March 23, 2020

Whatever works, "Look kids Big Ben!", & photos to prove we left our home

I packed the dinner Tank prepared
 the night before
 into our big Stanley thermos and
 Coach and I feasted
 on my luke warm portion of gluten
 free of Chicken Parmigiana.  
I was so happy to read a post Sunday morning from the More the Messier, that I urge you to check  out.  She is super funny, and blogs less frequently now that she works outside the home, but silver lining of our at-home time she has made time to post recently.  

Now my update, that I hope will make you chuckle a bit, you can let me know: 

Coach, Lad, and I survived our last minute, forced-march road-trip out east and back.  Coach and I left at noon Friday and we arrived home at 8:45 pm Saturday night.  I usually require time to mentally prepare for a long trip in a car. Deciding to go at midnight the night before was NOT sufficient mental prep time.  A few hours in I felt trapped.    

We only got out of the car to pee and get gas (combo stops) two times on the way there and two times on the way home.  I packed our food.  It is a 12 hour drive, but even with our quick stops we made it in 11 hours.  Both ways.

And that was with me driving conservatively because Coach was nit picking me about my speed for the entire 4 hours that I drove on the way there, except while he napped for less than an hour.  (sound familiar? remember this story from last spring break?) Trust me, I searched the dashboard for an eject button, but alas no.  Our minivan is not equipped.  He would grow agitated if I traveled over 80.  The speed limit was 70.  There wasn't much traffic.  His phone alerted us to speed traps.  I was like, LEAVE ME ALONE!  Not like I have ever had speeding tickets before.  Smirk.

At one point while I napped on the way home, guess who was going 90 - yeah, 9-0 when I woke up?  That's right, Mr. 'slow down' himself.  He claimed he was just trying to keep up with traffic.  Uh huh.  

We exited the car to stay at a Hampton Inn in Yonkers.  It is a challenge to stay at a hotel and not touch anything.  After every towel, and faucet, and flush, and knob we hand sanitized.  

We picked up Lad from his apartment at midnight on Friday (he stayed at the hotel with us so he could enjoy the hot breakfast) and arrived back at his apartment (I use the term loosely, because GROSS) after our 'free' breakfast at our hotel.

Tried to snap a pic of the downtown all lit up as Coach and I drove in at midnight Friday.  This felt like 'Look kids, Big Ben' from European Vacation.  It was just Coach and I in the car, but I was realizing how bummed I am that I never really pulled off a girls' weekend or saw a show while Lad was in New York.  Saw lots of water polo though, and made meatballs while SUFFERING with pink eye.  So there's that.
The breakfast didn't start till 8 am because of 'everything', and that bummed us out at first.  Seeing as it was 1 am by the time we got to bed, we realized that we weren't really in any position to pop out of bed and eat at 6 am in order to get on the road early anyway.  After about 6.5 hours of sleep, we were up and showering.  
Ghost town hotel breakfast
with hardly any food.

An Irish dancing mom that I met online once years ago (and who I have since met face to face and planned to see while we were supposed to be in Dublin) when I tried to buy her daughter's dress lives walking distance to Lad's apartment.  She offered to meet me at the park next to his place and chat from a safe distance of 6 feet.  I told her I would have to take a pass as I wanted to help carry stuff to the car and GET OUTTA DODGE!

She understood.  Besides, this was a hit-with-an-ugly-stick kind of trip for me.  I didn't dry hair or 'try' in any way shape or form.  I cringed in the bathroom mirrors during our 2 minute pit-stops, but there really wasn't anyone out on the road to bump into anyway.  In good road trip news, there was plenty of toilet paper, so I was able to return  home with my sweet, golden gem of a roll that I traveled with 'just in case.'  We passed signs every 30 minutes urging people to stay home.  If only!

Free breakfast in this environment consisted of coffee, hard boil eggs, yogurts, and muffins that were packaged.  No milk or anything that people could pick up, use, and set down.  Nothing to scoop up and put on a plate either.

I have debriefed the rest of my children that
if you are considering renting an apartment
 and you see a similar sign about pest
control posted near the elevator -
look elsewhere.
Thankfully I brought milk in a small milk chug in case we stayed somewhere that didn't offer a breakfast.  I always travel with my oatmeal.  Breakfast was a ghost town except for one elderly woman talking on the phone in the corner.  She was telling someone:  "Well he tested positive, but he feels fine.  He knows who gave it to him.  There was a woman at work who wouldn't stop coughing."

We heard this as we were leaving breakfast and walking a safe distance from her - the only other breakfast visitor - on our way back to our room to brush teeth and grab our stuff.  We decided to essentially shower in hand sanitizer too.  

