This is a long winded and wordy post that needs a serious editing.  Consider yourself warned.

Day 29 in the January Blog a Day challenge is Home.  For me, it’s also about perspective.

Perspective.  I think I need some.  I’d like to talk about where I live now for a minute, but before I do I’d like to preface with a little info about where I used to live.  Just so you don’t think I come from mansion-land and uppityville.  Not that people who live in mansions are uppity.  I mean, they might be, but I don’t know any so I can’t make any judgements there.  I’d like to have a friend that lives in a mansion.  Any takers???


As a kid we lived in a one story house with a half basement.

Midwestern Bite House RW

It was small-ish.  Really only a two bedroom home, my bedroom used to be either a dining room or family room and had no door. My folks put up a curtain.  Also, because it wasn’t officially a bedroom, the only way to access the bathroom was to enter from either my room or my sisters as the bathroom had two doors (I couldn’t even get one) and snugged up between our rooms.  As a teenager annoyed with the world, that was lovely let me tell you.

I actually shared a bedroom with my sister for quite a while so I should just have been happy not to be forced to listen to The New Kids on the Block anymore.  My sister’s questionable taste in music isn’t particularly relevant to this story, just amusing.  The fact that the living room used to flood with water during hard rains is amusing too, though more so now than it was then.

Midwestern LR RW

That was my first house.

My second house which we moved into my Sophomore year of high school was about a mile away and nicer.  It was more like a Cape Cod with the master bedroom on the second floor, two bedrooms on the first (with doors by the way) and your standard living room, dining room, breakfast area, galley like kitchen and full basement.  It wasn’t skads bigger, but still a nice house.  And like I said, it had doors so I was happy.  In the spirit of perspective my bedroom was over the garage and FREEZING in the winter.  My mom took over that room a few years ago and finally realized what I had been complaining about for years.  She then had insulation blown into the walls.  I’m not bitter about this.  I mean, how could I be, I had a room with a door.  A door people.  Doors are great and not to be undervalued.

Midwestern Door RW

After this house I lived in three apartments during my college days.

The first apartment I shared with my friend Jen and was neither interesting, nor uninteresting.  It just was.  We had no money which means practically no furniture so I suppose I should land on uninteresting.  It was on a street with a funny name though so it had that going for it.  Beaver.  The name was Beaver.  Hee hee.  Tee hee.  Hee.

My second and third apartments were solo.

Solo apartment one was the first floor of a two family house with the owners and their two small children living upstairs.  That is until they moved and rented the upstairs to section 8 housing.  This resulted in trash being thrown in the backyard (including chicken bones for The Snoops to find and practically choke on), the garbage disposal backing up into my bathtub, cars being run in the CLOSED garage causing gas fumes to pool in my kitchen and the upstairs sink overflowing through the ceiling and onto my bed.  In the middle of the night.  That was quite the way to wake up, let me tell you.

I was back to not having a bedroom door here. but as I lived alone it wasn’t a big deal.  The exhaust fumes were kind of a big deal though.  I left spot on when my one year lease was up.  That apartment had so much potential since it was in a cute and fun neighborhood.  You know, before the asphyxiation.

Solo apartment two was in a nice neighborhood as well.  It was a four family on a quiet street, arguably the second nicest street in that neighborhood.  My apartment was on the second floor and I lived right next door to what I soon found out was a crack addict.  She was a seemingly sweet woman, probably in her forties, who ended up leaving syringes in the stairwell (okay, just that one, but one was enough) and breaking into my apartment through our shared balcony to steal all my jewelry, cash and camera.  After months of having to live next to her (I knew she did it) she finally went to jail and I received a lousy $600 in retribution that didn’t even begin to replace the peace of mind I lost.  I broke that lease early, but the landlords were beyond understanding considering the circumstances.

It was The Husband who took me out of there as we moved to our current town and got married.  Bless him.

As a newly married couple we rented a 700 square foot, three bedroom ranch with a fenced in backyard.  I affectionately called it the Crap Shack (shout out to Gilmore Girls for the reference), but it was really a nice little home for newlyweds.  It had doors, clean air, was dry AND no one broke in to steal my stuff.  Plus it had a garage for my Jeep!  That’s pretty nice.  Pretty nice indeed.  We stayed there for over a year and half before buying our first home, which we lived in for six years before selling it for the home we just moved to.

Our first real home was a traditional two story, four bedroom, two and a half bath house with a full basement.  I have nothing but good things to say about this home, except to say the air conditioner crapped out literally the day after we bought the place.  Thank goodness for home warranties!  It was a great house and I loved it there.  This house also came with lots of doors that closed as well as a nifty alarm system to ensure no crack addicts broke in to steal my stuff.  Turns out peace of mind can be bought for the low, low price of $20 a month.

