In Memoriam

Warning: this could be triggery for folks regarding cancer and the recent death of a loved one.

Cancer is no respecter of persons.

We all know this intellectually, have probably heard it many times. There are of course some actions that can make a person more susceptible to cancer, and it’s easier to understand those cases, I think. Even so, some chronic smokers never develop lung or throat cancer, and some lifelong sunbathers never evidence even one tiny tumor. But then sometimes a person who has always been health conscious and responsible about lifestyle choices gets whammied, and it makes no sense. It’s hard to process.

One of my moms is gone. Dead. Whammied by cancer. She will never know whether our unborn child is a boy or a girl, will never hold him or her, will never even see a real photo. At least she did get to see the ultrasound images we got this summer.

Kit died two days ago. She had been in hospice care for five or six weeks, and we all knew the end was coming. Twelve days ago we got a call from Matt’s sister, saying their mother was declining rapidly and it was time to come for a last visit if we were going to do so. Twelve hours later, before dawn on Tuesday, we boarded an airplane.

It was a good visit in so many ways. Hard, exhausting, tearful, but Good. Good for my husband to sit with his mother and visit whenever she was awake and coherent. Good for us to be with the family for some of her last days, to walk that path together physically as well as emotionally. Good for Kit to see Mary being herself in her latest toddler phase, to smile at Mary’s antics and get hugs and kisses from her youngest grandchild. Good to be able to tell her we will take care of each other, and it’s okay for her to let go. Good to tell her we loved her, with runny noses and teary eyes. Good to say goodbye as best we could.

Not knowing how short or long a time she had left, and unable to stay indefinitely because of previous obligations, we flew home on Friday. And then we waited.

We found out about the cancer just over 20 months ago. I have a feeling that Matt and I will always remember it because at almost the exact same time that I was admitted to the hospital here in Denver to deliver our first child, Kit was admitted to the hospital in Syracuse, where they ran the first tests that confirmed that the health concerns she’d been having lately were the result of stage 4 ovarian cancer.

It’s not a nice diagnosis. At stage four, ovarian cancer has a very, very small survival rate. They did abdominal surgery to remove as much cancerous tissue as they could, and as soon as she had recovered enough they began a lengthy chemo treatment. The numbers from her bloodwork improved; eventually she was declared “in remission” and treatments stopped. We found out later that the cancer had never actually been in remission; it was resistant to the type of chemo they used, and the numbers had lied. Increasing pain and discomfort put Kit back into active treatment. The cancer was aggressive and resistant to all the treatments they could try. In early July, they did another surgery; its primary objective was successful, but it also confirmed what the doctors feared but could not verify with external scans—the cancer was still spreading, and had reached her liver. Another round of drugs added to the daily doses, a quick switch to yet another type of chemo. A few weeks later, the numbers showed a significant decline, no improvement. She made the decision to stop chemo and switch to palliative care. The family called in hospice.

Calling hospice changes everything. It is a terrifying relief to let go of the dogged determination to beat this thing and instead accept that the end is inevitably near. It is a monumental paradigm shift, and although it brings relief to the patient and the family, it also brings mourning. And the tension of another sort of waiting entirely.

Through all of this, Kit walked with unwavering optimism. Sometimes we worried that this bordered on denial, but on the whole that outlook served her well. Last winter she was able to come celebrate Mary’s first birthday with us; they had a wonderful time playing with Mary’s cupcake together. She and her husband always enjoyed traveling together, and they did not abandon their plans to spend time in Argentina this spring, though of course it had to be fit between cycles of chemo. Matt’s sister accompanied her when we met them in Florida this summer, for Mary to meet Matt’s grandfather and also to take Mary to the beach for the first time. As recently as two weeks before her death, even after they set up hospice care, she was spending time with family out in their small sailboat at their lake house. She wrung as much life as she could out of the time she had left, despite slowly waning energy and strength.

For nine and a half years I’ve told people truthfully that I felt very blessed and lucky about all of my parents-in-law. Having two mothers-in-law had so much potential to be a wretched disaster, but it never was. Although I know she held regrets about some of her choices earlier in life, they helped form the man I married and the entire family I married into (and trust me, it’s a big one), and it is a good family. Kit got to see all three of her kids grow into stable, caring, productive adults with loving marriages and growing children.

