The boys and I moved to a bigger house in 2009, but I couldn’t imagine selling the home that Roger and I bought together, the one where we raised our little family for seven years. It was the last place I saw him, and Max and Baylee’s first house.
We lived in our newer house for awhile while our Shamrock house was vacant, driving by all the time and paying her a visit on occasion. Each time I walked in the door, I would feel something in my heart, like a tugging, a heavy, heavy tugging.
Some time passed and we became busy, so it had been a few months since I went inside our little brick ranch. I made the decision that I would not sell it, so I decided to rent it out. I went inside to evaluate it to see what work would need to be done so another family would be able to live in it.
I walked in and it smelled weird, like someone else was cooking in there. The stove had been moved out, the microwave had Ramen noodles in it, and there was trash on the once-clean floor. Someone had been in my house. I called the police.
They walked in, took a look around, and said there was nothing they could do. But there was something I could do, and whatever it was became my main goal. I went home, to my newer home, and became fixated on making a plan to protect my little lonely house.
For the next few days, I spent so much time at the Shamrock house, and noticed it changed even more. There was black spray paint on the walls and windows, and someone took red paint from my shed and wrote the word, “BITCH” on my wall. Apparently, they didn’t like that I was back.
I talked to a few friends of mine at the fire department, and they came with me each day to help me clean up their mess, but every day we cleaned up one mess, there would be two the next. They were angry, and as much as I wanted to stay the night and wait for the creeps, I was advised against it. Still, the sheriff’s department would not help me.
I remember we finally had the house locked up well enough and booby-trapped so the squatters never went back inside the house, so we got it nice and clean, and all repairs were made, then we began to tackle the yard.
Although the people were no longer inside my little home, they went into my shed, took out hunter green paint, and dumped it all over the boys’ wooden playset that Roger and I put together for them, and they also split the four-by-fours that held up the clothesline Roger built for me. There was green paint on that, too, and it was still wet.
I didn’t know much about secret cameras then. I felt sick and violated, but I was so glad they were finally gone one day, and a nice family who rented it from me gave the house life again, protected her, loved her.
Years later, I sold Shamrock. It was sad and I have some regrets, but it paved Tyler’s way to the beach, and that alone is worth it. I just watched a series called Worst Roommate Ever and it reminded me of those days when the strangers lived in my house and became angry with me. I wonder where they are now.
My anger for them has subsided, and I hope they turned around and made something of themselves and created a new life, a new focus and purpose. I imagine the odds were stacked against them at that specific time, and it selfishly does nothing for me to want anything but peace for them and with them, whomever they are.