Starting Fresh

In Opinion/Personal, Personal, Random on August 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm

I posted several months ago about the changes I was about to undergo in my life.  Since that post, more has changed, the path has changed, and lots has happened.

First and foremost, my lease at my apartment was ending in June.  The plan was to find a bigger place to rent and move my younger cousin in with me, as she needed a place to go and somewhere to finish high school.  First disaster: the only bigger place in a good school district that was within our estimated price range (accounting for increase in utilities, food, gas, etc when taking in a teenager put our rent prices in a much lower range) was not in a desirable location, nor was it a very desirable apartment.  It was old and unflattering and I wouldn’t want to walk the parking lot alone at night, let alone have a teenage girl in that environment.  I continued endlessly to search, but to no avail.  In the end, I had to break the bad news to my family that I wasn’t going to be able to support my cousin and other plans needed to be made for her.  I was heart broken.

But I picked myself back up.  It was the beginning of June now.  I only had a couple of weeks to find a new place.  But without moving my cousin in, I didn’t have to focus on getting a cheap place with 2 bedrooms.  I could just get a 1 bedroom that offered more space than the one I was currently in (which, at 450 sq. ft. was basically a studio apartment with a wall thrown in to attempt to make it look like a home and much too small for my things, let alone mine and my boyfriend’s things).  So I began my search again.  My boyfriend and I went to many apartment complexes all over town.  There were many that were very pretty, very nice, very safe, very perfect.  Until we found out that they did not offer washer/dryer hook ups, or they didn’t have any availability until after we needed to be moved already, or basically any other random fact or event that could possibly be presented to prevent us from being able to lease a new place.

I’m at my wits end.  All I can think is that I’m going to be homeless and there’s nothing I can do about it.  But then my boyfriend gets a phone call from his parents.  In telling them about our difficulties, they offers a solution.  They own a rental home.  It’s currently rented, but the man living there will be moving at the end of July.  From the end of June until the end of July, they offer for us and our little chiweenie to move into their home with them, as they’ve got my boyfriend’s old bedroom still set up to be stayed in.  They decline any reimbursement for us staying with them and state that this will help us save money before moving back out onto our own.  One hitch is that the home is not in our current city.  It’s in a neighboring city, but it’s still only around a 20 minute drive from where we currently are living.  We will also need to rent a storage facility for our furniture.

We continue to exhaust all options for apartments, but quickly decide that the offer from his parents is what we will do.  Everything goes in storage, save for around a month’s worth of clothing for each of us and any daily things we may need.  Things are going as planned, it’s nearing the end of July and I’m getting very excited about my new home.  I have yet to see the inside, but I don’t even care.  From the time I was 2 years old, I’ve lived in small quarters.  First, an apartment with my mother.  Then moving from there to a dorm room for 4 years.  Then straight into another apartment, then another, and another.  And now, I was getting a real house.  With a walk out basement, fenced in back yard, 2 bedrooms on the main floor, an actual dining room, and 2 room spaces upstairs in the converted attic for whatever I wanted.

But then suddenly, July was over.  The man living there had informed us he would be out by the 1st.  On the 1st, he said “tomorrow.”  Finally, on the third, he dropped off his set of keys.  I couldn’t stand it any longer.  My boyfriend immediately wanted to take me over to the house so I could see it.  We knew it was going to need repairs and fresh paint and cleaning, but we didn’t care about that either.  We just wanted to see it!

