Mary Panza at McGeary's in Albany, NY

Housewife Tuesday: A Town Called

I recently left the place I had been working at for just shy of 20 years. I wanted to be truly independent and (let’s face it) I’ve never been able to hide my joy of things or my disdain. Subtle, I aint. So in October I signed a lease in a new place with basic rules and I’m finally at peace. I’m busy and love what I do (NYS Licensed Massage Therapist) all over again. That doesn’t mean that things are not weird. The massage room is small. I’m clumsy so I am always tripping over my own feet. That is not news to people who know me. Graceful, I aint. I’m awkward learning how to get around the new office and not to get into anyone’s way. By November, I got a bit of a groove going and I was feeling better. That was until the night of the eclipse.

So, it was Thursday, November 18th and having been in the bar business for 15 years prior to massage therapy, I know to be especially aware on nights of the full moon or any other cosmic events. I also know not to jinx myself by saying or thinking, “God, it’s quiet.” That thought is a one way ticket to crazytown. I happened to be having a great day that day. I was cruising along, everyone on time or early, and I was in a great mood past 10am. I may have mentioned that I am Mary Tyler Moore in the morning. I love waking up, drinking coffee and being grateful that no one has pissed me off yet. The day before my daughter asked me to pick her up a minty hot chocolate from DD. I was tired and told her “NO”. Leaving work Thursday, November 18, I said to myself, “I’m going to get that kid her hot chocolate.” I drive by the DD close to work and they are closed. So, I go to the DD on upper Madison across from the police department. That nugget is important. I get her the hot chocolate and head home.

Normally, when I go anywhere, I like to park on the street near or in front of the place. I’m not a fan of parking lots or parking garages. Just the South Troy in me, I guess. That night, I forgot all my common sense and street smarts and parked behind the DD. I notice a minivan of kids in their late teens, hanging out and laughing. On the sidewalk I pass a kid with a tray of drinks and a bag of snacks from DD. Again, I don’t think anything of it. A detail I must insert, my old lease vehicle had a remote where you would have to press twice for it to lock. The new lease vehicle only needs to be pressed once to lock the doors. I have caught myself many times pressing twice and catching myself to make sure I press a third time to lock the vehicle. Stay with me, it gets weird.

I come out of DD, hot chocolate in hand, triumphant. I get in the car and notice that the same kids are in the minivan and they are still laughing. The laughter seems to be directed at me. I think to myself that they are laughing at the old, fat lady, in scrubs getting DD. Whatever. So, I get home and my daughter is so happy. Mother of the year. I win! I beat the odds of a cosmic event with positive thoughts and good deeds. I am awesome. I tell my daughter that I am going to do some reminder texts and watch today’s DVR’d episode of The Young and the Restless. Just as I am basking in my awesomeness, I can’t find my phone. I go to my room, my daughter’s room, my car, the street, the bathrooms, my chair and everywhere in between. I can’t find my fucking phone. FUCK!!!! I bet I left it on the counter at DD. I have my daughter call it. Nothing. I go to find my iPhone on my laptop. Let me say this: Nothing, and I mean, NOTHING is more humbling than watching your phone going up Washington Ave, presumably in a blue minivan full of kids that were laughing at you because not only are you an old, fat lady in scrubs that doesn’t know how to lock her SUV properly, but mainly they just stole your iPhone and the $70 Otter box it was swaddled in. But wait, the universe wasn’t finished with me.

As I am watching my phone go up Washington Ave I notice it stops. “A-HA,” I think to myself! I’ve got them!!! I call the non-emergency number to the APD and tell them what happened and that I have located them. I tell the officer I am on the way and I will meet them at the address showing up on my Life 360 app. I will defeat the evil children. Let me describe my outfit as I have become one of those old women that immediately removes their bra upon crossing the threshold of their home. Gotta free the girls. I had on a loose, black(duh) racerback tank top and black joggers that I like to call my “hammer pants”. No bra, one tit flapping in the breezy and one tit hiding in my armpit. As I am flying out the door into the rain to avenge these wrongdoers, I realize I need a covering. My first thought out the door wasn’t to put my bra on, oh no. It was to grab a zip up hoodie from my vast zip up hoodie collection. Yes, I have a collection. I love them and they don’t judge me. They don’t tell me to get my life together. They don’t tell me I’m an uncool Mom. Most of all, they hug me and help me hide my mother’s body that is now my body. They are my friends. I just happened to choose a friend with a broken zipper. That’s right, the APD showed up to the corner of Washington and Winthrop with me sitting in my vehicle, hammer pants, holding my no zipper, zip up hoodie, tits a flopping with bloodlust in my eyes and crazy all over my face. I give the cop my statement and he tells me that the apps I used to track the supervillains are not 100% accurate and that they just don’t have the manpower to go knocking on doors asking if someone stole my iPhone. He strongly suggested, twice, that I shouldn’t either. Twice. But wait, it gets better.

