After this one rant, I’d like to go back to being grateful. It’s not that I think I’ve earned a rant. I know people fighting cancer who’ve seriously earned and not taken one. I’m not proud. But it’s no coincidence I keep losing my voice: I’m not using it when I should. So I’m trying a one-size-fits-all speak-up session I hope will help and heal me. I wish I knew how condense this into five words. I’d start every phone call with them and wear them on a sign around my neck.
Dear Insensitive People who will be Home this Holiday Season,
If you remain insensitive to our plight, you need only imagine yourselves living in a single sunlight-free and isolating room stacked with boxes through one more Thanksgiving and Christmas not in your home. If that does not increase your sensitivity and understanding, you might try to fantasize about the loss of two careers, just as every penny you’ve ever put away goes into emergency repairs that will all later be demolished.
Not convinced that our still being cool right now is a miracle? Add to this scenario paying mortgage, soon a second mortgage, plus storage, bills, taxes, flood, and 3x your normal Homeowner’s payment on a house that, while beautiful, is still far from livable. Oh and then scrounge for rent every month, and spend any free time begging people, organizations, and companies to live up to their promises—while still trying to “show up” in every area of the life/lives that continue around you.
You might also attempt to somehow pay a plumber to outfit an entire house at the end of your holiday season. Have no visible end in sight, and see if you can remain positive and grateful and kind. You can get there, mostly with the immensely generous support of those who do try to understand. But I promise you: it is a struggle. Despite all this, we’ve never stopped being more than decent since our lives were turned upside down and shaken out. Please, please, please, have a heart and be at least halfway decent to us.
Thanks for listening,
Jenn & Steve
P.S. Let me clear this up: We are not entitled, casual remodelers. We are not better off than remodeling rich folks because insurance is “helping” to pay. They might be “helping” with HALF. Try to imagine chugging along, just as you are now, maybe halfway through your hardworking life, and your humble one-story home and then your savings and earnings opportunities are dismantled, and you are forced to fork over the cost of raising/rebuilding a now-multi-level house just as your cost of living doubles. How do you come up with that kind of money? Does knowing you might eventually be reimbursed for half the cost of building help you to sleep at night? Do you think this is easy for us just because we might not yell and scream and fuss and fight? Think about it. And then, if you are still so inclined, go ahead and brush us off like a mosquito. And now, you try to sleep at night.
P.P.S. Yes, of course we will be happy to one day live in the beautiful, well-appointed house we would never have had or even desired. But right now, the warranties on the awesome fixtures and appliances that have been in storage since last February are approaching their expiration, and so are we. All year long the picture I kept in my head for hope was waking up Christmas morning with my loves all cozy at home. Cooking my Christmas lasagna. It was safe to imagine that, a sure thing. Christmas was the longest it would possibly take to get back in. Well, here we are. There are worse things and I am capable (if fearful) of looking forward again—or looking within, or looking at the beautiful people around me right now to see how fortunate I am. But if we are a little down or impatient this holiday season, I repeat: have a heart. Really.