My restful Summer so far
Monday, July 22, 2019
My last blog was written near the end of the Spring semester as I neared finals. All I could think of during those last few weeks of school was Summer, Summer, Summer and for the first time in a few years a break. A break from school (I have taken summer courses, often more than one for the last few years). I couldn't wait. We did have a family reunion on the books for early Summer but that is all fun and little stress for me. So, how did it go? I'll tell you:
Weeks leading up to reunion were filled with cleaning, shopping and yard work in anticipation of our happy event. It happened and over 70 of our family members gathered at our home for food, music, swimming and catching up. This year was especially poignant as my grandparents, and all of their 12 children lived and/or were raised in Paradise. There were tours up the hill were houses no longer stood for those that have long ago built lives out of state and hadn't yet seen their hometown since the fire. Aunts, uncles and cousins who have lost everything and have moved out of the area or state came back for the weekend to be loved on and to assure us that they are going to be fine. We continued to count our blessings that we sold the our home one year before the devastation and that we had a large home to be able to gather at. We entered a lease to own agreement with some longtime friends and so it was perfect. That all happened during the weekend of June 22nd.
The following week, it was time to return our son who was in for the reunion from DC to the airport. I was pretty wiped out and so were the kiddos so my oldest son offered to take him. Good thing. The toilets were acting funny and I suspected it was time to call in septic services. We live in the neighboring city to Paradise which is half sewer and half septic but because Paradise is all septic and the clean up operations require the inspection and removal of basically every septic system up there, it was hard to find anyone available and most were booked out for weeks! I lucked out and found someone out of the area to come that evening. All was well, solids at normal levels, etc...but, bad news. the leach lines had failed. water was pouring back in the tank from the leach field. We lived in the orchards where the trees are watered 24 hours a day in this heat, on river soil, with tractors driving over the field during the harvest. It was too much. Of course I worried that it was my large family and our reunion that did it but I was assured that this was an old problem. My husband and I decided to make the trip to Sac and deliver this very expensive news to our friends and landlords in person the next day. We had dinner and told them that if they had to sell we would understand because obviously we don't have 10-15 thousand dollars right now but were still planning on buying the house when I finished school as planned. They were super kind, kind of shocked that we would even consider a move because there is no housing in our town since the fire or anywhere to the Oregon border for that matter, and we all agreed to touch base in a week. We immediately rigged the gray water to drain out to the fields to lighten the load and were super conservative. A few different contractors showed up during the week to get second and third opinions about he issue.
Monday- I was scheduled for jury duty but my group was not going to be called and hubby already had the day off work so we took the kids to the zoo and that's when I got the call. They decided to sell. I said I understood and I did but I was a little surprised by the coldness of tone. I told him I would begin exploring housing options and we agreed to stay in close contact. When I told my family that same night they panicked and said they would all help pay for new leach lines because we would never find housing and to call back and offer.
Tuesday- I sent a text asking if that was an option (he teaches summer school) no answer even hours later but his wife called and said they had already contacted a realtor and a sign would go up and lock boxes would be installed that week. She asked if I had any idea where we could go and how fast could I get out because, "the real estate agent thinks it will go fast". Let me pause here and explain that since the Camp Fire this is not unusual at at all. The market is unreal and insurance money is flowing like honey around here. there are displacements, bidding wars and illegal activity like pretending there isn't something called a 30 or 60 day notice. I have friends who have been renters for over a decade camping as I write this because their out of state landlords are cashing in on all of this. Our friends were bit by the bug no doubt when they got "the number" for what their house could currently sell for. I was in shock and I burst into tears. I was standing outside looking around thinking I didn't even know where to go or how to begin. I told her I wouldn't and couldn't possibly show her house with all my children in it and she said she already told the agent there was a family still in the house. The agent assured her than in this market it didn't even matter, nobody will care...