Just before he came home, a big chunk of the
ceiling in the bathroom fell into his bathroom because
the tub above his bathroom overflowed.  There was
 leaking and plaster and the shower curtain apparatus
fell down.  Lad used some tools to get it back up.
We had initially planned to stay at the hotel that is one mile from Lad's college.  It was booked with first responders.  (In case you are unaware, Lad's school was in New Rochelle - the city that early on had the highest concentration of Covid 19 cases in the nation).  The hotel we ended up at worked out fine, and when we pulled into the lot LATE Friday night, I was comforted by the fact that there were homeland security trucks in the lot.  

We filled the minivan with Lad's stuff.  I keep thinking this is going to be a great time to organize the closets and the bedrooms, etc.  My organizational self mentally waved a small, defeated white flag after I saw the minivan stuffed to the brim of Lad's belongings.  Where is this all going to go?

Not sure you can tell but the door
 knob part is barely even attached
to the door.  After many attempts to
 contact the super, it was never fixed.
 This is in New York.  An apartment
 door that doesn't lock?  WTF?
I took a video of Lad demonstrating how the apt door doesn't lock or even really close properly.  He and his roommates once got locked inside because there is no functioning handle on the inside of the door.  Slightly hazardous.  Right or wrong, we are absconding and just planning to not pay the rest of his rent.  They can keep the security deposit.  The super was unresponsive.  Landlady an ass.  More later on this nightmare.  

Lad drove the last stretch home.  I sat in the backseat.  Coach piped up and discussed some of our concerns with Lad's behavior and issues that have been a problem at home.  Lad was fairly receptive.  It was a decent talk.  I mostly kept my mouth shut - Coach and I agreed to this tactic in advance.  Coach pointed out to Lad that saying things as he bolts to the airport like:  "I don't even want to live here."  and "You've had me in a choke hold my whole life" are unfair statements considering how much we have done for him.  

Another angle. Guessing the motto
 on this building is NOT 'safety first'.
Coach brought particular attention to the fact that I have gone to bat for Lad so much over the years.  Lad agreed he doesn't give me enough credit.  He admitted that he can here me remind him to read his papers out loud as a revising tool.  "If it doesn't sound right, then it probably isn't."

Lad apologized for the way he handled needing to meet with his Spanish teacher and admitted that he should have been more upfront about his concerns and should have visited the Spanish lab before he left town or any time during the first half of the semester.  Sigh.

Basically I learned that I need to LITERALLY sit in the backseat and let Coach broach difficult topics because my approach (too emotional and easily insulted or outraged when Lad talks out of his ass) almost always sets Lad off.  

I feel like it is a new take on Carpool Karaoke.  Our version:  Parental Input Road Trip.  

Whatever works.  


Busy Bee Suz said...

The door handle. I can't even. WTF?? That's just wrong. It seems like there could be major fines for something like that. No? BBB?
Your quick trip sounds less than stellar, but YOU do have LAD at home now and hopefully, some of the angst has left him. I think it was a good idea to let Coach do the talking since Lad has a better reaction to him lately; hopefully, you'll all get past this.

Dinner as a competition?? Your people are too funny!

Ernie said...

Suz - Yes, the scariest part of this was when he just hopped on the plane after telling us he the night before during our 'discussion' of how to get his stuff that he didn't even want to live here. (I mean that IS implied as he is 21). I was worried that he just would decide not to come back from New York. That sounds controlling/choke hold like behavior but moving out without a plan or a job or money while angry had me fairly worked up. So he is back, as is evident in my next few posts.

Will be interested to see how the refusal to pay his remaining rent plays out.

EVERYTHING over here is a competition. The dinner thing has become quiet comedic. Will have to write a post on that soon. I wonder if I will even remember how to cook when this is all done.

Of course at some point I will HAVE TO post all of the posts I worked to write in anticipation of my upcoming writing class that I keep pushing back to accommodate breaking news over here. Silly me, even without the pandemic how could I have thought that there wouldn't be breaking news?!

I really need to work on my class assignments today, so many distractions . . . so my desk is all cleaned off, etc.

Charlie said...

Well that sounds like a positive 36 hours. And you have a strategy for talking to Lad. Although I can imagine how frustrating sitting and just listening might be! To be honest though I just enjoyed a post about someone travelling somewhere! Oh the good old days!

Bibliomama said...

That landlord should be shot - I'd say how do people like that sleep at night, but I know they don't give a shit about anyone but themselves, so I guess that's how. I'm glad that you've seen so much evidence of people taking precautions - the stories about people being assholes spike my blood pressure.

