IN OTHER WORDS | Ma’am You Need A Permit

The Tasmanian devil has taken up residence in my house. First the illnesses, mine and my kids’ stomach bugs, colds, fevers, all of it. Our house is on the market, de-cluttering, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. We’re organizing a decade of letting-it-all-hang-out while a feverish four year old watches DVDs on my new—expensive, please don’t touch or knock it over—laptop and his seven year old brother reads and playacts away from germs and anything that might constitute a mess. It’s all going in the storage unit. This is my crazy life.

And then finally, health. Back to preschool, school, my husband at work. I’m taking a nap. OK, I trying to take a nap hoping no one will call to see the house. The doorbell rings. No. I’m not here. No. No. No.

I’m not answering it. I think. But, I do. We’re on the market, we have to be available, and it’s a Buyer’s Market, blah blah freaking blah. So, I’m on my porch, in my pajamas, at one o’clock in the afternoon as a City of Seattle worker writes out a citation for the placement of my POD—my portable storage device.

Are you freaking kidding me?

“Ma’am, you need a permit for that. It’s on city property. The parking strip is city property.”

Well, then the city should mow it.

“But, I asked the POD’s people, they said I didn’t.”

I’ve looked better. I’m not wearing a bra and I have no idea when I’ve last brushed my hair, teeth or anything else that might need brushing.

“Sorry, ma’am.” Write, write, sign in triplicate

“It’s going to be gone tomorrow. I asked them. They said it was fine. . . . “

“Well, you can go down to the city, in the next 24 hours, and get a permit.”

“Actually, I can’t,” I say as I think about the 439 other things I have to do in the next 24 hours. Like shower. And be a mom, and carpool and pack more boxes, and maybe eat a meal.

We go back and forth for a few minutes. Nothing contentious, he has had problems with this company before. I think, great, he wants to make an example of me. And then, through no fault of my own, with no intent to manipulate, tears began to stream down my face.  I have reached my limit. I don’t mean to cry. I really don’t. But I am really crying. Like a baby. With snot.

He looks at me—really looks at me—a disheveled middle-aged stay-at-home mom in her pajamas in the middle of the afternoon and he says “You know what, ma’am; I’m going to just go ahead and void this citation out.”



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