Feel like going for a little walk with me along the shores of the salty sea of discontent? Want to let the bitter brine of the acrid water kiss your toes and make you sting with confused and frustrated malice? Come, join me, my friend…
Some days it’s like getting on the moving walkway at the airport- only going the wrong way. Race just to stand still; today, even racing sped me backwards. I spent all morning putting out domestic fires and keeping the kids from killing each other. The list of chores never even got touched, and somehow I found myself near noon, still in my pajamas and looking for a string of cohesive moments to jump in the shower.
I have two presentations next week in Salt Lake City that I was fielding emails from all morning, and for which I am not yet prepared (but I will be). We are leaving, all three kids and I, to visit the great basin next week. I won’t even touch on the anxiety over having Bean in the car for so many hours, and the packing and the laundry and the prep work for such travel and doing it alone and my fear of them ganging up on me somewhere near Dillon, Montana. They can smell my fear.
There is a huge snafu with my financial aid for last quarter and it never funded. I know this is a solvable problem, but the snarl is huge, and is exacerbated by it being summer and the gears turning painfully slowly. What that also means is I never received the automatic transfer to my bank account. Uh oh.
So I’m in Target picking up some stuff for the trip, and my bank calls. Turns out some of the things on auto-pay came in and since the fin-aid never funded, I’m overdrawn. Crap. Nice of them to call me though, right? How much? $140?! What the $#&%?? How did that happen? I haven’t written any checks, and I haven’t spent any money. Oh… it turns out the entire amount is fees for auto-payments that never went through- $35 each time, and each one was tried twice. In one day, between the YMCA and Netflix, $140 in bank fees piled up. No money was spent, and it wasn’t my fault, but now they say I owe them this cash. In fees. For electronic failed transactions. I cannot wrap my brain around how the YMCA could try and charge me twice in one day for my membership and accrue $70 in fees. For nothing!
Nevermind that the YMCA isn’t even supposed to be charging me for membership because of the work I’ve done for them! That’s another story entirely- and one I can’t look into until I figure the rest of this crap out.
So I have to leave Target, because, oh, I have no money! Literally- nada. It was merciful at least that I didn’t find this out with a cart at the checkout line. So there’s that right? Abby starts to whine that she wants this and that, and I admit being too sharp with her and dragging her to the car, while I tried to get hold of my bank again. One of the reasons I was at Target was because Bean broke the PC mouse, and without a mouse, the computer is useless.
I figure I’ll go by my ex-mother-in-law’s house and see if she has a spare mouse, since buying one is now out of the question. I’m also hoping maybe I can get some idea if there is any child-support coming. I know- it’s a pipe dream, but a girl has to have some hope to hang her hat on, right?
While I am there with her, my phone buzzes, and it’s my Relief Society president, wondering where Jeffrey is. OH CRAP! Scout camp starts today, and he was supposed to be at the stake center 20 minutes ago. I completely forgot. The phone jammed between my shoulder and ear, I call Jeffrey and tell him to get his scout shirt on and get ready, that I’m coming to get him. By the time I shove princess Abby Vader back in the car and get home, the carpool to camp has left- but they left directions shoved in my screen door. I pack a sack lunch and dinner for Jeff and throw everyone back in the car and off we go. Forty minutes late, we arrive at Camp Sekani to a dusty melee and a traffic jam of all the other parents late for dropping off their spawn.
On the way home, we got caught in rush hour traffic, and Bean started to freak out when we had to sit through a green light for the third time without moving. Then we got caught at a freight train crossing. What should have taken 15 minute took almost an hour, and by the time we got home, my bank had closed.
So. No child support. No student loads. Buttloads of bank fees. Single mama, full-time student, three kids. Can’t get blood from a turnip, right? What am I supposed to do?
Mercifully, I picked up a freelance design job this week (thank you Jami) and once that’s done, I’m wide open if anyone is dying for original artwork. Hopefully I can make an appearance at my bank tomorrow and talk the out of some of those fees and get things back on track. Then I have to go out to the school and try and shake the trees there. Did I mention that my advisor (and I use the term loosely) had me take two classes I didn’t need? And that I don’t have my classes for fall yet?
Then, my mother-in-law brought over a very complicated Transformer toy for Bean which has had him crying and throwing things since we got home. He’s sitting outside my room wailing, and I’ve had to take the damn thing away from him to keep him from hurting himself.
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Jeffrey gets out of scout camp at 8:30 tonight on the other side of town. Did I mention Bean and Abby go to bed at 8:00? This day needs to end. Right now. This too shall pass… right? Right?
So get this. It’s 8:30. I’m on the phone with a friend, confident in the arrangements I’ve made to get Jeffrey home via carpool. The other line rings, and it’s my son- in tears and terrified because he’s the only one left at camp- WAY ACROSS TOWN, in the now DARK. He’s borrowed a cell phone from a camp worker who was directing traffic, he chokes out between sobs “Where are you mom?!” Is there any worse sound to a mother?
Frantically grabbing Bean and Abby I throw everyone in the car and speed, quite literally, off towards camp, cursing under my breath. As I’m merging on the freeway, my phone rings again, and it’s another mother from church, and she has grabbed Jeffrey. She says she will bring him home, and relief floods me that he is safe and not alone.
Pulling back into our driveway, Bean is in the backseat, and decides now is the right time to scrub his consciousness. “MOM!” he says. “There’s something I was afraid to tell you, but I think now is a good time, since Jeff is okay.” Oh dear Lord…. I steel myself. “Yes Bean? What happened?”
“Well, you know the TV downstairs?” He says. Um, the big one in the armoire? Why yes, I do know that TV…
“What happened Bean?” I am calm I am calm I am calm…
Getting out of the car and hitching his pajamas up, he says “Well, it’s kind of on the floor now. It kind of fell. But don’t worry! It still works!”
Exhale. “Bean, what happened, and why didn’t you tell me? It still works?” I key the back door and the three of us head downstairs to the TV room, and sure enough, face down on the floor, talking importantly to itself, in our very large TV. It’s all I can do to upend the thing, and all I can think of is what if it had fallen on him.
I sit him in my lap and tell him he is way more important than any TV and that he should always tell me if something like that happens. How did I not hear it? I wonder.
As I’m wrangling it back into the armoire, I notice all the wires and cables leading from the cable box and the dvd player are neatly snipped, right at the connectors. “Bean? Tell me what happened? What were you doing? Why are these cables all cut?” Calm. Calm. Calm.
“I didn’t do it mom!” He won’t look at me. I am so weary I want to cry, but I have to deal with this. “Bean, tell mama the truth. It’s way better to tell the truth- I will always forgive you. I love you even when you do bad things.”
He looks at me, shaggy red hair and growing-in big-kid teeth. “Mom, if I were going to do that, it would have been because I was looking for a place to plug in my headphones., and I would have put the scissors right over here.” He points to my easel, where the orange handled scissors are sitting. Exhale.
Cut to the kitchen, where I am sweeping up the detritus of the day and waiting for Jeffrey to arrive via rescue carpool. Bean comes in and hugs me. Its unusual for him to offer contact, so I know something is up. “Mom. I’ve decided to forgive myself for my fibs and ask you to do the same. It says in the church magazine when I lie that I need to forgive and not do it anymore. That’s what I’ve decided to do.”
And with that he went in his room and crawled in bed. I stood in the kitchen holding the broom, staring after him, wondering what else life has in store for me that I could never, in my wildest dreams, have imagined.