Not A Hallmark Card

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***Another “Blast From the Past.”  I’ve been reading through the blog posts in the Drafts folder.  I’m deleting some of them.  Others, like this one, I will post.

This entry was written on Sept. 5, 2011.  Weird that I would read this today….exactly two years after I wrote this entry.  All I can say is, “WOW!”  Our lives, all of our lives, have changed so much in these past two years!  

I called Andrew tonight, and read him this blog entry.  He was stunned, too, by how things have changed.  Thankfully, the changes have been for the better.  Yes, there have been many, many growing pains along the way, but I am so very proud to say that we’re all in a better place now.  🙂

As much as I wish that my life would be as neat and tidy as a Hallmark card, things usually end up being much more like the made-for-TV, full-blown, Sunday night Hallmark movie, a Kleenex box tear-jerker.

The move was interesting, to say the least.  After a three-hour drive in a big white van, we arrived to find an elevator that wasn’t working and an apartment that hadn’t been cleaned or painted. I’m sure it was over 100 degrees in the tiny studio apartment.  Piles of dog hair swirled around when I flipped on the ceiling fan.  There were clumps of hair everywhere.  I vacuumed up a clump behind the toilet that was as big as a rabbit!

Andrew called the “maintenance engineer.”  He said he would be there within the hour.  We could go ahead and begin carrying boxes into the apartment.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t a clean spot to put the boxes.  T called the guy back and used more “F-words” in that conversation than I’ve ever heard strung together.  The guy said he would be there within the hour.  We cleaned a little and waited.  My turn.  I was getting pissed.  Forget calling the guy, I called the property management company.  Then I called the listing agent who had cut the deal with us on this place.  I reminded all of them of the lease that I had co-signed.  I read my copy to them.  I told them that it would be impossible for them the fulfill the move-in policy.  “Put it in writing, and we will pro-rate next month’s rent.”  Grrr….

As I said, it was a mess.  It was gross.  We were in no way equipped to handle a large-scale cleaning job, so we headed out to Home Depot for a broom, bucket,  mop, rags, and cleaning supplies.  It was a horrible job to undertake.  We ended up dirty, sweaty, and discouraged.  Once it was clean enough to begin hauling in boxes, we decided to take a break and headed around the corner for air-conditioning and Killer Margaritas.  I don’t think any of us EVER enjoyed an icy drink as much as the ones we had that afternoon.

When we returned to the apartment, the maintenance guy was painting the walls.  He was a sweet man, and his wife and small child were along to help him.  He was so apologetic that we immediately felt bad for giving him problems earlier.  He wasn’t who was to blame.  He told us that he was the only guy taking care of seven buildings.  He and his wife.  As they painted, we moved all the stuff into the building up four flights of stairs, in the heat, using the fire escape.  One thing T and I both agree on is that we are too damn old to ever to that again!  It was exciting, though, to see the place start taking shape.  I enjoyed talking to the guy and his wife as we all worked together.  They were Ukrainian.  I almost asked them to join us for pizza later, but I knew T would kill me.

By 8:00 p.m., we had the van unloaded.  T and I had made reservations at a nearby hotel, and we desperately needed to shower.  We agreed to meet Andy later for dinner.  We were hot, thirsty, and grimy as we walked the couple of blocks to our hotel.  We could not have been more pleasantly surprised by the lovely little hotel.  It was a charming oasis.  Our room was beautiful, the architecture was authentic and historic.  I cannot say one bad thing about our stay.  AND…it was the best shower I have ever taken.  Oh, there is something so fantastic about taking a shower when you are filthy and gross.  It felt simply amazing.  T and I showered and showered.  We took so long that Andrew eventually called us to find out when we would be coming back.

Moving day was hot, dirty, and stressful, but it ended well.  We had some great pizza and a nice time talking with our son.  We headed back after dinner and slept the sound kind of sleep only made possible by a day of physical labor.  If only it had ended there.  Our moving day experiences would have been a Hallmark card.  “Wishing you the best as you embark on a fantastic journey as a new world opens up to you.  Love, Mom and Dad.”

