You Still Can’t Make This Up

And now back to the shower from earlier in our story:  We live in a manufactured home built almost 30 years ago.  You know how a stick-built home is supposed to increase in value over time?  Not so much with a manufactured home.

Anyway, the shower head in the master bath was leaking so JD* fixed it.  It continued leaking.  JD fixed it again.  Hey, it wasn’t his fault; he knows what he’s doing in a stick-built house.  Unfortunately, manufactured housing doesn’t use the same standard for their materials, at least they didn’t when ours was built.  The shower head didn’t exactly leak again, but it did blow off the pipe that comes out of the wall.  It was just too old and too stripped to be usable.  Story of my life.  And boy do I wish I had video of that — it happened while JD was using the shower!

So JD took off the fixtures, a chore in itself, and prepared to pull the vinyl (or whatever they used umpteen years ago) away from the wall so he could replace the pipe.  Unfortunately the vinyl or whatever cracked (did I mention it’s old?).  He was able to see behind though and discovered strange looking plumbing used mainly in manufactured homes and possibly in ancient RVs.  His tool collection doesn’t stretch to the appropriate gadgets for working on that.  It appeared we’d need help on this project so we set up an appointment with BathFitters for an estimate.  We knew at a minimum the wall would have to be replaced and we weren’t sure the plumber we’d had out last month did that sort of work.

Yes, two months running with plumbing problems.  Last month it was the water heater for which we shelled out 1200 clams – get it?  Shelled out?  Clams?

Sigh.

Moving on…I left my chiropractic appointment and while walking to a bus stop JD and I chatted about how I was going to get home from the train station.  He had parked our truck back in the station garage and since the taxi stand there was empty he was trying to figure out which bus would take him closest to our house.  With the BathFitter guy due at our place by six we were going to be cutting it close.  Two different bus drivers identified a bus that should get him where he wanted to go.  Did he ask his wife, the Super-Commuter?  Nooooo.  He ended up having to walk a lot further but he made it home before the rep got there.  I wasn’t so fortunate.

Super-Commuter that I am, I made the single worst mistake a commuter can.  I neglected to ask the bus driver if he stopped at my stop.  Hell, I’d been catching buses at that corner twice a week since I started going to the chiropractor in April.  I had asked every single driver that very question because I was unfamiliar with most of the bus routes I saw there.  Till now.  I was so glad there was one waiting at the stop!  It meant I’d get to the train station in time for my usual train and I’d get home in plenty of time!  I’d be able to take off my shoes, change out of my work clothes and be comfortable before the sales guy showed up.

Sadly, it was not meant to be.  I looked up seconds after taking a seat to find that the driver had made an immediate right turn.  Surprised, I signaled for the next stop, figuring I could still retreat back up the hill and catch a different bus.  The woman across the aisle from me advised that I had gotten on at the last stop; we were now headed for somewhere far, far away from where I wanted to be, damn it.  Okay, not that far, but I would not be making my usual bus.

I exited the bus at the first stop, crossed the street and waited at the sign there for a bus returning downtown.  Thankfully one stopped only a few minutes later.  Even more thankfully, the driver explained that the stop I was at was defunct – the new stop was a block west – but he had stopped anyway!  Bless him!  Unfortunately, his first stop was even further from the train station than the stop where I’d boarded the wrong bus.  And it was well into rush hour so what buses I saw were either SRO or barely creeping along.  Keeping an eye on my phone to monitor the time, I began to worry I would miss even the last train out.

 To be continued . . .

*JDis John Doe – who else would Janey Doe be married to?

Innocence Lost

Write about the most precious thing you’ve ever lost.

This is my first post here and when Word Press prompted me I started to panic.  I didn’t have anything ready to post!  So when I saw the Inspire Me link of course I clicked on it.  The prompt that came up was to write about the most precious thing you’ve ever lost.

Word Press couldn’t have known how that would affect me.  I lost my innocence when I was very young.  It was so long ago, I’ve never known for certain exactly when it began.  You see, my grandfather liked girls.  Yeah, no surprise there, a man liking women, right?  Wrong.  My grandfather liked girls.  Little girls.  And maybe little boys too for all I know.

I don’t personally remember the first incident; my mother told me years later that she’d left my baby brother and I with Grandpa while she went to work.  One day when she’d picked us up I said something about Grandpa and I “playing games”.  That was the end of Grandpa babysitting.

Years later, Mom ran off with a man (again, not much of a surprise) and left us with her friend Melray (That’s spelled phonetically by the way; I have no idea if it’s a real name or just what I remember calling her).  Friend might be too strong a word for the woman.  She was a complete and total bitch from the word go.  Our toys were redistributed to her children and we were made to do household chores.  Nasty household chores if memory serves.  I was in elementary school; my brother was under five.  The only thing that saved us was my Grandmother found out where we were.  She brought us to live with her, our Grandpa and uncle.

Then the real games began!

On the one hand, I wish I could remember how long we lived there before our mother came and got us back.  But on the other, knowing how long it went on could be counterproductive?  All I know is that when they told us our mother was coming to take us “home” wherever that was, I broke down into sobs.  Which ever one of the grandparents it was who told me thought I was upset that I had to leave – but I was so damned relieved that I would be able to get away from my Grandpa I couldn’t contain myself.  I think that moment set a precedent for the rest of my life, but more on that later perhaps.

Many years later, good old Gramps tried again.  Unfortunately for him, he made the mistake of trying when I was an adult.  Granted, I was only 18 and again living in the Grands’ house temporarily (having finished high school and being completely unable to tolerate living with the stepfather of the month).  This time though I put him in his place and he backed down.

Many more years later, after the failure of my first marriage I finally met someone who helped me understand what that abuse had done to my life and encouraged me to find help.  Group therapy was very healing; especially the role playing.  I got to imagine my Grandpa sitting in front of me and I could express all the pain and rage I felt.  It didn’t matter that he was already dead.  It didn’t matter that he wasn’t brought to justice.  It felt good to let it out and then to soothe and reassure the little girl I had once been.

So…innocence lost, never to be found again.  But wisdom, experience and compassion received in exchange.  Not a completely horrible trade.