Despite the extravagant accommodations at La Mesa RV Park, we managed to find our new house within two days. It was a quaint little thing with just five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a three car garage, and a pool out back, so finding enough space for our things wasn’t going to be too overwhelming of a problem. Considering my Shark vacuum received it’s own private bedroom, I’d even go so far as to say that space was abundant. But finding the house we wanted was not the issue; paying for it was. I had just spent my last full paycheck on a mattress and box spring so that left us with exactly $43 for the rest of our lives. Considering my parents cautioned me heavily against this decision to move again, we turned our puppy dog eyes toward Mama D for some generous lending. With no more than maybe a ten minute phone call, she anted up a good chunk of money to help move us into the house. Our irresistible bargaining chip was that the house had a huge port next to it for storing RV’s. It was costing Anthony’s mom twenty bucks a month to keep Grandma at the park, and even though it pained my soul to bring her with us, Grandma moved right on into the new house with us.
While we were signing the lease with the landlord, we got a knock at the front door. It was a cute older couple from two doors down, welcoming us to the neighborhood. She was a short spit-fire and he was tall and gawky with a serious set of teeth – later to be learned directly from the prestigious dentistry of Mexico. They didn’t bring any pie or fruit baskets, but she did compliment my manicure so we let them inside and started to chat. Actually we stepped aside as they barged their way in, but we had no friends in Yuma yet that didn’t live in an RV, so at an assumed average age of sixty-three, they’d do. If she was with it enough to notice a good nail job right off the bat, then she was okay in my book. Plus, they had a wealth of knowledge about all the “hip” spots in Yuma and took the liberty of sharing each and every single one of them with us. We listened intently as if we were genuinely interested in the gathering points of Yuma’s finest elders, but my mind kept drifting off to the landlord’s thirty kids she showed up with that were swimming in our pool out back. Kind of strange watching the little rug-rats bomb around our house soaking wet, but we decided this must be the laid-back, southwestern way of life we signed up for and embraced it as best we could.
When the final person left, we shut the door and just looked around. The house echoed with emptiness and I wondered how the hell we’d ever fill it all. We had put a vacuum in one bedroom, all our shoes in another and reserved the third empty room for an eventual home office. Our massive kitchen had a single frying pan and a ten year old set of silverware waiting to be put away. I glanced over to Anthony and said, “you need a job.” He just laughed and asked if I wanted to go swimming. Oh sure, in all the piss our landlord’s kids just left in there for us. Sounds thrilling. Then I remembered how many times I had showered in Mexican water before, and decided chlorinated pee wasn’t all that terrible. I went a grabbed my suit. While we swam under the stars and reveled in the first night at home, I almost forgot how crazy this all still was. Not naive to the brevity of my happiness, I ignored Grandma gleaming at me from the corner of the backyard. I let my worry remain suppressed and allowed myself to enjoy the first night of the rest of our lives.