The best organized catastrophe EVER!!!!!!

It is August the 22nd…a week since we started moving into our new home.  We are firmly planted here, and hanging loosely like vines in the jungle at the old place.  The first part of that sentence is the good news…the second part – ah! – that is the good part of the story.

On Thursday, Queequeg and I started moving things from up the slope to down the slope.  Ever so slowly, of course, especially as the day progressed and the humidity and heat started climbing.  At the time, I thought I was making significant progress, but I now realize I was fooling myself into very positive thinking.  J watched the old house slowly loosing its contents into the new one, but he was not yet impressed with our efforts…

On Friday morning, while Dada went to pick up the truck, I did yet another bunch of trips.  These amounted to as much as a middle-aged woman who seems to be suddenly suffering from seasonal allergies (to only God knows what!) could possibly contribute to the cause.  Once the truck arrived, things started moving quickly.  J’s bedroom and TV room got set up as quickly as we could get them organized.  J, as usual, is priority A Number 1 in these circumstances because you want the autistic individual to arrive from school to find a picture of what their new equilibrium will look like.

Boxes streamed into the garage as quickly as our middle-aged bodies could carry them.  Notice a theme there???  I’ve mentioned middle-age more than once already.  There’s a reason for that.

At 2:40 I walked down to wait for J.  On the way to the corner I crossed paths with Dada.  Where had Dada been???  Well, dealing with Catastrophe #1: his boss called in a panic needing him to run down to the office.  I will tell you this much: he didn’t smell good (it was very humid and hot,) he looked scruffy, and he was already pretty winded from all the back and forth with our belongings.  I didn’t look much better, and it was about to get worse.  While I waited on the corner, Dada rushed home and hooked up J’s new TV.

The sun wasn’t just shining brightly; the sun was pounding heavily on the asphalt, the black capri-length leggings and three-quarter sleeve top I was wearing (WHAT was I thinking????,) and I was sweating -and forgive the image but this comes from an acquaintance in grad school and fits rather well- “like a whore in church on a Sunday.”  If I was wilting before, I was melting by now.

I saw the regular bus roll up.  I saw the UPS truck come and go.  I saw the FedEx truck.  I waited.  I saw my shadow start stretching farther and farther past the 3 o’clock mark (what?  You never read an old Boy Scout Handbook from the 40s in your spare time???)  I waited.  I was upset, indubitably, but I didn’t really start to panic until the elementary school bus rolled up to our corner and children started emerging.  J’s school releases at 2: 30, and the elementary school closest to us releases after 3:30.  Panic started to set in; without knowing it, I was in the throes of Catastrophe #2.

Dada arrived, concerned for the prolonged absence and wondering what could be holding us up.  I was angry because it took him that long to get worried, because he WALKED rather than drove the car, and because when I am worried (and I WAS worried) I tend to get very, very cranky.  Since he had the cell phone, and had left it in the car, he had to walk back to check for messages.  By the time he got back, I was breathing heavily, and not in a good way, so I sat in the car and held my head in my hands.  I was worried about J.  I figured something horrible must have happened for them to be nearly an hour late from their scheduled arrival time.

The bus pulled up shortly before 10 to four.  A medical emergency for one of the bus ladies had prompted a serious delay, and they’d tried to reach us, but the cable company had messed with our phone line (but not helped with its transfer to the new house) and we were in a bubble of silence.  I breathed deeply…

We gave J the key to the new house, and in he walked.  Like the subject of a home remodel show, J was duly impressed with his new surroundings and the familiarity that had crept into it with our boxes and packages.  When he got to his bedroom (his big, comfortable bedroom,) he happily announced that he was changing his clothes and, like a duck to water, he took to the new walk-in closet, additional floor space and ease of access to all his things.  He inspected it all with the eye of one who appreciates being able to get out of bed without immediately walking into the closet door.

By the time we reached the TV room downstairs, J was clearly very much at home.  His snack box sat on top of the fridge, his dishes were stored in the cupboard next to it, and the rest was easy to figure out with the cupboards, cabinets and all else that he requires for his daily routine.  Opening the door to the TV room was the cherry on top of the sundae of his joy: if the world had turned to color and Munchkins had started singing right then and there, you’d think he’d crash-landed in that place beyond the rain…

You might recall that the plan was for J and TGG to share the basement-level TV room.  It’s not happening.  TGG was promptly disabused of this notion by J.  The Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland was never as comfortable or as imperious.  The giant bean bag is a centerpiece, the place where J goes to lounge and watch TV.  Instead of moving closer to the TV or turning the volume louder (as he did in the old living room,) J sits in the middle of the room, with the volume at a discrete level, and we occasionally go to check on him only to find that he is happier than we could have imagined.

On Saturday we put together his coffee table, and he had a wonderful time doing this.  I am always amazed by his dexterity with tools and hardware.  All his things are carefully and neatly stored around the room, and he allows you a brief visit, a quick storybook, a hug and a pleasant chat, but then you’re out of there…the King of All Wild Things is happy in his corner, and don’t you forget it…

What I refer to as Catastrophe #3 is that I got sick.  Galloping allergies to some sort of airborne element that cannot possibly be dust because we have lived in a construction zone for two years and I would have noticed any allergic reaction by then.  I am thinking that it’s either the newness of the carpet, the vegetation behind the house, or just that I’m allergic to moving.  Catastrophe #4 is that my arthritis has decided to put on a show of force.  Last night I was anxiously waiting for TGG to get home from work so he could pop open a can of corn for me.  Catastrophe #5 is that we didn’t find anyone to help with the washer and dryer so that will get done this weekend…and I will then be doing laundry until -quite likely- next year.  Catastrophe #6 is that TGG and Dada are basically unavailable to help me until the weekend.  TGG has work and school, and Dada has his training classes for staff.  I have been trying to get things done on my own…

But J is happy.  And, all in all, things went rather well.  THIS looks more like home.  THIS is getting settled.  There are small pockets of chaos here and there, but that is to be expected.  We know that there will be a period of settling in and getting comfortable, and we know that -as of this moment- our bodies are too sore and our brains are too addled to fully appreciate that we’ve managed a rather monumental task.  In the midst of all these catastrophes, we’re doing OK, except for the Biggest Catastrophe of All: the realization that we are now suffering from Murtaugh Syndrome (you know…Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon???)…we are TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT!

And my creaking bones, aching muscles, addled brain and hot flashes go back to the grind…

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