Restoration of a family (Home) Part 1.
Life is fantastic, beautiful and tragic
(When I refer to "Them" or "They" it means my brother and uncle)
I'd like to think it's theraputic to write about all the high's and lows of the last couple of months, helps put my mind at ease at least. Don't really know where to begin.
Lets see, I can truly say I'm proud of the progress we've made with the renovations to my grandma's old house. After my grandma died of colon cancer in 2001, the house that I've lived and grew up in my entire life, just didn't feel the same and my entire family felt the same way, some to a more to a life crippling extent. I'm thankful that my mother found a place for us to live on our own, even though it was hard for her, us and full of compromises and sacrifices.
After my grandma's death, the house turned into a giant pit of self loathing, depression and pity and the lack of care for the house showed, as well as the degenerating health of the people within it. My uncle, and my aunt who were dependent on their mother from the beginning as a sort of crutch from moving on with their life, were left alone after her death and they began a downward spiral in their mental and physical health. It's fascinating and horrible to watch a family member slowly burn themselves out purposely. After many medical complications plus severe diabetic problems, my aunt slowly and painfully passed away in 2008, after many years of me and mom taking care of her, sacrificing work and time at school to take care of my aunt.
Leaving me and my family a sizeable amount of inheritence to be split 3 ways (technically it should have been 4, if my brother wasnt a fucken shitbag) as well as me (not technically or legally) the owner of my childhood home. Legally I'm not the owner, the deed is signed to my mom and my uncle. But I've taken up responsiblity of fixing it up, paying the mortgage, keeping it clean and up to par.
At first though, I was happy with the money I recieved from the inheritance, by that time I was living on my own, going to college on my bike and the bus, going to work on the train. Having my own apartment was a great experience, I truly appreciated all the privacy and freedom I had, after years of living in a house with people who all hated each other and would verbally and loudly announce this daily, it felt truly special that I could come home from a long day in classes and not hear the drunk ramblings of a depressed uncle, or a violent tirade of expletives from a brother who has made attempts on my life (almost succesfully) many times, or my mom crying and screaming in the background from many things that made her blood pressure sky rocket at the moment.
This has somehow turned into a personally revealing blog entry, but I'm trying to set the mood to what I've been working on for the better part of a year and half. I was happy living on my own, and I was very reluctant to give up my newfound freedom, however paying rent and a mortgage solely on my mothers paycheck, and my random few work checks just werent enough to keep both, one of them was going to have to go...and I was very vocal (and selfish) that the house should go (actually what I wanted to do was burn it to the ground and laugh manically over the ashes)
(Looking back, I should have taken pictures) At this point, it's truly impossible to describe the amount of damage this house had endured at the hands of my aunt, uncle, and my brother after my grandma's death and more after my aunt's death. Doors broken down, holes in the cieling, from rainwater and a large one in the dining room area from a broken pipe in the upstairs toilet (extremely disgusting, smelly and horrifying that they still used the toilet even after they discovered the shit and piss leaking from the cieling). Ants, roaches and fleas were discovered in nearly every crevice and countertop, the kitchen was infected with mold in the walls, underneath the sink and the floor below the kitchen tiles, it's smell was indescribable. The most troubling aspect, while my aunt was still alive, this is what she lived in while she was bedridden and being (poorly) taken care of by my brother (while my mom was at work, and I was living on my own). I would visit daily though, but the very act of walking through the front door would make my stomach twist and cringe.
The wooden floors throughout the whole house had equal layers of dirt, dust, food, ants, human urine and feces (yes, they would even shit and piss wherever they felt comfortable) and mold. Warped and cracked beyond repair, the locks on doors caved in by either a hammer, or even whole doors which were chopped with a hole in the middle by an axe (Excuse: Couldnt find the key) The two bathrooms were plugged up and had plumbing problems that caused all the water in the house to have a brown tinge to it, sometimes with grains of dirt. Empty beer cans piled up in every corner of the house, urine stains on the couches and furniture (all furniture was also infested with roaches and ants, food and burger wrappers lined the seams of the couches) The walls were covered in sometimes blood and brown smudges.
Trash was everywhere, garbage littered every corner of the house, broken furniture, broken appliances thrown against the wall. Not to mention the dog, for some reason they somehow bought a dog (which would shit and piss wherever it liked, on the wooden floors of the house)
And yet they lived and thrived in this house like it was always this way, as if it was somehow normal to live in a place that made the local dump look like taj mahal. I wanted nothing to do with the house, it was a death sentence to be forced go back living that way, in that house with those horrible people again (They're family yes, but that makes it all the more horrible) They were not human beings anymore, they lived like animals in a cave made of their own shit, and I will not be part of it.
However, I had to make a sacrifice. I had to move back in, but it would be on my terms. The house HAD to be repaired, the right way, no half ass-jobs, and no mistakes. I had to sacrifice nearly all of my inheritance to fix the house, but I was adamant that I would not live in a house of squalor and disgust. Not only would I fix it, but I would make it beautiful and worthy of a house for a family to live in, a real family (maybe one day it will house a real family) I would also restore it, as a classic Craftsman home as it used to be, all real wood. No drywall or particle board anywhere in the house.
Which brings me to the point of this blog, and it's rediculous story. In the coming weeks I will be posting updates and pictures, of all the progress I've made in fixing up the house. I should have taken pictures of the house before, as to show the extreme diffrence in the damage before and the restoration, But i was too angry and pre-occupied at the time.
I'd like to thank all my friends and family for their support, and my mom for never giving up.