That finally brings us to my current home and the whole reason for this post.

If our rental home was the Crap Shack, we’ve named our current home the Sugar Shack.  It’s similar square footage as the two story, but with a much different layout.  It has a few extras the old place didn’t have such as additional garage space, an official Man Cave separate from the house, lots of land to play around in and a stainless steel french door fridge I am madly in love with.  Seriously, if it were legal to marry an appliance The Husband would need to be concerned.

Midwestern Fridge RW

It also has a sauna, but since I have no idea what to do with a sauna, I won’t categorize that one way or another. The house does have lots of doors, although they don’t all shut completely.  Yes, I am back to sleeping in a bedroom that does not have a door that shuts.  It just mostly shuts.  It’s on the list of things to fix.

So all in all it’s a nice house.  Except for one thing.  One thing that drives me fundamentally crazy and causes me to write an entire blog post reminiscing on my old living spaces just to gain some much needed perspective.

It’s not level.

Yup, my new house is not level, not level at all.  The foundation has settled at one end of the house and several of the bedrooms drop off an inch or two about a foot from the wall.  You can see it and feel it when you stand there.  The house inspector said it probably occurred 20 years ago and the house is structurally quite sound.  The home most likely will not settle any further and if it were him he would just live with it.  You can jack up the slab to fix the problem but, according to our handy friend Dave, that could potentially result in cracks forming in the walls and the house settling back to where it was over time.  It also costs money.  Money which we don’t have for “cosmetics.”  Because, officially, the house not being level is purely a cosmetic issue.

Make fun of me all you want, but it bugs me.  Bugs the crap out of me in fact.  I am open and free thinking about many a thing, but I also like certain things to be neat and tidy and wrapped in a pretty box.  A perfectly square box with 90 degree angles and everything.

I like all the bath towels to be together in the same closet.

I like jeans to be folded “butt out” in the closet.  (The Husband is still learning proper folding technique.)

Midwestern Jeans RW

I like all my fun mismatched blog worthy dishes hidden away in one cabinet.

And I like my floors level.

This is where I need to gain some perspective.  I own a nice home.  We don’t rent.  It has doors that (mostly) shut.  It has more than one bathroom.  My car fits in the garage.  The roof is new so no water should be crashing down on my head in the middle of the night.  There are no neighbors to throw trash about or run their car in a confined space, or use drugs and break in to steal my stuff.

This house is clearly a winner.

Currently the affected rooms are nothing but a storage room and the guest room so I don’t physically see the issue all that often.

Still, it is in the back of my mind.  And it drives me nuts.

To catch up on my January Blog a Day posts:

Day 1: NEW

Day 2: TWO

Day 3: Bucket List

Day 4: Pet Peeves

Day 5: BIGGEST Fear

Day 6: Embarrassment

Day 7: SHOES

Day 8: Honesty

Day 9: Made with love

Day 10: Memory

Day 11: Confessions

Day 12: Recovery

Day 13: Top Ten!

Day 14: Food

Day 15: Transportation

Day 16: I would do anything for love . . . but I won’t do that

Day 17: Things that rhyme

Day 18: Advice

Day 19: Superpowers

Day 20: Beautiful

Day 21: Mood board, er salad. Definitely mood salad.

Day 22: Kids

Day 23: Dessert

Day 24: Teachers

Day 25: el oh vee ee

Day 26: Winter

Day 27: Regret

Day 28: A Surprise!


– Joanna

P.S.  The Husband informed me as he was reading this post he doesn’t think “crack addict” and “syringe” go together.  All this proves is I know nothing about drugs.  She was on something.  Whatever it was, crack addict is funnier.  If a crack addict can be funny that is.  Whatever.  She was a druggie.  Disclaimer over.

Question of the Day: What’s the worst place you’ve ever lived?


  1. Sometimes the dog acts like a crack addict…

  2. At least the house is the only unbalanced thing though, right? At least everyone that lives there is stable and operating on an even keel… 😉

    • If only that were true (insert story about our Chocolate lab EATING one of the interior doors while I was snuggling a napping toddler who had gotten shots that morning.)

  3. I remember that snake! And your family coming into your bedroom to use the bathroom. Fun times! That is scary that a crazy woman broke into your apartment and stole your personal effects! She probably used heroin, hence the needles. The Section 8 family just sounds god-awful. I’m glad I didn’t have those experiences!

