Adulthood sucks butt (this week)

Community volunteer work is supposed to be good for you, something a responsible adult does. You help your neighbors, meet new friends, make your corner of the world a little nicer. It is not supposed to make you want to slap people upside the head, throw your child in the river, and finally up-end that bottle of Oxycontin that has been sitting around since you got your wisdom teeth removed. Obviously, volunteer work affects me poorly.

As you can tell by my lack of blogging over the last few weeks, I have been too busy to sit down and get my thoughts straight.

There was our trip to Louisville, KY, to support Pawpaw’s show, the Gospel Connection, and Aunt Jenna’s southern gospel group, Higher Hope. There was the return to work with deadlines looming, since I didn’t work on anything while I was away. There were my freelance projects, needing a quick turnaround, and then a revision after that. And then there were the Friends of the Greenwood Playground.

I have only met one of these ladies in person, and they all seem very nice. I accept full responsibility for taking things too far and way too seriously.

We wanted to put on a puppet show this fall with a marionette theater. All I had to do, said the nice Friend leader, was call the puppeteer to set up a date and then get the event permit. Easy peasy, I thought. This was not like organizing, oh, say, a massive daffodil planting (another opportunity that I wisely passed on). This was a small, get-your-feet-wet volunteer project.

Me and puppet lady played phone tag, for weeks, even before I went to KY. When she finally talked to me, I realized that what they say in the theater district is true: every actor is a diva, even the puppeteers. She wanted a day “with a big crowd.” What day is that, exactly? Since I’m new to the neighborhood I didn’t know, but I had to “grab the date right away.” Of course, she then didn’t answer my call when I tried to pick a date the next day, after speaking to the Friends. When I suggested to the puppeteer that we set up the show in the sprinkler area, which is a big open space in the middle of the playground, she said, “The sprinklers will have to be off during the performance!” First, it will be October. You know, when it’s cold? Second, would I have suggested the spot if the puppets, the stage, and the audience would be wet, in October? No.

Okay, so the show was finally set. Next, the permit. It takes no less than 21 days to get it approved, says the website, the lady I call, and the dozen (I swear, I counted them) signs at the permit office. We have less than two weeks before puppets will be arriving. On the chance that our permit will be fast-tracked, I must get the application in the day I finalized the show details, which was this past Tuesday. Instead of frolicking in the park with Charlie, as had been my plan, I had to fill out a form containing questions I knew nothing about (Do we have insurance? What events did we hold in the last two years? Dates and descriptions, too! I just moved to the neighborhood, people.), get it printed and get it to the office before 4 pm. The lady told me this at 2 pm. CW was asleep, and I had no printer.

So, I took just-awakened, getting-ready-for-snack CW to the library where he pulled books off the children’s shelves while I screwed up my computer reservation. I got absolutely no computer help from the four librarians I asked. One of whom, after giving me an explanation of children’s versus adult’s computers, proceeded to say to her co-worker, who was trying to help me, “I just explained to her…” As if I wasn’t there. As if what she’d explained to me actually had anything to do with the problem I had described. (Never treat a mother like an idiot. Just because she has to speak babytalk between asking directions does not mean she’s incompetent. You WILL have evil eye thrown all over you.) One kind, wonderful librarian guy finally helped me print out my form. (He couldn’t help me keep CW from wiggling, whining, and wanting to run out the door and into the street. The poor kid was hungry, but I hadn’t been able to cook him much since, oh yeah, our kitchen sink was broken and I’d had to remind the landlord twice that morning to FIX IT, PLEASE.)

A half hour later, CW and I were on my bike, heading to Park Slope. (I suppose this counts as bike ride #6, though I haven’t gotten to write about #4 and #5 yet.) We reached the office at 3:30 PM. Ah, but not really. The lady out front said, “It’s downstairs. Go around to the side door.” So, we go. We unload from the bike. I prevent Charlie from diving head first into a trash can that was so disgusting it could only be appealing to toddlers, and rats. We found the door on the left, down a long hall. Guess what? That wasn’t it, either. It was out back. In a different building. So we went out back, up uneven stone stairs, beneath some construction scaffolding to the door another lady pointed out to us. Nope. The office we wanted was actually around the building. Trudge, trudge, trudge. We made it!

We suffered through a short lecture on how our permit might not go through because–as the signs all proclaimed–they needed 21 days to process it. But, she said she’d do her best. It was all I could ask for.

Charlie and I finished our ride with a stop to the bike shop where Dixon fixed my popping gears with one magical touch. Finally, I thought, our day was looking up. Then we got home to find a notice from the IRS about dividends we never received. They want to charge us more than a thousand dollars in taxes and fees for money we never got. ARGH!

Deep breath.

I remember, just out of college, when I had no car payments, no insurance payments, no retirement plan, no child whose future I had to take care of…I only had a phat new apartment in Florida with a pool and a dishwasher and a job that let me goof off a bit while I made more money than I’d ever made before. $15,000 a year, anyone? I remember thinking, this is what it’s like to be an adult, paying your way, taking care of business. Why did everyone say it was so hard?

Okay. I get it. Lesson learned.

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2 Responses to “Adulthood sucks butt (this week)”

  1. Puppets and angels « With Charlie Says:

    […] fall frolic and puppet show went off without a hitch. The Friends of the Greenwood Playground are amazing. I’ve met most […]

  2. Pirsey Says:

    My fellow on Facebook shared this link and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came to your blog.

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