Living In A Trailer Park Is The Pitts

If you don’t mind my rant. I am really frustrated today.

The very first day we was moving into this house there was a waterbed in the master bedroom that needed to be drained and removed. So we ran a hose out the window of the house and was draining that bed.That afternoon I was in the bedroom trying to clean up things around it when I saw that hose go flying out the window. Thinking some kid was goofing around out there I said to my fiance “someone just tore the hose to the waterbed out the window, let’s go see what is going on.” We went out and walked around the house and found the hose and a brick we had laying on top of it to hold it in place laying in our back yard.

Confused, we picked the hose up and started to feed it back into the window and placed the brick back onto the hose. The neighbor on that side of our house opened her front door and said “you are f****** slobs keep your junk on your own lot and get that out of there.” Steve and I just stood there staring at each other not sure what to do because first off three foot on that side of the trailer is our lot. Secondly, it was the only place we could drain the bed to. We just continued.

A few minutes later the boys pulled up with the next load of stuff and parked in the street in front of their lot while they come in to get me to move a vehicle (we had three cars and two parking spots and they could not get in). When I got outside with the keys to the car the gentleman next door was screaming at the boy’s to moved the truck. “Really!” I said “there is no one here bothering you people. What is your problem?” We went ahead and backed the truck into the driveway and started unloading. And the police pull up. Fully aware that these people were being jerks they asked us to keep the peace and keep our truck out from in front of their lot. “I guess there is some gorgeous view you are blocking.” he said sarcastically. I was humored and agreed to do my best. But the problems continued.

My boy’s were playing hacky sack out in the road one day when she come out and screamed at them to stay out of the road in front of her house. When we would go outside they would insults us. And all winter long he shoveled his entire yard into my driveway. Toward the end of February I finally called the park and complained. I hated involving them. I felt like a little kid being a tattle tail. But I was buried in and could no longer get my cars in the driveway. A few hours later the park owner was here checking out the pile of snow they had built up in my driveway and knocking on the neighbors door. I don’t know what happen between him and the neighbors; however, before he left he put post in between our lots and the neighbors did stop what they was doing.

Now my problem is on the other side. Last week we was outside at about one in the afternoon and we was cutting lengths of wood to create my door. When the phone rings it was the park owner. “Liz you have to be aware of what you are doing your making a lot of noise over there and your neighbor is complaining.”

“What!” I said “We all knew this house needed work and you are accommodating my neighbors complaint at 1pm.”

“Well Liz, are you aware that your neighbor is a night worker?” he said.

“No I wasn’t aware, but I am a day worker. I go to school, I have a sick father I am trying to help. When exactly do you expect me to do what needs to be done around here?”

“Use your common sense and keep the noise down!” he says.

To be quite honest my common sense tells me that 1pm is a great time to do these things. The truth is that neighbor is probably my only neighbor that works the night shift and there will be many more people complaining if I try doing this at night. Not only that but when do I sleep if I wait til he is not home. So I asked him when would be a good time I can make some noise. Saturday’s he tells me.

Saturday is the one day of the week I make my best money at work and I would never get this place fixed up if I only did repairs on Saturday’s. I paid $6000 for this home and it is not my home. I still have to pay $400 a month for lot rent and I can’t fix my house without complaints. How I wish I had the money to pick up and move my house onto a piece of land someplace.

Today, I fully intend on hanging my new door. I am going to make noise for the saw has to run. I will wait til at lease 11am and before that I intend on cleaning up my lot. Maybe I am being over sensitive, but I fear this is going to get me evicted and I can’t take my house with me, it is ridiculous to be quite honest. Oh, and this neighbor that is complaining now is the same neighbor that will raise you out of bed at 6am with his music so loud your walls are vibrating. And I never complain. I guess what they say “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is true.

If I could say one thing to my neighbors this is what it would be. “You are no better then me. You have to live in a small space the same way I do. Don’t you think we might as well tolerate each other and at least allow each other to live life? And if that didn’t work I would be just a little more blunt. “You live down here in the ghetto just like I do, get over yourself!”

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Took A Chance And Built A Door

Today’s daily prompt says ~ What’s the biggest chance you ever took? Did it work out? Do tell!

If you have read my post I Am High Class Trailer Trash then you already know I am in the process of remodeling my home. I am not a carpenter, but I am the type of person to do it myself. I have to be, I can’t really afford to hire people to do it for me.  So things get a little confusing sometimes and I make mistakes.

On the first day of spring vacation from college I decided to start working on my dining room with the goal to have it done before returning to college a week later. Ha ha ha, that was a month ago and I am still far from done. I had just finished hanging and finishing drywall when I realized I messed up. I needed a new door and I am raising the floor 5/8 of an inch with new sub-flooring.  So I was loosing that 5/8 of an inch from the door space.

Now my choices was to just remove two small pieces of the drywall and custom make the door or buy a door and remove quite a bit more drywall so I could move the opening up in the house to fit the door. I was out on the road one day last years, scrapping, when I approached a gentleman who was cleaning his garage. He asked me to take a pretty large stack of pine one by sixes off of his hands. I did not know what I would use them for, but they were definitely usable. They had been used once before, but they were still very nice.  So, with no experience, I decided to take that chance and custom make a door with these boards. I knew exactly what I wanted and the dining room was my project, but for this part I had to ask my fiance for help. I could already see the door in my head, but was not sure how to do it. I pulled out my Photo Shop program and drew a diagram with measurements and all.

