At Extended Stay, I checked in with desk clerk–started to unload, and had to take several things up first (5 trips in elevator) before I noticed that there was a luggage cart in front with a tattooed guy leaning on it talking to another guy. “Oh a luggage cart!” I said. “I need that.” He said he only had a couple of things and rushed off to get his task done so I could have it.
Meantime, I wanted to get the cats out of the Cherryot so they’d be safe and I’m sure they needed some freedom. That cardboard box in back of crate with litter was bound to be hard to lay next to.
I was trying to figure out what to do to get the cats up there safely. I also knew there was a limit of one animal, and so I had to be careful they didn’t see two.
I emptied a small gym bag and tried to put Monkey in it, but she doesn’t like being trapped, and I felt awful that I’d have to zip it up and scare her, and it was a small bag; I was stressing her more. So I dragged out the big red rolling suitcase, emptied it, and put her in it fairly easily, and then rolled her down the walk, through the breezeway, onto the elevator, all the while reassuring her in a sweet voice that it was okay and I was right here and we’d be in the room soon, etc. I always talk to my cats, explain things to them, as if they completely understand the English language.
I put Monkey in the bathroom and closed door, went to get Biscuit. She’s always harder to manage because these travel scenarios wear her out. Again, I discovered she was lying in the litterbox and wouldn’t come out. She did that on my move here in 09. I had to move a bunch more things, just to get that huge crate turned so I could get the door open wide enough, because I had to reach all the way to the back to get her. Monkey just came out when I asked her to, and then I just picked her up. With Biscuit, it was another story. I would have to be aggressive and just grab her and poke her in the case, because no amount of quiet explanation would get her to do what I needed her to do. And I had to be careful she didn’t slip out the door of Cherryot and run away. Horrifying thought for me.
SO she was in there and I asked her not to cry too loud so anyone would hear. Just as we reached the elevators, and passed a maintenance guy, she cried once, and I hurriedly coughed rudely continually, punching the elevator button. Finally the car came down and I rolled her in, and had another soothing conversation with her, for what it was worth. Even told her she was a pretty kitty and mommy loved her very much.
Got Biscuit in the bathroom with Monkey, and knew Monkey would console her, while I went to get the rolling cart and unload the rest. It still wasn’t there.
Mind you, there was a memory foam mattress rolled up and attached to the luggage rack of the Cherryot, along with the litter box with that 35 pound container of litter, and couple other things. I didn’t want someone to steal it. The bed, not the litter. My friends know that my foamy bed is as crucial to me as breathing, because I can’t sleep on anything else without my back going out.
Finally I procured the luggage cart from Tattoo Guy and began loading it up. Hard to do, since most things were not neatly arranged in one size liquor boxes or crates. Had to be creative with stacking since a couple of the plastic tubs had no lids. I had to pull them out of the garden shed thing off the back porch of house and clean them out. Anyway, it took about 4 trips to get it all up there.
The entire time, I am limping because of my injured knee (thanks to my Awful X– as in previous, X–as in crossed out, gone, no longer applicable), and my hands were so sore, and my spine felt like it had hot bricks for discs, my feet were throbbing, and my neck was making threats to rupture a disc again. If that happened, I was down for the count, and I would be completely immobilized. I hoped for good fortune and carried on.
Once in the room, I had intended to go straight to bed, too tired to shower. But then I had to find things and then I started unpacking in increments, and then before I knew it, I had unpacked everything, maybe it was just leftover nervous energy.
During this time, I was on the phone with my best friend Justi, and my spirits were considerably higher because I was allowing myself to feel relieved that I was somewhere I could rest. Make camp. I told her about the fine art of controlling a loaded luggage cart; it likes to spin around at will like a go cart with one bad brake.
Then I can’t avoid the need for food any longer and about 12:30, I hoped there was a drive thru open. Problem was, I seemed to be in a section of the city that was a fast food dead zone. I drove North on Wadsworth, and saw nothing. I was going to use my Mango fast food app on my iPhone to find it but realized that app was lost in the last screwy update I did where I forgot to select to save apps. I searched it and got it again, while still talking to her, and she was on her computer trying to find me a place to get food too. Then I said I just wanted a cheeseburger and fries. Small. My stomach was shrunk. I had already lost five pounds from stress and exertion in the last 6 days.
“There’s an Arby’s on Jewel,” she offered.
“I don’t want Arby’s, I want a cheeseburger. I’m looking for McDonalds and Burger King, because I knew they were open late, too.”
“There’s also a Wendy’s on Jewel,” she added.
“I don’t want Wendy’s because I want fries and I don’t like their fries. Too fat.”
There was much I needed to do–I didn’t have time to actually let the emotional aspects kick in. I was afraid I wouldn’t get things done if I was blubbering like a two year old. I had paperwork from the court and advocacy group people to go through, information to fill out, notes to take in Daytimer, figuring out my next steps and priorities. I still had bills I needed to take care of, (that my Awful X had failed to pay, though she had used my money to pay HERS for about 4 months while she stayed unemployed). I had to update my bank account info before the bills came due, etc. I started my water distiller and drank what was left in previous jug, so dehydrated. My eyes were bloodshot, and I looked terrible in the bright light of that hotel bathroom mirror. So I graced my best friend with a photo of that and MMS’d it to her.
I looked like I’d been dragged behind a horse. Or at least my EYES had been dragged behind a horse. Or maybe a goat. A large, feral goat.
On the TV the size of a breadbox, I’m sort of watching some movie called Teen Witch about a coven of high school witches. Ironically it was partly about them discovering their powers to take vengeance on those who had wronged them, and I wished fervently for a little of that craft. Then I started watching another movie and eventually fell asleep.
