Sunday, July 23, 2017

I Don't Think I Was Meant To Grow Up

I'm two months in to this adulting thing, and I have to say... It's not goin' so hot.

It was a week before I had a bed in my apartment, a month before I even had something to sit on to watch TV, and the rug I ordered six weeks ago still isn't here. (Don't worry, it's only been sent back to the company twice, but the address confusion has been addressed and it's on its way. Third time's the charm I hear. We'll see.)

When I first moved in to my apartment in Nashville, my locks didn't work. And I refused to sleep on the floor behind a door that didn't lock, so there I was, staying at Dylan's. Two weeks later, my air conditioner broke. I'm extremely hot natured but sightly more stubborn, so I tried to tough it out. Dylan walked in once and said, "Your thermostat says it's 80 degrees in here! It's cooler outside!" So I was back at Dylan's for a few nights, at least until the poor maintenance man that already knew me by name had completed the work order. And don't even get me started on the smoke detectors. Those things go off every time I take something out of the oven without remembering to turn the stovetop vent fans on.

Well about a week ago, I started waking up to falling objects. Every time I would emerge from my bedroom the next morning, something new would be on the kitchen floor. A chip bag. A cereal box. A few tea bags scattered from their can on the shelf. I glanced up at the air vent directly above the pantry shelf; the same one that's been testy since the cooling system was fixed. It's been known to blow my papers around every time the air kicks on, so I didn't really think much of it. I just sat things back where they belonged and went on about my day.

The longer time went on, things weren't just falling. They were moving. I'd come out into the kitchen to see cereal on the floor, a jar of peanut butter tipped over, and a box of rice moved to a new place on the shelf. That's when I first started fretting.

Two nights ago, I awoke to a crash. I live by myself, and dared not open the door. The way I saw it... something had been moving my food around without attacking me thus far, so it was likely safer to stay put and pray for protection than it would've been to emerge in the dark with nothing to defend myself. I stayed awake for a good while, until several minutes of silence had passed. Go back to sleep, I told myself, Deal with it in the morning. When your head is on tighter, and it's light outside. 

The next morning, the sun was shining and I was showered, my hair was straightened, and my face was makeuped before I dared to take on the kitchen. And when I first emerged, nothing seemed out of the ordinary compared to the past few nights. One chip bag was on the floor and a cereal box was tilted over. I couldn't find the source of anything warranting a large crash, until I leaned down to pick up the chip bag.

The picture frames atop the pantry shelf had fallen, and half of my loaf of bread was gone. The same loaf I'd only bought the day before and eaten two pieces out of for a sandwich. The bag was torn open and my bread hadn't fallen. It wasn't thrown away. It was eaten. 

I'd had enough. I grabbed my phone; no wallet, no keys; and walked right out of my apartment. I dailed in a frenzy. "Dylan?! Dylan, please. Come over here. Now." My anxious mind and untrusting soul went everywhere except to any logical conclusions.

What if the previous resident is a prankster who still has a key to my door?! 
What if there's a homeless man who lives in the tall bushes behind my apartment complex and he comes in every night for food?! 
Good god, I just got my air conditioner fixed and now there's a demon in my ventilation system... 

And sweet Dylan, being the logical fixer-upper that he is, arrives within minutes, waltzes right up to the door and says, "Ready to take a look?" like it's totally no big deal.

He picked up the chip bag. He poked around the bread bag. He got out his phone flashlight and looked on the floor under the pantry shelving. "Well," he sighed, "You've got mice."


I'm sure it left my mouth like I was an absolute madwoman. My primary thought: Tiny little rodents ate half my loaf of bread?! It would take me two weeks to do that! There's just no way... Secondary thought (and Dylan's primary thought): It's rodents. Nothing human. Nothing paranormal. Just rodents. And we can fix rodents. 

He explained it all. And suddenly it made a whole lot of sense. The crumbs, the fallen food, the holes in the bread bag, and the mysterious brown specs that kept appearing on my floor. You guessed it. "Mice poops," as quoted by Dylan. Wonderful.

He watched as the fear vanished from my eyes and my breathing returned to normal. And with his smirky little grin, he stifled a laugh and said, "You were thinking ghosts. Weren't you."

"No," I defended and neglected to mention the demon thought, "I thought someone got in here. I thought someone was breaking in in the middle of the night for bread."

He gave me that really?! look. You know, the one people give you when they know what you've just said is ridiculous, but they want to make sure you know it, too.

"Besides," I countered, "I'm no expert, but I was pretty sure ghosts wouldn't eat bread."

He busted out laughing. I didn't understand why he thought it was so funny. It was probably the most logical thought I'd had all morning. Duh Bethany, it's can't be a demon. Demons eat souls. Not bread. 

And so, after a hug and a trip to the apartment office, pest control was called. The appointment is scheduled for Wednesday. And where am I in the meantime?

You guessed it. Dylan's. Again. Suggested by him, out of the kindness of his heart. Or out of the likelihood that his girlfriend, who thought a homeless man was breaking into her house for bread, would be calling in the middle of the night asking him to come over when she heard rodent feet scurrying around her kitchen.

So, yeah. That happened.

And adulthood is going about like I expected it to. I start my job in a week. I have trainings to attend and a classroom to plan and a few seconds left of summer to enjoy, and what am I doing? Fending myself from mice. 

My mother always told me that once I graduated college, I would be a real adult. I'd have a real job and a real home and real life, and I'd spend the rest of my days trying to get it all together.

If that ain't the truth.

I miss the lunch box days and the nights when my parents would lay in my room until I fell asleep. I miss having help for school and love and life (and don't get me wrong, I still call my mom for all of those things), but I miss being taken care of. I miss having someone else pay to fix the locks, or contact the air conditioner repair man, or get rid of the mice. And I can't believe I spent all of those moments wishing I was the one who could take care of it all myself.

Because now I've become the one who's writing those words, even though I swore I'd never say them. I swore I'd never tell a child, enjoy it while you're young, because they don't believe you and they won't take your word for it. Because they don't know everything that goes into being an adult. They just know that daddy gets to drive a car, and mommy gets an expensive purse, and adults get to touch the stove and plug in lamps and do everything that you aren't allowed to as a kid.

And I suppose I am thankful for that, now. I get to drive a car (which is cool until you get a $200 speeding ticket in a small town that floods two weeks later and won't tell you whether or not they got your check). And I get to touch the stove (cooking, ugh...) and I get to plug in lamps (cause that's as exciting as it was cracked up to be). And...I'm still waiting on my expensive grown-up purse... Why? Because I'm paying for mice repellant so I don't have to buy a new loaf of bread every day.

No wonder I like hanging out with kids so much. They keep me hoping and dreaming and imagining when I'm bogged down by rent and finances and the rat-like intruders that are in my home. Children are such a gift in this way, and I'm so lucky that I get to spend so much time with them.

So I suppose I'm truly in the best position for an adult to be in. I'm in the constant companionship of kiddos. And I suppose if you look at it that way, I wouldn't have that blessing without my real job in my real life.

Even though (yes, mom...) I'm spending every moment trying to keep it all together.


  1. So funny and sweet at the same time Bethany! Keep on keepin on!! Lorna

    1. Thanks Lorna! Doing the best that I can! :)