I have a job. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and some Fridays I go into the office to work, other days I work from home. The job is working with youth mental health professionals, writing therapy for young people with depression and for carers of young people with depression. It involves lots of research and problem solving, story-telling and buckets of characterisation and back story. I am really enjoying collaborating, and, just, working actually. Meetings. Lunch. You know. With other people. And a regular paycheck. And shiny, shiny superannuation.
Today the car was in for a service. The girls were booked into before and after care, Avery had a day at creche. Martin and I travelled most of the way in together. I caught a bus and a train the rest of the way, riding through familiar inner suburban territories. Brunswick. I always wanted to live in Brunswick. Yeah, we are not affording that, even with two incomes. Even with shiny super. And the girls think the city is polluted.
I do the reverse trip back to Martin's work in Thornbury.
We pick up Avery first. We drop into the supermarket to get emergency supplies: peanut butter, cottage cheese. As Martin performs this errand, Avery and I sit in the car. Someone honks their horn. Avery says 'Is that. An angry man?' he speaks in very distinct clauses though sometimes his words run together.
Next stop is the after school care.
Freddy slides into the backseat, while Una juggles two large pieces of three dimensional craft, her bag and a notice.
'Hi, Freddy,' I say. 'How are you?'
'How's that working out for you.'
'Fine!' She rearranges herself. 'Guess what I did on the computer today?'
'I found your blog. And I read it.'
'Yes. AND you said your children are ghosts!'
'Did you say that?' Una asks. 'Your children are ghosts.'
'Oh, probably. That sounds like something I would say.'
'That's offensive!' Fred says.
Una says, 'That's racist.'
Fred tells us she's been feeling a little bit sick. Her knee hurts where she fell on it on the weekend and she has a flashing pain in her foot. 'It's FLASHING,' she says. 'It comes and then it goes. It comes and then it goes. And I've got bike ed tomorrow.'
When we get home, Martin origamis various seats in his little car to get the bike in. We mentally engineer a convoluted drop off arrangement for tomorrow, because only one child can fit in the car with the bike.
As soon as we come inside I put water on for the rice. We have stir-fried beef and salad. Fred says she is still feeling sick, but she eats all her own dinner and Avery's meat. Avery eats half his rice and the rest is distributed around the floor, grains adhering themselves to the towel Martin has put under his seat. He also eats several pieces of tomato, which is his nod to salad.
After dinner, Una sets up her violin practice. I take off Avery's clothes, ready for the bath, and Fred finds a spot. She calls me over. Lots of spots, all over her tummy, her neck. She turns around, on her back they are already beginning to blister. 'Oh,' I say. 'Oh dear.'
She begins to wail. 'Not again.'
Third time. Chicken pox.
She says, 'But I've had it three times in a row.'
By in a row she means once when she was 2, again (suspected but never confirmed) when she was 5 or 6. But there is no doubt that this, at 10, is the pox.
All night, in the bath, getting dry, getting dressed and reading, every now and then she will begin to wail again and she cries out in sheer disgust 'Spots!'
Avery is intrigued. He and Una have both had the immunisation, but (because Fred has had it apparently twice) we haven't ever had Fred vaccinated - it wasn't on the schedule when she was a toddler.
So this is it then. Working life. Complicated and sort of...spotty.