The Rachel Files: Weeks 10-11 and the voicemail message

Answer machine

Answer machine (Photo credit: Insight Imaging: John A Ryan Photography)

It began with a voicemail message from Rachel’s husband. He mentioned it was important that Rachel call her mother’s conservator in another state. Unfortunately, Rachel found out her mother is dying.

But there’s another worrisome thing about his voicemail: it means her husband knows where Rachel is staying. He has anger management issues, which is one of the reasons she left him. From what I can tell, it seems to be more emotional than physical abuse – that’s why she’s not at a women’s shelter or something. Even so, the jig is up and it’s more urgent than ever that Rachel find another place to live.

When she and I talked about her moving in, she had been living with someone else for two months after escaping her home. I asked if I had to worry about her husband coming to my house. She assured me that although her adult daughter (who lives with her husband) knew where she was staying, she would not divulge that information to her husband. After all, she hadn’t done so for her previous address.

Guess what? Rachel says her daughter got mad at her and spilled my phone number. It’s not hard to find my address from that. It’s safe to assume if he has the number, he knows where we live. So, we are working to find her other living quarters as soon as possible, and looking for ways to get her out to California to see her mother with the help of our church. What a mess.

I’m not really that fearful. Maybe I should be. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t taking precautions. (Sorry for the double-negative.) Who knew a simple voicemail message could bring such drama? Let’s hope things don’t get any more dramatic.

The Rachel Files: Week 7 and the real cost of toilet paper

Photo credit: Heather Cowper

Photo credit: Heather Cowper

So I mentioned at the end of my last entry that my house suffered under the care of my temporary roommate, Rachel, while I was gone for four days to a conference. I’m not even going to get into what happened with my dog, son, and elderly parents while I was gone, because none of these are connected to her. Suffice it to say that lately, my little world seems to fall apart if I’m not around, temporary roommate or not.

Shortly upon my return from the conference, the basement toilet overflowed after I took a shower in the first floor bathroom. Not good. I called a plumber – the kind with a machine that jets water into clogged sewer lines with laser-like intensity. You all probably remember Rachel’s fondness for toilet paper. I’m sure you can all make the connection. The plumber guessed that a tree root caught the toilet paper and clogged the line.

Well, it’s clear now, and I’m several hundred dollars lighter. Bless her heart, Rachel is going to help pay for the high-tech sewer enema, but still . . . If I hadn’t already decided she needed to live somewhere else, this would have clinched it.

We had that discussion a few days before I left on my trip. I explained that I felt she needed to live somewhere where people are home more often and can keep track of her more, and that it would be good for her to live with someone who has a better understanding of her condition(s). Also, my son has not adjusted to her presence very well. Just before Rachel moved in, my situation changed (or more like my ex-husband’s situation changed) and the amount of time my son stays with me increased. If I had known that was going to happen, I doubt I would have agreed to the arrangement. But it was too late by that point.

The good news is, I am TOTALLY cured of my half-empty nest syndrome. In fact, I may never let anyone stay in my house again (smirk). Plus, I am learning first-hand about the ravages of mental illness and how crappy some of the medications are.

Word is out now to other members of my church that Rachel needs another place to stay (that’s how I found out about her plight in the first place), so I hope the situation will change in a few weeks.

But, guess who has another work trip coming up in a few days? It just never ends. . . .