Deep Cleansing

I’ve been in a funk lately.  Feeling down and out.  Lacking in the truly happy.

I gotta tell ya, it was bugging me something awful.  I love this time of year.  From Halloween to New Year’s Day I am just giddy over the holidays and all the fun and family they bring.  This year has been different and I didn’t know why.

Until this past Friday.


In July 2011 I got a phone call from my brother who was living in Phoenix, AZ at the time.  He was working for Borders Book Store and they were going out of business, going bankrupt.  His store was closing.  He asked if he could come to stay with me for a bit, get back on his feet, start fresh in a place where he was much more likely to get a job and the cost of living was significantly less.

Family helps family so after discussion with my honey we agreed to help him.  He could live with us rent free for a while and get back on his feet.  Save some money to buy a car, get some furniture and get his own apartment.  We agreed that this would last for a year at the most.

In August 2011 I picked him up from Detroit Metro Airport and brought him to live with us.  The boys were excited to have him staying with us.  I grew up with my grandpa living with us so I was excited that the boys would get to know him better and that he would be a big part of their daily lives.

He was able to find a job by the middle of September 2011 and started work immediately.  He took care of the boys on his days off, got them on the bus every morning and contributed to the completion of the daily household chores.  We cooked dinner and he at meals with us every night.  After the boys would go to bed he would sit in the living room with me and we would laugh over old stories and talk about whatever TV show we happened to be watching.  It was refreshing to have him around and it gave us a chance to get to know each other again.

After a vacation this summer everything changed.  We informed him that starting in September 2012 he would begin paying a small amount of rent – $100/month to get him ready for living on his own.  Rent would gradually increase by $100 every other month with the idea of him getting his own place by April 2013.  It didn’t seem unreasonable but apparently it was.

Shortly after that he stopped interacting with anyone in the house.  He would leave in the morning for work barely saying goodbye.  He would come home after work and head straight to the basement and not come out until the kids had gone to bed.  He got them on the bus when it was convenient for him.  He stopped helping with household chores.  He stopped eating meals with us.  He truly became a tenant in our home.  It was awkward and everyone was miserable.  The boys no longer wanted to be around him.

On November 1st the rent increased for the first time.  He got very upset and rude and accused me of not allowing him to save his money so he needed to move out sooner rather than later.  Too bad for him that I could throw back in his face that he had been living rent free for a year and if that wasn’t enough time to save his money then I didn’t want to know where it went.  After a year of living with us, riding a bike or walking back and forth to work, having virtually no living expenses and working full-time or close to full-time every week, he had nothing to show for it.

About 2 weeks ago he announced that he had found an apartment and was moving at the end of the month.  The last of his things left my house on Friday night.  He took my key off his key ring handing it to me with a “here ya go.”  There was no “thank you,” no “I’ll call you in a couple of days,” nothing.


We all breathed a sigh of relief.  There was a cloud that had been hanging over all of us that we didn’t even realize.  A cloud that floated away when he walked out the door for the last time.

We partied with friends at a baby shower on Friday night and came home to a quiet house.  The boys asked for their “man cave” back and we made a plan.

Saturday morning we went to Keegan’s basketball game and ran a couple of errands.  We came home and deep cleaned the basement to give the boys back their man cave.  It looks amazing and it once again feels like our space.  The boys have been down there most of the weekend playing and watching TV and playing and building with Legos and jumping on the trampoline and playing and just enjoying that they have their space back.

We celebrated with good friends Saturday night and laughed our cares away.  It was so nice to be away from home and not wonder what he was doing while we were gone.  We could just relax and enjoy ourselves.

Today I went crazy on the main floor of our house.  It was time to bring Christmas into our home.  My FIL got a free Christmas tree because he’s a veteran.  He donated it to us because he and my MIL use a potted pine tree every year for their tree.  The tree he got us was delivered on Friday and by golly it needed to get put up.  I rearranged a few pieces of furniture and swept the floor to make room for the tree.  My honey helped me get all of the Christmas boxes down from the attic and a Christmasing I went.

It still didn’t feel complete when that was done.  I vacuumed the rug.  I found the kitchen counters and the kitchen table.  I cleaned the printer table and organized all of my computer supplies.  I scrubbed the half bathroom top to bottom.  I scrubbed the boys’ bathroom top to bottom.  It felt so good to clean our house of him.  If I had another day off work I would have the complete 2nd floor of our house done too.  But alas…

So I have an agenda for next weekend.  So much that I want to do, so little time.  The work is exhausting and so worth every single minute.  I feel my funk leaving with each spray of furniture polish and each swipe of bleach wipes.  Our home is our home again.

I do not regret what I did to help out my brother.  I wish things had ended a little better.  I hope that someday he matures and finds his way in this world.  At least I can say that I tried.


About Brotherly Love

I am a mom, partner, teacher and a lover of life. I have two fabulous boys who define my life as I know it. One of my children has been diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder, Asperger's and anxiety disorder. I blog as much about him as I do about my life and the lives of my immediate family.
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3 Responses to Deep Cleansing

  1. Debbi Henry says:

    Sometimes you don’t know how much stress you are under until you can rid yourself of it. I’m glad you are able to reclaim your house and the boys can now enjoy their space in the basement again. I’m sorry that it ended this way, but as you said, hopefully he’ll realize someday…

    P.S. I’ve been missing you too. I’m still having computer problems and am actually typing this with a flashlight in my mouth, shining it at the screen so I can see. Hopefully I can get it fixed soon!

  2. Elastamom says:

    I am so glad you are feeling better…it is amazing how sometimes you don’t know what’s bothering you until it’s over.

  3. Pingback: Holiday Recap | Brotherly Love

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