A few months back, we did some downsizing. We moved from a 4 bedroom, 3 bath 2600 square foot house into a tiny 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom second floor apartment. As one could imagine, things are quite different. Then: big backyard, 3-car garage, vaulted ceilings, laundry room, walk-in closet, a few neighbors on our cul-de-sac street. Now: no backyard, patio, or balcony. Assigned parking space. My dad, who is 6’ 5”, would have to crouch to ambulate in this apartment. There’s a laundry room, or should I say, laundromat, downstairs for the residents. Closets? Bah! And most of our neighbors have been members of AARP for at least 20 years.
The reason for our move was simple: to save money. We were renting the house for an ungodly sum. We have been wanting to save up so we can buy our own house, but the rental was sucking us dry. The place was spacious, and was great when we had all the kids. John’s kids are with us 2 weekends a month, and Noelle is with us half the time. But when there were no kids, we got to looking around and thought maybe we didn’t need to be paying someone else’s mortgage after all, and that we could be saving tons of cash. So we decided to move into a co-op apartment my mother owns. The rent we are paying for the apartment is 12% of the rent on the house. TWELVE PERCENT.
So here we are. Let me tell you, trying to cram all that stuff into this tiny apartment was a nightmare. We sold a lot of stuff, and had to put some in storage. When all four kids are with us, the place looks like a bomb filled with kids, clothes, toys, blankets, and food exploded in the tiny confines of our apartment. It takes days to recover. No, seriously. Days. All things considered, we’ve adjusted quite well, and the super low rent has definitely made that possible.
By far, the most difficult adjustment has been having one bathroom. Having three full baths at the house was a dream. No backed up traffic. Or backed up toilets, as it were. Now it is definitely a challenge. When everyone is at the apartment at once, our bathroom sees more ass than a proctologist. Most of us can tough it out if we have to go and the bathroom is occupied. And when someone goes to take a shower, Tiny Apartment Etiquette dictates that we holler: “Does anyone have to pee before I take a shower??” This works most of the time. Most. Of. The. Time.
Case in point: a few weeks ago, Noelle woke up having to pee very badly. It was around 3:00 am, and John was taking a shower before he had to be at work at 4:30 am. Noelle woke me up, yelping about how she had to GO POTTY REALLY, REALLY BAD, MAMA! I went in her room and picked her up out of bed and headed for the bathroom. When Noelle saw the door was closed and heard the shower, she panicked. So did I. I started walking back and forth frantically, not unlike a dog that needs to be let outside to relieve himself, trying to decide what to do. Noelle started crying. “I’m gonna wet my pants! I’m gonna wet my pants. Maaaaammaaaa!”
I had to do something. I thought that maybe I could yell to John to stay in the shower, that we had to come in really quick so Noelle could empty her overflowing bladder. But I knew that she would freak out at that idea. Sometimes the kid has hiccups of humility and likes her privacy. The next day, she’ll stick her butt at you and fart in your face.
Time was of the essence. I knew Noelle would soon be peeing down her leg, and onto my side and then down my leg, onto the floor. I looked around. Damn it! Why didn’t I purchase some extra buckets during all those trips to Target? Then I saw it: the kitchen sink.
Yes, the kitchen sink, people. I raced into the kitchen, and told Noelle, “Honey I don’t know what else to do – you’re gonna have to pee in the sink. I’ll hold you.”
Then she knew she was out of time and gave in. I held my daughter over our kitchen sink so she could pee. She peed. In our kitchen sink. She peed in the kitchen sink.
Now I don’t blame Noelle one bit. She’s only five years old, and if anyone was going to pee in the sink, I’m glad it was her. She was actually quite the trooper, and all she knew was that she had woken up in the middle of the night and had to go NOW. She did exactly what she was supposed to do. Luckily, there were no dishes in the sink. And I am quite adept at balancing Noelle over toilets, since I hate public restrooms and there’s never any toilet seat covers. In turn, Noelle is quite adept at holding very still with her legs bent as if she were sitting in a chair. We’re quite the team, she and I.
When it was over, I cleaned up Noelle and held her why she cried over the potty in the sink trauma. I tucked her into bed and she fell asleep right away. I returned to the kitchen and cleaned the sink with my beloved Clorox bleach. (I love the smell of bleach. Mmmmm bleach. Nevermind.) Then I went back to bed myself, and thought about how I just held my daughter over the sink to relieve herself. How, as a mother, I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO, by God. I decided that I would spare Noelle the humiliation of telling others this tale. In her presence, that is. At least until she’s an adolescent. Ahem. I mean, seriously, I can’t be expected to keep this little story to myself.
So now when you come over to my
house apartment, there will be no need to ask what’s up with the half a dozen buckets scattered throughout the place. And you will come with an empty bladder, and will drink nothing for the duration of your visit.