The Wall Collapsed

Pouring rain woke us up. And then…

CRASH.

The wall collapsed. The wall we have been trying to get our landlord to fix since it started cracking during Harvey last year.

There are bricks all over. We actually can’t get out right now. My husband went out the side door to try to move all the piles of bricks.

HARVEY NEVER ENDS.

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We Lost Another House

They countered our offer. We accepted. Last minute cancel.

Meanwhile, our landlord finally came with someone to look at the falling apart wall. Told us “not to touch it, because it is unstable.”

Uh. Duh. Anybody looking at the wall can see that. It is LITERALLY cracking and crumbling from the inside out.

It actually struck me that it is a pretty good metaphor for my life currently.

  • Giving the facade of being useful/doing my job
  • Weakened from the inside
  • Cracking at the seams
  • Falling apart

I actually took a picture of it the other morning, because the pure irony made me laugh. I am going to make a meme for myself.

Definitely not feeling this new job. The school board changed the school’s hours in August and I am seeing less of my family than when I supposedly had a more demanding job. Getting out of this house and into a new one was something I was pinning everything on. It would make it worth it.

Welp. That has clearly backfired.

More cracks in my foundation as everything just seems to wear down on me heavier than normal.

Without anything to really look forward to, I am not sure how much my facade can keep up before I do actually just fall apart.

It Is the Anniversary of Harvey

It began to pour this morning and I felt my heart skip several beats.

Oh no. Not this. Not again.

After about 30 minutes, it tapered off to a steady sprinkle and I felt a huge sigh of relief escape me.

At this time last year, we were in the midst of Hurricane Harvey. Even thinking about it now is really hard for me. I do not want to go into details, because I still am terrified of all that happened. I was a mess during it for multiple reasons, but here is a very brief summary:

  • I am terrified of drowning
  • My daughter was only 5 months old and clearly couldn’t swim
  • We have two cats
  • We had water in our house

 

Obviously we are alive. But that is not one of those things that you just forget. As it had been getting closer and closer, so many TV channels were airing things called “Remembering Harvey” and “Recovery: 1 Year Later”, etc. Don’t worry. We haven’t forgotten.

One of my friends was rescued off of her roof with her two little children. Another was on the third floor of her apartment building, on her balcony, and jumped into a boat. Another was rescued from her attic. I have friends whose houses were completely destroyed with no chance for repair. Others, like us, who were able to get the major problems taken care of and were only displaced temporarily.

Things start to become your “new normal”. But then all of these shows pop up in case you forgot. We hadn’t, but suddenly our traumatic experiences are becoming entertainment. We aren’t watching these shows because we still vividly remember it. I don’t need to see the pictures of the flooded streets. I distinctly remember the water on the cars on our own street.

So it gets you even more amped up.

“What if it happens again? They said it was a hundred-year-storm, but what if this is the start of a new hundred years?”

Trust me, we bought extra things for our “Hurricane Kit” this year! Things we, hopefully, won’t need. Things like toddler flotation devices, a tent in case we need to camp out on our roof. We are honestly debating buying some kind of kayak or something.

This time last year was a series of panic attacks for me, one directly after the other. I am indirectly reliving everything and feeling like I may have some again, second-hand almost. Just the constant memory and reminders is anxiety inducing.

I used to love the sound of the rain. Now I cannot stand it and it speeds up my heart.

We Are Trying to Buy a House

We have rented the house we currently live in for two years. It really is a nice house, but not a “permanent” home for us. We used to think it could be and hoped that maybe the landlords would eventually sell it to us. They said they were not looking to sell. But there have been more and more issues with the house lately.

A few days ago, our landlord did ask us what our offer would be so he could consider it. He had recently been looking at repairing a huge problem on the house. So this made me think “Aha! That problem is quite costly and difficult to deal with and he may consider selling to not have to deal with it.” He didn’t say this, of course, but the timing was obvious. We looked at comparable houses in the neighborhood and in similar condition in terms to needs of repairing and more. We told him what we would offer. We figured he didn’t realize we knew the actual value of the home and was hoping we would be willing to offer more. He has yet to respond. That proved it to us. Since we didn’t offer more, he isn’t willing to deal with it.

Yeah. Sorry, buddy. We know what the neighborhood goes for on homes that don’t need repair. But that isn’t this house. We are way more than aware that foundation issues in a house ain’t cheap. We know about the issues with the deck that you still haven’t fixed despite it being a year since Hurricane Harvey. Remember? We were the ones living here during that. We know where the wall busted in and had a hole from outdoors to inside and caused us to get mold. We know where the ceiling has an issue. This house will be costly to fix.

