After five hours of hard rain during an unusually wet spring, a foot of water stood in my crawl space. I took the day off last Monday, borrowed a portable pump, and commenced Operation Dryout. It rained hard Tuesday. Having learned much from Monday’s underground combat, I needed only Wednesday morning to retake the hill.
Back at work Wednesday afternoon, my partner said, “You look like you got a lot of sun,” as I scratched at my cheek.
An ivy patch surrounds my crawl-space opening. It badly needs weeding – and I didn’t notice the poison ivy among the weeds. I was in it up to my elbows. Sloshing around under the house apparently saved my arms, but not before I touched my face. By Wednesday night my face was so swollen and tight that I couldn’t pucker my lips to whistle. I wanted to scratch my bright-red cheeks off.
First thing Thursday I went to the doctor, who prescribed the usual one-two punch of steroid and antihistamine. I filled the scripts for methylprednisolone and hydroxyzine and took the first pills as soon as I got to work. They knocked out the itching and pain right now. But soon they started knocking me out, too. Unable to concentrate, I drove home. That turned out to be a poor choice; I’ve been better able to drive after three beers. I stumbled into the house, lay down, and was out for five hours.
It turns out that hydroxyzine is known better as a sedative and tranquilizer than as an antihistamine. But it killed the itch better than Benadryl or Claritin, so I stuck with it through one more nap-filled day off work. Between the flooded crawl and the poison ivy, I worked maybe four hours last week.
Time for another one-two punch. I’m going to spray Roundup onto my ivy patch until every last green thing in there is dead. Then I’m going to get estimates to have a perimeter drain dug and sump pump installed in my crawl space. I know from experience that work doesn’t come cheap – but it will be worth it.