“Honey, what are some semi-tragic things that have happened to us that I could turn into a funny post?” I asked The Spouse.
“Colorado. Colorado, Colorado, Colorado,” The Spouse intoned. With each “Colorado,” a submerged memory jetted out of my subconscious like a flying fish. With fangs. “Oh, yeah . . . .” I mused, wondering how I could possibly have forgotten those 15 months of tragic circumstances. “There is a ton of fodder from those months, isn’t there?” Because, one must admit, hard times plus passing time equals hard laughs (or so says Marie Osmond except she says it differently. Or it it better?)
It isn’t that we hated Colorado. Let me rephrase that. It isn’t that I hated Colorado. The problem was that The Spouse hated it because from the moment we crossed the border from California into the wide open territory of the midwest, The Spouse never had a solid night’s sleep. Not one. For 15 months. Of course, that was mostly due to all the Tragic Circumstances that had him up nights worrying over each T C like a dog with a festering bone.
Truly, there was much to worry about in Colorado. One of the main anxiety inducing factors in the beginning was finding a place to live. At first we lived in the basement of good friends who were kind enough to allow us and our baggage (mostly the emotional kind) to turn their house upside down for a few months. It was a few months too long. By the time The Spouse was gainfully employed and able to pay rent somewhere, we smelled like wet towels left in the washing machine for wayyyy too long. With a couple of fish thrown in.
In short, we had to get out and get out fast. We started looking around. The problem was, other than the basement we were currently occupying (in cramped squalor, might I add) we were accustomed to lots of room. A year or so prior, we sold our largish San Diego condo with no yard in favor of a house with a spacious front and back yard. After all the Big Guy, though only 8 or 9, was getting bigger every day and tended to run outside in a manic fit of temper, sans clothing, on a fairly regular basis. A yard of his own to run around in was pretty high on our list. Nevertheless, in spite of the difference between costs in California and Colorado it turns out that these differences were Not Much. Or, that is, Not Enough, since Pay For Time Spent Working was also Less. Much Less.
One thing that we had in our favor; our credit was squeaky clean. From the time I graduated from high school to right before the Big Guy was born (about seven years) I worked as a home mortgage loan processor. I had read too many credit reports and pursuant explanation letters as to Why We Had to File For Bankruptcy and Never Will Again Should Mercy, God and the Weather Be Willing. I knew how important it was to pay your bills on time, come sickness or high water.
The Spouse, meanwhile, worked as an executive for a credit reporting company. He was in charge of making sure their clients paid their bills so that he could write checks to the employees. He also knew how important it was to meet obligations. As a result, we were nerdy bill-paying geeks.
This bit of virtue came back to bite us in the behind when a very nice couple whose home we toured for potential renting decided that since my husband had worked for a credit reporting company, he must have expunged our record of any information that would make us look bad. I guess absolutely pure credit is a pretty rare thing (and might I add, our credit is no longer as white as the driven snow. High water happens). Of course, nothing could be lamer, er, further from the truth. Credit reporting companies are founded on the assumption that their information is true and accurate which is exactly why they are very careful to hire people who wouldn’t dream of doing anything so untrustworthy and dishonest.
Nevertheless, nothing we said could convince this couple that we were as credit-pure as we appeared. However, I tend to think the main reason we were denied that particular house had something to do with one of the two following reasons . . .
First, the wife was a dog lover so announcing my intention to keep our dog outside all winter won me no points. (In my defense, I am allergic to dogs and had no practical knowledge of snow except that when you play in it for a few hours, it gets cold. Also, dogs, unlike moi, have lots of fur to keep them warm. Right? As if.) Honestly, I thought the homeowner would be happy to learn the dog would be outside rather than scratching up her beautiful wood floor but I hadn’t been in the state long enough to know that Coloradoans worship animals almost as fervently as Californians worship the sun. In fact, she informed me the reason they were moving from that house (and subsequently renting it out) was because she was so upset from witnessing her neighbor beat his dog. That tells you something, but sadly, it told me too late.
On the other hand, walking out of the house to catch the Middle Child, who was, at the time, the Potty Training Baby, squat and pee right through her underwear onto the emerald green lawn might have had a lot to do with why we were turned down. You would think the fact we didn’t beat the child for her transgression might have won us a few points, but no. Rather, I suspect my not roundly scolding the child and properly punishing her right that instant was the main reason we were denied access to their lovely house. Apparently, in Colorado, dogs should be treated with kindness whereas children should not be spared the rod. Who knew living in California for thirty years could make one so ignorant? (Please don’t answer that, Nation-at-Large.)
Okay, so not so scary. However, this is merely the first in a series of events that grow scarier and scarier, sort of like a horror movie that starts out rather ordinary and then builds and builds to a horrific bloodfest. Only, no blood was split. At least, I don't think so . . . .most of the memories are still buried a bit deep . . . .
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