Why do we know all this? Because we have been working with a realtor over the past month and are looking at homes to buy. Our landlord is not aware of this.

We had, actually, put an offer in on a home in the neighborhood. It was a good price and in good condition. It was accepted and we were so excited. Until the inspection happened. We thought it would go great. After all, the sellers were living in the house still. When we looked at it before we made our offer, their dog was there!

Let’s just say there were major problems.

  • Previous foundation repairs that they denied
  • Faulty wiring throughout
  • Rotten wood in areas
  • Breaker box issues
  • The water pipes were completely rusted through in the back of the house and you could not get any water in the master bathroom

We countered with an addendum asking for certain repairs (note: not all) or price decrease. They countered back with the slightest decrease ever (we are talking $2000) and a snippy letter stating that “You have to understand that the house was not built in the last 10 years. We refuse to do any repairs on these items since they are non-essential.”

Oh. I hadn’t realized that water was non-essential. Silly me!

Turns out, the sellers weren’t actually living in the house anymore. They had just left some stuff to make it appear that they were. A facade to make naive buyers go “oh, well, if they were living without water in that bathroom, it can’t be that bad! We can fix it eventually.”

I have a toddler. She takes baths. We need water.

How do I know they weren’t actually living in the house anymore? Sleuthing, my dear Doctor Watson! While the inspection was going on and he was making all of his notes, I was walking around and planning where I would put all of our furniture. I couldn’t help but notice some odd things.

  • 5 out of 6 dining room chairs were broken and couldn’t support more weight than a purse.
  • The oven was so new that it had never been used. You could tell this by the signs inside from the manufacturer.
  • In the master closet, there were weird clothing items. Like a bunch of shoes, but not all of them had matches. Winter coats and nothing else, which would make your outfits ridiculous in the 100 degree weather we constantly have.
  • The dresser was completely empty, so they clearly were not getting dressed here.
  • No towels, but they had half a bar of soap in the guest bath to make it look like someone was showering there.
  • No TVs, computers, coffee machines, electronics of any kind.
  • Canned goods in the pantry and soda in the fridge, but no perishable food. And no dishes, cups, pots, pans, utensils.

They must have been stopping by once a week to slightly tweak things to make it look “lived in” and brought their dog over right before any showing to give that same impression.

Incredibly sneaky in a clever, manipulative way.

We backed out of the house.

It still hasn’t sold.

I wonder why?

We had almost put an offer in on another house, but were told someone beat us to it. They said we could try to outbid them, if we wanted. We did not. Hence, we went for the “Facade House”.

But this other house was still showing up in our online portal as for sale. We contacted our realtor, who contacted the sellers’ agent. Apparently the buyers had backed out before the inspection for other reasons. They had received an offer that day, but had showings scheduled this weekend, so were going to wait to look at all offers until the start of next week.

We decided to put in an offer today.

Now let me just say, we have no intent of getting into a bidding war. We do not actually believe there was another offer. We think this might be a selling tactic to try to prevent us from submitting below asking price. “If they offered more, we won’t get the house!” Which is an actual thing that happens. But for it to happen literally the day we were shown the house (and told about it 20 minutes after we finished the showing) and then again the day we inquired as to its new status? It is perfectly possible it is true, but unlikely.

I guess we will find out?

I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, just in case. Lesson learned from the last one, I suppose. I was literally taking video in the rooms of the “Facade House” where I would pan the room and say what I thought could go where. And then the inspector talked to me. And all the air in my balloon of excited-soon-to-be-homeowner-ness seeped out. I really thought they might consider doing the few repairs we requested. You know, the water pipes? Because even if they decided they didn’t like us for finding out their rusted secret, they weren’t going to be able to sell this house at a “move in ready” price with that issue. Each new buyer was going to find out the same information and request a similar addendum.

I deleted the videos.

It was really rough for a bit, because I had been so excited about moving. We would have been near our closing date right now. Packing everything up. Gearing up to start the autumn off in our new home. Planning the holidays there.

I am trying to stay neutral.

 

 

 

But I really do hope they accept our offer.

I Turned My Hair Orange

I dyed my hair purple and pink at the start of the summer… to cheer me up after a pretty crap couple of months, you know.

Most of the color has washed out, but there is still quite a bit of pink.

