Holiday Melancholy and a To-Do List

It seems like every single Easter Sunday that I can remember from when I was a child took place on a remarkably sunny day – pure blue sky, gentle breeze, warm enough for a dip in the pool at my Mamo and Papo’s house . . .  which was where we used to gather for every noteworthy holiday (including Memorial Day and St. Patrick’s Day).

This morning I woke up late. The sky outside is gray and all the greenery that I can see out my living room window is dark from being water-logged – it stormed most of the night. There’s a slight breeze, but it’s only just barely moving the heavy air. And, while it is probably warm enough for a dip in the apartment pool, it cannot compare to my memories of splashing around with my cousins as a kid.

Easter, when I was young, meant putting on my frilliest and most colorful dress (usually something involving a floral print and lots of ruffled lace). It meant knowing that I’d get to dye lots of eggs with bright, pretty colors. It meant a large white Easter basket with chocolates and a few small toys nestled in an overflow of crinkly pink and purple “grass.” It meant eating a wonderful dinner with my mother’s side of the family and then going home with my sister to play with all of the new goodies we’d gotten.

That last is the part I’m most nostalgic about. I can’t say I particularly miss the girly-girl dressers that I adored until I was about eleven, or the task of dying eggs, or even getting an Easter basket loaded down with awesome surprises. I miss the family gathering aspect.

As a child, much of my life revolved around being with my family. Holidays at my Mamo and Papo’s (along with random summer days to spend swimming and marveling at how tidy my Mamo kept her home – my mother did inherit her cleaning genes, but not her persistence in making sure each surface gleams); weekends at my Grandma Betty’s with my dad’s side of the family. Just about every moment in between spent with my sister.

 

Now, to contrast that, I only see my grandparents on Christmas and Thanksgiving. I see my cousins once every couple of years, because we live in different states. My Uncles are practically strangers; both of my Aunts died while I was still a teenager. I see my parents and sister about once a month – though I talk with my sister almost daily on FaceBook.

This Easter, I will not be dressing up or dying eggs. But I will, at some point, make the 45 minute drive with my SO to visit my parents and sister. KT has already told me that mom admitted to her that she got both of us Easter baskets this year, on a whim. Dad will likely have made a batch of deviled eggs. My SO will fall asleep on the couch while I spend a half an hour or so catching up with the three people who I’ve spent almost my entire life with, but who now receive only the high-lights of it. And not even all of those, really.

I’ve been melancholy on holidays since the end of the era of my childhood. I thought, then, that they would always what they were. I was wrong, of course. That’s not all that surprising, I guess, but it still pains me to think of how epic holidays used to be.

—*—

Today, I’ve got a bit of a list of things to get done before my SO gets home.

He went to work two hours early to cover someone’s shift and will be home anywhere between one and three – depending on who they get to cover what would have been the remainder of his shift. I want to have the apartment spotless when he gets home, because I know he’s not feeling well and I feel slightly bad that I did not wake up to say good-bye to him when he left. Granted, it was four in the morning and I’d only fallen asleep about two hours before that, but I’m still his and it would have been the proper thing for me to do.

My apartment is not large – a living room that opens a bit to the tiny kitchen, which then leads to the bedroom and the basic bathroom. The apartment is essentially a rectangle divided into thirds: the living room is the first third; the bedroom is the last third; and the middle third is split in about 2/5 with the larger section being the kitchen and the smaller being the bathroom (which is frustratingly only accessible through the bedroom).

Cleaning the apartment doesn’t take a lot of time. And only a few things need to ge done.

In the living room:

  • Fold up throw blankets and fluff throw pillows (arrange artfully on the couches)
  • Take everything that doesn’t belong in the living room to where it does go
  • Dust surfaces (desk, bookcase, DVD shelf, TV stand/stereo cabinetM
  • Vacuum the floor and give the windows a quick wash

In the kitchen:

  • Do the dishes – put away those in the drainer, too
  • Wipe down surfaces (stove, counters, fridge)
  • Clean the floor and take out the trash
  • Update the white-board on the fridge

In the bedroom:

  • Make the bed up with clean sheets and fresh pillow cases
  • Put all the dirty laundry in the hamper it belongs in (mine or his)
  • Dust surfaces (dresser, headboard, snake stands)
  • Vacuum the floor and wash the windows

In the bathroom:

  • Wipe down surfaces (counter, tub, toilet, clutter keeper)
  • Attempt to get a handle on the flood*

That last thing is something I am NOT looking forward to.

Living in an apartment has certain perks. When my SO and I noticed that our toilet wasn’t really flushing properly and was running more than it should have, we just made a call to the apartment manager and he came down to look at the issue. He decided to just replace the entire toilet, on Friday, because the toilet we had was several years old and no longer in the best shape. Fine by me and my SO. We didn’t like the old one anyway.

Well. Fast forward to when I get home on Friday night. There is water on the floor near the toilet. Not a lot. But enough to get my socks annoying wet. I ask my SO and he explains that he thinks the caulk around the base wasn’t put on liberally enough. He’ll have the apartment manager check it out. Well. The apartment manager returns on Saturday morning while I’m out on an errand. He discovers that the base of the toilet is cracked.

The small bit of water is no longer a small bit of water. Overnight, it has soaked all of my towels – which are now hanging in the shower and various other places. Yet, the apartment manager explains that he can’t simply get another new toilet or a new base. Not until Monday. He leaves, doing nothing to seal the leak.

Now, fast forward again, to last night. Water is now not only in the bathroom. It has crept into the crack in the baseboard, behind the toilet, through the flooring under the tiles in the bathroom, to end up soaking the carpet at the doorway between our bedroom and the bathroom. Requiring even more towels. My towels are now on a rotational schedule. They take turns sopping up water and hanging to drip dry. But I only have so many towels and the water is slowly, but surely spreading further out from the doorway.

This small domestic problem has had me in tears several times over the weekend.

I don’t even have a dryer in the apartment with which to properly dry the towels between having the soak up all the water. And the dryers down stairs in the laundry room don’t heat well enough to dry three soaked towels. And, besides, it costs a dollar for every load, even though all I end up with are weirdly warm, but damp towels. My powerlessness in this situation is driving me to distraction and I hate it completely, but can’t take matters into my own hand without risking having to pay for whatever expenses are being incurred.

Last night, my SO called to explain to the apartment manager that the water is now an issue in the bedroom, not just the bathroom. Because this means – in my mind – that the carpet in the bedroom will have to be replaced. Along with the sub-floor in the bathroom and the bedroom. Because mold is not my friend and I fear that the water will cause mold.

But the apartment manager did not answer the phone. My SO admitted to me that he’d told him on Saturday morning that he wouldn’t be able to do ANYTHING until Monday, because he has two young daughters and a wife and will be busy spending Easter with them. Which is great and all, really, but I’ll subsequently be spending a portion of my Easter crying over my lack of towels and cussing at the toilet.

 

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