She had a wide and genuinely varied circle of good friends. I honestly never knew what kinds of people to expect when we had a family-plus-friends dinner at her house, except that they would be interesting and, in the end, lovely. And she was always busy, looking forward to the next activity, trip, or challenge even as she absorbed the goodness of whatever she was currently in the middle of.

Even though we didn’t have the sort of relationship that entailed just calling to chat at random times, and even though we saw the world in very different ways sometimes, we kept in touch and she always encouraged me, whether about writing or parenting or loving her son—though seldom in so many words.

Kit was, in truth, one of my moms, and I mourn her loss for my own sake as well as for my husband’s and my children’s sakes.

Saturday, September 13 was Kit’s 60th birthday. Matt’s siblings and their immediate families gathered for a quiet celebration, with a small cake and not much else. Reaching her birthday had been a big landmark goal for most of the summer, but doing so in such a weak state was very bittersweet. But given her love of life and her optimism, it does seem entirely fitting that her last bites of food on this earth were of birthday cake.

Her husband Mark was with her Wednesday when she passed away. Matt’s sister, brother, and sister-in-law had been at their farmhouse for the previous 24 hours or so, helping care for her and making sure her meds kept her from pain and discomfort. We know from several things she said earlier that she probably waited until the three of them left—she didn’t want a big audience gathered around. And not long after her kids got back to their homes in town, she was gone.

Gone, but not really. We carry her in our hearts and our very lives, and, God willing, we’ll see her on the other side.

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Direction

It’s amazing how much can happen when you’re not keeping track.  It’s also amazing how much can NOT happen.

Last year most of my time was consumed ravenously by acquainting myself with and appeasing a tiny nonverbal dictator.  I mean, she’s 100% adorable, but that doesn’t make her less dictatorial, let’s face it.  I also managed to complete a graduate certificate, though I admit that around about September I was seriously considering throwing in the towel.

In the last month, we’ve had a lot of guests in town for the holidays and the child’s first birthday. It’s been alternately chaotic and quieter–not precisely just quiet, what with the usual post-visitor scramble to catch up on the things we neglected while people were in from out of town, resetting the guest room for whatever guests show up next, dog-sitting for our friends, and all the other things that normal life requires, not to mention the energy drained by almost catching the death plague (aka a head cold) and by several sequential nights of the dictator sleeping exceedingly badly.  On one hand, much has been accomplished.  On the other, it’s easy to drift from one essential thing to the next, never identifying or pursuing those non-essentials that make life wonderful.

It doesn’t help that this time of year is notoriously, historically hard for me in terms of depression.  It’s ever so easy to put the dictator in her playpen, interest her in some toy or another, and retreat to read until she indicates her displeasure with the situation.  Playing my current video game is an easy way to pretend to be accomplishing something when, in fact, I am sitting listlessly in a darkened room staring at a television screen, playing for two hours to unlock a paltry 1% more of the world map.  It’s not like that every day, but then… some days, it is.

It’s one thing to allow oneself to take each day and accomplishment as it comes, to refrain from stress and self-flagellation for not finishing the day’s to-do list.  It’s another to float along aimlessly doing the bare minimum to keep things moving along.

So I need to figure out what this year is going to look like.  I have some ideas, but it will take a bit of work, some cooperation, and a much clearer sense of direction.

We’ll see how it goes.

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The New World

It’s been one of the busiest years I can remember, and not only because we now have a baby to absorb every single extra second of our days (and a few non-extra ones as well, if we’re honest).

What can I say that’s worth saying?  We’ve done a lot of work around the house–mostly outdoors this year, as the majority of the indoor projects are finished or very close to it.

I’ve been participating in a certificate program through Princeton Theological Seminary, which means classes every other month or so since February.  That goes through the end of this calendar year, and then I will hold a Certificate of Theology and Ministry, which is satisfying to the scholarly bit of my heart.

I’ve managed to kill another plant and two more are on their way to death’s door, though I’m trying not to push them along the path.

