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So on Saturday night I was lying on the couch when I turned my head up to see one of our cats walking along the back and suddenly I was overcome with dizziness, to a degree I've never experienced before. Quickly righting my head it went away, and I thought "Man, that was weird."

It didn't happen again until Sunday around noon, when I went to sit down in one of the livingroom chairs and the dizziness overcame me again. It passed quickly enough, but now I knew something was seriously wrong. I had bouts of it another half dozen times on Sunday, once when I was about to sit on the john; I nearly blacked out and collapsed on the floor.

Sunday night I noticed that my left ear was blocked, I was nearly deaf in that ear, and I felt a swelling there. So I did what I sometimes have to do, put in some earwax drops, wait, and see what happens.

What happened was that my ear "popped" a bit, the pressure seemed to be relieved, and the dizziness didn't return. "Aha!," I thought, that's it. For the next two days I continued using the little drops and while the vertigo didn't return, neither did the hearing and the "swelling" (if that is what to call it) didn't subside, so I went to the doctor this morning.

He quickly decided that the ear wax was just a coincidence (and I'm not sure I agree, yet, but...) and along the way he asked "Have you been handling any fertilizers or pesticides lately?"

As it turns out, I have. A metal shelving unit in our garage was on the verge of collapse; in fact one of the shelves had nearly rusted through and the "stuff" was leaning against each other waiting for the hole, already 6" in diameter to grow just a bit more when it would all come crashing down.

The hole was growing directly under a couple boxes of lawn food, plant food, and nursery fertilizer, the solid green kind that comes in a box with a plastic bag inside. Somehow there had been a leak, and while Mrs. Goofy and I were out of town for the summer some kind of chemical reaction had taken place and eaten through the metal shelf. As soon as I saw it I ran to Lowe's and bought a replacement shelving unit, this time plastic, and spent the day Thursday taking all the crap off the old metal shelf, disassembling it, and putting the new shelving unit together and reloading.

On the shelf were, in addition to the fertilizers already mentioned, grass killer, weed killer, bee killer, wasp killer, ant killer, a bottle of kerosene from 10 years ago, some dry carpenter bee insecticide, a couple quarts of 10/30 motor oil, a half used canister of tire inflator, belt lube spray, WD40, and... well you get the idea.

The doc says that somewhere along the way I probably contaminated myself, maybe even got some on my fingers and then rubbed my ear, or maybe just inhaled some of the white powder insecticide or whatever, and roughly 24 hours later, vertigo.

"Some of them are nerve toxins," he said. Well, I sort of knew that but never really thought about it.

He told me all of that this morning, and whether he's right or not, I have purchased one of those small but still fugly Rubbermaid-type plastic sheds, and all that stuff will go outside the garage and live several dozen yards from the house from now on. I will wear rubber gloves and a mask when I make the transfer, tomorrow, because I really really don't want a repeat performance.

You never think about these things until, you know, you almost kill yourself, so I thought I'd mention it for the benefit of others who may have a similar chemical cocktail department living in or near their house.
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