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We are here and we are safe.

Knoxville, however, wasn't ready to let go. Upon backing the stuffed-full U-Haul out of our oddly sloped driveway, the truck's trailer hitch imbedded into the street, wedging the thing in our driveway like a bloated tick after tapping a hemophiliac. Numerous attempts were tried to pop the damned thing out, including our NASCAR-loving next door neighbor constructing a crude system of ramps and levers out of scrap lumber. There was much swearing. Still, it was stuck like Augustus in Wonka's chocolate syphon. An hour later, a tow truck was summoned. Five minutes after he arrived, we were $50 lighter and on the road.

It didn't end there, of course. We still had to travel to the U-Haul depot to have a car trailer installed, then have the car we weren't driving loaded upon it. Forty-five minutes tops, they'd assured us. An hour and a half later we were still there, wilting in 90+ degree heat while a mechanic futzed with the trailer's brake lights, which refused to work. In the time it would have taken us to hitch on another trailer and cook a three-course lunch, he figured it out and the lights worked. By Maryland, the left side no longer functioned. We didn't care by that point, simply because we were thrilled that the whole thing was still moving, given that it wouldn't go above 50 and backfired a couple of times an hour.

Eventually, we'll look back on the adventure and laugh -- and not in that "what now?" crazy kind of way. It was like labor. When you are going through it, you make mental note to never, ever do it again. And, yet, you frequently do, simply because you've forgotten, once again, how truly unpleasant the experience can be.

Still, we are here and we are safe. This is the important part.

What's amazing is how quickly it all came together. We managed to find a house to move in to that was in our price range and standing empty. I found a job -- currently, I'm teaching at the same SUNY school where the hub is on faculty -- and actually started a few days before he did. All of the pertinent utilities were easy to arrange and we've found necessities like banks, liquor stores and groceries with ease. As much as I hate to cop to my loosely held beliefs in such things, the stars did align for this odd move and it almost seems like there is another hand at work here. Perhaps it is simply my inability to find all of my kitchen utensils that makes me wax divine.

However, there is just one little niggling detail that is currently chapping my posterior. I can't find one day care that has a full-time opening for The Diva. I'm taking it personally, one more sign from the fates or the universe or whatever that I am a bad parent indeed because my work is also important to me.

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It's sad how quickly my motherhood sails can cease to billow. On the days when The Diva is fully in my care, I feel like I'm coming unglued again. I can't do much of anything, other than read stories and go for walks and change diapers. It's not that I mind the walks and the stories and, even, the diapers, it's just that I have so much else I need to get done, like prep for my class or add more furbelows to my book proposal. There's professional pressure, but I can't bleed off the steam if I can't get an hour or three to think. Most of these days end in tears-mine, not hers.

Asking for help makes me feel like a shitty mom, like I should be ashamed of wanting to put my child in full-time care. I should be able to do this. And, yet, clearly, I can't.

What adds another stick on my pitiful fire is that there's nothing anyone can do to help. Hands are tied by state regulations and fire code. The child care center simply doesn't have a spot and we are forced to bide our time until one opens up, if one opens up. A second center, which I don't like nearly as much, can cover a few hours here and there, but it's such a pain in the bottom to schlep baby and gear from place to place. But my options are few, at this point. While I have some uncles who, for the right price, would lean on one of the families in the center I love and convince them to move far, far away, that approach strikes me as a tad heavy-handed. If I'm patient, I'm sure it'll all work out. It always does, just never quite in the way you had planned.

Regardless, we are here and we are safe. The rest is just details.
About the Author:
Adrienne Martini has been a theatre technician, apprentice massage therapist, bookstore bookkeeper, and a pizza joint waitress. Eventually, someone started paying her for her words and an editorial mercenary was born. She has written theatre reviews and features for the Austin Chronicle, blurbs about tofurkey and bottled water for Cooking Light and a piece about knitting summer camp for Interweave Knits. During the day, she fields freelance gigs and is gainfully employed as an editor at Metro Pulse, Knoxville, Tennessee's weekly voice. At all hours, she is mom to Maddy and wife to Scott, who declines the mention of his age. Email Adrienne at: shaken@austinmama.com


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