Well, I am in a play that takes place in the 1940s. It opens in 3 weeks. My character wold definitely NOT have pink hair.

So I did what one normally does. I bought one of those boxed dyes in my natural color. Boxes that I have used plenty of times before with the usual results.

Except.

My hair is now a brassy orange, bleachy color.

Honestly, I was legitimately crying last night. I was so upset. I did not have it in me to deal with this too. I tried calling around to salons to go pay a ton to get it professionally done. But because it is Sunday, everybody closes at 6.

Which is stupid. Why? Augh.

Thank goodness I don’t have students until next week. But I do have professional development today. I have it up with a ton of mousse and hairspray, to try to mask how awful it is.

I am hoping to get out early so that I can rush to a salon and pay a bunch for them to fix it.

Why it happened this time, I’ll never know. But it really makes me sad.

 

 

It looks so bad.

A Lot Has Been Going On

And I mean A LOT.

I wasn’t trying to be neglectful towards writing. But a bunch of stuff all happened at once.

  • I acted in a 24-hour play festival that is 100% for charity. I have been part of this group for years and love getting to participate in these. My group had a play that was a “period piece musical”. Our playwright wrote a parody of Grease called “Greek is the Word” that was all in ancient Greece. I played Sandromeda and was in love with Danny Zeus-O. It was hysterical. The audience votes on awards and we won two: Cast That Looked Like They Had the Most Fun and the coveted Best in Show! And we raised over $2000 for the food bank! All in all, amazing.
  • I had a dermatology appointment. I am very pale and burn like nobody’s business. I have had two moles removed in the past. I had noticed a new mole and went in. I had to have it sampled because it looked suspicious. Thankfully, no melanoma. But I have developed melasma (a skin discoloration issue that puts me more at risk) and not have to put some expensive serum on my face every morning as part of my skin care regimen. And I need to step up my skin care to Level: Negative Sun So Use Even More Sunscreen Then I Already Do.
  • We went on vacation. This was our first vacation since our honeymoon and definitely the first one with a tiny person as part of our family. Our toddler loves Sesame Street and animals. She is fascinated with aquariums. So, we went to Sea World. They do a cool thing where teachers can get a free pass if they sign up at a specific time? We always sign up and hope we will use them, but normally don’t. This time we used them!
    The drive there was about 4 hours. She napped for the first half and woke up for the last chunk, so I sat in the back with her and we did art on her Kids’ Fire tablet.
    She surprisingly slept amazing in the hotel. On the last night, she didn’t fall asleep until 9, but if that was our only sleep issue? Haha, fine!
    She loved the dolphins so much. She was clapping and cheering during the show, which was really cute. She somehow knew when to applaud. And the way her eyes would light up at them. It was so sweet.
    She was really stunned to see all of her Sesame friends. Especially since Cookie Monster came up to her and danced with her. Afterwards, we did pictures with them and she insisted on showing Cookie her little Cookie Monster car.
    We were going to try to go back to the hotel for naptime, but she typically dozed off in her stroller while we were walking to a show and woke up right before the show. So she was getting small 30 minute cat naps. But no meltdowns! She did great!
    All in all, this was an amazing first family vacation! There were definitely things I’d like to try differently next time. I’d really love to look into a cruise, but apparently they charge full price for a toddler? So, that will be happening never.
    One of the big things I wish I had been better about was sunscreen. I applied it to me and my mini religiously. She stayed nice and pale. I apparently wasn’t doing a great coverage job on myself, though, and sunburned my shoulders/cleavage/neck. And right after that doctor’s appointment when I was even more hyper-aware of my skin. Tsk Tsk, me.
  • We returned home and I began rehearsals for the show that I am in. For the most part, it is going alright. One day, I was trying on costumes so the costumer and director could adjust them and some of the cast made me feel incredibly self-conscious. They decided it was “helpful” to talk about how “frumpy” and “big” I looked, knowing that I had a baby last year. Yes. I am aware that I haven’t lost the baby weight. Yes. I am not tiny. Yes. I know all of this and feel awful about it. So thank you for pointing it out for your own entertainment with me standing right there. Thank you for talking about me like an object and not considering how much you hurt my feelings.
    Obviously that was a great day.
  • I started my new job! There was a week of “New Teacher Orientation” meetings for teachers who were new to this school district to learn how this district does things. Everything has been pretty great so far, until I got to see my classroom.
    It has the potential  to be amazing. Too bad the teacher before me left SO MUCH JUNK. It is overwhelming. Every file cabinet and shelf is jammed full of papers that are of no use to me. I have boxes of stuff that I cannot unpack yet because I simply do not have anywhere to put them. I was given about 30 keys and so far have only found two that actually unlock anything. Meanwhile, I have found quite a few locks that I do not have keys for but need keys for.
    I keep trying to remind myself that this will (hopefully) be dealt with before students arrive.
  • I got a call the other night from my dad. My grandma passed away. She had been battling brain cancer, so it was not entirely unexpected. Thankfully, she had recently decided that the risk with her treatments were outweighing the slim chance of success, so she had recently been transferred to “comfort care”. She was not in any pain and went quickly. I hate saying “thankfully” for this, but I am grateful that she did not suffer in pain. That the transition from “comfort care” to her passing was actually relatively quick so her family was actually with her while she was still lucid. I don’t really know how else to explain it. I don’t mean it in a callous way at all. When my grandpa (her husband) died of lung cancer when I was much younger, it was a very long, arduous fight. He was in so much pain and it was a very lengthy battle.
    I spoke to her awhile back, when the brain cancer was first found and she just wanted to talk about my daughter. I am really sad that she never got to meet her.
  • Speaking of my dad, I am trying again to extend an olive branch. I mentioned to him in joking way “When are you going to come see your granddaughter?” and he told me I had never invited him! I reminded him of the two times I have definitely extended specific invitations (the summer after she was first born and her first Christmas). He swears up and down I never did. He says he is looking into it, but if he forgot about the other times, I am worried he will forget about this time too. I can’t keep getting my hopes up on this. I keep trying, but there have been no results so far. So while I am hopeful (I would love for him to be part of her life), I am trying to keep my expectations realistic.
  • We put an offer in on a house! And the offer was accepted! The timing is not ideal, due to school starting back up, but we are just so sick of renting. We want our own place. We love the house we are renting, but our landlords have made it very clear that they aren’t interested in ever selling, or even letting us lease to buy. We had started looking with a realtor, just for her to get some feel of our styles. Our hope was too maybe move during the winter? Our lease ends mid-January. We ended up really loving one house, so we decided to jump on it.
  • Which leads to today. We had the house inspection this morning. It did not go well. There are many problems that were masked really well. We are very discouraged. Our realtor is going to look into making an addendum to suggest to us regarding “fix it or charge less” for the sellers. But those don’t always work, so we may be back to square one. We shall see.

