How Often Do You Breastfeed A 2 Week Old Baby The December Years

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The December Years

Shirley had just finished her shower when she heard the phone ring.

She quickly wrapped a towel around her body and ran to answer him.

“Hello. Is this Shirley? This is Laura Giancarlo, property manager at Raintree Senior Living Center in Fairfield.”

“Hi, nice to hear from you,” Shirley replied.

“Looks like I’ll have one bedroom available for you, but you won’t be able to move in until the first of November.” Laura hastily continued, “Can you handle it?”

“Wow, that’s close,” Shirley said hesitantly. She glanced at the calendar and looked at the packed boxes around her house. “Two weeks? Hmm… Right, perfect timing. I have to be out of here by ten anyway. All my boxes are almost packed and ready to go.”

“Great! I need you to come and sign the contract tomorrow,” Laura replied with sudden warmth. “I will also need two cashier’s checks: one for the $450.00 security deposit and one for $350.00 for the rent.” added Laura. “Please also bring your original birth certificate. It’s a must!”

“Okay,” Shirley said.” “I’ll see you tomorrow.” She turned quickly with the phone still glued to her hand and bumped her toe badly on the edge of the box she’d left near her desk last night.

“Ooouuuuccchhh! Shit! I hope I didn’t break my toe. I can’t tell if it’s broken,” Shirley yelled, hopping around. “Yeah, but it sure hurts. Shirley walked over to her desk and sat down in the brown leather chair.

She immediately placed an ice cube on her big toe, tears streaming down her cheeks.

A jumble of packed boxes and furniture stood in her way everywhere she stepped. Her living room looked like a storage closet.

Shirley always knew her living room had a lot of potential, but not this.

She rinsed out the kettle and measured a few spoonfuls of coffee into the basket.

Shirley sat and waited for the coffee to cool while she nursed her toe.

She couldn’t believe that her place on the waiting list had finally come up and that she would be moving in just two weeks. Two years ago, she applied for many affordable housing units, and now one of them has finally passed under HUD sponsorship. She managed to do just that, as the new waiting list was now three to five years long.

Luckily, she was just a step away from being dumped by her ungrateful son. She hasn’t even seen her new apartment to get a feel for it or where to put her things.

There was nothing fancy about this six-story, three-hundred-unit building. It looked fine from the outside, but inside it looked shabby and dirty. She had always hoped to have a balcony where she could breathe in the picturesque view. Her face had a worried expression. Her thin lips were pursed and sullen. Shirley’s income dropped drastically and after 39 years she was forced to move. She tried very hard to suppress her anger and resentment. She looked like a different being than the soft and shy person she was. She was nervous about the apartment, about her circumstances. Her son has already rented her room. Who needs enemies when you have kids?

She still hadn’t finished packing before the stranger climbed her stairs and was at the door.

“OMG! I have to call the movers to confirm the date. I hope they are available that day.” Wrapping her fingers around the cup, she popped two aspirins into her mouth and sipped her hot coffee as she dialed their number. She loved how the coffee warmed her inside as she swallowed it. There was nothing better than that first cup of coffee in the morning.

“What did you say?” Shirley shouted. “Can’t you move me to first? OMG! I can’t believe it. What do I do now?” She hastily washed the cup, spoon and coffee pot and called her friend Nellie. Nellie had four healthy sons. “Of course we’ll help you move. The boys won’t mind.” Nellie said.

Shirley let out a deep sigh, relieved that the problem was solved.

“Are you free tomorrow? Can you come with me to the rental office and look at the apartment?”

“Sure, Shirley,” said Nellie. I know how long you’ve been waiting for this since your husband died. It was hard for you. I’ll bring my tape measure to see if everything will fit.”

Shirley and her friend Nellie finally arrived at the building’s large parking lot. It was quite a distance to the entrance, so Nellie had her friend get off at the entrance and parked the car.

Shirley quickly pressed the button labeled OFFICE and with a loud hum the inner door unlocked. Shirley and Nellie quickly slipped inside and closed the door behind them.

The entrance to the building led to a vestibule and sitting area.

Only one elevator seemed to be working as he hung on to his last gasp. “Ugh!” she murmured. The other had been dead for two years. In front of her was the sign REST IN PEACE. The vestibule was bustling with activity.

Tenants were stuck in the lobby to catch the senior shopping bus.

Moments later, everything else was drowned out by the wailing of a police car and the siren of an ambulance approaching the building. Two paramedics rushed into the building and pushed a stretcher to the elevator to pick up an emergency care patient who had fallen.

From a side entrance came two women pushing shopping carts full of groceries to wait their turn before getting on the elevator. One of them pressed the elevator button repeatedly, thinking it would speed up on her command.

