If you look back, you might see a few posts about the time I called the police and got screamed at because some guy was randomly scraping paint off the front of my house, and the police said it was strata so my male neighbour knowing about it was enough, even though I had already spoken to my landlord/parents and strata had been unable to confirm this was a thing that was meant to happen. Yeah.
So the last two weeks have been the painter, who was meant to come directly after, but instead took two months to arrive. We were informed in advance, that he would be here for a week and to cooperate. He didn’t turn up. Well, he did, but the repairs he needed weren’t done, so he left again, and my mum got a phone call about authorising payment for them to be done again. Consequently, and because he’s both incredibly slow (3 days to paint a gutter on a 2-bedroom unit kind of slow, something that usually takes half a day) and apparently doing repairs himself as well (as I can attest by the horrible scraping sounds that painting doesn’t make), we’re now entering week three.
First, he told me Monday or Tuesday or week 2. Then on Monday of week 2 he said late Wednesday or Thursday. He also, despite being specifically asked what access he would need the first time I found him, and after saying he wouldn’t need me on Tuesday, chose Tuesday afternoon to inform me that the shadecloth had to be removed from the pergola. “And…?” I said. That was all he said, after the day before, informing me that he would put a board on it and climb on top of it, and after I informed him that it was rated for that and also that it had been designed to allow such access. That it needed to be removed.
“I don’t do that,” he said. I just stared, because he’d had a week to tell me, and had already been putting me off, resulting in me not having any fresh food as a consequence of not being able to leave to buy it.
“I’ll see what can be done,” I said. Obviously, I couldn’t do it – the only reason I’d found him was that my brother had left me in charge of packing up his storage unit, and forgot to inform me that this required moving everything out, labelling it, and putting it back in before the movers arrived. This was far too much effort with no preparatory self-care, and it left me rather unwell, including unable to raise my arms above my head.
My parents then decided they would call the painter to tell him that if he would not remove the shadecloth, we would find someone else to finish the work. My dad kept trying to ask me to do it, and I kept saying I physically could not do the thing. Which, I can’t. But ‘under limited circumstances the thing is possible if I get to rest before and after and I have had no other things to do and it happens to be a good day’ means, apparently, that I can make all those things happen at short notice at will. No, Dad, it does not.
And so, at eight in the morning, knowing I would be asleep, they told me they had told him the gate would be left open for him. Knowing, naturally, that I would not be able to have the gate open, and that leaving the gate (and the door, no less) open while I am not awake and right there, is not a safe thing. They wouldn’t do it. They were also meant to come up to supervise, but Mum was too sick, and so they left it to me. Until, you know, they took over.
So then the painter decided he wouldn’t paint the door either, and called them to say he wouldn’t paint the door. He said he would need access on Tuesday, after proving he didn’t need it by climbing on top of the pergola from the outside, just like he refused to do, and doing half the painting anyway. Despite me being right there on Skype, and my mum having promised to refer anyone who wanted access back to me, she said okay. She claimed she ‘forgot’ and the painter rushed her, and she was really stressed, and I should just do it anyway.
I called her out on this, and she said I just had to deal with it because she was too upset and she wanted the painting done.
And then I called her out on that, and she said she didn’t mean it.
Meanwhile, I didn’t get any sleep (remember, DSPS, I sleep during the day), because I had to wait up for him to let him in. Meanwhile, he refuses to speak to me to get access to the building in which I am the sole resident and only person capable of doing so.
The next day, Mum offered to let him know Tuesday wasn’t okay.
“What would that do, Mum? Instead of asking me while he was here, it still has to go through you. He still has to come back. I tried to stop you calling him expressly so this wouldn’t happen. I know you didn’t mean to hurt me, or imply that you didn’t trust me, but you have. How will texting him fix that?”
They claimed he wasn’t listening to me about the pergola because he’s sexist. He was perfectly happy to make arrangements with my mum (“I called Dad but he was slow and the painter was rushing and I didn’t have time to think”), and with me prior to them getting involved. I pointed out that I could be waiting all day Tuesday as well, and that I would have to cancel plans. (“I didn’t know!” That’s why you ask, because I’m not actually required to report all my plans and appointments in advance, because I am an adult and adults don’t have to tell people what exact time and where they intend to do shopping or see a movie or see a doctor.) “I expect that anyway,” she said. So how is it going to end?
“Maybe we need to sell the house because I can’t deal with this,” she said, just after I explained how this place is psychologically important to my well-being and I cannot just leave the gate open and go out anyway (what the epic hell?) because when I come back the house could be different, and I’m also under instruction to supervise because my dad left thousands of dollars of timber in the back yard (long story).
The issue here is that my agency was taken away. Firstly, I did the right thing by consulting with my parents as to whether the pergola could indeed be disassembled. I suggested several options, none of which were registered. They decided to take over, cutting me out and taking away my ability to preserve the feeling of safety I have in this house by controlling who comes in and not leaving the gate open while I am not awake or present. By making arrangements without consulting me after promising to do so and telling me to deal with it because their wants are more important, they are devaluing my needs.
The fact that my dad repeatedly asked me to remove the shadecloth after I said it was not physically possible, and the reveal that they lie to the neighbours about my disability (I work night shift! WTF) shows that they don’t really listen or consider me as I am.
“But the painter was being sexist!” isn’t a good enough excuse.
Did I mention that I asked them to report it to strata and they said it wasn’t necessary? And when I wrote a complaint letter, I was not allowed to send it because Mum wants to complain later but she doesn’t know how and it’s better coming from her anyway?
I am also finally crashing into debt because I can’t afford doctors or medication anymore, and I keep offering to take knitting commissions or sell things and nobody wants them and I don’t know what to do. Mum promised me money, a while ago, and then took it back because she paid for my flight to my grandmother’s funeral (you know, after I couldn’t go unless they picked me up and all that). I feel like I can’t ask for help right now, but I’m about to be hit with overdraw fees and if I cause any more trouble by, you know, trying to be adulty and reasonable and helpful, I will lose my place to live.
And I don’t know what to do. All I need is enough money that interest on my debt doesn’t put it back over my credit limit every month so I can pay it down. I need to be able to sleep instead of sitting up all day inside a house that is being banged on and I need to know what’s happening to it. I need to be able to plan things so I can find a doctor and actually go and when I plan a reward treat I need it not taken away. (That is a psychological need, not a want.) I need to be able to afford food. (GoFundMe? Subject to tax. Payday loans? Not available to people on disability. I have no options, really.)
I need to stop shaking.
I need to not look down and find blood on the chair, on the floor, on my clothes, on my hands. That would really help.
But instead, I’m being ordered around, made to feel like I don’t have any rights or feelings, and I feel like I have no way to get help.
Did I mention that last time this happened, I missed a doctors appointment and lost my referral to the pain specialist? That happened.
But it would be a lot easier to deal with if I could make appointments I didn’t have to cancel because my Mum wants something.