When I left Rod and Carol’s house on my second day in Heber Springs to “find myself again,” it wasn’t to quickly unpack and claim my new rented home. I spent most of the first week here sleeping when I wasn’t crying.
The boxes I unpacked were those marked “CATS.” I wanted my precious critters to recognize familiar things from home.
Their cat tree is in the middle of a picture window in the living room.
In the corner nearby are their winter cat beds.
And their food is the only thing I put in the kitchen cabinets.
Bella was the outside cat and she’s suffering the most because I won’t let her outside until:
- this is “home,”
- I learn how to deal with fleas,
- and, most importantly, check out the neighbor’s comment that “If their ears aren’t cut, the pound takes them.”
I did manage to find my coffee, the reusable Melitta filter, and a cup. I lived on coffee, peanut butter I brought from Durango, food bars I bought for the trip, and junk food like Burger King and Taco Bell. Fortunately, Carol graciously invited me to dinner several times for real food.
I spent my days dealing with the business of moving:
- trying to change addresses and other contact information with all those accounts we take for granted,
- trying to get utilities in my name,
- getting internet and a VoIP phone so I wouldn’t lose contact with friends and family,
- and finding the Water Dept. after I saw Michael shut off the water on Friday morning.
My landlord didn’t tell me he had stopped that service! If I hadn’t been staring out the living room window, I would not have been able to flush a toilet, much less shower for an entire weekend! The next day, Michael was out there again, shutting the water off. I marched out there and told him I had gone to the water department within an hour after he tried to shut it off the day before.
He said, “No one told me.”
“Well, check again because Nora, the pretty gal with the lime-green scarf in her hair, created the required paperwork and gave me a copy.” I stood there while he phoned the office.
It took all week, approximately two hours to deal with each thing, not including the wait time to be connected with someone. I could tolerate doing only two a day. Who helped and who didn’t? My bank took fifteen minutes. Amazon took 24 hours. The Gmail account took several days.
My internet service was quickly installed and the man added my WIFI to my phone, told me where good take-out was and how to order for curb service, and he taught me how to use my new cell phone for directions.
I wanted stir-fry with lots of vegetables. The gal who took the order said, “That was our special yesterday.” I asked if they had leftovers. They did, and she heated up a generous portion for me. Yum!
This first week was also for completing the “5-day renter’s inspection” they don’t do here. But first, let me say that my rented house has large rooms, new windows, and new paint; it has a sun patio. The lot has a big back yard with lots of trees and a creek.
The floors are not level just as mine were not—another reason I sold that house. And the traffic is sometimes loud, but nowhere near as loud as Durango’s. I’m beginning to understand why I named this blog series, “The Irony of Life.”
And Tom, the owner, is a good person. I heard that he took care of a 90-year-old woman of no relation.
Even so, because I was a property manager for thirty-nine years, I created a list of things “not right” –like no hot water in the kitchen, broken blinds in the bedroom, and “New locks, please, because someone tried to break in last night.”
Tom says he’ll handle it, confessing at the same time to having no maintenance skills. He said, “No one wants to fix things anymore.” I get it. That was one of my reasons for selling my triplex in Durango.
And Tom was delighted. I asked if he wanted additional copies. He did. So I found my printer.
I had to buy a used refrigerator, washer, and dryer. Tom said, “People usually have their own.” Huh.
The refrigerator didn’t work. My soy milk was lukewarm and the ice tray I put inside the freezer was still water after three days. Rod, my Arkansas savior, took care of it. He says he’ll get the ice maker hooked up, too. And I am grateful for that because the machine thinks it has one and makes a sound like a golf ball dropped from upstairs onto a hardwood floor below. If it’s going to do that anyway, I’d appreciate the gift of ice.
I realized it was time to test the washer and dryer which came from the same place. The washer leaked water on the floor and the dryer takes twice as long to dry anything; I had to reset it for another cycle each time I used it.
I had never owned a washer or dryer. In Durango, Saturdays were laundromat days where I sat in my car and listened to music on my Mp3 player with my headset: personal down-time.
Gifts of my first week
I was empowered after the humiliating exit from Durango created by the new owners of my home and the COVID-19 scare by being forced to confront king-sized hassles. I got to sleep more than the two-three hours/night in the previous three months. Victim crying was replaced by my warrior self. I quickly identified what’s most important to me: cats, computer with internet, VoIP, and WIFI, and taking a hot shower. Now I can meditate and be myself again.
[to be continued]
Till next time,
Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi