Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Note About What Happened

A year ago, we made a very short move from our adorable home in New Mexico to Colorado.  We moved for what was supposed to be a better opportunity.  Never found it. 

Let me begin by saying we never found a house.  We found a place to live, it just wasn't your conventional living arrangement. 

Back up to June 2012.....We found a house to rent in a far away town.  A horse property with room for the dogs, so we thought.  The landlord was to live on the same property, but would never bother us.  That was mistake #1.  Never live on the same property as your landlord.  She was a pain, and the dogs ended up having to be leashed all the time, including indoors.  Not only was she a pain, but people in the town acted funny towards us, almost like they hated us.  We didn't know a soul in this town, never crossed a path with anybody.  After a week of living in this tight farm community, we discovered why we were the enemy...."How could you rent from him?!  How could you do it?!"  We were having our phone line put in.  I had no idea what the phone guy was talking about.  Besides, there wasn't a male present on the property.  Only the woman we rented from.  I told the phone guy, "Ok, I have no clue what you're talking about."  He proceeded to tell me the story of how the property owner scammed the town out of $3.9 million dollars.  He had spent the residents retirement funds in an investment scam. This person is now in jail for the rest of his life.  The phone guy did apologize as he thought we were part of the family of this felon.  As soon as the phone guy left, I called my hubby at work.  A quick trip on Google, and sure enough the story was true.  Oh my, what had we done.  A week later, a government vehicle pulled up in our gravel drive.  As she nervously flipped her ID in my face, there was a pit in my stomach.  She hurled out questions about the landlord, the house, the property, how we found the house, etc. All the while keeping her eyes on the landlords house.  A month, and a huge fight later, we were outta there. 

We were lost.  We didn't know what to do.  Next housing plan?  Living in a tent at the KOA.  We looked for housing all day, and well into the night.  Everything turned out to be a scam or worse.  30+ days of living in a tent, and worrying about the cold nights that were just around the corner was wearing on us.  We had to find a house.  Finally, we found house #2.  This was the biggest scam.  The landlord refused to leave the property.  You're probably asking yourself, "What does that mean?"  Exactly that!  He wouldn't leave! We gave him the rent, and deposit.  Day and night he was there.  He even broke into the house one night while we were grocery shopping.  Mistake #2  Make sure your landlord LEAVES!!!  He turned out to be a drug user.  Humphrey hated him from day one.  We knew better.  Animals are excellent when it comes to judging a humans character.  We just kept asking, "What's wrong with Humphrey?!"  Growling, and barking, were not his style.  Mistake #3  ALWAYS listen to your four legged companion.  Three calls to the police, one trip to the ER for panic attacks after a death threat by the neighbors ("We'll burn down the house with you in it."), and a month later, we were living in a tent....again. 

The KOA is a pretty nice place. They house not just tent campers, they are a host to many RV's.  One night, my husband looked at me and said the magical words, "Its a shame we can't get an RV."  That's what we did.  We weren't ready for another house.   Our children, and the pups, had been put through way too much.  We couldn't afford anymore scams.  (In the middle of all this we lost Cleo and our girl Rosie, too.)  We were done!  Toasty!  Flip us over, and cook the other side!! 

The RV.  We gave it a name, Harvey.  Harvey was not one of these new $200,000 RV's.  What was Harvey?  Harvey was a way to survive.  Ugly as all get out, but he ran.  Harvey was a 1973 Dreamliner.  Yes, 1973!  Don't let the name fool you....Harvey was not a Dream by any means!  Leaky roof, brake problems, NO electricity, NO stove, NO hot water, NO refrigerator.  Harvey saved us, and the pups.  Harvey withstood the coldest winter the Western Slope had in 30 years.  Did I tell you Harvey DID NOT have heat?  We broke several space heaters trying to stay warm.   Let's take a moment to discuss the sleeping arrangements Harvey had to offer.  Our older boys slept in the top bunk area above the drivers seat, our daughter slept in the bed area (which was also the kitchen table) in the rear of the RV, our youngest son slept on a mattress on the floor with us.  (He has to sleep on the floor due to his epilepsy).   Brrr....just thinking about it makes me feel cold! 

Harvey could not be housed at the KOA.  He was too old.  We lived in a mobile home/RV park.  At times, we lived with a rough crowd.  The police making arrests was not an uncommon event.  We also made many friends.  People with stories the same as ours.  Stranded, trapped, homeless, tent sleepers.  All with beloved animals.

After the harsh winter, we thawed ourselves out, picked up the pieces, and made a plan.  A plan to GET OUT!!  PERMANENTLY!!  We spent many nights at McDonald's drawing up a vision board.  It gave us focus, and a plan.  We looked at it often.  It gave us hope, and direction.  It worked.
We are living in a wonderful home with an acre of property in New Mexico.  It's perfect.  The boys can play, and the pups run along side the wind.  We've picked up a few new critters, too.  This place has a name, too.  Hollywood Ranch.  More on that later. 

Thank you to everyone that sent us emails, and comments regarding our whereabouts.  We couldn't answer.  Harvey didn't have Internet either.  We're lucky to have such wonderful friends.   We'd like to start a new chapter of our lives, and we hope you'll continue to join us.  Let's begin now!

Introducing our newest pup. He joined our family around Christmas.  His name?  Spencer Tracy. 

Humphrey Bogart and pup Spencer Tracy


Side view of Harvey

We'd like to add that we decided to sell Harvey.  He went to help another stranded family.  They had been living in a tent, just like us the year prior.  Good luck Harvey!  We miss you!