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“Homelessness” and I Couldn’t Make this Stuff Up If I Tried

So I think the events of the last five days might seal the offer for Swim Bike Family reality show.

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There’s so much humor in our life.  Or, horror.  I mean, humor.

First, the fact that Ironman absolutely changed NOTHING. I thought I would feel like a superhero or something kinda special—that I would have some sort of huge boost– but the truth of the matter is that it’s almost like the whole thing was a dream that never happened.  And people at work are like, “Why? Why would you do that?” And I don’t have any real good answer.

Ummmm, I don’t know WHY I did an Ironman, really…” 

Then they really look at you like you’re nuts.

And considering how chunky I feel right now (continuing to eat like I am training for an Ironman, but only running from the couch to the kitchen is killing me), I am considering taking a pocket knife and cutting off my Ironman tattoo. I feel like a fraud. Especially because I have not really gotten back into the swing of training for anything yet (except a beer drinking and food eating contest. I got that training in the bag. Boo yow.)

So here’s the latest drama-rama.

A few months ago, we moved.

And I called that time the “Gift of Chaos,” because it was one of the nuttiest times ever.

Well, on Friday… we moved again. Again. Less than four months since the last move.

Whhhhhhhy?  

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Well, we were living in a place that was cute as pie on the exterior and interior… but had some seriously big construction, health and smelly issues.  Since moving from our house before that (the one we actually owned), we have been renting. And it turns out that the Atlanta housing/rental market is more insane than our family.

I dusted off my lawyer skills and got us out of the oppressive two-year lease with some threats about litigation and blah blah… which is good.

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We found a super cute “three bedroom” rental house in our budget.

I put “three bedroom” in quotes, because it’s really a two bedroom with an office (or a place to put our bikes).  So our kiddos would be sharing a room.  The funny thing, though, is that they’ve been sleeping in the same bed since Couer d’Alene…. they love “camping out” as they call it.  So we were like, oh, it’s fine. It’s just a year lease… we can always get bunk beds if it gets complicated…. but they are 4 and 5, weigh 45 pounds, so they can easily share a queen bed for awhile.  

We put down a deposit.

Hired movers.

We packed up our stuff AGAIN.

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Note to self: check to see if house has air conditioning before you move your stuff. Check.

But then we discover, after we move in, that there is a crazy, 1980’s geothermal air conditioning unit. Which could be cool. If it worked. And it doesn’t.  At all.  And $800 later, it still wasn’t fixed.  And it’s July in Georgia.  [Luckily, one of the mildest Julys in the history of the South. But July, nonethless.]

The heat was stifling in the house.   We spent the weekend in a hotel that I had reserved for my parents to come help us move. At the last minute, I told them to stay in Savannah—-because I thought we might need the hotel.  I was right.

So we spent two nights in the Westin, and watched the fireworks, which was great.  To the kids, it was like a vacation.  But the Expert and I were staring at each other with wild, rabid animal eyes—-total fear.

Because there was more to the story than air conditioning.

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Because we are actually kinda of homeless.

Because we don’t technically have a lease yet.  What? You are a lawyer and you moved into a place without a lease?

[Yes. Yes, that is correct. Reason # 320 as to why I am now a Recovering Lawyer.]

To my credit, we were assured that the lease would be available on Tuesday (three days before move in) for us to sign. Then Wednesday.  But then the 4th of July happened, and no lease on a holiday. Then Friday was moving day, and supposedly it was going to be dropped off for us to sign in the morning—-but the property management company was moving offices and we were lost in the shuffle.

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Just a girl with her purse and a Go Cup. Never know when you gotta bolt.

And our stuff was moved and there we were.

With no lease, a pile of boxes, and no air conditioning.  [Oh, and two kids who thought this was the coolest jungle gym ever.]

So after two nights in the Westin, and no working air conditioner (despite having people coming out to try and fix it on our own…  See… when you have no lease,  you have no maintence… see how this works? Cluster. Yes.)…we found ourselves putting down the credit card for an Extended Stay.

Ah, Extended Stay.

