PTSD or Something Like That

I moved into our house with neither a functioning kitchen nor bathrooms.

Correction, I had a toilet. One lonely toilet in the kids’ bathroom.

This is the state in which I found the house when I zipped over to beat the movers. Embarrassingly, I admit that we (i.e. Keith) hired movers to take the big stuff 10 houses down the street.

The kind movers didn’t know what to do with me. I wavered between crying fits and staring blankly at the walls. The younger one kept asking what was bothering me so much and tried to assure me that whatever it was would be okay. Poor guy. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into.

I was having a nervous breakdown because I felt I hadn’t adequately cleaned the floors before putting furniture on them. But look at what I was going to have to move just to clean them. You’d have a nervous breakdown too.

Plus, I have issues. Mostly about the cleanliness of floors.

I’m also going to blame PTSD. Or maybe there’s some diagnosis that would explain heightened emotions on the anniversary of a traumatic event.

It was 2 years prior that armed men showed up to our house in Ethiopia looking for the founder of the ministry we worked with. Armed, meaning big machine guns. And men, meaning about a dozen lined up in a semicircle enclosing our front door.

And 4 days later that infamous call from Keith that said, “We’re leaving.” And I had 3 hours before a van would be there to take us to the airport.

Bon voyage, dear Ethiopia.

Our cook Birkea didn’t know why I was hysterical as I hugged her and sent her home for the day. I miss all my Ethiopian friends, but I really miss Birkea. She loved my kids so well. Always hugging and kissing on them like a grandma. Making their favorite dishes, despite my meal planning. And, every Friday afternoon around 4:00 she’d come upstairs to my room, which doubled as our homeschool classroom, and serve us popcorn. It’s like she was saying, “Okay, Mom, school’s over for the week.” The kids would cheer and beg to start Friday Family Fun Night a few hours early. I’d usually cave because somewhere way deep inside I do have a heart.

So, moving into a house with no kitchen or bathroom (or clean floors) isn’t the worst that could happen. Definitely not the worst.

And, in the 11th hour, Keith and his dad installed a sink so that I could brush my teeth like a human, and not like I forced the kids to do in the backyard before tucking them into bed.


Another Move

On a Thursday we had no plans of moving. But by Friday night we were putting together an offer for a house just down the street.

We’d been quite content here in the matchbox, albeit bursting at the seams. It’s big enough for people OR things. We chose people.

Then, I received a ceramic travel mug and a very impressive blender for my birthday. Two additional kitchen items with no home. Gasp.

I solved one conundrum by squeezing the mug in with the fancy glasses. It’s an extreme measure, I know. Now every time I open that cabinet, my brain cramps a tiny bit and I think to myself for a moment, “What’s this mug doing over here with the fancy glasses?” And I consciously do some deep breathing.

The blender? It is amazing, but there is no solution for it. It will not fit anywhere. It is currently a homeless appliance sitting on out in the open on the counter.

Do I return it? No way.

So, we are moving. It’s our last option.

We didn’t want to move and were definitely not in the market for finding a new home. Just a few days prior to finding the new house, we’d had a contractor come over to lay out plans and give an estimate to add on to our current home.

That addition would have given us one extra bedroom, a legit playroom…plus a little extra space for homeschooling. I didn’t need much.

This is the current playroom. It's just the area below Avery's bed, which hangs from the ceiling...thanks to Keith.

The new house gives us exactly that. Plus, it’s the same square footage we would have had with the addition.

The most exciting thing about this house is that it comes with a life-sustaining animal.

Five of them actually. The kids affectionately named them Kevin, Stewart, and Bob (for the Minions), Miss Phyllis (for their favorite babysitter), and last Abraham Lincoln (for their favorite president).

The debate among them, as if it would change their daddy’s mind, is a debate over which is better: the 5 animals we have or 1 dog. They desperately want a dog. A conversation among children is most interesting when it is of no significance.

Avery is head over heels for these 5, but she matter-of-factly stated a disclaimer that if it were our beloved Boston Terrier Simon, she would choose him. Of course.

Ivan is dead set on getting a dog and pleads with Keith over every “free” dog we see on the side of the road. Last week it was the free-puppy-with-a-purchase at a garage sale. The other day it was a collar-wearing dog who had merely wandered too far in our neighborhood. Because he thinks he can convince Keith, he turns to me for my opinion. Ivan, please.

Garrison, who always votes for quantity over quality, used a different logic this time. During the brutal Texas winter, he plans to put one of the animals on his face to keep warm. I mean, that’s normal, right? So all votes are in. Four against one.

These animals. I’ve already grown weary of them, driving down the street 2-3 times per day to check on them. And, they’ve “produced” nothing yet. The thing I’m looking forward to the most, more than a place to put my blender and enough cabinet space to separate the mugs from the glasses, is relinquishing responsibility of these animals.

We can’t move in yet. The house isn’t livable. I mean, it was. Then, I kindly asked if we could move the island a bit to make better use of the kitchen space. We had a few calm discussions about it.

Then I walked in one day to find the entire kitchen in the garage. And, that was only the beginning.

I’ve lost count of my trips to various home improvement stores, and ever growing is the pile of samples I must haul around with me.

If I’ve learning nothing more during this venture, it is this: 1) I have amazing and usually obedient children who don’t mind an excessive number of boring shopping trips to look at kitchen counter top options. 2) My husband generally has great taste and always wants the best for our family; therefore, I should trust him in all things…at least concerning our home.