In the last couple of weeks I’ve ricocheted from one family drama into the next. Things with my folks calmed down to a degree, or at least as long as we played "dead elephant in the living room". But all became inflamed again when Knox decided he wasn’t up for now pretending everything was hunky-dory around the extended family dinner table- and he vented his feelings directly whereupon a small nuclear explosion erupted and now there is a little smoldering stump where my mother’s head used to be. I suppose on the upside nobody is quite so angry just at me- which is nice, because the black sheep quadrant of the field can be a lonesome place.
In the middle of all this sturm and drang, E. took Botany away for five nights on holiday. I had initially resisted this- the mere thought of so many days without my baaaaayyybee inspired choking panic and a sense that my spleen was being removed. I finally reluctantly agreed on the basis that I realised (with my head, if not my heart) that it would give me an opportunity to finally attend to some of the things that I had been postponing more or less for the last two years (clearing out loft, changing bank account, buying mini vac thing to clean out car). Before they were about to leave, I came down with a vile, stinking summer cold which settled in my sinuses, causing general exhaustion and day after day of misery. Unable to sleep at night due to the blockage in my nose, I staggered through the days prior to her departure until I reached the point where I was counting down the hours until he came to pick her up so that I could finally take a decongestant and go sleep for a week.
She left, clutching her little purple suitcase and a stuffed bunny, waving bye-bye. I had a nap and then woke up feeling utterly, completely depressed. For two days I sneezed, spluttered and lay in an exhausted heap around the house, totally unable to relax or enjoy myself or do much of anything. I called in sick to work for the first time in three years. I wandered repeatedly into Botany’s room, telling myself that I should make the most of finally having some extended time off to myself- and then wanting to burst into tears. The blackness of mood began to feel all consuming and frightening. I was on the verge of making a doctor’s appointment and then decided I would wait until some of the fatigue and cold symptoms subsided. I went to bed early and slept, slept, slept.
On the third day I woke up, the sun was shining and the block of ice in my chest started to dissolve a little. I opened all the windows in the house and took down the blackout in Botany’s room, then cleaned everything. I sorted out clothes and put stuff away that had been cluttering the house. I trawled the summer sales in town one afternoon, finally spending some of the wedding vouchers we had been hoarding for nearly a year. I bought the mini vac and filled it with crumbs from the car. Knox and I drank wine and ate dinner in the garden together in the lovely evening sun. One night we went out shopping, late, at the store shaped like a giant blue box on the outskirts on town and bought stuff for the business which we then spent the next evening putting together. It was freeing, not to have to be at home by any particular time. I went out at midnight to take a photograph of the business frontage.
I started to relax and I slept, slept, slept some more.
By the time Botany came home, I felt quite restored to my old self. Which was good- because she returned in fairly foul temper and with some sort of bug that caused both smelly poo for two days as well as a bout of vomiting. She was not at all pleased to return the old routine at nursery and, being out of sorts most of her first day back, bit one of the other children. That night at home, she smirked when reprimanded, refused to put on her pyjamas and was generally being a rude and stroppy little madam. Sending her to bed without a story provoked an awe-inspiring howling incident, culminating in her trying to escape the dreaded bars on to the chest of drawers at the end of the cot. Knox’s mother, unable to resist going in during the tantrum, found her wailing and dangling her sweaty little body perilously off the side. Aggravated as I was, I still had to give the kid points for sheer determination- not that I’m telling her that.