Cathy’s Container Casa

15 Jan


Rarely, if ever, do I leave the same post up for more than three days. But, in this case, I’m making an exception.

Most of you already know that my family is having a rough go of it…

But I need you to look past us, right now.

I want to re-introduce you to a family that needs our help. Yes, I’ve introduced you to this family before.


And they are suffering because this HUSBAND and FATHER is a HERO. There is something terribly, terribly wrong with that.

Agree or disagree with the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, agree or disagree with the decisions that put this Marine  in harms way…

… this post is about a man who had the courage to stand up and be counted, as he stood up for his convictions, and his belief in his country.

And now, his wife and children are paying the price for it.

We’ve asked you to help us in the past, as we struggle to keep this blog and “our own dreams of a home” afloat. But we’re asking you to put that aside for now, and help THIS family. They need the help far more than we do. At least we have  roof.

As we begin the New Year, our hopes pinned on building a Corten Home of our very own, we’re reminded that no matter how hard our lives are, life is harder for others.

I’m interrupting a series I’m currently writing on “Finding  Grants for Housing” to introduce you to someone…

As RR chronicles the builds of Container Homes across America and beyond, I’ve told you about people who are building “under duress.”

I told you about our friend in NC  who is rebuilding her life, as she helps kids rebuild theirs.

She’s got a strong roof over her head now, she’s safe from the bite of winter, and she’s working on plans to expand her property, to create a “home work center” in order to help autistic kids grow strong and healthy.

Are we proud of her? You bet we are!

I told you a while back about a home that we’re going to build for the family of a fallen US Marine in Iraq.

The land has been generously donated by her “extended” family. The containers are being “fabbed’ as I write this. Some of the cabinetry has already arrived. The appliances are pledged. And as the terrific time approaches for that Container Home build, we here at RR want to give you something to think about;

As we start this New Year, remember that when America goes to war, American  families go to war, too.

Our military families are on the front lines…

… and they don’t have the luxury of “simply having an opinion about the war.”

They must deal with the raw consequences of war. When their loved ones are wounded or killed, there is a very real, very emotional, psychological and financial toll attached to it.

As we support all the families of our fallen soldiers (and I’m sure that you do, too), I’m asking you to pledge support to the family of one of America’s fallen warriors.

Cathy needs the time and space to rebuild relationships with her 3 young children, to find solace and peace as they all grieve and adjust, and safety as they heal the physical and emotional wounds that devastate all  families when they lose a loved one.

If you can’t volunteer to help build this home for Cathy and her kids (and many of you have), pledge a couple of bucks to pay for building materials. There’s a Paypal button at the top of this page.

Don’t do it for us. Do it for Cathy, and more importantly, do it for her kids.

Just add “For Cathy’s Containers” to the memo line.

Many of us are struggling to rebuild, after hardship comes to the door. But Cathy’s fight is harder. She is doing it without her husband and his strong shoulders to rely on.

And as you help this project become more than just a “success”, keep this in the back of your mind;

It isn’t simply the “Men and Women in Uniform” in Iraq, Afghanistan, and “All Points Elsewhere.”

In that support you harbor in your heart for the Brave MEN and WOMEN in our military and all its veterans, please pledge to keep in mind their families here at home..

Those brave warriors don’t fall alone.

Their families also fall with them.

Cathy’s family is just one of them.

Stay tuned.

SPECIAL ADDENDUM: January 22, 2010

In the last few days, I’ve gotten an email or two that basically reminded me of the death benefits paid to killed soldiers families.

I posted this as a comment on the “Origins of this build post”, but I’m going to post it here too, to insure that it isn’t missed by anyone:

The commenters make it sound like having your husband or wife killed is like winning a government sanctioned lottery. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Most of us know that when a soldier gets killed, his family does eventually get $100,000 tax-free. And it’s possible that life insurance may add some more to that amount, over time.

But, I spoke to a Chaplain (One of the guys who comes to your house to tell you that your husband or wife has been killed), who reminded me that although there are programs available to dependents of killed soldiers, they don’t happen “overnight”.

In fact, it can take some time for them to start working thru to the families that need them.

