>The Flood

>Last night I came home after a long slog in rehearsal. Some folks were missing and still we attempted to be very good sports; all to extraordinary results. A storm was brewing in the City stirred up by hurricane Faye, and the humidity hung like bags of wet wool. I was grumpy. I called my husband on my bike ride home, who informed me he had ordered Chinese as a treat for he and our son.

I was excited, “Hey what did you get me? I’m starving.” My loving husband, the man I adore, began to list the items he ordered. It was clear he and Henry had ordered and he was marketing the leftovers to me. I stopped him, “ So you didn’t actually get anything for me right? OK I’m on my way ” Click.

Oh I heard my voice, a horrible harridan knife-like sound. I hated the sharp, cranky bitch that shared my spirit. And she tends to rear her head more in tired, hungry situations; and this was one.

By the time I made it home and into the breezier loft, I was calm. I kissed my man, fixed a plate of Chinese and prepared to watch the US Open with my tennis-crazed husband, who had Tivoed all of it. I ate my chicken and broccoli and an egg roll. I sat back on the coach and swiftly began to doze; it was 11 p.m.

I transferred to the bedroom with tennis still pinging back and forth in my ears and the next thing in knew I heard rushing in and out of the bathroom. What was my son up to at 4 am.? On his second trip in I asked, “Everything OK? “

“No, water is pouring into my bedroom.”

I walked into his room, and there was a waterfall. We short-term problem solved with buckets and towels, called the upstairs neighbor, and I beat on the door of the family living on the top floor where the wife is 9 plus months pregnant and they have two others under the age of two; only the husband woke up in all the hub-bub.

Henry and neighbor Charlie, wrapped in his wife’s robe, ran up to the roof and Charlie pried the door open with a knife. A torrent of water poured onto us. We slammed the door and waded through knee-high water to find the drain. Once located Charlie fished around and lifted off a rag that had capped the drain; and the water loudly sucked down the pipe clearing the roof in moments.

We went back downstairs with Henry content that he had saved the day. He had once upon a time, declared his life’s ambition to be a rescue dog, and tonight he had a go at it.

The loft was chaos, water still pouring, towels everywhere, buckets full, and books thrown out of harms way, filled the living room. Well at least the Times’ photographer came today to take shots; it would have been a disaster now. Not yet 5 am. And I threw a load of sodden towels into the laundry and thought to fire up the pot roast I promised for a real Saturday supper.

In my extra time awake I returned to the job of being a mother and wife, jobs I fear I have abandoned for the last few weeks all eclipsed by the work of directing, producing and attempting to make an opera. Funny how in times of crisis, big or little, what I turn to is the old fashioned tasks that women have embraced or been assigned for eons. I cook and clean.

Laundry washing and pot roast bubbling I retired to google, and email and phone donors and invitees, compile the days lists and ride out on my bike to secure my list of props: 3 push brooms, 3 sky blue yoga mats and reams of white paper. I ride back and forth on the bike gathering, redistributing post cards as I check on the locations to see the stashes are still high. Then I head off to the rehearsal loft to be astounded.

The chorus in nearly complete, there is finally some percussion in the little orchestra though strangely the clarinet and cello are missing, but thus is the style of rehearsal we have to put up with as we are paying so very little that it requires participants to take on other jobs to pay rent. We understand, but I can’t wait until we hear and see everyone and everything playing, singing moving across the stage together. Still the choral sounds, shored up with piano, violin and percussion are thrilling.

I no longer think I was insane to attempt to do this, but I have to hold back my enthusiasm at wanting it to be ready and focus on the tasks at hand. We have such a long way to go before our invited dress rehearsal on September 10, our Gratitude Performance. More to come on that, but for now enough to say, that we are moving forward. For today I am heartened by arriving home to excited men waiting on mashed potatoes, salad and pot roast, I hear them smack and moan loving the dinner and I think, “They are easy right?” Some times even disasters just require towels, buckets and pot roast and the rest takes care of itself.

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