This is my attempt at a severely abridged version of the past month. Plenty of smaller things have happened too (my cousin got engaged, my friend had her baby, I had to help the new teachers for the old school that wanted me gone, etc.), but these were the major bullet points.

Hopefully things get a bit calmer, but who knows?

My Toddler Climbs Stuff

Apparently I am raising a mini dare devil.

Yesterday morning, I was washing my face and suddenly………

THUD.

Silence.

“Wahhhhhhhhhh!”

I sprinted into her nursery, and there was my baby sprawled out on the floor.

She had tried to climb out of her crib. And succeeded. She just didn’t stick the landing.

After being cuddled and kissed and checked over a million times, she was fine. We are planning on dropping the crib to the lowest level today. I was nervous about it not being done yesterday, but we just didn’t have time. Thankfully, she did not attempt any overnight climbs.

Later that morning, she decided it was important to try to climb up onto her play kitchen when she was playing with her daddy. My toddler is very small, but the kitchen was not built to hold 20 pounds of toddler.

It tipped.

She fell.

She conked her head on the corner of the play refrigerator.

I was in the office and heard a loud wail from the living room. I went running in and there was already a huge goose egg forming on her head. The swelling subsided within an hour, but there is still a bruise.

That afternoon, she decided to try to climb up onto my exercise bike. She fell and scratched her face twice right on each side of her nose. No bleeding, but two big scratches.

The scratches and the cuts make her look like she got into a fight this weekend. I can only imagine what her daycare thinks, her coming in all banged up.

You would think that all of these accidents in one day would maybe teach her to stop climbing so recklessly.

You would be wrong. She scales things with abandon.

You might also think that we are doing a terrible job of supervising her.

You would also be wrong. I was literally sitting on the floor with her in my lap and within 3 seconds she had climbed onto the exercise bike pedal. Despite me reaching over to grab her, she managed to climb it and fall from it that quickly.

Girl is fearless.

Apparently, girl is also clumsy.