A little more than a year ago, I set out to reclaim pieces of my life that I had lost. I started by reclaiming my home – paying off the lien that was placed on my house when I was divorced. Because even though I used my retirement money for the down payment, Texas is a “community property” state, which means even if your husband ends the relationship when you are 7 months pregnant and quits his job and refuses to move out and just lives in the master bedroom of your home monitoring your parenting and “babysitting” when you are gone and even though you are working two jobs to try to afford a divorce, it takes you several years to do so while he still refuses to move out and becomes more and more emotionally abusive – he is entitled to half of the equity value of the home at the time of divorce. But, hey – you can just BORROW that money from him and pay him off (with interest) after you are done struggling for years just to hang on to the house, never mind raise the children amidst the chaos in the aftermath of that particular debacle. But damnit – in spite of the fact that it was totally fucking unfair that I HAD to pay that money to reclaim my home, I DID pay that money to reclaim my home – 4 years ahead of schedule, to boot. And damnit did that feel good.
And not only that, but some much-needed renovations, to boot. I got a new fence, and set up some gardens (gardens that now lay coughing and gasping under the hot late-summer sun, but will no doubt be revived in the coming months to produce some yummy winter greens.) I replaced my air conditioning, got a new washer and dryer, repaired some plumbing, and picked up a few new animal companions along the way.
This time last year, I was preparing for a cross-country road trip to deposit my eldest child at college in Vermont. I brought my dog, and enjoyed some serious solitude as I wept and bawled my way through Maine, and back down to Austin by way of the Shenandoah National Park.
It was the 24th of August that I was married. Several years later (so many of my memories of what happened which year have been obliterated due to trauma I don’t think I can say exactly how many years) it was the 24th of August that my ex-husband was finally forced to move out of the house. It was the 24th of August when I packed our rental van for that journey last year, and this year, the 24th of August marks the day through which rent was paid by what I am hoping will be the last housemate I will ever need in this house. So the reclamation continues with me reclaiming the master bedroom of my home that I have rented out of financial necessity (and occasionally out of kindness.)
The original plan was to repurpose that room as a short-term rental using services like Air B’n’B to supplement my income. However, after a year of researching the detrimental practices of Air B’n’B I feel like some of the business practices of short term rental companies are questionable enough that I don’t want to support them even if I feel ethically comfortable with my personal use of those services.
And so begins my next reclamation – I invite you to join me…