Yesterday was a bu hao (bad) day. Slogging my way through insurance claims, poking in boxes, staring at 7 pages of emails to either file, delete, or respond. Monday malaise set in and lodged in that perhaps hormonal part of my brain that does not want to do a thing. The painter was back, moving at a “glacial pace”, to quote Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Evidently, the painting would not be finished by the afternoon.
In the morning I rode my bike to the gym. It is balmy again. When I came back, I stowed my bike in the garage. Later in the day, I told Voldemort, He Who Is Still With Us But Soon to be Fired, to take some boxes with spare computer parts to the garage. Half an hour later I happened to go outside where I noticed he had put the boxes in the garbage. The guards were already pawing through it. Very bu hao. I then looked at my bike, as I was directing him to move the items inside. The lock was missing from the basket. My daughters had each, in the past, claimed that their bike locks had been stolen from the garage but I thought they had just lost them. So, hopped up on frustration, I went and called the management and browbeat a woman I’ll call Few Bricks Shy of a Load (not to be confused with my husband’s secretary who we call Dumb as a Box of Rocks).
An hour or so passed. I went back to the computer. I watched the enlightening video La Lopez sent me on saying sorry*, a short video sent out for the Jewish High Holidays. Forever getting the names of the Jewish High Holidays mixed up, I do know the day of atonement, whatever it’s called, is in October. (Philly Mare, if she cares to, can clarify for us). I then went to the kitchen to prepare cole slaw for dinner, just before taking Thing 3 to swimming. The ginger dressing was taking longer than expected so I told my little dumpling to ride ahead and I would meet her at the pool. As I was going to get a bowl out, I noticed my bike lock sitting on the kitchen counter. Holy Yom Kippur!
Chastised, at 5 p.m. I rode my bike to the club house to apologize to Few Bricks Shy of a Load; my tail between my legs, it was hard to find a good position on the seat. Leaving the maid in the house with the painter who was still there, I told Ayi I would be back at 6, to wait for the painters to finish.
“No worries!” Few Bricks replied to my apology. (Everyone says “no worries” here, a phrase the rest of the world has co-opted from the Brits as a way of smoothing over difficult situations or minor traumas; it is annoying). I then went to the pool. The SIM chip in my phone had become dislodged and I could not text my son to tell him I’d put the key underneath his bike seat (remember, we are down a lock or two). I would just call him from the home phone, I thought. Are you still with me?
Leaving the pool, Thing 3 told me her bike helmet had been stolen while we were at swim lessons. Drained and defeated, I did not have the energy to go back in and ask Few Bricks to give me back my apology. When I got back to the house, at 6:07 with Thing 3, there was a truck parked out front with last week’s armoire movers inside. Why, I had no idea. The house was dark. The house was locked. The dog was barking inside. The maid has a key and since the painter miraculously finished, she had done the right thing and locked the door. It is at this point that readers need to refer to my previous post, U & Me, about assuming things. I had assumed she would wait for me. Very very bu hao.
So, I went next door to Waltzing Matilda’s and borrowed her phone. I did not know how to reach Mr. Understanding since I had input all his data into my now defunct cell phone and had not memorized the string of 10 numbers. I called Few Bricks, a number everyone in this neighborhood has memorized. She was on her way home and could barely hear me over the roar of the Metro. I asked her to send over a locksmith, a person who opens doors. She had never heard of such a person. “How can they get in the house if they don’t have a key?” For the second time in one day, I lost my patience with Few Bricks. How did she think criminals got into houses? Turning my attention to the mystery men in the truck, I ascertained they were there to fix the armoire they had previously dinged. I sent them home. It was now 6:30. Twenty minutes later two workers with a tall bamboo ladder had crawled into my house through an unlocked door off the master bedroom balcony.
This morning I recounted in pantomime the story for the maid and asked her, in the future, to check if I had my key with me before she locked the house. She laughed and said “Sorry! Sorry!”. “No worries,” I replied. Holy, holy Yom Kippur. I’ve got less than a month to prepare.