1-Nothing on top of nothing



The sensation of dead insects crunching underfoot grew more intense as we made our way to the second floor. The odor of pif paf, (bug spray) rancid heat and crumbling tiles permeated the air and would later become a reminder of our year in the villa.

Foof wiggled out of my arms and walked up the last few stairs waving her hands in anticipation. She bravely navigated the steps, gingerly moving among the dead cockroaches, a sight that had terrified her in the car port area where hundreds of desiccated bugs remained after a recent fumigation.

For the previous seven years we had lived in Renton Washington, just one hour south of Seattle in a modest starter home. Odds and ends from friends who returned to their native countries were secured in order to furnish our residence. A tan sectional with bits of loose knobby fiber, 1 queen bed and several worn, pink floral pads were the only furniture that he allowed in our house. I was reminded frequently that we were temporary in this home, country and in this life and until we had a permanent place there was no need for more than rudimentary essentials.

The 25 hour journey wore on my sagging belly, contractions pounded from my abdomen to my lower back.  Mother had warned me about taking such a grueling trip while 8 months pregnant, but I had already delivered 4 babies successfully and needed to make this trip.  A job was waiting and as a dutiful wife and mother I had to follow.

We made our way to the top of the stairs where a large brown door stood before us. It was clear it had been painted a dull brown, most likely hours before we arrived. Two panels met in the middle and overlapped leaving a large crack which would later serve as an entrance for lizards and cockroaches.

He opened the doors and led us into the hall, indoor outdoor rough black carpeting covered each room, and jagged edges met intermittently with tan and brown speckled walls, threads unraveled making the carpet look askew in its placement.  Lines traced the dingy walls highlighting the exact location where a couch, loveseat and table had been positioned, proof that this place had once been inhabited.

A single brown plastic window stood strategically next to a large piece of plywood haphazardly nailed over a gaping hole. This was the space where an air conditioner would be placed but unbeknownst to me it had been declared a forbidden luxury. I stood staring at the desolation of this place, my scarf drenched in sweat; a steady pattern of drips fell down my nose and onto my lips.

The bedrooms appeared to be replicas of every room in the villa, dull carpet, speckled walls and lines where beds, chairs and dressers had once stood. A brown window, gaping hole and ragged plywood replaced air conditioners in each and every room. The stagnant and putrid stench of bug spray was barely noticeable as we searched for beds, blankets and pillows.

One last area remained and with it the hope that a sleeping area had been arranged for us.  Pink tile, cracked and spackled with darkened grout spread out over the large room. A sink stood directly opposite the door surrounded by a tiny counter. Buzzing could be heard from a fan that circulated air and dust.  I looked around for appliances, food or water, but found nothing on top of nothing.




64 thoughts on “1-Nothing on top of nothing

  1. I have finally made it here after all your loyal following. You are a great storyteller. I have to admire you having nine children and being a fascinating cook. I have two daughters and that’s enough for me. Can I use the excuse that I have a hectic career? Great post. Best. Chevvy

    Liked by 3 people

  2. You have successfully sucked me in. Your writing is terrific. What an experience already, and a huge change for you and you children. I wish I had the time to read all of these right now, but I will get to them.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have just read one post of your time in Saudi Arabia, but I want to come back and read more. You have such a gift for writing. I am sorry for the difficulties you experienced in this post. I appreciate you sharing it with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have some very lean year chapters in my life also, and you inspire me with your ability to so honestly speak of yours. I think the importance of this is that it can be reassuring to anyone in their ‘lean life chapters’ that our lives are long and open to many changes for the better. Excellent series you are undertaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. In your Gravatar you not mentioned your blog.
    In some of your posts we do not find the comment box.
    I think you may see to that, to have more people to share your culinary capacities and a wonderful courageous life that you have lived and are living.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wanted to start reading from the very beginning, Lynn. Wow, such huge changes from your life in America! You are an incredibly talented writer — I feel as though I’m climbing up the steps with you and walking through the apartment.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can feel the travail, the despondency, the impression upon the soul. I imagine there is some kind of comfort that all that is in the past. It’s too early for me to conceive what led you guys there (military???). But it appears to be quite purposeful thus far. Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey Lynz,
    Your life has been very tough from what I have read.I am so happy you fought all the obstacles,and reached where you are today.My problems seem petty in front of yours.I feel the need to be braver after reading your stories.You truly are an inspiration for many.Thank you for sharing your life story.
    Just reading your memoirs made me sad.A new place,and all the kids,and the other problems.But you made it through.And seem to have found peace with all f it.I am happy you have moved back to the U.S now.I hope you are doing well….Take care 🙂
    Love your blog.And the recipes and pictures are mouth watering.
    Happy blogging 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a sad and exhausting start to your new life. You are a very strong woman to have survived so much disappointment and still maintain such a positive outlook. Thanks for taking the time to post this at the Senior Salon. I know you are extremely busy right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t know if this is the beginning, it seems I’ve missed some history of what you may have written about how you met your husband or events leading up to moving.. but I’m hooked.. You have extreme talent in writing and I already know this memoir should be a novel in the forefront of bookstores..

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are kind to freely share.. and thank you for the starting point.. can you give me the next 10 posts in order ? If I can’t see some or any, I’ll ask for the links as needed, ok ?

    Liked by 1 person

          • Readers are selfish and are the writer’s goal to inspire to read their work.. And you do an excellent job of placing the reader in your shoes and relating to a life that is otherwise an alien experience to most readers.. It becomes an experience to the reader with you as the proxy.. I’m serious that this should be a novel.. I think there’s a good market for it in this time in history.. I hope you might consider making a profit for basically pouring your life, experiences, tears of joys and sorrows in a written account.. Free is always nice.. But offering your talent in a wonderful book to the world at a reasonable price is nice too.. Well, that’s my two cents on the matter anyhow.. 😊

            Liked by 1 person

    • ok maybe this is the problem, under that in this weird format on a phone are the topics, so that tab has nothing but the ones underneath, morning villa, make do, then a crosswalk is a beautiful thing.let me know if those work for you pan


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