My rules, so I can break ’em. I need a couple more days before I really move on to the next five years.
So, in no particular order, a few extra things I need to pack into this five-year span:
- We were fortunate to have friends and family who really stepped up during the time we had a kid in the hospital: a friend who made the hour-plus drive from Berkeley to San Jose to feed our cats while we stayed in the city at our baby’s bedside. Another friend came up from LA with her own toddler and ran the house for us while we tried to get a handle on being the parents of a sick baby. My great aunt Sylvia let me stay with her in San Francisco until I got the all clear to go home after the birth. Sylvia had been an emergency room nurse and was a no-nonsense kind of gal who always wore red lipstick, even around the house. One morning, after several sleepless nights, I came to her and said, “Jeez, I look so pale.” “Well, do you wear makeup?” she asked. I said yes, I did. “So put it on!” she said. Just like that. Great advice, and I took it. Friends in San Francisco stayed up with us the night we brought Caitlin back to UCSF for her corrective surgery. We polished off a bottle of Remy Martin together while we sat by the phone waiting for word on how she was doing. We needed a village, and we were lucky to have one.
|I’m helping! Watering the weeds and the dirt|
- Our first little house in Oakland was, as it turns out, a real fleabag. Orange shag carpet, asbestos-enhanced ceiling, and a sump pump that eventually failed, allowing water to soak old college papers and textbooks and some memorabilia that we’d rather have kept safe and dry. Oh well. Our first flood, but not our last. The one saving grace to that house was the huge backyard that was full of fruit trees, with rich soil for growing vegetables. We had a brief stint as urban farmers. But first we had to get rid of a lot of weeds.
- Laundry: it takes over your life when you have a child. We were without appliances in San Jose, so had to hang out at the laundromat. One night, I left my baby’s clothes in the dryer and went to do an errand. Came back to discover that someone had emptied the dryer and absconded with everything–all the cute clothes I’d made and whatever else was in there. I left an impassioned note posted on the laundromat’s bulletin board, but nothing ever turned up. Ah humanity! It really sucks sometimes.
- Appliances changed our lives! Friends loaned us a portable dishwasher they couldn’t use and relatives gave us our very first washer and dryer. Things were looking up at the old fleabag!
- We moved, yet again, from what I like to call the Casa de las Pulgas (or the “House of Fleas). Once again, I wisely planned a move while I was pregnant, so no heavy lifting for me–just a lot of pointing. Put that heavy thing over there! These boxes go upstairs!A friend tipped us off to a much nicer house in a better neighborhood that we couldn’t quite afford, just like all the other places we’d ever lived. So, Halloween weekend of 1980, we moved on up to a bigger house with a huge back yard. We were about to enter the Golden Age…
|Not quite the end…|
Two kids, three cats, the usual amount of chaos, but oh, we had fun.
|Let’s leave ’em laughing!|