Living through construction

When we started the house we knew it wasn’t going to change overnight, we knew it would take time, money, and effort. WE hit multiple stalemates and multiple times had to change paths and handle the situations at hand. My husband, my daughter, and my terminally ill father all shared one bedroom/living area upstairs while we attempted to get the downstairs gutted and start rebuilding to make it liveable. Let me tell you this, if you want to test your grit, your will power and your belief in yourself, buy a fixer upper. It will show you exactly who you are, it will try to break you.

I can’t tell you how many times we would fight over this not being done yet, or this still needing finished. It got to the point that we lost all joy in each other and in the house. It was such a struggle to get through the first year here. We tried to keep making progress on the house but to be honest it all fell on my husbands shoulders.  I was doing everything I could to hold on to a dying man, to keep him going. I couldn’t see what was happening around me. I literally felt so numb to everything, like I was in the eye of a tornado that was destroying my life and I only ever caught glimpses at whatever the situation was.

I guess there is no better time to tell the whole story then now, to explain what I needed recovery from.

Growing up in my house wasn’t easy, it was a constant battle. My father is a very controlling, angry man, who had no issue beatin his wife, shouting insults and despicable things at his four young children. When we would come home we could tell what kind of night it would be based on the music that was playing, if it was Hank Williams Sr, generally my father was all coked out drinking whiskey with his brothers, and we would end up in the Battered Womans’ Shelter that night, and he would end up in handcuffs in the back of a squad car. This was not a one time thing, this happened far too many times in my childhood for me to count. It always happened the same way, we would go to the shelter for a few days, there would be a restraining order and charges pressed, then he would send flowers or show up and woo his way right back in. After a few days, sometimes a couple weeks it would happen again and again the cops would come. It got so bad that I wouldn’t go to a friends house to stay the night because I felt I had to stay home and protect my mom and my baby sister from the monster.

I am not saying that I didn’t love my father, because in truth I loved him so much that I often couldn’t see how he was the same guy that would put his fist to my mothers face. We were shielded from most of it growing up, so all we ever saw was the superhero daddy. Then one day the mask and blinders were ripped away and I saw him, the monster, and the illusion I had of my father being my best friend through life was ripped away. I didn’t realize it until recently that when the blinders were removed, there was a huge part of my soul, that was ripped away with it. The damage was done, but it wouldn’t show its destruction until years later.

The only reason I made it through it all was because of the light both my mother and granny shined into my life. However, two days after my tenth birthday, my world went dark. My best friend, my granny, finally joined the rest of her children and family. I started to spin out of control, I smoked pot with my brother for the first time, I started drinking, I started hanging out with the boys, and getting into trouble. And it didn’t stop, it only got worse the older I got. Too make matters worse, it would end up being my own father who lit the way down the path to hell. He started handing me pills at 13 for my periods, and up until about a month ago, it never stopped. It again only got worse.  As I got older, I tried more and more to fill the empty void where my soul used to be, no amount of alcohol, drugs or men would numb it, so I turned to pain meds hoping that they would finally numb the pain in my soul. I got hooked on them after having reconstruction surgery, then another surgery and then multiple bad luck accidents and surgeries. It got really really bad, to the point I didn’t care what kind of pill it was I just wanted to not feel anymore. And who was the one pushing the drugs, who did I turn to when I needed them….but my own father. It wasn’t bad enough that he had me hooked, then he got both my brothers hooked, and still has his demonic claws in their souls. It wasn’t the pills I was addicted to, I mean it was, but my drug, my heroin, was the love of my father. I was constantly seeking his approval, his love, I wanted my dad back, and I was never going to get it.

I went from an awesome mom and individual to a disaster waiting to strike, I couldn’t see the damage I was doing to everyone in my life because all I could focus on was my father.  When I stopped seeking him, when I stopped allowing my addiction to him to rule my life. I got it back. Granted there is a million posts until I explain that, but removing him from my life, actually gave me me life and my fullfilled soul. I stopped letting him treat me like dog sh*t, I stopped letting his hateful words and comments sink into my mind and heart, I stopped believing his every lie and in turn started to see the world clearly for the first time in nearly two decades.

