When your house falls down around your ears, what do you do? If you’re me, you panic!

actress-fear-and-panicOur distinctive 123 year old house is crumbling slowly to the ground. Rather into the pit that’s our cellar. We’ve been enamored of old houses and neighborhoods forever. Not for us the cookie cutter multiplicity of suburbs, the monotonous colors and finishes that pinpoint the economic class and lifestyles of their residents. Historic homes are distinctive and wrap us in the story of their times and people.

Why? I know that in our rush to be individuals, my family firmly placed ourselves in a marketing niche. According to market segmentation, we’re odd ones out, choosing to raise our kids in the central city, focused on learning and community rather than status. At the time I learned about marketing classifications, I would have died before accepting any label, but in truth, we were in a group that comprises about 2 to 3 percent of the population.

We loved our quirky old house, built the same year women got the vote in Colorado. Loved its strange angles, its tacked-on back porch, its crumbly cellar. However, the older I’ve gotten, the more tired I’ve become. Or perhaps the enthusiasm for certain challenges has waned. I began longing to move into a new residence, preferably one with no outdoor chores such as shoveling snow and as few indoor chores like scrubbing tile grout as possible.

At this time, the third instance of foundation problems, the current situation with my house simply aggravates my desire. It also has induced a desperation bordering on paranoia. My bed’s directly over the front door, which no longer shuts properly because it’s started leaning about 20 degrees. As I try to fall asleep, I’m dogged by fears the bedroom will plummet an entire story or two when the brick wall fails and we fall down. Uncomfortable conditions in which to relax.

Terror accomplishes nothing. I could pack a bag and rush to a hotel, but repairs will be long-term, and I can’t afford a hotel for the duration. Call my insurance company and beg them to cover costs despite clear exceptions for this type of work. Drone on and on to my friends with my complaints (which I do). As my heartbeat speeds up and my temperature rises, I try to breathe deeply and organize a plan. When this plan approaches six months and sixty-thousand dollars, I panic more.

Hold on. Since nothing seems to alleviate the reaction, I’ve decided certain events, such as hurricanes, war, and the deterioration of foundations are inevitable. Like childbirth labor, no matter how much I may twist and scream, I have to get through them. I can accomplish this foaming at the mouth OR with as much grace as I can muster. This line of thought provides me with a focus and a goal, so I trust I’m at least on a positive path now, not at the mercy of the Fates.

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