After watching a few videos on youtube we were ready to roll. We cut a piece of plywood to the size of the door we wanted, and layered it with the pine boards on each side. We cut boards, glued, and screwed, filled holes, and oh my goodness the sanding took us days. This entire time there is a huge hole in my wall covered with a piece of plywood. This weekend we will be hanging a door. It is not going to be a easy task the door weighs about two hundred pounds, probably more. We took a chance at doing something big we have not done before and it was a success.

Here is a picture of the door on it’s side. It is not 100% done for it needs a couple more layers of polyurethane; however, we decided to put that on after it was hung. Sorry for the mess around it. It is a work in process.



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Nurture Versus Natures

Nurture vs Nature is my latest English assignment. We was to choose a person that interested me and write a profile of them.  Terri Boxall was my subject. I should probably say to protect the subject, names have been changed; however, this is a true story. 

Buckle your seat belts and hold on tight your about to take a wild ride through a dysfunctional mind of a neglectful mother and addict. Terri Boxall is a twenty-six year old mother of three who I am close to her youngest child’s father. I recently received paperwork from the father who felt the need to ask my opinion on what the paperwork was saying when it pertained to his son.

Terri does not believe her way of life is wrong. She feels she has made mistakes in raising her children, but will not take responsibility for the real issues that centered around the removal of the children from her home. Terri speaks openly to me about things that are terribly abnormal for most people, but does not admit to wrong doing.

Terri went under investigation through the Department of Social Services because a neighbor heard her screaming and threatening the children. It angers her because she says the next door neighbor should mind her own business and how she raises her children is up to her.

Terri had a few visits from the Department of Social Services before the case worker took her oldest daughter into another room to ask her questions. When the case worker came out she informed Terri that her daughter had made allegations of sexual abuse against her adoptive father who lived with them. Terri told the case worker that was not possible, her five-year old daughter had to be lying. The case worker told her she needed to move out of the house immediately and Terri refused.

A few hours later the case worker called Terri up and told her to come to the Social Service building with the children for they had found a place for them to live. By this time Terri was cooperative because the father of the youngest baby had stepped in and forced her to accept the housing. However, when Terri got to the Department of Social Services she found out the case worker had paperwork to remove the children. I am left to assume that Terri or the adoptive father had said or did something to the case worker to make her feel threatened leading to these events.

The father of the youngest child removed his child before Social Services had the opportunity to do so. He said he knew Terri was neglectful and felt if it was left up to her the baby would have ended up in the system as well. He also stated that he did not have the means to take care of the child on his own so he asked his parents to step in for him and they accepted. Regardless, he left Terri for the protection of his child due to finding out the baby was left home alone while she was out drinking with a friend and he was working.

I was there the first time Social Services showed up to her house because Terri grabbed her kids and ran into my back door with them. I was completely shocked at her actions because I did not know Terri that well. I did ask her why she felt it was appropriate to just walk into my house like that. Terri tells me she is protecting her kids “Please keep the kids I will be back” she says.

“Wait just a minute!”, I demanded, “What are you talking about?”

Terri persist on to tell me about how Child Protective was at her house and she didn’t want them to hurt her children. I don’t know what was going through her head that made her think I was the one going to protect her children from child protective, but I did tell her the stupidest thing she could do is run with the kids. It was just a few seconds later Child Protection was knocking on my back door as they had followed Terri through my backyard and to my back door. That was more than two years ago. I was curious about how Terri and the children are doing today.

I met up with Terri at her house where I felt she would be the most comfortable talking to me. I informed her that I would be doing a paper on her and the consequences of addiction. Terri feels comfortable calling me by my famous nick name as she responds with “I know Aunty Liz, I don’t mind, I can help you out.” Terri is not shy about her addiction, for one of the first things I noticed was a pill bottle and a glass pipe on the stand in front of her. “It is a little early to be smoking that stuff isn’t it?”, I asked her. She quickly combats any objection I might have by saying “If I can’t smoke you will have to leave because this is my home.” I did not fight Terri I just sat on the other end of the couch with her as she took very large hits off of the pipe and blew the smoke directly into my face.

I started the conversation out by saying “I smoked that when I was your age. I quit when I found out I was pregnant. I had heard you was pregnant again but did not realize you was so far along. Don’t you think it would be wise to give it up for the kid?”

Terri sits on the couch pipe in one hand and lighter in the other. She smokes the pipe faster than I can smoke a cigarette taking harsh hit after harsh hit and barely taking a breath in between. “I know I should give it up, but I am addicted. It’s not like it is gonna hurt the baby anyways my other three came out fine. I do have to give it up long enough for the baby to come out clean. Social Services already told me if this baby tested positive they was taking it from me too. I have two more weeks I can smoke then I have to stop til the baby is born.” Terri is a very fast talker, hurling information faster than I can ask her questions. “I like to smoke my mind slows down and I don’t think as much when I am high. My kids have been in foster homes now for two years and they are well-adjusted. I think it would just mess them up to bring them back home now.”