If it wasn’t for the trials, hurdles, and challenges that we faced with this house already, I would never have found me again, but because I had already faced this house head on and overcome it all, I knew I could face the monster, and overcome his damage to my soul.

* I do not blame my father for the choices I made, I blame him for not being a father, I blame him for choosing his selfish wants over his families needs. No child deserves the treatment he gave us, he is supposed to be who we turn to for support….not for drugs.*

Demolition day

When we bought the house, we couldn’t wait to get started. We only had a month to get as much remodel done as possible, pack our old house, find space in new house to actually live in, and to not break down.

The stress we lived under prior to buying this house was insane, we worried all the time about rent, money, bills, you name it. When we found this house we both knew it was a crazy jump, but one that if it worked would wipe the financial burden from our shoulders. However, we knew from the get go that it would test everything we had, and just prayed that it wouldn’t end up like the Money Pit.

Hits one and Two. they were the most nervous of the hits this house took, were we actually going to do this? Take on a house, on our budget, really???   WHACK….WHACK….well its too late to turn back now, lets do this.  We literally had to peel back layers on every surface, we had to stop, clean up, burn the wood, pile the plaster up, Go again, Stop let dust settle. Breath through the pain in your lungs, keep going. We gutted our entire first floor down to the original 1″ boards on the wall, the floor got cut up pulled up. We had to tear down the inside of this house, in order to rebuild our dream home. We knew it would break the bank, we knew it would break our bodies, we knew it would test our endurance. We lived the first 2 months without running water, showered and did laundry at family and friends houses. Cooked on an electric burner, and had to wear shoes to go to the bathroom, don’t forget to fill the five gallon bucket of water to flush the toilet. We literally lived in the old frontier days for so long that when we did get running water it brought tears to our eyes and joy to our hearts.

Some times it takes making a hard decision, being willing to demo everything that isn’t worth trying to save, being willing to give everything you have to reach a goal, now don’t waver from your goal. You have to be willing to go through hell to reach a inner bliss beyond measure! I would never have guessed that I would find the bliss I carry with me now, when we started I couldn’t see just how far in trouble I was, but this house, it would in the end give me the tools and strength to fight the battles that laid ahead. Our home, saved me, as I worked to save it.

Purchase Price: $2,300 Cost: Rock Bottom Reward: Freedom

We bought this house last april, we have slowly and steady gutted layers and layers on every surface until we were to the original home, built 1867. Then came the tedious task of re-wiring every piece of wire, running all new pipes for everything, remodeling every room all at the same time on pennies, by ourselves and praying for a miracle.

Sometimes when life goes dark, and you lose sight of where you are, you are falling, breaking, tripping, stumbling and hoping for light but never finding it, we can decide to keep going that way until we hit bottom, can’t fall any farther, or we can decide today is the day my life changes. It starts with a simple statement, “Today is the day my life changes, I stop doing this, that I am going to_______”, now stop doubting yourself and start being the one in charge of your own life. Now maybe it is time to tear down a wall or two, and let some light in, allow yourself to reveal in the small things, connect to life again, and then make your life what you want it.

When we bought this house we already had the weight of the world on our shoulders, family illnesses, financial trouble, there was not an angle we weren’t being hit from. Our love for each other and our children all that kept us moving forward. Join me on this journey from a broken, lost and nearly dead mom, caregiver,wife, punching bag, and daughter in to the strong, driven, sober, and finally wise to the gift to see things from all angles and yet to also step back and see the bigger picture. I hope it inspires anyone struggling with anything, not to give up, keep breathing, keep fighting, we can

fix it together!

Who would have known when we took the chance on this house, that it would save us, break us, and be the easiest thing we would do during our worst year of life.

I hope if you find this that it gives you hope, because for many, that’s all they have. If no one besides my family and myself read this, I hope they use it as a story for future generations about how no matter how hard life tries to break you, as long as you keep hope there isn’t anything you can’t do. We met and survived our climb to the top of Mount Everest and K2 both when it comes to our tests in this life of our strength,perseverance, courage, love and pure will power.

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