I’m beginning to have the time and inclination to write fiction again, which is gratifying–unfortunately my brain is so out of practice that I need to set up some structured writing time to nudge the creative process along.  Most of my “writing” of late has been on facebook and twitter, in the form of a couple of sentences at a time (at most). So it will take a little time before my brain catches up to the function of writing in a longer format.

We’re winning the battle of the junk piles, barely.  The spread of junk paperwork has been limited to just one room, and only one pile in that room at present, which is a fairly major miracle in and of itself, but there is also some progress about to be made on the random boxes of stuff in the bottom of the guest room closet, and then I have plans to clean out the office closet–which is nigh unheard-of.

There are, of course, many projects that still need attention, but at least things are getting done. I’m getting a bit better at the “one thing at a time” mentality. Lots of things would be nice to have done; very few are immediately necessary. I’m working on separating them and approaching each type of thing differently. Maturity is insidious sometimes. ;)

At any rate, I ought to keep moving along. It’s good to write more than a few sentences at a time for an audience, however small that audience may be at present. In my experience writing feeds writing, thinking feeds thinking, and conversation feeds conversation–so this seems  like a good place to start the cycle.

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And The Whole World Changes

I hope anyone who wondered why there hasn’t been an update figured out that I did, in fact, have a baby a little while ago.  It’s amazing how every aspect of your life is affected by such an event–in some wonderful ways, and some less wonderful ways.

I happen to be working on a computer that has no pictures of our beautiful baby girl to upload, so you don’t get to see her right now, but I can tell you about her.  Mary Virginia was born at 1:54pm on January 3, 2013 (1-3-13, handy) after 38 hours of labor.  She weighed 6 pounds and 9 ounces and was 19 inches long and everything about her is beautiful, both from a parent’s admittedly biased perspective and from the objective medical angle that looks at whether she’s got any health troubles.  There’s one thing they’re keeping an eye on, but it’s correcting on its own as she grows, and everyone is optimistic that she won’t need any treatment or correction for it.  It makes for a few extra trips to the doctor’s office, but considering that Mary’s cousin had already had surgery at this point in his life and had two more scheduled within the year, we’re disinclined to complain.

For what it’s worth, I’ve also been doing well in terms of physical recovery, and I haven’t had any trouble with baby blues or post-partum depression, which might be considered something of a minor miracle given my history with depression.

I am even more behind on quite a few things than I was before Mary was born, and several of them have very little promise of getting done at any point in the near future, but I’m strangely okay with that.

And speaking of not getting things done because of the baby, she’s beginning to fuss for her second (third?) breakfast, which means it’s time to sign off.

I hope your new year has begun as wonderfully as mine has.

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The Mayans Were Right After All….

The apocalypse is about to start, because I’m updating the blog twice IN THE SAME WEEK.  It’s madness out there, people.

I’m posting for two reasons, both of which are quite trivial.  Yay!  The first is that I feel the need to share that I am obsessively checking our Hulu queue to see when they post the latest episode of our Thursday night show.  I am doing this because last week said show ended on a cliffhanger (which it has never actually done before) and I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.  Of course, I didn’t get around to watching last week’s episode, or the week before that’s, until yesterday, which means my need to know what happens is fresh and immediate.  GAH!

Part of me wonders why we abandoned our dish subscription, since it’s clearly extremely inconvenient at times like this.  And then the part of my brain that remembered to put on its logic pants today says, “Well, for one thing, there was no way to get a permanent signal through the neighbor’s trees. And for another, $80 a month for TV service that you usually mostly recorded things to watch days or weeks later seemed pretty stupid when you could pay $8 a month to watch things days or weeks later, especially when all but one of the shows you follow are included in the $8 a month package, and that show can be purchased episode-by-episode if necessary and still maintain a significant savings.  That’s why you abandoned your dish subscription.”  And then the part of my brain without the logic pants says, “Oh, right!” and checks the Hulu queue again.

It’s that sort of day.