“When it came time for me to give it up, Terri, I don’t remember it being that hard, I just walked away. Is marijuana the only drug you use?”

“No I have used crack two times and did not like it. I use pills, cocaine, the needle, and I like to drink if I can’t get any of those things.” Terri pulls out her cellphone and begins to show me pictures of her daughters. Her youngest daughter whose father was African American looked completely different., as I remember her with her hair always unmaintained. The family she is with now and has been with since the beginning is taking wonderful care of her. She is cute as a button her face smiling big and tossing a wink at the camera. Her curly hair stacked on top her head and a really cute gray and black striped dress. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, this one spoke a million to me.

As I read through the paperwork on Terri with her, she denies little of her actions and it does not seem to upset her that people find what she does as off the wall. Terri has never moved beyond supervised visits with her children and now does not have the opportunity to. The court summons states that Terri has missed sixty-seven visits of the one hundred twenty-four visits she has had over the last couple of years. Terri started out with visits two times a week but it did not take the system long to take half of them away. They felt that Terri’s continuously yelling at the kids, putting them in extended time outs, and inappropriately talking about their dad’s was mentally damaging for the children. In less than two weeks Terri has to be in court, her rights as a mother are being terminated.

As I listened to Terri jabber on and on my mind started to wonder. What would make a person think this was normal? What is abnormal? Is there truly a story behind the way she is? So I asked her about her past. It turns out that Terri does not know her real father. She states that her mother had given her names of two different men both of which were dead. However, she does speak very highly of a step-father. She says he was her best friend, but he died of lung cancer when she was only eleven years old.

Terri states that life was wonderful until her step-father died, but things fell apart when her mother married her next husband who used crack cocaine. “My mother stopped caring about me or anything else in her life maybe she was using it too.” Terri says.

Terri states that she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder when she was very young. She also says she took the medication right up until her mother married again. After that the mother claimed she could not afford to buy the medication and took her off of it. Terri says this resulted in her being removed from her mother’s home and being placed with her Aunt where she lived the rest of her childhood. She also states she was sexually abused in this home and no one believed her.

The argument of nurture versus natures has been one that has been carried on for decades. As Terri grew up she was abused, neglected, and exposed to illegal drugs. In turn she exposed her children to abuse, neglect, and illegal drugs. When Terri told of her abuse she was called a lair. In turn when her daughter spoke of abuse she called her a lair. Terri repeats the same cycle she was taught as a child. Therefore, In this case I have to believe that nurture over powered nature. 

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Fight the Power

The  Daily Prompt  April 10, 2014 says ~ Tell us about a time when you fought authority and took a stand against “the man.” Did you win?

One of the struggles with epilepsy is that people don’t understand the condition. Unfortunately, because of that the person with the disorder is not only victimized by the disorder, but many times by the general public as well. 

My fiancé had been on medication for his epilepsy for eight years. He had tried every epilepsy medication on the market and even underwent several trials. None of them did anything to control his seizures. So Steve had decided he wanted to get off these liver damaging and very expensive medications. Steve tried several times to talk the doctor into taking him off of them. Every time the doctor would just blow him off. So Steve decided to take matters into his own hands and just stopped taking them. Little did we know, we were in for a roller coaster ride.

Within about forty-eight hours Steve was pacing the floors twenty-four hours a day and was not sleeping at all. For three days I tried to get Steve to go to the hospital and he repeatedly refused.

On Friday October 28, 2011 we had fifteen kids ranging from 18 to 21 years old here getting ready to go to an Insane Clown Posse (ICP) concert at the Water Street Music Hall with our son. One of these kids had borrowed my van to go get pizza for them before leaving for the concert. I started to notice as the noise picked up Steve was getting more and more agitated. Then suddenly he snapped as he dropped to his knees on the ground beating on the floor yelling “make it stop! make it stop! make it stop!” Then he started yelling at the kids to shut up or get out.

This was completely uncharacteristic for Steve and as a result everyone in the house was crying and screaming. All of these young people knew Steve well enough to know this was not like him and they were scared. We was to the point where something needed to be done whether he wanted it or not and my van was gone.

Anthony called 911 and I told all the kids to crowd into Anthony’s room until we got through this. After about ten minutes of waiting I went out by the side of the road and waited for the ambulance. I was completely surprised when a police officer pulled up. As the officer jumped out his car and bolted past me I asked “I called an ambulance why are you here?”

He stopped in front of my house long enough to say “I just have to make sure everything is okay before the ambulance can come. As soon as I verify every thing is fine I will call them in. They are just around the corner.” I was fine with that and I certainly understood so with a certain amount of relief I stopped long enough to just take a breather. By this time, Steve was pacing the floors but with all the noise in another room he was not yelling anymore.

It was just a few seconds when I heard the police officer screaming at Steve “sit your ass down and shut your mouth.”

I was already headed in when my son come to the door and said “Mom you better hurry this is getting bad.”

