Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I received a phone call yesterday from a person in the circulation department of our local newspaper, informing me that the Macy's advertising insert for Thanksgiving Day would be scented. She had already spoken with our paper carrier and they had tried to figure out a way to get a paper to us sans Macy's insert. However, there was some concern that they would either forget or the other papers would contaminate ours, so we decided to just cancel our paper delivery for that day.

Believe it or not, I used to shop at Macy's occasionally (holding my breath as I ran past the cosmetic counter). They have some great sales. However, I quit going in there and had my name removed from their mailing list some time ago, after receiving a scented ad in the mail. Now I can say that I am really done with Macy's, and I sent them an email to that effect. I also gave them a few statistics about the prevalence of chemical sensitivity in the general population (an estimated 1 in 16) and the danger to the asthmatic population that perfumes and other scented products present.

If anyone else has an interest in writing to Macy's, they can be reached at the following addresses (not found on their website):

email: customerservice@macys.com

phone: 1-800-289-6229

snail mail: Macy's Customer Service
PO Box 8215
Mason, OH 45040

Their corporate offices are located at:
685 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Enjoy the turkey, but skip the newspaper ads.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Signs (an update)

Some time ago I mentioned in a post that we had been given permission to put up permanent signs in our church buildings. Well, happy day! The signs are up!

On each entry (glass door) to every building (a total of twenty doors in five buildings) are posted the following words:

Our goal is to provide a fragrance-free environment
for everyone. In love and respect for others, please
refrain from using scented products on days you
come to Church.
"Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it
unto one of the least of these...ye have done it unto
me." [Matthew 25:40]

These door signs are made of vinyl lettering attached directly to the glass.

In addition, the larger four buildings have interior signs at the doors to the back of the chapel areas. These signs read as follows:

To enable those who are chemically sensitive to attend church, the overflow area of the chapel has been designated as a fragrance-free zone. If you are wearing a scented product of any kind, please be sure to sit in another part of the chapel.

The outside door signs (vinyl lettering) were purchased locally from a vinyl sign business. The interior signs were ordered and sent to us from LDS Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were made to match the other interior signs in specific buildings, and they look official. The goal is to have all of our buildings entirely fragrance-free, but we don't want to turn anyone away. Thus the wording of the interior signs.

I have been asked what we had to do to get these signs. The first step was to get the local church leaders (stake presidency and bishops, the lay clergy) on board. Then we needed the okay of the Facilities Management (FM) people (Church employees) , who were not initially in favor of permanent signs. It was only after I wrote a letter to the FM office in Salt Lake City, outlining the need for these signs and the support of local leaders, that we received permission to put them up. If you have local leaders who are willing to have signs in your buildings, I would recommend having these leaders contact your regional FM director or your regional DTA (Director of Temporal Affairs). Please feel free to site the Helena Montana Stake as an example of how this has been done. My husband (who is a member of our stake presidency) and I would be happy to give anyone more detailed information about the ongoing goal of the Helena Montana Stake to make all our buildings fragrance free. We can be reached by email at wheelpub (at) mt (dot) net.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Home Again

Well, it's done. My house has been torn apart and put back together again, and I can finally say that overall, it was a successful project. The main objective was to rid the house of the mold in the walls and the sub-flooring. This was accomplished, and my worst fear (that I wouldn't be able to live in the house once it was done) has NOT been realized.

That doesn't mean it's been an easy month and a half. Like all projects, it took a little longer than anticipated. I am fortunate to have a daughter and her husband (and two adorable grandsons) who tolerated me sleeping on their couch for several weeks. They kept me busy and distracted me when construction frustrations reached a breaking point, which was often. And thank goodness for a phone that made it possible for me to be in constant contact with the project manager and my husband Randl (who was trying to live and work in the house through it all).

So here are some of the things we learned in the process (listed in no particular order):
--When you're the one paying the bills, you get to call the shots (regardless of what the "expert" builders think).
--A contractor is only as good as his sub-contractors.
--There are MANY chemically safe or safer building products available. You just have to go looking for them.
--Sub-contractors don't like to go looking for building materials or use materials with which they are unfamiliar.
--Don't assume someone understands your point of view. Explain, explain, explain!
--The best project manager in the U.S. (possibly in the world) is right here in Helena, Montana. His name is Mark.
--Painters march to the beat of their own drummers (and they're in a different parade than mine).
--Ceramic tile is relatively inexpensive but very practical, not to mention beautiful (especially when installed well).
--Glass tile is VERY expensive, but one little row of it can turn an otherwise blah room into a private spa (well, almost).
--A second shower in the house is a good thing.
--Covering the bathroom window with only a half-curtain lets the sunshine in and, combined with yellow walls, cheers the soul, even on a cold Montana morning.

There was still some odor from the building products when I came home, so we ran the air purifier and the three new fans around the clock for a week or so. But all I can smell today is the pumpkin from our garden cooking in the steamers on the stove. As soon as I get my new hall closet doors up, the whole project will really be finished. It's time to move on.