2017 has started out with two left feet. Or maybe two right feet. Or maybe no freaking feet at all. In typical Brayden-Cortes fashion it has been a disaster. I thought we were going to be homeless for a quick minute but as usual things worked out. Things do have a way of working out. Of course, its year -end and month end which in my work-world means ultra busy so moving now, after the holidays during month/year-end is making me a little crazy. Add to that my grandmother is in and out of the hospital, until she calls a cab to bring her home unbeknownst to any of us, for real; it has made things even stranger. In short, things are so effed to the enth degree that I was grateful to go to work.
It started with us being out of our house, and into our new house on the same day. Yes, that is crazy but not unmanageable. But then the woman we were buying the house from agreed to let us in early. Only when AC went there to get the keys on the very first morning, she was not packed. Like, at all. Like still living there. Needless to say he got a Uhaul, boxes, tape and his brother and father to spend the day packing up her house. I had to work because I have very strict time lines for my closes because the buildings I account for are owned by a public REIT (real estate investment trust for those that are not in the know). All day it was calls back and forth. For a while I think he was truly concerned that she would never be able to move out. By some ungodly hour of the next morning, we finally collapsed on mattresses in our bedrooms. All the kids stepped up, working their asses off cleaning and packing and moving and helping in any way they could. Most of the time I have to scream at them to pick up their own socks but not that day. That day they were unbelievable.
The next day was close day on the houses. Emptying Pine Street was, you guessed it, chaotic. But we got it done. Walking around the house empty and all echo-y and people and animal free was nostalgic. I thought I would die in that house. Really. At times I thought I would die as an old woman surrounded by my kitties. Then, there have been times I was certain I would die from pain and agony and loneliness wallowing in self-pity over my daughters addiction. I tried not to think of the bad times, but it’s difficult. I did remember the first days we lived there. Painting bedrooms, taking down wallpaper and organizing all of our stuff. I also remembered marrying AC in that backyard. All the kids standing around us, our friends and family watching, while we vowed to be together forever (and my mom was in the background circling us like a shark in water while gripping her purse not unlike a life raft- clearly in shock). Or until the next time I told him to hitchhike back to Colombia, or throw his shirts in the kitty litter box. I remembered all the times we spent out in the garden pruning plants, harvesting potatoes and tomatoes, and clipping herbs. The tree still had green pellets all around it from Jared and AC shooting their air soft guns. My trellises had blue and black smudge marks from the blueberry and blackberry bushes baring fruit. Those were the good things.
The bad would be the first and last time (and the million in-between) I tossed JoDee’s room to find booze, needles, dope, weed, baggies and cotton. The first time I walked in the house after hearing she was an addict I was in shock. The time she overdosed in her room and threw up all over the place when we finally brought her back was disturbing. The time she overdosed in the bathroom, the basement, and in a car in the drive way it had become routine. The time she tried to run away from me but I stopped her so she assaulted me with our glass storm door until it broke on my shoulder and her father grabbed her by the belt loop throwing her like a rag doll into the kitchen was slightly amusing. The time I threw her out after Aruba, after Christmas, before her birthday and on Thanksgiving sucked. All in different years. The times we sat around the fire pit out back discussing where we thought she might be, when we would hear from her or when she would be back and having family meetings were interesting to say the least. Sectioning her once, twice, three and then four times. Her missing most Christmas’ in the past five years. And of course, me mentally missing Christmas because I was so disappointed, angry, hurt or relieved and feeling guilty for being relieved that she wasn’t there.
There were other memories too. All the holiday meals we had. All the cooking we did together. Making homemade pop-tarts, ginger cookies, Biscotti for Buella, treats for my peeps, and a plethora of other crap we probably did not need. The endless cooking and prepping for tailgating at Patriots games, and super bowl parties (LS and TS- maybe I can have it at the new house now since the old one was jinxed!) were more good memories. I think my final and favorite memory will be the last meal we had on Pine Street. Breakfast from McDonalds. Sitting on the floor because we have no chairs or table since the house is empty, we ate bacon, egg and cheese biscuits and McGriddles and hashbrowns. It was lovely. All seven of us together. And all the bad memories, all the things that JoDee missed, really made no difference anymore because she was there when it mattered. She was with us as we transitioned from the old to the new.
The new house isn’t my fave. If you have been around me at all recently, you would know that we bought this house on consensus. Everyone else wanted it, it fit all of us perfectly and it has space for my grandmother. It is sort of dated, needs paint and new floors in the bedrooms (hardwood I mean) and the set up or lay out is wacky but AC absolutely loves it. The kids all love their rooms. Albuilto (AC padre) loves it. Two of the three cats love it and the dog loves it because the backyard is huge so plenty of pooping space. And I do love the new memories we are making. All of us sleeping on mattresses on the floor while we paint. Every night everyone seems to gravitate to the stairs where we rehash the day, and the kids tell me how much they love the house in an effort to make me love it just as much. But I think my absolute favorite moment to date is my how my father-in-law improvised on cooking by using a roasting pan as a sauté pan and using a paint scraper as spatula. We are THAT family.