As it turned out, though, my bedroom door was not being attacked by a brain-munching ambulatory cadaver. Instead, a rather frustrated five year old was insisting upon a more awake and alert parental figure to help her dress and prepare for school. Under normal circumstances, she’d have been trying to wake me at or before dawn; however, today she chose 7.15a as the perfect time to come get me–just fifteen minutes prior to the start of the breakfast line at her school.
I dragged myself out of bed after the panic of time crunch successfully navigated the fog in my brain, and donned a unflattering pair of black sweats, my favorite bra, and a hot pink Danskin fleece pull-over. I did not look professional or decent, especially considering my hair was still in the top knot bun I had pulled it into after over an hour of amazing multi-orgasmic multi-positioned sex and a 3a shower.
After arguing with said five year old and her nearly two year old sister about wardrobe choices and what is and is not okay to get into in mommy and daddy’s office space, I had the latter buckled into an umbrella stroller and the former donning her Phineas and Ferb backpack filled with three clean changes of clothing.
The walk to her school was chill but disappointingly zombie free unless one counts the de-oxygenated, dehydrated appearance of her mother. Even in that state, I had to follow our school morning custom of watching her walk through the line making healthy food selections and help her find a seat at the designated dining tables. I waved and blew her a goodbye kiss as she settled into her routine of trying to shovel food down her throat while chattering away with the other insanely chipper primary schoolers.
Back home, I discovered we’d left the front door wide open. No zombies had made it into the house, to my knowledge. I checked my email for possible paying freelance gigs and any hits on my Craigslist postings, fed chocolate oatmeal and lactose free milk to a toddler who had been disappointed that big sister was not joining her on the walk home, and downed 32oz of fridge chilled tap water. Then it was time to wake the husband and attempt to navigate myself out of the house while said toddler is distracted enough by daddy to not notice my absence.
I opted to swap the pink pull-over for a grey, men’s t-shirt that while soft had stains set in it from unknown sources. I sat down at the computer and drafted the first portion of this blog entry (up to the previous paragraph, actually) but then decided I should probably get ready to head to my public assistance appointment because even people with graduate degrees are struggling in this economy. As I gathered what I would need for the appointment, I decided to gather also the sorts of things parents of small children need for outings.
I opened the bedroom door after I was packed and told my husband that I would be taking little one with me to the appointment. The guttural reply seemed to indicate that I had not been the only one of us to awake in a zombie state. I shut the door and left the waking dead to his own devices. Baby and I had things to accomplish.
It wasn’t until I was strapping the talkative barrel of smiles into her highly rated (and priced to match) car seat that I discovered what was thankfully chocolate oatmeal smeared all over the inseam of her pants. I had been too busy gathering outing items to realize that the empty breakfast bowl was indicative not of a well-fed child but of a child who would have excellently exfoliated thighs.
I rushed back inside to change her pants but my hurrying resulted in a pair of hand-me-down Calvin Klein jeans big enough to give her gangster street cred. By this point, the clock in my car bespoke a failure to be punctual. I made sure we were both safely buckled in, rolled down the windows so the car went from sauna to blast furnace, tuned the radio to something fast-paced, and navigated through the impatient bank hours work traffic to the state building. When the exact time of the appointment glared at me in like an angry misshapen leprechaun, I pulled into the parking lot.
Unfortunately, everyone and their grandmother’s cousin were at the state building this morning. A quick trip through the u-shaped vehicular stable found me no legal place to park. Distraught, I drove as fast as the law would allow to an un-metered spot over a block away. If you’ve ever wondered how fast an overweight woman with diminished lung capacity can run while carrying a wiggly pinching toddler and an overfilled canvas shopping bag, the answer is not very.
Winded, I found my way to the elevators. Inside a free car, I pushed the number for the floor we needed, and leaned against the wall attempting to steady my breathing and kill the dizziness. Precocious and independent (when the mood arises), she slide off my hip and to the floor as though my body were a fire house pole, then walked too close for my comfort to the closed heavy metal doors.
