At 8AM, pulling up to the hardware store for a quick pre-camp shop, my phone rang. It was the movers. Just wanted to confirm tomorrow morning delivery, he said. By tomorrow do you mean Saturday? No, Thursday, tomorrow. Tomorrow: the day when two plumbers will still be hacking holes in the plaster walls and wielding 10' long slender pipes down the hallway. Tomorrow, the day when the handyman is attaching the kitchen cabinet doors and finishing the pantry he's building. Tomorrow: the day when the air in the house will still be clouded by dust. Tomorrow: the day before we planned to scrub all of the floors on our hands and knees. Yes, that day is the one and only day we can come, tomorrow.
Today I wondered, at 26 weeks pregnant, if I might be going into labor because of a constant aching through my abdomen and back that began before the scrubbing and painting. No labor, thankfully, but that was the backdrop of the day. At dinner tonight, my mom asked what had kept me so steady today (apparently I met the slew of unexpected calls, including one this evening sounding alarm that the new pipes are too close to an electrical cable and should be redone, with more composure than normal). I said it was probably thinking about Ben, who has a lot heaped on his plate these days, but later I realized it was also the Box Car Children (if I must admit it).
I'd never read those books until Silas brought them home from a used book fair a few months ago. They are slow, especially the earlier ones, packed with domestic details and a mystery so slight it could be called a question. But Silas loves them, and laughs out loud at six year old Benny, so we read them, lots of them. The thing about the Box Car children is that they're incredibly hard workers, cheery workers, team workers. They don't complain. And being that they are all each other has, they are each other's encouragers. It's pretty Ra Ra! but somehow, rather than coming off heavy-handed, they're kind of endearing.
This afternoon, after I'd painted tall grasses on the wall of Silas's nook, prepped the floor (as plaster dust and chunks of concrete literally rocketed out of the raw hole in the ceiling above me) where the refrigerator will go tomorrow, and taken Eden to her physical where she got four shots, it was time to wash all the floors in the house, and I did not want to. My body was not happy. Eden, the bravest person I've ever seen get shots, was kind of limping. Silas was hungry (a new perpetual state). But the furniture was on the way, the floors were filthy, and my sister Kaia Joye was game to help (bless you) -- I had no option.
Despite the plumbers' lofty goals to be finished yesterday, they are not yet finished, which means when we started, half a vanity and two toilet tanks were sitting on a drop cloth in Silas's room (where a bunk bed needs to go tomorrow morning), and the water in the house was turned off. As I hunted for buckets in my parents' garage and filled them at the kitchen sink, the boxcar children hovered in the back of my mind -- they would think this was an adventure. As we drove the sloshing pails over to the new house and wiped rags in arcs over all the floors of the house, I again found them hovering in my peripheral, so excited (in nearly every book) to work hard and set up "house." And despite their cheesiness factor, they did steer my attitude a bit as I washed floors with Kaia Joye, who laughed when I kicked over her huge arnold palmer and watched it waterfall down the stairs; Silas, who left the house a few times to ring the doorbell and wave his hand through the mail slot; and Eden, who talked incessantly and scrubbed with great seriousness.
So tonight, the floors are clean and ready for the movers, at least ready until tomorrow morning when five or six men with at least three different agendas will converge at the house and disorder will reign again. And then, like Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, we'll have to set up house again...