September Was Against Me


September nearly did me in. And when I talk about this September, I am reminded of a line from the Dar Williams song “February,” – “February was so long that it lasted into March.” My September was so long that is lasted mid-August into mid-October.

When we found our new apartment, we originally planned to move in the beginning of July, but before we signed the lease, the unit’s owner decided that he needed it until the middle of August. We were mostly fine with the delay, but the trouble was that it was putting us in a tight squeeze with the arrival of  my oldest and one of my dearest friends (ODF – oldest, dearest friend – we’ll call her), who was coming for two weeks to meet the Hushpuppy. Following closely thereafter was our second visitor, my mom (Mom, we’ll call her). Both of our visitors were incredibly amenable, helpful, generous, good natured – everything you want a house guest to be, and it is hard to overstate how flattering it is to have anyone willing to spend big bucks and travel many hours to visit us, so I don’t want to imply that our guests were a problem, but considering that we wanted to show them a nice time and give them a comfortable place to stay, we were in a bit of a crunch and had to put off settling into any routine with our new place.

We moved on the 21st and ODF arrived on the 24th. That was just enough time for me to get her room made up, the kitchen unpacked, groceries procured and boxes shoved into closets. I was thrilled-thrilled-thrilled to see her, and I won’t get into the amazing adventures had with her and my Mom in this post because I don’t want them to get mixed up in this tale of woe. I will just mention that, while out on a very nice day of coastal walking, my phone went mysteriously missing. It may have been lost, but I hold a strong suspicion that it was stolen. Either way, it was gone, and we were going out of town the next day, so I was off the grid for a few days. I did actually need a new phone, but the tragic part is that I had some videos of Hushpuppy that I’d not managed to back up elsewhere, including a beautiful one of her second day of life and some of her first meals. I’m still heartbroken at losing those.

Adding to the brewing September storm was Partner-in-Crime’s pre-scheduled 3 week trip to Europe to be in his best friend since childhood’s wedding. It was, for the record, a trip that I insisted he go on, as you don’t miss your best friend since childhood’s wedding for anything. And, there was some design to the stacking of house guests during this time, so that I would not be alone with the Hushpuppy for a full 3 weeks.

And so it was that on the 5th of September, P-i-C got on a plane to Europe, ODF got on a plane to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef, and I settled in for my first stretch of single parenthood.

For the first couple of days, Hushpuppy and I were rocking it. I got back on the grid with a new i-phone and we had a fun picnic lunch with Sydney Smiles. On Sunday the 8th, I had another brunch date scheduled and ODF was returning from Cairns late that night. At 8a.m., I hopped in the shower and when I got out and stepped into the hall, the floor was mysteriously wet. A quick scan revealed water rushing up from the drain in the laundry room. A lot of water. And it kept coming.

I am, in hindsight, pleased with myself that I was the very picture of calm and order in the ensuing drama. I found an incredible friend to come and watch Hushpuppy for a couple of hours. I dug out our lease and found the emergency plumber and property manager’s numbers. Did I mention that it was a Sunday? Of course it was. By 11a.m. the plumber, the owner, and the property manager were all on site, furrowed brows all around, every non-furniture item was off the floor and my little daughter was offsite, as water continued to rush out of the drain.

The plumber walked in and summed the situation with verbal efficiency  – “Wow.” “Wow” is not what you want to hear from your emergency tradesman. He said he’d hoped to discover that I was on, say, the 7th floor, rather than being in on the ground floor because 7th floor flood means, oh, toilet backup or somesuch easy fix. Ground floor flood means Bad News Bears (sewage line backup. Yes. Disgusting). Everyone mobilized and, long story short, the line was somehow fixed, the wet vac guy came and removed over 500 litres of water (he had to tell me this, as he was also having a “wow” moment), and Hushpuppy and I were moved into temporary housing while the cleaning and carpet replacement could be arranged.

To be fair to all, we were moved to a nice, furnished unit in the heart of nearby Crows Nest, which is a pretty sweet location if you have to be stuck somewhere other than home.

ODF came back and then departed for good a day later, Hushpuppy and I were back on our own again for a few days, we shared some meals and drinks with friends who were nice enough to come and entertain me, and then my Mom arrived. We were enjoying our time, but anxious to get back home, especially since the 2nd bedroom in our Crows Nest place was a loft, so Hushpuppy’s 5a.m. wake ups meant my poor guests also had a pre-dawn wake up call, and also I kept having to make bus trips to the other apartment to pick up more provisions.

A week came and went. Two weeks. And finally three weeks, and Partner-in-Crime came home to us still in temporary housing, and to me nursing a teething baby who had somehow come down with a case of conjunctivitis. Welcome home, honey!

Not my actual eye.

The good news was that we finally got the all clear to go home the day after P-i-C’s return. The bad news was that I picked up pink eye from Hushpuppy.

A round of antibiotics, a trip to IKEA to replace a ruined rug, and a lot of re-unpacking later, things were finally looking up, and we enjoyed the rest of our visit with my Mom, which seemed far too short, even though it was a whole month.

In the midst of all this madness, Hushpuppy was unfazed, despite the upheaval and weeks of sleeping in a porta-cot which didn’t look terribly comfortable to me. Through it all, she managed to cut 3 new teeth for a grand total of 5, learn to sit up, and start crawling. It would seem that she thrives on adversity.

Hello. I know how to crawl.

My September has finally concluded, and I am descending from a fight or flight high that’s kept me going for the last few weeks. Spring appeared while I was too busy to notice, and I’m ready for a quiet, drama free and dry stretch ahead in our still-new-to-us home.

Harbinger of good things: the jacarandas are back!