When I got inside I saw the cop screaming at my fiancé and making threats of arrest if he did not start acting appropriately. Steve would set down for a few seconds then stand back up and he would say “I know what I am doing is wrong, but please try to understand I can’t control it.”

I stood there next to my son as I tried to intervene and talk to Steve when the cop come up and stuck his left index finger in my chest and his right index finger in my son’s chest and yelled at us to get our asses into the kitchen while he dealt with this asshole. Shocked, Anthony and I looked each other in the eyes almost as if we knew we were getting ready to do something the other person may not approve of when we both looked at the cop and simultaneously said “No, I am not leaving his side.”

I sat down in the dining room chair and waited for the cop to deal with Steve as he continued to verbally abused my very sick husband to be. Soon enough, I come to the conclusion that I was on my own this cop was not going to bring in an ambulance. I knew the only way to control Steve at this point was to sedate him. I asked the cop to bring in the ambulance again and give him a sedative and the cop refused.

I got up to get my shoes so I could be ready to take Steve to the hospital when the cop turned around and yelled at me again “I told you to set your ass down!”

Surprisingly enough it worked when I looked at the cop and said “You will not intimidate me and my family. Get your ass out of my house. I will get him to the hospital myself.” It was that moment when I looked in the doorway where Anthony stood right next to a State Trooper. I have no idea where he had come from or how long he had been there but he was there.

The cop looked at the State Trooper and said “I can’t control these assholes they are all acting like a bunch of idiots.”

My son stepped in and said “He is sick, we called for help and you have only made the situation worse.” The cop said nothing to my son but walked up in front of him and stood on his toes so he was looking down on my three hundred pound six-foot tall son.

Anthony stood up on his toes so they were eye to eye as he looked at the cop and said “Leave now!” The cop left but not without throwing as many insults at my family as he could as he walked out the door. By this time, my van was back home.

I was now left with a sick man and had few options to how I was getting him to the hospital. I looked at him and I said “either you get in the car and head to the hospital with me or I am getting all the boys to help me carry you out.” I then went to the bedroom opened the door and said “I need all the boys that are willing to help”. I stood there and waited with six boys on my side Steve finally decided it was best for him to go to the hospital.

It was not until I got to the hospital I realized what was going on. We had just got Steve into a room and the doctors were trying to talk to him when I felt a hand grab me by the arm and drag me from the room. It was another cop. With a look on his face that said I am your friend he said to me “I want to help you. I know you are going through hell, but we need to know what he is on.”

I looked the cop straight in the face as I said “Carbotrol.”

“Hun there is no prescription drug we know of that will cause this kind of actions. Are you sure he is not doing something you don’t know about?”

“You learn something new every day don’t you. No way is he taking anything else. Now I really have to get back to him.” I responded and walked away.

I did not see the cop again that day. The hospital gave him the Carbotrol against his wishes to verify it was the cause of the problem. Steve did calm down and they sent him home with a diagnosis of “Carbotrol withdraw” and  instructions to continue the medication. Steve refused to take the medication and the cycle started all over again the next day.

This time when I called the cops three of them showed up and all let me handle the situation as they supervised. They did gently tell Steve if he did not go willingly they would need to do a psychiatric arrest. They then followed us to the hospital got Steve sedated and let the hospital handle it from there.

This went on for ten days. Steve refuse to take the medication in his manic mind it was poison while the hospital just kept making him take it. Eventually, we did get him through it. Two weeks later when Steve was back to the wonderful personality we loved so much, I was on the phone talking to the Chief of Police.

I felt like I was treated like your typical trailer trash. There is a lot of trouble down here where I live, cops circling through here several times a day. My family was not even given the benefit of the doubt and that cop acted very inappropriately and I was not going to lay down for that. I did not care that they thought we were on something that was illegal they could have gotten that information from the hospital when it was all over. There was so many what ifs that could have happened and that cop was not going to do anything to help my family. I was angered beyond being sane myself.


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Off The Grid

My last homework assignment in writing class was to practice a profile essay. Each students teamed up in groups of two and we interviewed each other on something that was unique about that person. I got the glory of doing a profile on the teacher and he did one on me.

Curt Nehring-Bliss wanted to show that is was possible to live your life off the grid and power your house only on natural energy. However, that is only a small portion of the reason he chooses to use natural energy. 

Curt feels he is doing his part to help to conserve our planet because our system for powering our homes uses nuclear power. Natural energy has a lower impact on our planet is in much healthier to the environment. On top of that because he is off the grid he is unaffected by power outages.

Curt says it is a little different lifestyle when you live on natural energy. For example he can not use any kind of appliance that uses heat. They make toast in a skillet, and make coffee and tea by heating water in a pot. They dry clothing in a propane dryer, and heats his home with wood. They also need to be cautious of how much power the other appliances and their television set uses. They focus on making sure they stick with items that have the energy star symbol.

Even when the sun does not shine Curt is still able to power his house by using a battery storage system that uses golf cart batteries. His storage will power his house for up to a week just from the storage; however, in the event that we have some extreme weather he also has a back up power generator that runs on gasoline.

