Monthly Archives: August 2011

How to Turn Life Upside Down In A Week (Or Less)

Monday: One week ago, today, I was counting down the days until the next holiday, bracing myself for another four weeks of work and school, when I found out that one of the mothers of the children in my care lost her job, and another went on permanent disability.

Etc, etc.

In the matter of hours, I was down to two kids, and one of them only comes sporadically. Egad. We’re talking $2/hour.

Tuesday: I got a job offer teaching at a private school. It’s only 12 hours a week, but it will pay enough to keep the lights on. (Probably.)

I listed my playground equipment and baby furniture on Craigslist. They sold by Wednesday.

By Thursday I was scrubbing walls and pulling out my fridge to seek stray Legos and half-eaten cookies. A friend of a friend let yet another friend know we might want to rent out our daycare area as a studio apartment soon. They called Thursday afternoon.

Seeing as how I’m broke, I told them they could move in Monday. How hard can it be to clean out one, 600 square foot apartment, right? (Ha!)

Five o’clock on Friday evening found me, zombie-like, sitting in my first class of the semester, somewhat gritty and smelling strongly of Pine-sol.

Saturday, I stopped into Lowes after class let out, and picked up supplies to tile the backsplash I never got around to installing for myself.

Sunday was a bit of a blur. I’m pretty sure I  put a twenty-two pound turkey in the oven and made some kind of bread for dinner. Taught my Sunday class outside on the lawn. It involved sugar cookies, blindfolds and lots of sprinkles. Good lesson, actually, I’m sorry you missed it.

This morning I was madly trying to finish the cleaning, patching, grouting, painting, plumbing, etc, by my noon deadline.

When a car pulled into my driveway.


I recognize this lady from years ago when I got in trouble for playing with the kids in the front yard, instead of inside the fence.

She comes up to the porch and introduces herself as my new licensor. Here for a monitor visit.

As in she wants to hang out and see how things are going, scrutinize my records, my toilet, the innards of my fridge, and how the children interact with one another and myself.


You have no idea how good it felt to tell her I was no longer in business.

She wanted me to hand over my license, right then and there. Which does not expire for another year and a half, thank you.

I told her it was in a box somewhere.

We eyed one another with pleasant smiles.

What’s she going to do if I don’t go dig it out? Revoke my license?


Truly, all things shall work together for our good, no? I can see the hand of God in my life–from the way all the kids quit the same week, the timing of this monitor visit, the teaching job, and the arrival of these renters out of the blue.

It was a good day. And not just because I got to take my own children to school registration and to pick out school supplies. And make cookies. In the middle of the day.

It’s going to be a great semester, too.

(For those of you who knew us like this:

It now looks like this:

Well. Technically, I suppose it doesn’t. The renters probably have stuff. But that’s how I left it at noon!)


On the KKK and Bolt Cutters

Just got back from a week in the mountains of Idaho.

And when I say mountains of Idaho, I mean full-fledged, my-neighbors-use-KKK-hats-as-front-yard-decor Idaho mountains.

There was another neighbor–an earthy-looking fellow without a shirt but bundled up in a ragged flannel jacket–who helped us out with… an accessibility problem… shall we say.  We had a key that wouldn’t turn, a van full of children and camping supplies, a rickety bridge and some dicey roads still to cross, and it was getting dark.

So we walk back down the road to where we’d seen this guy attempting to drive a four-wheeler into the bed of his pickup, and ask him if he has any WD-40.

“Nope.” He spits in the dirt. “I got sompin’ better though.”

He grabs an empty beer can, tears the top half of it off, and opens his hood. We make small talk about the proliferation of “FOR SALE” signs we’ve noticed this year. “Yeah,” he mutters from somewhere in the depths of his engine. “The banks are takin’ lotsa things.”  In a few moments, he emerges with the ragged-edged half-can, now full of a sort of black, gritty looking substance, and saunters up the hill. He bends over the lock and pours the liquid into the hole. “Try that.”

When the key still won’t turn, he scratches his head and glances sideways at us. “I got some bolt cutters, back at the house.”

A few minutes later, he returns, bolt cutters at the ready. They have seen better days, though, and aren’t up to the task. They fall apart in his expert hands.

Never fear, though. A man of this caliber is never without a second set. He goes back and retrieves those, works his magic, and we are on our merry (possibly slightly illegal) way.

Seven days, no electricity, kids washing their hair in the creek, running on pine needle trails instead of a treadmill and reading at least one novel, sometimes two a day. It was paradise.

Where did I go wrong?

I think it was deciding to live in civilization, maybe.

Up there, internet and cell phone service are things of myth, but I didn’t miss them and I didn’t feel out of place. Give me a wood stove and a flashlight, and I’ll be fine. Seriously. And considering the state of my finances, the prospect is looking better and better.  I probably won’t go in for the KKK hoods fluttering in my front yard, or the beer cans out back, but I could go for the au naturel approach to yard work–let the forest take over and the wildlife move in.

And I’m definitely looking into getting my own set of bolt cutters.