The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Sarah and My ESP

My little sister is getting married a week from tomorrow. Wedding drama/stress abounds at the moment. How many bottles of wine per table should be purchased? (2 per table? You mean 2 per person, right?) Did you hear that Grandma is bringing a date? (Will he want beef, chicken or pureed prunes, do you think?) She’s managed to find the perfect husband-to-be, though, so I’m sure if nothing else, they will get married next weekend. And that’s the only thing that needs to happen for a wedding to be successful, as my father always reminds my freaking-the-eff-out mother.

I’m slated to give a toast at the wedding. I’ve been brainstorming funny stories to tell that are also appropriate for everyone my sister knows and cares about to hear. I’m not going to tell this one (but she said I could blog it):

It must have been about six years ago. I had two kids and was just starting out in real estate. My sister was 24ish and living the young and single life.

Late morning one Monday my phone rang and my sister’s number popped up on the caller ID. I answered and we had the following ominous exchange.

Me: Hey! What’s going on?

Sarah: Um… I’m in trouble. Can I come over and talk to you right now?

Me: …Sure…

Sarah: I’ll be there in a bit.

I hit the button to end the call with a sick ball of dread in my stomach. What kind of trouble could she possibly be in? She’d been to Vegas with friends the weekend before. Did she get involved with a ragtag bunch of strippers running from the Nevada mafia and the FBI? Did she spearhead a math scheme to cheat at Blackjack and catch the attention of the violent casino bosses? What could she possibly have to tell me so urgently?

That was when a dream I’d had the night before came rushing back to me. My sister was in it, and while I didn’t recall many of the details, she was obviously, unavoidably, hugely pregnant. It all began to make sense. I literally had to sit down with the shock and realization of what this meant. In the 1980s ‘in trouble’ was totally a euphemism for knocked up, at least according to movies like Peggy Sue Got Married. My sister was pregnant, and I’d had a psychic vision of it the night before in my dream.

OK, no, I don’t actually believe in psychics or mediums any more than I believe in loan modifications that actually help homeowners keep their homes long term. I’d like to believe in them, though. Kind of like I’d like to believe in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Or Heaven. Also, it’s hard not to harbor a small grain of belief in the supernatural when you have a mom who regularly takes you to palm readers and once bought a book on how to teach yourself to be more psychically sensitive (she had me and my sister guess at whether playing cards were black or red before she flipped them over to train our extra-sensory abilities). It’s kind of like being raised Catholic; even if you’ve denounced the faith, you still occasionally have an urge to confess your sins. Sometimes I have a desire to get my old Ouija board out and see if any spirits want to chat.

While I waited for my sister to get to my house and tell me the news I already knew, I pondered the next step in all of this. She was single and probably terrified. How would she raise a baby alone? The solution was obvious: she would move in with us and we would help her raise it. It just made so much sense. We could move my kids into the same room and she and the baby could live in the third bedroom. We already had all of the gear and we’d been through all of the baby stuff. We could help. And my kids would have a cousin! And I would have a baby to cuddle any time I wanted without have to actually give birth again! Everything was going to be just fine.

I stopped short of actually beginning the move of my youngest into his brother’s room, but in the 20 minutes it took my sister to get to my house, I put together a fairly comprehensive mental plan for how this was all going to work.

When she finally knocked on the door and walked into my living room, pale and nervous, I was completely prepared to calm her down and explain how not only was everything going to be ok, but it was actually going to be great.

Sarah: So… I totally screwed up.

Me: It’s OK, tell me what happened.

Sarah: OK, well, so you know I went Vegas this weekend? Well I thought because the 15th was on Saturday my paycheck would be deposited on Friday before the weekend. But apparently it wasn’t deposited until Monday after the weekend, and… (she bursts into tears)

Me: Don’t cry; it’s all going to be just fine. What does this have to do with the baby?

Sarah (sniffles and looks at me quizzically): What baby? I overdrew my bank account and got charged the $35 overdraft fee literally 50 times. My account is negative over a thousand dollars.

Me: Wait, you’re not pregnant?

So, yeah. I’m apparently not psychic in the least. In fact I may be the opposite of psychic. Instead of extra senses, I have a deficiency in common sense.

My sister was freaking out over the state of her bank account and didn’t want to go to our parents to ask for money lest they think she was wildly irresponsible. So I did what any good sister would. I wrote her a check for $1000 so that she could make it through until her next paycheck. And I did so with a touch of relief. Although I’m sure it would have all worked out fine if she had been pregnant and moved in with us, a loan of a grand (which she paid back promptly a month later) was laughably easier to manage for both of our lives.

Maybe I just have to practice more with the cards before my dreams start predicting the future.

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