Friday, September 02, 2011
This is the current list of things we've been greeted with my our new neighbors. We seem to have landed in some kind of wonderland of friendliness, not to mention, victory gardens.
Also worth noting is that we seem to be surrounded by Californians. The wives on both sides of us are California natives, the diaper service lady called Arcadia home before moving east, the mailman hails from Santa Rosa, the young couple running the groovy farm in the next town just moved out here the month before we did from Santa Barbara, the woman across the street lived several years in Palo Alto. Curious.
In my first couple weeks in the house, which of course were also my first couple weeks with a newborn, I have not been able to get out and about and meet these west coast transplants with good community habits. I am quite secluded in my tiny room filled with a collage of straws, washcloths, ibuprofen, pillows, and a squalling infant they say is mine. My sequestered existence only deepened when Little Guy, being pretty little, was not able to eat so very much, and I ended up with badly blocked milk ducts, near mastitis, that culminated in the precipice of delirium and a 103 fever on my birthday. (This child crowded into August, for goddsakes, when every other event in our lives happens. He knows how to find the party.)
Milk Duds? exclaimed Gerard.
Ducks! I shouted. Milk Ducks!
-- from Anagrams, by Lorrie Moore
When I complained I'd never get out to see anyone, that I felt like a ghost, here but not really here, Mike suggested putting on a long, black veil and walking slowly around the lighted porch at night, just to add to the mystery and mystique, charge up the rumor mill.
There are many, many things I have no memory of in my life. Many, many of those many, many things relate to the early days of being a mom. But there is one thing I remember with keen clarity. It took nine days for my nipples to stop being ripped apart and feeling like they were on fire. Nine. Not eight, not ten. This time was no different. Nine. Though there was a space in which I dreamed of a shorter penance.
I heard through the grapevine that my next door neighbor was a lactation consultant. She was also, as it turned out, on vacation. We waited in great anticipation for her to return.
When did my life turn into an Alanis Morissette song? I moved in next door to a lactation consultant...who was on vacation...in CALIFORNIA.
Obsessed with someone I never met, the days ticked on and my tender nipples scabbed. Until one day, Mike was looking out the kitchen window and, adding on Mike's inability to remember anyone's name, you get this conversation--
Mike: Hey! There's Tim...
Me: You mean Todd?
Mike: Todd is putting car seats in the car; maybe he's going to pick up his family...You should go over and ask him if Natalie...
Me: You mean Cynthia?
Mike: Cynthia's coming home today.
Me: 'Hi, Tim-Todd. I'm Kitty. Is your wife Natalie-Cynthia coming home any time soon? Because I'd really love to show her my boobs!'
Won't you be my neighbor?
The deed to the house arrived in the mail and I set it on the changing table.
The weather added to my insular existence; rain just kept coming. There was nothing to do but wait for it to stop and heat up the casserole.