NOT freaking out.... yet.

Hello all....  just wanted to check in.

I"m away from home for the whole summer:  DH got a research grant to come to Very Nice University, several hours from Very Large City where we live.  We are subletting our apartment because I have no real job, so we can't really afford for me to stay home with the kids and freelance because business is down to a trickle.  It was a huge ordeal for me getting ready for the trip and cleaning up the apartment and getting it ready for subletters (emptying closets for their use, meaning reorganizing, decluttering etc. etc....)  the drive itself wasn't so bad except for DH was frustrated because we started out late (my fault of course because I am in charge of packing everything and wasn't ready when I'd hoped to be ready and was doing my usual panic-about-whether-I've-got-everything routine).  BUT - all in all I think I did really well.

we are subletting a house in the suburb where we are now.  The owner had sent us lots of instructions for the house and was very particular about a lot of things, ie:  don't use that, don't touch that, be careful to clean this or that... She'd left a number for the house cleaner she uses so we could call her if we wanted.  so I thought 'well, it might not be fabulous, but at least it'll be clean.'  Boy was I wrong.

When we arrived, the whole house smelled faintly of urine. There are 2 boys in the family, and as many moms will know this means a certain amount of 'splash' happens in the bathroom and the floor, walls and bathmat need to be cleaned regularly...  guess they dodn't know this, nor does the house cleaner.

the master bedroom has a very funky sweaty smell, the mattress is old, hard and dirty.  the 'clean' sheets they'd left out for us to use had what seems to be years of, shall we say, 'monthly visitor' stains and evidence of 'intimate events' on them.  

the shower curtain was covered in orange fungus, the towels smelled musty

there are 1000s of moths (??) in the kitchen cabinets and all over the house.  the oven was crusted with melted cheese on the inside.  all the cookware is greasy & filthy.  the dishes all had a kind of brown residue...

the dishwasher smelled like something had died in it and the inside walls were all brown.

the (filthy) rugs in the hallways, dining room and front entryway also smell inexplicably of urine.  And they are handwoven jute rugs that of course, cannot be washed in any way that would successfully get the smell out.

In spite of all this, I did not cry or complain to DH, did not throw a fit, did not load the kids up into the car and insist on going to a hotel...  No.... I quietly and calmly have spent a week chipping away at making the house habitable - I bought cheap sheets (even DH admitted that the stained ones were gross), bought febreeze and have been airing out the master bedroom, washed the towels & bath mats and all the nasty cookware...  I tried to fix the dishwasher, found instructions for that particular model online and opened the filter, removed several mouse-sized globs of rotted organic black glop, scrubbed the inside clean and ran it again in the hopes that it would work.  No such luck.  It seems that the drain hose is clogged.  now - there are instructions on eHow that I could follow to unclog it -'s a huge undertaking and i'm afraid i'd do it wrong, and I don't really have the TIME to do it while i've got 2 small kids on my hands.  (the only reason I can type this right now is that they are for the moment, happily playing together instead of pinching, biting or hitting each other).

Oh... and the second day we were here, DD2 woke up with a fever.  Turned out that she had Hand, Foot and Mouth disease.  our insurance doesn't cover for regular doctor visits out of state, so we wound up in the ER.  Her throat hurt so badly that she refused to drink anything  so we were back in the hospital the next day (july 4th).  I took her both times.  DH took DD1 to see fireworks.  Then, DD1 got the virus, and then I got it too and could hardly move on Saturday.  The bed is making my back hurt more every day.  Today while driving, my legs hurt terribly and there was a weird numbness after a while - guess the position of the seat targets the exact nerves that are messed up by the mattress... I dunno...

I asked DH if he could check our lease to see if repairs are covered so we could get the dishwasher working.  I really don't want to have to hand wash everything for the next 5 weeks....  He said no - and we can't afford to pay for it and he doesn't want me to mess with it and he is not interested in trying to fix it himself.  'Just wash dishes as you use them... it only takes a few seconds...."

He goes off to do his research everyday and i'm with the kids all day.  I'm trying to find a day camp for the 5 year old, but it'll be at least 2 weeks before the proper medical forms come from her doctor out of state.  I'm trying to find activities for them to do, take them to the local park/library... but most of the time they are stuck here while i'm trying to clean something/do laundry/cook....  they're bored, i'm in pain and exhausted and frustrated, and I can't spend money on things that will make us more comfortable.  When DH gets home, he sits on the couch and plays with his iPad.  I cook dinner.  I wash all the dishes.  I get the kids ready for bed. I iron his shirts (on a tiny little ironing board that's a pain in the ass to use.  I had to wash the cover because it smelled like the bedroom and was making the shirts stink, too...).  I feel like it's unfair that he doesn't help AT ALL but don't know if I can ask for help since technically he's 'working all day' and i'm 'on vacation.'  and, anytime i ask for help around the house he gets very quiet, mumbles something about yes of course he'll help, but then doesn't and there seems to be some unspoken rule that I am not getting and even just asking for help is ridiculous.  Then I think:  "Oh crap.  I blew it. Again."

