Believe in the Flowers.

Carol of the Zombie Jesus!

With the exception of a few bags still out on the porch, we have officially gathered everything from the Broadway apartment that we intend on taking out. It has been a long process that has lasted about a month - we're three days shy of hitting our one-month mark of getting the apartment at 12th street - but I think that in the long run, it has all been worth it. This has been rough, but we've managed, and now the moving's finished and the not-so-rough work of unpacking can begin. I expect this will be interesting in that a good portion of the stuff we have to unpack consists of either baby clothes that need to be washed and stored, or items that didn't get unpacked when we moved from Jefferson to Broadway and that haven't seen the light of day in two years. Our new place consists of a mess of boxes in the game/dining room, which you can barely walk through, and progressively fewer items as you continue through the house. Right now, our couch and several other misplaced things are in our bedroom, we have no bed, and I'm pretty sure that the only things that are in the right place are the TV and a large DVD/book shelf that we got from Best Buy. And there is no way in hell that behemoth is moving anywhere in the house, because at this point I don't know if it would be worth trying to move it.

The best part about the new apartment is that Gabe will have access to pretty much the entire thing, minus the bathroom and kitchen. The layout is perfect for him, in that all of the rooms are open and connected, so hopefully he won't feel so secluded. Now, when we go into the kitchen, there are no oddly-shaped corners for us to disappear around, which always seemed to be one of his biggest problems with the old place. Never mind the fact that now, thank God, there are no flights of stairs for him to fall down - if you ignore the basement steps, which have a door anyway - so the gate that Ellie got for us to use on the steps at Broadway can be put to better use elsewhere in the house. I'm not sure how, yet, but Colin seemed to have a few creative ideas that I've since forgotten.

I worry, though, as I am wont to do, that we've barged head-first into a bad idea. Thus far, things in life have pretty much hopped out at us, and we've taken them as Fate giving us a hand. When we needed a new place, the Broadway apartment jumped out and everything worked perfectly with it, but we did little other research and didn't really look for anywhere else. We took what we were given, and for two years it was satisfactory. When we had our accident and needed a new car, it just so happened that there was a financing option for first-time buyers on, of all things, a bright blue Chevy Cobalt (the Kobold), and it was the right size and price for us. When it came time to move again, another apartment jumped us, one that was a little bigger and had a better layout, and just so happened to be rented - at least partially - by the mother of someone I went to high school with and absolutely adored. It seems scary, in some ways, how everything has worked out for us. We've had to put up with a lot of bad, rough times, a lot of financial problems in the meantime, a lot of weeks without work or enough money to make ends meet, but then out of nowhere my job came along, and I wowed the hiring people enough that even after talking to another, more experienced candidate, they still chose me. We managed to get the LINK card back and could buy groceries again, and when we needed extra time to move, my mother let us stay at her house so we weren't dealing with moving AND a total lack of air conditioning. Things have worked in our favor, as long as we have been patient.

But I can't help but wonder if we've just been too flippant about everything. Thus far, we're the only people that have been totally impressed by our new apartment. Nobody thought our car was a good idea, even though at the time it was our only viable option for transportation. I'm positive, just from hearing the occasional commentary, that despite my best efforts at looking, everyone thought I was a slacker for not having a job yet. I wonder, now, if we've been settling for what is easy and mediocre when we could have been waiting to find the absolute best.

In other news, I've written a letter to an advice columnist that I don't expect to have answered. It is as follows:

"Dear Prudie,
My mother is an aging fifty-something who works full-time and lives at home alone with our family pets. I am 22, married, have a young son, and have not been living with my mother for several years now. She is self-sufficient, but not very careful with her money, and when I was still very young she filed for bankruptcy. The problem? My mother's house is now in a state of disrepair. It is otherwise immaculately and obsessively clean, but about a year ago the joint between an add-on and the main house began to leak when it rains. Now she has ceiling tiles in this add-on room that are falling in and dripping all over electrical outlets and light fixtures. There is mold of every color and size growing on the ceilings and dropping onto the carpets, which have suffered extreme water damage, and I am worried that this mold is affecting not only my mother, but our pets and my family when we come to visit her. Last night, while she was watching our son for us and laying in bed, the ceiling in her bedroom finally gave way and fell, barely missing my son. Now there is bare, drooping insulation in her room and a sizable portion of her ceiling is missing paint and even drywall. I can only imagine what has happened to what little attic space she has, and the contents of such. She has been insisting that she could not afford to pay for these repairs when the leaking began; now I am positive she is correct. Her solution thus far is to further dip into her retirement savings, because, as she has put it, no bank will be willing to accept her credit. This is assuming, of course, that she tries to get these problems fixed at all, which I feel may be the case since she has ignored them this long. I have tried being nice, begging, pleading, and even offering to do research with and for her as to solutions to these horrible problems - but thus far she has not responded. I am the only family my mother has, and I am worried if I threaten her with distancing my family from her in order to fix her house, she will do something drastic (she suffers from clinical depression and a menagerie of other psychological disorders that she does not take her medication for, nor does she see a therapist anymore, and was once hospitalized for self-mutilating at work). How on earth do I convince my mother that there are other options than pulling money out of her retirement - and for that matter, that these repairs MUST be done immediately?"

Who wants to play Prudie for me, assuming that the question will not actually get answered by the real Prudie? Anyone? Anyone?


Your fears for you mother and her health are legitimate concerns. You know I just left a house that was having similar roof problems.

I don't know your mom well enough to be able to make good suggestions as far as dealing with her, but I do know that no matter how she might react you need to keep Gabe out of her house. His system is very sensitive and the mold you are talking about could very likely kill him. For his safety you need to keep him out of that environment.

In this case, telling her that may be enough to spur her into action.

My other advice is to simply take action yourself, do the research, and present it to her. There are programs out there that can help, but depending on the extent of the repairs, it might be too late, and you both need to be prepared for that possibility.

Like I said, I don't know your mom very well, but if it was me, I would do the research and present it to my mom, and keep my son out of that house.