It is obvious that he has not chosen this lifestyle because money is a issue. The cost of setting up this system is between ten and fifteen thousand dollars. He also has to replace his battery back up system every five to ten years and that runs him around five thousand dollars. Also because he lives off the grid there are certain tax benefits he is not eligible for. Curt did state that he purchased his solar panels used to save some money and purchased his generator while it was on sale. He also stated that in the long run this system will save him money. However, it is clear that he has chosen to live off the grid because it what is healthy for our planet. I think Curt deserves a pat on the back for doing his part in keeping our environment safe and clean.

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Green Eyed Monster Jealousy

The daily prompt today says ~ We all get jealous from time to time — what wakes the green-eyed monster for you?

As I believe I have already stated I am a second semester college student. I go to school with my daughter-n-law and my son and we take many of our classes together. We take these classes together because I have a learning disability and anytime we can set down together and do our work (especially anything I have to read) it helps me. We rotate reading our assignments out loud together because hearing what is read makes it easier for me to understand. Also when I am reading out loud those words I get wrong someone can correct me and that also helps me.

I spend hours every single week studying, I pay attention in class, I do every single homework assignment. I ask for help when I need it and I study til I feel I can get it right. Many times by the next day it is like someone has erased my brain.

If I had to say I was jealous of anything I would say it is my son and his wife. They do little studying at home. My son has been known to sleep through Macroeconomics and when test time comes still get a 90% on the test. My daughter-n-law has been known to doodle all the way through class and still get a 98% on the test. I just can’t do that and I still struggle to keep my grades at B- in Macroeconomics and Statistics. Yes, even in Statistics my reading abilities can heavily affect me.  My goal is to at least reach a B in each class by the end of the semester.

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If I Could Turn Back Time

The daily prompt today says ~ If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of your life would you return to? Why?   

Yesterday morning I woke up and was checking out my facebook feed when I found a post my son had shared. Somehow he had wandered onto my ex-husbands page. It was simple curiosity that took him there, I am sure. Anyways, he scrolled a good bit down his page and found a post he had made about how he had hit his ex-wife one time because she was a seriously bi-polar person that would not come to her senses. It angered my son when he saw that post and he quickly responded by sharing the status and attaching his own side of the story.

I spent ten years of my life standing between my husband and my son. In my mind I was protecting my son. The truth is it only built up more resentment because it angered my husband that I would not stand on his side and support him as he called my son names  and belittled him day after day. 95% of our arguments centered around my son and they were daily fights. The other 5% were because he called me names, my pet name was three hundred and fifty pound fat sow.

From the outside we looked like a great family we had a nice home two nice cars, and we was always dressed stylishly but the truth is behind closed doors was the pits of hell and Charles was Satan himself.

Charles was a rebound relationship after I had split up with my son’s dad. No one could have ever filled the shoes of Anthony’s dad and I think Charles knew that even though I never did or never would have said that to him. I fell in love with Charles but when I started dating him the furthest thing from my mind was getting serious with anyone again. I was simply still very much in love with Steve, Anthony’s dad.

I married Charles six months after meeting him and it ended in divorce just shy of ten years later when I entered my living room just in time to see my son dodge a closed fist swing to the face. Charles then grabbed my son and a belt was violently holding him by the arm and beating the belt on the stand as he was verbally threatening his life. That was the end of the marriage. I grabbed my son and we went to the police station and had him arrested I just could not take it anymore. An order of protection was put over his head and he was not allowed to return to my house again.  Within the month he was heading back to Florida to stay with his mother.

Today, I am back with Anthony’s real father and things are wonderful between us all. If I could turn back time I may not have ever left.


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I Am High Class Trailer Trash

It’s true, I live in the ghetto of Farmington. There is nearly four hundred mobile homes in this low-class community I like to call my home. Down here in the “ghetto” we all have one thing in common – we don’t have a lot of money to make it from one week/month to the next. There are many different reasons we are poverty stricken. Some of our life situations have made it hard to work; some are lazy and refuse to work. Some are drug addicts and/or alcoholics and spend all their hard earned money to stay intoxicated; some just can’t budget their money. I know families that heat their homes with electric space heaters because they can not afford to fill their fuel tanks. I know families that get food stamps and spend them all on soda and junk food within a few days of getting them and I know families that gamble and drink everything they don’t have. As I look around me, I realize I have nothing to complain about. Yes, I am poor, but I have a warm home, good food, nice furnishings, and no need for anything. Everything I have is paid for free and clear of debt, for I only buy when I have cash in hand, and I never plan my next purchase.

Why? Because I am cheap, I love making money and hate to spend it. My fiancé, Steve, he doesn’t mind. He is cheaper than me. In fact, I have to be the one to pay the bills because if it was up to him he wouldn’t even do that so we make a good team.

*  *  *

It was mid summer of 2011 when Steve, and I were out for a walk and happen to pass by a double wide with a for sale sign in the yard. My curiosity was stricken as I said “I wonder how much they want for that home.” When I got home I called to asked about the home. Dale, the owner of the park, told me it had been foreclosed on and needed a good bit of work before it could be sold. I wrote the house off thinking we would not be able to afford it.

For the next couple of days Steve nagged on me about that house. “Why have we not went and looked at it? It does not hurt to look.”

