Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Enough

It's strange how a simple little word can have such an effect on me. It doesn't have to be yelled. In fact, most of the time it's said softly, his tone more effective than a roar. I don't even have to see the steely look that accompanies it to know he's serious. It stops me in my tracks every time.

Enough is a versatile word. It tells me I've pushed too far. It tells me I'm getting too close to the line. It tells me that the discussion is over. It tells me I need to stop what I'm doing or saying immediately. It tells me I'm risking a sore bottom if I don't quit right now.

Sunday is supposed to be the day we spend together as a family. It's the one day of the week that Steve usually doesn't work. With everything going on this past month, we haven't been able to have our family day. So I was really looking forward to having it this past Sunday. We had planned to take a drive up into the mountains and have a picnic.

I didn't get it. This one little thing Steve had to do that morning turned into something that took over half the day. By the time Steve and our daughter got back, I was mad. It didn't help that they were asking if friends could go along with us.

Instead of taking advantage of the rest of the day that we still had, I decided to be stubborn. I dug in my heels, accusing him of caring more about everyone else than spending time together as a family. He apologized and tried to talk me out of my bad mood, but I wasn't having it. Finally he left me alone to stew. In hindsight, it probably would have been better for him to do something to head me off, but I guess he was hoping I would do it myself.

I was still perturbed about it yesterday and that led to some defiance on my part. I had a lot going on so I put off a chore he had asked me to do. Even after he got home and noticed it, he was nice enough to give me an opportunity to do it before I got in trouble over it. Call it a moment of insanity fueled by irritation and stubbornness, but I still didn't do it.

Needless to say, I got spanked over it, for not doing the chore and for being defiant over it. Now normally a spanking resets that inner submission switch, but for some reason, this time it failed. Not ten minutes after the spanking, I started fussing about missing out on my family day.

He let me vent for a minute and then he put the fault right back where it belonged, on my shoulders for being stubborn and keeping us from enjoying the rest of the day that we still had. Even though I knew he was right, it made me mad. I started getting wound up and that's when it happened.

He put his hands on either side of my face and gently turned it until I was eye to eye with him. Then he said enough in that quiet tone that brooks no argument.

When I look back at the years of our marriage before DD, I see a lot of times I let stubbornness, pride and the need to be right get in the way of things. And I can't help but wonder if things would have been a lot smoother back then if he had just said enough.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ahhh Relief

Yesterday evening, there was a knock at the door. The landlord showed up with the executor of the estate that actually owns the house we rent and handed us a notice giving us 3 days to get out. They were trying to claim that we were in breach of our lease because the gutters are falling off (which is the landlord's responsibility, not ours) and the back yard was a mess (because the landlord tossed stuff out of the shed into the yard to make room for themselves in the shed). They were also demanding entry to "inspect" the property despite the fact our lease clearly says they have to give 48 hours notice.

I told them exactly what our lawyer said to tell them, that we've retained legal counsel and they need to deal directly with them. I gave them the lawyer's name and phone number, then turned and walked back in the house, locking the door behind me.

I was so upset that I could not sleep so I got up and started researching. I quickly learned that their notice to vacate the premises was defective. Our state requires 30 days notice since we have a yearly lease. I also learned that they can't evict for breach of lease unless our lease specifically says they can for that reason. It doesn't. It says the only way they can evict is for non-payment of rent.

This morning I called Legal Aid as soon as the office opened. Unfortunately, our lawyer was scheduled to be in court all day. The receptionist did say that she would try to see if one of the other lawyers there would talk to me. She promised that someone would call me back before the end of the day.

So I waited and waited and waited some more. Finally our lawyer called. I explained the situation and we talked about various options, including the possibility of us staying for a few more months and then letting them buy us out of the remainder of the lease. He said he wanted to call the executor of the estate to discuss the matter. I gave my permission for him to do it and he said he'd call back before the end of the day.

An hour later, my phone rang. I was in the middle of cleaning (my own brand of therapy when I'm upset-on a good note, my house is almost spotless now) so it took me a minute to get it. The first thing the lawyer said was that he had some good news. Apparently when he called the executor, he was referred to his lawyer. They talked and the other lawyer found out that he had been misled by his client about the facts. Once he had all the facts, he realized that they had no standing to do what they were trying to do so he told them to drop it. Without the backing of their lawyer, they quickly caved.

We won! As long as we keep paying our rent, we can stay for the duration of our lease (another 2 years). And they're going to quit bothering us.

You can not imagine how great I felt after that phone call. I called Steve (he was at a neighbor's house) and told him all about it. I was still dancing around the house when he got home. We ended up throwing an impromptu barbecue to celebrate. It was wonderful to finally be able to relax and enjoy some great food, fun and conversation with family and friends.

We did end up having to clean up the mess that the landlord left. Our lawyer said that while we didn't make the mess, a case could possibly be made that we were responsible for it since we are renting the property so he advised us to clean it up. We hauled off what was clearly trash and tossed the rest of it back in the shed on their end. They can deal with it when the lease is up. Steve also went ahead and fixed the gutters rather than give them an excuse to come around again.

