Only the Good Die Young (Part 5)

New plan!

An opportunity presented itself to Christin that was too good to pass up. A friend of hers was selling a beater car for an exceptional price. Between Christin, Alphonso and myself we had no car. We made it work, however if one of us actually had a car, well, life would be easier.

Christin and I postponed our move for another two weeks so  she could take advantage of this opportunity and buy a car. I mean really, in the grand scheme of things, what is another two weeks?

Friday night. Alphonso and I did not get off until 7pm. Christin was off running errands, being that she was the only one of us who worked a normal 7-4 work schedule. Alphonso and I would make the 10 minute walk from work to Vinnie’s daycare, then the two-minute walk from the daycare to our apartment. Christin would then meet up with us later, while we figured out dinner plans.

This was the week Alphonso was on his Vegan phase, Christin was still doing low carb, and my diet consisted of coffee and chocolate. Dinner plans should be interesting.

Vinnie was content drinking his bottle, sleep  just around the corner,  while Alphonso was trying a new makeup look on me, Coldplay’s “Yellow” filled the room with a peaceful contentment.

And then, just like that, the contentment changed to panic.

Christin comes barreling through the front door. Screaming, crying, shaking., disheveled.

“Call the police! Call the police!”

In unison, Alphonso and I did what we do best. Worked together as a team.

Alphonso grabbed a somewhat sleeping Vinnie and took him safely to the bedroom. I rushed out of my chair and went to Christin.

“What’s happening, what’s wrong?!?!”

“Jen, call the police, call the police, I need the police! Now…do something….I need the police!”

Alphonso comes from the bedroom.

“What the fuck happened?”

“Call the police!”

I guided Christin to the sofa, Alphonso grabs the phone.

“Christin, talk to me, what happened? Alphonso, get her something to drink.”

“An alcoholic beverage or what?”

“A goddamn glass of water!”

“Christin, talk to us!”

“It was bad, I need the police, we have to call the police.”

“Alphonso call the police!”

He immediately dials 911.

“We need police assistance, my roommate just came home. She is not herself, we do not know what happened, she is crying, asking us to call the police……………Jen, what’s our address?”

“Are you kidding me right now?! Look at the mail that’s on the counter…….Christin, the police are coming, what happened, talk to us, what do we need to do?”

In about twenty minutes, we would have our answers.

fork

Only the Good Die Young (Part 4)

The next month went by pretty fast. Christin and I found a place. Alphonso took the news as expected, drama queen at best, toddler at his worst.

“Alphonso we have some news.”

“Oh my god is someone dead.”

“No.”

“You bitches bought me Vogue and a pack of smokes, what is going on?”

“Well, Christin and I are officially giving your our 30 day notice! Yay!”

“You guys are moving out?”

“Yes! Yay! Aren’t you proud of us for being grown ups?”

“It’s because I’m fat, isn’t it?”

“No no. It’s because you are poor, but don’t you worry we will help you find roommates.”

(End scene. Alphonso goes to pout in his room)

……

Moving day was quickly approaching. For reasons that I rather not get into ie: “I told you so” Christin and I mutually agreed that the best thing to do was give ourselves a little more time to move.

“Jen, you know Ryan is right, we need just a little bit longer to find a place and save.”

“Fine…..but this was OUR idea, not his.”

Jordan would make more frequent visits to our apartment. Slowly, things were progressing nicely with him and Christin. He was a nice guy. Hell, he would even tolerate Alphonso’s “Sex and the City” movie nights, even after Alphonso calling him “The Black Aidan.”

It was nice to see Christin in a relationship she could actually enjoy. Jordan would take her out every Friday, Christin would cook (well, she would attempt to) every Saturday, and on the few occasions where she messed up dinner, Jordan paid for takeout. Everything just seemed “easy” with them.

“Chris, what do you feel like doing tonight.”

“There’s a new movie I want to see.”

“Dinner first or afterwards?”

“After.”

None of that “Oh I don’t know, what ever you feel like doing” crap.

Ryan and I actually started to tolerate each other. Come to find out he had a daughter a year older than Vinnie. We would get the kids together for a playdate here and there while getting to know each other. Most importantly, I enjoyed the banter with him.

“You know your shirt does not match don’t you?”

“You know I don’t care don’t you?”