Finally I called Dale back looking for more details. “How old is the house? What does it need? What is the purchasing price, if he was to sell it as is?”

Dale simply responded by saying, “The house is sixteen years old. Why don’t you take a walk down there and I will get someone to let you in.”

Upon entering the house we quickly noticed it was a structure of neglect. Every carpet was missing throughout the house. The stains on the cheap press board sub-floors showed evidence that they also had animals that were neglected. As you walked through the house you noticed a few spots on the ceiling that had water damage from a roof that needed to be replaced. The smaller two bedrooms and bathroom looked as though the children were set loose with lime green, and dark blue paint. In the master bedroom a water bed that was never drained and removed appeared to have garbage bags of junk all around it. In the kitchen we noticed papers, and junk peeking out from under the stove and refrigerator. However, despite of all the damage it was a quality home compared to most mobile homes. All the trim and cupboards were made with real wood instead of the typical press board you would find in most mobile homes like this one.

As we left the home that day Steve said, “I want this house.”

I took what he said into stride and went on walking home. A few houses down Steve walked in front of me and turned around so he was facing me. “Liz, I have something I need to tell you.”

I stopped dead in my tracks as I responded. “What’s that?”

“We have money, I have been stashing it for over a year.”

I wasn’t completely surprised at this because I knew he had a habit of stashing small amounts of money. “How much money do we have?” I asked.

“I don’t know he said I have not counted it in a long time, but probably enough for a good sized down payment.”

When we got back home Steve went straight for his many stash holes, and I went to check the bank account. Upon entering the room I saw piles of bills ranging from ones to hundreds. I could not believe it we had nearly four thousand dollars more than I had thought.

I immediately picked up the phone and called Dale back. I wanted to know how much for the home as is. Dale responded as if he was completely unprepared for the question but did give us a six thousand dollar figure. Between the two of us we had the money and we bought the home.

* * *

I started making phone calls to contractors for the roof repairs. I got estimates ranging from thirty-five hundred dollars all the way up to five-thousand dollars and none of them were going to work with me to cut cost. I had to find a way to get this roof done and cut cost too, then I finally realized I needed to stop looking at the whole picture and break it apart one step at a time.

“How could I get the supplies?” I asked myself.

I got it! I would turn to my old trusty friend Craigslist. I could post an ad and ask people to sell me shingles. The ad went something like this:

“I purchased a house not to long ago and I may have bitten off more than I can chew. The house needs a new roof. The house also needs new sub-floors and flooring throughout. However, there is no point of even thinking about that til I get the roof fixed.

My fiancé has epilepsy, in his case he has up to six seizures per day and is unable to work. This also puts me in a position where I can’t work as much as I would like, for he has to be supervised. I do work every opportunity I get, and when I do I make good money.

I am looking for ways to cut cost on getting this roof re-shingled. So I was hoping someone out there would have a lot of shingles setting around and would like to sell them. I would not be placing this ad if I wanted to pay a huge amount of money for them, therefore, I am looking for someone who needs to get them out of their way and they will be happy to make a small amount of money as well. We will do all the hauling and moving of the shingles.

Please do not call me if you have one or two bundles or different styles. I am looking to get a quality roof at a very cheap price. I am willing to pay five dollars per bundle of shingles. Please call Liz at 555-0123.”

The phone started ringing, we turned down many people who called before even going to take a look. The terms had to be perfect and people were calling us with ridiculous propositions. The phone rang for three days straight. I was getting ready to take the ad down when that magic call came in.

“Hello my name is Matt, I am responding to your ad on craigslist about the shingles.”

Being very discouraged I simply said, “Yes.”

“My father was a contractor and he recently died. I inherited this house and I need to get it cleaned out and the basement is full of shingles. They are all real nice black three tab singles, if you will take them off my hands you can have them.”

“O um wow really!? When would be a good time to come look at them? I will have a clan to help me load them in the truck.

“I will be here all day tomorrow. Is there a good time for you?”

“Yes sir, I can be there at 10 am if that is a good time for you. Thank you so much, this is a tremendous help.”

We exchanged information and I showed up there right on time the next morning. The shingles were everything the man said and there was enough to cover my roof with shingles left over. Upon leaving it turned my stomach to offer the guy one hundred dollars for something he had already given me, but I felt it was the right thing to do. He refused and I was astounded by what had just happened.

By this time we were well into the fall, so I had to put the roof off til spring. However, that was perfect for me. If I could find a contractor right at the beginning of spring when they were still desperate for work then maybe I could get a better price. I knew of one contractor that worked a full-time job and did the contracting on the side. He had nearly thirty years experience and I had known him for years so I knew the job would get done right. So I gave him a call as soon as we had our first nice weekend.

“Hello, Nick this is Liz.”

“Yeah, whats up?”

“Well I need to get a roof put on my house. I have all the shingles, cash in hand, and I need to get this done asap. Can you lay a roof on my house for five hundred dollars? If so what else will I need besides the shingles.”

“Yes, I can lay it for that, but I will need a helper. It is a lot of work to lug, and lay shingles all day.”

