Displaced…Not Homeless

I’m sitting in a hotel room writing this. It is the most fancy hotel I have ever stayed in. The room has a kitchenette and the pool has a bbq for guests to use. Not only does the room come with free breakfast, but also free dinner 3 nights a week. And how, you may wonder, does a family that has so recently been dealing with unemployment afford to stay in such a hotel? Easy. We aren’t paying for it. Our renters insurance is.

Okay. We sort of are. The way our renters insurance works is that we pay what we usually do for rent and utilities and they pay the rest. It’s a pretty good deal considering the fact that I have someone else making 10 of the week’s meals for me and cleaning for me. I am hoping I can remain so optimistic about the situation for the 2 to 6 weeks we will be here.

On the morning of Friday August 21st Brandon left for his last day at his temp job (he started at his new Librarian position yesterday) and baby girl and I sat down for breakfast. All that morning we could hear the man in the unit above us banging around. We figured he was packing since he had told us that he planned to move out at the end of the month. Then during breakfast I could hear a trickle. It reminded me of an old fridge draining and at first I thought there was something wrong with my fridge. For some reason I don’t know why, I got up and walked towards the hallway and saw a steady stream of water coming from the ceiling. I opened the bathroom door and saw more water coming from the light fixture in the bathroom. I ran outside and banged on the door of our upstairs neighbor and yelled his name, but he ignored me. I didn’t know if he had called management yet or even if his unit was the source of the water. First I called the emergency maintenance number, then Brandon, then the Elders Quorum president so I could find out who my home teachers are and call them, all the time trying to get stuff out of the flood waters while keeping a curious crawling girl out of it. By this time water was streaming through the seams at the top of the walls in the hallway, The laundry room, and the baby’s room. It was pouring out of the light fixture in the baby’s room as well.

First our Elders Quorum president and his wife came. Then Brandon and a neighbor from around the corner. Then the maintenance guy came. I don’t know what I would have done without the help. They were able to make sure my daughter was safe, the furniture and other things got moved, and the water to the building was shut off.

When I finally got outside I noticed the maintenance guy was talking to a police officer. Apparently our sweet, soft spoken, but  socially awkward neighbor has been struggling with mental illness and had snapped. Ultimately, with the help of 2 paramedics, 3 police officers, and 4 firefighters, he came out peacefully. I am saddened that he went through that. He was a good neighbor and did many kind things for us. We will miss him.

While he was experiencing tragedy, we have had friends and family rally around us. Our neighbor across the street gave us a comfortable lawn to sit on and snacks to eat while we stayed out of the way of the emergency workers. The same neighbor from around the corner let us shower in his home. Our Elders Quorum President and his wife fed us dinner that night. We stayed at Brandon’s mother’s place for the weekend. Many others in our neighborhood and family have offered help, advice, accommodations, babysitting, and emotional support.

Yes, we are stressed. Yes, we are exhausted. And yes, we are loved, not only by the people around us, but by God.

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