Thursday, April 28, 2011

Empty

{Yes, that is white wine in my fridge. Cooking wine. It should also be noted that all contents on the right hand side of the fridge belong to Timm, except for the Diet Coke with lime that I have repossessed.}

I probably should have guessed it when I arrived home and was immediately met with a cat crap stain in the living room and an unidentifiable smell pervading the house: It was not going to be an easy return.

To be fair, I should preface this with saying that Timm went above and beyond what is necessary or expected to ensure that I came home to a clean house. I always make sure that I leave the house clean, whether I leave for the day, or for an extended trip like this, so it is very gratifying to see him take the care to do the same. He mopped, he did all the laundry, he changed the sheets, he ironed, he vacuumed, he did the dishes- It was great. Unfortunately he was not home to intercept the aforementioned cat crap stain or the other debacles I was yet to face.
 We got in after 11pm, and the girls didn't get in bed until midnight. I stayed up for a bit going through mail and enjoying the first quiet I experienced in nearly three weeks. The next day was spent doing the usual post-trip chores: unpacking, laundry, vacuuming, pouring out the two week past-expiration solid milk Timm left in the fridge, etc. That evening we finally went out to the grocery store to procure some much-needed staples for the next few days. After about an hour of shopping, we went to check out. Being almost entirely out of food, the total was a bit more than I expected and I swiped the credit card to make the purchase. Timm and I had previously carefully planned out the final expenses of the month, dividing them between the scarce balances on our two credit cards. (Our goal of paying those off isn't going too well. It's a tough gig trying to survive on the less than $2500 a month paycheck a teacher's salary provides.10 months a year. For a family of 4.) Needless to say, the card was declined. In futility, I tried again. (I'm a glutton for punishment and public embarrassment.) Next I tried to write a check, reasoning that it wouldn't go through before he was paid on Friday, only to find that I had left my driver's license at home. They called over two different managers, both of whom refused to take my check without my driver's license. Even with another form of id and my social. Defeated, I left the store telling them I would be back with my driver's license even though I knew it was not true. I don't know why I told them I would return, but it was probably to save face. Upon leaving, Bella realized that they were out of free cookies and started to cry while Fiona loudly protested over her bandaids that we had to leave behind in the cart.  I couldn't help it: I cried on the way home, and I cried when we got home. I fed them toast for dinner and then started in on the next obstacle designed to defeat me.
At some point during the day I tried to move some food from our freezer to out chest freezer, only to find that at some point while I was away it had tripped the breaker, which happens frequently. The good news is, being poor as we are, there was hardly any food in it. The bad news is, there was some previously frozen Brussels sprouts, which had thawed and proceeded to decompose for approximately 2 weeks. Now, I love Brussels sprouts. Fresh, well-prepared Brussels spouts. However,  I cannot adequately describe to you the power or force of the stench that was unleashed when I broke the seal on that chest freezer. The cruciferous odor that had been captured in that small space was enough to take on a life of it's own. If it were a cartoon, it would be a thick green ribbon snaking through the house leaving death and destruction in it's wake. Since it was not a cartoon, I tied a dish towel over my nose and mouth and opened the freezer once more to face it's fury. After I threw away the offending and ruined food, I began to try and drain the 2 inches of standing water infused with essence of rotten Brussels sprouts. I attempted to drain it onto cookie sheets, but kept spilling fetid water onto the carpet so I opted to sop it up with towels which I quickly transferred to the washing machine. I wiped it out with Lysol and let it air out overnight, but I'm afraid some damage is irreversible. I am what they say a 'super-smeller' and keep thinking I smell those Brussels sprouts wherever I go.
Lastly, coming back East was a much harder adjustment, and Bella was obviously stuck on Vegas time since she didn't fall asleep until after midnight. I was desperately trying to watch last week's Survivor on my laptop, trying to reverse the damages of the day while pillaging their Easter candy, and she kept coming out, all. night. long. Eventually we both settled into my bed, and she fell asleep there around midnight. We took the day off again today, hoping to get her acclimated enough to return to school on Friday. I got a few groceries, and Timm gets his teacher's lump sum tomorrow. I'm trying not to think about the fact that it will almost be gone the same day after our online automatic bill pay has it's way with it.
For now I am going to settle in for another Survivor on my laptop, and make sure that girl is asleep this time.
Whew. Tomorrow I can start on my trip highlights, of which there were many.

5 comments:

{natalie} said...

i am sorry it was such a crappy homecoming. and it usually seems that everything happens at once and you are bombarded with bad feelings. plus coming off of vacation is hard.

i really wish i had been easier to work with and i could have seen you while you were here. can't wait to hear about your trip.

Claire said...

I'm sorry that your return was less than great. :(

Hannah said...

:( The freezer thing is one big pile of suck. Suck suck suck! Wish your homecoming would have been more ideal :/

Can't wait for the highlights!

michelle said...

oh DEE! I can only imagine the pit in my stomach if I encountered the freezer problem. That is the kind of thing that can send me over the edge.

The grocery store problem is no fun either.

I'm glad both of those are behind you!

Susan said...

Holy moly! I guess I'm glad I didn't read this until tonight. (I've had enough worrisome issues myself this week!) Sad, sad, sad,sad. SAD! A mother never likes to have this for a vision...so happy a few days have passed and even happier that you have such a darling friend to rescue you.

Glad you're home and getting back in the grove. With Timm away, treat yourself to some super easy dinners. I think toast is good, as a matter of fact, that's what I had tonight!

I can't wait for further reports on your trip. Was that a photo of Gretel?!

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