July 4, 2018
This morning I was talking to my husband about what my readers want me to write about and what posts I should focus on today (while I have a babysitter/some quiet time.) I was trying to decide if I should do more baby bottle posts or more gardening/hose posts. Dear Hubs said to me: “Write whatever you want to write about! Don’t worry about what your readers want to read!” And I responded that that’s why I wrote the stainless steel post yesterday, I’ve been wanting to take the time to write that forever, and I am glad I did!
Well today, feeling sorry for myself – and sort of down about the world and the country in general, I am going to write about all the things broken and wrong in our life right now.
It’s not to complain, but to share the impact of the persecution that we have faced over the past two+ years. Everything is broken and there is no money to fix anything or to get anything new, because we are living in a state of relative poverty as a result of everything that has happened (and our need to focus on paying legal fees and defending my advocacy and not on other things!) This is just one way “they” get people to give up.
I am not giving up, but I AM very tired and worn out and having trouble given the level of breakdowns in our life right now.
Sharing this list of things with the world might also create opportunities for people to chip-in and help in different and unexpected ways, so that’s good too. Plus it’s cathartic for me, and will be good for my eventual book (and the movie about my life, lol!) to look back on this as a bit of context for what is going on with us right now.
My main focus each day these days is feeding my kids. Every little bit of money I can spare (which ends up being $10 or $20 a day as it trickles in) goes towards groceries. Three growing boys eat so much I cannot tell you! That said, after two years of fighting everything else is in disrepair.
- Today the downstairs toilet is clogged. Hubs says it’s time to call in a service person, it’s not a plunge-able issue. What I am thankful for: we have an upstairs toilet that is not clogged! The toilet is also cracked all the way along the base, so it’s truly time for a new toilet too!
- The kids are refusing to shower (we only have one shower) because of the spiders in the shower. I don’t mind the spiders so much, but they are freaking out (OCD, sensory issues, etc.) so that’s a daily challenge. It would be nice to have a spider-free shower. Upside: at least we have a shower!
- The fridge is broken in every kind of way. We’ve had it 11-1/2 years so it has held up pretty well to our crazy brood, but every single drawer or shelf has at least one component broken. We actually threw out most of the drawers years ago and just make-do with the shelves we have! The whole front is completely dented from kids, but our solution to that is to cover it with stickers – so it is actually pretty whimsical. Upside: at least we HAVE a fridge!
- The oven is broken. There were rats all over Portland this winter in record numbers. Even though we worked really hard to keep the rats out of our house (various traps and keeping things really clean, plus four mouser cats on the ready at all times) the rats still ate through all of the cords to our oven. First the electrical cord to plug it in to the wall (husband fixed that) and then all of the other connections for the oven. So we don’t have a full size oven and have not since the winter… but HEY, we have a toaster oven and the stove top still works on the main oven! [Even though the grates on half of the stove have also been broken for years.]
- The dishwasher. Well. We HAVE a dishwasher, so that’s a plus. Our friend Esther bought it for us years ago as a present. It gave up the ghost though, and has really stopped washing dishes. But we have hands and water and soap and a sink, so we’re mostly good there.
- And then the sink. The sink in the kitchen broke (sprung a massive leak!) this winter. My mom bought us the faucet like 10 years ago, so it has had a good run too. Luckily my son A.J. is super handy and used some moldable plastic-wax (that is a kind toy for art projects) to create a collar for the faucet so it only leaks into the sink (instead of before when it was leaking into the wall, and creating a huge ant problem!)… so at least now the ants are gone!
- The kitchen sink we bought new when we moved in 11-1/2 years ago too. It is lead-free (American Standard), the only guaranteed lead-free one we could find at the time – and it also has a chip (or two or three) in the lead-free enamel now… but that’s just cosmetic. At least we HAVE a kitchen sink.
- Not so much in the bathroom. When I was away in May my husband had to disconnect the bathroom sink (downstairs) because the leak under it had gotten so bad we ended up having a mold issue in the bathroom (in the cabinet under the sink) that developed during the month I was out of town. I wasn’t even aware there was a leak. Gah. But at least that bathroom is near the kitchen so kids have been washing hands in the kitchen and we moved toothbrushing to the kitchen… and now that the toilet in that bathroom doesn’t work any more , it’s not a huge inconvenience that the sink doesn’t work. [he put the kids emoji art tape across the sink so they would not use it!]
