Home Is…

Wood damage by C. herculeanus

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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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9 And A Half Minutes

Shark

For those of you who are new to my blog (welcome)  I want you to know that I occasionally write a blog post called 9 and a half minutes. It’s basically a shorter, nicer version of Andy Rooney on 60 minutes. I do complain, wonder, question and kvetch ( to be disgruntled or complain) but not in an insolent, condescending way. In no particular order here are today’s topics:

My one true love is the ocean, now I am concerned with sharks and jellyfish and scary biting fish. Now people are dying because they swam in the lake. Did I hear correctly that the news said “brain eating amoeba”in the same sentence? I love water, a pool has lots of chlorine and to me, it is not as much fun. Soon just soaking in a tub will be off-limits.

I can no longer watch the news because it puts me in a depression or I feel hyped up with craziness and worry. There are too many atrocious things happening: bombs, terrorists, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, tragic accidents, cancer and hundreds of thousands of other diseases. There are perfectly innocent and beautiful sick children, children who die from one second to the next with no explanation. What kind of fair is that? I know someone whose son, age 6, passed away and they still haven’t gotten the autopsy report and it’s been three months. That is just plain wrong.

I am cranky, disgusted and fat. My chronic pain illness is getting worse and it’s an effort for me to get out of bed, walk downstairs and feel stiff and in pain all the time. I’m getting worse, not better. Doctors are putting chronic pain patients in chronic hell because now doctors don’t write out a prescription for medication WHEN YOU ARE SUFFERING AND NEED IT. Dear Doctors: we have no intention or interest of becoming drug addicts, we just want medication when we hurt so much we want to scream and throw plates at the walls. I know a doctor who prescribes vicodin by the mouthful but when it doesn’t help and the patient would prefer something less strong, he won’t do it. Does that make any sense?

What’s next? Going out in the sun of course can produce melanoma. Sitting inside during the winter can produce SAD, (Seasonal Affective Disorder) that makes you depressed. Go out for a walk, just be careful that there are no bears in the neighborhood or coyotes who swoop our precious little dogs and eat them for dessert. I will not let my dog become a wolf’s brownie.

Lastly, my baby tooth (I know, I know) has a chip and a cavity and will eventually have to be replaced with some expensive artificial tooth, I miss Gray’s Anatomy and I don’t think I will ever get over losing Oprah in her time slot. I actually miss Oprah too much to even try watching OWN. I’m trying to eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate bu, to me,t there is no comparison and it is a complete stretch. Meanwhile mosquitos are french kissing my skin and I am scratching at my arms in desperation looking like a coke addict.

Tomorrow the workers come back with their little demolition derby and our four-day respite will be over. It’s Sunday night and I have always hated Sunday nights. I need to love my dinner on Sunday nights which includes dessert. When we came home tonight I was eagerly looking forward to tasting the cake batter ice cream that I bought for the family. There was none left, my son ate it all today. So much for a pleasant Sunday night, I’m already dreading Monday. Truly.

Our Dirty, Shameful Secret

Description: This image shows a Carpenter ant ...

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I’m coming out of the closet to explain my bad mood of late, my stress, tension, anger, depression and exhaustion. The big reveal: (drum roll please..)  CARPENTER ANTS. Yes, sad but true and I can’t keep this shameful secret to myself anymore.  I need help and support. What I really need is the Extreme Home Makeover crew AND the most adorable and beloved style/designer cutie- patootie, Nate Berkus.  I also need Oprah for moral support and the understanding of these life lessons.

We have a truckload full of carpenter ants. A friggin’ marching army carrying weapons of mass destruction.( At least I have proof.) What started as an exciting renovation for the kitchen has become the project from HELL.

The renovation is on hold until we completely rebuild and tear out the kitchen, bathroom and part of the basement. For now. We won’t know about the upstairs officially until they tear that apart too.

Basically, our family life (what family life?) stinks right now. We’re minus a bathroom, a family room, a kitchen and part of the basement. The only relative good news is that our son is leaving for college this week and he will escape the constant noise and demolition. The rest of us, my husband, daughter and I (plus the dog) are not that lucky. We are stuck here. When someone suggested moving into a rented apartment for three months, I laughed. The money pit can only go so far, folks. Our daughter will be going to college next fall.

The kitchen renovation project  (PCA: pre- carpenter ants ) was going to last 4-6 weeks and cost a set amount of money.  Now, we are talking a minimum of at least three months and A LOT more money.  This was NOT in the budget. That said, our cozy little home, my bastion of sanity, love and serenity has been destroyed. The gosh-darn ants have eaten their way down the stairs like starving people dining at a free smorgasbord. Oh and before you ask, yes, we did have a company come in and spray year-round to prevent the little suckers. There is no guarantee so please don’t ask. I feel used, stupid, resentful (no comment)  and violated.

My once beloved cozy cottage looks like a crime scene and the amount of money that is draining from our savings is practically enough to stabilize the economy. My husband talked me into this kitchen renovation and now it has become a major project, MAJOR. If we had known now what we did when we bought the house…..well, I can’t go there. My emotions have ranged from fury to laughing hysterically, depression, anger and annoyance and resentment.  It’s no wonder I am in a vicious flare up of Fibromyalgia, and TMJ and daily, throbbing headaches. Every day brings bad news, more things to fix and more money to spend.

The only thing I try to remember is to keep this in perspective. It is annoying and depressing and draining, financially $$$$, physically and emotionally but we are not in a Radiology Department waiting for ominous test results; in other words, it’s not life- threatening.  I’m rolling with the (expensive) punches because basically, I have no choice.  Is this a catastrophe? Yes, I mean No! It’s an annoyance and a lot of money down the um, drain, pipes, frame, tube?  I’m taking it one day at a time; one very costly, day at a time. There is no other way.