Tuesday, December 11, 2007

imitation of life

Min got back yesterday. Back, you say? Yes, back from a 15-day jaunt to Tucson, because her niece Wendy was finally released from prison! For those of you just joining, she did a 7 year stint for vehicular manslaughter as a result of DUI, and in Arizona, normally the minimum – even for first timers like Wendy – is 25 years. She had to bargain to get 7. Anyway, because of M’s lack of current photo ID, her options dwindled down to Greyhound. Technically they require it too, but I said, ‘Let’s just go down, buy a ticket and see if it’s really required.’ Turned out no. I even asked, just to be sure. Company line – nyah nyah!

I'm glad she's here for many reasons, the least of which is calming Pearl (so anxious, that one) and apparently instigating movement on my job prospects. 4 pings in the last day, after weeks of nothing. Hello, and thank you!

And now, back to recapping. We start at Tuesday, November 6th, a day of being proven by fire if ever there was one.

11.6 – Set wakeup call for 7am because we have to 1) get up 2) eat (thank you, room service!) 3) get pearl to the groomer and 4) get to the house by 830am and wrap up/grab our last few things because 5) at 9am the cleaners arrive.

So, we ate, zoomed and made it to the house by 845. Thankfully (sort of), the cleaners didn’t arrive til 930 because we really did need that time to pack up the cats (who spent the first of many semi-quiet nights in a bathroom), our remaining crap and head out. M talked to the cleaners while I wrapped up, then we were off on our day of fiscal adventures.

First, though, it was back to the hotel to shower, pack that shit up and park it with the valet until we were ready to depart for the day – theoretically, around 2pm. Planned to go the bank after we checked out but hey! It’s time to meet the landlords now AND we don’t have the truck moved yet.

Yeah hi. 24 foot truck aqui en el stupido drivewayo. However, we (I can’t remember whose idea this was) had brilliantly thought ahead and called Adrian, man who made sure our shit fit in that beast, could come and back that beast up. You have no idea how freaked I was about fucking up the stone entrance to the driveway (or damaging the truck), not to mention how god-awful long it’d take. So we called, asked, do you drive trucks too? Would you drive ours out and down the street for $20 (better than $10/hr day before)? Why sure!

However, Adrian was running late and wouldn’t be there til a little after 12, and our walkthrough with the landlords was at 12. Sigh. Ok. Oh, and the cleaners, who said the house would just take 2 hours tops, they still hadn’t called to give us our 30 minute ‘almost finished!’ call and yes, it was 1145am now.

Sigh. I feel so tired, just remembering all this. We get to the house right before 12. I’m doing something – god knows what – while m checks with the cleaners to see how it’s going. Maybe I called Adrian. Anyway, cleaning guy says all is well, almost done, maybe by 1230? But also btw, did you know the kitchen sink doesn’t drain?


The sink is full of about 4 inches of dirty water. M says, when you were cleaning, did you put everything in there? Where’s your mop bucket?

Bucket? No no no, look at the disposal, it doesn’t work, see, it’s not my fault. Cleaning guy flicks the disposal switch for emphasis.

Well I could’ve told you that was broken, but the sink's always drained fine as long as you don’t, say, fill it with crap. And having a bucket, if you’re a cleaner, is that rocket science? As is calling to say, hi, the sink doesn’t work and by the way we’re running late? What do I know though?

M runs to the hardware store to get a bucket and something to clear the drain. I wait with much joy for Adrian, and the landlords, to arrive at our still slightly dirty house. Landlords arrive about 12, and I ask them to come back about 1230 when the house should be done for reals. I say nothing about the drain.

A few minutes later, cleaning guy comes out – presto! Drain has cleared. Huh? How? Apparently he pushed on it (demonstrates with both hands for emphasis) a few times and boom! Down it goes.

Well ok then. I try to call m, tell her nevermind but reception’s always been shitty around that house so I don’t get thru. I go and check on the kitties in the car, a shady spot down the way. They’re fine. I come back and the landlords are back, too. We talk a minute until min arrives, and now the cleaners really are done. I write a check while min goes and does a quick check of their work.

Now the landlords. Turns out the wife used to be a professional housecleaner. Oops. So she notices every bloody thing that these cleaners missed (which turns out was quite a bit). It’s kind of amazing a) how many places dirt can hide and b) how you don’t notice that when you’re exhausted beyond belief and c) this is still probably the cleanest the house has been in years. But we trudge along through Nitpick City, me figuring we’ll get nothing back in our deposit. Meantime Adrian arrives, so I go out to greet him, show him where to park his car, the truck, and then he heads out to repark his car.

I head back inside to find m almost (and moments later, truly) crying. I can tell there’s been more tsking and m has taken it personally (sort of hard not to) plus hi, we’re a little stressed. Wife pipes up – I’m not upset with you, it’s these cleaners!
I think, yeah but if that fucks our deposit (can you say ‘foreshadowing’?) then that’s still bad for us, so same difference in the end. But what I say, while holding a sobbing m, is, I know, but this is just the straw. There’s the trouble with the bank, she lost her wallet, plus regular moving stress – this is just the straw. M quiets, and the landlords become super sweet, and then I go back out to help guide Adrian with the truck.

