My Son’s Apartment

My son isn’t coming home from college for the summer so we decided to take a trip to see him and bring home anything he wouldn’t need for the next few months.  He lives in an apartment on campus and will have to move out in a few weeks once the spring quarter is over.  Since he has a car this year, we didn’t move him in like we did when he was a freshman and lived in the dorms.  This was our first time seeing his apartment.  The building is pretty new and looks like any other apartment complex except there are signs in the elevator teaching them how to deal with a pesky roommate, signs in the hallway about what to do if your friend is super drunk, and a billboard outside the laundry room reminding them about the dangers of chlamydia.  My son is kind of messy but I hadn’t really worried about him this year because the apartment was expensive but worth it. The laundry is free and they have a housekeeper come in regularly. How bad could it be? I walked into his 4th floor apartment that he shares with 3 other guys and stopped in my tracks.  The units are set up like this. There are 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with a small kitchen and living area. The front door leads right into the kitchen. At this point I had only seen the kitchen, which left me stunned in disbelief.  I thought for sure I would get pink eye. At the very least I had the creeps. The place was gross.  Period. I had a look of horror on my face that I was afraid might become permanent if I stayed in there too long. I turned to look at my husband with my eyes wide and my mouth dropped open. I was speechless. He just shook his head.  The sink was full of dirty dishes. The counters permeated with dried food and unidentifiable stains. The dish towel was stained and crusty and the dish sponge looked like a petri dish, black and torn in half. I didn’t even open the fridge since I can’t remember when my last tetanus shot was. There were 3 trash cans and a cardboard box making a wall between the kitchen and hallway overflowing with trash. No trash bags. No paper towels, napkins, hand soap or common knowledge about virus prevention.  It was disgusting.  We climbed over Mt. Trashmore to get to the bedrooms. I stopped at the bathroom because I had to go.  I quickly decided that I could hold it, possibly forever, thankful that I had c-sections. The bathroom was worse than the kitchen.   Once again there was an overflowing trash can . There was also a black grocery store hand basket in there full of trash. What? Every bottle of shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, shaving cream, Pringles tin used in the last 9 months was still there, empty.  The bar of soap was dry with cracks in it. There were several balled up towels, a few single socks, a wet suit, a belt, 1 shoe, a pencil, a pair of spurs, and 7 rolls of toilet paper on the floor along with so much hair I thought it was a sleeping poodle. Typical for 2 Italian boys sharing a bathroom. Ew. Wait, how often does the housekeeper come? Every few nevers? My son told me that it was a man and he came in to clean every two weeks.  Oh that makes sense. Have you seen him lately?  Did he get lost and die in here? I could totally see that happening and it would explain the smell. Where is the case of Clorox wipes I sent to you?  From there I turned around and climbed into his bedroom. At this point relieved that I could at least see the furniture.  His bed was piled high with unfolded laundry that he said not to touch because he knows what is clean and what is dirty.  Whatever. The floor was filled with papers, sunflower seeds that spilled, and other random things like a giant spatula, 8’ PVC pipes-6 of them, that when I accidentally stepped on them rolled me forward like a conveyor belt, and a broken pool umbrella.  He had a black trash bag full of snacks under his bed that he pulled out and told his sisters to close their eyes and reach inside and grab something.  Only my Little was brave enough to do it since she thinks her brother hung the moon and the stars.  She reached in and pulled out a smashed package of Little Debbie’s Christmas tree cakes. I smacked it out of her hands since it was the end of May and I didn’t want her eating them. He called it his surprise snack bag since you never know what you will get out of it.  Food poisoning.  That is what you’ll get.  I threw the entire bag out into the hallway. It’s last stop before the dumpster. The only clean thing I saw in that whole apartment was the vacuum. I turned it over to check the rollers fearing they had sucked up who knows what in it when I discovered that it was brand new and never been used. Figures. After four loads of laundry, washing both clean and dirty stuff because let’s face it, it all stunk, 2 giant bags of trash from his room and a lot of complaining by me, we were done. Our car was loaded with all of the stuff he wouldn’t need and honestly would never see again once I took it. He’ll forget about it. This isn’t my first rodeo, I’m a mom so I’m good at making stuff disappear and denying it later. We said our goodbyes and headed back down the coast for the dreaded drive back to SoCal. I needed a mani/pedi and therapy. It’s been 2 weeks since our trip to see him. Surely by now his room is a pit again.

