The third move of my childhood had us in the North-central portion of Wisconsin, namely the Wausau area. We initially moved into a rental home in the city of Wausau, then out to a house in a rural area of Mosinee, and then back into the city of Wausau before we left the area for good (my mother excluded, as she returned after leaving my father).
We moved in January of 1999, and it was bitterly cold, but my father apparently just didn’t want to waste any time in leaving. He was never very specific in why he wanted to leave and give up the role of pastor. In fact, my mother begged him to stay as she loved the area we’d been in, but to no avail. His mind was made up and could not be changed.
The rental house was the same house I detailed a little in this post. The attic was nice and spacious and we also had an unfinished basement. The porch area was small, but it was very nicely decorated. I actually have a little trouble sometimes differentiating between our rental house in Wausau and the house that we ended up moving into after Mosinee, as they were right next to each other and were actually owned by the same man. The rental house faced Emerson St, though, so the whole living room/entryway was different, as the other house actually sat on the corner and faced Weston Ave. In the first house, my bedroom was on the first floor and I had windows facing the backyard and our future house. I used to have a daybed, but that was actually a lot of trouble as far as making the bed went, so my parents later got me just a plain ol’ regular bed. I still had trouble remembering to make the bed, but at least it was easier when my parents nagged me about it. 😛 The first floor bathroom, I can’t really remember, and I think I might be getting it mixed up with the other house. They really were pretty similar!
That house also had another first for me: hardwood floors! The only other houses I’d lived in previously had some sort of carpet. I was homeschooled at that point, and I did the videos from Pensacola Christian Academy. Oh my gods, I remember some of those videos were recorded as far back as 1989 … when I was but 2 years old! The curriculum hadn’t really changed though, which as I look back and think on it, is kind of sad. Certainly they weren’t ALL that old, but I think the newest video was recorded in 1997, and they tended to run from 1991-1993. I watched the lessons in the living room and did my work at a set up there.
We ended up moving not even a year later … September of 1999, maybe? I can’t quite remember. My school area then changed up a couple of times while I was there. I think it was initially upstairs in the study, but then it changed to downstairs in the finished basement in my dad’s study, as it was quieter and there were less distractions. I was only thus homeschooled the rest of sixth grade, and then seventh and eighth grade. From my freshman to my junior year, I attended a very small Christian school.
The house in Mosinee was in a rural area. We had a pretty large backyard that included a sand volleyball court and a pool (which we rarely used, because it was above ground, there was no heater, and with no heater it was very cold!). We ended up adding a storage shed in the back of the property, and I remember very vividly helping my father set up the steel beams and handing him materials so he could put together the metal building. It was a pretty easy operation, overall. Later on, we also expanded the bathroom into the old pantry for the kitchen, and then moved the sink countertop from a long counter running along the center of the kitchen (that made the kitchen extremely small and was incredibly impractical) and put it against the actual wall so it was just a wide and open space. We also expanded the garage into a three car garage before I started driving (I can’t remember if it was originally a one or two car setup). Of course, it wasn’t long after we did all of the remodeling that we ended up moving. 😛
We spent the most time in the house in Mosinee. I think my parents liked it because it was a little out of the way, sort of in the country like they’d been used to in Georgia. A big difference though, besides the fact that we weren’t as remote as in Georgia, was that the yard was a lot easier to mow, so we had to keep it kept up. At the house in McDonough, besides being remote, we were at the foot of a hill that made especially our front yard very uneven and almost impossible to properly mow. We had a lot of tree coverage, though, so the grass didn’t grow too much. In Mosinee, though, we didn’t have a lot of trees and it was pretty open, so the grass grew rather well.