Landlord Husband comes a minute later, helping to stop traffic/guide on the other side of the street, but seriously – that $20 I spent to have Adrian back that truck out? Best $20 ever. And I said as much to Husband the TWO MINUTES LATER that Adrian had taken, start to finish, in getting that truck out and driving down the street. Sure, it was a 3 point turn. It was a narrow-ass driveway. But a 3 point turn compared to my, oh, 20 point turn? Oh god. So good.

By about 130 we about wrapped up the walkthrough. Apparently there were only minor gripes, so not much impact to our deposit. fine. At this point I almost could care less, I was so tired. As we’re about to leave, I get a call from wamu. Huh? You know this is fucked up, what you’re doing? You’re going to look into it and get back to me asap? Well thank you! Since my account’s due to be closed tomorrow, thanks!

Meantime m got the check from Husband for the extra $180 in rent that we’d paid, and off we went to cash that, plus hopefully get more scrilla, at the bank. Once at said bank, it turned out that without some photo id, there was no way for m to withdraw funds. However, the manager took a little pity on her and agreed to cash the $180 check.

Then I said fine, time for plan b – writing a check on m’s account, to me, and cash it at the Cash Checking Miracle Station. Drove over, walked in, checked for a $ limit on 2 party checks (none) and then went out and had m write a $1500 check. Went back inside, flashed my id, waited, waited…and about 3pm, was denied my miracle. Why? ‘the bank just said no – no specific reason given’. Super.

Well, maybe the bank will cash it for me. It’s her account there, we just talked to them, so if we go back, maybe they’ll give it to me (like this) even though I can’t use my bank card as a form of id since my account’s all flagged and shit.

Turns out that is true. However you also need a secondary id – only from the approved list – and I had none on me. In the truck, sure. Probably right over the cab.

Fuck. Meanwhile, m had wandered off, it seems, and was talking to a banker at a Real Desk. Not knowing what was going on and figuring it’s best to stay out of it, I sat down for about 30 seconds before m called me over. She explained a bit, but very briefly and cryptically. The banker was just as forthcoming, and apparently on intermittent hold with someone in the scrilla industry.

Which is why I spent the next 30 minutes in relative silence and confusion. Periodically I’d say something little to m, or the banker would, but I could tell we were all in some sort of fiduciary trance. Meantime I kept trying to come up with other ideas to get us out of town safely, then rejected each idea a few minutes later. Panic pretty much coursed through my veins though because at this point we were homeless, with 3 animals, a car, a gigantic truck, and no way to access funds in EITHER of our bank accounts. Sure, when a replacement bank card came for m in 7-10 days we’d be able to get to her $, but meantime??

Thankfully I never had to figure out how to deal with that because about 440pm, beautiful banker lady (BBL) (hee) finally got fucking wells fargo to confirm, thru wamu’s internal process, payment of the final payroll checks n my account. Which meant wahooo!! I had a working bank account and credit card again. Which meant we had scrilla to spare and could go get pearl before the groomery closed at 5, finally pick up the car tow dolly, and get the hell out of dodge.

I found out later that m had just walked up to BBL, told her our story (top to bottom), BBL said sorry, can’t help. so m pleaded with her, please, couldn’t she just try to look into it? At which point BBL agreed and at the end of that marvelous fiasco, as we were extracting fundage from my account, m told me she’d seen it work in a movie on tv. Best testimonial for life imitating art, ever.

And so it was that after getting pearl, the dolly, and a good, semi-quick dinner at panera bread, we finally and literally hit the road about 730pm. Our first night’s goal was redding and as you might guess, that didn’t happen. Turns out the car dolly has a top speed of 45mph, officially. Unofficially, I’ve seen them go up to 60mph for very limited periods with no problem. But we started at night, and mostly on very bumpy roads, and the noise from it was so loud I thought the car was going to fly right off. Being nighttime, though, I couldn’t tell how much the car was really moving, but since we’d had to keep the cats in the car (in a nicely wedged, oversized kennel), I was freaked out on their behalf.

Couple my anxiety with the Bumpiest Show On Earth and a very exhausted me, and you will get an impromptu stop at a best western in dunnigan around 130am. Luckily the BW had a) wonderfully large but cheap, clean rooms and b) had plentious truck parking, because in my attempt to give myself enough room to swing the truck around (reverse+tow = verboten) in the morning, all the while looking to the right, apparently I needed to look left, too. I discovered this after I parked, exited and found the back of our truck was a mere 12-18 inches from a semi.

I thought about trying to do something about it after we’d gotten checked in, the cats inside, but in the meantime, a truck+horse trailer parked right beside me, leaving NO room to turn, even in the morning. I was pretty freaked, but there was also nothing I could do about it, so I went to bed, hoping for the best tomorrow.


wen said...

dude, my hands were sweating just thinking about the truck extraction in the morning. hope you slept okay. and good thinking on min's part re: the bank! woo!

heather said...

that bank business was truly a miracle.

and i alternated between being a log, and suddenly waking up and (sleepily) panicking about the truck. =)

gs said...

Wow! That wasn't a post. It was an Epic! Move over Illiad.

heather said...

might as well get some writing mileage outta that blasted adventure!

Dharma said...

I too got major mileage(ha!) when telling my moving story as well. It all seems so long ago in some ways. I can't believe I have been in this state for three months now.