I have been cleaning the house, making it shine, for yet another real estate appraisal. Soon the house will go on the market again, unfortunately at a reduced price, but still Rob and I feel it's time to sell.
I have also been editing Rob's novel - at last, he's allowed me to read his work-in-progress. It's a mystery, set in France and, beyond being a good read, I'm fascinated by his descriptions of place and characters as I can guess many of the sources. It's as if he has invited me into his brain to show me how it selects and processes data.
It was Sunday that I found myself acting as if I were twenty years old - quite unintentionally. I met my sister in the city for brunch and as she had to work and I had a hour to kill before meeting a friend, I asked if I could use her second-storey apartment. She lent me the only key, giving me strict instructions to leave it under her front door mat when leaving or she wouldn't be able to get in.
After half an hour or so, I went out to the balcony for a smoke, closing the door behind me. When I went to re-enter, the door was locked. I tried rattling the door and handle, sticking things in the lock, but it refused to budge. After half an hour, I was freezing - no coat - and starting to panic. Finally I heard footsteps and yelled down.
"Can you help me? I'm on the balcony."
A young woman looked up and agreed to telephone my sister who didn't answer her cell. The young woman left a message for her, apologized that she couldn't help me further as she had to get to work, and left.
Another fifteen minutes went by. I heard a young couple below.
"Can you help me? I'm locked out and freezing."
The woman ran and brought me a warm jacket. The man knocked on the door below and roused yet another young man who agreed to telephone the landlord who also didn't answer the phone.
"I have to get off of here," I said. "Will you spot me? I'm not very big."
So I climbed over the railing, hung from the edge, and the men lowered me to the ground.
Eventually my sister showed up. (Why had I locked the door?) She called a locksmith who said he charges $200 for a house call. She told him she'd think about it. We agreed it would be cheaper to break the glass and replace it.
"Do you think you can climb up onto the balcony again?" she asked.
She found an old piece of sturdy trellis in the back garden and up I went, flipping over the railing. Before breaking the glass, I gave the door several hard shoves with a shoulder and it sprang open. Sigh of relief.
Though feeling myself a fool, I was rather proud of my gymnastics, thinking not bad for a woman who is nearly sixty.
Later that night, I didn't feel so smug. I couldn't get comfortable in bed. My back was aching.