Today I was enjoying the bright Utah sun. It was in the fifties on March 5th and I was loving it. The sunroof of my car was open and I was wondering what Michigan’s weather was like. We moved to Utah on January 15th and I have not looked back once. My spirits were up and I felt like a free bird, literally. One thing occasionally weighs me down though. I still have my house. My house. Ugh. This is the house that I lived in with my ex. This house has been haunted since he took his shit out of it in about January of 2006. When Jeff and I moved into this house after a ridiculous cascade of events in 2007, it felt haunted. I remember moments in corners of this house that made me break down, literally. The ghosts of my past would not leave me alone. The neighbors who took sides in my divorce with their utter lack of understanding and compassion still were there with their utter lack of understanding and compassion. The ghosts and the neighbors tormented me in my soul. I couldn’t get rid of them.
Jeff and I did everything we could to make it ours. We painted, we partied, we furnished, and we were us in that house…Jeff and I. Everything we did there should have canceled out the ghosts and their dreary experiences. For a while it felt like it did cancel those memories out. We redid the bathroom, we had amazing moments with friends and family and we became ourselves in that house. Three years spent there canceled out many, many things. But I couldn’t let the past go and I didn’t realize it until today.
As I enjoyed the Utah weather on this spectacular day, I also realized that I needed to tie up some loose ends to truly be free. I’ve been avoiding the subject of my Michigan house. As people asked about it, I would just explain that we are getting it ready to sell. The major problem here is that I still own this haunted house with my ex. My ex. The man whose ghost lies there in that place. This man won’t speak to me, he won’t speak to his children and he surely won’t acknowledge that he has anything to do with this house that his name is still on. This place that is worth nothing compared to what we owe on it. The fact is that this is the only place left on earth that legally admits that he and I were ever a “we”. Today as I walked in the beautiful Utah weather, I realized that I needed to do something about this house. If I ever want to legitimately enjoy the Utah anything, I need it to be gone. The real estate papers are in my files and, as I opened the mailbox of my Utah house, I wondered if I could get them in the mail to him by the end of the day. Unfortunately, higher powers than me had something else in mind for me today. As I was sliding the key into the mailbox I thought to myself, “I do need to get this going because this house is going to catch up with me soon”.
The two envelopes from my Michigan hometown contained water bills. One water bill was about right and the second one, dated just a few days later was in the amount of $1140-something. Once you hit the $1100 mark for a water bill, I don’t think the “ones” place matters so much, do you? I chuckled, thinking that obviously these idiots have really screwed up and I’m going to tell them about it. Right. Now. Unfortunately they had quite a bit to tell me. As I described my situation to the township lady, she quickly asked me, “Are you on Woodcreek Trail?”. Realizing that I hadn’t even given her my name, I hesitantly said, “Yeah”. “We received a call from Detroit Edison saying that water was coming out of the house at this address so we shut off your water. The bill reflects the amount of water that flowed through your meter”
Water was coming out of the house? I mean what could this mean? Coming out of a pipe attached to the house? Coming out of the WHAT? The house? Luckily Dad is close. It’s not a good thing when you know Dad has walked into the house and all you can hear from his muffled phone is, “Oh fuck”. Apparently the note on the door of my haunted house said that water was pouring out of the siding. As Dad walked in, he saw that the CEILING of the kitchen and family room had fallen onto the wood floors. The wood floors themselves have buckled and look like mud. As he attempted to go outside onto the deck (that Jeff and I just stained for Chelsea’s graduation last June) to see if a tree had fallen on the roof or something, he was unable to remove the 2X4 that was laying in the track of the sliding glass door because it was too swollen with water. There is water in the ceilings of the second floor where I just paid $500 for someone to paint and touch up so that we could easily sell the place for $100K less than the ex and I owe. As Dad is describing all of this to me, all I can think is, “You had me at oh fuck”.
Water poured out of my haunted house. How many times did I curse that place? How many times did I wish that house would disappear off the face of this earth? How regretful was I that I signed papers to refinance it at the height of its’ worth, knowing that my marriage was about to implode? How much did I hate the fact that I had to move back into that prison-house with my brand new beautiful husband during our first year of marriage? And now here it is, under water, literally and figuratively and I can’t believe the symbolism of it all. As I told this to Chelsea she said the perfect thing: “Omigawd, it’s like our house just died.”
And a very large piece of me just died with it.
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