Additionally, with the increase in troop deployments, housing officers are pretty aggressive in dealing with housing, and this does convince some families to leave the base “early” only to find out that the housing allowance they’re entitled to won’t cover the actual cost of housing in the resettlement place of their choosing.

There’s a lot of duress attached to this. If you’ve ever lost a loved one, you can only imagine.

He also reminded me that this is the last actual “paycheck” this fallen soldier will ever get. If he’s young, it’s nothing but a pittance when you consider how long he or she would have lived and worked, in Middle America supporting his or her family.

Nor does it take into consideration existing debt, like car loans, or credit card debt, and feeding and clothing your kids. Most enlisted soldiers and their families live at what is basically the poverty level. Credit cards become life rafts, until you can no longer make the payments, because Mommy or Daddy is dead.

Let’s do some math;

Paying off the cars, and clearing the credit card debt. Plus clothes for the new school year. There goes $30-40 thousand, maybe even $50 thousand right off the top, to keep the wolves at bay.

That “death benefit check” isn’t going that far, is it?

And I’ll remind you that analysts are saying that the REAL unemployment rate in America is over 20% right now. Mom or Dad is gonna pay daycare while they look for a decent job, IF they can find one, and they have the skillset demanded for it. And then, they’re going to pay for child care so that they can work to fill in all the gaps.

And day care isn’t cheap. There goes another $20 thousand dollars a year, at least…

That “death benefit” money REALLY isn’t going to go very far, all things considered.

And, you still haven’t addressed a regular mortgage payment over time, just to have a roof while you try to adjust. mortgage. Even if you live in a slum, there’s another $12-15,000.

Let’s see… you got $100,000 grand, eventually. And just to survive, you had to spend at least $60-75 thousand, just to try and prepare for whatever will come in the next few years, while you face life alone. (Okay, you CAN get a TAPs counselor on the phone, if you have to.) Yeah, that’s “lottery” riches.

Regardless of what programs this family is entitled to eventually, one thing is certain, they won’t lack for a home, NOW.

They already have enough to deal with.

And if they get a “decent” amount of money later, the surviving parent can insure that the kids will go to a “decent” college.

Nut’s to all that stress… I’m building them a house. I’ll use my own stuff if I have to. It’s one less thing for them to worry about.


8 Responses to “Cathy’s Container Casa”

  1. Madrigorne January 18, 2010 at 4:47 am #

    hey – check it out – Container Homes for Haiti


  2. Peter DeMaria January 22, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    Ronin – I’m a fan of your website and admire your leadership/involvement in helping this family. Keep up the excellent work.


    • renaissanceronin January 22, 2010 at 11:22 am #

      Wow, Peter,

      Coming from you, that means a lot. Thank you.

      Readers: For those of you who don’t know who Peter DeMaria is, he’s the visionary Architect that is almost single-handedly dragging ISBU’s into America’s mainstream.

      He built that extremely cool house in Southern California, that we see held up as a monument to ISBU construction, from Cable TV to Global Internet.

      He’s not just talking, or posting “unbuildable treehugger-ish concept homes”, using ISBU’s.

      He’s out there in the trenches, actually doing it.

      In my book, he’s one of the Stars…

      You can see his work, here:

      DeMaria Design

      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…

      If you’re looking for an architect to spearhead your ISBU project, Peter and his very capable team should be on your “short list.”

      Enough said…

      All this “gushing” is making Ronin ill… You all know that I’m far too “cranky” to be this “nice” to anybody! 🙂

  3. msmyra5 January 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    You are an awesome and inspiring family. I just wanted to say so. Now I’m going to find that Paypal button! Thanks for reminding me how much I have to be thankful for. And although I had a fleeting thought about putting a container home in the backyard so I could get my mother-in-law out of my house, I suspect that would be wrong… 🙂

    • renaissanceronin January 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

      Hi MsMyra;

      Thanks for the kind words, but it’s really unwarranted.

      We’re doing what we can, to help someone who needs and deserves help. Nothing more.

      Every single one of us can make a difference, even if we just take small steps. It’s how those pyramids got built too… one stone at a time. Thousands of people united in one common goal.

      And how long have THEY been standing?

      As we help others, we ALL get stronger.

      And that’s something worth getting up in the morning for.


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