The other day, I walked into the TV room to hang out with Velvet. I can't remember if he was watching Attack of The Show on G4, his favorite network, or if he was playing Zelda on the Cupcake's Wii, which has landed in my TV room. Either way, he was sprawled on the couch under a very soft, leopard print faux fur throw Buzz Kill brought home from work years ago. I'll say this for Buzz Kill, he really did bring home nice things to wrap our baby bunting in. If you consider the amount of expedition quality outerwear Velvet sports around town, he still does. But the point isn't that Buzz Kill is a pretty good father when you ignore the IRS factor and the Anxiety Disorder. The point is that when he was snuggled up under that leopard print on the sofa with a remote control in his hand, Velvet looked a lot like he did when he was taking a sick day from middle school.
Velvet has been feeling depressed lately. Not full blown, clinical depression - just the down in the dumps, hang dog, mopey kind of depression that naturally accompanies flunking out of school and being unemployed. Overall, Velvet is totally fine and, to his credit, he's doing his chores without being asked and he's accomplishing the daily tasks I set for him satisfactorily. For example, I can leave him $15 and go to work, and Velvet can go out into the neighborhood to fetch milk, Half & Half for my coffee and batteries like I told him and even remember we needed lightbulbs on his own, and get those too.
It may seem like an insignificant accomplishment, but he never had to do things like that when he was a kid. He had to come with me to tote stuff while I gave lessons in comparison shopping. That's why he could hold up a bag of Oreos in the grocery store when he was in first grade and say, "But Mom! They're on SALE."
He's off today earning 80 bucks for doing some sort of market testing involving smells. We can only hope the corporate dicks paying for this testing have already abused some animals to determine that the smell doesn't burn the hair out of human noses. In any event, Velvet is getting paid today and will hopefully secure part-time, low-wage employment very soon. He spent the night last night with Hawk-Eye, the friend he met the summer between 5th and 6th grade at Hippie Dippie Quaker Camp. Hawk-Eye is the one who is like a giant cuddle bear, has a glass eye he used to enjoy sticking pins in for the entertainment of his compatriots, and who watched his father die in a diving accident when he was about 13. Hawk-Eye and Velvet have both been loosing themselves in Dungeons & Dragons periodically for years and years. D&D can be an indication that they are both stressing and need an escape.
Hawk-Eye lives way downtown in some luxury building with a view of the East River where a bunch of rich parents have stashed their terminally adolescent kids. Although we love Hawk-Eye through and through, he provides a cautionary tale about what happens when parents get swallowed by their own grief and despair, leaving kids to flounder alone with their trust funds.
Anyway, when I walked into the TV room the other day to hang out with Velvet, he looked up at me and said, "Hi Mom!"
I thought he could tell I'd been on the phone with Woody smoking copious amounts of weed and was making fun of me by calling me, "High Mom." I looked so stricken, guilty and busted that we determined my new X-Man name would be High Mom, and my superpower is Chill. All I have to do is exhale and everyone in the vicinity will suddenly Mellow Out.
It's almost as nice as when he said I could handle the Samuel L. Jackson role in Snakes on a Plane. When I heard that one some years ago, I felt like it proved I had achieved a fair amount of parental authority. The Power of Chill must mean that even though the world feels out of fucking control sometimes, Baby feels safe at home. For a homemaker who has devoted my life to creating a harmonious environment - both at home and in my classroom - that's high praise indeed. I'm declaring it Thing of Beauty #47-101.
For my next trick, I have to secure the mortgage on the new place. I think it's all good since the mortgage broker gave me a letter stating I was pre-certified for a greater mortgage than the one I actually need, but this process still makes me nervous since (1) my ancient credit history sucks on account of Buzz Kill but all that foreclosure stuff was nearly 10 years ago and (2) I'm a preschool teacher who doesn't make a hell of a lot of money. Such variables never stopped predatory lenders in the past, and I doubt they'll stop predatory lenders today. I just don't want to be preyed upon - and if I must be, I hope things shake out so that I can comfortably make the payments.
I also hope America doesn't deteriorate to the point where we're all living like it's Planet of the Apes on account of collapsing infrastructure, homelessness, food shortages and general mayhem caused by our Corporate Overlords. But, if it does, at least the new place is up on a bluff so that when the river rises due to global warming, we won't flood. We can run across the bridge if we have to Escape from New York - or our friends can get to us easily if we need to house Red State refugees. The best part is that we can transmit a clear radio signal from the front room in case the Feds fuck with the internet so badly we have to rely on old school communication to stay in touch with each other.
Most likely, we'll be stuck with the same old shit for the foreseeable future so that Velvet and I will continue to hang onto the bottom rung of middle class life in the big city. And in that case, there's a coffee shop and a pizza joint on the corner by the subway station and the bus stop. That's about as good as it gets.
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