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  • jdettmann

If You Can Keep Your Head When All About You Are Losing Theirs

Please disregard the feature damp patch on the ceiling. We'll deal with it one day. Probably when the bath falls onto the dining-room table.

Please disregard the feature damp patch on the ceiling. We’ll deal with it one day. Probably when the bath falls onto the dining-room table.

It’s day three of catastrophic wet weather and storm conditions here. Or maybe it’s only day two. Hard to remember. It feels like it has been raining forever. New South Wales has been deluged this week with a once in a decade/generation/century/millennium/aeon (depending on which media outlet you listen to) weather ‘event’. It’s been very rainy and windy around my neck of the woods, which is a good deal better than the tree-fally, power-outagy, houses washing away, floody business that’s been going on not too far away.

H was called away on urgent business to a nice dry city so the kids and I battled through the storm alone last night. Apart from a brief flickering of the lights around dinnertime, when for a dreadful moment I thought I was going to be left Netflixless and have to read a book by candlelight and eat all the ice-cream before it melted, we have made it through unscathed.

Or so I thought, until this morning, when I walked into the room we call the Chamber of Broken Dreams. It’s where we keep the exercise bike no one rides, the books no one reads, the guitars and piano no plays and the art supplies no one draws with. There was no window. The old stained glass and leadlight window, long swollen out of shape so that it didn’t close properly, had been ripped out by the wind in the night. One of two china cats that had been standing on the windowsill was smashed on the floor. And there was no sign of the window. I went next door, where they are renovating, and the builder had not only retrieved it from their front garden, but for the price of a hot cup of coffee he came and covered the gaping window hole with plywood for me. What a lovely person. Now the window, which is miraculously not broken, is having a lie down and a dry out and a think about its behaviour.

It’s not the first time our house has done a bit of self-renovation. Only a couple of weeks after we moved in, after we had complained non-stop about the dining room door opening the wrong way (into the middle of the room), if obligingly fell off in the middle of one night. But I was happy with the window where it was, attached to the window frame, so I would like it and its mates to refrain from any more shenanigans like this.

I should be kind to the house though, because I need to stay on its good side. We need to it be our fortress right now, to shelter the little scofflaws we have raised. We’ve been informed, you see, via a note from one of our neighbours, that the police will hunt us down and charge us all if we continue the rampage of vandalism of government property we embarked on last Saturday afternoon. In some, less lunatic, circles this is also known as ‘writing the kids’ names in wet cement of the new footpath in our street’. It will actually be May Blossom and me who get carted off to prison, because she wrote her own name and I wrote Garnet’s. The note was taped to the council barrier next to the wet cement shortly after the note writer erased the kids’ names.

It was very tempting to write something rude on the note, or scratch something else into the cement, but I’m of the opinion that it’s generally better not to escalate a situation when your opponent may not be the most balanced of mind. We’ll let it go, and just hope the person is happier not having to see my kids’ names in the footpath every day. And we’ll be grateful that no-one got brained by our flying window last night. The last thing we need is an accusation of fenestral assault.

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