In the Ghetto

March 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Recently, our landlord dropped a bomb. ‘We’ve sold the house. You have thirty days to pick up your entire life and go.’ which was shocking, though we’d always suspected it would happen. Took us a week to actually process, another two weeks to try and get a loan to buy a house, another week or so to find out it was going to take longer than the time we had, then another few weeks to put everything into boxes and move it to the first place we could find available (thinking anything would do because we were only squatting long enough to get this loan to buy the other house) which turned out to be fifty bucks cheaper and was stationed in the shittier part of the ghetto.

But, we’re survivors. Humble survivors.

We used it as a lesson to our children: Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do, and, when that happens, you don’t moan about it, you make it work.

We cleaned up the shitty house. Painted over the gunk (lost hairs, mouse residue, grime, mold, sticky stuff and other questionable stuff) on the doors and in the cabinets and down the walls. I should really say me. I painted. I scrubbed with baking soda and vinegar. I scraped and caulked the bathtub. I cut up my fingers shredding steal wool and stuffing it into all those mouse holes. I My husband, did put a new floor down. Then, after I packed and cleaned everything at the other house, we, by ourselves, painstakingly moved all of our shit in (Not all of it. Some of it went into storage behind houses of family members) and, like worn down champs, started our new life here in the shittier part of the ghetto.

Our second night here, our next door neighbor introduced himself.

My husband then introduced us, “I’m Sam, and that’s Joey.”

He nodded, “That’s fucked up.” to me, “Did your parents, like, really hate you or something?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’d expect him to be Joey. And you to be Sam.” laughter, “Do you like to, hop, hop, hop?” while actually hopping.

My husband faked a smile. I faked a smile, “I was named after Joey Heatherton. She was a go-go dancer in the fifties.”

Laughter fading, “Oh.”

Lovely fellow. He then asked, “Your kids aint afraid of dogs are they?”


“We have a pit we let run around. But he‘s not bad.” then tells us all about his dogs, how the pit is thick because he had to go up and down the stairs to get to his food at the last place they lived.

FYI: he’s been letting his pit out around eight or nine pm every night. The pit comes out and barks nonstop until eleven or twelve, which we can clearly hear even in the front of the house. It’s louder than music. It’s louder than TV. We hear it through dinner. We hear it through our scrabble games. It’s the same strained bark over and over and over again. We take turns freaking out about it, stomping through the house while another reminds us that it’s only temporary. I imagine they can’t hear it because they’re probably too cracked up to hear? I don’t know any other reason they’d just let him bark like that.

Also, our oven doesn’t work here. Something about a funny smell. So we’re cooking with a hot plate on top of the kitchen table, which is actually kind of an adventure, but we can’t make those biscuits we all loved. And I don’t know what the crap we’ll do at Thanksgiving, if we’re still here. Turkey in the Dutch-oven I suppose.

Haven’t seen any mice, but, I’m waiting, snooping through cabinets, freaking out over the tiniest crumb left on the table. The neighbors kid came over our third or fourth day, after we were officially in, introduced himself and stood in our kitchen telling us how they have mice, “They run from the first house, to our house, to your house.” and told us to make sure we keep the boards on our doors at night, because someone kicked in their back door. He’s a sweet kid, actually. Untainted, it seems, so far. He’s our eldest daughters age so we like to mess with her every time she gets dolled up to go somewhere, “She doesn’t want Jerry to see her in her Jammies.” which totally pisses her off.

Aside from that, there’s no room at all. Boxes are strategically stacked in all of the closets, behind couches, on top of counters, in the corners. When we need something we’ve forgotten about, we have to go through pulling down all of the boxes, and hunting, then putting them all back like they were. So many things are in random boxes because we ran out of time while moving and just started throwing everything in. It took a week of hunting to find our fancy pencil sharpener, which wouldn’t be such a catastrophic emergency if we didn’t home school. I was sharpening the kids’ pencils with a knife.

The classroom is set up in the front of the house, where most would set up a living room. Often times through out the day, the entire room shakes and the windows rattle (sometimes I fear they‘ll literally shatter) because people drive by with their base turned WAY THE FUCK UP.

We mumble, idiots, to ourselves, wondering what’s wrong with people.

There’s also the tumbling trash every time the wind dares to even whisper. I think I’ve gone outside and picked up trash around the house three times since we’ve been here.

Oh, and the backyard is so small, we couldn’t even park a car there. Not that we would. Why park there when we can park right on the street and risk a drunken sideswipe?

At night we lay awake laughing at the drunks singing as they walk down the alley right outside our bedroom window, then we’re awoken by raging fire trucks at four in the morning.

The best part is, the neighbors, the lovely fellow who apparently knows what a Joey is, actually dumped a busted up couch in front of our house (Three months before junk pickup) the night before we moved in. We knew it was them because the cushions are removed. There’s also a busted up couch with cushions removed in front of his house, and yet another busted up couch with cushions removed, in front of the house aside him. I imagine there’s a bunch of cushions laid out for seating in their houses. Aside from that, another neighbor mentioned he saw them dump it. Just lovely. When we mentioned the couch atrocity yucking up our space, the neighbor’s mother or wife (Comes outside every morning in her nightgown and screams at her dogs like a friggen psychopath) said the old tenants left it there. Stand up people.

So I’m drinking a lot of wine, laughing through the insanity, sketching out the memories, and waiting for that ship to come.

(Excuse any grammatical mistakes. I didn’t edit this bitch too much.)




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