As a child, I always pictured my adult years being filled with success, comfort, and ease. Stress wasn’t something I pictured being a part of my life. I, like many kids, thought for sure I’d be one of those people who makes millions each year. Why? Because, that’s why.
Boy has reality beaten me over the head with a 2×4. Life as an adult hasn’t been anything like what I pictured it would be like.
Since getting married to Casey, we’ve lived in a yardless duplex made of cinderblocks, a one bedroom 300 square foot apartment, with Casey’s mother, with my parents, in subsidized housing, and in our current house. Our cinderblock duplex was the first place we lived and it was the first place where we learned to live as a married couple. Our one bedroom 300 square foot apartment is still a place where we have fond memories and enjoyed our time living in such close quarters together. Living with our parents at different times presented its challenges as well.
Even with all those odd places where we’ve lived, nothing compared to the time we found ourselves living in a hotel for a month. Phew, that month is filled with all kinds of craptastic moments and craptastic memories.
After graduating from law school, Casey and I made the mistake of bidding on a HUD home and applying for a 203K loan through Bank of America. That little experience is another blog post all of its own, but for now I’ll just say I would not recommend putting all of those facts together and trying to repeat the process. Get a 203K loan through Bank of America? Okay, just don’t buy a home from HUD. Buy a home from HUD? Okay, just don’t get a 203K loan through Bank of America. In fact, maybe you should just go ahead and skip Bank of America at every chance you get. Anyway, we moved out of our subsidized housing and found ourselves without anywhere to live due to the extremely prolonged process of getting the 203K loan completed. Without a place to live, we moved into a local hotel.
The whole getting into a hotel process went wrong from the moment we checked in. We were supposed to get a weekly rate so we could avoid hotel taxes that were meant for temporary guests—a difference of several hundred dollars. The clerk told us they would take care of it at the end of our stay, which turned out not to be true.
Luckily we were placed in a suite so we could at least sleep in separate rooms and we were provided with breakfast each morning. And by breakfast I mean we were served moldy bread and rancid waffles—and that’s not an exaggeration. In fact, towards the end of our stay Casey got so frustrated at the hotel’s lack of care about what was being served, that she walked up to the bread stand and just started throwing everything away right in front of the hotel staff. The next day the bread was okay, but the day after that the bread was back to being moldy.
Coupled with the moldy and rancid food that was being served to us, Addie got sick with some kind of virus or bug and ended up puking for two days straight. That kid had her head in a bowl almost the entire time and it was sad to watch.
That image of Addie leaning over a bowl is the most prominent image I have of our time in that hotel. We stayed there for a month and then we moved into our house and into a new phase of our life. I would like to think that we’ve finally moved past those times in our lives where living situations are tough to come by, but life has taught me that it is a constant struggle to make sure our kids have a warm bed and a place to stay. Ultimately, living in comfort and without stress isn’t as important as being able to live with and spend time with family.
More on Babble Dad: