On Wednesday, I just couldn’t face the antipodean world, so I holed up in the air conditioned temporary lodgings instead of going to the new place, and never even bothered to get dressed until Craig came home from work and insisted (he didn’t have to try too hard) on taking me out to eat and filling my gullet with beer. I woke up Thursday in a brighter mood, believing all would be well.
I was determined that if I just pushed forth and made that place into a home, all would be well. To start, we needed to stock the larders. I headed to the market with my insulated wheelie cart and filled it up with milk, butter, cheese, and assorted other items that really like to be kept cold. I jumped on the bus (quite a feat with the wheelie cart) and traveled the thirty minutes to Balmain. Just as I was walking up the hill to our new home, I realized the keys were in the other apartment.
I stood there in the sun, my clothes clinging to my hot, damp self, and the tears started to fill my eyes. Then I cussed a little and stamped my foot, and rummaged through my bag begging any god that might care to listen. But I knew they weren’t there. After sending hysterical text messages to the spouse about what an absent minded twit I’ve become, I took a breath, cussed some more because that just feels good, hid the groceries in a shady bush, and got back on the bus. Luckily, the property management wasn’t too far up the road and they let me borrow keys.
I got back to the townhouse, unloaded the groceries, still naively believing it was all going to be fine. I had brought an old dress to change into while I cleaned, so I didn’t get any dirt on my sweat soaked clothes I had worn over. It was on the bottom of the wheelie cart; the ice pack I put in there leaked. No problem, I thought. I’ll just toss it into our brand new washer/dryer contraption that we bought last Saturday and I haven’t used yet.
The machine didn’t work.
I think this is when I started to cry for real. There was a lot more cussing and yelling, “I want to go HOME!!!!!” More breathing, and I decided to give up for the day. Because we thought we would be moving in last night, I had left Craig’s dry cleaning at the local cleaners. I hiked back up the road (it’s uphill both ways) to the cleaners. I stepped into the hot, steamy establishment, surprised that anything could be steamier than it was outside on the sidewalk. I had a nice chat with Gabby and Carol about accessing internet in Balmain. Gabby shook her head and said, “Awwww, you’re not from Australia, are you?” (Craig pointed out later that we had better internet when we were in Uganda.) After chatting with the ladies, I was able to see the humor in this whole business, and headed back to the air-conditioned apartment to start drinking.
Is it clear that I’m traveling back and forth between two properties in two different suburbs every day, sometimes a couple times a day?
The sun came up this morning and with it a positive attitude for me. I smiled at my husband and at the sun and the birds outside carrying on. I stretched my road-weary feet and stood up on them. I can do this. It’s going to be a good day.
I checked my email. I’ve been emailing the moving company for days trying to get the status of our shipment. The agent I’ve been working with from the beginning, wasn’t responding, so yesterday I tried another name. He responded promptly, albeit obliquely. We went back and forth for quite awhile, with him never answering the question, “where’s my stuff?”. I did, later, at the end of their day, get an email from their accounting department that our payment had been received. It costs a small fortune to ship your belongings overseas.
What I found in my inbox this morning was a message saying that our stuff has never actually left California. Now I understand why they were avoiding me. They wanted the dollars before they gave me the news.
I’m still trying to believe it’s all going to be ok. I found a knitting group in our new neighborhood (or is that neighbourhood?). They meet on the first and third Friday of every month. I knew that if I just go hang out with some locals, especially locals who knit, my faith would be restored.
Well, no. I had it in my head that they met at noon. At 10:30, me still in Chippendale, a good 30 minute bus ride from Balmain and that doesn’t account for the ten minute walk to the bus stop or the 15-30 minute wait for the bus that’s always late, I realized that they met at 10:00 until noon.
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
I still believe it’s going to be ok. Isn’t that the definition of insanity???
On the way back to the air-conditioned apartment today, I stopped at a little market just a couple blocks from our new place. It’s run by Joe, a darling upper middle aged Italian man. We chatted. Chatting with the locals does renew my faith, and reminds me that it doesn’t all suck.
I took the bus up the road to the property management and dropped off the condition report, with “no” written on almost every box that questions, “tenant agrees?” as to whether or not that item was clean and in working order. At the next bus stop there is a young man, probably 11 or 12. He looked up at me and promptly scooted over to make room. He politely informed me that if I wanted the 445, it had just passed, but the 433 hadn’t arrived though it should have done. Then his phone rang and he was all, “Hello Mum!” “Yes please” “No thank you” “I love you, Mum!”
If there are 12 year old boys in the world that are that polite and sweet to their mums, then, yes, it’s going to be ok.