Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stepping into Others' Worlds

We've been looking for temporary rental property, which isn't very easy to find around here. Don's company has some properties they've bought up, to eventually mine under them, so we checked into that possibility. This past weekend he got a key, and off we went, to take a look.

The smell hit us as soon as we stepped inside. Years of must and dirt and who knows what else, but I had hope against hope that some serious steam cleaning would take care of it.

The kitchen drawers had dead bugs in them, and fronts of cabinets were swinging to and fro. There was no dishwasher or microwave, but a serviceable stove and refrigerator.

The fairy decals on the cabinet fronts and the walls told me a woman had indeed lived there at some time, and she'd tried to make it pretty. There was a 'tub' that really wasn't a tub, but rather something you could roll a wheelchair into? You definitely could not bathe.

The bedrooms were small and less than beautiful but would do, assuming we could get rid of the smell in the carpet. The hand-painted mural of a castle on one bedroom wall told me a child had lived there for awhile.

The basement had little streams of water trailing across the floor, a washer and dryer sat in a corner, but there was no plug for the dryer. Cobwebs and dark corners told me I wouldn't be going down there much after dark.

The house sat next to a very busy highway, with a steep yard, and next door somebody's dog, chained to the front door, had worn the yard to smooth dirt.

I told Don, "we can clean it up, I can paint, we'll get someone in to clean the carpet, and we can make it work." He told me, "Bev, no. It won't do. It's just too much work, and we don't have to do this. We can find something else."

So we drove away and he handed the key back in. But two things stuck with me, first that someone had indeed lived there, as it was. I know there are people in this country who would be grateful to live there, because it's better than what they have now. That thought has stayed with me for days now. How easily we forget the bubble we live in, and how many out there have little or nothing. My home, which is typical mid-America, would seem opulent to many.

Second, Don told me later that when I told him we could make it work, he realized he'd married someone made of stout stuff. That I would have gone in and worked and made it better.

Maybe I need to go back and thank my parents for raising me in less than perfect surroundings much of the time I was growing up. I did tell him it was the highest compliment he's ever given me.


Justin Bowers said...

Want to rent a nice place in South Park from some folks who need to move toward Robinson?

pcb said...

I love the way you think, maybe because it's so simililar to my way of thinking, that we can make things work. Too, I can hardly go anywhere without thinking of the people who were there before and looking for little clues about them.

Kelly said...

I've said it before, I really wish you lived next door. And not because I have an entire house to paint, and you're so handy at fixing up:-) You have such an empathetic heart... and a can-do attitude. You're right... so many around us live in what we would find sub-standard conditions. Hurts my heart to think of it, particularly when I am losing sleep over whether to paint the trim or not!

Hope you find just the right place to call home (temporarily) very soon!

Gretchen said...

One of my favorite posts of yours, friend. He's right. You're definitely made of the right stuff. Bless your parents, bless your also-right-stuff hubby. Bless you.

Susanne said...

I just love your heart, Bev! And your hubby's heart for not wanting you to go to all that work! You are both made of the right stuff!

Barb said...

Rob has told me the same thing in the past, that no matter where we've lived, and sometimes it wasn't all that whoopy, I managed to make it into a home. So it has to be something we learned from Mom and Dad. I remember us living in some very poor circumstances when we were children, but I never remember living anywhere that didn't feel like home.

But...I'm very glad you don't have to move into that house.


Judith said...

Oh sweet Bev,

The higest compliment, indeed. and likewise, for a wonderful man who would NOT let you do that.

I don't know how getting through this almost unbelievable time for the two of you will play out, but I do not worry, for I know our most loving Lord, and that great guy you married, are taking good care of you.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I've lived in lots of those places, Bev. It's just life: you learn to make do or it's like you've failed. You handle it, or it handles you, and I refuse to let life defeat me.

I agree with your dear hubby, you are a strong woman. The important thing is that you would have made it work, and the important thing with him is that he didn't make you try.



Kimberly said...

I can´t believe you found dead bugs in the cabinet droors of the kitchen? Who would rent something like that? I mean, this means we really have to be careful wehn we go on a trip. In the argentina travel I made, I was lucky to find a rental that was clean and safe. But it seems is not that easy for other people!