“Oh ok is there any special skills your helper will need or can I hire you one of the local boys here in the park that could use some extra money and still save me some.”

“No no that is fine. Just a helper no special skills.”

“Ok come see me and we will work this out.”

Nick came by the next day after work and gave me a list of other things I would need. I ground my teeth as I paid the full price for those supply’s but it was under three hundred dollars. I found an eighteen year old boy, right here in the park, he just graduated and had a child with no job. I offered him one hundred dollars for a hard days work. The following weekend I had a nice new roof on my house, and it cost me less than one thousand dollars.

* * *

bathroom sink and faucetThe smaller bathroom was dark blue and the paint was irresponsibly plastered everywhere. Behind the toilet was unpainted and the floor was covered with splatter. I hated that there was a shower and no cupboard space for towels and supplies. Although the bathroom did not need a sub-floor, the disposal of the old floor in the rest of the house was going to add up extensively. I did not tear up old floors I just layered over them, so I would need to lay it anyways.

Again I posted an ad on Craigslist with a list of all the supplies I would need and waited. I was not as impressed this time, but I did get a call.

“Hello my name is Sally. Are you looking for supplies to repair your bathroom?”

“Yes I am.”

“Well I have a couple of things. I have a piece of sub-flooring it is not chip board it is actually sub-floor and it is new. Also I have a toilet. I bought it a couple of years ago and when we brought it home we dropped the top to the tank. It is still whole but has a little chip in it. My husband refused to put it in and I have not been able to get rid of it. Will you take it? If you take the toilet I will give you the sub-floor as well.”

“Oh well yeah, I might, the chip will not cause any kind of leakage or problems will it?”

“No, I don’t think so it is only the cover for the tank.”

“Well I will come look.”

Again we traded information and I went to see her. Indeed the toilet was very usable. Although the chip was small it was also unsightly. I could still cover it and make it look great.

I still needed to cover the walls and ceiling. I also needed a new bathroom cupboard.

So with three hundred dollars in my pocket I went to Lowe’s. I was astonished when I realized a good quality cabinet was going to cost me every penny of that three hundred dollars. I don’t even want to discuss the cost of the faucet. So I went to see my friend Chris. Chris is married and has seven children so he is constantly building onto his single wide trailer to make more room for them. Chris is a lot like me for he pays -nothing he does not have to pay for. I wanted some tips on where he got his supplies.

Chris told me to show up at Lowe’s when they open they always have two dollar drywall that the corner is broke or something small you can cut off and still use it. He also told me to check out the Restore in Canandaigua, New York. Ironically he asked me if I could use a solid oak water bed frame. I looked at the frame and all my problems were starting to come together. It was nice wood and we could use it to build the cupboard in our bathroom if we built a corner cupboard it would be enough wood.

We went to the Restore and I could not believe what I was finding. A beautiful ceramic quality sink with a lovely brass faucet still attached and in wonderful shape was only fifteen dollars. I got ten sheets of two dollar drywall from Lowe’s. Then someone contacted me through my Just Scrap It Metal & Junk Clean Up Facebook page to come pick up some paint and trim boards. The paint was a little unconventionally dark purple, but I fell in love with the color. I mixed a little in some white paint so I could have two tones to work with and a better match for the white trim that had also been given to me.

At the end of the project we decided to take the shower out and build shelving units, for I was unwilling to pay three hundred dollars for a cheap shower stall. The shelving units is where I put my money for it cost me nearly one hundred dollars for wood; however, the rest of the room was less than fifty dollars. So in the end I thought one hundred and fifty dollars was great, and you still could not beat the quality. The cupboards were made entirely of solid wood. Even the best quality cupboard at Lowe’s had a certain amount of cheap chip board. 

* * *

With a large family of six and a very small income coming up with a way to fulfill our needs without the need for money has become my art. Each time I run a ad on Craigslist, Just Scrap it, or one of the many online list I use they result in a mixture of different responses. Many people will contact me with items they have that they need to get rid of. And many times they will give them to me. However, I get that occasional email from someone that will call me trash. I boost my own confidence by telling myself, either they have never experienced the rough life or they are jealous that I have figured it out. I never respond to one of these emails simply because I am proud that I am high class trailer trash.

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Grandma’s Desk

Grandma’s Desk was a pre-write exercise we did in my English 101 class and I was pretty pleased with how it came out. 

grandma's desk

As far back as I can remember grandma’s desk and those shadow boxes were a part of our lives. My youngest memory of the shadow boxes is a vague memory. Grandma was sick so instead of setting at the dining room table where she normally would set she was on the couch, and those shadow boxes hanging on the wall were above her head. My undeveloped mind knew there was something wrong that day. I just did not know what it was. Why was grandma setting on the couch ready to leave? Why was there so many people? Why did Grandma have nothing to say to me? I could hear people making comments like. She is not going to make it through the night, and we will pray for your family. The next morning we got up. Grandma had suffered a stroke, she was gone. I still did not know exactly what that meant. The days went on and people came, and people went, and when it all calmed down my Grandpa said he had nothing left to stay here for.

