Although it’s already a few days old, I have to share what happened to me this weekend. As my title states above, it was The Worst Thing That Can Happen To A Green Mommy.
I contaminated my family.
On Saturday, I went out to breakfast with my dad and Frankie, and on the way back I decided to stop back at my parent’s house to do a little organizing. Because I love to organize. I’m weird like that. Before moving, I plan on gifting my sewing machine temporarily to my mom, since it’s just collecting dust at my house anyways and I’m anticipating having to downsize. Besides, there is way too much crap of mine from high school and college in my old room, and it’s in need of a little sprucing up.
Amidst organizing my old dresser drawers, I came upon the box of memorabilia that I grabbed after my grandma died. Old lipstick, hankies, some jewelry, and lots of other misc. stuff that I kept as reminders of her. Of course, a lot of it had to go. Maybelline blue eyeshadow stick from 1974? It had the consistency of sidewalk chalk.
One of the items was a box of 3 old-school mercury thermometers. My reaction was, these are dangerous and need to go. My mother’s? These are great! They don’t make them like that any more! My reaction to her reaction? Yeah, they don’t make them CANCER CAUSING any more. Ah, the good ole days.
About 2 minutes later, I reached for the box of thermometers when it happened. I dropped one. And it broke. And the mercury came out.
After uttering several curse words, I grabbed Frankie (OH MY GOD MY CHILD IS IN THE SAME ROOM AS LIVE MERCURY!!!! I AM THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD!!!!), closed the door, and headed off to the internet to figure out what the *$&@ to do. Of course, my mom is calm, laughing almost, remembering about she and her brother used to play with mercury. Play with it, like it’s a toy. My dad, also calm, saying that he’ll take care of it and it’s no big deal.
Me? CALL THE EPA!!!! THERE IS MERCURY HERE PEOPLE!!!! WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!! WHERE’S MY HAZMAT SUIT?
Luckily, I had the wisdom to google (oh, what ever did we do before google?) and found on the EPA website how to handle the situation. Surprisingly, panicking was not on the list. But my dad and I did find ourselves on the ground, with a flashlight and exacto knife, trying to pry tiny beads of mercury out of the cracks in the wood floor and then grab the beads with duct tape for about, oh, an hour. Finally, my knees started to give out and my dad had to finish the job.
Oh, and did I mention that during this time, an ant bit me? Yup, that day got even better.
As I was looking up the EPA website for how to avoid a mercury pandemic in the house, I had my parent’s laptop on my lap. And all of a sudden, I felt a burning, itching sensation on my upper thigh. I thought it was from the laptop, but it kept getting worse and worse. And finally, I had to pull down my pants in the middle of the family room to see what was going on. Luckily, only Frankie was in the room, and he’s used to seeing me do such strange activities.
Low and behold, I find a small welt surrounded by itchy, red skin, and, oh yeah, A HALF-DEAD SQUIRMING ANT INSIDE MY JEANS. Let’s all just realize what we’re dealing with: that an ant not only crawled up my leg, onto my upper thigh, and then bit me.
And then I had to go find me some mercury.
In the end, I’m pretty confident that we found all the mercury, and from what I’ve read online, the amount in a thermometer is not a big deal. I mean, you should still take it very seriously, but it’s nothing to freak out about. As my dad pointed out, I probably eat more mercury in a tuna fish sandwich. I’m not sure which is more disturbing.
Although, seriously, how many of these lethal thermometers are out there? For the record (MOM!), you need to safely donate mercury thermometers to the fire department (MOM!) for proper disposal (MOM!), no matter how good of a temperature they take (MOM!).
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