The second trivial item? Yesterday’s life sewing lesson:  If a project calls for sew-on Velcro (ahem, “hook-and-loop closure”), and despite your best efforts you come home with stick-on Velcro because the packaging is badly labelled, do not (I repeat, DO NOT) decide to stick the Velcro on and then sew around the edge to secure it more permanently.  The adhesive will gook up the needle, your thread will stick to itself in interesting ways you have never seen before, and you will feel that you came dangerously close to breaking the $900 sewing machine that your friend lent you while she’s out of town because yours is acting stupid and you need to finish this project, and that only the grace of God saved you from doing anything but needing a new needle.

On the up side, yesterday I finished making my own diaper changing pad, diaper-essentials clutch (for diapers, wipes, changing pad, etc., which will go in and out of the diaper bag proper depending on our needs) and *would have* completed a matching car seat canopy if not for the adhesive-Velcro fiasco.  Having visited Michael’s this morning to acquire the proper sew-on product, I will finish the latter today, and then perhaps I will post photos.  Yes, I have invested more time on making these myself and money on materials than I really had to spend if I wanted to grab something from a store.  But it’s really fun to know that I made these things with fabrics and patterns I picked for our family, and it’s satisfying to have accomplished these things in the midst of a lot of other busy-ness that normally would be contributing to my winter depressive slump, but is wonderfully counteracted by having finished (!) these cheery projects for my baby that are not only pretty but will be functional for us for a very long time.  Funny what the human brain can do, eh?

Oh, and for those who can’t stand that I didn’t name the TV show in question above, it’s the new “Beauty and the Beast” that just started this fall on CW.  I’m not saying it’s the best show evar in teh werld (what is, these days?), but it is entertaining and we like watching it so far, which is really the requirement.

That’ll be all, because the laundry needs to get done and Shiloh is really bad at sorting loads, so I have to deal with it.  Ciao!

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Of Delays and Discoveries

Yes, yes. I promised to write more often and then I did not, in fact, write for another three months. I am an awful blogger. For what little it’s worth, I did sit down within a week of the last post and attempt to write about baby registries, but I deleted the whole thing when I realized that it had turned into a cynical and embittered rant about our society’s accumulative and ultra-consumerist tendencies.

Suffice to say that I am still alarmed and dismayed by the number of things deemed “essential” for the care of a baby, listed out by “authorities” for the “benefit” of first-time parents who desperately want nothing more than to give their children the best chance possible in this crazy, unfair, scary world. It makes me angry and uncharitable. And in the end, I decided the rant I’d written was neither helpful nor necessary… and then I got caught up with other things and haven’t posted anything since.

So here’s your blitz-update: the fall has been just as busy as we anticipated it would be; the beginning of winter even more busy, if that’s possible. The holidays are always busy for us, especially since Matt works at a church and there are all kinds of extra events added to the normal weekly schedules, but this year it seems to have reached a new level of busy, and that’s before adding the things we’re trying to do to get ready for the baby.

The cars, happily, seem to have decided to behave themselves and I have not had to visit the mechanic in months. It seems we finally found the root of the Mazda’s troubles (a poorly installed after-market alarm system) and since removing it and repairing the damage it did, it’s behaving like a normal car instead of a possessed machine sent from hell to make my life complicated and expensive. The 4Runner continues to run like a champ (the only problems we’ve ever had with it were directly related to an accident that nearly killed us both and almost destroyed everything we owned), has been outfitted with new tires and is now housed in the garage so that when I go into labor, it will be ready to take me to the hospital no matter what the weather is doing without even having to clean it off.  Although we have the baby’s car seat in our possession, it has not yet been installed.  Soon.  The to-do list is long.

2012 Christmas Tree

As one might expect, I am behind on pretty much everything Christmas-related, except the actual decorating of our house. The only reason that’s done is because a) I really love Christmas decorations and b) we have hosted several things at our house that motivated seasonally appropriate decor. Here’s a photo of our lovely Christmas tree, which my mom bought for us through a company that delivered this lovely specimen of fir directly to our front porch. It was really quite convenient, and we’re very happy with the result.

