I’m sitting at my new dining room table (courtesy of my new landlord’s wife as she didn’t want to take it with her) listening to Willow Smith’s “5”.
(My attempt at including Music Monday…on a…Thursday. Heh.)
My cat, Weasley, is sitting atop the table as well, slyly trying to get the cheese danish I’m all but devouring. …sneaky little shit… I’m admiring the view from the dining room window. I can see straight out to the pool and the trees behind it. It’s not so early in the morning now, but everything is still quiet…peaceful.
I’ve finally decided to sit down and make a post about my big move.
This whole thing was going to be about the woes of moving, of packing and unpacking, of throwing things away that you didn’t think you’d need, and of leaving things behind because you’re in such a frenzy. But, then I realized that I would be complaining. And at the moment, that is the last thing I want to do. I am so grateful to be in this house. So grateful to have come this far and to be somewhere where I can actually make a home. Where I can stay for a period of time that’s longer that a 1-3 years.
And so I suppose, to better understand why I love my new house so, you have to start with the past…? However, if you wanna skip past all of this and just see pics of the house, they are at the bottom. 🙂
To start with, I’ve moved around my whole life. That’s just a possibility of what could happen when you have two other siblings, and all of us are being raise by a single mother who isn’t making enough to make ends meet (ever heard of the Utility Shuffle). The first place I remember living is why my grandparents. I wanted to start this post by saying I’ve never actually lived in a house before, but then I realized that my grandparents live in a house….though to be honest, I’d call it more of a shack. It’s a brick-built 2 bedroom/1 bathroom home with a tiny kitchen (that I thought was massive when I was younger), a dining room, a living room, and a laundry room that was built onto the house a little later. Oh, there’s a fireplace, too. However, instead of putting wood in there, my grandfather put a furnace in it.
When myself, my sister, and my mother lived there, all three of us stayed in a very tiny room that was adjacent to my grandparent’s room. It had two windows and a closet that I never ventured into. When you’re young, it’s funny how getting by with the bare minimum doesn’t seem so bad. Surprisingly, the house is still standing ( I say surprisingly because my grandfather built it years ago, and together with my grandmother, they raised 6 kids in that house), and when I go into that room now, I can’t imagine how all of us fit into it comfortably.
Growing up and being raised my grandparents (basically) was a real treat. Grandparents spoil their grand-kids. We were spoiled…at least by the standards of a poor kid. My grandmother took up fishing constantly, and that was always fun because she’d take us to this lake (Pie’s Lake…or rather Pike Lake, I don’t remember) and there were horses that would come right up to the van. At that age, I wanted to be a veterinarian, and I was obsessed with horses and had never seen one up close until going to that lake. I can’t even begin to explain how excited I was. So my grandmother took me fishing, my grandfather would sometimes give us money. Not much, mind you…but still…
That house had this huge backyard, most of which was contaminated with pulled apart tractors and lawn mowers, and littered with car parts and tools and whatnot. But if you walked far enough back on the property you meet my grandpa’s garden. I think my fondest memories of growing up there was watching him plant veggies. After he’d tend to the dirt and lay fertilizer, he’d hand me the seeds, and I’d walk behind him barefoot and in nothing but a long shirt while he poked holes in the dirt and then instructed me to put a seed or two into said hole.
After moving out of their place, my mother and myself, as well as my father, who was present at that time, moved into a duplex right up the road from Nana and Pop-Pop. It was on Washington Ave. This place was also a 2 bedroom/1 bathroom. But the rooms were bigger. My sister and I had bunk beds. This was the home that my now 19 year old brother, Zachary, was conceived in. We lived next to this old black dude who I think was both a hippie and a practitioner of voodoo. He was so weird. He was shirtless constantly, and would hang raw meat on a clothes line during the summer. The smell was so awful. We also lived not even 5 minutes away from a crackhouse, which would be the bane of my father’s existence…and also, because of that, a constant problem in our lives as well.
Our neighbors, of whom we lived right behind, had dogs. Now, while that sounds cute, they were nice dogs, not the kind you could just go up to and pet. In fact, now that I’m an adult, I’m more than positive that they used their pets in dog fights. How else could you explain animals that seemed more like demons? They had pit bulls and I think a boxer, and can you imagine two small girls and their terrified mother trying to tiptoe past these sleeping monsters in the early morning just to get on the school bus? And then getting off the school bus…we had to call our mom to make sure it was safe (from these dogs) just to get back home. There were so many times where instead of going home, we had to go to our grandparent’s house because one or two of the dogs has broken their leash.
However the one dog that I can remember very clearly was this gigantic rottweiler. Oh man, what a dick this dog was. When my brother was born and after he learned to walk,he had this ball that he liked to play with. We were playing outside with it, and it bounced into the neighbor’s yard, right next to where the Rottweiler was sleeping. Zach nearly pitched a fit because he wanted his ball back, and we had to contain him from going to get it. I think it was Lacey, my sister, who called mom out about the ball. I…I don’t remember looking away from Zach, or how it was possible that I wasn’t paying attention to him because I was so protective of him. But the next thing we knew, he was in the neighbor’s yard, walking just as happily as you please to get his ball….right towards the dog. He was so tiny. I don’t remember how old he was, but I don’t think he could have been more than 3 or 4. We couldn’t call out to him, or the owner’s of the dog for fear of waking it. It was terrifying to have to watch and hope and pray that the dog didn’t wake up. Luckily he didn’t.
Memories of that home are bittersweet. We had really great Christmases. In fact, they seemed like magic. I knew we were broke. And yet somehow, we still had dozens of things to open on Christmas morning. Also, the best memories I have from the good times with my dad were in that place. We would wake up early on Saturdays to watch cartoons. He’s the reason I know about the Fantastic Four and Spider man and the X-Men. I get most of my geekiness from him. However, good with the bad, ya know?
The vicious dogs are one thing, but seeing my parent’s fight was another entirely different thing all together. I didn’t know that my dad had a drug problem. We were kids. We had no idea what drugs were, or at least I didn’t. But I do remember him yelling at my mom. As a kid, I just thought, during those Stimes, that there was something off about it. His words wouldn’t come out correctly. There was something off about his gait. His eyes wouldn’t focus. And I think, when my mother kicked him out…I think that’s why his leaving impacted me so. I mean, I get it now. Better to be raised by one parent who has it together than two parents who fight, one of which is unstable and at time, violent. But I’ll never forget getting off that school bus, and coming him to his things in the front yard with him nowhere to be found.
We hopped around from place to place after that. Not because we wanted to, but because rent was always just a little too high. One broken down house on Holly Avenue, countless apartments…one townhouse that was a hellhole…one extended stay hotel. We even had to stay at the Holiday Inn Express (my mother’s job) for a few nights because we had nowhere else to go. Naturally, we couldn’t afford that either. I could go on….but I feel as though I’ve said too much.