Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gobsmacked: Prig in the City

I'm still 'processing' the events of the past couple of months.  The quick house sale.  The finding of a pretty close to perfect house - at an amazing price.  The price was amazing because it was few miles north - in a 'less than desirable' zip code.  Or plain undesirable, if you come from where we had been.  The mortgage was moving along smoothly; until the bank decided we didn't have enough 'good credit' and asked for 50 percent down.  Fifty percent of amazingly low was still way, way out of our range.

So by early December we found ourselves preparing to move into a temporary rental owned by a friend of Rick's.  So much tumbled out of control that my mewling about it could fill volumes.  But I would like to return to more normal blogging rather than drag this tale of weird on forever, so allow me to simply enumerate.  Then I should be able to move forward.

  • Thanksgiving was strange but wonderful.  Surrounded by boxes, with the silver, crystal, etc. already packed we were thankful, casual, relaxed.  No pressure to put on the perfect dinner made things better.
  • I packed, packed, packed.  Labeled, labeled, labeled. 
  • The appliances that we purchase were thrown into the sale of the house, though they had been explicitly off the table  Got an email saying the appliances were a 'dealbreaker', so the realtor tossed them in.  We will be reimbursed. If I can believe anything that we've been told.  I felt...betrayed.  Betrayed is not the term I used.  I'm a tad too polite to write the exact phraseology.  (I'm not the cook I once was...but I had finally figured out how to work the convection oven.  Goodbye convection oven. Goodbye new Bosch washer and dryer.  Goodbye remnants of civilization.)
  • Rick's dad became quite sick about a week and a half before the move.  The amount of time Rick spent with his parents didn't give their 'lawyer' any inclination to push back the closing date.
  • Rick's dad died the week-end we moved.  His sister called to bitch at my daughters to make sure we finished moving out on time.  So much for grieving time.  Had to hustle to get moved into the unheated house with no running water. 
  • Wish I had taken a picture of my last trip from the old house.  Em drove a load of breakables, with our 44" statue of Our Lady strapped in the back seat between me and baby Nate.  We must have made quite a sight as we drove away.
  • Our new house had no running water.  Without the help of a friend who loaned us the money to pay the arrears on the atrocious water bill left behind by past tenants we would still be bathing with baby wipes and flushing the toilet with melted snow kept in the bathtub.  I attended my father-in-law's wake and burial having washed myself with baby wipes...and stringy hair that hadn't been washed in four days.  If I seemed stiff when friends at work offered hugs it was because I didn't want anyone to get a whiff of my deteriorating hygiene. 
  • I wore sunglasses the day of the burial (in the funeral home, too!) so as not to make eye contact with the relatives with whom I would prefer not to talk.  I have the respect and dignity not to start a brawl at a funeral home.  I think the feeling was mutual, as the only person at the funeral home who seemed happy to see me was the funeral director.  In my line of work, you get to know the local funeral directors.  They still like me. 
  • The water department showed up to turn on the water as I was leaving for work.  Good thing we were home, as a pipe burst and water came streaming down from the second floor.  Luckily the pipe was fixed and bathroom ceiling re-drywalled while I was at work.  This seemed to be the 1000th time I texted work to say I was running late because of a crisis.  I was so tempted to say, "No one could make this $#!t up, right?"
  • I am exhausted - but I blew through all my vacation and personal days with move related issues.  Short of having myself hospitalized for 'exhaustion' and cashing in sick days, I am SOL until the end of the fiscal year.  Christmas is always exhausting for me - between work and home - one reason why I pleaded that we not have to move before spring.  This year was....too much.
  • Our house has no central heat.  It hasn't been as bad as I anticipated.  Except for spending a big chunk of my Christmas spending money on space heaters.  The house is very well insulated.  Even the -18 day a couple weeks ago was no more intolerable than a similar day in our poorly insulated old house with central heat.  My fingers got a little chilly, but I found some old $1 gloves and cut off the finger tips.  Problem solved.
