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Homeless Detroit man bought abandoned house, spent 10 years renovating for wife

Work hard and never give up. It may sound trite, but perseverance can yield some amazing results. Such is the case for one Detroit man, who found himself homeless. With ten years of hard work, he was able to turn an abandoned house into a dream home.

The Road To The Abandoned House

Michael Gray, who is 67 years old and elegant-looking in a pinstripe suit and bow tie, cuts a fine picture. Surprisingly, just ten years ago, he was homeless. Struggling to find a job in Detroit, where he had lived all his life, things were tough.

“I had been going through a rough time in my life,” he confesses. “I was staying with my niece and sleeping in her basement.” His difficulty finding jobs was due to the difficult economic situation of Detroit, rather than his own situation. Gray has a good education and worked a variety of jobs in his life.

In 1986, he graduated from Spring Arbor University with a double major in English and psychology. While in his niece’s basement, he, “began to craft my rehab skills working as a laborer for guys who were fixing up homes to rent,” he said

His Nephew’s Abandoned House

In spite of this, in 2008 something life-changing happened. While riding his bike, Gray was struck by a car. For many of us, this would seem like one more misfortune in a long series of them. Fortunately, Michael Gray is more resilient than most. He took the settlement money he received from the accident and used it to purchase a house. “My wife had been with me through thick and thin,” says Gray. “And I told her that I was going to give her a house that she would be really proud to keep, live in, and show off.” At the time, Cynthia, his now-wife, was still his fiancee. 

Gray purchased the abandoned property from his nephew, a broker for Global Property Investment Group. The company deals in commercial real estate, but when properties in their holdings weren’t suitable, they could be sold to private buyers–such as Gray.

The Condition of The Abandoned House

Gray paid $1,500 for the abandoned house, but many locals were wondering if it was worth it. There were loose wires sticking out from the walls. There were a variety of pests, including mites, mice and spiders. The paint was peeling. The bathroom was covered in rust – not that it mattered because the plumbing was just not working. Nevertheless, Gray moved in.

“In Detroit, if you’re not there, or you don’t have someone there, someone will come in and take your stuff,” Gray explained. “It’s gone in a matter of 15 minutes.” Determined to, “make it a family home forever,” Gray slept on an air mattress in one of the four bedrooms, while he, “tore everything out, all the way down to the studs.” 

Gray did almost everything himself, and what he couldn’t do alone, friends assisted with. In 2012, he’d transformed most of the abandoned house into the home he had dreamed of–although repairs and renovations are still ongoing.

4 Things Narcissists Do Often To Stay At The Center Of Attention

Dealing with the self-absorption of a narcissist isn’t easy, since narcissists need all eyes on them.

It can be a challenge having them in your friend group or as a co-worker.  While this is not an exhaustive list, here are four things narcissists do to remain the center of attention. Here’s what to look for and how to handle it.

1. The Old Victim Angle

The Scenario: You might be telling a story about someone else’s woes, or be sympathizing with someone in the group about their troubles. Either way, a narcissist won’t stand for that type of empathy.

The Narcissist: A narcissist will make quick work of the conversation to turn things in their favor. Regardless of the situation, suddenly they will become the victim and nothing that has happened to anyone else will seem as sad. This allows them to draw attention back to themselves, even if it is for something unrelated or of no real concern. They just want to make sure no one else is stealing their thunder, even at the risk of letting someone else in need fall by the wayside.

Your Reaction: Don’t get angry and try to let them see the sympathy for others is warranted.

2. Reverse Projection

The Scenario: The conversation makes the narcissist feel they are on the hook for some wrongdoing.

The Narcissist: Especially when they know they are guilty, their quickest way to recover is to make others look bad while making themselves look good. If you’re on the receiving end, suddenly people doubt the narcissist did anything bad, and start to question you instead.

Your Reaction: Your best defense is to let them know you’re not upset by their maneuver with a simple smile and showing a general lack of interest. Throw in a joke and they might even realize you’re not someone to be trifled with.

3. Affixing Blame

The Scenario: This is kind of like reverse projection but in this case, the narcissist is being blamed for something, or at least they think they are.

The Narcissist: Suddenly they’re pointing out your failings and why you’re at fault. Their fear of looking bad makes them paranoid, so this can happen pretty much any time for no good reason. And if they are guilty? They’re sure to find someone else responsible for their behavior. You did something that gave them no choice but to behave badly. This is an endless cycle that goes nowhere.

