Category Archives: A Tree Fell On my House

Indoor Outdoor Redneck

Now that we’re 29 days from moving home (yes, I’m counting), Charlie and I have been talking about what we want the backyard landscaping and look to be. I look at too many magazines and blogs and have this notion that we can put old, funky furniture pieces in the yard and create a very cool look. There are a variety of problems with this plan. Specifically, we don’t live in a magazine, so little realities like weather could be present a problem.

However, I don’t think that’s Charlie’s biggest objection to this plan. I think he fears we’ll look like rednecks.



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One Year Later

April 14, 2011 a tree fell on my house. It’s been a year. I don’t quite know how to describe this year. It’s been… unsettling.

We still don’t live in our home, but we seem to be in the home stretch. I booked movers for May 19. Charlie told our builder he is on clock. Our builder said something to the effect of “doing his best.” Charlie explained that the crazy wife is done. She’s moving home. He suggested he have a certificate of occupancy, because otherwise, the builder is going to have to deal with me. Charlie refuses to deal with me any more regarding my crazy fits over this house. He cannot be blamed.

Although I suspect Charlie has a mild case of Stockholm syndrome. I think he’s begun to identity with our captors, all the construction people, and seems to be sympathetic to *their* plight dealing with me.

People try to say comforting things like, “It’s all gonna be worth it once you move home, and it’s so much nicer.” But no, it won’t be worth it. A new kitchen is just not great enough for all this hassle. It has taken a very real psychological toll on my whole family. We’re cooked, fried, over it, done, finished.

After a year of insanity, we are finally in the countdown: 33 days.

back porch

Back Porch Saturday

Back Porch April 16, 2011

Back Porch April 16, 2011

flowers in the yard

A year later, these flowers are blooming in the yard. They're not where they used to be planted, but they will not be kept down. Beauty is tough.

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Jedi Mind Tricks Husband

Monkey Boy checking out the windows in our new WALLS!

He doesn’t think I know what he’s done. He totally thinks he got away with it. He doesn’t realize I’m just too tired to fight about it. Although it’s possible he counted on wearing me down.

Charlie Case gets to have the doors he wanted on the new version of the old house. He wins because he was smart enough not to attack outright. He was all sneaky about it.

When we first started looking at designs for the rebuild, he would show me photos of back porches and sun rooms he liked. I would say, “Yes, but with different doors.” He would remain silent. Then I saw the photos he’d pulled go to the architect. I said, “Those elements, but with different doors.” Not a word.

We were at a meeting with the contractor a few weeks ago, going over some selections. He was asking us a series of questions.

Builder: Windows, Color A or Color B?

Me: Color B.

Builder: Window panes, Option A or Option B?

Me: Option A.

Builder: Doors, Option A or Option B?

Me: Option A.

Charlie: Those are not the doors you want.

Me: What? No, those are exactly the doors I want.

Charlie: Those are not the doors you want.

Me: Look, Jedi mind tricks! Those may not be the doors you want, but those are exactly the doors I want.

Charlie: You haven’t thought that through.

Me: Yes, I have. Those are the doors I want. Those are the doors I said I wanted. If you want something different say so, but stop telling me what I want and think.

Charlie (turns to builder): We’re going to have to get back to you on the doors. We haven’t made a decision.

I was totally steaming. I started grumbling about telling me what I want and various, assorted other infractions he’s committed over the years. Then he distracted me with a shiny dime and I forgot about the whole thing.

But he’s wily. Today he called with a list of questions from the contractor before they do some things.

Charlie: Windows, Color A or Color B?

Me: Color B.

Charlie: Good, that’s what I told him. Window panes, Option A or Option B?

Me: Option A.

Charlie: That’s what I told him. And then I told him Option A on the door.

Fine. Well played, Charlie Case. You win.


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Baby Step

Concrete Footings

Concrete Footings

It’s raining. I really do not enjoy rain. What I want to do is moan and complain and roll around on the floor whining.

But I’m not going to. Because we have concrete footings for the new version of the old house. Apparently, part of our former foundation was not really supposed to have house on it. So that part is gone. The new foundation will get poured whenever it stops raining, which according to the weathermen in this town will be the day after never.

Friends, this is what we call a baby step. We’re moving forward.

