Lessons

My power was out for more than 12 hours yesterday. I didn’t know this until I arrived home. I didn’t arrive home at the usual time, as I have been trying to sell some things on resale boards on Facebook (a similar Hell to Craigslist), and had arranged to meet two buyers for two items yesterday after picked up my son from school. Just be patient, I told him, we will be home soon and then maybe we can watch a movie or something.

He’s been tired since the time change. Maybe fighting a cold as well, as he was coughing a couple of days, so I already felt guilty dragging him around the southwest side of Cleveland in my quest to make a few bucks by selling my used crap.

GPS took me to the first location. The woman buying the item had said she was working, she works at a hair salon and could I just drop it off there and I said ok since it wasn’t that far. But I was unfamiliar with the area so relied on the GPS. Which took me to an apartment complex, bordered by other apartment complexes. No commercial buildings anywhere. I pulled over and texted her for clarification. No answer. I waited a couple more minutes and texted again that we would be leaving soon, no answer.

I had to meet the next buyer in about 20 minutes, so texted him I was on the way to the meeting site (the PD parking lot) as scheduled, and to please text if he wasn’t going to be there. He texted back as I was driving there saying something came up, asked if we could meet tomorrow. I mean, really? No, I told him, I have plans tomorrow. He said he understood if I wanted to go on to the next buyer. So I pulled over to try to update the posts in four different resale boards since the buyers hadn’t worked out. I replied to the next in line person and there was no response. Now I’m getting pissed, and D is tired, and we’re both hungry.

This is when D decided to spill the gatorade he was drinking in the backseat. So that didn’t go over very well, and I was mad and chastised him. I poured the rest of it out on a lawn and tried to set the bottle upright in the back seat on the floor so whatever dribbles remained wouldn’t spill all over the carpet.

I gave up on all the sellers, decided I would revise the posts to FCFS (first come, first served) and have people come to the apartment – I would just meet them in front so they wouldn’t know which building I was in. So I updated all the posts to FCFS and then we drove home.

When we got out, I noticed all the buildings were dark, which is particularly unusual this week since 90% of the 900-plus units in my complex have Indian tenants and yesterday was the fourth day of Diwali. “Oh NO,” I said, quickly realizing all the food in the fridge that would have to be thrown away. D and I were looking at the building and I was just stymied trying to figure out what the hell we were going to do now, with no heat and no food and goddammit fuck. A neighbor was getting into his car and said he had had enough and was going to stay with a friend. The power had been out since about 7am he said. OH MY GOD, so also the freezer stuff would likely have to go as well. I was despondent. And all the goddamned mess with the sellers that had just transpired, and I was just so done. I had to think, ok, first things first, have to get the kid something to eat. So we started driving to the nest of chain restaurants that occupy our neighborhood since there are no good independents around there. I took him to the Olive Garden, out of desperation and figuring they’d have a halfway decent kids meal that they could deliver to us fairly quickly, and called his Dad. He was still stuck in traffic, but said he probably could take him overnight. But he’d have to stop at the store to get stuff for his breakfast and lunch, as he was also running low on food. He said he’d keep me posted. My Mom also said we could come up and stay at her place, but it’s kind of far from where we live, and D never sleeps well over there. And we would certainly be late for drop off the next morning. Ugh.

D played with the placemat and I drank wine and updated FB about my troubles. Several kind friends offered their home or food or whatever we needed, but I just needed to vent and figure out how much stuff I’d have to throw away. Like throwing dollar bills right into the garbage.

When we got back home from the restaurant, his Dad was on his way over. The power had come back on but D really wanted to stay with his Dad anyway so I said ok. I was irritated about the whole evening and yelled at him about him dropping his crap as soon as he walks in, thereby making an obstacle course for me to try to get in the door, and more stuff for me to pick up. I pleaded for him to think about where he was leaving stuff and how inconsiderate it was to expect me to just pick up every single thing he dropped wherever he dropped it. He looked at me and I knew he was really ready to go to Dad’s, and I felt bad.

He pointed out that all the clocks were flashing. I took a deep breath and asked if he wanted to help me reset them and learn how each one works. He said no at first but then said yes. So we did the three clock radios; I explained what each button said and he held down buttons and advanced the minutes and hours until we got the correct time. And then showed him how to reset the clocks on the stove and microwave. I reminded him he had math homework to do and he should do that until his Dad showed up and if he needed any help to let me know, and I sat with him while he did it.

After he left, I took a phone call that made me laugh, gave me a chance to rant, and to feel a lot more ok about things. I opened my mail and found that a dear friend had sent a card to me that meant so much, it made me cry. “You’re doing a great job,” it said, in essence, “Keep up the good work.”

I needed that.

These aren’t huge problems, and I am ok. I had the money to take my son out to dinner in a car that works properly, and a place to send him so he could sleep warm and safe. I have friends that would take me in if I needed the same. Really, what’s a few groceries in the scheme of things?

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