For mowing we used a riding lawnmower, because of the size of the yards, and to clean up afterward, we had an attachment that we hooked onto a four-wheeler that we ran to get up all the clippings. Funny, I remember my mother usually mowed the lawn. My father rarely did it, citing allergies … however, as long as I can remember, my mother’s allergies were more sensitive and severe than my father’s allergies. He was probably just a baby. Or lazy. Or both. I’m convinced he has some narcissistic qualities, if not a full-blown disorder, so an inability to see beyond his own problems is par for the course, and I think he only gets worse as he gets older. I remember wondering about the whole allergy thing as a teenager. If it was that obvious to me, even as fully entrenched in our family and naive as I was then, I wonder how many other things slipped under my radar? My guess is quite a bit.
Anyway, sometimes I was allowed to run the four-wheeler to pick up the clippings. I had to wear a breathing apparatus and I couldn’t go too fast, but it was a lot of fun. Hot, sweaty, fun work. I might think it more of a chore nowadays, but when the novelty is all shiny and new, it’s hard to see past it. 🙂
There was also a very large field in the back of our house that was owned by a family down the way. They didn’t mind if we rode our four wheelers (or drove our Ford Ranger around … which I did several times before I got my license and thoroughly enjoyed it!) around in it. It was just an unkempt field. Beyond it was woods. A few trails. Some hunting spots. I used to like to walk around (when it wasn’t hunting season) back there. I sometimes have dreams about walking back there and going even further, like there was something beyond that I never discovered (the furthermost trail I found terminated in a lake, so not sure what would be past it!).
When we moved back into Wausau, we were back in the same area as before, since our house was right next to the rental place we’d had. It was previously lived in by an older couple, and the woman moved out after her husband died. It also had wood floors, which were quite lovely. Before we moved in, we added on to the garage to make it a three car and finished the basement. My room was the basement room, which was quite nice as I was a senior in high school and it was like having a little apartment. When walking into the kitchen entrance, one could just go down the basement steps and into my room, bypassing the entire house. I even had a bathroom in there and I set up a TV and later my ps2 there. The only thing I was lacking was a refrigerator and a microwave; I would have been good to go! Of course, my parents would have rarely seen me. 😛
By that point, I was homeschooling for the last time in my school career, but I was doing it via a state-wide charter school, which was new for us. They gave us Mac iBook G4’s to use for school (that we unfortunately had to return at the end of the school year) and thus began my relationship with Apple products. I’ve loved them ever since. I set up the laptop on a table in my room, and after the laptop was returned, I set up my desktop computer there and even bought and put together a desk for it (an accomplishment I was quite proud of).
My maternal grandmother lived with us for a spell while we were in Wisconsin. She was actually moved in when we were still in Mosinee (and she was given my room, and I was relegated to a space in my father’s downstairs study, which he rarely used … I didn’t mind, though, it actually afforded me more privacy and gave me more of an escape). She was a hateful, manipulative old woman, and she pulled most of her shenanigans in the second Wausau house. I think my mother just wanted to try to mend things with her and help her one last time, but she ultimately proved that she was beyond help. She was schizophrenic, likely bipolar, a pathological liar and master manipulator. She was a dark cloud that hung around us at the end, but once she was gone, it was like a brand new day.
This was one area that I actually thought would be hard to leave, and it was probably harder than most because my most influential growing-up years were spent there. I met my bestest best friend in the whole wide world (who is quite literally my psychological twin), so that was probably the hardest part, leaving her behind. It’s actually where I would consider “home” to be; above the other places of my childhood, that is where I would really point to as my hometown. It’s also the place I pretty much know the best, navigation-wise (I don’t quite count International Falls as it was so small, it was hard to get lost!). When I was driving there to my mother’s house (well, to the Wal-Mart in Rib Mountain to meet her) when moving from Ohio, I kept thinking about driving “home”. So even my subconscious agrees with me, apparently.
Stay tuned for the house saga! The next entry on homes will be a bit bumpy, as after our family moved to Pennsylvania, things got a bit rocky for me for a while. The memories are a lot more vivid, for the most part, but I feel it’s still good to document them for the future.
And so far on our current place … there’s a few issues here and there, but mostly, fiance and I are glad to be out of my brother’s house and on our own. 🙂 Our cat, Inara, is still adjusting, but she’s much better than the super clingy mess she was at first. One day at a time.