Your Reaction: In most cases, it’s best to simply reassure them all is well, so they realize nothing is actually wrong. Just a word of caution: It could be true that they have done something terrible you don’t even know about yet! Hence the shame and guilt that’s made them so paranoid in the first place.

4. Constant Interruption

The Scenario: Somehow the conversation keeps taking attention away from them.

The Narcissist: If they sense this, they’ll do everything possible to get things back to them. This usually entails a lot of interruption trying to change the subject, or taking over the conversation. They might use a different tactic by asking questions even though they don’t really care about your answers. They also tend to toss in advice even if they don’t know what they’re talking about. The worst-case scenario? They’ll make up stories so they can be included in the conversation.

Your Reaction: Simply acknowledging them and their input can often be enough to keep the conversation on track.

Just like anyone, narcissists deserve respect and acknowledgment. While their behavior might be caused by trauma or an abusive childhood, they still don’t have the right to treat others with disrespect or lack of empathy.

10 Things That Happen When Your Body Lacks Water

What if I told you that the average American is chronically dehydrated? These symptoms listed below might help you with your mild discomfort, and could even save your life!

1. Itchy Skin

Skin is the largest organ of the body and it protects you from outside influences like bacteria. Dehydration may lower your body’s immune support and leave you more susceptible to damage and discomfort of the skin. Face shadows, dark under circles, dull skin, redness, and itchiness are all symptoms of dehydration.

2. Constipation

If you aren’t drinking water, your stool can be affected too! Your water intake doesn’t just leave the body via urine, absorption, and sweat; it leaves through your bowel movements as well. Less water in your stool can decrease movement in your bowels and will make the waste shrink, thus creating more opportunities for your waste to pile up. No thanks!

3. Fevers

Water regulates your temperature. When the body doesn’t have the water available to cool down the system it can overheat. Toxins in the bloodstream can run rampant when there is a deficit of water and the body will develop a fever. If you imagine yourself as a tea kettle that is empty and left on a burner; the results are disastrous!

4. Bad Breath

Your mouth relies so much on water. Saliva glands regulate the PH of your mouth and when you drink something dehydrating like soda or coffee, you can develop a musty smell. Saliva also flushes out food odors that you have eaten recently, so if you are dehydrated, your breath will smell even after brushing your teeth!

5. High Blood Pressure

Your heart pushes blood throughout your body and could have a hard time if the blood has less water in it than usual. The brain will tell the capillaries and smaller veins to close off if it is too low. This increases the blood pressure to the main arteries of the body. With this sudden change, the heart becomes more sloppy and can increase cardiac risk.

6. Digestion Problems

The acids in your stomach also rely on your water intake. If the stomach isn’t balanced with enough calcium, magnesium, and water, the body won’t be able to develop enough digestive acid to process your food. This can later create ulcers and acid reflux. If you have ever felt these, you know they are truly uncomfortable!

7. Joint Pain 

All of our bones are cushioned with cartilage and connective tissues that rely on water. When we are moving about with dry joints, friction increased to the arms and legs sound excruciating! Cartilage absorbs shock in everyday movement and water makes the cartilage less dry and soft cushioning to the bones is what we expect of our joints.

8. Fatigue/Dizziness

This symptom is closely related to the blood pressure suffering from lack of water. The equilibrium of the brain relies on your heart to pump blood efficiently, and dehydration can throw that system off. Fatigue at 3 pm is a classic sign. This can also be complicated by dizziness. The brain can detect gravity, and the average person might experience vertigo, dizziness or a heavy-headed feeling when there isn’t enough water in the body.

9. Dehydration and Sugar Cravings

It’s fascinating to learn that in an evolutionary setting, our bodies didn’t always find water in the wild that was clean enough to drink. However, water was and still is found in food, and dehydration could result in a strange form of hunger. The combination of dehydration and an imbalance of serotonin in the brain might communicate easy snack food. In America, this easily translates to sugar consumption.

10. Headaches

Dehydration headaches usually happen when a person is severely dehydrated. The brain might shrink from lack of water and will tug away from the skull as a result. Ouch!

Considering how much our bodies are made of water, it’s strange to see that plenty of people develop these symptoms without realizing they simply haven’t had enough water. Drink up!