Friday, June 12, 2009

The Joy of Parenthood

"Are you trying to throw me into deep depression?" I asked my realtor Michael when he answered my call. I was referring to several photos I'd just received in my inbox. Well, it wasn't just the photos, but more of that later.

He laughed. So did I. Better to laugh than to cry.

"Have you received the bill for the replacement appliances?" I asked. "Not yet." It didn't really matter. I could try to work it out. One new fridge plus one new stove plus one new range hood, plus repairs to fire-damage, plus one new microwave plus one new dishwasher plus one new garbage disposal ... Stay tuned, as the story gets better.

The Kitchen Sink
At least she cleaned the sink
"The cleaning bill was better than expected," I said to Michael. "Only $987.00, I was expecting more. But what about the carpet?" "We might be able to salvage that," he told me. "But there's a fair bit of fire damage to be fixed".

I'm in New York. The apartment is in Melbourne, Australia. I'm trying to remember the cost of white goods back in OZ. I KNOW they were never as cheap as in America. Maybe they've become cheaper. Perhaps I can get a bulk deal. It can't be all bad.

I close my computer down and sit on the balcony. My Manhattan balcony. I try to lighten up. But into my mind creeps the thought - how does one trash a FRIDGE for god's sake? I remember my student days when I was more or less irresponsible. I remember fridges in terrace houses - small narrow things we got on the cheap with little freezers - ones that were attached to the fridge's ceiling and did not span the fridge's width. You could never see them, they were always covered with 10 inches of ice. But did we trash them? We wouldn't have known how.

I am snapped out of my reverie by the sound of fire engines. More than normal. God! What's going on? They are all slowing down as they get close. I look down over my balcony. No they aren't coming here but they aren't far off. I go inside and call a friend to blot out the noise. But she can hear them over the phone. The noise is reminding me of how it was on 9/11.

"I don't know what they are doing so close," I tell her. Don't you read the newspapers she snaps at me (she's a New Yorker). Well I've been busy I explain. I'm SORRY I don't read the papers! What has happened?

She explains. Not to worry. The City is building a tunnel down Second Avenue and a six storey building is developing a Tower of Pisa type lean. Oh well, that saves me a trip to Italy. I am learning to look for silver linings.

We finish our chat. I keep glancing at my laptop, wondering what scary surprises are lying in wait in my inbox. I resist the masochistic temptation to turn it on, and I go to bed.

I dream of a little girl. I am in the Australian countryside, making a daisy chain for her to wear in her hair. She's so pretty. We cuddle. "Let's go home and make a gingerbread man," I say. I dream of an Australian sky and of a baby hand in mine. "The wheels on the bus go round and round .." I am singing. The sun is shining. My child smiles at me. I wake up.

There's no sun. I'm in New York. Where's the gingerbread man? I'm confused. Is this the start of Alzheimer's? I panic.

It's OK. I remember my name. I drag myself out of bed. But OH NO! I haven't remembered everything! I turn on the computer! I open my email!

I shut it down.

But it IS Friday. Obama is our President. I don't have Alzheimer's. I am employed. There are funny people in this world - people like Eddie Izzard. The forecast for the weekend is warm, sunny and clear. I have friends. Well sort of friends.

And as for the Melbourne apartment, it is fixable. And perhaps one day the ex tenant will also be. Fixable, that is. The little girl of my dream. The daisy-chained girl. Who is now thirty seven, and living I know not where.


Bill Critch said...

I'm not one to cry, in fact, I can't. But this is one of the saddest stories on AA in a long time. Were she my daughter, I doubt if I could face every day without tears.
Your recollections of the childhood years tear at my heart as I recall the years with my daughters. Can we ever see their future when we are so hopeful for them as littlees. Do we blame ourselves for their failures. Yes, we do. Is it our fault that their lives don't turn out as we hope they would? Is it nature or nurture? Circumstances over which we have no control?
Dunno, but it's life; it's ugly at times and beautiful at other times. I guess we own our children till we die. Don't give up, Kate. You can't.

Kate said...

Thanks, Bill. Appreciated.

All I could do when I read your comment, was - remember the song.

"It's my party (daughter)I'll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
Cry if I want to
You would cry to,
If it happened to you"

Thank you again ...

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