Even though we can stay for the rest of our lease, we probably won't. We're tired of dealing with these jerks and really want to buy a house of our own. Our lease has a provision allowing us to end the the lease early without penalty as long as we give two months notice so as soon as we find the right house and get our financing lined up, we're giving notice. But at least now we have time to look around and find the right house for us instead of settling for whatever we can get into before we get kicked out.

Thank you all for your comments, prayers and good thoughts sent our way. I probably would have been stark-raving crazy if not for your support.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

He's Back!

HoH Steve has returned.

For various reasons, DD got put on the back burner for a while. Things went okay at first, but with all the stress we've been under lately, thing started going downhill fast.

That came to an end last Thursday when Steve decided he'd had enough and spanked me. It wasn't as bad as I probably deserved, but it let me know that he hadn't forgotten about it and that he was serious about getting us back on track.

Thanks to that spanking, we ended up talking for a couple days. Our talks led to an agreement that a clean slate was needed so we could start fresh again. That spanking happened over the weekend. As with the previous spanking, it wasn't as bad as it probably should have been. While he did use the paddle, he took it fairly easy on me since it had been a while.

On Monday, he wanted me to go somewhere with him and I didn't want to go. We went back and forth for a minute or two before it occurred to him that he didn't have to argue with me about it. So he told me to quit arguing and get my butt in the car. I didn't even have to look at him to see he was serious; the tone alone told me. I shut up and got in the car.

Then there was yesterday. Before he left for work, Steve asked me to gather the trash and recycling and take them to the curb. Normally, this is something he does, but he knew he had a lot going on and might not have a chance to get to it.

I was busy yesterday and forgot all about it. When I came to bed last night, he was sitting up watching tv so I laid my head in his lap and stretched out across the bed. Then I felt him shift and the ominous sound of a drawer opening.

The paddle came out and he asked me what I was supposed to do. I was drawing a blank so I started naming things he had asked me to do recently (things I had actually done-I'm no dummy). Finally he took pity on me and told me what it was, but not before my bottom was on fire. I think I'm going to have to go back to leaving myself notes of what chores he gives me.

It seem strange to be happy over getting spanked three times in the last week or getting told to quit arguing and get in the car, but I am. When Steve steps back from leading, I feel adrift. Now that he's stepping back up and taking the lead again, my stress level is coming down and I feel a lot more balanced.

As for the housing situation, there's nothing really new on that front. The last time the landlord was here, Steve told him to get everything he planned on getting because he wasn't going to keep coming back every day or two. We haven't saw or heard from them since so I guess they finally got the hint..

One of Steve's friends gave us a lead on two houses that are nearby. We liked both of them, but I'm leaning more towards the second one we looked at because it's on a bigger piece of property and has a creek. Right now neither of the houses are on the market. We're hoping we can work out something before they do since houses in that price range sell fast.

In other news, Steve may be getting a new job. While out the other day, he happened to meet the supervisor of the county maintenance department. They got to talking and it turns out he has an opening in his department and thinks Steve has the skills to fill it. He told him to fill out an application and get it back to him ASAP. He'll have steadier hours, weekends off, benefits and paid holidays and vacation days if he can get it so we have our fingers crossed that it will work out.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Another Update

The whole situation with the landlords came to a head over the weekend. On the advice of our attorney, we shut off power to the shed. It didn't go over well. We were threatened. I was worried enough about the threat that I was seriously considering calling my sister to come pick up our daughter and keep her until this all blew over.

We ended up turning the power back on because they claimed the kids had medicine that had to be kept cool. While I didn't know for sure that it was true, I didn't want to take a chance on one of the kids getting sick. It's not their fault their parents are asses.

The next morning the landlords left for a while. I guess they thought we were too scared to do anything because they all went for a change (either the wife or husband had been staying when they were going out before). They were wrong. As soon as they left, Steve went out and locked the shed and the gate since that was another option the attorney recommended.

When they came back and saw they were locked out, they pitched a fit, at which point Steve told them they were no longer welcome and they needed to hit the road. I missed all the excitement because I had left earlier that morning taking our daughter to a friend's house to get away for a bit.

Later that evening, they came back asking if they could get their stuff out of the shed. Since they moved into the shed on the ploy that they just wanted to put stuff in it, I was a little wary of letting them in. Finally we agreed that we would allow the wife in to get the stuff, but not the husband or kids. We figured she wouldn't try to barricade herself in the shed if she didn't have her kids with her.

They left and we figured that was the end of it. Then two days later, the landlord called Steve asking if he could get something else out of the shed. He's been back every night since then just getting one or two things. It's ridiculous.

