Saturday, March 29, 2014

Loss of home and community

Five years ago I moved to Camano Island, Washington, believing that it was to be my forever home, where my children would grow up and later bring their children, my grandchildren to visit, and we would fill the place with memories and pieces of our lives and stories for years to come. Thanks mold, you took that from me too.

Camano Island is a small and close knit community, one of the things we loved about it. It's also one of the things that makes it hard to find housing. There are no new developments being built on Camano Island, both a good and a bad thing for me now. Many rentals are old, and run down, and also it turns out, moldy. Because it's an island, it's inherently humid and moist and damp, perfect conditions for growing mold. If you can afford to buy one of the few and far between houses that are new construction or well-maintained one owner older houses, then you're in luck, you might be avoiding mold. 

But if you made the choice that I did, to stay home and raise your children and therefore limit your income by half, you might not have the economic freedom to choose where you live. If only we had stayed in the first house on the island that we lived in. We lived there for almost three years and we were very happy. It was a beautiful house with maple hardwood floors, limited carpet, electric baseboard heating, clean and safe. If only we had stayed there and not moved. Unfortunately as renters, we had little choice. The owners wanted to sell and couldn't sell if the home was under lease. So we had to move, and so started the worst nightmare of my life. 

For over a month we searched, trying to find another rental on the island that fit our needs. We were running out of time and beginning to feel a bit desperate. I didn't want my daughter to have to switch schools and leave her friends behind, I didn't want to leave this little community that felt like such a safe haven to raise my family in. So when we found a large 4 bedroom home with over an acre of land, in a private quiet setting, we thought we had found our dream home. Every day I relive that moment, when we toured the house and jumped so eagerly at signing a lease, and every day I regret it with every fiber of my being. If there was any point in my life that I could go back in time and change, that is it.

The day we signed the lease and accepted the keys, little did we know we might as well have signed our own death warrant. It would change life as we knew it, and ruin everything; our health, our happiness, our financial security, our hope for the future. I would give anything to have that all back. Lesson learned universe, can I stop being punished for that mistake now? 

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