One of those places where people kill themselves, find crack and hire hookers—not necessarily in that order.  But yes, that kind of place. (I’m really proud of everything that’s going on right now, really.)  I mean, just yesterday, we were accosted by a guy who claimed to be from Canada and wanting to know where the grocery store was…and then when we told him, he said that Publix was too expensive.  And he did not have a Canadian accent. A thick Russian accent, maybe, but not one from our northern neighbors. I have no idea.  But I imagined a pocket full of heroin and a trench coat about to be involved. It was just scary.

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A rousing rendition of “Simon Says”

Here it is, Monday… and we are technically homeless.  It’s not just the air conditioning issue.  We technically don’t have a place to live.  Yet.  And I look back and think, how could I be so stupid?

I mean… it’s kind of insane. Homeless?

And we just turned over the old rental house yesterday so we could get our security deposit back and pro-rated rent for all the money we are burning and flushing and wasting right now.  Make that money, watch it burn.

At the old rental, in the fridge, I found a who-knows-how-many-day old marinating flank steak that the Expert and I had intended to make one night last week (month?).

Crap, gotta take that with me?  Yes.

So the Expert was driving the lawn mower and other equipment to the NEW non-working-air-conditioning-house, and I took the flank steak with me to throw out with the hookers and syringes in the extended stay dumpster…

I put the steak (which was in a casserole dish) in the floorboard of the car.  As I was driving down the road, I took a corner a little hot, and the lid flew off the casserole dish and out into the floorboard. I saw the steak slosh up on the side of the dish, and the smell that escaped was something special.

And the kids screamed in terror,  “What’s that smell!!?”

I then realized that the boy child was holding the Expert’s phone.  And I had mine.  And no one knew where the Expert really was.  And it’s not like, “Oh, well, we will just see him at home later.”

‘Cuz who knew where that was.

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[They just sit in their car seats now… you know, just in case we have to go quickly. :)]

I told the boy child, “You took your Daddy’s phone???? Now we’ll never find him.”

Then the girl child screamed, “Our daddy is GONE???? We don’t want a new daddy! Oh nooo.”   [Mother of the Year. Mother of the Year.]

Once I had the drama queen kid quieted, I dragged the kids to check into the Extended Stay, where the receptionist had a cigarette hanging out of the corner of her mouth. [Okay, no she didn’t. But really, it was the one thing missing from her face.]

“You can’t check in until 3:00,” she growled at me.  And a dude with a mustache stared at me over a pile of sheets in the hallway. Omg.

Speaking of mustache… the Expert decided that he would grow a 1970’s mustache in protest of our housing situation. (“I will shave this when we know where we are living.”)  I lost my mind. I made him shave it. He complied. Otherwise, I would have held him down and removed it myself with tweezers.

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I found the Expert.  He had gone to the gym.

“What?” he asked as I stared at him with dagger eyes, “Not like it’s an unlikely place for YOU to be. It’s like our safe house.”

Point taken.

We got in a workout, and then back to the chaos.

For we have all these unpacked boxes, in a house that we technically don’t live in yet. We are ping-ponging the kids around like some reenactment of The Pursuit of Happyness. Living out of a suitcase. Carrying around a marinating flank steak like it’s a bone scanner I have to sell.

So now it’s Monday.  The air conditioning repair, Round II, starts in a few hours.  We have a lease signing appointment today. Yes, seriously.

*Since I wrote this blog post, my dear friend from college, Heather, offered up her house while she was out of town on business. I literally almost cried when she texted me.  We are out of the Hooker Hotel… but who knows what adventures await. 😉

28 Comments

  • Vanessa

    July 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Sometimes our athletic struggles and accomplishments only help us to mentally deal with what life throws at us. Hang in there – if you can Ironman, you can make it through homelessness!

    Reply
  • oldmotherrunner

    July 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I am trying so hard not to laugh …but I guess that is the only thing that you can and should do. Hope you are “welcomed home” soon.

    Reply
  • jackie

    July 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Meredith,
    Sorry for your moving dilemmas. I had one similar when we sold our first house. We spent several nights in a motel, lost our favorite cat… well, you get the picture.

