February 8, 2013   2 notes

First, the good news and then more good news

After the extremely condemning judgment against him in court mid January, the media attention heated up, the house got very cold, February came and HE HAS VACATED MY DAMN HOUSE.

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Thank you to my housing lawyer, David Denenberg! Thank you to my amazing allies, Peter, Susan & Amber. Thank you Samantha from the Philadelphia City Paper! Thank you Julie + the Frisky! Thank all you wonderful people!

Which leads me to the other good news & thank yous. With the generous help of wonderful friends, friends of friends, and kind strangers, the legal fund has raised just over 1,800$!

I want to thank each and every one of you. Alison. Shannon, Julie, Marie S., Matthew D, Lauren, Adam W., Avis C, Andy G, Molly, Benjamin R., Art, Oliver E. Trevor F., Anna Z., Kevin K., Jason P., Amanda R., Tony S., John M., Amanda G., Charlie V., Margaret M., Elizabeth T. Morgan S., Lauren T., Hali J., Kristen D., Jamie E., Melissa K., Jeff J., Morgan H., Leah P., Abigail P., Elizabeth B., Jamie A., Sarah R., Stephanie C. Lawrence R., Jamie D., Dawn M., Olivia O., Allison H., Meredith D., Charles C., Aaron Minix, Tamara M., T. Storck, Nick D., Veronique M., Benjamin S., Daniel F.,  & Nora K.

The $ raised will cover filing fees, lawyer fees & court costs for both the eviction  & writ of possession process COMPLETELY with some $ left to go towards covering his jerky use of the utilities (2 months alone in a 7 bedroom house with everything running full speed = just over 2 grand in utility bills! gah). Stacking all that, additional costs & lost rent, this has been so financially catastrophic in a way that can have rippling and lasting repercussions. What the donations actually do is relieve stress, anxiety & strain. They help me move on! I am all about moving on.

I haven’t even seen the house since early December, so despite the messes and traumatic event as a whole, I am feeling full of gratitude. I’m even thankful to that jerk for not destroying my house as much as he could have! Even the jerky moves are laughable through this thankful lens. Here is my toilet full of cat poop:

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The other toilet is full of human poop. But I am still giving thanks for the scary part being done. This is my door broken in. Peter and I tried to barricade the door one point with metal brackets going into the floor and frame so I could be safe in the back of the house & use the back door.

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O well. Note the boot prints at the bottom of the door and the hinges ripped out.

Today the plumber is here to assess damage to the plumbing & heating system that froze when the gas went off in January. There are a few breaks in the pipes  & at least one is going to require ripping ceiling out so far but I am hopeful that the heating system will be up again soon. It is 30 degrees here!

This has been so quick & unplanned that we have not have time to reach out to the people who offered to help yet! SO thankfully, no major damage (sans plumbing repercussions) was done so there’s mostly just jerk-mess to clean up. Once the house is up to temperature, I want to have a clean up if only for the excuse to order some pizza, burn last summer’s sage stockpile & restore the good house vibes with friends & new friends.

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(He calls this piece: Untitled (Framed Map of Philadelphia from the Year the House Was Built, Shattered with Scattered Cat Food))

THE MORAL SUPPORT & WELL WISHES HAVE BEEN SO KEY. I would not have been able to take this guy on & bounce back without the support of my friends & the kindness of strangers. Even when just a few bucks, it meant so much to feel supported. Your messages urging me to stay strong, to not to lose faith in people & to not give up on kindness are working.

I was really hesitant to even tell friends when the situation was getting intense, because I felt stupid. Because it’s embarrassing to have bad things happen to you. Because it’s easy to look at the past and say “WTF?!” & endless shoulduh/woulduh/coulduh-s. There is not one mean thing an anonymous ass on the internet has said about this that I did not severely beat myself with during so many sleepless nights from the end of November until I let friends know & in turn, help me take this guy on in court & in my head. I really needed help remembering that it’s the wrong-doer that is wrong- especially when they are so absurdly brazen, manipulative & intentional about it.

I still completely believe that most people put in the position I was in would have done the same thing though. Given all the info and conditions, it wasn’t possible for me to do it differently at the time. Like most of us, my house didn’t get swept into the ocean & I am thankful for that and empathetic to those who were not so lucky. In return, I had one seemingly decent human turn out to be a remarkably crappy human with full intentions to do some remarkably crappy things me, but in response to that I have seen such remarkable empathy reciprocate. I am so moved to witness a widened field of kindness and generosity. I am so looking forward to moving on with that knowing.

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Be safe. Be well. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

—Melissa

January 28, 2013   48 notes

This is my good friend Melissa J. Frost

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She’s a smart, creative, thoughtful lady who bides her time between Brooklyn & Philadelphia, where she owns a giant, beautiful West Philly home that she’s renovated with little money through thousands of hours of painstaking effort, a testament to her inimitable DIY ethics. 

 

 

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After Hurricane Sandy, Melissa let a stranger displaced by the storm stay in her West Philly home. Now that man is gaming the legal system to ruin Melissa’s life. He is employing tenant’s rights to stay in her home against her wishes. He has threatened and assaulted her. He is suing her for more than she has, and she stands to lose her house.

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While the court has & will of course continue to find in her favor, her legal fees as well as the cost of maintaining a 3800 sq. ft. house in the middle of winter with a non-paying tenant are staggering. This man is open about his intentions to take full advantage of the appeals system, so this ordeal is far from over.

Melissa is my dear friend and she is at risk of losing everything. If you can, please help by donating to her legal fund.

Because the house will inevitably be a mess when she gets it back, email if you’d like to lend a hand when that time comes.

—Alison M.