- There’s no inside wall on half of that bathroom either, we took it out when we moved in (when we removed the original 1905 era bath tub, which tested positive for high levels of lead!) and never thought too much of it because we always were planning on tearing the house down “soon” plus it gave us access to the plumbing and electrical behind the washer dryer (which WORK PERFECTLY I am thankful to share)…
- The heater stopped working properly when the lead-abatement was done on our house by the city. They recoated the basement floor with a thick coat of concrete, so they then had to “cut down ” our furnace so it would fit, and when they did that it broke. We’ve been too overwhelmed to ever do anything about that anyway because so much going on… so we have a fireplace and space heaters to keep us warm in the winter. I mean, this house is a tear-down at this point anyway!
- My French press glass canister broke. This made me sad. But husband has created a system for making coffee using a Ball jar and a drip filter (but I really hate that coffee)… so now I am just complaining I guess! #FirstWorldProblems (I do think coffee is about 80% of my diet, so this is not a trivial thing – but the BANK has free coffee and it’s just two blocks away – so there’s that, lol!)
- The toaster broke… but we have a loaner toaster from a friend.
- Our older rice cooker and pressure cookers tested positive for lead, so we need a new rice cooker! [An instant pot would be lovely! It has lead, but a lot less lead than the ones we have!]
- My bathroom scale broke – but really who needs to weight themselves? I mean – yikes! 250 lbs is a lot already (although I would love to know if I am losing weight).
- Our laptop doesn’t have audio-in (it broke) so I can’t do videos or Skype or anything from the laptop (but at least I HAVE a laptop! and I mostly use my phone anyway!)
- The side of the house is rotting out (and the whole house needs a paint job), but again #firstworldproblems! We bought this house as a tear-down… and hopefully eventually we will be able to tear it down and build the super-efficient lead-free mini-house that we have always wanted to build!
- Our bedroom floor is plywood, but again – not an issue – its clean plywood. I just never thought of dealing with it because we were going to “tear the house down” … eventually!
- We’re now short on bed-sheets and towels because things have worn out and torn or have holes (having a bunny doesn’t help, but the things we let the bunny chew on were already very worn out!). Upside: Luckily I bought all new blankets and comforters in 2015/2016 so we’re good in that department for a change! AND everyone has a bed, which is super cool (although A.J. just has a mattress on the floor at the moment and could really use a bed frame, and Avi’s bed-frame is 11 years old from Ikea and really needs to be replaced too, because it’s not very sturdy)…
- That brings us to the dressers, which are all also 12+ years old and mostly from Ikea, so at the end of their life-span (Avi’s drawers don’t all close and neither do Charlie’s… plus we have issues with the dresser we use for our linens too.)
- Charlie hadn’t punched holes in the walls for nearly four months (very thankful for this) after Len repaired something like a dozen holes – and repainted some of the walls (back in February)… that was amazing. Charlie did just punch a new hole though – about two weeks ago… my dream house would have concrete wall covered in solid wood unpainted wainscoting – that he could not punch holes in if he wanted to!
We would so be the perfect candidate for one of those shows where they come in and completely rebuild your house- lol! #sigh.
So that’s my rant for now. If you came to our house you would not notice most of these things. It is lovely and clean and safe for the kids (and there are NO lead hazards, so there’s that!)…. it’s just the constant inability to take care of the little things seems to build up over time to make one quite exhausted, just in the presence of it all.
My dream for our lot is to tear down our old decrepit house (which was really a tear-down/not worth repairing when we bought it) and build three mini-houses, one for me and Len (600 sf) one for Avi (200-300 sf) and one for Charlie (& guests) 300-400 sf… so that they can live here forever with us if they need to but we can each have our own separate space. I have already designed each of these mini-homes in my head (we even got a lot survey a few years back as a first step in the process of moving forward with this) and we have been having exploratory conversations with architects about next steps… just to dream about for the moment, since we cannot afford any of it… but maybe soon (things should look up soon, right? regardless of the state of politics in this country… it has to get better, doesn’t it?)
Note: A few little things I appreciate: my organic raspberry plants that I planted two years ago finally took off and are doing incredibly well! I get to pick fresh organic raspberries every morning recently! Yum! I also appreciate that we own almost nothing of any value, so we never have to worry about anyone breaking into our home and stealing anything! lol!
And that’s what I wanted to share right now.