House on Pious by Jayden Rhodes

Shawn lost his job and was no longer able to live in his house with his son; they had been living there together for over eight years, and this was where his son was born and raised.

He said to his son ¨We are going away, but that he had a plan and everything would be ok.¨ 

His son reluctantly replied ¨ok¨ in a sad but understanding tone. 

He had to give away most of his possessions and move to some place he could afford, keep in mind this is during a large recession, so a job was hard to come by. He was able to work out a deal with a man named Luc. He would pay taxes and fix the place up in return for being able to live there with his son. The property included a small house with a kitchen, living room, a bedroom, a second room, and a basement. There was also a garage, a shed, and about ten acres of property that was mostly wooded except for a field and a single old apple tree that produced little bitter apples. The previous owner of the property was in jail for shooting his wife in front of his house for trying to steal his truck for drug money, one time I saw her dealing at Mcdonald’s in a wheelchair.

The house had a ¨few¨ problems, which included an extremely leaky roof, no insulation in the walls, no interior walls, no A/C, no heat, no stove, sink, shower or toilet. It had a basement that would flood from a drizzle and get over a foot of water from a heavy rain, a door that wouldn’t shut, and no washer or dryer. This was a house that was, in general, falling apart and was in need of demolition, not renovation. The garage had a ten foot hole in the roof from rot, and everything of Shawn’s was ruined due to that roof caving in, and the shed was just dirty and falling apart.

On the first moving day, a stray black and white cat ran inside and jumped up on their bed. She had been declawed and fixed, so at one point, she was someone’s pet. Shawn always had a soft spot for animals in need and decided to take care of the cat. 

He asked his son ”What should we name her?¨

And his son replied ¨How about Kitty Kitty¨ in a happy little voice while playing with the little purring cat.

After about three days of moving they had finally moved all of their possessions from their previous home to their current home, if it could even be called that.

Shortly after moving in, a small hurricane came through the east coast causing fairly severe damages and extremely heavy rain in the area. This house was most likely shoddily built sometime in the 1910s, and therefore things were not in the best of conditions. Being that there was high winds, debris, and large amounts of water Shawn decided to take action to help protect the building. He put duct tape on the windows to keep them together just in case something were to come flying into the house. He also set out buckets to catch the water that would pour in through the roof. He tried unsuccessfully to seal up all of the cracks in the basement but there was just too much damage to be completely fixed, besides half the basement was dirt anyways. And it still managed to get well over two feet of water in the basement despite his best efforts to prevent that from occurring.

During the first few months of living in that house there was no running water, so Shawn and his son would go to his boss’s house to stock up on about seven five gallon jugs of water to use for cleaning, washing their hands, and for flushing the toilet. They would also get their showers at his home, so Shawn wouldn’t have to worry about his son getting bullied or picked on at school or their overall health.

For cooking, they had a small hot plate and a small table top stove, often only cooking ramen noodles, eggs, toast, cubed steak, and the occasional hamburger. Most days they would just go to McDonalds for dinner, and maybe Dairy Queen once a month for something a little different. Unfortunately for them, the house had a mouse infestation. If you were to leave a pan on the hot plate over night it would be covered in mouse tracks and droplets from them scurrying all over the place.

In the first winter, all they had were two little electric heaters and blankets. They would spend the whole day in the same bed, covered in blankets with the heaters on full blast just so they would not freeze. You could always see your breath, and the water in the toilet they had to put in would freeze into a solid block of ice. There was one time when the water on the front porch had gotten to a temperature where if a sudden shock was applied, it would turn into a block of ice, that small little detail is something the son would always remember.

Throughout all of this Shawn had been working on the house to make it more habitable for his son and himself. He started by putting in a toilet, then a bathroom sink and shower, he then went on to put in a kitchen sink and turn on the water so he would no longer have to go to his boss’s house to get showers and get resupplied. He went on to put insulation in the walls and put up several interior walls. He even managed to get an old wood stove to put into the basement to heat the whole house. He also got a hold of a washer and dryer to put into the basement so they could stop going to the laundromat. Most of the things he managed to get all came from two very generous people whose house he was working on doing HVAC.

There were some bonuses to living in this house, even if it was falling apart. For one it had been a good place to hunt for deer, squirrels, and groundhogs, all of which provided a good source of food for them. It was also fairly close to the son´s school, which was only about a five minute drive away. It was also close to the son´s sitters house because Shawn often worked extremely late sometimes into the early hours of dawn. Sometimes Shawn would take him to job sites with him and let him work on homework, help them work, watch a movie on a little portable dvd player, or play on his Nintendo 3DS. There were always ups and downs, but there also seemed to be someone standing by to help get them back up on their feet. 

Shawn worked hard, and he always tried his best, but he knew the owner of the house was going to kick him and his son out in the coming months, so he decided to get out. He got a different, lower paying job that was more steady working at a hardware store. He tried to get into another house that his new boss was selling, but he didn’t have any credit to get a loan, so he got a credit card to build it up. After some time he was finally able to get a loan and start moving into the new house, unfortunately most of the things he had were now ruined from either water, mold, or mice, so they took what they could when they moved. After living in the house on Pious for over six years, they finally were able to go somewhere better

Shawn asked his son ¨So what do you think of the place?¨

His reply was simply ¨It has walls and it will keep us warm.¨

He said this only because he couldn’t comprehend the home they were now in. He thought to himself that even though all of the troubles and challenges his father had worked hard and done his best. He thought of where they started, where they endured, and where they ended up, and just cracked a pure simple smile out of happiness and realization. Realization for a better future and knowledge gained from the past.

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