Home, Sweet, Allergic, Home

Drywall

We’re keeping a friendly distance from each other, now that we are home and back from the one room we shared in the hotel. Two parents, one teenage daughter and our dog. I think the dog, Callie, misses the ginger snaps that she got lovingly from the lobby of the hotel by her admirers. I bought ginger snaps but she doesn’t have the same lust for them as she did when one of her loyal servants held up a treat and told her to “sit.”

Yesterday, my husband was on the computer as I was trying to sleep and so I reminded him, ever so gently, that we were home now and we really could spread out a little, hint hint.  You get used to something you have done every day for over three months. He finally moved from the bed and went to his office, it’s all a matter of habit.

I can’t find anything in the house, no coffee makers, sponges, clean towels, clothes, sheets. We still use plastic utensils because we have no idea where our knives and forks and spoons are vacationing. We have a new bathtub that I believe I am too short to use. No, seriously. For my Fibromyalagia and chronic pain we ordered a bathtub with jets, like a jacuzzi. The problem is I am so stiff and sore so often, I can barely lift my leg to get into the tub. I see a step stool in my future, like the one I had as a baby, it was painted a bright red and had a painting of a bunny on it. It’s name of course was, Bunny. I see a new Bunny in my not too distant future.

I’m overwhelmed with tiredness, trying to do things I need to do. “Pace yourself” my friends will say but I just shake my head and point to this teeny house with clutter in every room and I don’t see how I can rest and relax with the sheer amount of work ahead. Twenty loads of laundry await me, no, now it’s twenty-two. I need to unload books and papers, clothing and pretty much everything we all own.

The worst part of all is this is that the WORK IS NOT FINISHED. After we paid a large amount of money to have the house cleaned professionally by industrial cleaners from all the toxic chemicals that were sprayed to destroy termites and carpenter ants, the contractor and his helpers neglected to tell us that the work would still go on for several weeks. WTH?  Why on earth did we pay money for a clean house when I am sneezing and wheezing from the piles of sawdust and sheet rock leftovers ALL OVER THE HOUSE?

I’m tired, I better go to sleep. Work starts, at 8am every morning, including Saturdays. The buzz saw seemingly goes straight through my head, that is how I awaken to another new day. I’ll celebrate when they start to paint. In the meantime, I miss my friends at the hotel; I was lucky to run into one of them today at my favorite store, Target. That felt more like home, than home does.  To all the people who were so genuinely nice to us when we were displaced: Wags and Whiskers, Marina and Mike, Dana and Bill, Stephanie at Dr. Kaufman’s Office, my friends at the Holiday Inn, especially, Ashley and Leanne, and Anthony, we say THANK YOU SO MUCH. It’s amazing what you learn about your friends and neighbors when times are really tough AND what unexpected treasures you find in the people with the extra kind hearts; thanks also to the Sterns who welcomed us back with a bottle of wine! It meant so much to us.

Warm wishes for a Happy Holiday Season!

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Almost, Almost, Going Home

This photo was taken by myself on October 22,2...
For the past couple of days my husband and I have switched into high gear to expedite getting us OUT of this hotel room and into our small but sweet home (known by one friend as “the construction site.”) It’s been over three months since we lived there, we missed hot summer days and our famous barbeques, the scent of charred hamburgers and chicken wafting through the neighborhood. We also missed the bold, changing colors of leaves, red, orange, yellow, from our favorite tree in the front yard. We had no choice. The house was completely destroyed and we had to leave in a great hurry, before, as our contractor put it, “the bathtub plummeted on its own to the basement.” We were lucky to be alive.

While still living in the hotel, last night we started the process of trying to get rid of as much unwanted stuff and garbage as we could in our house. My lungs have not shaken the massive amount of noxious odors, wood shavings and dust. The industrial cleaners come in soon, but I dare not write when, just in case, they postpone us. Again.

Yesterday, back in the house for four hours, I searched for a little brown wooden dog that had belonged to my dad, named Susie (after my mom.) Finally, in my tiny office, underneath my desk, wrapped in dust and dirt, wood shavings and plaster board filth I found little Susie. Five minutes later I heard “Dance With My Father Again” by Luther Vandross, a song that is like an instant message from my father, in heaven, to me for the last eleven years. I’ve learned to appreciate and accept and love these signs, helped by my friend, Roland Comtois, who channels messages from those who have passed to the living. I haven’t had a sign from my dad since August when, as I drove my son to college for the first time (my husband was having surgery for his Achilles Tendon)  I saw the number 3, three times and the letters FBF, three times, my dad’s initials. (My interpretation had been three? 3 what?  I soon found out, three months in a hotel, in one room with the whole family and our dog. The last song I heard before I left the house was my favorite song by Adele. The signs were finally all there, dad, in heaven, was telling us we would be going home soon.

