Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Picture this - A young married couple anxious to move to their own place heading out on a grand adventure to a new state...
8PM - We're stuffed in a packed truck in the Texas hill country, it's almost sunset and we've got a 12-hour drive ahead of us, but there's a double rainbow on the way out of town and we're in good spirits.
Fast-forward 12 hours of drive time and 0 hours of sleep....
8AM - We roll into the driveway of our new home.
Now, I'd like to preface this by saying, our landlord knew we were coming and had said he'd have the place cleaned out and ready for us. (remember it was just the way the folks before us left it)
I'm not sure what happened, but cleaning out the house for us dang sure didn't.
We opened the door and the same cloud of musty air that met us on the first visit hit my face in one big hot puff.... Stepping inside, I noticed the dishes still in the sink, the living room full of furniture, the layer of dust on every surface and the mold dripping from the unplugged window unit.
Our shoulders drooped.
Had we been rested at all, the undertaking before us wouldn't have been near so daunting. But having been awake for 24+ hours and spending the entire day before packing and driving we were exhausted. We had planned to walk in, throw a mattress on the clean floor, and sleep at least a couple hours.
Nay, nay...that was no longer an option. It’s honestly a blur, but the next thing I remember is standing in the cleaning supplies section of Wal-Mart asking if they had any mop buckets while loading the cart with various forms of bleach. I also remember stopping for fast food breakfast and multiple forms of caffeine.
You know how things pile up when you've lived somewhere for decades? You know how a layer of grime develops on every surface when a house is sealed up in a humid environment with no AC? You know how all the creepy-crawlies move in when the people move out? That's the situation we were dealing with...
It was not horrible...but it was not at all pleasant.
I honestly do not know how we continued to function throughout that day. We were so beyond exhausted, but I knew we had to make this place a functional home and we didn't have much time to do it. Dusty would start his new job on Monday and I'd be here by myself. So we just kept pushing through.
We moved out all the furniture/decor/clothes/dishes/trash/etc and cleaned the entire house top-to-bottom on no sleep. At one point I found Dusty dozing, cleaning supplies in hand, in a lawn chair on the back porch. Bless his soul.
We hauled and boxed and trashed and scrubbed and bleached and dusted and scrubbed some more until 10PM that night.
At 10 we decided we could carry on no longer; we hauled our mattress in and threw it on the floor of the bedroom. I brought in the overnight bag and took a much needed shower. My ankles were swollen and red; I'm still unsure if it was from bleaching the floors in flip flops or from the amount of heavy lifting we'd done. One thing was for sure, everything on us hurt.
We'd now been awake for 38 hours. Yes, 38 HOURS. I didn't even know people could do that and live. (I'm kidding...a little bit.)
It was crap. Plain and simple. Total crap.
Dusty went and lay down on the mattress while I finished getting ready for bed. As soon as his head hit the pillow he was out. How nice for him. 🙃
Now, where was I you may ask? Let me tell you...
Due to the amount of dust floating around in the air and the mold filling the window unit and all the bleach I'd inhaled, I was having a full blown allergy attack. The kind of attack where you sneeze uncontrollably on full auto and disgusting amounts of snot comes spewing from your body. (Sorry about the visual, but you need to realize the depth of my suffering in that moment.)
Anyways, there I am... Trying to put on my t-shirt while being possessed by some kind of allergen demon.
Guess what? I sneezed snot all over my one-and-only unpacked clean t-shirt. So now I'm wandering around with a snotty shirt and my phone flashlight (half the light bulbs were burned out) looking for a clean shirt and allergy medicine.
I head into the bathroom and what do I see? Take a guess...
A FREAKING COCKROACH SITTING BY MY TOOTHBRUSH.
This thing was at least half the length of my tooth brush (or so it seemed in the moment) and I'm pretty sure it was hissing.
This was my final breaking point of the evening.
Apparently, I cannot handle being awake for 38 hours, moving out two households worth of furniture, driving 12 hours, cleaning a house top to bottom, sneezing on my shirt AND seeing a massive roach by my toothbrush.
Cue the tears.
Eventually, I just gave up and plopped down on the mattress next to my poor husband.
Dusty rose up, looked at me as I sat there crying between sneezes, sighed, patted my shoulder, and said, "You poor little soul, I can do nothing to help you" and immediately collapsed back into his pillow.
It was a rough evening.
But, as the Good Book says, joy comes in the morning.
Well, kinda. We woke up to the septic flooding all the way into the hallway and the whole house stinking to high heaven.
Apparently, if you wash your hands after having recently showered or flushed the toilet, or if you run any water at all while the washer is running, the septic will flood the house.
That morning Dusty just walked right past the disgusting puddle seeping into the hall and asked where the coffee pot was...
Life Lesson: Sometimes you need coffee before dealing with reality.
After coffee, we made trip to Lowes and set about putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls, installing new window units, door knobs that lock functionally, a refrigerator, a shower head, and other mandatory home improvements. (Yeah, I'm starting to see why they offered us free rent the first month.)
Sunday morning, we went to Wal-Mart to purchase curtains before our morning coffee. Yes, you read that correctly, before our morning coffee.
Indeed, that is a dangerous game to play, but I'm pleased to say we didn't kill anyone. Not even each other.
After a whole lot of "get 'er done," "suck it up buttercup," and "sleep is for the weak" we were moved in and Dusty was ready to start his new career on Monday morning despite the exhaustion.
I started learning the delicate system of the septic situation while channeling my inner Lisa Douglas from Green Acres and eventually the landlord repaired the issue. Yes, the septic tank is still partially dug up in our yard, but I can turn on a sink while the clothes are washing so I don't really mind it at all.
One of the best compliments I have received since moving down here came from our landlord on one of his trips over to work on the plumbing issue. He really is a very kind person and helped us out immensely by letting us rent this place. Anyways, he stepped inside to check on some things and his jaw just about hit the floor. His exact words were, "Well my goodness, Miss EmmyLou, you done made this house a sho' 'nuff home."
That made my little homemaker heart smile and I'm pretty happy to have the nickname too. (We’ve noticed Louisiana folks are big on nicknames.)
While it was a rough start, I truly love our little home. It's just the right size for us with a bedroom and an office for me to work in. Plus, we have a big back porch where the wife perch, our little grill, and a picnic table sits, a big yard, and a front porch with two swings. I really couldn't ask for more.
Oh, and look at this pretty tree in our back yard. I love it.
Moral of the story: Joy comes in the morning it just sometimes brings septic water along too.