If you’re a longtime reader of The Gonzo Mama, you know I’m cursed with the most sensitive skin on the planet. You also know Mr. Wright is a bit—um—“frugal.” Throw those two circumstances into a shaker, add ice, and you have the makings for a Marital Murder Martini, straight up. All you need to do is toss it into the spin cycle.
As I may have mentioned, we’re moving. The home we’re moving into was previously set up as a vacation rental—it has four bedrooms, a pool, and a hot tub. Who wouldn’t want to vacation in such a haven? Well, us. We want to live in it, all the time. The owners are out-of-state. What that means for us is, in addition to moving all our things in, we also have to move all the previous instruments of comfort and convenience out.
Mr. Wright found some powdered detergent in a decorative glass jar in the laundry room. Obviously, the mystery powder couldn’t just be thrown out! After all, it was FREE, and in Mr. Wright’s world, that’s an acronym for Found, Ready, Easy and Economical. So, he washed a load of towels. He washed a couple loads of the kids’ clothes; a load of his clothes; and a load of my clothes, including my favorite boy-cut chonies, yoga pants, t-shirts and socks. Essentially, my loving launderer ensured that every particle of fabric coming into contact with my skin this week was clean—and toxic.
At first, I thought it was my new after-shower moisturizer. I’ve launched a new in-home party business (“I sell bath, beauty, and bedroom accessories. And by 'bedroom accessories,' I don't mean nightstand lamps.”), and my favorite product is to be sprayed over the entire body after showering and rubbed in, for all-day hydration of the skin. There I was, faithfully spraying and rubbing every day, even as the bumps began to appear. I checked the label, carefully reading the ingredients, and didn’t see any obvious triggers, but I stopped my daily ritual, just in case.
The moisturizing, I mean, not the showering.
A couple days later, my skin had morphed into dry, scaly patches. “No wonder,” I thought. “I haven’t been moisturizing!” I dug some sensitive-skin lotion out of a yet-unpacked box and greased myself up, the way Mom used to slap butter onto sheets of cinnamon roll dough before rolling them up in her old bakery. It wasn’t my sweet-scented, pheromone-laced favorite, but surely the lotion would lock in some moisture.
By the end of the day, the hives began populating. Around the same time, Snugglebug shed her clothes, complaining, “Mommy, I hurt. And my tummy has red dye on it.” Snugglebug and her sister, Curlytop, are both allergic to Red 40, a common food additive, and they’ve been trained to spot suspect products. “No, thank you; that has red dye,” is a common refrain.
Poor Snugglebug’s belly was covered in raised red patches, rivaling her mama’s. Indeed, it looked as if she’d been sprinkled with red dye. She may be adopted, but there’s no doubt she’s mine. My little four-year-old hadn’t yet discovered the miracle of after-shower moisturizers, so I was left scratching my head—and every other imaginable body part.
I’ll spare you the details.
It was a few long, itchy hours before Mr. Wright got home. He walked in the door, wrapped his arms around me, and drew me in for what would have been a passionate hug, had I not screamed, "Don’t TOUCH meeeeee!” It was a fiery, burning embrace, and not in a good way. Every cell of my skin was ablaze—and angry. Taken aback, and deprived of his wife’s back, Mr. Wright retreated to the room I most love to see him in: the laundry room.
I tried to muster an apology as he sorted clothes into the washing machine. Then, I watched as he dipped a measuring cup into an unmarked glass jar, scooped out some powder, and loaded it into the washer’s detergent cup. “What brand is that?” I asked. Mr. Wright shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. “Why do you ask?”
“No reason.” I shed my clothes—an act which usually inspires a favorable response from my husband. This time, his reaction bordered on disgust.
“Yuck,” he managed. “Have you been moisturizing properly?”
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