“Yes, I gathered that”

“It’s funny how you are giving me fashion advice while you have holes in your jeans and…..is that  pizza sauce on your shirt?”

“IT’S THE STYLE AND I WAS HUNGRY!”

……

It was a Friday night. Christin and Jordan were doing their thing, while Alphonso, Ryan, and me were just chilling at the apartment. Christin calls and invites us to Denny’s for some late night munchies. With Vinnie safely asleep I called my friend Jasmine who lived right upstairs and asked her if she would come listen out for Vinnie. I would be an hour tops.

The five of us meet up at Denny’s. Coincidentally there happened to be some work people there as well. A bunch of Samoans who worked the late shift were grubbing down on well, on everything. The only one I recognized was this guy name Joe. We gave each other a polite nod of the head and that was it. Meanwhile, Alphonso had found his crew. Not work people, people from his nail salon. Of course.

I am not sure exactly how it happened, but Alphonso invited his crew back to our apartment for some after dinner drinks. See, I would not have to put up with this when Christin and I had our own place.

Allow me to set the scene. Christin and Jordan took their place by the front door, as there was nowhere else for them to sit. I kept my place in the hallway entrance. Vinnie was in Christin’s room sleeping and I did not want anyone to wake him up. Ryan was with me, and offered to get rid of some of these people, these questionable people. Alphonso was in the kitchen, martini in hand, doing his rendition of Lady Marmalade.

A cute young girl who Alphonso just met at Denny’s (yet invited her into our home) approached Ryan.

“Are you two together?”

She was clearly giving me the look over. I did not like this one.

“We are friends.”

Geez, he could not just tell her we were? For no other reason than to get rid of her?

“I have a job in an hour, I’m good for 30 if you want to go?”

What the hell was she talking about?

I am just curious if anyone reading this, from that sentence alone “I have a job in an hour, I’m good for 30 if you want to go.” Do you guys know what that means? Because I clearly was the only person who did not get it. Come to find out our little friend was a prostitute. Not even kidding. She just finished a “job” when Alphonso met her at Denny’s and, I guess because prostitution offers flexibility (in more ways that one) she had a good 30 minutes to kill and wanted to offer her services to Ryan in the bathroom.

Are you freaking kidding me?

“Oh hell no this is not happening, get rid of her.”

I found Christin, whispered in her ear that we have a whore in our apartment who just offered to do some sort of sexual act to Ryan in the bathroom, with my son sleeping in the next room over, and we have got to shut it down now.

Christin gave Jordan the rundown and within seconds everyone was gone.

“Alphonso, how in the hell could you invite a prostitute back to our home?”

“It’s not like I asked for her resume before the invite.”

“THIS IS WHY I NEED MY OWN PLACE!”

“Jen, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.”

……

fork

 

 

Only the Good Die Young (Part 3)

As I was doing some more packing, one of my beloved cats jumped into a box that I had stupidly stacked a little too high. Both the box and cat fell down on me. I have the bruise to prove it in a less than flattering place, but I will spare you the image. I am on the floor, making sure the damn cat was okay, while throwing everything back in the box for a second time. “How do I get myself into these situations?”

……

Many years ago, before Joe, before the kids, Christin and I found ourselves in a very similar situation. There was a brief period in time where we were on the outs with Alphonso. Naturally, it was not anything Christin and I did. Alphonso was just being a douche for a brief period in his life. Christin and I woke up one Saturday, both of us having the same day off. Doing retail work, that was definitely a rarity. Over breakfast that consisted of coffee and Tylenol, we had the brilliant idea of “Let’s just find our own place.” The logic being  was Alphonso could keep the apartment, have all his colorful friends move in with him, and Christin and I would start over in a two bedroom that we know we could afford between the two of us. We both did a quick survey of our belongings, trying to do a mental count on how many trips we could do our quick move in. The only big thing that may be a problem to move was her bed. At this point I had been sleeping on the floor. I was totally willing to say good-bye to my couch cushions, while slamming down a twenty at the local Goodwill.

Just like that our plan was set into place.