But I only just purchased gifts for our nieces and nephews yesterday, which makes it increasingly unlikely that they will arrive across the country in time for Christmas, especially since I’m also behind on the production and packaging of the annual toffee extravaganza. And although the Christmas cards are in my possession, due to some technical difficulties none of them are signed, addressed, or stamped for departure, much less having already been sent.  So, you know, a bit of on time, a bit of late-as-usual.

As for the baby, it’s due in about three weeks, which seems momentous but is in fact one of the least precise pieces of information you might run across in today’s world.  Because, you see, if I went into labor today (almost three weeks “early”) my baby would still be considered full-term; and they won’t force the baby out for medical reasons for about two weeks after my due date, all other things being equal.  So basically we could have a baby at any point in the next five weeks.  Or maybe not.  Or maybe!  Every day could be The Day!  Or not.  It’s very hard to maintain either a high level of excitement or of worry in such a situation, which means that I have a hard time answering people who ask me if I’m excited.  I mean, really, who wouldn’t be excited about meeting the tiny person who’s been growing inside them for the last 9 months (give or take), given the fact (which is true of us but certainly not of everyone) that we were actually trying to achieve this precise result nine months (or so) ago?

Of course I’m excited.

Am I running over with bouncing excited energy at every moment?  No.  My hips and feet hurt too much for that, and I’m always tired; there’s too much to get done and despite the fact that I’m as on track as one can reasonably expect me to be, I’m severely unlikely to finish everything before it needs to be done.  Plus, excitement is only excitement for so long.  After a while it becomes manic, or it goes away.  It’s not really a long-term sustainable emotion.

So yes, at appropriate times I am very excited about the baby that’s coming, and even about the fact that it’s coming soon (maybe very soon!).  But no, it’s unlikely that at the exact moment when you ask me, I am welling over with unbearable ecstasy at the mere mention of the word “baby”.  Might I suggest another version of the question?  How about, “Are you looking forward to the baby coming, or do you wish you had more time? Or both, alternately?” Or how about not asking at all, because it’ll just be awkward when you ask a pregnant lady if she’s excited about the baby and she says “no”, won’t it?

Oddly enough, I didn’t intend to make this entirely an updatey-type post when I started out this morning, but that’s what it has become, and it’s long enough now that it’s what it will remain.  But I have more to say on an entirely non-updatey subject and I intend to say it soon.  Of course, I almost always intend to write more soon.  But I’m working on adjusting my habits, so we’ll see how I do.

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Funny How Time Flies….

I can hardly believe that it’s been three months since I posted here, although I suppose from the other side of things, it’s pretty much expected at this point. Poor regular readers with no regular posts to read. I apologize, and am happy to announce that I’ve been having bloggerish thoughts again lately, and will be setting aside time to indulge them once again, which translates to mean I expect to be posting far more often.

Hmm… updates from last post….

It took four months, in the end, before the storm door’s hardware was replaced. It looks great, but the paint I used is already chipping off a bit in places, so it seems my brilliant DIY idea is more of a temporary fix than a permanent solution.

I’ve managed NOT to travel any more since May, and it’s been lovely to be near home consistently. The one exception was for about four days before the local schools resumed classes, which is also when Matt’s fall schedule kicks back into full gear. We took a few days and headed down to Manitou Springs to rest, relax, and be tourists–but being less than 90 minutes from home isn’t really traveling, so I don’t count it in that category. It was lovely to take a rest from our normal routine, though, and great to get that time together before fall’s craziness kicked in full-throttle.

I mentioned a new job in passing last time–it was truly a job in passing, as before I’d been there for three months they had to let me go. A bit of a bummer, as the extra money would have been nice for a few more months at least, but in the end we’ll be fine and it’s been quite a blessing to not have a day job to work around in recent weeks.