It was mom, dad, and grandpa left to clean up the remnants of grandma’s life as my grandfather decided to pack it all up, and move to Wisconsin. I remember him giving that desk, and shadow boxes to my mother as he said you deserve this Harriet this is all I have to give you of your loving mother. The shadow boxes were black plastic boxes with a light in the top. With a olive green offset square frame that gave them the perfect amount of depth for the angels that sat inside of them. Each ceramic angel had a beautiful green flowing dress drifting off into the opposite direction of each other. The left hand of one and the right hand of the other was raised so as they face each other they appear to be pointing in the same direction. The eyes of the angels were closed as though they were praying. The desk was solid wood stained walnut with just enough of a warp in the top to separate the seam where the pieces went together.

My mom owned those shadow boxes, and that desk in pride. For years it was where my oldest brother did his homework, and where my dad studied and got his ged. It was where mom studied when she returned to college to get her nursing degree. It was where dad paid all of our bills, and those shadow boxes hung on the wall above it the entire time.

One day mom, and dad had went to Canandaigua to a doctor’s appointment only to return and find the second story of the house they lived in engulf in flames, and the kids still setting in the living room. Dad ran in “get out, get out, the house is on fire, get out.” My oldest brother William jumped up off the couch and headed for the door. However, the desk stopped him he threw everything off the desk and grabbed it and pulled it out the sliding glass door of the living room to the front yard. However as he tried to return to get the shadow boxes my father stopped him telling him it is not safe let them go.

The shadow boxes did not make it to the next generation, however; the desk did. It has been bounced around the children in the family at some point being a part of everyone’s household except for mine. I remember the anger I felt when I showed up to my bother Donald’s house one day and saw it setting in his living room displaying a couple of birds that where pooping and throwing water all over the top of it, and I remember how nice it was to know my sister had gotten it and would take care of it. Recently I received a email from my sister with a picture attached showing me how she had refinished it. I remember the mixed emotions, for it was a antique. I guess to my sister it was more of a sentimental value and she wanted to preserve it for years more.

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I remember

I was reading through my news feed and found it ironic that the Daily Post Daily Challenge was to include a song and memories. Although this post is not exact to what the challenge was I wrote it before seeing it so I felt it appropriate to mention it……

The year of 2014 was suppose to be a year to remember. On January 1, 2014 as the ball hit the ground my fiance dropped to his knees to ask for my hand in marriage. It was not long my friends and family was all excited and my facebook page was lighting up with congratulations on our engagement.

I started looking for dresses, flowers, cake recipes, and anything you can think of I might need for the perfect wedding. On January 5th I called and asked my daddy to walk me down the isle. I was in my glory, I was getting married for the second time and this time I knew it was forever. My planning went on.

It was Sunday, January 12th 9am in the morning when my mother called. I knew almost instantly something was wrong she was fishing for something positive to say to me. “I hear a congratulations is in order. Oh I already congratulated you didn’t I.” she said. The conversation continued on as I stayed silent and listened to every word. It was Lymphoma that ended my wedding plans. It is still Lymphoma that is keeping me with no certain plan as to what will happen on May 24, 2014.  Although I know my wedding will go on I don’t know how, where, or who will be there simply because Lymphoma turned my life upside down.

My daddy will win this battle, but the truth is, it is more than likely I will need to face the fact that my parents will not always be here sometime in my life. I started to look at things I never looked at before. I started remembering everything my parents did to get me where I am and I realized, although not perfect, if not for them I would not be who I am.

Take the time to tell your parents you care while they are still here, don’t wait, you never know when everything might change.

Cecil C Stoops Jr I can not tell you how proud I am that you are my dad.

Remember that old farm house you bought for only $6000. There was no need to climb the stairs you just yelled up for someone to give you a hammer and we could drop it through the floor. I remember the many hours of your own sweat and blood you put into that house. With little help, a bad back, and every penny you had you fixed that house up for us to live in. Everyone told you it was impossible and you proved them wrong.

I remember the pigs you raised and deer you killed for food to feed five kids. I remember the huge gardens and hours of maintenance we put into it. I remember mom and you preserving jelly, corn, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, pickles and so much more.

I remember you chasing the school bus down when one of the other kids tore my clothes practically off and I remember you coming to the school when the principle threatened me. I remember when my ex-husband slapped my face and you saw him out the door. I remember you tearing our asses up when we did wrong and I remember you standing up for us when we was right and someone else said different.

I remember the disappointment when I got pregnant so young and was not set up for a child in anyway. And I remember the pride you showed the first time you held Anthony in your arms.

I know I fell short of your fatherly expectations many times as I grew up but, I did grow up to be the person you raised. I am strong, and my determination keeps me going. I am broke, and my family makes me rich. I bark like a pit-bull, but I bite like a mosquito. Just like you daddy I will give the shirt off my back to someone that does not have it.

There will always be those who will say you did it all wrong. Daddy I say you did all right. If you would have done it any other way I would not be who I am and I love who I am.

Ten years from now I want to say I remember the pride you felt when you held your great grand child in your arms. So I will be there every step of the way no matter what together we will all KICK CANCERS ASS.

This song is for you daddy. Oh yeah and you and I will dance at my wedding to this song.

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