In the span of twenty minutes Christin and I decided we were going to move out. Next up, we had to find a place. I mean how hard could that be? We were living in a somewhat hip and up and coming city. There were apartments all over the place. Of course with Christin being the only one with a car we would have to find a place within walking distance to work. Something affordable because we worked retail, that should say enough. We both went to our respective rooms to get ready for the day. Christin to her bedroom and well, I was already in the livingroom so I did not have far to go. I could hear her R&B music blasting from her bathroom. Lauryn Hill or something like that. The fact the Christin and I had two totally different taste in music told me we were off to a great start. I threw some Michelle Branch into my old worn down cd player (because that’s one of Christin’s favorites) and started getting ready for our new adventure. Finding a new place to live!

……

By the time I returned with coffee from our local gas station right down the street, Jordan was already there. Jordan was a new guy Christin was slowly starting to get to know. I liked this guy. He was always a gentleman with Christin. Every time he came over, he would give her a gentle kiss on her cheek. He never made her pay when he took her out (unlike some of her previous suitors) and most importantly he made her laugh. Her laugh, her high-pitched almost screaming shrill could make a cat go crazy, but that is how you knew you had her.

“Hi Jordan! Did Christin tell you our new plan?”

“Uh, she did, are you sure you guys know what you are getting into?”

“Duh, it’s the perfect fix. I am just surprised we did not think of it sooner.”

As I made my way to the kitchen, I see a complete stranger washing our dirty dishes. With the strangers back to me, I turned to Christin and Jordan and mouthed “Who is this person?”

Jordan stood up, while Christin gathered her purse. “Jen, this is Ryan, he’s an old friend who will be tagging along with us today if that’s cool?”

Great. I hate new people.

This Ryan character turned towards me, and just gave a quick nod of his head, while washing the dishes.

“Christin, can I talk to you real quick in your room……I need to, ummm, borrow a shirt.”

The look she gave Jordan did not escape me.

“Why does this new person have to come along?”

“I don’t know, Jordan said he may be able to help.”

“Is he the apartment manager of a complex?”

“No, he works at Boeing with Jordan.”

“Then how in the hell can he help?!”

……

Just like that, the four of us were off. We took Jordan’s car, and I made Christin sit in the back seat with me. First up was this cute little complex right off of Pac. Hwy. Not too much further of a walk/drive from where we already lived. The 500.00 deposit along with the 40.00 application fee (per person) was enough to turn us away. Just a little bump in the road. We did not account for the deposit fee in this little plan of ours. The second, third, and fourth complex pretty much ended with the same result.

Somehow when I was not paying attention, Christin was now in the front seat next to Jordan, and Ryan was in the backseat. I was so not in the mood to make small talk. I was on a mission. We had to find an apartment ASAP or Christin and I would be stuck covering Alphonso’s portion of the rent……again.

I grabbed my notebook and pen from my purse and started working the numbers. There had to be a way for us to afford the deposit, application fee, and first months rent. There just had to be, we had a plan!

“I think you added that wrong.”

I looked over and Ryan  just happened to be reading over my shoulder.

“No, I did not add it wrong.”

“You did not carry the one, you should use a calculator.”

“Well actually I prefer doing longhand because you never know what kind of mistakes you can make with a calculator.”

“Except you made a mistake doing long hand.”

“No, look, 9+5=15, then you carry the one, and see, there ya go.”

“9+5 is 14.”

“No it’s not.”

“Why would I lie?”

“I do not think you are intentionally lying, I just think you are wrong……Christin, do something!”

“Jen, 9+5 is 14.”

I may have heard a snicker from Ryan.

……

We decided to stop to get some lunch. I do not know about anyone else, but the stress was making me hungry, and between you and me, I kinda felt Christin was not totally into this. Just from the perspective of me being in the backseat, I think she was spending a little too much time listening to Jordan’s stories and not enough time on our mission……finding a new place!

Denny’s was pretty crowded. We were quickly packed like sardines into a booth that claimed to sit four, but the reality was anything but that. I glanced up from my menu, noticed that Jordan had his arm gently wrapped around Christin, while they were sharing a menu. It was both cute and disgusting. Maybe I needed to be a little bit more patient. Clearly Christin is happy, and we all know it has been awhile since she had an actual nice guy interested in her. So, fine. I will try to bring it down a notch.

“Are you ready to order?”

Our lovely waitress whose name tag stated in a big bold font, “Becky”, looked as if she would rather be any other place than at our table.

“Can you come back to me, I am still looking.”

