Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Two Thousand Eight Wrap party has begun!

I feel safe in saying that this year has been without reservation, one for the books. When I started the year, I was focused on escaping the horrible living situation I'd been dealing with for the last four years. Fighting to get together my wits, and the money needed to escape an impossible and seriously unhealthy environment.

I was living with my brother Jon's widow at the begining of the year, and between my own issues, and the resource problems, it seemed like I was never going to get out of there, let alone Jersey. It was flately impossible to move to someplace nearby in Jersey as rents where nothing short of insane. The 600 sqaure feet one bedroom I'm living in now, would have been double or more what I'm paying in Jersey.

In an ideal world, I'd have continued living where I was and helping my sister-in-law deal with being a widow. When Ellie was having a good day, things would be fine, when she was keeping up with her meds, things would be fine, and I'd enjoy spending time around her. I had friends in the area I didn't want to leave as well as doctors and a therapist I trusted and could deal with.

Reality however was that most of the time Ellie was impossible to live with, because she wasn't keeping up with her meds, bills, or any of the other things that are all part of daily life. The house was so bad even rats wouldn't live there, only my room stayed clean and organized. The fridge, as well as the entire kitchen should be declared a toxic waste superfund site . . . well no, really the entire three bedroom townhouse with the exception of my bedroom and my bathroom that I was forced to share with Ellie because hers? Be it enough said that if the health department saw her bathroom, or most of the rest of the house, they'd put Ellie in the hospital and condem the house. Especially given that the last time she lived alone that's exactly what happened. I wish I was kidding.

Because of the sucktard economey (Thank you Zilla for that) and the greedtards that made it all possible, Ellie had been forced in the middle of 2007 to sell her house to an investor in a buy out, buy back deal that was supported to come to term June 1st of 2008. She'd done not one of the things she was supposed to do to buy it back, had no credit . . . no, she had negative credit. She wasn't keeping up with her bills (choosing instead to spend most of her money at bookstores) and so on a very regular basis someone from one or more of the utilities companies would come along to demand money she didn't have or they'd shut off the gas, heat, electric, or water and sewer. Jersey law says any essential services get shut off, and the dwelling is unihabitable. Meaning everyone leaves, or is removed from the dwelling. So while I'm fighting to be able to save the money to escape, I keep getting forced into loaning her money for food, utilities, and life in general above and beyond being a good roommate and doing my share. My share always became her share too, and I had no real legal standing in the house in the event of eviction. Plus, Ellie was, when not medicated, extremely confrontational and abusive.

I couldn't keep living there, but trying to escape was being impossible too. I'd have gone home to Colorado, where I can afford the rents, if I'd been able to afford to get there, and then find a place. I'd been planning to move back in with my sister for six months, long enough to find a place of my own after getting back out there. The problem there was with all the issues in and around my sisters life, I didn't feel like this was the greatest idea in the world, despite the fact that we both wanted me to move out there. Plus with gas prices, it was going to be a major expense just driving the two thousand miles out there. When push came to shove, I found out I couldn't count on help on the ground, nor a staging area to be able to apartment hunt from.

The stress on me was, well, doing me physical harm. After years of having perfect blood pressure and being largely immune to stress, post nervous breakdown, I wasn't quite so lucky. My blood pressure was rising, the stress was off the wall, and the constance crisis to crisis style of living because of my sister-in-law's madness, was not good for me at all. June was bearing down on me personally, I didn't want to be there when the owner wanted Ellie to buy it back or get out. I had family in New England pushing me to come home, in NY, NJ, CO and OH but I wasn't getting much help.

Actually that's not entirely accurate, My Brother and Sister-in-law here in OH wanted me to move here, but were the only ones NOT pushing, and offering to help in any way they can. Since Mark and I have lived togehter in the past quite successfully, and he's seem some of the terrible places I've lived, having him look at places here that I was interested in made a great deal of sense. I could, and did trust him not to blow sunshine up my skirt in an effort to get me out here.

So with May coming quickly to a close and my panic becoming terror, one of the places I'd considered here had an opening. I had Mark come over and take a look around and started a conversation with the landlord. I'd managed to save enough for first month, security and moving expenses to get this far, but wouldn't have been able to make it to Colorado. I also had grown extremely frustrated with my sister's ongoing issues impairing he ability to be objective and report what was instead of what she thought something or place might be.

So, I made the decision to move here, assuming I could get the apartment. I had no history of anykind really. Back past 2006 I didn't exist at all, and I explained the short version of this to my new landlord. She checked what information was available and said that yes, I could have the apartment but that I'd need to pay a deposit. That was the very end of May. June first I started the drive out here, I stopped over night in West Virginia, and finish the second leg of the trip rolling into town Monday night. I met with my new Landlord at my new building on the third and started moving in. I spent one more night in the hotel, and then started living the first place I've lived alone for decades.

From June until now, I've been getting settled in, used to the area, and dealing with life in a whole new part of the country. It's been really good for me, I feel like I've made a great deal of progress in the bottom half of the year. I still have a long ways to go, but for now it's nice to be living somewhere safe, clean and relatively peaceful. Not living from one crisis to another, in a constant state of terror is liberating.

So if I had to sum up the last half of the year in one word it would be progress. Slow, forward progress, which for me is amazing.


zilla said...

Being able to sum up any year with the word progress is truly amazing, thinking about the last year, which was so full of fits and starts in the broader world, it's even more amazing.

Have a fabulous 2009, Samantha!

Samantha said...

Given the way 2008 started, and the previous decade of hell before it, I feel like the old Virginia Slim's commercial of the 70s:

"I have come a long way!"

So yeah, all in all I feel blessed to be able to use 2008 and progress in the same sentence.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful, happy, healthy and progress making 2009 too Zilla!

Ha, the word verification is a word, hectic. I find that funny because yes, '08 was certainly that!