Updated: Jul 16, 2022
So what occurred to lead up to my decision to check out of my life as I knew it and come to Thailand? I returned from Honduras at the beginning of June 2021 feeling refreshed and relaxed, and looking forward to returning to some sort of normal life. Maybe the shit show of the last year and a half was over, and we could all start moving on with life??
It Started with a Simple Kitchen Remodel
I had lived in my home for 15 years and my son had destroyed a lot of my kitchen being a typical child with ADHD and impulsivity, slamming drawers, and whatnot. I had refinanced my home several months before and had the cash flow to completely remodel my kitchen.
I worked with Cutting Edge Kitchens for the design and the demo part of the job had been completed. The only thing I had in my kitchen was my fridge. The day before the cabinets were to be installed, I decided to paint the walls myself while everything was empty. It was late at night and all I had left to do was paint around the fridge area. As I was moving the fridge, the copper water line to the ice maker snapped and water started pouring from the line. I spent the next 2 hours trying to contain the flood and turn off the water main on the street. It was dark outside, and I didn't know what I was doing. I ended up having to call the emergency number for the water company to come out to do it. We finally got the water off at 1:30 am, but the damage was done.
I awoke the next morning to the entire left side of my home completely flooded. The cabinet installer, Tom, arrived to find me in tears. He was so kind, gave me a big hug, and told me to call my insurance company. I had a disaster restoration company come and assess the damage. I had 6 huge fans blowing (as well as other equipment) running 24/7 for 5 days.
I was back to work at my remote job, and it was not possible to work in my home with all of the noise and destruction. I grabbed my dogs and work laptop and took off in my campervan for a few days to try to work from my van in the mountains while the floors dried. I was determined to do my best to handle the situation and keep my shit together at my job, meanwhile, my stress level was through the roof again. We were having an early heat wave in Idaho and my van only has AC when the engine is running, so I tried to work in the early morning hours before it got too unbearably hot. I had forgotten that I needed to have access to a landline for phone calls to providers for my job and my cell phone was all I had. I headed back to Boise to find another solution for work. My bedroom was still intact so maybe I could run a long phone cord and work from there?
The Straw that Broke Me
The flooring, which I was not planning on replacing, was completely ruined and needed to be removed. My home was originally built in 1976 and therefore needed to be tested for asbestos before the floorboards could be removed. I got the test results for the asbestos the morning I returned from the van trip, and they were not what I had hoped for. The original layer of vinyl tested positive for asbestos, so I had to vacate my home for a few days while it was removed. This was the final straw that broke my mental health, and I realized I was not able to do my job in the mental health field effectively until I got my house back in some sort of working order. I contacted my supervisor and took unpaid time off.
The next few months were a blur of restoration, contractors, and stress. I had a pod delivered and the entire content of the left side of my house was placed in the pod while the floors were replaced. I was basically living in my bedroom or on my patio in the back with no kitchen, sink, etc. I set up a makeshift kitchen in my campervan and lived the “driveway van life.”
Stress Upon Stress
My adult child was living with me at the time and did not lift a finger to help. I begged them to at least clean their room which was a total disaster area already covered in pizza boxes, dirty bowls, half-drunk pop cans, etc. To be fair, they were already going through their own struggles with mental health, but their lack of empathy and respect for the reality of our living situation was overwhelming. One day I snapped, went into their room, filled it with 3 extra-large garbage bags full of trash, and told them they had to find another place to live while the house was getting put back together. They moved in with their partner for the rest of the summer and I was filled with sadness and guilt.
By late July I at least had running water in my kitchen, and it was time to make a decision about my job. After a lot of soul searching, therapy sessions with my counselor as well as a consultation with my Physician, I made the tough choice to resign. I could have extended my FMLA for a few more months but didn't feel it was fair to my team who had already been covering my job for a few months. I was in a deep depression and there was no guarantee of when I would recover. Using the decision tree and the core values of the company of integrity, teamwork, initiative, and good judgment, I voluntarily left my beloved job that I had been extremely successful at for the past 5 years. The future was completely wide open and unknown.