I could not decide between a burger or chicken tenders. They both looked good and I was pretty hungry, and…

“I’ll have the chicken friend steak, eggs sunny side up, toast as the side”

“The steak and eggs, scrambled, side of pancakes.”

“Chicken tender salad with ranch as the dressing, no bread.”

Oh that’s right, Christin was doing her low carb thing again.

“Are you ready now?”

I could tell by Becky’s tone she may have been annoyed.

“I’ll have the cheese burger and fries.”

“How do you want your burger?”

“What?”

“Pink, a little pink, or no pink?”

“Oh, a little pink.”

“What kind of cheese?”

“I’m sorry?”

“American, swiss, cheddar.”

“American, that’s fine.”

“What kind of fries?”

“Okay seriously? French fries, how many different options do you have for french fries?”

“Seasoned, sweet potato, we also have onion rings.”

“Regular french fries, the kind you have pictured here in this picture. You did not spend this much time on everyone else’s order!!!!”

Pretty safe to say someone is going to now spit in my food.

Christin, Jordan and Ryan were now looking at me, all wide-eyed and such. So, maybe I was a little bit rude, but come on. All I wanted was a burger and fries!

Lunch conversation was fairly, well, predictable. I listened to Jordan’s stories of how he builds airplanes, or something like that. Christin was telling the guys about her job, and Ryan apparently had some sort of office job. I was not really paying that much attention, I was too busy working the numbers, trying to find a solution we had to be missing.

“Christin, what if we applied for a pay-day loan, what do you think? We would have the money for a deposit.”

“That’s not a good idea.”

I looked to my left, where the unsolicited advice came from. Ryan. See, this is why I do not like new people. I do not know this guy well enough for him to be inserting his opinion on something he knows nothing about.

“Jen, I have to agree, a pay-day loan will just keep taking money from our check until we are able to pay it back and the interest rates are crazy.”

“Yeah, but maybe if we could pay the loan off in time then we wont get hit with the…”

“She’s right. You’re just going to screw yourselves with the interest rates.”

And now I had hit my limit. I turned to Ryan, while making an exaggerated effort of throwing my notebook and pen on the table.

“So here’s the thing, I do not need to be told what wont work, I need to be told what will work, and no offense Ryan, but you do not know our situation, and if we do not do this now, then Christin and I will just be stuck another month paying for Alphonso, who you do not even know but trust when I say he is so not dependable, unless it has to do with the new Marc Jacobs bag, then he is all up on that, and we cannot keep on enabling, what’s that saying, give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish, he eats longer…….you know that saying…….we have to do something, and even though you have your little fancy job at Boeing, Christin and I do not have that, we are pay check to pay check and I have my kid to think about and…..”

“You have a kid?”

“Jen, let’s go to the restroom.”

I knew her tone, she was worried I would say something I may regret. She may have been worried I would say something to embarrass her in front of Jordan. At this point, she may have been right.

“Umm, yes I have a kid, is that okay with you or would you like to also give me parenting advice along with my living situation?”

“Are you ready for dessert?”

Good Ole Becky.

“Just the check please.”

“Is this all on one or separate?”

Jordan spoke up before I could protest.

“One check please.”

Digging in my wallet I pulled out 15.00 in cash, should be enough to cover my burger and tip. I gave it to Christin. She gave it back.

“How old is you kid?”

“Ummm, he is, ummmm, he is…”

“He is just over a year…..we will be right back.”

Where was she going? I want to go too. She can’t leave me here at this table with Mr Know-it all.

“Jordan wants to order a pie to go.”

“But you do not eat pie, it has carbs!”

……

As soon as Christin and Jordan left to go order some so-called pie, I quickly took Christin’s place in the booth. I had my notebook, I had my pen, I had my third refill on diet coke, I was good to go! I am a fixer, I can do this, I can find a way.

“Do you mind if I give you some advice?”

I glance up from my notebook, Ryan was just sitting there all “chill” like, like he just had the answers to everything.

“Yes, I do mind but thank you for the offer.”

“Between your deposits, application fees and the cost of moving, renting a truck or whatever you guys plan on doing, it would make more sense for you guys to stay where you are for another month, give your friend your 30 day notice, that way when June comes around, the money that you would be putting towards rent can now be put towards your new place. You guys just need a little more time.”

“But we do not have time.”

“But you do.”

“Nope, not really.”