    I have lived in multiple places since moving from the family abode. My first apartment I just subletted for a few months, but it was really close to campus. The second one was down the hill on MLK from campus and it was noisy from all the traffic; I lasted a little over a year. The windows were old and didn’t seal very well so dirt and dust from outside came inside, too. Plus, one evening I came home to find a drunk homeless guy sleeping within a couple of feet from my apartment door. He must have found a way to open the main door and climb the steps and then passed out on the landing. I called the cops to get him to leave. The third one was a two-bedroom unit with our own private entrance, furnace and a/c, and washer and dryer. The kitchen was tiny and the lighting was horrible. Some of the electrical outlets didn’t work. The apartment was part of a series of rowhouses that were probably very nice at one point, but were hacked up to turn into student housing. I lived there two years – one with Roomie (you knew her from high school), one with Financee-turned-Hubby (parents LOVED that – sarcasm). We then rented a house for about 7 months from Hubby’s brother before we bought our current house a few weeks before our first wedding anniversary. Close to nine years later, we’re looking to eventually move from the Wood and move back to the Ridge or K Heights so we’re closer to Junior’s school.

    • If I didn’t know you better I’d be concerned you know so much about drugs 😉 Drunk homeless guy and flying dirt totally qualifies here. Ahhhh, the rowhouses. I remember them well. Never lived in them, but always knew someone who did. The Wood is where my crack addict was. Good times. Good times. It seriously was a nice street though. Is Junior going to be attending our old school????

      • I can totally see a trailer trash druggie in Norwood. Where exactly did you live in the Wood? As for Junior, he’s in Kindergarten at our old Christmas school and LOVES it! He has Mrs. Kling for his teacher.

  4. I like this post, and your home stories. I’m even more impressed with you now that I know you lived near an unspecified type of hard drug user. I would cry.

  5. It was neat reading about your past dwellings, so thanks for sharing. 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever lived anywhere bad, to be honest. We had a rowhome growing up, then our big house (it felt HUGE after our first home). In college I had an apartment for the last 2 years, but I liked it (although it was crazy expensive because it was on campus). Then I had my townhome, and now K’s townhome. All in all, I think I’ve lucked out. There are things about each home I would change, but nothing so bad as what you’ve had to deal with. 🙂

    • Consider yourself lucky. There are many experiences I’m glad I had because they made for a good story (hello guy who BIT my ear HARD on our second date) but living next to a crack addict isn’t one of them. I tried so hard to find nice quiet places too. Sigh.

  6. Okay…rewind. You have a sauna?!?!

    Scott and I are in the process of house hunting, and I’m pretty sure if he found one with a sauna, we would be forced to buy it on the spot. Even if it had lime green shag carpet, was covered in lead paint and had dirt floor in the rooms where the shag green carpet was absent.

    Because it would have a SAUNA!!!

    You’ve got to start taking advantage of that thing…they are amazing. I will type up instructions for how to use it if necessary.

    • Maybe I just don’t know what I’m missing, but the sauna doesn’t sound appealing. Hell, we have an outdoor Hot Tub too (which is very appealing). I bought the test kit, chemicals, etc and we haven’t used it yet we’ve been so busy.

      Feel free to write up something to convince us, my dear. Of course, the sauna is out in my claimed Man Cave and I’m using that area for stuff like electronics and other stuff that could rust easily, so maybe a steamy sauna isn’t the ticket.

    • Instructions on how and when and WHY to use the sauna would be awesome. I seriously have no clue. There’s a box of rocks in the sauna as well. Thoughts on that?

      • I think when the sauna is fully up to temperature you pour cupfuls of water on the rocks to create steam.

  7. The worst place I’ve lived is my home right now, but it’s also the best place. We’re in a semi-detached. We moved in 6 years ago and all was great, until we had to chase a mouse party out of the pantry. Then monster bugs started popping in for a visit about once a month (too big to squish – I’d trap them under a glass and wail for my husband). I was nearly mental. Then on Christmas Eve two years ago, the very nice, presentable woman who owned the other half of the semi nearly burned our house down. Firefighters rescued her, and that was how we learned she was a hoarder. TV grade. Haven’t had a critter since, and now it’s the best place I’ve lived. I might have done log rolls of joy down your sloped floors if I could have moved in during the critter periods!

    • Oh my. You win. You win the crappy house contest. I have to confess . . . I’ve always wanted a real peek inside a hoarders house. You may have just cured me of that. I thank you.

  8. First, way to go on completing the January challenge! I know this isn’t the final post but I wanted to comment on this one.

    You have certainly had some interesting experiences in your former abodes. Have you guys used the sauna? Do those clear nasal passages? I could use that right about now!

    Since you asked for other housing stories…not sure if it qualifies as worst as it had so many good childhood memories but definitely weird.

    Before my mother remarried, my sis and I shared a room with no door in the house we lived in, but we were too young to think that was anything but normal. In fact, I’m pretty sure my brother was the only one in that house who had a closing door.

    Anyway, one day looking out our front window, we saw a man literally pick up a boy off the street and place him in the trunk of his car. We called the police and supposedly it was no big deal…still waiting for a Dateline or 48 Hours about that incident. Ugh.

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