I’ve played plenty of Diablo 3, and I could probably talk for a while about its pros and cons, and why I’m okay at this point with just the occasional opportunities I get to play it these days. But I won’t, because this is not a gamer blog, nor is it likely ever to be such a thing, and because I don’t have the patience to put all my thoughts in a coherent form, which pretty much negates the whole “writing a blog post” idea. I will say, since I specifically mentioned it in the last post, that eventually the wizard’s crystal skin ability is far less effective, because its capacity to absorb damage doesn’t increase as your health does, nor does it increase as your opponents begin to deal significantly more damage–so in early levels it was brilliant, but later on it’s less awesome. Sorry, for anybody who googled “wizard crystal skin” and got my last update without the tempering information I have just disclosed. Hopefully you figured it out for yourself, but if not, I have now covered my proverbial backend and cannot be held responsible for wizards going up against Belial in Hell thinking crystal skin is going to materially help them. Sorry, it won’t. Not even a little bit.

And now we get to that amorphous “other things are brewing” bit at the end of my last post. Those of you who follow me on twitter or Facebook, or who know me in real life (what?? who knows anyone that way any more these days?) have likely surmised that this was primarily a veiled reference to the fact that Matt and I are expecting our first baby in January. We didn’t tell most people until almost July, so only our immediate family and our closest friends caught the sideways reference, but it was definitely in my mind when I wrote it.

Everything’s been going smoothly thus far with the baby-growing, and we’re not finding out whether it’s a boy or a girl, and several of the things that have been brewing in my blogging-mind are pregnancy related, so I’m not going to say much more for now. Feel free to ask any questions you might have, and I will feel free to answer only the ones I feel you have a right to know the answer to. :) But yes, we’re thrilled and excited and all the positive things one can be about preparing for a new baby.

So yes, the baby-brewing was foremost in my mind when I wrote about things in the works that were not being worth talking about yet, but there are other things we’ve been working on as well. Things like figuring out what to do with the retaining wall that’s collapsing in our back yard, and my slowly developing plans for remodeling the guest bathroom–the last bastion of pure ugly in the house. Things like wading back into the world of writing and how I’ve been catching up on my scrapbooking, and posting photos of the progress in the house (the kitchen is done!).

And since then, I’ve been saving up all kinds of things to say about topics like ridiculous “must have” baby registry checklists, finding decent pregnancy clothes (using “decent” on so many levels…), depression and pregnancy, how annoying car repairs can be, and my ongoing inability to keep plants alive: alas, Bob2 finally met his doom; Mr. Prickles didn’t survive the winter (even though he lived indoors); Bob3 is already struggling; my three porch plants died within a month of buying them this spring; basil and sage plants both died; and the two indoor potted plants are struggling valiantly, but one is clearly losing.

In other daily-life news, I’m still almost always behind on laundry and cleaning the kitchen, but I’ve managed to restrict the piles-of-junk to one table and my office. Although clearly not optimal, this is a significant improvement over previous norms.

And now it’s time to sign off and make a list of all the things that need doing to finish all the partially-finished home-improvement projects in the house, with priority listings for those things that ought to be accomplished before my parents visit in a month.

What’s up with you?

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Days Go By

I’m not entirely certain whether it’s funny or inexpressibly sad that after a month and a half, the front door’s handle is still not fixed, and one still enters by pulling an orange string to open the storm door. Whether sad or funny, it is the case, and I’ll thank you to keep your snide comments about not finishing projects to yourself, thank you very much! I’ve been Doing Things!

Things like traveling to Ohio and North Carolina, finding bits of family history and visiting with family present along the way. Things like starting a new job. Things like having out of town friends and relatives visit and having large groups of people (like over 30 at a time) over at my house in the evenings–three times in one week. I think I can be forgiven for not having painted and replaced the front door’s hardware. At least, I hope I can. Because if not, then I’m in deep doo-doo.

Also, people who know me now may or may not be aware that back in the day I was quite the Diablo 2 player. And they may or may not know that Diablo 3 FINALLY came out a few weeks ago, and those who are fond of connecting dots may correctly surmise that I have been properly enjoying fighting the minions of evil. For the distinct minority who might care, at present I have a level 30 Wizard, a 20 Monk, and a 10 Demon Hunter. Most useful spell thus far when fighting bosses: the wizard’s crystal skin. Won. Der. Ful.

That’s about all the news that’s fit for the public at this point… as usual, there are several things brewing in the background that are far too undeveloped to reveal to the masses, but the rest of this year should be quite eventful.

oooOOOOooo.