“What will be different waiting an extra month, how will that be different from now?”

And I had enough. I mean I guess Ryan meant well, but I felt he was just shooting me down. I had a plan and here he was this new person who I just met hours before coming in and telling me what I was doing wrong. I do not do well with that. I gathered up my belongings without a word.

At the exact second I stood up from the table, Becky, was seating a table of ten right next to us. A female from that table and myself, happened to…..what word am I looking for……collide. Both of us backs were to each other, so I am getting up, she is trying to sit and well, there ya go. Everything after that happened pretty fast.

“Oh I’m sorry.”

“Watch yourself Bitch.”

“Okay, seriously?”

“You best be paying attention.”

“Paying attention to what, I just apologized!”

“If you were paying attention you would not have to apologize.”

“Well this day just gets better and better.”

Ryan was up from the table, Christin and Jordan made their way back just as the lovely lady next to me was slurring her words.

“Jen, what’s happening.” Christin was worried, scared.

“Bro, take her to the car”

From what I gathered Ryan was telling Jordan to tak Christin to the car? Sure….take my wing man away from me!

“You sure? You got this” Jordan was already on his way out with Christin.

Got what? What is happening here?!?!

“I think you were after my man.”

“Seriously, the lovely gentleman over there who is wearing a Tupac shirt that is about five sizes too big? I am good.”

“You wanna go?”

“Go where? What is happening?”

Ryan was at my side, hand on my back which was a little too close to comfort to me, he guided me to the exit while whispering to me “Jen, they are tweaking we need to go.”

To this day I have no idea what tweaking means, although I believe it has something to do with being high on drugs.

“Yeah Bitch that’s what I thought.”

So here is the thing about me. I do not know how to fight. Would not have the slightest clue what to do if some girl started to pull her hair up while taking her earings off. Maybe just stand there and look cute? Hell if I know. For whatever reason, adrenaline, cockiness, confidence, I felt that perhaps I could have the last world.

“Tell your man to lay off on the grand slams and take his money to get you guys sober.”

The words just escaped my mouth…..and before I knew it, Christin, Jordan, Ryan and me were back in the car…….and poor Becky never got a tip.

fork

Only the Good Die Young. (Part 2)

I had no other choice than to shake his hand. Jen did the same.

“So, I saw you guys struggling out here and saw that you had a little one. Don’t worry, I’m not some crazy axe murderer, I just want to get you guys home safe.”

Once again, Jen and I exchanged glances. We were weary of this guy. Given our past, who wouldn’t be?

“Yeah that’s fine. We just live right up there,” Jen said, pointing in the direction of our apartment.

So now not only were we getting into a stranger’s car and now, said stranger knows where we live. Still hesitant, I stood back, watching Jen and Jordan load up the groceries in the back of his car. I put my load in and slowly got in the front seat as Jen and Vinnie got in the back. I quickly looked around the car, making sure there wasn’t any rope, tape or a gun to be found. I had seen my fair share of murder mysteries, I knew what to look for. I didn’t put my seatbelt on, just in case I had to make a quick exit. Clearly, that wouldn’t even be an option at this point because I couldn’t leave Jen and Vinnie. What did we get ourselves into?

“So, I have to ask: Why are you walking down the highway?”

“It’s a long story” I said quickly, not wanting to engage in conversation with a possible serial killer.

“Her car got stolen” Jen said, with no hesitation.

“Damn, that sucks. How long ago did it get stolen?”

“A few days ago,” I said, really wishing this guy would stop asking us question and just get us home.

“It’s not the first time it was stolen. She also had it stolen when she lived down in Cali.”

Jen just couldn’t stop. Next, she would tell him my social security number and probably tell him where I work. Did she want me to die? Finally, our apartment came into view and my rattled nerves settled a bit. Jordan pulled into the parking spot and started to get out.

“It’s fine. I think we got it. Thank-you for the ride.” I said, wanting for this day to be over already.

“I can grab some bags and help you guys up…it’s not a problem”

I looked over at Jen and she shrugged her shoulders.

“Ok, yeah that’s fine.”

We made it up the 3 flights of stairs. Exhausted, I flopped on the couch. Jen took Vinnie to the room to lay him down but not before she mouthed to me “Ask him if he wants a drink of water” I rolled my eyes at her. Something she was used to.