We wanted to see it so badly, until we actually stepped inside and saw it.  That’s when I cried for the first time that day.  I had been so excited about my new home and looking forward to being able to move in, and now it seemed like it would never happen.  Random rugs and pieces of oddly shaped carpets were stapled to the wood floors throughout the house.  The kitchen window was busted and held together with scotch tape.  The hallway wall was busted through and held up with packing tape.  the laundry closet doors were busted and held together and up by duct tape.  The backyard was full of garbage.  A dirty old dresser was in one bedroom, a stained and dirty box spring was in the other.  There was trash strewn throughout both floors of the house.  Random items, such as car seats, cribs, pieces of dressers and stairs, were littered throughout the house, as well.  There was carpet thrown over the patio railing, which we discovered the hard way was there to hide 2 hornets nests.  Puzzles, completed and duct taped solid, were stapled into the walls.  The vents were covered in hair and dirt.  The air unit was duct taped and had no filter in it.  Mold was growing up the corner of the living room and master bedroom.  Everything – the walls, cabinets, shower, floors, doors, refrigerator inside and out, EVERYTHING – was covered in a thick layer of cigarette ashes, dust, grime, grease, and hair both dog and human.  The dishwasher was busted, the hot water ran brown from lack of use, and the kitchen sink was missing a piece of piping that was allowing sewage fumes to escape back into the kitchen.  The yard was overgrown and had actual tumbleweeds that kept wrapping around my ankles, in addition to hidden dips and holes that nearly made me face plant multiple times.  The smell was enough to gag, a hot mixture of stale cigarettes, must, mold, and dirt.  It was a nightmare.

I cried again when his parents showed up to complete their walk through.  It was going to cost so much money to fix this place, and they refused our assistance.  “It’s the owner’s responsibility, not the renter’s.”  I was overwhelmed by the situation we walked into after being so excited.  I was overwhelmed by how much this family was helping me when I wasn’t even a part of it and haven’t known them for extremely long.  I was overwhelmed by the list of things they were rambling off, the amount of money it was going to take to purchase all these things to get the house back in living condition.  I was overwhelmed when they hugged me and told me not to stress because they were going to make sure it was as good as new before they allowed us to live there, and were going to do all the work themselves.

I cried again when I had to call my mom to update her on our situation.  I almost cried again when we all went to Lowe’s to begin stocking up on supplies.  I was overwhelmed when they walked me to a paint aisle and told me to pick out the colors I wanted for my home, and the floors I wanted for my kitchen, and the light fixtures I wanted in my home.  My boyfriend stood back, waving his arm over the selections.  “It’s all up to you.  You pick whatever you want.”

And then we had to start the work.  Cleaning.  I spent 2 hours alone just trying to clean the inside of the refrigerator.  Weak stomachs skip this part: I learned in this process that old meat left stuck to the bottom of a refrigerator long enough will crumble and turn to dust when you try to move it.  10 rounds of spraying heavy duty cleaner on the back door and wiping/scrubbing it down with paper towels, sponges, and even a mop for it to go from wiping black, to brown, to orange, to yellow, to finally clear.  And that’s how it went for everything in the house.  I took a day and half off work so I could put all my energy into the house.  And on my other days, I was back to work on the house as soon as my job hours were over.  My boyfriend’s father took 2 days off work.  I couldn’t see how this was going to be finished in time, especially since we were going to lose our storage unit on the 11th because we thought reserving it that long was going to be plenty of time.

But then yesterday, after work, I returned to the home and I could finally see it coming together.  The holes in the walls were patched.  The air conditioning unit was fixed, the mold was gone and not a concern (as determined by a professional we had come in), the air quality was fine (again, per a professional), a plumber is scheduled to fix the kitchen sink, all the trims, window frames, and door frames were painted, almost all the walls were painted.  All the trash had been hauled out and taken away.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was actually, very quickly, starting to look like a home and not a dump. 

This whole process has been so very frustrating, stressful, and emotional for me.  Now we’re already starting to plan smaller scale changes we want to make, to really make this our home, such as replacing door knobs and cabinet knobs and planting pretty flowers all along our fence line, and we’ll be moving our furniture in this weekend and will be in our new home by the 11th.  I now know that I could never be a maid.  I could not clean up disgusting messes left by other people on a regular basis, and major kudos go to those who can.  My whole body is sore.  My hands are blistered.  I’m exhausted.  But I know that seeing and being a part of the effort going into creating a nice home for myself and my boyfriend will only allow me to appreciate it that much more.  And I can’t wait.


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