11.13.2013

In Which We are Suspected of Being Homeless

This really did happen today. It was spectacular. I am hoping you can get a good laugh out of it.

So at 12:15 the kids finish lunch and we load up the car with the laundry and head out. As per the norm, I tell the kids 10 times "we are going to have a meeting with Miss Jennifer on post and then we're going to laundromat." We get there and I get *the call* from the management company about how our poor tenants have been without heat and we need to ransom our youngest to pay for the repairs, so I'm stressed. I can't find the building we are supposed to be in and drive around the block 4 times. Finally I find it and we walk in 5 minutes late.

The waiting room has a Keurig in it and GraceAnne suggests I get a cup of coffee. I choose the wrong size cup and it overflows everywhere and I'm burning my hands every step I take as Miss Jennifer leads us down the hall. She seems surprised I made a coffee.

 Miss Jennifer leads us into the world's tiniest room with lots of awesome toys. Then says we will all sit in there for our meeting. The children proceed to bounce of walls and I fill out the paper she hands me. She looks at the address and says, 'so is this an apartment?" I proceed to explain that it is a mail box at a facility and she says, "but what is your home address?" I tell her we don't have a home address, we are currently staying at a campground in a cabin. She raises her eyebrows, puts her hand on my knee and says, "I'm just going to ask you this flat out. Are you HOMELESS?" I feel my face flush bright red and I rush to answer NO NO! I try to regain composure and the kids are getting louder and louder. They're beginning to throw balls at each other. I stammer, "Have you heard of _____ campground? No? It's here in town. They have a 4-season cabin. It's temporary. We're traveling while my husband is deployed." I smile as coolly as possible and she asks where we will go in Dec. I tell her we are going to visit with family. She asks what we will do after that because Violet should have started services when she was 2. I say it depends on how fast Tricare can gather their eggs.

GraceAnne interrupts the awkward convo with a sweet voice saying, "Mommy...I'm hungry." Miss Jennifer looks concerned. I remind GraceAnne that she ate *just* before we came and there is nothing I can do. Then Corbin chimes in, "I am just so hungry mommy." I shoot the horrified Miss Jennifer a weak smile and return to the conversation, telling her that we are looking at condos for Jan-Jun so we will be close to the autism therapy place and Corbin's surgeon. She looks alarmed and says, "And what is HIS diagnosis?!" This is when I laugh and say, "dacryocystitis." She asks what needs to be done about that and I assure her it is taken care of.

Throughout the rest of the strained conversation I notice that the white liner from my coat that I'm wearing is very dirty about the cuffs. I notice that one of my shoes is "talking" and that somoene has dropped some lunch on my pants. I remember that I have no makeup on and that my hair is in a haphazard ponytail because I am having serious gluten-induced brain fog (and because I usually look this way...hahaha) I recognize that I am on a post that is comprised of mostly majors and above. I realize I really do LOOK like a hobo. As she explains what will happen next with Violet's therapies,I look at the kids, who are getting antsier by the moment, and realize that Corbin has no socks on, (they had to take off shoes to play in the ball pit) and Violet's hair is a hot mess (straggly as usual. yes, I brushed it this morning) and GraceAnne has been acting about 3 years younger than she is since we left New York. I am horrified and I'm not sure I could get much more horrified, but then Violet walks over to Miss Jennifer and says, "we are going to the laundromat after we leave here."

Take note. I am a homeless mother of hungry, dirty children who hasn't paid attention to her daughter's needs for 3 years and we have every stitch of clothing we own in the back of our 96 suburban.

Then GraceAnne comes over and tells Miss Jennifer, "I really love this stuffed teddy bear. I wish I could take it back to the campground." And usually people say "I know, but that has to stay here for the other kids" but instead Miss Jennifer says, "Oh, he so needs a home and a child to love him. Could you please take him?" At which point the other 2 start chiming in about how they want treasures from around the office. She loads them up and offers me a box full of sports equipment from Special Olympics. I say sure because at this point, I just want out of there and don't want to play the "no, really, are you SURE you don't want it!?" game.

We are all waddling out of the office with stacks of paperwork and toys and a gigantic box of stuff. Corbin is running off in all directions and going into offices. I would just as soon melt into the carpeted hallway and disappear forever than have to walk to the car with this woman and Violet starts her fit throwing.

We finally stumble outside and I can't manage to make her get off the ground, so I decide to put the things in the car first. I get halfway to the car when I look back to see that Violet has VELCROED herself to Miss Jennifer. I put my things down in the dirt and run back, apologizing. I try to peel Violet off this woman's leg and Violet says, "I want to stay with yoooooou! I don't want to go with my Moooooommy!!"

oh.my.god. I finally got her peeled off and she was totally pissed at me so she threw her stuffed animal in the dirt and screamed her bloody head off as we walked away from it. I managed to get her buckled into her seat and went back to pick up all the items we had left in the yard. I tried to find my dignity, but I think it slinked into the couch in that tiny room. So I went to the laundromat and thought about how I'm going to have to give up one of 2 paychecks for December's budget to the rental and I'm living in a 3-room cabin with no permanent address and I'm in a laundromat.

At the end of the day, it's really kinda hilarious. When I don't think about it too hard.

The joys of life "on the road."

1 comment:

Dawn Yoder said...

Oh wow! God bless you, sister! It is kind of funny but man, I know I would have wanted to follow Violet's lead and have my own meltdown. You did a good job, mom :-) And another day down. One day, sometimes one crazy moment at a time, is all you can do. Thank you for sharing your adventures with the world. It really is inspiring to read of how you persevere and what you are learning along the way!