What would I do these past few months without him? He feeds the animals, takes and picks up kids, groceries, carts boxes and bags and furniture from cottage to house and willingly back out to the storage when I change my mind. He’s cheerful, optimistic and participatory. This is his heart home. He loves it here with all of us. With you. And he needs his own life, friends and a place of his own. Mommy calls sometimes, not often. Daddy is much better. And I watch him loving you and your sister with an open heart and arms.
You had a scare at school. You fell asleep at nap and thought I’d left you at school. It took awhile for Teacher Rob to calm you. Moving is fun and can upset the balance. You asked me if I’d please never leave you behind. Never, I promised.
Today I realize that I need more help. I need to call a housecleaning service, get someone to help me cart things around for a few hours each day and I need to have a working phone. After all the A, B, C phone planning talk, there are no available wires up here. What? So no phone until the wire stringing gets authorized. No cell but internet works from Grandpa’s office on the hill. A family has to have a phone.
Yesterday I wanted to take Uncle Neal in my arms and hug, hug, hug him for his generosity, his clarity, his “just do it” spirit and his amazing abilities. Our bedroom shelving looks gorgeous, everything he has done is so beautiful and he dances circles around these slower guys that we find ourselves stumbling over.
We want to thank him so much for the big things he does and the small ones, too. gma
November- a time of change, time of loss, and death, hunkering down; tears over tea cups. Your pumpkin vine spotted with mildew, sprawls 50 feet across the back hillside, out the kitchen window, a dozen green orbs the size of infant heads. Your Mommy is back. Sunday morning we left early, an hour early to meet her in case she didn’t know about the time change. She never came and you cried. Next time I won’t tell you where we are going. She can’t do this to you. Yes she can. I am so sorry. The next day daddy takes you to meet her for some soup at Eric’s Deli. She says loud words and slams off, daddy told me. You don’t say anything about what happened. She and daddy are getting a divorce. We’ll talk more about that later. Many times over and over.
Then on the way to school, “Mommy made me mad.” Why, buddy? “She left me behind.” When? “Last night she leaved me and Sissy and just walked away. I’m really mad at her.” I hold you awhile before I take you to the school yard. I pull you in, absorb your pain, a deep well of hurt. You slip away and run off with a friend: respite from grown-up induced confusion.
Four concrete trucks pumping gloppy gray goo onto the big stretch of deck; it spills across the reflective metal pans welded there just last weekend on top of the huge I beams set there last summer. Filled up to the edge for a sun-baked sheet cake deck. Smoothed and shaped like frosting and slate stamped and dusted with color, redwood and acorns fall from the trees, nature sprinkles. A lot has to move to be ready. But mostly the upper railings must have a cage of balustrades installed to avoid an accidental plunge into the ravine.
Stove delayed by a week and a half. Hotplate anyone?
Sunday night we sleep there. Monday I clean the cottage, pack up last things and we are relocated, returned, back in our home. Whew- we moved out June 2010. Daddy moved back, then Ellie and Mommy, too. You lived in a tent and in November came here with me. You have been with me a year this month. Its been a year of changes. Good ones. Right?
This week is our family share week at your school. I located a kilt, cowboy hat, photos, a blueprint, some farm animals, a fairy house made out of an old shoe box and a porta potty from the toy chest. I will go and do a project with pebbles that we collected and dad will play his bagpipe for the kids next week. Everything comes at the same time.
I was so relieved to have my car back after the left headlight and bumper crash last month and yesterday a man ran into me an broke my left front headlamp and squished the bumper! I can’t believe it. You were in the car, mad at the fellow for swearing at himself and told him to stop talking. Good for you. No way we are able to comfort him in that state. Sun was in my eyes, I didn’t see you. Your car is too dark, he said. Then began to swear at himself and bang his own car. He saw you for the first time when you opened your window and shouted. After we all left you told me “that guy needs to chill”. Right-o. Glad you had a chance to tell someone off!
Today had to order the phone transfer. We arm wrestled to see who had to make the call because we have had a history of difficulty. From this property history. So I ask to transfer, la,la,la music and hello. Secret 3 digit code, please. This time I was prepared. What address will you transfer this number? she asks. Back to our house next door, I tell her the address. Is it building C or D? she asks. Neither, and repeat the address. There is a unit D and a unit B at that address, she says. I give her the actual addresses of the cottage and the office. There are three houses each with their own address, no letters, and three accessory structures, a barn (no phone), a garage (no phone) and shop (no phone). I begin to detail each house, old phone numbers, past renter names ( I was so prepared for this snafu) and wait for something to catch. Finally she reports that three of the numbers are active and in Bldg. D. Must be the office. The house used to have this number for 10 years. No record of that, she says. Please just make this number work at the house. What building. Let’s call it B. Is that a trailer? she asks No. Then its not B, she responds. Okay transfer to A. I direct her with cleverness and cunning. There is no A, she retorts. What else is there? E. What numbers were at E? I ask. Sorry I can’t tell you. I offer some names (including mine) none. God. What would you like me to do mam? Just start service at Building D. Okay. Bye. Keep your sense of humor for these moments. Or you’ll end up punching your car like Carl, the bumper-hitter.
Packing boxes, grocery bags, baskets and arms stretched like rubber bands we march one after the other like ants out one door, across the driveway and down the hill to the new door at the remodel. Books, toys, clothes still on their hangers, canned food, pots not needed for the final week here at the cottage, linens and cleaning products. We don’t know what to call it now. The term “work site” lasted for months, “the remodel”, is so verb-like,”the new house” is inaccurate, as is “old house”. You correct me when I tell you to get shoes on for a trip to “the site”-It’s our house Grandma! You’re right. And this is the last week at the rental cottage and next week we will sleep at our real house; remodeled. And Aubrey, Sierra and Sequoia move here.
You will have friend kid neighbors. This is so great for all of you! I am building a play area outside the big deck with a fort and trampoline. How town-like of me. How mommy of me, but the move from lawn, garden and sandbox with a chicken house to a big concrete deck will leave you and Liza adventure-less adjacent to the house and within the view of the kitchen sink. (I’ve become a 50s housewife in my retirement-picturing my image glued to a kitchen window!) My planning process went something like this…No sand, no dirt, no garden or grass, bugs gone, worms, just bees at pots on a concrete deck. What the heck are you and Sissy going to do out there? Ride bikes? Carpet with some toys under the shade roof? Paint easel? What about physical and free play so I don’;t set it up for you, lose toys down the cliff? Okay a tree house. But its about 60 feet down the hill if something (or you) fell. A wooden platform off the big one with a playhouse for imaginative play. Big dirt pots, sand table, ladder to climb. But then we saw a trampoline in a book and we all though about your gym this summer and the fun you and Ellie had and friends and that I could see it from the sink. Then at night in a couple of sleepless hours used to fret and make lists, I reconsidered. Sierra said our place is so tame. And I am making it tamer. Should I return the trampoline, stop the deck? Just let you poke around off deck? Re-fence and get the poison oak out for a nature play area off the deck? I ran out to the site (I mean house) and it was too late…. holes, concrete supports and wood ordered for it all on pallets out front. Oh well. We still have to build a chicken house.
Oops I forgot to ask Aubrey if she’ll take care of our hens until we are ready to move them. Kid nanny and Chicken nanny, too.
We’ll march like ants all week, settle into our place and help a sweet new family move in here. Are you going to sleep okay over there, will your sister? That is key for all of us. Essential. Love to you, marching ant gma