Even though I am starting this blog in May 2008, I really wanted to start recording events from when the occupation of the Phryrigianum finally ended on March 8th. It seemed like an appropriate place to start.
My hope for this blog is to keep things positive, as they truly are, however much as I hate to I do feel that I need to reiterate some of the points that Cathy made, not just to corroborate her version of events, but to also set the stage so that the reader understands just what we were up against, and why our eventual success was so significant and meaningful.
When Cathy described the condition of the house when it was reclaimed (on her “What’s New” page), she was not exaggerating in the least. Mess does not even begin to describe it! She has described it as looking like a frat house. In my opinion, the condition of the place had gone beyond that of frat house and had graduated to that of crack house!
To begin with, it did not look like there had been any serious attempt to clean the house during the entire time she had been gone. We had a good –albeit bitter- laugh over the fact that the one thing that had not been stolen, broken, defaced or depleted (or even touched!) was a large bottle of Pine-Sol that Cathy bought for the house just before she was driven out! We certainly used most of it up then, I can tell you! There was a thick layer of grease and grime over EVERYTHING in the kitchen! It took several scrubbings to get the cooking area back to some semblance of cleanliness.
We had to clean every dish in the house, and I mean EVERY dish in the house! With all of the dishes in that place, there was always someone at the sink washing and another one drying, all throughout the Season of the Tree. While washing the dishes, we also had to contend with a clogged sink pipe. (Which, may I add, was brand new before Cathy was forced to leave.) Helen also had the washer and dryer running 24/7 to clean all of the bath and bed linens. We just didn’t feel comfortable having people use them without it.
Probably the worst of it was the odors. Nearly the entire second floor reeked. An incontinent individual had been previously housed in the ONE ROOM that had new carpeting! Cathy went over it TWICE with a carpet shampooer, and the odor and stains were still not completely eradicated. Looks like we’ll have to get rid of the carpet.
Even worse than that room was the bedroom that was being used by Manny, the so-called caretaker. The odor in there was so bad you literally could not stay in there for more than a minute or so without gagging! It reeked of dirty bed linens, pet urine, testosterone and goddess-knows-what else! Helen voluntarily went in there, scrubbed and aired it out. She’s a truly brave woman!
The upside to all of this, though, is that despite this nightmare we were confronted with so soon before we had to put on the biggest event of the year for the Maetreum, we did it and we did it well! Even though there are still major repairs yet to be done, the place is finally feeling like a home again. Many times, Cathy broke down and cried because we all pitched in to help her, as opposed to times past when no one seemed to care. For once, she didn’t have to cook or set up for meals, either, because we all did our bit. Although cleaning and salvaging the place was hard and frustrating, not once did any of us succumb to frustration and negativity, as tempting as it was!
Jamie put on a terrific workshop on the role of male deities in a goddess-based religion and yours truly put on a workshop about destructive conflict in groups featuring antagonists/trolls (which is what I believe offers an excellent explanation for happened to the Maetreum). Tim Lake and Helen lead a spiritual/psychic cleansing of the energies of the place.
I wanted to give a resounding THANK YOU to everyone who helped out with cleaning and other work during this time. To Helen, Jamie, Sherry, Roo, Sue, Amanda, Carol, Tim Lake and anyone else who may have pitched in that I wasn’t aware of, THANK YOU!!!!! You made such a difference!!!!