This whole situation has caused a lot of stress between me and Steve. I was very angry with him and it took me a bit to realize it was because I was subconsciously blaming him for this mess. Admittedly, it isn't completely his fault. But I kept thinking if only he hadn't talked me into moving into this house in the first place, if only he hadn't opened the gate to them (which I was against in the first place), if only he would tell them that they can't keep coming back to get just one more thing.

Needless to say, I've been cranky with him lately. He'd been fairly patient with me because he knew I was stressed, but last night he decided he'd had enough. He threatened a spanking and I made a flippant response. It's been about two months since the last time I was spanked and I figured he wouldn't do it.

I was wrong. It wasn't as bad as I probably deserved. He only used his hand and went a bit lighter than usual. But it was enough to let me know he was serious about it. It put us back on a little steadier ground so we could talk without getting all wound up.

On the housing front, we're still looking. Even though our attorney has said that he sees no reason our lease wouldn't hold up if it went to court, we're just tired of dealing with these jerks and want out. The deal on the house we were hoping to get fell through. The woman changed her mind about owner financing, plus she's being unrealistic about the house's value (she wants twice what it's worth).

We've looked at a few other houses and even found one that we really liked. It had pretty much everything on our wishlist. But my father-in-law didn't like it so he refused to cosign for it. He keeps pushing us to buy houses that he finds, none of which we like. They're either too small, too expensive or located in a nearby town where I can't live (the smoke from the factory there triggers my migraines every time I have to go there).

In the meantime, we're saving every dime we can. Anything that isn't earmarked for bills is being put straight into savings. When our contract with the cable company is up next month, we're dropping it. Steve has been doing side jobs every chance he gets. We're going through our storage and selling off stuff we no longer need.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and good thoughts being sent our way. They are appreciated.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Housing Update

Dropping in for a few to give you all an update on our situation. We appreciate the prayers and good thoughts. Please keep them coming.

I've been on the phone with Legal Aid all week. The advocate has been calling me daily since my initial call for help. Yesterday he arranged a phone conference for us with two of the staff attorneys. They're working on getting together all the paperwork needed to move forward, but seem cautiously optimistic. Hopefully it won't be long before the landlords are out of our hair.

On the house-hunting front, we may have found something. We put the word out to friends that we were looking and one of Steve's friends called the other day with a lead, Apparently one of his neighbors, an elderly widow, is wanting to sell her house so she can move out of state to be near her kids. She hasn't even put the house on the market yet so we're the first ones to even get a look at it.

The house is in the same neighborhood we currently live in. On the good side, it's at a price we can afford, on a quiet street so our daughter can ride her bike (we currently live on a heavily traveled main road), has three bedrooms, a decent sized kitchen and a fenced in yard.

And the best part is that she's willing to owner finance, which means we can get it without having to worry about the strings attached to my in-laws' offer to cosign. They've already added more strings to their offer. Their latest one is making it a condition that I have to go back to work. It's not that I mind working, but Steve and I agreed a long time ago that we want one of us home for our daughter. As long as we can afford to live on just his income, we don't plan to change that.

The only bad thing I can say about the house is that it's small, about half the size of our current place. However, that's not a huge issue as there is room on the property to build on. Steve works in construction and several of his friends have offered to help so it wouldn't be too expensive to build on as we'd basically only be paying for materials and beer. We would just have to put part of our stuff into storage until the addition is done.

The owner of the house wanted a few days to think about it and talk things over with her family, but we're supposed to meet with her again later this week. I'm trying hard not to get my hopes up, but I've got my fingers crossed.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Here We Go Again

I know I've been quiet lately, but don't worry. I haven't disappeared or gave up on DD or this blog. I've just been busy.

If you've been following along here for a while, you know we've had issues with our landlords. That situation took a turn for the worse this week when they showed up without notice with the intention of kicking us out so they can move back in.

I've been in contact with Legal Aid, but thanks to the holiday this week, they can't get us an attorney until next week. In the meantime, the landlords are camped out in our backyard and refusing to leave. The cops refuse to help, saying it's a civil matter, so we're stuck with them until we get an attorney and go to court.

We have a lease and I have no doubt that the court will order the landlords to back off (and get out of the backyard). Steve and I have talked and decided that while we should be able to finish out our lease in peace, it's more trouble than it's worth having to deal with the landlords and their shenanigans. At this point, we're agreeable to ending the lease early provided we have time to find something else and we get a little compensation for the trouble.

Steve's parents have graciously offered to cosign a home loan for us. The deal comes with strings. They want final approval of our choice of home and they will only cosign for a house in this area (so no moving away like I want). While my parents aren't in a place where they can offer much on the financial side, they have offered to help in whatever way they can.

Steve has been putting in some long hours at work trying to get us some money built up so I've had to take on pretty much everything else. I've been dealing with the landlords, talking to Legal Aid, researching available properties and getting things organized so I can start packing as soon as we find something.

I'll try to check in when I can, but I'm probably going to be scarce for a bit until we get all this sorted out. Hopefully we'll be able to find the right place soon and I can tell you all about how much we love our new house.