The tenant with the dog greeted Shirley on the way out before the dog decided to put his foot up on the door after a sniff, leaving a puddle behind.

“No… No, bad puppy,” the tenant said and then continued on her way, leaving the pool behind.

“For God’s sake,” Shirley muttered, “this is disgusting. I don’t think I’m going to like this place.”

The janitor came out in a bad mood with his smelly dirty mop, cursing under his breath as he mopped up the dog’s urine for the umpteenth time. Why don’t these dog owners clean up their dog pee and crap on the floor? I’m stuck here all day working for my pitiful salary. The janitor muttered to himself.

Shirley was quickly introduced by a Hispanic woman, excited to share her juicy gossip about some of the tenants and the place itself with someone new.

“OMG. This place is crazy.” Shirley said to herself.

When they arrived at the office, Shirley knocked on the door.

“Yyyyeeeessssss?” Laura’s assistant answered. “Come in.”

She was sitting behind a desk with reading glasses on, looking through a stack of papers. She seemed devoted to her work, but her lips were pressed together in a frown that told Shirley she didn’t like her job.

Shirley immediately announced that she had a meeting with Laura at ten o’clock.

“She’s not here right now; she should be here soon.” Laura’s assistant replied. She was always late. “If it has anything to do with renting an apartment, I have nothing to do with it. That’s her job. I have enough work to do without adding more to my duties.”

“Can you both wait outside? Do I have to make a phone call?” The assistant spoke suddenly. Sensing the stinging tone in her voice, Shirley and Nellie left the inner office and waited outside for Laura.

Just then, Laura greeted everyone as she entered the room, all confused. She awkwardly headed for her desk. She hadn’t been in the office that early in the morning for almost a week. Laura’s assistant nodded towards the two women sitting outside. Laura got up and went outside to greet Shirley.

“Please come on,” Laura said.

“Do you have the checks I requested? Okay, I have all the paperwork here for you to sign. Also did you bring your original birth certificate that shows you are a US citizen? I have your first request. Raintree Senior Living is a state funded project designed to , to help you with the lease. I must stress that you MUST be the only person in the unit. If you add someone else without including them in the lease, we have every right to take action against you. Got it?” Laura explained.

Shirley introduced her friend Nellie to mention that she needed to see the apartment to measure where the furniture should go when she moved. No floor plan was visible.

Shirley handed over two checks to the property manager, signed a one-year lease and received the key. She immediately went to inspect her apartment on the second floor. She walked down a long corridor covered with side bars that reminded her of a nursing home.

Shirley was shocked when she opened the door to her one bedroom apartment. She loved the size of her rooms. The kitchen was small. But it was perfect for her. It had new appliances and cabinets. Everything was clean and shiny, ready to move in. She was very pleased. After a painful introduction to the place, she expected the worst case scenario. After Nellie took the measurements, they both went home to wait for “Moving Day”.

As soon as her son came home from work, she immediately told him that she was moving on the first of November. The surprised look on his face caught her by surprise. She suspected he wasn’t taking her seriously.

All of Nellie’s sons were there by 9am. They began loading the truck, first piling larger pieces of furniture on top of it, followed by smaller pieces and boxes. They professionally moved everything out of the apartment within an hour. They were energetic, organized and young. She felt a significant weight finally lifted from her shoulders as she watched them leave. Nellie stayed at the apartment complex and directed her sons where to put everything. The sofa, which was too big, did not fit in the elevator, so they had to carry it up the stairs to the second floor. Nellie and her sons left as soon as they brought the last of Shirley’s things.

Shirley was devastated by the mess that lay before her, but she was determined that life would resume with some semblance of normalcy.

She stood in the middle of the bedroom wondering where to start. The first piece of furniture that caught her eye was a large empty bookcase standing in the corner of the room. She turned to the boxes labeled BOOKS and began unpacking several of them, arranging and rearranging them on the shelves. One bookcase down and two more to go, she thought.

Shirley began to experience fatigue and hunger pangs and decided to stop grocery shopping.

As she walked away from the elevator to leave the building, she passed several sullen women sitting in the lobby. Shirley decided to greet them.

The women didn’t react, ignoring her presence.

Their expressionless faces were stuck in Shirley’s mind, reflecting too many stories with unhappy endings.

Is this what happens when you get old? Does one become abandoned by families and friends? The cheerful voices and merry laughter of the other tenants could be heard across the hall. It was like music to her ears.

Shirley thought to herself, “Will their laughter and joy eventually give way to a more pessimistic outlook as time and disappointment invade their daily lives?

She shuddered at the thought. Shirley decided to give up trying to continue watching what was happening and focus on preparing for the last chapter of her life.

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