I’ve moved into a big house, and I share it with a family that lives upstairs. There is the woman, Fern, Fern’s daughter, and then Fern’s mother. Three generations of women in one big house. Oh, and I cannot forget to mention Fern’s newborn – the baby was born on July 5, two days after I arrived. I witnessed the childbirth and spent my birthday in the hospital. What a most unorthodox first few days in Northern Virginia.
Most of the house is not used, and the parts that are used are used in ways I see as ridiculous and absurd. For example, there are empty showcases in the master bedrooms and throughout the house, an unused swimming pool in this July heat, and a bed made of doors on the living room floor that is slept on by Fern, Fern’s daughter, and Fern’s mother. The newborn’s crib is just beside this bed. I think they will move upstairs and all sleep in the upstairs Master bedroom when the baby is a few months old. And then there is me in the basement, for I am American and the only one in this house that speaks fluent English. I have set up the basement to my American liking. Another detail -- the milk spoils regularly in this house, I surmise, and the jugs are not rinsed out.
The newborn will grow up speaking just as I do, but the woman’s daughter, Shae, only moved here last August. She will be in 2nd grade when the new school year beings. The grandmother may know nothing beyond “hello”, of that I am almost certain. "Sorry", "no", and "okay" are met with blank stares. I've never tested her on hello, but I do like to give people credit. Fern speaks a bit of English, but not enough to let the lawnmowers know that they broke a pipe in the front yard and that the pipe must be replaced (I had to do that this morning). They were very happy with my ability to communicate this to the lawnmower. I didn’t see the exchange between me and the goggled man as much at all.
“Hey! Hey!” ::arms flailing, on the front yard, in PJs::
“Yes, miss?” ::fast paces toward me, donning a whistling weedwacker::
“Look at this pipe. The cap is missing and the pieces are shattered.”
“Oh, no problem. Let me cover it with an orange cone and then we will come back next Thursday and fix it.”
“Okay, thank you!”::praise me, praise me, high five, good job::