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I Broked It–But Then I Fixed It!

It’s possible that I just took the doorknob off the front storm door… less than two hours before the kids will be arriving en masse for Bible study. Oops. Good thing I’m smart and rigged a temporary solution.

(Yes, the dog is definitely wondering what in the world I am doing.)

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Adventures in Parking

I got a parking ticket today.

It was tucked into the driver door of the 4Runner when I came out of the coffee shop, having spent a fruitful hour and a half sipping at a truly lovely iced cold-pressed-coffee with cream and sugar and all sorts of loveliness while I worked on organizing some of the genealogical research I’ve been perpetrating recently. But more on the genealogy later.

At any rate, I found the envelope containing my parking ticket (Anything that comes in a yellow envelope is never good, just like nothing written on a pink slip of paper is ever good) and I frowned, because I had checked thoroughly to be sure that my chosen parking spot was not included in any of the nearby signage indicating time limits for legal parking or handicapped requirements and suchlike.

So I pulled the little slip of paper from its ominous yellow envelope to see that I’d been cited for an expired license plate. Le sigh.

You see, the car’s registration is not, in fact, expired. It’s good all the way through December of this year. The trouble is that when we got the new stickers to put on the car, it was in the middle of a snowstorm, so we decided to wait until the entire world wasn’t covered in wet to try to stick something to our car. The stickers went INTO the car so that we would a) not forget to apply them and b) know where they were.

And now, four months later, the stickers are still not on the plates. Rather alarmingly, a cursory search of the car’s interior did not produce the stickers, although it did lead to the discovery that the little bottle of lotion we keep in the car has sprung a leak. I managed to hold it over the cup holders as it squirted orange-ginger goodness in distressing volume from its overheated (or over-pressurized? or simply faulty?) bottle. I also discovered that the napkins we usually keep in the center console have mysteriously disappeared, leaving me to try to mop up the lotion with a paper pastry bag that’s been in the passenger footwell for at least two months. It did not go well.

Giving up the Search for the Stickers, I returned my attention to the ticket. The municipality’s headquarters was located about two blocks from my parking spot (note to self: don’t park near a city building with expired tags, even if they’re not really expired) so I decided to go tell them that my vehicle is, in fact, legal to drive–or park!–and that I’d appreciate not having to pay the $50 ticket.

I tried to go in the wrong door to reach the Violations Bureau (Could they name it something that sounds worse? I don’t think so…), but it’s not my fault that they printed the office hours on the “Exit Only” door. And then my shoes kept setting off the metal detector from three feet away. This caused the lone security guard to wand me to be sure I wasn’t packing heat, even though I took my shoe off and waved it at the detector in proof that it was my shoes. But at least he was nice about it.

Upon reaching the appropriate window, I was informed that I would have to present a copy of my current registration to be photocopied and sent to Someone Or Other with my request that the ticket be discarded. Silly me had thought they would be able to pull up my DMV records on their little computers, but no. That would have made sense. So I trekked out past Mr. Security Guard, down two flights of stairs, two blocks back to my car, and wrestled the registration out of the glove box, which decided that its contents were suddenly so confidential that even I with my key could not be allowed access to the owners’ manuals and random pair of eyeglasses we found in the car about a year ago and have never gotten rid of.

Having vanquished the glove box, I reminded myself that it was a lovely day and I needed a bit of exercise, so I should not be disgruntled about the extra walking as I returned to the Violations Bureau.

Mr. Security Guard let me pass the second time without a wanding, which was lovely of him, and I presented my registration to be copied, took my duplicates of the petition to discard the ticket from the rather sour-faced Violations Bureau Lady (and wouldn’t you be sour-faced if you had to tell people you worked at the Violations Bureau?) and told Mr. Security Guard that with any luck I would NOT be seeing him again soon.

Now we just need to find the stickers, and probably I should clean the lotion out of the cup holders before tomorrow, or it will turn into a greasy mess that no one will ever want to deal with.

Not that I want to deal with it now, but there’s no sense in letting things escalate. On the other hand, it looks like it’s about to rain, and I don’t want to get wet. Probably the lotion clean-up can wait.

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