a friend laughingly said to me, "you must have been REALLY bad in a past lifetime because i can't believe how much stuff is happening to you."
i've spoken to a couple of real estate agents who smile dryly and say this sort of situation is all too common in new york city.
perhaps it's divine retribution of sorts. i am one of those people who is very attached to my home. even worse, my neighborhood. it gives me a sense of stability and structure that allows me to run around, work freelance in different offices, be as reckless as i want in the rest of my life.
my home is my sanctuary. my base. it's where i feel safe. it's where i feel like i can protect my teenagers from the dangers of the outside world.
in the past two years, my living situation has been on a bit of a downhill slide.
of course, my irresponsibly getting cancer and not working didn't help much. add to that, an exhusband who chose to play out his own revenge scheme just as the family income and my health hit bottom.
now i'm not really in hell, but i am in limbo.
the past sweltering week has been the worst heat wave in nyc in decade.
i normally LOVE the summer heat but prior to that, we had a couple weeks of rain crashing through the wall like a giant waterfall and flooding the girls' bedrooms repeatedly and eventually drenching mine, too.
now the resulting mold has gotten so bad that one is choked by the smell upon opening the door.
i usually run in to grab a few things and rush out with a shopping bag, a runny nose, a cough and a raging headache.
(apparently, mold is much more toxic for someone with cancer or who has had cancer treatment - perhaps because of our compromised immune systems - and for people who've had lyme disease and asthma. that would be zarina, so she's stuck at james'.
since people keep asking me to write all my secret health solutions down - here's today's information - i get immediate relief from large doses of vitamin c, tumeric and chlorella. then a shot of wheat grass a little later. but even a tiny bit of sugar or dairy can bring the reaction all back. also, at night my lungs get so clogged i wake up gasping for air. at that point, i put some silver biotics in a nasal spray http://www.silverbiotics.com inhale deeply and try and get it down into my lungs. by the way, you know it's bad when you blow your nose and the tissue is streaked with black mold.
if i remember i put a couple of drops of "thieves" oil on my pillow, too. if i've heard a diffuser is good for that.
additional life advice - after some extensive research, the best homeowner's/renter's insurance company is amica and i recommend EVERYONE scrape the money together to get some because they will rescue you, even if it's just temporarily. it does make you feel better. also, state farm is not covering any of my destroyed furniture because it's the result of poor building maintenance. check your insurance policy for water damage and mold remediation, it's very common in nyc and lots of companies don't cover it. so the "like a good neighbor" is being put to the test.)
not that i should really be complaining because limbo means living a few blocks away in a 4-star hotel with powerful air conditioning.
however, as sartre explains, hell is really the waiting room.
our no-exit is a gigantic bed in a tiny room as befits new york city. fill it with a few teenagers and a dog and the hotel california gets a lot less glamorous.
nightly chocolates on the pillows lose their appeal when you've eaten all your meals in the bed (since no other furniture fits in here).
i desperately want to cook and sit at the table. i want to buy flowers. i want to have bowls of peaches ripening in the sun. my organic diet and juicing routine have gone out the window.
the puppy's getting antsy in the miniscule space. she now barks like a maniac every time someone comes down the hall and runs around in circles like a wind-up toy. i've smuggled in a few steak bones to quiet her down but i'm worried the rest of guests might not be friendly too much longer.
back at home, it looks like a sinking ship. we've dragged as much stuff as we can save into the one part of the apartment that didn't have water pouring into it. we run in from time to time to get the stuff we need.
the amazons can't find their clothes. sasha's lost her passport and the pieces of her college application she needed to do over the summer. rara is down in dc with my parents but she's panicked she won't be able to come back.
my homeowner's insurance says that they are ready to rip out the walls, clean the mold and put everything back in again but my building's insurance is dragging their heels. just as the building refused to repair the leak over the past four years. one of my neighbors, despite being a banker, knows a bit about construction so i asked him what was going on. he told me to call my handyman. i asked if he had anyone he could send over. he laughed, "i'm not going to pay for it!"
another of my banker neighbors muttered, "just fix it yourself. that's what i would do."
not to sound all-girly and clueless, but i did pay a number of people to fix the leak over the years and now that i've been forced to be up on the roof regularly, i can see they didn't do a great job.
is the moral of the story that you should learn to do your own construction?
it's funny, in the legal tangles i've faced, i've spoken to lots of lawyers who've repeated what the most recent one did.
a kindly and high-powered gentleman, his retainer was more than my monthly mortgage payment. "i'm so sorry, my dear. it doesn't matter if you're right, it matters if you have the financial backing to prove it in court."
trying to think what a real amazon would do.
i just want my home back.
ah, new york city.