13 January, 2006

the first annoying day

It was bound to happen: and you know when it's not just the things that are happening, but your own rotten attitude that is following you about as things get screwed up?  It started last night at Avery's bedtime when her beloved knitted ladybug went missing from the 200 or so items essential for a cozy sleep.  She already misses her pony Ladybug terribly, and Ladybug anticipated this by giving her the toy as a Christmas gift, so thoughtful, to remember her by.  The whole comfort-item logic carries in it, however, the seeds of its own destruction when said item disappears.  Did the cleaning lady carry it away in the dirty bed linens?  Did she carry away bed linens at all, come to think of it, or did she do the laundry here?  Seeing as how I was busy avoiding her all day, I can't say for certain.  I promise avery I'll deal with it in the morning. 

Morning, however, brings its own issues as the *&^%$ English washing machine decided during the night not to drain, and when I open its sorry #$% to do a load of laundry, roughly 40 gallons of water gushed onto the kitchen floor.  I called the landlord immediately who basically said, I'll see your flooded kitchen and I'll raise you a scratch I saw on the circa 1974 naugahyde sofa, so you can whistle for your repairman.  I then basically said, I'll see your lame damage-deposit threat and I'll raise you a missing ladybug from my daughter's bed.  We reached an impasse so I hung up and told Avery it was time for school, whereupon we discover that her school scarf is missing as well.  How it disappeared between walking in the door last night from school and getting dressed this morning is not for us to say.  By then we were in that state of edgy, snarky gloom that afflicts not-morning people when ANYTHING untoward happens at 7:30 a.m.  Off to school in a mutual state of dissatisfaction, and Avery said, "I'll try to have a good school report at the end of the day to make you happier."  Insert steak knife to heart, twist three times clockwise. 

Home to a surly repairman who after much huffing and complaining, approached me to say the thing was fixed, holding out a nasty little bit of burnt wire.  "'ere's the culprit, plain as day in the pump," he growled accusingly.  I swear, like I put it there!  That's what I do for fun on a Thursday evening, play hell with the pump on my washing machine.  This encounter was topped by my phone call to the landlord's secretary asking her to query the cleaning lady about the ladybug.  "It's a small black and red knitted insect about the size of an egg," I said, relishing as always the chance to use a sentence that has probably never been uttered before.  "A what?"  "A ladybug, you know, the flying sort of beetley thing," I elucidated, thinking, what do you mean, a what?  "I'm sorry, I don't follow," she insisted, and then the penny dropped.  "A ladyBIRD," I corrected myself and all was clear.  OK, I love the English, but that's taking time-honored linguistic distinctions to an absurd extreme.  The next thing you know, if I'm even thinking the word "elevator" the lift won't work.

Ah well, no worries by pickup time at school.  There just is nothing more completely adorable, I assure you, than seeing 30 or so nine-year-old girls in black watch plaid, plaits flying, running around the corner of the school laughing and swinging their swim bags.  I mean, if the implication of tons and tons of imperial and otherwise corrupt money being spent on these privileged little scraps of humanity doesn't disturb you, which as a card-carrying liberal I feel it should.  But what the hell, I paid my dues as a New York City Public School class mother.  And as sweet as King's College is, in my heart of hearts, I'm finding myself very glad that Avery's first years of school were spent in the endless variety, obstreperousness , food fights, playground jungle and sheer volume of noise that was PS 234. 

Avery reports that she succeeded in putting together more French sentences than anyone else in her form today!  Not bad for a little girl whose French to date was limited to menu items like steak frites.  And her maths are coming along well!  And she could spell "miscellaneous" for the general staff which silenced even their general attitude that Americans are lucky if they don't disgrace themselves every waking moment.

Still awaiting word from John on the status of the lease, but I assume all is well unless I hear differently.  If so, we could move as early as Wednesday!  We'll keep you posted.  I can't wait to tell you the address.  It's SO English!

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