I am glad to have had this week away. The timing couldn’t have been better. Nadiya is selling the house and Natalie and I have to move. It’s a huge, elegant house, the kind of house that has to be “staged.” Nadiya already bought an apartment where she’s moved her dog and three cats, and where she now mostly lives. She’s turned the house over to the realtors, who are in the business of making the most money they can in a way that I find creepy.
I have nothing against making money. Money is good. But me and my daughter and certainly my dogs don’t figure into the realtors’ plans. They want us gone, which is the only issue where Nadiya has set her foot down. We can stay right up to closing if that’s how long it takes us to find an apartment. But to the realtors, Natalie and I are “The Third Floor” and “The Sewing Room” and “The Other Bedroom” and I don’t think the clear but angry email I sent to remind them we are actual human beings changed any minds. We were told what to pack up and what of our furniture would be moved. We are living out of boxes. This weekend was the Big Showing. When we got home from California Friday after midnight, we drove straight to my friend Kirsten’s for the weekend so that not so much as a toothbrush was in view or (God forbid) a stray hair was on the sink to remind anyone that we live there.
I’ve left the dogs with my mom for the week, and I’ve been put on notice that when the house is to be shown we are not to be there. When Natalie and I are both out of the house, we are not allowed to leave the dogs. The painters informed Nadiya that the dogs regularly poop on the third floor. We live on the third floor. I would know if the dogs “regularly” pooped up there. If one of them pooped when the painters were there, s/he probably had an upset stomach in which case Nature wasn’t calling, She was screaming.
I haven’t worked full-time since Philip died, but now I have to. Turns out the job I found is temporary, so I have to look for employment elsewhere. I’m looking at apartments I don’t know if I can afford and that will please allow my dogs and please leave me money for food once I pay the rent. If I take a job with a shelf-life, what do I do with two dogs, a daughter and an extravagant rent when it expires?
And I hear my son saying, “Have a little faith, mom. It’s okay.”
I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing: I’m looking for a job and looking for an apartment and I’m looking for a reason to think any of this will be okay because none of it is going the way I am wanting it to go. I’m scared and I remember a couple weeks ago that Ron, over at the xanax diary, wrote, “…life isn’t really about the good times, the celebrations or victories. Life is really about the struggles we face and how we face them.”
I am not facing this well. I just don’t see how this works out, and reminding myself that my portion is no worse than anyone else’s is no help because all that means is things can get worse.
You work your faith – whatever it looks like to you – when things get rough. It’s easy to have faith with a son who has your back and a daughter by your side, a job that’s comfortable and a place to live you call “home.” I don’t think I’m going to look back on this and be proud of myself. Last week, finding out the job was temporary put me into a semi-coma, where I remained for the second half of Natalie’s competition and for which she called me out.
“I asked one thing of you,” she said. “Just to be here to calm my crazies. I need to be able to come to you. I saw you across the floor at the gym. You looked like death. And I was on my own.”
She’s right. I got unexpected news that I did not want to hear and instead of going all Krishnamurti on it, I panicked. I’ve already said worrying doesn’t prevent anything, it just makes you miserable before the inevitable. Seems I’m unable to follow my own advice, especially where money is concerned.
What I’ve left out of the equation is Life. That the things that happen unexpectedly don’t always break your heart. I went to see my grief counselor yesterday. We talked about work. What does Philip tell you? he asked. All he says is, “bake.” I answered. I walked out of there deciding to get back to it, to start making cakes for a restaurant that’s given me a standing order and to take it from there. Then Natalie called. Want to have dinner, she asked?
So she, James and I sat down to dinner at the new upscale diner with a menu that included wraps, veggie burgers, all-day-long breakfast and the ubiquitous panini. When we finished eating, a man who worked there came to ask how it was. Are you the owner? I asked. I’m one of them, he answered. Do you need a baker, I asked?
He introduced me to his dad, who said they’re going to need a baker at the seventh restaurant they’re opening, and for now I should bring them some cakes and we’ll take it from there. As I’m writing this I’m waiting for the first one to cool so I can bring it over.
You’d think I’d trust Life a little more, especially with Philip whispering in my ear. Panicking is familiar, and it’s still what I do. There’s more to this, of course, more to Life and its mysterious ways as I’ve experienced them, particularly with respect to my son. And in my next post, I’m going to talk about some of it.
© 2013 Denise Smyth