    I’m considering getting clip-on aerobars for my Trek road bike. I do sprint tris and my secret goal is an olympic length tri next fall. Any thoughts on the aerobars. I just had shoulder surgery in January but my shoulder is doing phenomenally well. Thinking the aerobars may take a little pressure off of the shoulder.

    Hope your air is fixed real soon!

    Jackie

    Reply
  • miranda

    July 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Oh man. That is hysterical (I mean that is a very supportive way).

    I finished my first sprint tri on Saturday. and my kids (matching yours in age/gender) did their first kids tri. I was a rock star for exactly 1/2 a day. Then yesterday it was back to the grind – super de booper annoying kids, lawn to mow, no food in the house, and no one cared. I remember somewhere you wrote to expect this phenomenon. Thank goodness I felt at least Meredith gets this too! And yeah, my coworkers think I am really crazy today.

    Hang in there.

    Reply
  • Carie Arnett Vercelli

    July 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I got exhausted just reading that. I actually do think you sit and try to think of the most outlandish stuff to post, just for laughs and page views, haha! I am taken back to one of your first comments about feeling like a fraud and wanting to cut of your tattoo! If you do cut it off can I come watch, sorry I have a morbid, sadistic side to me. Anyway, you are crazy, well beside stating the obvious, you are crazy to think you are a fraud! When you think that, you should go back and read your whole huge too long race recap, and watch the video of you running into the finish line, and remember at least it wasn’t to the before song of YMCA! We, who follow you, we, who you offer encouragement to and email and comment to and invite to stay with you (haha, just thought I’d slip that in, in case you weren’t really paying attention) know you are not a fraud! Look at what you accomplished, and what obstacles you overcame to do it! You never even considered that you couldn’t finish and wouldn’t accomplish your goal! BTW, all those bike pee stops did have me a little worried, I am not going to lie! You gave us all such hope that if you can do it then maybe we could do it to, (well maybe just me, don’t want to speak for the others) ~This almost sounds like an insult, maybe you are just extra sensitive, or maybe I’m just passive super aggressive, lets move on shall we! Everyone has some rough patches, and struggle after training and completing a race they were training for like a marathon or Ironman, what the hell are we suppose to do now with ourselves now! See, your goals were too high, you reached for the big one, so where are you supposed to go from here? I can’t wait to see! AND if you do nothing but eat oreo’s then we will still be here enjoying your posts and laughing at your constant crazy life and just thanking God it is you and not us, and knowing that you are someday going to fly back to always sunny AZ to do the Ironman here, hey if you do I will too, um just kidding, so funny I think it would be incentive for you to come here though. I obviously think quite highly of myself don’t I! You rock, and I love all your posts. I think you were just baiting me to post because you had hoped I would state that my bike is named Mer, you & Dark & Twisty Grey’s Anatomy’s Meridith Grey, I hope you feel privileged to be combined with her. Fine I took the bait ~hook line and sinker and now you can add this to your claim to fame. My comments always take on a life of there own dontcha think? I figured why not, you seem bored, unless you are moving in now, which I highly doubt, so your welcome for providing you with some light,afternoon reading and until we meet again online, as always…Carie. Man I am going to start faking my name otherwise you might all of a sudden block me.

    Reply
  • Liza

    July 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    So sorry for all your insanity! I will be praying it gets better soon. 🙂

    I gotta say a little something though….. those first couple of paragraphs ticked me off a bit! You are being so hard on yourself! You are belittling something great that you did! ….and I’m not even talking about the physical stuff, there’s no denying how awesome that was. I’m talking about the mental, emotional and determination stuff. You inspired so many women, me included. I watched you on the live feed and was in awe of what you accomplished and so inspired that I too, could do something like that. Don’t take that away from yourself! And don’t take that away from the rest of us. If you need reasons to give those people who ask you why you did it, just ask your blog readers. We would be happy to provide a list for you!

