Where We Live- and who we live with

Perhaps you’ve noticed that the usual cast of characters has been sort of absent from my entries lately. Let me catch you up.

Rich, aka, FG (fishing guy, as in "gone fishing") has been MIA. No kidding. We moved to Chicago August 10th and on the 12th he took off for Switzerland on business. Then he traveled 31 of the next 44 days which left me not only ceiling high in boxes, sans friends, children or professional life, garden or familiar surrounds- but also essentially single. Alone. In this new place. So I was, shall we say, pissed unhappy. -ier. In theory it wasn’t his fault; he was busy transitioning from his own business to working for an important (in the world of sports and leisure) sports and leisure company- and that took some serious concerted effort on his part. After about two weeks, maybe one, it no longer mattered to me whether he was culpable because it was all, frankly, his fault. But now he’s pretty much back, at least to his regular schedule. And after 48 hours of having him around I remember that I really like him. After 72 hours, I remember that I love him very much. That’s all good news but the unfortunate piece is that he COMES IN THE DOOR remembering that he is madly in lust love with me. So those first 48 hours are awkward, as he paws at me and I bat at him. This weekend I dragged him all over town, since I now know this windy city better than he does. Hell, he’s been in Switzerland and St. Louis. We had a grand time, especially at the zoo. I am applying for docent training so I can stand on this rock outcropping with dead fish and feed the sea lions. It takes a year to learn how to be a docent and that should give you some idea of how much I want to get up close and personal with those guys.

The Snarl. Ms. Independence has been busy working almost fulltime as a hotel concierge while going to school fulltime in environmental science and policy. I have been saying slow down, slow down, slow down but she responds that she is the world’s best example of "idle hands/minds being the devil’s workshop."  This is true. She has that kind of bright person ADD where she loses phones, keys and iPods while growing vast populations of refrigerator- destroying fruit flies the moment she has any spare time.

Well, back last summer she was thinking it was a good idea to move into the brand spankin’ new dorm on USF’s St. Petersburg campus, with a view of Tampa Bay and Al Lang Field (where the Devil Rays spring train) and no refrigerator to destroy. Then somewhere along the way she and her equally feisty girlfriend changed course and decided to rent a really cheap inexpensive house so they could save money while going to college and end up educated AND rich. As though that could ever happen.

So, unbeknown to parental units, these girls went into some ghetto house that didn’t really look ghetto. Actually, it seemed quite nice and spacious but unfortunately it backed onto the alley of St. Petersburg’s biggest crack house. I guess it took those crack heads about 13 minutes to figure out that there were two young women with LAPTOPS living in that house and they busted through the window and came in and helped themselves. Twice. Yes, TWICE, in as many weeks. The second time the Snarl cut her hand, badly, on the broken window glass. The police came and took fingerprints and recommended they move out of Dodge. I think they would have ignored that advice except five p-units came down on them like a ton of bricks and this past week, while I was ostensibly down in Florida picking out tile, I was also convincing my baby that she needed to revert to Plan A, the one that involved a spankin’ new dorm room with a view.

About five minutes ago I got an IM from her saying they were moved into the dorm. I am certain she has no idea, and she will have no idea until she has her own Snarl, the wild imaginings and trembling anxiety a mother can feel when her children are vulnerable. When that happens I will say, "remember that time you and your girlfriend moved in next door to the crack house?"

So, you know, these are the sorts of things that happen in our lives and they are hard to capture in words as they are occurring. But that will bring you up to date a bit, now that Rich is home and Abby is moved and I can find words for all of that. Number One child is, to the best of my knowledge, packing for Spain and doing well. Rich’s girls are also on autopilot for the moment; we got to enjoy the company of the youngest (27) this weekend and his oldest daughter, in California, celebrated her birthday this weekend. She is at an age (31) where you begin to say to yourself, "Say! Is this what I thought my life would look like at age 31?" and the tweaking and tuning begins. Happy Birthday, sweet girl, and welcome to the absolute end of childhood.
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So! Where We Live: you guess where I took this picture. It’s in one of the two places I live…Waterview

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10 responses to “Where We Live- and who we live with

  1. I’m so glad that your daughter is in the dorm where there’s relative safety. There are parts of St. Pete that I surely would not want to be in.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with Al Lang field. I believe the D-Rays have signed a contract with Port Charlotte to do spring training.

  2. Wow! Apartment backing up to a crack house? Did you say to yourself, “WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?” New dorms are great. No fruit flies…. Did you know that fruit flies love pumpkin flowers?

    On my way to southern Illinois in a fast, very fast, trip this next Friday. I am really not looking forward to it at all.

    When you get your gig with the sea lions at the zoo… I’ll be there… There’s always something happening at the zoo!

  3. I don’t think our kids realize how dangerous the world can be; we don’t want them terrified, just realistic. I am a little there with you with Ashley in this house in U District. But at least there are 2 guys living there, and 2 other women so someone is always around.

  4. Thanks for catching us up. Fishing guy better stay close to home for a while, huh? He needs to build up some brownie points, I think. Good for Snarl, realizing she needed to move. All along I thought she lived in your house, but I guess I missed that part. I think the zoo docent job will be perfect for you, Vicki, and that just might get me to Chicago too!

  5. I’m just starting to get an inkling of the horrors that will and do befall the parental mind, so I can only imagine the horror and dismay you must have felt when you found out about your daughter’s new quarters. I’m shuddering from here, and I a) don’t even know your daughter and b) am not even a mother yet.

    It’s gonna get worse, isn’t it? lol

  6. I’m glad the Snarl moved. One of my own snarls was home for the weekend and it was hard for me to refrain from forcing her to sit on my lap and cuddle with me.

  7. Our Vicki, a docent at the zoo? Life is good, indeed!

    That purple martin house would steal anyone’s heart.

  8. According to my mom, there is no end to childhood. I’m 54, and she still calls me everyday to check in. If I have a headache she tells me to take “something” even though she knows I never take anything. Maybe it’s parenting that never ends. Now that our lives can stretch all the way to 80 years long, perhaps 30 is the last reach of childhood for the child. It’s a lengthy incubating adolescence, if it bears impressive adults, it must be time well spent.

    Glad to hear your Rich is home and exploring Chicago with you. I like your docent plans.

  9. No one is going to attempt to guess where this is. So I woll jump in with both feet and say that while it doesn’t look like your house in Florida, hmm…. now I’m chickening out. Answer one question…. does your house in Chicago back up on the Chicago river there (I forget if ithis is the actual name or not, you know the one they dye green every St. Patrick’s Day)?

  10. The Abby story is a story that makes a mother’s heart quiver with anxiety. And then on to imagine all the thigs we do not know (yet). Glad you all made it.

    My girl is starting to talk of her first off-campus apartment when she graduates next spring and the area she is drawn to, while populated with the cool, the hip and the young, is still a hot spot for thievery and muggings. When I point that out, she retorts, “well YOU lived there!” “30 years ago!” I squeal. “And it wasn’t much better then.” and then I get the modified eye roll, less dramatic than the middle-school version, but still communicative.

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