“Jordan, would you like some water or something” I said, less than enthusiastic.

“No, Im good but thank you” Unexpectedly, he sat down on the chair across from me.

I was not in the mood for conversation. My legs hurt, my hands permanently disfigured from the bags and my back felt like it had been hit with a hammer.

“So, I don’t think we have officially met. I didn’t get your name.”

“I’m Christin and I really appreciate the ride. It’s been a really long – “

Jordan cut me off.

“I get it. What kind of guy picks up strangers off the side of the road, right?”

He read my mind.

“Well, yeah. Do you pick up strangers on the side of the road often?”

“Honestly, I wouldn’t have but I saw the baby and felt bad for you guys.”

“Well, we made it home safe and sound. It’s getting late and I have work in the morning.”

“So where do you work?”

I didn’t know whether to tell him or not. Chances are if I didn’t, Jen would.

“Wal-Mart”

“That’s cool. I work down the road at Boeing.”

“Boeing, huh. How long have you been there?”

“Almost 6 years. My dad got me the job. He’s been there for over 30 years.”

“6 years? How old are you?”

“How old do I look?”

“I would say maybe like 22 or 23”

“26, but you know what they say.”. Black don’t crack.”

That made me laugh, maybe a little too hard. He smiled.

“You have a really nice smile”

“Thanks”, I said, embarrassed at the compliment.

The next 2 hours flew by. We talked about nothing and everything at once. I couldn’t get over what a gentleman he really was. Whether it was genuine or not would remain to be seen.

“Are you guys still talking?” Jen asked as she came out of the room.

“Yeah, Christin wouldn’t let me leave” Jordan said, with a grin on his face.

“Whatever” I said, rolling my eyes.

Jordan got up.

“I have to go, I have to be to work at 5am”

I got up to show him to the door. Jen was lingering in the kitchen, keeping a close eye on things.

“It was really nice to meet you, Christin. You too Jen.”

“Thanks again for the ride.” I said, while walking him out.

“So, would it be okay for me to ask for your number and maybe call you sometime?”

Well, chances are if he didn’t murder me by now, it wasn’t going to happen at all. Plus, he had a good job and manners, something I hadn’t seen much of lately.

“Sure” I gave him my number and he gave me a hug in return.

I walked back in to find Jen with her ear at the door and her eyes in the peep hole.

“Tell me everything”

Jen made herself and I a vodka and coke, we sat down and I filled her in.

“He seems like a really nice guy” I said. Jen wasn’t convinced. Probably because I said that about every jerk I had ever met. I wasn’t really convinced either.

……

Oddly enough, as I was wondering around the store parking lot, looking for my Jeep with the pink sticker on the back, I wasn’t convinced I would be able to give up chocolate either. And then it hit me. I had parked on the other side of the store. Quickly, I made my way to the other side of the parking and there it was: MY JEEP. My car wasn’t stolen today, thankfully. However, I never did get my car back when it was stolen about 16 years ago but what I did find unexpectedly, was on the side of the highway in the form of a genuinely, nice guy.

 

Christin

fork

Only the Good Die Young. (Part 1)

I was at the store today, picking up some fruit since I gave up chocolate a few days ago. That’s right, fruit. I need something to combat these vicious cravings that hit me about 9pm at night. Instead of reaching for that Hershey bar, yours truly will now be reaching for some grapes and strawberries. I walked out of the store with my fruit in hand, and walked to the spot where I parked my car. My Jeep with the pink Vodkacalling.com sticker on the back was nowhere to be found. In a panic, I started walking fast down each line of cars. Nothing. Instantly, I was brought back to another time when I came out to find my car…gone.

It was 6:45am and as usual, I was running late for work. I grabbed my coffee and purse, while saying goodbye to Jen and Alphonso. They were still up from the night before, playing with makeup and gossiping about the latest drama at work. As much as I wanted to hear about how a cashier had two possible baby daddies’, I didn’t want to get “the talk” from my supervisor about being late again. I made my way down to the parking garage and got ready to get into my car…except there was no car. I freaked out and ran back upstairs.

“Did one of you guys move my car?” I said, trying to remain somewhat calm.

“What are you talking about?” Jen asked, looking at Alphonso, who happened to not even have his license.

“My car is gone!” I screamed at the two of them, irritated at their blatant obliviousness.