  • All the holiday stuff except for Christmas went into storage.  Martha found a marvelous tree two days before Christmas and the girls worked so hard to help get the living room organized so we could have a 'normal' Christmas.  Christmas was wonderful.  That meant the world to me.  
  • I could use more exercise.  The elliptical is in storage - way at the back - so it may be a while until we can get it out.  Our neighborhood is a hodgepodge of abandoned houses and houses of dubious repute.  Just don't feel like walking around the block.  I wouldn't say I'm afraid of the drug house #1 - ganja at the front door, crack in the back - nor drug house #2 - heroin, no street business; call and they'll deliver.  It's just a tad sketchier than I am used too.  Jimmy John's won't deliver to our neighborhood.  The heroin house will.
  • We now live in a food desert.  We are fortunate to have cars, unlike the folks I see walking back from doing their 'marketing' at the gas station a few blocks away.  Though with the closing of the Dominick's in our old neighborhood, we have just left a food desert.  Saying goodbye to the people at Dominick's was hard - another small loss.  I feel sorry for the people who live in the apartments back on Smith Avenue.  A lot of them walked to Dominick's.  Can't imagine how they are getting by now.
  • Don't have a washer and dryer yet.  Fran and Martha have been kind enough to do our laundry (and deliver it!) at their new place.  But every time I load a laundry bag it riles the bile and reawakens my rage at the sale of our appliances.  It would also be nice to get a washer and dryer before I am spoiled by sending it out.
  • I stayed home from the memorial service for my father-in-law that was held two weeks ago.  Didn't think I would be missed.  Still couldn't face some relatives and the 'friend' of my in-laws who was the realtor.  Certainly wouldn't want to appear on the local news blog as the church secretary who went berserk and starting slugging men during a social hour in the Methodist church basement.  I babysat for my grandson, so Em could attend with her two girls.  And maybe entertained a few puerile fantasies about how satisfying slugging those men would be.  Puerile, yes...and ashamedly satisfying.  
  • Having appliance troubles in new house.  Gas range in downstairs kitchen, but no gas service to house.  Electric range in kitchenette upstairs, but it doesn't quite work.  Eating too much carry-out.  And anything else that can be made in a crock-pot or heated in a microwave.  We now have two microwaves.  One was supposed to be part of the house sale. (It was older, used, and not built in...why anyone wanted to make it part of the deal eludes me.)  But someone moved it by accident.  So we have a new one and an older one.  The refrigerator works.  At this point I am truly thankful for the things that do work.
  • Still getting used to living in the urban on the North Shore environment.  Don't like being panhandled when I go to the gas station.  Don't like feeling life has become vaguely perilous.  And I was certainly discomfited to have a friend - who had grown up on the street on which I now live - almost start to cry and tell me, "You've got to get away from there."  I've known for a long time that I'm spoiled.  This is one heck of a reminder.
  • Am getting used to calling this home.  Making things as homey as possible with what we brought with us.  Missing stuff...but finding new depths of strength and faith.  It's made me more sensitive to those who are 'underprivileged.'  Housing, heat, water, food crises are no longer vague concepts to be tsked about.  When the people at our parish speak vaguely of our 'unfortunate brothers and sisters' in my town, I know these people have a names and faces.  I am one of them.   No matter how our fortunes may improve, I am now one of them.  And if I haven't learned lessons - tangible and spiritual - from this, then plunge my head in a bathtub of melted snow, slap my face, and tell me to snap out of it!


TS said...

Yikes. Will pray; sure hope things get better.

William Luse said...

Don't know what to say to all this. Your father-in-law's sister sounds like a piece of work. Will pray with TSO, and wish God's vengeance on those responsible.

Ellyn said...

I do so appreciate the prayers and good wishes from everyone. It's been a long, strange to speak. And the prayers and support are what have helped keep us going and to see the humor as well as God's grace in all that happens.

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