The house I live in sat empty for about 4 years. It was built in the very early 50’s and has never changed hands. An only child, “Mr” grew up here, his father passed first then years later his mother. After that he opted to rent it out to a woman with two boys. It turned into a disaster as the woman and her sons got into drugs and trashed a good portion of the house. They moved out in the middle of the night leaving Mr with a very large renovation bill. His wife, my good friend of many years, handled all of the contracting and returned the family home back to it’s original glory and then some. Mr vowed to never sell or rent it again. They have the means to just let the house sit. As my friend has said many times “Mr goes to the house to mow the lawn, have a Coke and he’s 12 again.”
Back in 2006 I was digging my way out of rock bottom. My rock bottom was not from drugs or alcohol – it was from being financially crushed by “Big Box” stores. I had over 20 years of being a self employed business owner and I lost the battle to stay solvent against overwhelming competion. With the loss of my business came the loss of my vehicle, my home and my ability to cope with those losses. I floundered a year or two and ended up staying with my mother in her little apt. It was humiliating at best and more than difficult to accept that I was no longer in charge of my own life, no longer had a job that I loved, an income to support myself, my so called friends turned their backs and my family no longer looked me in the eye but looked at me sideways.
The offer came unexpectedly. Move into the house, pay the utilities, have my dog with me instead of at a kennel on the other side of town. I had landed a job at my Animal Hospital and used the bus system to get back and forth. I took the offer. Slowly, I worked my way out of the hole. A car became available, I paid the monthly note. It offered me the opportunity to work longer hours and not ask for rides to get groceries. I was able to pick up a part time job on Saturdays. Every spring I get flowers and dress the house outside. I keep it clean and presentable. Mr will not let me mow the lawn, he will however let me shovel the snow. This year I bought a used snow blower. It’s big and takes up a sizeable space in the garage where Mr winters his Cadillac. But with my recent arthritis issues, it’s better than trying to shovel.
My trip to Italy has been no secret. Every Sunday morning my friend ( Mrs ) and I talk on the phone. We catch up on the weeks events and as of late have repeatedly discussed my impending trip. She travels to Europe every other summer for at least 6 weeks. She has a lot of helpful tips and tons of stories. Mrs knows how long and hard I’ve saved and planned. She knows the absolute importance of my landing on Italian soil on May 12, 2013. The milestones have been shared with her; Passport, airfare, spending money etc.
Tuesday night I purchased my tickets to the Bruce Springsteen concert. To say I was excited is probably an understatement. Wednesday I was feeling the happiest I’ve felt in years. Everything was coming together, it was official; I am going to Italy! Family there keeps sending me messages; “We can’t wait for you to come!”
After a long 12 hour day I returned home on Wednesday night to a Voice Mail from Mr. It went like this:
“ Gypsy I was at the house today to put the battery charger on the Cadillac, you need to get the snow blower relocated, ( off the property ) by the end of the month. I will be working on the back yard and need use of the garage.
So Mrs tells me the trip to Italy is a go. I’m shocked because I thought it was only a dream, I never expected you to actually do it. You obviously are much better off financially and the money must really be coming in good for you since you are able to take an International Vacation.
In light of that maybe I should re visit the situation with the house. You apparently aren’t struggling. Ciao for now.”
I still don’t know what to say….it was such a hurtful blow. ( International Vacation? ) If you read my blog history you will see I’ve been working on this for two years! It’s been no secret. Mr and I have discussed it multiple times. What is painfully clear is that he only cares about my staying “in my place”. Why am I not worthy of this trip? I have not had a vacation since 1993, do I not deserve to do this? There are no Hotels involved, only airfare and spending money. I spent $700 on a TV three years ago, $300 on the snow blower this year, I’ve purchased quite a few antique pieces to furnish the house, I got used appliances for the house and lets not mention the money I spend on flowers to make the house look nice every year. Nothing has ever been said of that. It hurts to think that Mr thinks so little of me after all that he can not even imagine that I have made a dream come true.
Why dream if you have no expectations of reality? How could someone who is supposed to be your friend want you to stay beneath them? Does he feel powerful because he is so much better off financially than I? Mr knows he holds the upper hand on my living situation, and I know that as well. So now that’s he’s pissed off that I’m going to Italy he’s going to use his power over me. To threaten me.
It worked. I am fearful of him and what he could make me do – move. I realized too that while he was here the other day, he’d gone through my things. I found my passport moved and the paperwork for my airline tickets disheveled. I have since packaged and moved those items and will be purchasing a Safe. No mention was made of the Springsteen tickets that were also sitting out so I assume he didn’t see those.
I AM going to Italy. What I come back to is questionable. I do not make enough money to rent a place. I am 57 years old with no chance of a decent paying job. My skills are many but there is no college education to give me merit. All of my retirement money was lost to my personal financial crisis so I am working to build that up again but at my age am way beyond any hope of retiring with any comfort.
It is a dream, this trip of mine. But it is coming at a cost.