Last night, after a calming prenatal yoga class, I walked a half block to our new home and spent some time unpacking the boxes we moved last weekend. I wandered from room-to-room in the quiet. I put a borrowed Baby Bjorn carrier in the wash and hand-washed my wool winter hat and gloves. I made the guest-room bed with newly-washed off-white sheets and dark green comforter. I unloaded the dishwasher and then I made my way to our living room.
It was storming outside, that late summer warm rain that comes in waves and pounds the pavement. I could hear it pouring out of the gutter and splattering onto the patio next to our apartment.
I turned on Andrea Bocelli, who I used to listen to years ago, and sat on the hardwood floor against our chocolate-colored couch next to a cardboard box of books. I leaned over my 7-month pregnant belly and flipped through my favorites — Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, Wallace Stegner’s Collection of Short Stories, J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace. The light was dim, lightly illuminating the exposed-brick wall. A cup of tea perched on the dark-brown leather ottoman within reach.
And I thought about how I was already attached to this place, this space that after less than a week feels like home and where A. and I plan to spend our first years with our baby. It’s the place where someday we’ll come back and point from the outside and say, “Look, that’s where you spent your first years.”
When A. got home at 11, I jumped up with excitement. We smiled and embraced. “I brought you something,” he said. “You did?” I said with a little hop. It was a book on birthing from the library. I circled my arms around his neck and kissed him and then he went upstairs to change.
“Erin?” A. called down the stairs.
“Can you come here?”
I went up to the guest room (also eventually baby’s room). A. stood there shirtless, pointing at the wall under the window sill, a foot from where we plan to put the crib. There was a water stain, streaks running down the white paint. No, no, no. In one area, the wall was a little bit soggy. The carpet was damp. The flap of an open cardboard box was soaked.
“Water could mean mold,” A. said. “We can’t put a baby in here if there’s mold.”
Our moods dampened. We looked at each other somberly and said nothing, both deep in thought. We have no idea if the leak has been there a long time and the inside of the walls have mold — or if Hurricane Irene clogged up the gutter and this is the first time water has leaked. It’s hard to know how to react when you have very little information.
We drafted an email to our landlord and hope to get this resolved very quickly. The sky is still gray. It’s supposed to continue storming through the weekend, which means more water.
And while I love late summer rains — I really really hope it doesn’t cause a big problem for our new home.