I thought long and hard about todays post and really struggled with putting this out there. I know my mom would tell me not to if I’d ask her. But it’s been on my mind for a long time and on Monday it just kind of really boiled over and I sort of lost it. The awful tragedy in Vegas definitely had something to do with it.
(warning this is a really long and wordy post)
After all the pretty photos lately starting with my trips and home tours (HERE and HERE), I feel like a fraud most of the time. I portrait this perfect life with the mostly pretty interior of my home but so many times my life feels in disarray. Especially with things that surround me on the outside of our home. And today I will scratch the surface of that.
I will start from the beginning of why we bought our small house and where we are at right now. I grew up in Germany in a row home which is pretty common since homes are smaller in general due to the country being a lot smaller. A lot of people actually live in condos and apartments which is also not frowned upon but here in the US I feel like it is definitely looked down upon more often. The bigger the better!
So when my husband and I got married and saved our money while living in an apartment so we could buy a house one day soon, we searched for a starter home. This starter home ended up being the little twin home we still live in today. We decided to buy this home with really close friends of ours connected to us. They lived in the one side and we lived in the other side and we got to build it and make our own design choices. It was a really fun and exciting time. My friend and I also happened to get pregnant at the same time and watched our kids if we wanted a date night…
But then life happens and our friends got a divorce.
So many things happened personally and are reasons why we never moved on from the small starter home to the next one like so many of our friends did. One big reason is that we spend a big portion of money to travel to Germany every year. When our kids were small I went twice a year and now that they are older I go once in the summer during summer break for about 4-5 weeks. My husband has a good job in logistics with a company here and didn’t find a job that compared somewhere else, believe me we tried. He never wanted to remain in the town he grew up in.
But foremost I wanted to stay home with my kids and we made it on one salary for a long time. I wanted to live like my parents and raise my kids at home. Especially with the issues my daughter had from early on. (You can check out some of my posts HERE, HERE, HERE , HERE and HERE about her). I never felt like our house wasn’t big enough either. It works for us and we live in a great neighborhood with lots of friends and young children.
So after our friends divorced, the house was sold to a new couple who had their own issues and the home ended up going into foreclosure. It was during that time when the housing market was booming and the homes sold for a lot more than they are now.
Sadly the house connected to us sat there for a long time just neglected. That stress alone was awful.
The day came when someone bought the house in 2013 and fixed it up a bit but unfortunately they bought it as an income property.
Luckily the first nice renter came in but bought her own house after a short time which is actually in the same neighborhood because it’s a good place to live.
Another family moved in for a short time until they found their own home in the area to buy and then… here it comes…
…the ugly truth behind my small house
… or I should say connected to my house. A year and a half ago the homeowner decided to rent the house out to an organization that tries to reintroduce people with mental disabilities into society. Of course alarm bells went off in our minds but there was nothing we could do. We did decide to give it a chance. The first renter moved in who was under 24/7 supervision by caretakers. She lived here quite a while but there were many challenges, mostly for her caretakers because she ended up stopping her medication, trying to do her own thing, physical and verbal meltdowns, disappearing at night… just to name a few. She was always friendly but unstable and failed to get a job the way she was supposed to do. The police was at their side of the twin 14 times mostly towards the end of her stay because either she would call the police on her caretakers or they would call the police on her. She was removed from the home early spring and we didn’t have a neighbor until about a week ago.
And this is really where I had my meltdown on Monday and I can say my neighbors felt the same too. It was one thing to have a woman amongst us with female caretakers but it was an entire different situation to have an adult older male under 24/7 care with new male care takers, who would come and go, live next to my family and all the other families with children.
The profanities would fly when he was outside for long periods of time in a thundering voice which then led me to investigate the organization website’s wording more closely that stated “…for individuals with disabilities who exhibit problematic sexual behaviors.”…. “We take risks, learn from the outcomes, and use that knowledge as an impetus for improvement.”… “anger management and impulse control”… I really just saw red.
Hipaa protects patients from disclosing anything specific to the people around them and this certainly didn’t help in the situation because none of us knew what the issues of our new neighbor really are. Nobody went around to introduce him or even try to make us more comfortable. Even the name of the organization was always kept hush hush. I found out that name on my own.
When there aren’t any signs or red flags that a seemingly normal billionaire might shoot into a concert crowd one day how can any mental health care professional tell me that the person living next to me with an obvious history won’t do something awful? Especially when their website states these things but they can’t tell the community any details. Meanwhile all of our kids are playing outside!? How can I as a mom continue to just support this blindly right next to me?
I’m all for rehabilitation, believe me, but I also have to look out for my family. I’m also not new to behavioral therapy and counseling because I’ve gone through it for years with my daughter.
So I won’t go into any further detail about how upset I was, the things that were said between me and the homeowner, how stressed out I’ve been in the past week, but we will be finally getting a new neighbor that is not through this organization. The man was removed from the home.
My dream would be that the other side gets rented out to a local company who brings in expats. It would be so much fun especially if they would be from Germany. My old company did that all the time. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
We live in a simple nice neighborhood with all kinds of professions and situations. I have nurses, teachers, therapists, accountants, plumbers, post office clerks, police officers, fire fighters, business owners and so many more as neighbors but we don’t live in big homes. We have gatherings on the street while our kids play, happy hour on our porches while watching our neighbor’s go for walks, holiday parties and a block party. What we don’t have are nannies, house keepers and big homes and it’s ok, even though especially in my field as a blogger this doesn’t get talked about much. You see all these perfectly styled big homes with perfect families and I feel like a fraud when I go to events because I feel slightly off most of the time.
Nothing is normal over here, I struggle and I just felt like I needed to say that without getting into the complete details of how ugly it can get.
I love sharing pretty things because I enjoy it and it distracts me from my own issues I deal with. I know I’ve said this so many times. It’s my therapy and safe place.
I have been looked down upon because I live in a small half-double and the obvious issues that come with it but it also comes with the perk of living in a wonderful neighborhood that my kids don’t want to move from.
My husband and I don’t want to jump into buying a bigger home now anymore because my son is entering college soon with another kid to follow. It just never happened the way we had originally planned.
And yes the comparison game to all the homes I see when I look around the blogosphere creeps up on me too. It was definitely present when I visited the last beach home. The feeling of not fitting in, feeling completely inadequate and knowing it will never be us owning and living this type of lifestyle in a home like that when we retire really struck me. The realization that the dreams you had when you were younger probably won’t come true unless you win the lottery but you see them happening for people around you constantly.
While I was really inspired by the beauty of the beach home, I also get upset.
And I get scared about the future, not just financially but when I watch the news.
What matters the most at the end is keeping my family safe, worrying about the real issues in life and making the best out of what I/we have. And this week I tried to do just that with my emotional meltdown, making some changes by speaking up about what I felt was wrong for us as a family and also by coming clean about the real situation here at at my house to you guys.
Gosh this was really hard for me. I hope you won’t judge.
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Oh and my test results came back all normal which is a huge relief. No aneurism or other issues! And now I’m going to try physical therapy for my jaw because I clench and grind my teeth so badly at night. I already wear a retainer. I never even knew there was such a thing for your jaw but I’m hopeful that this will help with the pulsating tinnitus.
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(And by the way if you are wondering why I didn’t respond to all of the comments, it is because you can’t see it since I responded per email to every one of them but it doesn’t show up here 😉