We will go back to the broken swing set at the side of our back yard where no one swings anymore or goes down the yellow slide, one child is in college, the other is a senior in high school. We leave the swing set there until we find someone who wants it for their family. It will take many months to find everything we own, scattered underneath beds, in corners, in different rooms, closets and the basement but at least we will be home.

Through reconstruction of the house, the wood, rot and carpenter ants and termites, still lived a neglected and forgotten plant, a Christmas cactus that never has bloomed on time until this year. I saw it from the corner of my eye shining red amongst dying dark green leaves; a true sign of hope.

Home Is…

Wood damage by C. herculeanus

Image via Wikipedia

Home? What Home?

Home means nothing to me now; it hasn’t meant anything for the last SEVEN weeks and it won’t feel like anything for at least four – six more weeks. A simple kitchen renovation (that we saved up for) became a nightmare financially, physically and emotionally. Our contractor found  hidden damage and rotten wood…IN …EVERY….ROOM. Nothing was spared from carpenter ants and termites; rotting wood took the place of our souls in that house. We live in a one room small hotel now, three of us and our dog. In some ways, this feels more like my home to me now that my actual tiny house in the suburbs.

Once our old house is rebuilt I still won’t feel at home, I know. Because of all the renovations and rebuilding, there is dust and wood shavings and dirt everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Even after an industrial cleaner comes in to rid the place of toxic chemicals, it won’t feel like home because nothing is where it is supposed to be. We have mountains of boxes and plastic crates piled mile high and every scrap of writing paper, toothpaste and shampoo, olive oil and jars of tomato sauce, books, shoes, cutlery…..everything you can imagine is put away….somewhere. I don’t have the joy of moving back in because moving back in leads to three more months of cleaning, putting things away and organizing.

I went into our house today and realized something; the only thing that is worse than not living in your house IS visiting your OLD one, with black tar paper all over it, windows being realigned, dust, dirt and SAWDUST everywhere. Nothing is familiar, nothing feels like or smells like home. I have no home; I really just want to cry.

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Grumpy, Sleepy, Droopy, Cranky? Yes, That’s Me

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Image by Jenn and Tony Bot via Flickr

I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for a long time and I want sleep NOW! I need a good night’s sleep because I have Fibromyalgia and an auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and a tendency towards anxiety when sleep deprived. Lately I feel I have jet lag every day even though I haven’t gone on an airplane or visited fascinating foreign cities. I feel bad: achy limbs, stiff muscles and joints that roar with pain. My eyeballs ache, the soles of my feet throb, even my finger nails, unpolished and raw, hurt.

We have been living in one hotel room, my husband, my daughter our dog and I for the past six weeks. We’re doing the best we can since our house has been destroyed by rotted wood, termites and carpenter ants. It’s a horrible situation not to mention the emotional and financial stress. We have stress layered on stress.

We get along fine and try to respect each other except for one annoying factor: cell phones. I don’t understand this generation of teenagers that get text messages all hours of the day and night. My daughter’s alarm, also from her phone, shrieks loudly, picture loud buzzing bees meeting chain saws every ten minutes. It’s hard to go back to sleep after that, my husband and I are old now. We can’t just fall back asleep like our children can.

We drink free coffee from the hotel stand in the morning and snack on food we have in the room and then we have one meal, dinner, out. We can’t afford to eat three meals out a day nor do we want to. I dream about being back in our old kitchen planning a simple meal. When you have to eat out all the time, it’s not that much fun.

We have a favorite diner and it has a dozen pages of every single meal you could want and we still go from page to page not wanting a darn thing. We eat out of boredom, planning where we want to go to dinner can take hours. It’s alright, we have nothing else to do. My husband is still on crutches so during the day I drive him places he needs to go. His ruptured Achilles tendon is healing but very slowly. It’s been five weeks for that too. Why do bad things happen around the same time? Or is it just us?

I cannot see my computer keyboard, my eyes are closing, eyelids thick, thoughts are mixed up and frazzled. Our dog who now rests on the bed is snoring softly; even she knows that 5am is way too early to get up and that we still should be sleeping. I try to nap later on, sometimes I dream that we are back in our home but when I wake up I am sad and upset. I have to remind myself, we’re nowhere close. My dog lies next to me, licking my elbow, laying her head on my hand.  Last night she started nibbling on my toes, tickling me enough to get me to laugh. Sometimes, you have to just be grateful for those special moments.