I grabbed the phone and called 911.

“Yes, my car has been stolen. No I don’t know who stole it. Yes, it has a bumper sticker that says, “Don’t hate the game, hate the player”.

This dispatcher was getting on my damn nerves with her questions.

As I am in a full out meltdown, I look over and Alphonso is doing something with Jen’s eyebrows. Am I in the twilight zone or what?

After pulling myself together, I realized that I needed to call into work and let them know that I would not be in today.

“Hi, this is Christin, I won’t be in today because my car got stolen”

“Would you be able to come in later, we need coverage in your department”

Was she serious right now?

“No, I can’t come in, I don’t have a car to get there at the moment because it has been STOLEN”

“Oh okay, well will you be in tomorrow?”

Really?! They are more worried about me coming into work than my $20,000 car being taken, probably by hoodlums that are headed to the Mexican border so they can strip it or sell it to the cartel for some beer money.

I hung up the phone, speechless at the lack of urgency anyone had about the situation. Jen and Alphonso were cool as cucumbers, work wanted me to come in and the dispatcher acted like this was the least of her worries.

A few days later and still no car, we needed to groceries. Neither Jen or Alphonso had a car so we had to walk. Alphonso was at work, so Jen put Vinnie in a stroller and the three of us set off for the store. Imagine seeing our little trio walking down the highway: Jen in full hair and makeup with her ankle boots pushing little bald Vinnie in his stroller and me, well, I was irritated and a mess.

An hour later we get to the store. Jen and I were exhausted, but at least Vinnie was sound asleep. We made our way down the aisles, grabbing what we needed, not thinking about how we were going to get the bags home.

After checking out, we hung as many bags as we could on Vinnie’s stroller without it tipping. We still had so many bags. We managed to get all the bags and began our trek home. By about half way home there was no circulation in my hands from the bags, Jen had bags in one hand and pushing a stroller in the other, so we stopped to catch our breath. As we are calculating how far we have to go, a black Mercedes Benz pulled up on the side of the road. I looked at Jen and she looked at me.

My first thought was to run, but how would we run with all these bags and a baby?

“What should we do?” I asked Jen, hoping she could be the voice of reason at this very moment.

“I don’t know, maybe he just needs directions or something.”

“Oh, shit Jen, he’s getting out of his car”

“Just calm down, let me handle it”

As the tall, dark, and very handsome young man came towards us, I just knew we were going to be on the front page of tomorrows newspaper. “Two Federal Way Women and A Baby Are Missing”

“Hey ya’ll, I saw you guys standing on the side of the highway, did you guys need a ride somewhere?”

I looked over at Jen because she said she would “handle it”.

“No, we’re okay. Thanks.”

The young man walked closer and held out his hand.
“Hi, I’m Jordan, nice to meet you”

……

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Letting go of control…

I “think” I am a controlling person by nature. The OCD type of control, not the “bad” kind of control. “Where are you going, who are you with, are you wearing that?” That is something Lifetime “Movies of the Week” are made of. Yes, I am talking to you Tori Spelling.

I do like to be in control. In a perfect world I have every single hour accounted for during my day, and when something does not go as planned, then I have issues. Huge issues that usually end up with chocolate being involved. I suppose I may have food issues as well.

Pretty sure I was born this way, so it is kinda not my fault.

This week has been one of those weeks where I had everything perfectly planned out, and God had a pretty good laugh.

First up is moving. Still have no idea what is happening with that, yet according to my trusty appointment book, I have written down “Should know where we will be moving to!” I hate this. I hate the not knowing and feel anxiety (or chocolate) coming on because of this.

Also, I did not have written down that Gracie would have another seizure this week, and now I have a bunch of “add on” appointments I was not expecting.

My typical daily routine is volunteering in a classroom at one of my daughters schools. For lack of better word, I am a “room mom” while also doing PTA work. This particular class had testing all week, which means I was unable to be in the room. These test are no joke. Completely understand, although I missed my daily routine.

I saw two little girls in this class today.

Girl # 1 ~ Mrs. Pedro, how come you are not in our class?

Me ~ Awww, well, you guys have testing this week. It is very important you get that done without anyone other than your teacher in your room, but I am thinking of you and believe that you will do good.

Girl # 1 ~ Well I think you should just lock yourself in the office. No one will know you are there.

