I was recently watching the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” and one particular episode had me laughing so hard as I could so relate to her experiences. Piper, the main character, had received a 48 hour furlough from prison and when she visited her ex’s house, she sat down on the sofa and said…”ahhh, upholstery”. Oh, how I can relate. Anytime I go to a friends house that has normal furnishings, I say practically the same thing.
You see…I live in a broken shoebox. Compared to the homes that I lived in while in California, that statement is totally true. There’s not a single closet in my entire house, not even a medicine cabinet. I keep my toiletries on top of my toilet (probably not super sanitary) but there’s no space on the sink for more than my toothbrush and facial soap. The cold water faucet on the sink doesn’t work and there’s barely any water that comes out of the hot water faucet (in the bathroom or the kitchen). And the hot water is really just lukewarm.
I have about 1 sq foot of kitchen counter space plus my kitchen table which has become a counter. I keep most of my food in baskets along with my clothes. The frig only has one shelf and it is broken in half so I can never put anything to heavy on it. Additionally, there is a constant stream of water condensation on the ceiling of the frig which makes everything inside wet.
In the bedroom, there is a second bed which makes me crazy to have there but the owners of the property have no other place to put it. I would love that space to be used as a yoga area as it’s the only place that would fit my yoga mat. But again, there’s a bed in the way along with my boxes of things I’ll never be able to unpack…because I live in a house the size of a shoebox.
The sofa in the living room is extremely uncomfortable as there are no seat cushions and on my bed, I can feel the springs of the mattress below my alternative featherbed. Doesn’t leave me with a lot of comfortable places to do my work but somehow, I make it work.
There is no dryer and I share the washer with a family of four along with three other adults. Currently, my clothes and sheets are taking 3 days to dry and even then, they’re still damp. I finally gave up on sharing with the entire building the 2 megas of internet that are provided with my rent and am now paying for my own private internet connection. It meant that I also had to buy a monthly phone line but it’s worth it in order for me to do my work and talk with clients without constant interruption.
I take 3 sleeping pills every night as I’ve just never gotten over the two robberies from last year. I wish I could live in a home that has security but that would increase my rent by a few hundred dollars which I just don’t have. Of course, I also don’t have the money to replace everything if I’m robbed again so I’m in a bit of a catch 22. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
But somehow, even with all of this, I’ve gotten to a level of acceptance that this is just my life. I might get robbed again, I will probably never have a sense of security (or closets), the bathroom faucet (that works) may or may not have water coming out of it and I will probably forever live in a shoebox.