Most days, before I go pick up Alex at kindergarten, I swing by my former house to pick up my mail while I grab the various and sundries I’ve inadvertently left behind. I guess that’s the problem with moving while other people stay behind – you have the ability to leave your crap behind to be picked up at a later date, which makes you extraordinarily lazy, especially when one of the boxes contains nothing but bacon spam. I try to get this sort of thing done sans kids because it’s just easier that way, hence my 10:30 trips back to the House Formerly Known as Mine.
Tuesday morning found me there, bright and bleary, seeing if a) the mail had come and 2) trying to knock the two remaining neurons in my brain into functionality so that I could figure out what, precisely, I’d gone there for.
After I pulled into the driveway, leaving the car to idle, I’d noted that the mail was not yet delivered, which had been my main reason for the visit. I weighed my options: I could go skulking around the garage, where Dave had thoughtfully piled anything I’d left behind or I could try and make those misfiring neurons work their asses off to recall what, in particular, I’d wanted so badly from the house.
Standing in the driveway like some sort of mouth breather, staring into space, making my neurons work hard for their money, it dawned on me: MARK ZUCKERBERG. I needed MARK ZUCKERBERG.
While I’d bought him to be a hulking force in my backyard, poised to take over lesser companies and get sued every other day, I no longer had the yard. And, to be frank, Dave wouldn’t miss him – gaudy shit is more my speed than his.
I’d bought Mark Zuckerberg on one of my Friday night excursions to my boyfriend, Target, grocery shopping with my daughter, and upon bringing Mark Zuckerberg home, Dave had bluffed, telling me that he didn’t absolutely hate the peacock, which meant that he probably would’ve burned it, given half the chance and double the energy.
It’s a good damn thing he’s not a poker player, because damns, his bluffing skills need some work.
I’d been anxious to bring Mark Zuckerberg home with me and kept forgetting to grab him from the backyard every time I swung by because, well, with a mountain of my crap in the garage, I sorta hated the idea of neglecting that in favor of a lawn ornament. Hence the skulking.
I’m not sure my neighbors know that I’m gone, although I imagine they suspect it, what with the U-Haul and removal of loads of boxes and furniture. I didn’t have the heart to tell them before I left because I knew I’d fall into a sloppy sobbing mess – I loved living in Pleasantville – and that would be awkward for all involved parties. So I put on my best poker face when I moved, bluffing my way to my new place, hoping the neighbors would simply think I’d gone on a long trip or something.
Which is why, on Tuesday, I felt like a fugitive, standing in my driveway, ready to sneak into my own backyard to take Mark Zuckerberg. I simply couldn’t imagine what they’d think was going on, and while my neighbors weren’t particularly nosy, sneaking into someone’s backyard for a statue could’ve caused some particularly ugly conversations.
I considered making a dash for Mark Zuckerberg, only to remind myself that I am still on the mortgage, which means the house is technically still half mine, which made me stupidly sad all over again. Instead of skulking around in broad daylight (I prefer to skulk at night, thankyouverymuch), I walked into the backyard, opened the gate – the one that never actually latches – and meandered over to the pine tree to take my peacock and bring him home with me.
Carefully, I avoided looking at my roses, which I’d spent so long maintaining (if I couldn’t see them, they didn’t exist, right?), and marched back to the front, Mark Zuckerberg in my arms, half-expecting one of my neighbors to be standing in front of the car, all, “Hand over the tacky peacock and no one gets hurt,” but save for some chalk drawings on the driveway, no one was there.
I put Mark Zuckerberg into the front seat with the wind-chimes I’d bought myself for Mother’s Day and slammed the door. I got back into the car, sobbed for a couple of seconds like an asshole, then dried my eyes before backing the car out of the Driveway Formerly Known As My Own, and heading toward the school to pick up my son.
He bounded toward me, arms wide open, and I smiled my first genuine smile of the day as I swooped him into my arms, kissing his face as he told me about his morning at school, as I thought about the games that people play.
(my living room, four days before moving)
Me: “Hey J, come check out this costume! It’s a SHARK! You could be the Land Shark for Halloween!”
(sidebar: I’ve been trying unsuccessfully for 11 years to get one of my children to be the Land Shark for Halloween. 11. Years)
Alex (uninterested): “Nah.”
Me: “HEY MIMI, YOU could be the Land Shark this year for Halloween!”
Mimi (similarly uninterested): “Nah.”
Me (gearing up to spend some quality time perusing the wares at one of my fav Halloween stores): “Well, what do you want to be for Halloween this year?”
Me: “Are you SURE?”
Alex + Mimi: “YES.”
Me (tries not to look TOO unhappy about the prospect of not perusing costumes for the kids): “Ooookay.”
(time passes as I sulk. Mimi tries unsuccessfully to wrastle the iPad away from me.)
Alex: “Hey, Mama? What are YOU going to be for Halloween?”
Me: “Hrms. The Twitter Fail Whale?”
Alex (genuinely puzzled): “What?”
Me: “Nothing. I don’t know – maybe “Your Mom” or something?”
Mimi: “You should be Catwoman.”
Me: (thinks to self – no longer in my early twenties = not dressing slutty for Halloween) “Um…”
Alex: “Or Poison Ivy. You love plants.”
Alex: “Dad can be the Penguin.”
Dave, from the other room: “HEY!”
Alex (confidently and not deterred by Dave’s dismay) “And Big Ben can be The Riddler.”
Me (three remaining brain cells spell out one phrase “buy cat ears and DO NOT LOOK SLUTTY”): “Okay, kiddo. You got it.”
(Alex and Mimi scamper off.)
I took to The Twitter to ask for advice on buying capes for the tiniest of crusaders, figuring having new capes at my house could help with the transition a bit, and this is where it’s awesome to have Pranksters. My girl Jessica came through for me. Again.
(note: the boxes are, thankfully, now gone)
(the awesome hat, however, remains)
(just looking at the boxes gives me hives)
And now? They’re ready to fight crime. Just like the recycling lady.
And no, for the record, I never did go to the office and pick up the sheet about recycling. Seemed… like a waste of space.