I thought that Texas broke me. Hah!

The day after completing our 5-day driving marathon through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana, we began working on our house renovation project. In a major heatwave, with faulty air-conditioning.

Why was the air-conditioning faulty? Rats. Rats chewed more than 25 holes in the AC ducts in the attic, so much of the cool air was escaping into the attic, rather than coming down into the house. Add to that constantly opening doors (Cane and his brothers were replacing all of the plumbing) and little insulation because we’ve stripped many of the walls back to their (termite-chewed) shiplap beginnings.

It reached 86 degrees inside every day for the first three days, until Cane crawled up into the attic and taped over the holes. Then it was more like 82, until yesterday when the temperatures finally dropped a bit.

I spent the first four days in the kitchen, cleaning cabinets and drawers covered in years worth of greasy filth.

On the fifth day, we took the day off. I proceeded to have a complete meltdown. I was physically miserable, suffering culture-shock, and feeling homesick. I remember being homesick only one other time in my life–when I was 18 and took a school trip to Washington, DC. I anticipated many of the challenges this trip/project would throw at me, but homesickness was not one of them.

I would like to say that I’m doing better, that as we make progress on the house I’m getting to a better place. Some days, some moments, that would be true. But what I’m finding is that the hardness of this situation is something that comes and goes. Sometimes I’m doing OK, and then I’m not. It doesn’t take much to knock me down.

There’s much in this experience that is positive. I’m sure I’ll be grateful for many things in it when the house is renovated and Cane’s mom is living in it. It feels good to begin to see progress. But I’ll sure be glad when I get to go home again. I’ve always known I’m a homebody, but I have a whole new understanding of what that means.

6 thoughts on “Rats

  1. Kari says:

    I understand homesickness. I get it when I travel, if you can believe it. So I completely understand how you must be feeling, especially given what you’re working with.

    When you’re having a rough day, picture me on my inflatable swan. I hope that helps just a little bit.

    Love you, friend. 😘

    • Rita says:

      Oh, I will do that. Sure wish I could be there on my own, beside you.

      And I do believe you get homesick when you travel. Apparently part of it is being without the routines that soothe and comfort us, and I know that you (like me) really need those things.

      Love you, too.

  2. Marian says:

    Oh Rita. My heart goes out to you. We’ve had three major moves, and as a fellow homebody I know what it is to be overwhelmed—flooded—by the breadth and depth of emotions brought on not just by homesickness but also by the inability to quickly make liveable the place you need to occupy. It’s brutally hard, even without rats, which I just have no words for. Sending you love, Rita, and if it were possible to package up strength, I’d send that to you too.
    xo Marian

  3. Kate says:

    That lady picture sure is pretty.

    The rest of it…I’m sorry. With no cure for homesickness but 1) going home or 2) adjusting, it really is awful. I get it and as it sounds like you won’t be going home too soon, I’m sending my hopes for comfort because I don’t know that I’d be adjusting to that heat, that to do list, or…rodents with any kind of “getting to a better place.” without at least that.

  4. TD says:

    I have been hoping so much that this summer would be everything that you hoped for in retirement, Rita! But feeling homesick coming and going doesn’t seem comfortable to me. I’m a homebody too. I know that I would not enjoy any of the remodeling work. I would not do it. You have done enough doing your house and Cane’s house. I would enjoy having the men hang a hammock for me to watch them work while sipping on ice tea. I would volunteer to make the tea! Perhaps those ideas will work for you to feel better.

    Yes, I understand that Texas broke you… but now Louisiana really broke you double. Heat and humidity is rough and AC is a must for me.

    Where do you and Cane sleep at night?

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