The unwelcome guest

When I pulled out the wireless keyboard this morning I was surprised to find it wasn't working. The space bar wouldn't space, the r, y, h and i keys wouldn't r, y, h, or i. The caps lock INSISTED on capping. Uh oh.

A quick search on the Apple site brought us the obvious answer: humidity over 80 percent may affect this device. There's no hint whether the humidity saps the keyboard's energy as it does ours or whether mold simply overtakes its innards; regardless, it has been sent to dry out, like a recovering alcoholic.

Living in the Willamette Valley for 40 years means we're no strangers to occasional mold and mildew but it reaches an entirely new level here in the rain forest. Not long ago we found Ray's shoelaces suddenly sprouting blue hair; then my canvas shoes came out of the closet covered in gray. Looking further we discovered the backpack exhibiting a patina of new life and—oh crap—there it was again on a polyester satchel. I like to think I love life in all its manifestations but this form is definitely unwelcome.

It's impossible to keep things completely dry when humidity hovers at 85 percent so we resort to making sure the heavy air circulates as much as possible. Closet and cupboard doors and drawers are left ajar, damp towels and sweaty shirts are immediately carried outside to be pegged to the line, and shoes are no longer kept in the closet but are parked around the room's periphery. The overhead fan runs 24/7 and we keep a wary eye out for new intrusions.

For a confessed neatnik these are tough adjustments, and I struggle to ignore the chaos. Humidity, I tell myself, is good for aging skin, and it's obviously loved by the local flora. If I'm not covered with gray fuzz when we leave here maybe I'll look like a flower.