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At first I thought that they were insect bites since it was damp and the bugs seemed to be out during my walk. Even though they seemed to be increasing I still didn’t connect the dots (excuse the pun, but I couldn’t resist – laughing is far better than crying). Last night however when I looked at my arm, there seemed to be a cluster of them on my one forearm and that’s when it occurred to me. They are not bites, they are hives.

What has caused them? I have no idea. The best we can come up with is the lovely Michigan water. It has an abundance of nickel in it, to which I am allergic. I am sure that there must be chromium in it as well, (to  which I am even more allergic)  although that wasn’t in the lab report I found. At home, we have softened water. The installation of the water softener seemed to coincide with the abatement of the rash and itchiness I had been experiencing. In Michigan, needless to say the water wasn’t softened. For almost a week, we showered in it, brushed our teeth with it (although we started using bottled water) and most likely drank it in various forms such as coffee and lemonade. Could it be a buildup in my system that sparked the hives? It certainly could be. Whatever it is, I wish it would go away.

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We were wondering, a group of us Vermont mothers that are here if we are water snobs. Most of us come from areas were we have wells and even in the town there is town water but it is spring water. Are we spoiled? The water here in Michigan smells, well it smells like metal. Hard to take a nice shower when it smells metallic and brushing your teeth in that water – well, let’s just say that we’ve been using bottled water to brush teeth, just like if we were camping. Ask anyone here and they’ll agree, there’s definitely something disgusting about the water. I set out to investigate and see if we were truly water snobs or if there is truly something up with the water. The water fountain has reverse osmosis filtered water.

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health here’s what is in the water:


• Common in Michigan groundwater
• Essential nutrient
• Max. found = 29.2 mg/L (29,200 ppb)
• Criterion
– 300 ppb (aesthetic)
– 2,000 ppb (health-based)

The water is very high in iron, that explains the strong metal smell we found.


• Max. found = 2.4 mg/L (2,400 ppb)
• Criterion
– 50 ppb (aesthetic)
– 860 ppb (health-based)

It’s also high in manganese.

• Essential nutrient (Vitamin B12); too
much affects testes, heart
• Max. found = 0.978 mg/L (978 ppb)
• Criterion = 40 ppb

I am allergic to nickel so the fact that it is high in nickel is not thrilling either.

• Common metal
• Allergic reactions (skin)
• Max. found = 0.390 mg/L (390 ppb)
• Criterion = 100 ppb

In addition it is also high (but to a much lesser degree) in arsenic, lead, sodium and cadmium.

So, as it turns out, we are really not water snobs. The water here is very high in various metals most notably iron.

So here they are–the team with their coach for an eerie picture in front of the Michigan State sign last night. Everyone arrived safely in Michigan. Today it appears that everyone is converging on the university. More and more people are around, crowds of blue and tie dye, purple, neon and all different color and design shirts. Some have come right from Michigan itself, but last night the kids were pin trading with kids from Singapore and DOD kids from Germany. This morning as I walked while they unload their props I saw teams from Mexico.

Tonight is the opening ceremonies – the official kick-off to a week of competition. Our kids compete on Saturday morning so we have time both to practice and to check out the exhibits and the competition.

I have been derelict in my blogging these last few days. A bit of craziness here at the T’s (wait – it is usually crazy – okay extreme craziness).  One of the goats (Sky) who looks like Eeyore stopped eating. She is the queen, head honcho of the goats and she readily gobbles everything up even pushing and ramming the others out of her way. She stopped eating Friday and her side was blown up and rock hard. She apparently is suffering from bloat. We finally got in touch with a livestock vet (that’s a whole other post) in Granville. She was super nice and gave us some do’ s and don’t s over the phone. Nothing worked and poor Sky was starting to resemble a balloon. Saturday morning we took her over to the vet’s office and after an hour and a half visit and tubing of the goat, she was better, though not completely resolved. Happy to say that under Tom’s good care, she is deflated and back to her normal size and evidently her normal appetite as well.

Crammed in with all this goat care we had three soccer games two Saturday night and the boys’ teams (you really didn’t think that they would all be on the same team, did you? – My life doesn’t run that way) played each other 9 a.m. Sunday morning. While we were entering the field house at 8:45 complaining about how horrible it was to have to be up and out that early on a Sunday, a stark revelation hit us all — the only thing worse than the 9 a.m. soccer game is evidently the 8 a.m. soccer game that was already in play when we arrived. In addition, we had Tom’s parents up to visit for the boys’ birthdays and the poor folks had to sit through a game of total strange children playing since the boys’ games were one hour apart and what’s there to do for under an hour?

Yesterday I made one of my whirlwind trips to NJ – still pretty content in the fact that I don’t belong there anymore and decided to come home the same day. Arrived back here about 10 p.m. and quite happy to fall into my own bed.

This morning Tom is off for Michigan for the rest of the week, which means that TJ’s birthday on Thursday will be delayed (I’m sorry TJ we interrupt this birthday to postpone it until Daddy arrives home on Friday). And last night it was snowing again….

In the words of Pendragon….

….and so we go.

Evilwife on the move

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