So, anyway - I'm just trying not to get depressed.  I read in Sari Solden's book (women with ADHD) that women have a particularly hard time traveling/staying with family or friends or a strange new place.  I am TERRIBLE at this and I get very anxious and stressed out if my acomodations turn out to be gross or uncomfortable.  I am particularly sensitive to bad smells, and DH seems to have NO sense of smell whatsoever.  Last month we were traveling in Europe for a wedding and the apartment that we stayed in had a VERY foul smell in the kitchen.  It was so bad that even DH could smell it, but he was unmoved to try to do anything about it.  I called the landlord and complained and it took 3 days, but eventually they took care of the dead creature they found under the fridge.  I have to say I was glad my complaints were justified and it was proven that I was not being snobby, dramatic or neurotic.

Anyway - if anyone has any advice as to how to continue to not freak out, i'd appreciate it.  I don't know how much longer I can take this and I've got 5 more weeks here.



If I could afford to, I'd

If I could afford to, I'd send you money so that you could stay in a hotel.  Your place sounds terrible!  

YUCK !  I would be freaking

YUCK !  I would be freaking out too...i'm shuddering just thinking about it. Think I'd bea royal bitch in that situation. i have very little tolerance for smells, clutter, grossness..i'm still shuddering.  Think I'd be packing up the kids and heading home.  So sorry for you that just sounds awful.

advice,  sorry was so grossed

advice,  sorry was so grossed out didn't even wanted advice...the only thing i would do, would be demanding the owner get their butts down to the house and take care of it. Thats just unacceptable, or you should get a refund and hire a cleaning person yourself.

Owners are unreachable

Unfortunately, the owner is a professor at Very Nice University, and is on the other side of the planet.  We have no contact info for her.  I also doubt very much that they know or care that the dishwasher is full of nasty stinky goo, and I doubt they would be willing to spend the money necessary to have it fixed.  It can cost $100 just to get a repairman to show up - then there's the time and all that....  We can't really raise a stink about the house (pun fully intended) because DH doesn't want to offend anyone and all the neighbors are super super nice and seem to get along with these people.  They are aware that the house is 'quirky' but I don't know if they realize how gross it is.  The neighbor who let us into the house said the husband is an architect and has done many 'remodeling' projects himself with varying degrees of success.... There are 2 girls right next door who are occasionally around to play with my kids (although they have activities/camp most days).  I can see into their beautiful, huge, clean kitchen from my tiny cramped cluttered and stinky bedroom.  *sigh* I desperately wish I could ask to borrow some cookware, an ironing board, a brita water filter pitcher, a fly swatter, a blow up mattress, some cleaning products that actually work - NOT organic witch hazel with beeswax and vinegar etc.  (those will only work if you are really on TOP of the cleaning in your house). My back hurts so much i'm going to try to sleep on a futon that's in the den downstairs. I found some sheets in the kids' room that don't look nasty and i'm washing them right now (in regular non-organic detergent I bought yesterday.... sue me...)

One remark DH made tonight was, "Well, we'll be leaving the place way cleaner than we found it."  Which makes me feel good because at least he is admitting that it's a $#!thole.

It's funny:  a lot of ADHDers will spend money on themselves on crazy stuff like jewelry, electronics, toys, tattoos... whatever.  I will scrape up change that I find around my apartment and when I have enough to fill up some paper rolls I'll go to the bank and get my 'cushion cash' which is usually around $20.  Then I'll go hog-wild one day and buy things like a second batch of ingredients for a dinner I ruined so I don't have to hear the complaining that 'AGAIN' i f*cked up... or in this case I can go buy some bleach, comet, formula 409, and some 'Surf' detergent(never tried it before, but it's got baking soda which will hopefully unstink the towels... and it was cheap) without having DH look up from his laptop and say, "Um....  did you buy stuff at wal-mart today?"

wow, well if you aren't

wow, well if you aren't freaking out then you are doing amazingly well.  I get all moody and grumpy when I have to go camping (only go because the kids like it, i hate it), and our camper is a hell of alot nicer than what you are putting up with. If nothing else you should feel good about yourself and that you are dealing with it better than a lot of people would.  I wish i could help you out, i suppose it would be inappropriate to ask for your mailing address to send you some cleaning supplies..  whats with the organic stuff ? is that what the owner wants you to use...too bad, if the place if a crap hole that wont cut it.

"Green" house

The owner and family are very earth-friendly, and recycle, re-purpose re-use....  Which is great, but the all natural organic products don't tend to work as well as the conventional stuff, and in a case where a house has been neglected they don't work at all.

It's not a bad house, and it's a beautiful neigborhood and the people here are great.  I think that's what's keeping me from running away screaming.  Once clean it's comfortable.  There's a treehouse in the back yard that the kids love and flowers for them to water.  It's cooling down finally a and I'm hoping to clean up the table & chairs out there to have dinner one night with the little party lights/hurricane candles they've got.

I've rolled up the jute rugs and stashed them in the front hall closet, the kitchen has been scrubbed within an inch of its life as have the bathrooms.  The master bedroom has been aired out & febreezed 2-3 times a day and all towels and hand towels have been washed in regular (non-organic) detergent.  I'm sure their water bill is going to be crazy high because of all the extra washing - but y'know what???  I can't bring myself to care right now.

Thanks for the offer to send cleaning products!  you're so sweet!!  I think I'm covered now. 

Oh - I slept on the futon last night and I woke up this morning pain-free!!  I hate being separated from the rest of my family at night, but... perhaps I can bring the futon mattress upstairs and put it on the bed.  we'll see.

anyway, i've got to get moving and get to the museum before the parking lot fills up.  I WILL get out the door on time and I will NOT get lost on the way and I KNOW where my keys are!

10 points for ME!!!!