of course is to buy all-plastic fans. It is a must for beach living.

Refrigerators take a beating as well. A thick film of salt water accumulates on the top of the refrigerator, as well as a salty condensation on the front and sides, turning a perfectly nice white refrigerator into a pimpled box of rust pox.

Top of my refrigerator

Living this close to the ocean subjects all metal and electronics to a slow corrosive death. This morning my automatic coffee maker was the latest victim to befall this fate. Only two years young, it’s sedentary life on my counter top was overcome with the effects of living too close to the ocean. May you rest in peace my dependable and faithful provider of caffeinated goodness. You will be missed greatly.

Mold Sucks

Mold Stained Chairs

While brown rust eats anything metal, black mold consumes everything else. The rubber door gaskets of the refrigerator, flat surfaces of books, material of all kinds in all places become slimed with this creeping goo. Cloth covered chairs become a bed for mold to reproduce onto.

My hoodie that hangs on the coat rack was recently assaulted by the black goo, except on black material it shows up white or green. Go figure. Shoes I don’t wear slowly become encased in a perfect covering of off-white mold. It is a battle that is only won by frequent washing of clothes, especially if not recently worn.

When not “slimed”, this glass is crystal clear to see through

Mold Covered Melodies

The high salt content of the humid air tends to leave a murky film on anything that sits unprotected. Glass bowls that sit on the open shelf of my kitchen island require washing before I can use them. White plastic lids next to them become dotted with black mold. Nothing is immune from the mold and slimy film, including my portable speakers.

Maintenance Is A Must

Of course I haven’t mentioned anything about the exterior maintenance that is required living on the beach. Throughout the year I watch the non-stop projects of painting, treating, and protecting the wood and brick surfaces of this building I rent. I am reminded of the realities of owning a home on the beach. It is a constant battle of pushing back the elements from the continuous attack of sea moisture and salt.

Still, there is something about listening to a rhythmic surf rolling onto shore during the night, and enjoying the smell of sea air blowing through an open window during the day that makes me believe it is all worth it. This is definitely something I need to remember when, like this morning, I go for my early morning, waiting-for-me, auto-brewed cup of coffee only to find a corroded, lifeless Mr Coffee machine finally overcome with an internal accumulation of corrosive salt and rust.

Thank goodness for the stainless steel French press. Life is good…and always better with coffee.