    I hope you realize that through your blog and Ironman experience you have helped a lot of people have that “a-ha moment”. That moment like you had in your cycling class.
    For me it was in your last pre-Ironman post when you wrote-
    “Because one thing I’ve learned in this journey—-is that it really doesn’t matter what you look like, or what your God-given abilities are, or where you start. What matters is what you dream, what you believe in your mind and in your heart.
    What matters are the things you think about yourself …when you’re alone.
    And you know you are changing/have changed when the things you say when you’re alone change from, “you’re a fat worthless person” …to… “maybe I will do an Ironman.”

    Those words struck something inside of me.

    So I know it’s probably difficult with all that you have going on….and I don’t mean to be bossy, especially since you don’t even know me…..but have a little grace for yourself and don’t let all the negative crap get in the way of being proud for what you’ve done! You’re just cheating yourself if you do!

    Reply
  • Laura Bienkowski

    July 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Ok, some of these posts really need to come with warnings that they should not be read at work, or while drinking water. Only you. It will all work out, it always seems to. Keep shuffling!

    Reply
  • Therese Slechta

    July 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    i was gonna tell you about PISS ( post ironman sadness syndrome). I know cuz I had it 2 times already, but after reading your blog, I guess you don’t have time for that. LMAO. really! great blog and Im sorry to laugh at you.

    Reply
  • Sabrina

    July 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    keep the tattoo. where it with pride. because you earned it. Everything else is cake. You know what you’re capable of, that’s what matters.

    Reply
  • TriGirl

    July 8, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    I stayed in one of those places once when I was technically homeless too. My husband had to start a new job in a new state, and I had to finish out my contract. And we sold our house within a day so I couldn’t stay in it. I didn’t know it was a hooker hotel…it definitely wasn’t swanky though. So happy for you to get to stay in friend’s house!

    Reply
  • K Smith

    July 9, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Wow. You really ought to think about taking a few days off from your life – it’s as exciting as an action/adventure movie!
    Seriously, here’s a hug (cuz being homeless is no joke), and a high five (nerdy as it may be, for your sense of humor through all this), and a “down-on-my-knees-bowing-down-to-you-repeating, “I’m not worthy!”, because you are handling this so freaking well. I’d be in a padded cell in the fetal position at the first sign of trouble. I’m thinking the Ironman training worked on MULTIPLE levels!

    Reply
  • April Judd

    July 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Now I understand why you said you had an ugly cry face day on Sunday. Bless your heart. I’m pretty sure if I was under the same amount of stress I would be walking around continuously eating a bag of potato chips, followed by ice cream (Ben &Jerry’s Americone Dream!! mmmmm). Then work my ass off when life flips back to right side up. Hang in there.

    Reply
  • Cheryl Donnelly

    July 15, 2013 at 11:15 am

    OMG!!! I have been behind on the blog and a friend shared with me your housing situation….yes we talk about the trials and tribulations of SBM at our races (you really would have a great reality show!)

    Reply
  • Misty

    August 21, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    If you think you’re life is crazy you should try being homeless for real. Having to panhandle. No money for a gym pass or a hotel of any kind, no food, no water, living under a bridge in the middle of a 115′ summer with no friends or family to call and a broke down 1971 car in a town you don’t know. If you think a guy asking about directions is scary! I had to sleep outside with heroine addicts. About 20 of them. Try waking up at 3am to someone trying to break into your car/home. I think we were the only people there who were not an addicts. It would be nice to be able to afford a crack hotel at point. Then we met someone, that could be a serial killer, who said we could stay with him for a week and we actually took him up on the offer because we’re so desperate but we only have a day left then it’s back to the bridge. To be in your shoes would be a giant step up from homeless. And a credit card… What is that? I really hope things get better for you. Till then just remember you have a lot more than a lot of other people do! PS the term for people in your position is “near homeless”. And if this sounds a little brash it’s because it is really hard to hear someone talk about how bad they have it when they have it a lot better than anyone I know. Good luck! I’m sure it will work out for you!

    Reply
  • Misty

    August 21, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Don’t get me wrong. I really do wish the best for you. I’ve just been scanning blogs looking for someone who can relate and I keep getting the same blogs. It’s just a little frustrating. However, I am not trying to be mean or anything. Honestly. You seem to be a really sweet gal and things will start coming you way. I have em crossed for ya!

    Reply

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