From the street it looks sane enough, I suppose, an ordinary-looking house in this part of the world. Perhaps it is a bit shabby, but it fits the neighborhood.
And it is mine house. Not mine and the bank, just mine. Owning this house is supposed to make me feel proud, accomplished, and secure. And absolutely nothing could be further from the truth.
The man and I have been renters forever. We are used to the joys of a maintenance man. But, if you own a house, you don’t have the joys of the maintenance man. And this house sucks. Worse than sucks. It is old. It has what is marketed as character. (That is Real Estate Agent speak for ‘a bunch of shit doesn’t work and we will charge extra for it’)
Living in the Mad House is not particularly good for my mental instability. Some of what is wrong with the Mad House is downright terrifying.
We purchased the Mad House from a couple who lived in it for over 30 years. Their name was Wonders. I shit you not. Mr. & Mrs. Wonders. We did not know when we bought the house that he was a HAM radio enthusiast and amateur “inventor” and she was really a crazy cat lady. Those revelations unfolded over time.
Even crazy people know not to buy a cat lady’s house, but if you are not clear why, here are some of Mrs. Wonders’ contributions to my rapidly dwindling sanity:
*Cat urine soaked rags packed around pipes.
*People randomly showing up trying to foist off very sick and dying cats.
*A lot of damaged woodwork.
*A large collection of ugly and terrifying lawn tchotchkes. (Some are still regulars in my nightmares…too many staring googly eyes)
What you may not know is what you get if you buy a house from a HAM radio enthusiast/amateur inventor (and I use the term inventor very liberally-I actually mean hazard in shoes) Here are some of Mr. Wonders’ contributions to my downward spiral:
*An “invention” to prevent snow and ice from forming on the roof. This is festoons of wires all over the roof attached to timed switches. The gay festoons of wire heat up and melt the precipitation. Even I am not crazy enough to have evereverever turned this thing on. But even turned off, I fear it plans to burn down the Mad House.
*A staggering collection of wires on the outside of the house. (Neighbors report he had many antennas)
*An amazing collection of “home improvements” all made of ugly paneling and really huge drywall screws.
A large part of my flavor of schizophrenia is being scared to the point of immobility by completely ordinary things. The challenge here is that I am scared to the point of immobility by these fairly extraordinary things as well.
Then the Mad House has added some new things to terrify me into further immobility.
*The kitchen floor is caving in. Actually collapsing. With large holes in it, and places where it is unsafe to stand.
*The shitswamp. Ah, let me tell you about the shitswamp. It used to be a basement. But it is now a Lovecraftian landscape, and aromascape. And there is no escape. Apparently, two marvelous things have taken place to grant us the privilege of tending this amazing ecosystem. First off, the main sewer pipe under the house has apparently caved in for the most part. And then, the previous owner, the genius “inventor” capped off the pipe the sewer needs to breathe. The plumber cheerfully told me that it would cost 7500. to fix this. Not bloody likely. I mean, if we had that kind of money, it would promptly go to the plumber. We don’t.
*The furnace. It is haunted. Or lazy. It only works when it feels like it. Which is not when it is cold. If it is cold, someone needs to venture into the aforementioned basement and flip the circuit breaker until the furnace decides to work. Or not. The furnace feels personal to me. It really works just fine when it is chilly, or cool, or even cold. But when it gets really cold, forget about it. The furnace is sentient. It is also a jaggoff.
So. Take a crazy person, and make this fun house their abode. See what happens. (They won’t get better!)
My partner is fairly unflappable. And he loves this house truly madly deeply. And, when we bought it, I loved it, too. I don’t love it so much now. Maybe I could love it if I wasn’t scared of all the ways I think it is trying to hurt me. Maybe I could love it if I was not terrified that the damned basement was going to get the house condemned as a health hazard.
But, as it stands, I do not love it. I fear it. And hiding from the house you live in is a tricky matter. But, for over a year, I have been basically hiding from my house. As coping strategies go, this is a lousy coping strategy, but it is what I have.
Many many days, I sort of envy the homeless.