Sunday, January 8, 2012


Have you ever lived in an apartment without windows?  I never really knew such a thing existed until I lived in one myself for the first seven-and-a-half months of my marriage.  The first six or seven weeks were okay, but then the hyperemesis set in and my teeny tiny apartment with no windows became a smelly, claustrophobic prison.  We had a row of glass block windows that let in plenty of sunlight so darkness wasn't an issue.  Air flow was.

As I'm sure you know, a pregnant woman has a ridiculously heightened sense of smell.  I was smelling things that I hadn't even known existed before and that no one else could detect.  The problem was that all of these smells were making me vomit.  For several months, N. had to warn me before he opened the fridge (even after we got our fridge replaced).  He had a very limited list of things he was allowed to cook, and only if I was forewarned and he opened the door to outside to try to dissipate the offending odors.  I am thankful that he went along with these crazy things even though he didn't fully understand what was going on.

The worst smell, though, wasn't from food.  Since we don't have a car and we lived a distance from the grocery store, my in-laws bought us this granny cart that had a wire frame and a bag insert.  Useful, right?  Well, who knew that the bag outgasses even after it outgasses and that the stink is horrific?  When I was in the apartment and had been for some time I was more or less able to ignore the smell, unless a whiff of air came from that direction.  The problem really was when I had been out of the house for a bit and wanted to come back in.

It was so bad that I'm getting queasy just writing about it.  Whenever we went out for the doctor or the hospital or away for the weekend, of course I wanted to get home and collapse into my own bed and vomit in my own bathroom.  What I did not want to do, however, was enter the apartment.  I used to wait outside for a little while after we got home, in the hopes that the open door would do something for that everlasting stink.  Eventually I would have to go in and inevitably I would head straight for the bathroom and lose whatever small amount of food or drink I had managed to stick inside in the past hours.

My home became my prison in more than one way.  I was so weak that I couldn't really leave to go anywhere. Just going down the stairs to exit the building was more than I could manage.  But what really got me were the windows.  Who builds an apartment without windows?  I felt trapped, rebreathing the same air over and over again, living with the same stink that no one else could smell for days and weeks and months on end.  I just wanted a breeze of fresh air to blow across my bedroom, instead of the air of the fan or the a/c which just brought me the same old smells.  I just wanted the smells of outside - even if they, too, would have made me nauseous, at least they would have been different.

When we were searching for an apartment later in my pregnancy, my main stipulation was that it have windows (and a bathtub and a whole lot more room).  Thankfully, we now have many windows to open (or not) as we please.  And the best part is, we have a semi-enclosed porch which is perfect for storage.  Guess where the blue granny cart went?  I shoved it in a corner and I won't go anywhere near it, because I still can smell it and it still makes me sick.

Windows.  I can't get enough windows.

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