From pastoral Pennsylvania to crazy Miami.
To the bachelor pad which is being de-bachelored by turning the “pool” room (as in shooting pool with your mates at 3 am, after getting home from the Wall without scoring) into a third bedroom for the twins so they can do homework, hang out, bicker and sleep behind a wall (instead of the exposed upper mezzanine).
Of course this was to be done in the ample two months that we were away and of course it was started on the Friday we returned. So now we neither have an office (pool room) nor a bedroom for the girls since everything from one room is piled in the other.
But thats OK.
They say they will be done by Wednesday.
They said they’d be done by now.
But I’m not bothered. There are bigger problems.
Like school uniforms.
Maybe one has to be genetically programmed to deal with procuring kid’s uniforms. Maybe I’m too hippy-dippy Dutch to even think about universal clothing for creative kids. See I always look to blame myself first (Have you noticed? Do you do that too? I wish I were a bit more Teaparty, and blame everyone else. Like only everyone else all the time.), still I was proud to have gathered, at Woodbury Common (Like/Love), four khaki bottoms that my trendy twins would deign to wear to school, and one pair of black pants that may get them sent home (while the color is right, the fit will be deemed too sexy, which in this city of underdressed exhibitionists is paradoxical but don’t get me started, I already wrote that blog.)
The preppy polo tops have to be bought locally since they are emblazoned with the Miami Arts Charter School logo.
Another bigger problem was getting an e-mail from TED, shortly after arrival, requesting a full run-through of my talk at 1 pm on Wednesday. This Wednesday? This Wednesday!
TED? But I was still on uniforms. Saturday was uniform day on my “what to do when we get back” list. Which also has finish homework with the girls, unpack, get food in fridge, get 2nd floor toilet and phone fixed , you know the drill.
So while I should be writing and practicing my TED talk, I’m chasing uniforms.
Yes, I’d ordered them online as the school suggested, but got a notice a few days ago that the polo’s would be ready for delivery in 5 weeks!
What are the suggesting? Homeschooling for five weeks? I mean the school is clear:
All students and parents have agreed to abide by the school uniform as described in the parent/student contract signed during registration.
Students not in uniform will be required to contact their parent and sent home.
I settled on North Miami and was wise enough to call first, just to make sure they had said polos in stock, but of course got the robot who told me that August is too busy to answer the phone, and tells me to leave a message.
They’re also too busy to answer.
I find out just how busy.
But not till after getting lost in the maze of NE and NW 159th street Drive and Street and Court, at the very place where 95, the turnpike and 539 intersect in a spider-web of flyovers and underpasses and of course the exit ramp that Mapquest told me to use is Closed for Construction.
You are sorry for the inconvenience?
Why not just post some signs up telling how to get the fuck to Ibeley Uniforms in the industrial park (with one entrance) that I can see from the overpass which points towards the Everglades, at 70 miles an hour.
50 minutes later, and isn’t it amazing how proud those moments can make you (forget about a TED talk), I pull up in front of Ibiley.
Pride turns to nausea in a nano second.
Swarming around the huge warehouse, are hundreds of people of many colors (none quite as white as the three of us), several stainless steel quilted food trucks are randomly parked, and something that resembles a long line, made up from entire families (bring the kids, the toddlers, the babies, the grannies, aunts, uncles and don’t forget the neighbors) comes out from the front door into the 95 degree sunshine.
We “politely” battle our way inside only to find many feet of empty shelves and another line that resembles immigration at JFK before Christmas.
Determined (if nothing else) I find 8 tees (4 each), while yelling at the twins to help me. Unfortunately they’re catatonic with the otherness of it all, like in some culture-shock transition from the verdant woods to this urban jungle.
We join the immigration line.
After ten minutes we move close enough to spot a tiny sign over the counter.
We are out of the folowing logo patches. (you buy the tees and pay in line #1, they give you your school’s logo patches, you join line #2, the one outside, and they apply the patches).
Come back on the 28th and we will apply them for free,, it also read. (You’d have to bloody well pay ME to come back!).
There’s no actual list of said missing patches posted. I guess it changes by the minute.
I grab an Ibiley sales girl who looks like she will get really drunk that night.
MAC is not on her list of out-of-stock patches.
I ponder if this is good news. I’m rather praying for an excuse to leave. But it sounds like we will be there for the next few hours. (Could I get into this Cuban/Caribbean/South American block-party atmosphere?).
The girl walks away.
The girl comes back.
“You are at the wrong location”, she says. ”MAC uses special embroidery and is only available at our Little Havana store on SW 8th Street.”
We are on NW 167th street.
You have to be from Miami to know what that really means, but imagine flying to London instead of Sydney.
We are fucked.
We leave the line.
We are hungry and buy three sandwiches, and three Cuban drink cans ( sexy looking mixed mango. papaya, passion fruit that taste like water) from the guilted truck.
“Mom, these are the best sandwiches I’ve ever had,” the twins chime, ”Yes, at least we got some really good sandwiches out of it.”
They encourage me. (Afraid that I might have a shit-fit meltdown?)
Instead I find 95 South (easy), and head towards Little Havana.
I call husband who is on the porch in PA and tells me its the first nice day in weeks.
He also tells me to give myself a break.
He often tells me this.
I listen. The only breaks I take are the ones he tells me to take.
He’s good to me in that way.
“You did your best,” he says. “Go home, have a swim, enjoy being back.”
He has a point.
I compromise with myself. I settle on Target, which I happen to be passing, buy the last three (a terrible number for twins) white polo’s and HP iron-0n tee shirt transfer paper.
I feel clever.
I shall go home, get the MAC logo online and iron it on.
Which I do.
While arguing with the MAC principal in my mind that this is as good as the real thing from Little Havana and that the Ibiley store was completely out of stock (good chance of that anyway, right? Given the odds so far?)
While the trip to Little Havana still looms, since three tees between twins won’t last me the promised five weeks.
They wont even last two days.
And then there is TED.
TED needs attention.
As soon as the girls are in school TED will be my lover.
I promise TED my undivided attention….