Your back seat parenting technique reminds of when Matt traveled a lot when the kids were little and I wasn't well medicated for anxiety yet and I finally figured out that even if I felt okay, the minute he called and asked how I was I turned into a raging bitch. We took the communication between us to email (he talked to the kids on the phone) and it went much better. Sometimes the medium really is as important as the message. But still, JESUS Lad, who runs off to fly into the hotbed of a pandemic? WHO DOES THAT? (You can tell him I said that. :))

Gigi said...

Yes, sometimes the other parent needs to be the one doing the talking because it just works better.

On another note, regarding the face mask post, the link to Joann's that was in the post shows several resources/how to's to make them.

Ernie said...

Charlie - yes a strategy for talking to Lad that might be all that effective the next time a dispute comes up because it isn't always practical to suggest we all go take a ride. Ha! It was so weird to be out and about - especially so far from home. I was tempted to bring home some New York bagels because we were out at home anyway (of store bought variety) but we barely slowed down to get Lad's stuff and get home. (slight exaggeration, but we raced and down those stairs like the building was burning).

Ali - Imagine my surprise when I called the school to ask about other places to live in case we got him out of the lease there and learned that this is NOT a building the school recommends to students. Oh, Lad! Why? We were not involved in his search for a place to live as we were in Chicago and we thought he 'had this'. Like I have mentioned I think it was tough for him to find guys to live with and this was probably one of the few 'reasonably' priced places left because it was a disgusting pit. My next post is about this apt and landlord - written before 'everything.'

Yes, who runs off to the worst place to be during all of this and drags both parents instead of the initial one who offered? We were really careful while we were away so hoping we don't get this. His racing to the airport - I assumed at first he was just going to go walk around and fake a departure. It was pretty horrifying that he went through with it. He says there were only like 6 people on the plane.

Gigi- Coach says my facial expressions alone can make this kid lose his shit. I have been compared to Joan Cusack with my rubber face tendencies, so I have that going for me. I often wonder if it is just that Lad and I have been through more emotional battles together where he has seen how upset I have been when kids were mean and teachers were stupid, etc that he hates to see all those emotions crop back up. It is a hell of a slippery slope.

Joann patters - I will check the link, thanks.

Kari said...

So many things, I might not remember everything.

First, you left Friday and came back Saturday from NY?? OMG GIRL. That is an insane turnaround! God bless.

How is everyone feeling over there? Lad is good? I feel like he was living within the epicenter and that is a little unnerving, I am sure. As a mom, I can't imagine how scared you felt.

Also, your reaction to seeing Homeland Security in the parking lot of your hotel was the exact opposite of mine LMAO. I would've been, HELL TO THE NO WE AREN'T STAYING HERE. I have anxiety, so your response is normal.

Also, totally not related to this post, how are all of you surviving not killing each other? Is Coach working or is he at home? My husband is still working and I am so grateful for many reasons but mainly because "drill Sargent" needs to NOT be here right now. :)

Ernie said...

Kari - Yes it was a VERY quick trip. Woulda been quicker if I was allowed to drive faster. Ha. New Rochelle had the highest concentration of cases in the nation at one time, so we did not hang around AT ALL.

Yes, the epicenter. I was not scared for him to get sick because he is young and strong, but still hope to avoid it if possible and spreading it to the weaker people out there is not ideal. I think we escaped unscathed, but I suppose time will tell.

Homeland cars - would you not feel like 'hey these folks won't stay here if it is a germ infested dive' - that was my thought process and really by the time we waited for Lad to come out of his apt (WHY ARE WE WAITING WHEN WE CALLED 18 TIMES TO TELL YOU WHEN WE WOULD ARRIVE) and drive there - I would have slept in a dumpster. Do not deny this woman sleep.

Coach is going to work daily. Scary. One patient of his coworker emailed to say he has the virus. Hadn't been to the clinic if a week, but still. His hours are shorter and he drove me nuts yesterday. More later.

There was an incident at 2:20 am in the house last night - everyone survived, but barely. I do not do well with shouting at 2:20 am - have I mentioned my need for SLEEP? Grr. I have started taking notes on a post about some of the things that I have said recently.

Beth Cotell said...

Glad you guys made it home safely and quickly. In my experience, sometimes my husband just needs to do the talking. He is always more calm and in control than I am. I tend to get a little crazy and emotional and my son can not handle me when I'm like that. (I can't handle me either but sometimes I just need to scream at them but ultimately it does no one any good.)

Hopefully things will improve at your house soon. Although with everything as crazy as it is in the world, it's not looking good. Hang in there! This too shall pass.

Ernie said...

Beth - Yes, glad to be back and we presume safely. There was an 'incident' in the middle of the night the other night. Now that people have calmed down, Coach and I hope to address the situation and HOPEFULLY come to an understanding/get a contract signed so we can live in as much peace as possible.