Next morning, fire alarms go off, pulling me out the door onto the balcony muttering what the fuck? It stopped and I went back to bed, then the alarms went off again, just as I was dozing. I went back outside to look around to see if there was any smoke or firetrucks and heard a guest below me mutter What the fuck? which made me think that was quite the appropriate response. My nerves were raw by now, this 6th day of the debacle, with 3 hours sleep, on top of 2 on top of 2 on top of 3, on top of 5 on top of NONE and none. I was certainly not going back to sleep now. I checked to see if my direct deposit had been transferred to the new account from the old one, and it hadn’t. I’m getting more and more stressed. I called the bank and they said it would happen within an hour. So I got dressed and went to the front desk to arrange to pay for another day.
Enter, stage right, the archetype of Rude Managers. Anne, I think her name was. I had missed checkout time at 11. And because my money didn’t transfer to my new account yet, I explained and said the bank was correcting, would be ok within an hour, but she said I had to be out by 3p. She wouldn’t let me pay for another day, even with a credit card, she said I had to pay for the week. I said the agreement I had made with them on the phone was to pay for two nights and then pay for a whole month, for this month and then May, until my apartment was available. She said I had to pay for the week. I said I could pay her cash or use a credit card for one more night and then she’d have over a thousand dollars for me to stay the month, and she wouldn’t budge, she said get out by 3p. Now, this was particularly hurtful and aggravating, because I had explained my predicament to her on the phone, and she knew I was escaping a bad situation. Before walking out the door I said “Just remember, lady, Karma is a castrating bitch.”
SO then I’m freaking out, because now, not only am I dealing with the bank glitch, but having to load the Cherryot AGAIN, with no place to go afterward. I’m not good at feeling helpless or trapped, and this was exactly that situation, in spades.
At Justi’s counsel, I called the Apartments office to see if they had a different apartment that would be available NOW, and if not, a month to month one until the other one was ready. If not, where would they suggest I stay? I was trying to go to the bank while talking to Justi and got so disoriented, I didn’t know where I was. Took me 10 minutes to get the map to make sense on my phone. All the while I’m chanting, I am stronger that her (D), I will get through this. I will be okay. And then I was angry that I was dealing with all this because of her, and for the first time in my life, I used that word I hate so much. I shouted, “She is such a cunt!”
Then I had to pull over and take a deep breath, because I was losing it and I had to keep control in order to get myself out of this situation. I continued to chant I’m okay…I’m strong enough to deal with this, it’s just temporary, I’m okay…
I went to the bank, and they were so nice. They did a credit memo, based on my direct deposit, and made $2000 available to me, in cash. I’m standing there at the counter at the bank, tears streaming down my face, my body throbbing, my knee killing me, desperately needing a drink of water, food and some sleep. I redeposited enough cash to cover the 200 dollar security fee, and $20 application fee I wrote temporary checks for at the Apartments, plus some fees for the cashier’s check. Traded out the other cash for that. I kept hearing that song in my head by Billy Pilgrim: Got my own falling-apart-ment….
SO I left with a sealed envelope of $2000 and felt slightly better. Except for the possibility of being mugged. That would have been the first horseman of the Apocalypse. I tried not to think about it. At least I had money. I’d be very careful. I also had the $300 from pawning my guitar–which i was loath to do, as it is beloved, and a symbol of happier days when i was playing and singing with my band in front of a receptive audience… But strangely, having cash is not always helpful these days. Most people won’t take it. And temporary checks are shunned. And I didn’t have a debit card yet to get to my funds that way.
As it turned out, with the apartments, I didn’t even have to go to the second choice of a month to month or third choice of asking them to refer me elsewhere, because they had an apartment. It was a 2br, with a private garage – it cost more of course, but just as Justi said, I make more now and can afford it. Plus when I get my storage, I’ll have an extra $135 from not paying that; and my Cherryot pays off in May, so starting in June, that will be an additional $330 per month I’ll have. I was relieved, though still shaky and skeptical…
I spoke with Shelia (had spoken to Kayla earlier too) they all knew the story of what had happened. When I got to the Apartment office, Kayla came out of the far office with her arms wide, saying “You poor thing! Come here, you need a hug~!” and she gave me a big hug. It almost made me cry. She said not to worry, I was home now, and everything would be okay. That also nearly made me cry, because it did feel like home. All the things home is supposed to feel–safe, pleasant, convenient, with supportive people around you.
Before any business was done, Shelia came over to sit with us and the two asked me details of what happened. I talked about more of what I’d been through and details about D’s arrest and that night when she threw the gun in koi pond. They were both rapt. It was like sitting with two old friends. They know I’m gay and they don’t care. They were supportive and encouraging. It felt so good and went a long way to relieve my stress. I said I would be writing all about it. Kayla said I ought to do a memoir about it. I said I already have a memoir about events 10-14 years ago; I had hoped never to have this kind of thing to write about again, at least not if it was nonfiction, and happening to me; but this is another kind of drama that would work as a memoir, yes. Or I could just make it fiction. They both said they would LOVE to read it.
Kayla rushed through the application process. When I went out to get my banking information, I grabbed the new final proof for Achilles Forjan and gave it to Kayla. She was genuinely thrilled and said she couldn’t wait to read it.
So then, I went back to the bank to get a cashier’s check, and re-deposit the 200 and 20 to cover the temp checks I wrote for security deposit and app fee, and trade off cash for cashier’s check. Always nice to be recognized and waved over to a clerk at your bank–but I wish it wasn’t because I had been in there earlier in crisis mode.
All this, I did without a single Xanax.
I headed over to my new place, feeling relieved, stunned, exhausted and a little happy, all at the same time. I kept thinking, and miles to go before I sleep…