In early January we had a sit down with S. Things were starting to feel a little out of hand. Her boyfriend had returned from fishing (empty handed) and was now left with the kids all day while S. lounged around in the studio watching daytime television and "fasting". She slept there, alone, all the time, even on Christmas Eve and when I went up Christmas day to see why she was not with her kids and boyfriend she just said she needed a break from them. OK? Odd time to choose one. It was beginning to feel like we were just giving S. a place to escape to while she pretended to be listing and selling vintage. The vibe felt all wrong. I was finally regaining my strength and was ready to address her presence. Somehow she manipulated my husband and I into allowing her to stay on for another month on a trial basis "The whole point of me being up there was to use it as a work space away from home so I could focus and sell to support my family. I also wanted to teach you Christina how to start your own store on Ebay and how to photograph and list, so how about we just give it one more month, I will get my things cleaned up up there and we can start working together like we had planned. I mean you were supposed to be working with me you know, and you have totally been avoiding going up there so its not my fault we have not kept our deal." True. We all need second chances right. Fine. One More Month.
I tired to go up there and work. I brought all my vintage up to hang next to hers (though I was worried they would start to smell like that smell that was up there) I spent an afternoon sitting next to her by her laptop and watching her resize her photos and load them into ebay. She took photos of a few of my things. But that night I knew it would never work. I laid in bed without sleep that whole next night KNOWING that she needed to go. My instincts, everything I could sense with my whole mind and body said it. I even heard a voice in my head. SHE HAS TO GO. I started to feel sick again.
The first weekend in February, my husband and I went away for the weekend. Just AWAY. It was wonderful. When we got back were relieved to see her car was not there. When we walked through the breeze-way though, the smell was worse than ever "Christina! Will you please go up there and look around and make sure she is not DEAD up there or that she hasn't stashed, like a dead body up there or something! Jeeze!" We joked about things like this, half joked because at this point it seemed highly unlikely, but just maybe not impossible. Perfect grounds for sick jokes. I walked up the stairs and opened the door. A mess as usual, but I needed to finally see it. look at the mess and see what it had become. the bathroom door was closed and the vent fan was on. Odd. I opened the door and something kept me from opening it all the way. something solid. I pushed harder and peeked my head in. It was a bin full of shoes. Knee deep piles of clothes surrounded it. the toilet lid was down. Do not ask me why I HAD to look under. I pushed my way in, kicked my way through and clumsily, in slow motion approached the toilet. I can still see my hand reaching for the lid, that last brief flash of ignorance. The wall of smell hit me first and was so disorienting I couldn't understand what I was seeing. Is this toilet filled to the lid with shit? BLACK SHIT. It kissed the lid like a new container of lip gloss does the first time you open it. but this was shit.
Tears from the fumes burned my eyes and I dry heaved. I couldn't add to this mess. I ran horrified down to the house and yelled "THETOILETISFILLEDWITHSHIT!" "What!!??" "the TOILET. is FILLED. with SHIT." He grabbed a snake. (you know like a metal toilet unclogging snake.) and returned after several minutes. "I may have made it worse. When S. gets back tell her she has to leave immediately and get all of her things out so we can call a plumber." OK. I absolutely will. that was Sunday.
MONDAY: I get home from work and she is up there. I walk in and she is doing dishes (the piles of rotting food and dishes seemed secondary to the shit so I didn't mention it earlier) "Hi!" she smiled at me. "UUUh S. We found the toilet." "oh I know! I tried to work on it more this morning when I got here. I think your pipes are frozen!" she was chipper. I opened the bathroom door and just as fast as her dish washing water was flowing down the drain, chunks of black shit water were bubbling up out into the bathtub. "S!! Shut off the water!!" "oh my." "Listen S. You have to get out of here. you have to go. We need to call a plumber and get this fixed and we need you out of here right away for us to do that." "Oh, why do you need me out to call a plumber?" "because you have your shit and vintage everywhere. It may be a pretty messy job and we don't want your things to get ruined. Besides, its just time for you to leave. this is insane." "Well, the toilet is NOT my fault! I don't even use toilet paper! I don't know why you are punishing me for the fact that your pipes froze. I told you about that months ago. Listen, I will move all of my things out of the bathroom so the plumber can get in there. ok?" I was shaking. I didn't handle confrontation well. I felt manipulated, but I didn't know how to be strong. I went downstairs and told my husband what she said. Outraged. Before I could go back up she got in her car and left. we called the plumber.