The next day our neat and tidy Hallmark card turned into a full-blown movie.  Andrew had said that he would text us at 7:30 to let us know that he had tried out his alarm…and actually HEARD it and then actually CLIMBED OUT of bed.  He didn’t text.  When T woke up, he tried to call him.  No answer.  Obviously, Andrew had not heard his alarm ring.  It wasn’t long before T received a call from him, but the tone for the day  had been set.  T was grumbling about “how is he going to make it to class on time if he can’t hear his damn alarm?”  I was wondering the same thing, but said nothing.  I was the buffer.  I was my job to make sure that no one had hard feelings.

We weren’t going to stay late in the day, but there were a few things we needed to take care of before we headed home.  T helped Andrew wire up the speakers for his stereo.  There was some kind of problem with something (???)  and they were having trouble and clashing again.  We took the train downtown to turn in some final papers at the school.  Finally, we needed to do was buy a few groceries for our son to start off with.  It was 97 degrees, which made it even worse to think of walking several blocks and hauling back bags of groceries.

We were all getting tired of each other.  The days preceding the move had been crazy, busy, and emotional.  By the time we headed to the grocery store, none of us had had a moment of downtime in days.  We were all getting on each other’s nerves.  We were walking on eggshells.  Things were boiling just beneath the surface.

T led us down the street to a grocery store, but not where I had thought we were going to go.  Instead, it was a ridiculously priced, trendy organic place.  Andrew was confused, because he didn’t see any of the brands that he recognized.  T was aghast at the prices, and I was thinking, “Duh.  Why did you choose this place?”  It wasn’t  good at all.  I felt we should have left and let Andy get his own groceries.  T wanted to “help” him.  I felt uncomfortable both for myself and our son as we trailed around behind him in the store.  I decided to cut out and go next door to look at a few things.  I told T and Andrew to call me when they were ready to check out so I could come back and help them carry things back.

I waited for the call, but it didn’t come.  When I stepped outside, T was coming down the sidewalk in my direction.  Now it was my turn to be confused.  T looked upset, and where was Andy?  He was walking back alone and in a panic.  Andrew had been in the checkout line and couldn’t find his debit card.  Now he was heading back to his apartment in hopes of finding it.  All hell had broken loose in the five minutes since I had left them.

When we got back to the apartment, Andrew was about to make the call to cancel his debit card.  He couldn’t find it and was scared that it was being used.  I tried to calm things down.  When had he used it last?  Was it possible that it was in his car at home?  Shouldn’t he wait until I had a chance to check things back at home before he cancelled the card?

Ah, now everyone was venting at me.  Why did I ditch them in the store?  Mom, its bank policy to cancel a lost or stolen card immediately.  (How in the hell do I know bank policy?)  T was angry at Andrew’s irresponsibility.  Andrew was upset that his card was lost.  They were both mad at me.  I’m not sure why.

I walked out.  I stood on the fire escape.  I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know where to go.  It always ended like this.  If things went well, then everyone was nice to me, but the moment anything (large or small) didn’t go as expected, then I was left to feel lacking.  I hadn’t reminded, or cared, or checked, or something???  I stood there thinking about all of this.  What had I done wrong?  Why were they both mad at me?  I went back and asked them.

I told Andrew that this was a solvable mistake.  He had lost his card.  It wasn’t the worst thing in the world.  A new one would be there soon.  I gave him my cash.

***I never completed this blog entry.  The reason I could write no more was because the day deteriorated even further.  Andrew and I ended up yelling at each other.  T and I drove home in defeat.  I cried.  I felt like my son hated me.  I felt that he was a lost soul…and he was.  Thankfully, and I say this with the prayer of a grateful and proud mom, my son has found his way again.  He’s still in that apartment.  He’s working full time.  He has friends.  He loves living in the city, and he’s happy that I have moved close enough to visit on his days off work.  🙂  Growing pains aren’t easy, but I’m glad that we made it through to the other side.  

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