Home away from home

The tree fell on my house three months ago. Work started a few weeks back. The time in between has been challenging to say the least.

I know I said I’d write “lots of posts” about this experience but turns out it’s easier said than done. The process feels like a maelstrom. My emotions, on any given day:
Stress. Followed by excitement. Followed by bone-deep exhaustion. Followed by fear. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
There is no routine, and the variables seem to change at a moment’s notice.

Plus, I keep wanting to write about stuff as it happens but (1) things never feel settled and (2) I am terrified of jinxing myself. I know, I know, I’m being childish, but it’s not worth the risk. It’s like when people asked if my babies were good sleepers. If I ever answered something vaguely positive, I was GUARANTEED at least three sleepless nights in the near future. The stakes here are *much* higher here so I don’t want to take anything for granted.

I’m too skittish to write about the construction yet. Once it’s done, I’ll have plenty to say, but until then I just don’t want to risk it. Think of it as building suspense, dear reader. (Unless you see me in person, in which case you’ve definitely heard me complain, moan, and fret over the situation). A couple pics to whet your appetite, though:

Al fresco kitchen
Naked bathroom

That doesn’t mean I don’t have stuff to write about already. Our temporary housing situation has brought a few items to light.

Initial housing

When the house was hit, we first spent a week in a hotel room with no idea of what was happening day-to-day. I know it’s the epitome of #firstworldproblems to complain about a stay in a nice hotel for a week. But doing so with no idea of what was happening to our living situation and sharing a single room with four people including a toddler was utterly exhausting. None of us slept. All of us were permanently on edge.

My husband and I were glued to our phones, trying desperately to get in touch with insurance, tree removal people, contractors, and most of all trying to find housing. And through it all we tried to stay calm and collected for the kids. From their not-fantastic behavior at the time, I don’t think they were convinced.

Temporary housing or: it takes a village

While the hotel was unpleasant, the stay there was thankfully short. We only stayed there for a week. Since then, we have been residing at the UMW Apartments in what we have dubbed The Underdank. When we were at the hotel, I contacted pretty much EVERYONE to ask about housing. Plus lots of internet searches, too. A few people offered places but most were unworkable either because of distance, or cost, or lack of furniture, or length of lease, or number of rooms, or did I mention cost? But then, the CAS Dean Keith Mellinger heard about our plight and offered a dorm apartment in the basement of the UMW Apartments. By some miracle, it was unoccupied. Keith even helped us negotiate for an affordable rent. Then a bunch of friends helped us move the necessities to our new dorm, including our bed (cause I am wayyyyyy too old to sleep on those dorm XL Twins.) And Ben and I spent a bunch of money at IKEA for the rest.

Our accommodations aren’t exactly luxurious but they are perfect for our needs. My commute is less than 5 minutes on foot. Daria gets to keep taking the bus to school, though it is a different bus. Plus Daria and Lennie will both get to be totally blase when they go to college (“oh, yeah, I lived in the dorms when I was a kid.”) When our RA charmingly introduced herself, I had to hold back my giggles. This is a surreal experience, but I am exceedingly thankful.

The FXBG and UMW communities have been so supportive throughout this process. While it’s still been very stressful, and no doubt will continue to be, having people in your corner makes all the difference. I can’t help but wonder how this would have worked out when we had just moved down to FXBG – before we had a real support network – and I shudder.





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