TUESDAY: The plumber arrived early. He BROKE his snake trying to fix the problem. had to remove the toilet. shit water went everywhere. he was even bewildered and he's seen some shit. Eventually he pulled out a baby sized wad of paper towels: the evidence, an empty paper towel roll was still sitting on the empty toilet paper roll holder. "I never use toilet paper." well I guess that wasn't a lie. He had to go under the sink as well. He pulled out a babies diaper completely smudged and covered with menstrual blood. Apparently she didn't use tampons or pads either. I was disgusted. the bill was astronomical. She arrived after everything was cleaned back up. I told her the findings. She was defensive. I told her SHE HAD TO LEAVE. "well, I will. I just can't for another two weeks because my grandma just died this morning and I have to fly to Florida for the funeral on Friday. My mom already bought my ticket. I will move everything out as soon as I get back. I don't know when that will be though since she only bought me a one way ticket." She started to tear up. awe. her grandma died. I had just lost my grandfather the previous November (yes. it was a bleak November) and she was able to squeeze just a few drops of sympathy from me. "besides, the urgency is over now, the toiled it fixed. I promise I will move out when I get back. In fact, I will start packing now and get it all bagged so that when I get back we can just move it to a storage unit." I felt defeated and weak. I went back to the house and told my husband. "NO FUCKING WAY! Tell her we will hire your brother and his friend to help her and we will get her out before she leaves on Friday. they will come over Thursday right after school and we will just work till it is done. I feel bad she lost her grandma and all but this way she will not have that looming over her while she is away, and honestly who knows, she could leave all of this stuff forever and never come back." By the time I went up to tell her all of this she was gone again.
WEDNESDAY: I stay home from work to watch for her car to pull in. Finally it does and I see her run upstairs. I follow. She is frantically grabbing things, her computer, a pile of vintage, random things. I tell her the plan. "Well that is going to just be impossible since My boyfriend's DAD died in the hospital this morning! Everyone is freaking out! It's total chaos! I have to get back since I left him with the kids. He is a total wreck! I'll be back tonight and we can talk about all this but right now, I have much bigger problems to worry about than getting my shit out of your house!" She left. This must be the worst week of her life right? Later that night My husband and I, punch drunk, sickly joked about how maybe she was lying and that neither grandma nor dad were dead. But who would lie about something like that?? That would be really sick. We decided to let her take her time. Move out when she got back and after all the funerals.
THURSDAY: She was up there. Alone. Music was playing. My car was getting new tires so she thought I was not home. I creeped up. caught her off guard. She was singing. "Oh! Hi! (big smile) you surprised me!" I was cool, calm, I told her that she had till the end of February to get her things out. her defenses dropped. I asked how her boyfriend's family was doing. "oh, they are all crazy. After I left here I went over to the hospital to see how his dad was doing and to bring him some carrot juice I juiced for him but they wouldn't let me give it to him! I know that if they just let me try to give him good nutrients, we would have a chance at saving him. They are all just so closed minded to natural healing." "S. you did that after you left here yesterday?" "Ya, thats why I couldn't come back last night." "S. You told me he was dead." silence. heart racing. breathing hard. silence. "oh, well, I thought he was dead. but then when I got there he was still alive." "so you brought some juice for a dead person?" "oh, well, that was actually for me and I was just going to try to give it to him since he was still alive." Ah. Interesting. I left her with a happy little, "all right, well I'll see you later." I called Evan immediately and told him that the dad was not really dead. "Call your brother, tell him and his friend to come over after school. You, go up there now and just get your stuff out of there. make sure anything that is yours is out. at 1:00 your brother and his friend will bag her stuff and put it on the lawn of her house if they have to. SHE WILL BE OUT TODAY."
Oh gosh. this is getting really really long. I will tell you the final conclusion tomorrow. Its the part where I finally grow my balls: THE REALLY UGLY.
Belt, hat, necklace: thrifted
Shoes: gift from husband