Concerning home (or lack of):
We all have heard about situations or experiences that could happen to anyone and yet we just assume it will never happen to us. And most of the time for most of us we’re right. It never happens to us. But they do happen to someone.
Someone like me, apparently.
Being homeless is not something that ever registered on my scale of things that could, or could not, happen to me. It was beyond implausible; it was simply impossible. Or so I thought.
I got the news that I would need to move out of my rental house with plenty of time to find a new home. It was at least two months. I didn’t worry about it overly at the time because:
A) I was already searching for a new place to live. In fact, I’d been searching for the entire 2+years we lived there. The house didn’t have a yard and I really wanted a yard.
B) I was quite preoccupied with the upcoming birth of my second baby, due one month and one week before our move-out date.
So naturally time sped by with record-breaking blurriness and before I knew it there were only two weeks left and I had yet to spot anything that looked doable, much less promising. I dedicated more time to searching yet was still successful.
Why?? Why couldn’t I find a new home for us?
The main problem was our affinity for pets. I sold my rabbit, Boo. I attempted to convince Hubby that the cat and/or dog would have to be rehomed. He stoutly refused to consider giving up either animal and I was forced, time and again, to remove non-pet-friendly listings from my short list of possible homes.
The second problem is that I am on maternity leave and getting squat for pay. To be exact, my maternity pay is little more than $600/month. A family of four cannot rent a home for $600 (unless they are willing to all sleep in one bedroom or a studio/bachelor suite), much less rent a home AND eat.
We had a small nest-egg (and I do mean small) so when our move-out date was just around the corner we admitted defeat and put all our belongings in a massive (yet borderline too-small) storage unit. An expensive storage unit.
Next we checked into a pet-friendly motel. We had to leave our cat at our old home because the motel only allowed one pet and it had to be the dog. Luckily, the landlord agreed to feed our poor kitty until we figure something out. Luckily, again, our landlord is awesome and even allows our cat into the house and has set up a little spot for him on the bookcase.
We stayed 3 nights then checked out, praying and declaring that God would provide a solution.
God answered our prayers. By saying “not right now.”
So we checked into another pet-friendly motel and stayed 5 nights.
By now our so-called “nest egg” was looking more like just a nest. So we checked out again on the hope and faith a family friend would put us up for the weekend because, once again, we were going to put it in God’s hands that one of our calls, emails, or searches would turn up a solution. We just wanted to save ourselves a night or two of paying for a motel.
I really didn’t want to ask the friend in the first place but we did. And we were turned down. Not only turned down, but our trust was betrayed when this friend spoke about our situation to someone we had explained we were trying to keep some distance from, for personal reasons. And the cherry on top of that situation was the friend miscommunicated some information to the person we were “time-out”ing from, who then contacted us with hurtful accusations, refusing to explain where they were coming from.
Now we find ourselves in a third motel. The first two motels provided a play pen for Doll to sleep in and Poni slept in the bed with us (as she would if we had a home). But this motel doesn’t have a play pen. It does have a couch. So every night we turn the couch to face the wall and that is Doll’s “crib.”
Our nest (egg)? Now just a couple twigs. So we are now not only needing to find a pet-friendly rental, but now it needs to be cheaper than ever.
The prospects are slim. We find ourselves looking in an ever-widening perimeter, considering housing that is truly unsuitable but at this point, better than a motel (and certainly cheaper).
Yesterday I made 5 calls to 5 different offices and individuals attempting to track down the owner of one extremely rundown and seedy-looking apartment that was available. This after having already emailed the person no fewer than 6 times (over the course of 10 days) without reply before we finally went knocking on doors in the neighbourhood asking if anyone knew who owned the place. And after all that effort? There was no answer on the phone so we left a voicemail. Today I called the person’s work (can you believe he is a real estate agent?!) and also left another voicemail on his home line. I’m thinking this person may have died? That is the only excuse I’m currently willing to accept for the lack of response. Besides, if he died perhaps we can just “squat” in the empty apartment. Home at last!
And this is the effort put into just one possible apartment.
Can you sense the desperation?!
I have contacted every non-pet-friendly rental that is (or at least was) in our price bracket begging them to allow our dog. I have contacted many too-expensive rentals (non- and pet-friendly) asking if they would consider renting to us for less, even for just a month or two.
In my area, there are just as many listing for people looking (and begging) for pet-friendly rentals as there are available rentals. It is nearly impossible to find a house, duplex, four plex, or apartment that allows a pet, much less a large pet. I myself have 3 “need a home” ads posted online. 250 combined views but no response.
But to end this downer of a post on a lighter, happier, more exciting note: starting Monday I will be taking part in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge! I will be diapering Poni using only flats and covers for one week. I will be handwashing and line-drying them. The challenge is meant to show that people on a budget and without a washing machine can cloth diaper too, if they want.
In our current situation, we are practically the target audience; I cannot cloth diaper except by this method (can you imagine how long pocket inserts would take to dry hanging on a shower rod in a motel? Not to mention how hard they are to get clean handwashing? I know, because I have handwashed my pockets in the past!).
I’m excited because I’ve never used flats before (which is also the reason I will not be doing this challenge with Doll; she tries too hard to escape diaper changes and I don’t think I’ll be able to get it on her while still holding her down). It’s going to be an adventure! On top of our homeless “adventure.”
If I’m successful at this challenge I hope to get back to cloth diapering (as both girls have been in disposables since we started motel-hopping, which is not helping the pocketbook).
Check back often or subscribe to get updates on both these adventures!