Dear California,

Dear California,
I’m writing to you to express my concern about not making Daylight Saving Time permanent. It’s dumb. Here is my argument proving the dumbness of it. Since we “sprung ahead” last weekend, I am a new person. The fact that I am awake and writing this at 8pm is proof enough. Last week I was in my pajamas ready for bed at 5pm, as I was from November until just this week. I even exercised after work today, which in itself, is a miracle. Now I am actually awake and productive for several more hours per day. You know, making hay while the sun shines. My quality of life has improved so much. I don’t feel like I am alone in this and I know that many people would agree with me. It’s hard to live a normal life slinking around in the dark. A few weeks ago my daughter asked me to take her out for frozen yogurt after dinner and I looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. What? It’s dark! I’ve already showered! Are you nuts? Go to bed! It didn’t matter that it was 6:30pm, it seemed like midnight. I feel like I have put up with a lot from you without complaining too much. I pay a lot to live here and quite frankly with the weather you’ve provided in the last few months, you are not holding up your end of the bargain. You haven’t been very good about making decisions about the laws around here so I thought writing to you might help. I don’t know why you have to continue changing the time and ruining our lives every fall, but you need to figure this out. Let’s ixnay changing clocks back for good OK? As of yet, there is no financial gain from controlling our daylight, so let it go. We need our sun. We are not vampires California. They live in Washington.

Sincerely from SoCal,
Amy

The Real ID, My trip to the DMV

I just left the DMV. My license was expiring next month so I decided that when I renewed I’d get the Real ID. From what I’ve heard, once you get the Real ID the government will know your every move, which for someone like me is probably a good thing since I get lost a lot. I mean really who cares? I’m more worried about Siri. Seriously, I dream about something and the next morning my iPhone shows an advertisement for it.

So here’s what happens when you go to the DMV without an appointment. First, you wait in a long line to be directed to the actual line you are supposed to wait in. Then after the second line, you check in and fill out an application with a lot of personal information. I tried to fill it out electronically but I couldn’t figure out the mouse they had. It was a huge ball with buttons all around it so I filled out the paper application instead. Turns out the computer also had a touch screen but I didn’t know that. I had to answer questions like my hair color, weight, and height. My hair color I think is called 4N but I’m not sure why they need to know that. Weight? I thought the weight I had on my current license sounded good, so I just put “same.” I mean do they want my weight with or without shoes? In the morning? What are they asking here? My height is the only question they asked that doesn’t vary almost daily. I finished filling it out and sat down for about 1 minute before my name was called. I was thinking how cool it was that I didn’t have to wait very long. When I went to the window the lady needed clarification about some of my application answers. Seriously? She asked about my hair color and told me I should have put “brown.” Oh. Then she looked at me and looked at my current license and asked if I meant that I weighed the same as 15 years ago when I got my license last. Yes, Janice, that’s what I meant, geez. I sat back down for about a zillion minutes before I finally got called back to another window to finish up. The lady asked for a ton of paperwork proving who I am. I brought everything. Passport, birth certificate, car registration, social security card, several utility bills, marriage license, Costco card, and the results from my latest pap. I think my grocery list was even in there. I was not going to wait there all day just to be told I didn’t have the right stuff and have to come back. I paid the fee and they retook my picture, which is hideous since I wasn’t prepared for it. I didn’t do my hair and I was wearing a shirt that expresses my love for tacos. I don’t think I can even put that picture in my wallet. I don’t want to disrespect Michael Kors like that.

So that was my experience getting the Real ID. We are all supposed to have one by 2020, so I suggest getting it now. Just make an appointment, gather up all of your paperwork, bring hand sanitizer, and you shouldn’t have a problem. In just a few long hours you too can have your Real ID and a virus, just like I do.

