This afternoon, Daphne and a friend went swimming at an indoor pool open over Christmas break. While they were occupied, I went to an area housing authority to fill out an application for a two-bedroom apartment. I know! I’m supposed to live in an RV. It’s what we do. But the drastic weather changes we have here have shown me that this trailer, which Daphne and I both love, is just not insulated enough not to be in, say, Florida. Or somewhere mild and dry in New Mexico. Don’t lose heart, though, it IS the projects, so “trailer trash” still applies.

After I’d gone through the forty-five minute application process, filling out grueling information about myself and my creditworthiness and how much public assistance I receive (for the record: none), I went out to my car and realized I’d sort of painted myself into a corner. The reverse gear of my car is slipping, and it was out at the moment. I was in a parking space that abutted grass and a building in front.

Fortunately, there was a slight decline on which I was parked. I put the car in reverse and it started going, but then the lot evened out and then started tilting in the other direction. I cut the wheel sharply and pulled even further forward, then put the car into reverse again. This time, it went a little further, but still not far enough to clear the vehicle to my left. I managed to do this several times until I’d moved over one parking space, so I was in a space with one space on either side and a vehicle on either side of THOSE spaces. I had to be careful. Behind me, about three car-lengths back, was a big concrete wall.

Eventually, I got out of the car to push it and help with the momentum. I got it a way out, but it stopped… and started coming back forward. As it did, the wheel straightened, and the car was pointed straight at the beautiful Lincoln Towncar on my driver’s side. I ran as fast as I could to get into the car and hit the brakes. Then I pulled forward, cutting the wheel even more sharply, and pulled forward as far as I could without getting into the grass.

This time, I figured I’d stay in the car and try to keep the momentum by using my left foot outside while still being able to steer and to put on the brakes. I didn’t make it as far that time, but I tried. As I did so, my mule shoe fell off, but I didn’t want to break inertia, so I kept going… and ran over my shoe in reverse. When the car evened out and I had to pull forward again, I ran over it a second time.

As I retrieved my shoe, it hit me that I had this giant 7-pound propane tank 3-point seat-belted into the front seat. So there I was, in the projects, trying to push my car, running over my shoe, and transporting propane in my front seat. Yup, this was some good, trashy stuff.

I did the back-and-forth about three more times before I finally cleared the parking space and evened it out enough to run around and get into the driver’s seat without the car moving so far forward that I was unable to maneuver around the Towncar. As I drove off, I was shaking…

I was thinking a lot about how much like my college years this time of my life feels. Only now I have a kid. And I’m nearly 40. This is not what I expected my life to look like at this age. Trying to brush the melancholy from my brain, I decided to visit Buffy’s Cupcakes on Main to do a review for you guys, and to pick up cupcakes for Daphne and her friend, and a friend of mine.

Newly cheered, I drove to downtown Denison. Promptly forgetting everything that had transpired literally seven minutes earlier, I pulled into a downward-sloping parking space on the busy Main Street. I closed my eyes, pushed away the dispair again, and went into the store.

They had had a good day, and most of the cupcakes were gone. I selected two chocolate, a red velvet, and a gingerbread (which was my favorite). As the very nice young lady processed my payment, I could feel the tears welling up, and I avoided eye contact.

The cupcakes were gorgeous. I was going to at least get a picture of them to show you, but when I got into the car, the box toppled and I ended up with a box of cupcake stew, basically. I gave the girls their cupcakes, and I ate the two remaining (gingerbread and red velvet, both de-capped) with a fork. They were delicious. The gingerbread was perfect, and the cream cheese frosting was mild and smooth.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After I tossed the box upside-down into the floorboard, I got out and tried to push the car, which had nested nicely with the front bumper sitting on the high curbed sidewalk. I got a little scrape, but couldn’t move the car very substantially. This was probably a good thing, since I couldn’t actually see around the car beside me to judge what traffic was doing.

I sat in the car and called a couple of people, but no one was immediately available. I should mention that, by this point, I had lost the ability to control my emotions and was pretty weepy. But I sat there for a moment, then went back inside Buffy’s. I asked them if they knew of any men who worked in the area, and I told them my predicament. They both came out, one trying to call neighboring businesses. She tried to push the car while the other stood in the street watching for traffic, and I sat in the car to navigate. It didn’t work.

The lady who was pushing went to find someone, and I looked into the barber shop next door, as I’d seen a young man standing in the doorway. He and an older gentleman came out and gave it the college try, and I was so grateful… but the two of them together didn’t make it as far as the woman from Buffy’s had! (She’d told me that she was “freakishly strong.” She must have had a point!)

I texted two other people, and then she showed back up with a strapping guy. They tried, but – the scraping! – that initial un-nesting and getting over the hump… it just wasn’t happening. Another young man came out, and the three of them together managed to shove me into the street.

I told them all “thank you” from the cockpit of my car, but I really wanted to hug them and write them into my non-existent will. Suffice it to say that I did not park like that again today and hope the lesson will stick with me until I can get the car fixed.

And I will go back to buy a lot more Buffy’s, at which time I will write a review (oh, and I will park around the corner where there is not front-in parking).

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