Wednesday - After visits to leasing offices, online applications, calls to scams and real people on Craigslist and Zillow, and visits to properties where I showed up for my appointed time only to enter a backyard full of people doing the same, I started to get scared. I got texts back that said, "hell no!" when I inquired if the owner would even entertain renting their place to a family of 11. I thought maybe we could rent two apartments, that was joke there are none in the entire town let alone 2. I figured we would pack everything into storage while we hoped for a new listing....no storage facilities available...IN THE ENTIRE TOWN. Late that afternoon I got a call from a man who said I left a message Monday night and that he just now got it. I must have called from the car on the way home from the zoo. He didn't balk at 11 so I agreed to meet at the property. I took our credit scores, pay stubs, and checkbook and asked if I could fill out the app there. 45 minutes later I was screaming in my car with the windows up driving to my husband's work with the keys to the place. Shelter. The couple recognized me from a year before when I bought her mother's China cabinet and felt sure it was meant to be. She asked me to thank "Jenni" and to light a candle for her. HOPE!
Thursday - Our oldest daughter texted that her water broke and our first grandson was born at 9:00 that night.....moving frantically.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday - Saw baby but he went back to hospital for jaundice and we moved. night and day.
Monday- My amazing girlfriend who just bought back on the hill in Magalia picked up my four youngest for two days and we moved some more.
Wednesday - The cleaning begins
Thursday - I want to be finished and we were half moving half cleaning and kids were outside exhausted, hungry and throwing dirt at each other. My mom took them to her place fed them, bathed them, and put cable on. My next door neighbors from Paradise and long-time good friends picked up our kitties and took them to their new home, The dumpster was filled and we finished.
Friday- Collapsed. The whole thing was fueled by adrenaline.
Saturday - back to work at my weekend job
Sunday - same but family came over and got to hold my grandson
Monday - That's today. I am so grateful that my anger is dissipating. I feel guilty that I didn't totally understand what my all my family and friends were going through emotionally even though we were right here, I didn't know. I am tired and raw and my feelings are hurt. I LOVE that we got rid of half our possessions to fit into this place, talk about FREEDOM.
It has been exactly two weeks.
You may ask why I didn't fight back a little. It isn't because I'm not feisty, survival kicked in and when we had keys there was only time to GO! We never even packed we set baskets of dishes on laps and drove over. We removed the benches from one van and used it as a truck for most of everything and many trips to Salvation Army. I understood quickly that it was gift and there was no time for a pissing match or discussion about fairness. We considered leaving the state as well but I really wanted to stick around and try diving under the wave of improbable because I will apply to the university nursing program in August. I've worked very hard and I'm not cutting and running just yet. There is already such freedom from the acres of yard work and massive house. Of course we don't feel it yet but we will...
My hair doesn't fall out as much already. I feel like the weight of that house is off my shoulders.
I'm disappointed in people as well. The property managers here take non-refundable cash bids in the amount of 500.00 to "reserve" properties. It's a click of a button from your phone and costs 25.00 every time you "reserve". How does that work you ask if everyone does it? Well, you can back your bid with another 500.00 as well for a better shot. Silly me was viewing properties when bids can be placed from the phone in bed. The "viewings" are only to get you to learn the system..... Our landlords have come up from Sac over the weekend to "check things on the property" and have invited their friends and kids to swim. You're welcome. I even got a text picture.
Here's what I've learned: GOD IS SO GOOD and HIS TIMING IS PERFECT! It all happened perfectly, I would have stressed for weeks if we hadn't been given the boot. School would have started. family and friends wouldn't have been able to offer all their support in fall when life is in full swing. Compassion; there are countless Camp Fire victims without a home still. Fema trailers and trips to Idaho are common. We are so blessed. It is all good. It has been stressful but I feel so much more capable of nursing school without the upkeep and expense of that big ol house to maintain. I have weeks left to love on my kids, what a gift!
So why chronicle on SP? because this is my place of health. I got rid of all those size 12's in my frantic offloading. There was only time for today. I feel so ready to claim my health in so many ways. Stress is deadly. I was drowning and didn't know it. God rescues, every time. I'm ready AND in His great timing I actually started working with a functional practitioner the Monday after the reunion. With tons of alcohol and food ingested, I walked into her office and we made a plan. She changed up my thyroid meds and gave me supplements which no doubt allowed me to even move. Of course our plan is out the window for the moment but she called during all of this to check in on me and told me not too worry for now and that she has head the same story countless times, everyone has.... I still feel great.
Thanks for reading if you made it this far. I feel the weight of writing it all out off my chest.