I kinda love this one. It made me feel so good that even though I had to change-up my daily routine, I was missed.

Girl # 2 ~ Mrs. Pedro, where are all your bags?

Me ~ What bags?

Girl # 2 ~ All the bags you have with you that you take to the classroom.

Me ~ Awww, remember, you guys have testing this week, I cannot be in your room, but I am thinking of you and believing that you will do amazing on your test.

Girl # 2 ~ Do you know we have three more test next week?!

Me ~ I know, but you guys can get through it! After next week I will see you more often.

Girl # 2 ~ I do not like this.

Me ~ I do not like it either.

Point being, my routine is not the only one changed this week, and these two special little girls noticed that….while feeling my pain.

The next four days are completely out of my daily/weekly routine. Lots of packing, appointments for Gracie, and waiting to hear from the apartment. My experience showed me today that sometimes breaking away from your routine is okay. Everything will work out just the way it is supposed to work out.

I can only hope these next four days will prove the same.

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Broken.

4:15 am. Sofia comes running into my room. “Mom, it’s happening again.” Immediately I shot out of bed. I knew what “it” was. Gracie. Gracie was having a seizure. I run to their bedroom, Sofia closely behind, and I see my daughter, my miracle baby, Gracie, laying on the bed convulsing. Her entire body had taken on a mind of its own. There was saliva foaming at her mouth, followed by sounds of , well, sounds I have never heard before. Gasping. I quickly turned her on her side, I pull her hair out of her face. I make sure she did not wet herself, which happens often during a seizure. She did not. “Sofia, go grab the medicine!” Sofia knew right away what she had to do.

“Gracie, Gracie, can you hear me. Gracie?”

Nothing.

More convulsing, gasping for breath.

I had to stay in control. Joe was at work. Quite frankly there was no time for me to think of anything else other than making sure Gracie was laying on her side, while Sofia went to grab the medicine.

“Here Mom.”

I grabbed the medicine, tore open the needle, fumbled with the vial of the magic stuff that will take her out of the seizure. My hands were shaking. How in the hell am I supposed to have a steady hand? Where is the applicator?  I cannot do this…..”Sofia, help, hold this for me!”

“Okay Mom, whatever you need.”

By the time it took me to prep her “recovery med”, Gracie was out of the seizure.

It took a few minutes for her to come to.

“Gracie, do you know who I am?” I have learned we have to ask these questions because if she does not know, then we need to head to the ER ASAP.

“Yes, my mother.”

“Who is that?”

“Sofia, my sister.”

“Who is that?”

“Why is the cat on my bed?”

“Do you remember anything?”

“I remember I hate Vinnie.”

And now I can relax. She is okay.

For now.

This is Gracie’s fourth seizure. This is also the first one I witnessed. Two have been at school and her very first one, we walked in on right as she was coming out of it.

I will never forget seeing her there, laying on the bed, helpless, shaking. This image will haunt me until the day I die. Yet, I know this will not be the last.

If you are reading this, please, for a moment, picture your son or daughter, your loved one. Whether they are three years old, thirteen years old, twenty-three years old or forty-three years old. Picture your little boy, or little girl, your niece or nephew, laying on the bed (and this is if you are lucky. Seizures do not always happen on the bed.) Shaking uncontrollably. Your son, daughter or loved one take on a form you have never seen before. You are helpless, you are their strength. You are your weakness….and while you are picturing all that, tell me what you would do? Because, I know I need to do better. There is no room for mess ups where seizures are involved.

Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) is a real thing. Although rare, it is real.

I find my self questioning everything. Why me (why not me, right?) I am not strong enough. I hate this. I hate this so much. Everything in my life now is revolved around Gracie and her seizures. She does not deserve this. No one does.

Sofia, my God, Sofia is my hero. This little girl has seen it all. She is feisty yet shy. She is determined yet a follower. My mind is all over the place, but what I need you to know, especially if you have the pleasure of knowing Sofia. She has seen things that no ten-year old should see. She has seen it all with Gracie. If she seems “out of it” during school, or maybe a little bit quiet, or stressed, or perhaps wants to punch Christopher in the face, please understand. She has the weight of the world on her shoulders, and as much as I try to take some of that away from her, she has seen too much. She has changed, we all have changed.

We have been broken.

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