It Takes a Neighborhood

It takes a village.  Or at least in my case it took a neighborhood.  Back in the days when I started my day with Mr. Rogers instead of Mr. Coffee, I was fortunate to grow up in a house that resembled Leave it to Beaver.  Dad worked hard and mom stayed home and took care of us and the house, minus the heels and pearls. She was always working while we were outside playing from sun up until the street lights came on and we stayed within earshot of her, or else.  Dinner was always made at home and was served at 6pm.  We played in a giant Pepper tree, used eucalyptus leaves as currency, and had bikes for transportation.  You didn’t need a phone to communicate with us.  The only text message we knew was typing “boobies” on our calculators, and you could find us by seeing which house had a pile of bikes on the lawn.  We had a neighbor that yelled at us whenever we went in her yard, day or night, but all and all, life was easy.

I had a best friend on each side of my house. On one side there was chain-linked fence between our houses.  We started climbing it around 3 years old and stopped the day I got married and left the neighborhood.  Her and I are 10 days apart in age, which I hated that she was older when I was little but am totally cool with now that we are in our 40’s.  Even as a really little kid she had chores to do before playing and I didn’t. I think it was because I am the youngest of 4 and was able to sneak out on chores. She did things like water plants, sweep the pool and wash cars. Every day I waited impatiently for her to get done so we could play, “Ok but Rainbow Brite was hoping to hang out with Teddy Ruxpin so bring him over when you are done.”  

On the other side of my house, on top of a hill, was my other best friend.  She had 6 siblings.  That house always had a lot of people there so adding one more wasn’t a big deal, and they never locked the door.  I used to show up early in the morning and sneak upstairs to wake her up.  Then we’d lie on the floor of her huge family room and watch TV and play board games until everyone else got up.  

All three of us turned out to be successful, hard-working adults and I know that the neighborhood raised us well. I use the lessons I learned as a kid every day raising my own kids.  They know that working hard and having dinner as a family is important, having chores to do as a kid builds adults with integrity, respecting other people’s property is a must, and locking the doors at night is probably a good idea.  

Ice Cream Man!

The 80’s.  The time when a stranger came to your house and offered you ice cream and candy and your parents were cool with it.  Our ice cream man’s name was Danny.  He wore a pinky ring and a short-sleeved button up shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve that he left open to his mid chest.  He had a tattoo of a naked lady on his right arm and wore his dark hair slicked back like Craterface from Grease. We thought he was so cool although looking back, he was probably straight out of prison. 

We would stop what we were doing when we heard the high-pitched jingle of the ice cream truck’s arrival. We’d yell, “ICE CREAM MAN!” and race to find money and catch him even though he drove only about 5 mph. If we missed him as he drove by, we’d wait for when he came back down the road on the other side.  I wasn’t allowed to cross the street so my brother would carry me piggy-backed to the other side so I wouldn’t miss out. We’d impatiently wait in line hopping from one foot to the other trying to avoid burning our bare feet on the hot asphalt as we waited our turn.  I usually got something that had a rock-solid frozen piece of gum in it or a push-up.  It didn’t matter which one I got since it was so hot any ice cream melted all over my dirty hands before I had a chance to finish it. I loved it anyway.

Those were some of my best summer memories although, as a parent, I can’t help wondering what in the world my parents were thinking?  

Cleaning House

My kids hate it when I watch shows like Hoarders and Tidying Up. They know that right after I’ll be on a cleaning rampage and I don’t communicate with our belongings or thank them. I don’t even want to analyze why we have so much stuff. I don’t care. Thanks to Marie Kondo and Gladis the hoarder from Hoboken, I have donated, sold, and trashed most of our stuff. I can host one of those help messy people clean up shows, I totally could. However, I would take it to the next level. I’ll just grab at random items and sling them over my head into a giant pile without much thought. I could do this so easily and the show wouldn’t take up an entire hour. It would be more like 10 minutes. I’ll call it “I’m Throwing Out Your Crap-You don’t need it, it’s gone, get over it.” Tough love. So, hey, if anyone needs help, I’m your girl.