I convinced her that holding my hand or being held were her only options, so she allowed me to enclose her tiny phalanges in my larger, experienced ones. We walked into the lobby and in a voice that sounded like a deflating beach ball I explained that I had an appointment at 9, using the past tense. The guy at the window appeared to be freshly arrived from a tour of duty but his hazel eyes belied his hardened exterior. He told me to have a seat.
Although there was some confusion regarding an absentee client with the same last name, I did not have an inordinately long wait before my tall, buxomly worker came out of one of the doors to take us back for the appointment. I followed her purple cheetah-spotted frock through a maze of hallways lined with office spaces which made standard-sized walk-in closets seem roomy. Her own office was sparsely decorated with dozens of cords snaking between her desk and the wall. These were occasionally too tempting for my pint-sized companion to ignore, but mostly she quietly and (mostly) with determined organization played with the small amount of toys kept in a cardboard box in the corner.
Photos and artwork on a cork bulletin board above and to the left of the worker’s desk indicated at least five children referred to her as “mommy.” She asked the usual questions, had to review the same paperwork I’d already turned in, and performed all of her required tasks, but her demeanor implied that she was either new to her job or had the sort of kind soul that bureaucracy cannot squelch.
At the conclusion of our appointment I was told to bring a few more necessary items in. She printed off a worksheet which reminded me of these, then helped us find our way out of the labyrinth. Before we took the elevator again, I announced to the embodied charm that held onto my left pinkie that it was time to go to the potty. She, of course, did nothing while seated atop the porcelain throne, but she does seem to be wanting to try.
The walk back to the car was less rushed, but when I set her down to unlock the car she stood on the freshly mowed grass and came back to the car with “antbugs” on her feet and legs. It was not a dangerous swarm of bullet ants, but her poor little feet retained a few red and undoubtedly itchy spots. I took her jeans off and shook them out. I do not know if CK had ant habitat in mind as a usage for his denim line, but it did not suit our needs for sure.
When we arrived home, zombie dad had morphed back into a living creature and we all had peanut butter sandwiches which they washed down with milk (I chose ice cold water). Good news was to be had when I checked my computer.
Thanks to the generous contributions of loved ones, we will be able to have enough money to make the move. I am paying the deposit and prorated September rent on the new place just a mile from work tomorrow. We are grateful for this opportunity to improve our situation in life. In celebration of this new phase, fireworks went off…but that turned out to be the power supply on my husband’s computer tower frying.
But the computer thing happened later in the night, after the kids were in bed. The news on my computer led my husband and I on a quest to pick up wired funds, deal with banks to gather paperwork for the caseworker, run various other preparatory errands, make important phone calls, and of course there was picking Luna up from school.
I wanted to get the moving done in one day, pack it all up tonight and just drive up in the morning. I was willing to cancel my class and office hours tomorrow to deal with this, but my husband’s idea is for me to tend to my obligations tomorrow, put down the money on the place, unload a load of items from my car, and return home. We can then have Saturday and Sunday to fill two vehicles with as much as we possibly can (and the kids, of course) and drive up.
On payday, after all financial obligations are seen to, we can see about the possibility of a storage unit there since everything we own will not fit into the much smaller new place and drive back down for another load. While losing the house would be a huge hit on our credit, staying here and hemorrhaging money with the risk of my car finally saying “No!” to my 600mi a week commute seems rather insane.
Starting over is difficult. Downsizing is difficult. I have faith in the viability of our dreams, though.
And if the zombie apocalypse does occur, our new place is close enough to a nuclear power plant that if surviving were not an option dezombiefying the area for any possibly surviving future generations might be…
Walk the Moon–What do you know? This house is falling apart. What can i say? This house is falling apart. We got no money, but we got heart. We’re gonna rattle this ghost town. This house is falling apart.
Lady Gaga–Love is like a brick. You can build a house, or you can sink a dead body.