Before I was married, I lived in ten different houses in five different cities, towns, and military bases.
In the almost thirty-seven years since, I’ve lived in three homes in two cities.
Before leaving for college, The kid lived in one home, in the same bedroom, with the same slightly creepy, Victorian doll wallpaper.
Since then our child has lived on both coasts and from New England to North Carolina in nine separate domiciles. The many addresses were mandated by school, internships, and jobs. The Kid has had the same apartment now for five years. And I’ll bet there will only be two more addresses; a purchased home, and the old folks’ home.
My child hates change. And loves nesting.
When Petey and I were married, we decided to buy a used mobile home.
They saw us coming. We were innocent children with good credit.
We purchased a used 12 X 60 trailer for $19,000. Today a used 12 X 60 sells for around $20,000. But that salesman had us convinced that we were getting a deal he couldn’t get for his own mother.
This was during a devastating recession so we paid the horrifying going rate of 14% interest.
Our trailer park, Stevenson’s, was located in Symond’s Creek. Which was a semi-suburb of Nixonton, a demi-suburb of Elizabeth City. It was basically the back-est of beyond; mainly farms and really, not much else.
We lived twenty-three miles from the “mall” in E. City. It took thirty minutes to get to town if you didn’t get stuck in a traffic jam involving a couple of tractors, a school bus, and a ninety-year-old farmer making his monthly trip to town.
Before we had the trailer moved to our lot at Stevenson’s, we had to hire a guy to perform a health department mandated, “perc test”. It consists of drilling or digging a hole, filling it with water and timing how long it takes to drain out.
A seemingly simple test, but for an unspeakable reason that has to do with a terrifying tank, buried deep in the ground nearby.
Our dirt passed its dirt-based SAT, and we scheduled delivery of our love shack.
The day our honeymoon cottage on wheels was delivered we were both so excited. Even Petey, who is such a stoic he wouldn’t rush out of a burning building was mildly enthusiastic.
The front door had been left unlocked.
We realized it because the door was wide open, and there was an odd little boy who eerily resembled Pugsley Addams standing in our living room.
Petey was kind of amused, but I was completely crushed.
I had had a vision for this day. Petey would carry me up the flimsy aluminum steps, I would unlock our very own front door, and he would carry me over the threshold. I can’t stress strongly enough how fortunate his musculoskeletal system was that day. When we got hitched there was an awful lot of me. Realistically, there would have been multiple broken bones and concussions for us both.
Rather than a honeymoon in a corner room (with a fireplace) at the Williamsburg Inn, we would have been long-term residents of Albemarle Hospital’s intensive care unit.
We diplomatically kicked the kid out, despite his protestations of, “It’s okay! My mom won’t mind if I eat supper here!”.
As we toured our new home and talked about the future, I happened to glance out the window to our front yard.
And out there was Pugsley with an absolutely blank expression. But he was slowly rubbing his pudgy, grubby little hands together.
Just like a miniature Bond villain.
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