2018: Big Decisions

David & The Cats: South Burlington Apartment

In early 2018, we started looking for our next temporary place to live.  We were still feeling sick in the newly built apartment, and our short-term lease was almost up, so we had to find an alternative soon. Not to mention we were continually bleeding money to keep a roof over our heads and still pay the mortgage in addition to all the medical bills. 

David and I kept going in circles about what the “right” solution to our housing might be.  At first, we thought maybe we should rent another place short term — and make do until we had a better plan.  After trolling through Craigslist adds and looking at a slew of apartment rentals, we determined that there was nothing available that was safe enough for us.  We had both reacted with symptom flares – even gagging for example, when one lobby was permeated with an overpowering stench of “air-freshener”.  It wasn’t just the chemicals that affected us, but the underlying mustiness they were attempting to conceal.

A tiny house or an RV was an idea we had dismissed a year ago because it seemed too complicated (due to utilities and sewer hook-up constraints), but we tossed it around again as a potential option for the summer.  We were rightfully worried that we might get sick again trying to go back to the property – even if we lived in an RV and didn’t go in the house at all. 

After all this time, our trajectory was still full of angst and uncertainty.  It had now been a full year of living in limbo, and I felt as if I could burst from the pressure — yet we STILL didn’t have a clear-cut path forward.  Which cliff should we jump off next?  UGH!

No matter what plans we had come up with so far, the pros & cons kept getting all messy and indecipherable.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a crazy-assed situation — that defies all logic and sensibilities, stirs up all your emotions at once, and makes it seem like every single option is somehow a mistake.  It’s all just so insane.  And not just crazy-making, but downright immobilizing.

Bonfire of Contaminated Books… Oh the Irony! 

It came down to having to make BIG decisions without the necessary information.  We still didn’t have any absolutes on the prognosis of the house.  Nor did we have any sense that the law might help us in any way.  For all of David’s dedication to fighting for justice for the past year, we were still struggling to find legal help.  Meanwhile – we were trying to support each other’s needs — continuing to communicate, and communicate some more, in an effort to find what the middle-ground looks like.  We had to find something that we could both agree on, without losing our minds, our marriage, or all our money.  THAT was, and still is, our challenge. 

Eventually we decided to purchase an RV, rather than paying rent, so we could save some money in the long run.  It simply had to be cheaper than what we’d been doing for the past year!  We were able to get a loan while our credit was still good – precisely because we’d made the decision to keep up on our mortgage and bills by setting fire to our life savings throughout this mess.

We figured that one bonus of being on our property for the summer was that we could go through the rest of our belongings that were in the outbuildings and the on-site container, and either sell them, dispose of them, or re-clean them and put them into long term storage.  Plus, we could continue caring for the yard, so it wouldn’t look abandoned. 

Not to mention — it might leave options open.  If we could find a way to fix the house after all, we could sell the RV when we were done with it.  If the bottom line was that things were potentially shaping up to be a massive fail, and we were going to lose the property, we could pull up stakes and drive away with the RV when it was all said and done.  It seemed like a possible win for us at long last.

Sometimes Ya Just Wanna Bury your Head…

Let me just count the ways that the idea seemed great, and also sucked at the same time. One major theme – besides worrying we might get sicker again – was: While, under normal circumstances, “hitting the road” might have been regarded as a grand adventure; but in our case, it seemed to be shaping up to be some sort of a “trial by fire”, with a hidden endpoint instead.  What if it was super hard and we hated it?  Who knew how long we’d have to live this way?! (Welcome to your new life in “Vagabond World”? That seemed kind of scary.) 

It might have been fun if we were simply deciding to do it on our own volition, just because – and for a predetermined amount of time.  Maybe if we had fit the standard profile of being happily retired, instead of being in the throes of losing our home and our health. Unfortunately, the circumstances pushing us into a life of travel had a vastly different edge than the wistful romance of far-away places that most people seemed to attach to it. 

Perhaps we could find ways to harness that romanticized sentiment and try to bring back our sense of adventure.  It had been a long time since we’d had a real vacation of any sort.  The bottom line was that we needed to reframe it so that we could feel like we had chosen this fate, instead of having been forced into this crazy new reality.

Summer Solutions