I get home and have to borrow my daughter’s cell phone to call AT&T to have them shut my phone down and send me a new one. I had insurance so it wasn’t going to cost me the full value of the phone. I go from one operator to the next as I can’t remember my passcode to the phone because I’m cold and rainsoaked and apparently stupid. I pull myself together and by the third operator, I use the proper passcode and they shut my phone off. While I am being transferred to the insurance people somewhere in a place with bad reception my daughter lets out a blood curdling scream. I first think it is because she has been away from her phone for 20 minutes and she is having a Tik Tok emergency. Oh no, there is a mouse on her bed. I tell the nice man to please hold on and don’t hang up to run into her room and sure enough there is a little gray mouse, sent by God to take me down a peg. I start throwing pillows everywhere and call my beast of a dog into her room to kill the mouse. The dog looks at the mouse and looks at me as if to say, “What the fuck do you want me to do?” As all this is happening I knock over a glass of lemonade my daughter had on her desk. She is in the hallway screaming and sobbing. She looks up and screeches “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME??” I gently take her by the shoulders and with all the calm I have in me I say, “You need to get your shit together. Go clean the lemonade and sleep with me tonight. Stop crying. I can’t take it.” I resume my conversation with the nice man who is going to send me my new phone. I can hear my daughter in the next room sobbing that I suck for making her clean up something I knocked over, that the mouse is probably having babies under her bed and will take over her room and that her life is unfair.

Well, we got through the night. I comforted my daughter by telling her that if she is looking for a fair world, she’s on the wrong planet. I put a sticky trap down in her room and the next night we got the mouse. I know there are more and I already have a mouse removal company on it. I went a whole 48 hours without a phone. I couldn’t figure out how to set up the new phone so I went to the AT&T store in Glenmont where I purchased the old phone and hung out with the employees for about an hour. We chatted about one of the tech’s sneaker painting businesses, the pros and cons of the new flip phones and life in general. I rewarded myself with Taco Bell because not only did I have a bra on under a zip up hoodie with a working zipper but because I felt I had earned it. I didn’t beat the eclipse but by God, I survived it. I came out the other side of Thursday, November 18th humbled.

Now, if you think the story ends with me eating a gordita on my way home with my nifty new phone, you’d be fucking crazy. This past Tuesday, my daughter comes downstairs and tells me that a security guard from Stuyvesant Plaza is on her phone telling her that someone found my phone in front of Pearl Grant Richmond and turned it in. I get on the phone and speak with the nice security guard. Indeed, it is my phone. When AT&T turned it off the only thing on it was a notification that this was a lost phone and to call the number listed which was my daughter’s. I drove up to the Stuyvesant Plaza security office and got the phone sans the Otter box. I put the old passcode in and the only weird thing on it was a voicemail from a NYC number with a two second message that was in a man’s voice. The message was him saying, “My Life.” I played it over and over again. I erased all of the old phone info and shut it off. It sits on my end table collecting dust.

What have I learned? I have learned that it only takes one click to lock my doors and definitely NOT two. I have learned that hot chocolate can be expensive in the long run. I have learned to take the zip up hoodies with broken zippers out of my regular going out rotation. Just the formal zip up hoodies from now on. I have learned while Taco Bell may seem like a reward in the moment but it is not the next day. I have learned that 15 year olds don’t like to be without their phones and that mice have lousy timing. I guess the most important lesson is to know your place in the universe. Especially during an eclipse.