We’re not the only ones happy about this development. Our next door neighbor reports the children on our street ran outside when they saw the trucks in our yard. Then they cheered! Really. I don’t know of any time when this many people were so thrilled over concrete.


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I have hope again that I might, just maybe get to live in my actual house instead of the rent house. If we do move back in, I may never sell it. It’s been pre-disastered. What else could possibly go wrong?!


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Monkey Boy is hiding things. Again. My stomach hurts.

A few years ago, he was at a daycare that was not a particularly good fit. He was totally stressed out, but didn’t know how to communicate that to us. He started hiding things: his shoes, toys, cars, etc. We joked he spent so much time with the dogs, he was just burying his “bones.” We thought it as just a phase. When it became clear the situation at his daycare was totally unworkable, we moved him. He stopped hiding things.

I didn’t really connect the two until last week. We got a box in the mail with about a dozen of his cars. They were from our landlords. Seems when they started unpacking their son’s stuff, they found our son’s cars stashed away. Then it hit me: His folder from school is missing. He can’t find some other toys. Crap! He’s hiding stuff again. I thought he outgrew that. The last time he did that was when…. CRAP!

I Googled this, as I do all ailments, so I could diagnose what this means. All I found was how to hide sex toys from your kids (um, thanks?) and something about ferrets as pets. (Oddly, it did not say he has cancer, which every single symptom I’ve ever looked up online previously made that assumption first.)

So I’ve made my own diagnosis: my son is stressed out. Completely. Totally. Beyond his threshold. So are we. He’s told us several times he wants to go home. We tell him we do too, but we can’t yet.

I hate that tree. I’m pissed at our mortgage and insurance companies. I’m angry about the time we lost because our first builder turned out to be a flake. I cannot stand that there is NOTHING I can do about this.

Since all this has been going on, I’ve seen quite a bit of my GI doc, who unintentionally became another therapist. On my last visit, he told me my good news is my bad news. The good news is, I’m no sicker than I have ever been. The bad news is, stress feeds my illness, and I’ve got that in spades. Until my house is fixed, my stomach is going to hurt. Until his house is fixed, Monkey Boy is going to stash his stuff.

My son is hiding things. Again. My stomach hurts.


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Bowls, Cups and Drinks

Last week was a bad week. We realized we weren’t going to be back in our house by Christmas. For a person who hates the holiday season, this was much more unsettling news that you might imagine.

I overheard Baby Daddy and his dad on the phone talking about potential time lines, holiday plans and general stuff. They were trying to be nice. I nearly had an anxiety attack. I’m a girl who orders Christmas cards in the summer. I very big on planning. I can’t plan. I don’t know where we’ll live.

Then Sunday, a darling friend found me at church and gave me a brown paper bag. She said open it later. She knew I had a bad week, and she thought it might help. I almost cried when I read the note and saw what was in the sack. It was so incredibly perfect.

tea bowl

"home" tea bowl

Last year when we found out we were moving to Little Rock, we had 1 weekend to find a place to live. We looked at 13 houses in one day & made an offer the next. Then we spend several weeks more wondering if it was going to work out and if we’d have a place to live….

Nearly every piece of art I made that spring was about houses & homes. I want you to have one. It’s a tea bowl that I made to be a little on the heavy side – I wanted to feel anchored somewhere. I wanted to feel like, eventually, we would be home.

Technically it’s a tea bowl, but you should feel free to eat ice cream or soup out of it.

chicken cup

"chicken" cup

I’m also putting a cup here with it. Because ice cream and soup are nice, but sometimes what you really need is a drink. The chicken on the cup isn’t particularly meaningful – but I have found our chickens to be the stupidest and most delightful creatures to observe. Their biggest problems are green beans & squirrels. And there is something very relaxing about that.

emergency stash

"emergency" stash

I added the final part of the gift bag to my “emergency” stash at work. I think Marker’s Mark rounds it out nicely. (I also keep band-aids, Advil and tampons. Cause you never know.)

My friend lifted my spirits in a way I cannot begin to express. I am grateful. Then this week, we’ve gotten some good news on the house. Things are starting to move forward again. I’m cautiously hopeful we’ll actually live in it again. It’s amazing what some pottery can do.


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