Saturday, February 14, 2004

About a house and a happy valentine's day

to my fans, the quotations and apostrophes in this post are a little nuts, i'm working on it. ~tt

'I have a little rhythm,
it lives inside of me
and when it goes crazy,
I go dancing free."

~Me, age 7

Happy Valentine's day, yall! How's life?

I feel good, still trying to get the hang of this blog thing.
Wanna know what I did today?

Welll so I woke up freezing (it was 68 degrees- brr) at 5:00, curled and half-reclined in the easy chair, which is on the other side of the house from my room. Got up, stumbled through my dark house to my cushy, blue-flannel-sheeted bed and went back to sleep.

woke up again at 6:30.
woke up again at 6:39.
woke up again at 6:48, at which time I reset the radio alarm clock to 7:30.

woke at 7:30 to admire gold glow of the rising sun striking my varnished wood ceiling boards. I am one lucky woman- I put up with a lot of bulldukey (Toto's word), but my house has the best view in town, no contest. Anyway, there were a lot of clouds on the horizon over the ocean, but also plenty of light. Yay!

I finally got up around 8, said fajr in a very very very low and sleepy voice, and walked through my house and past the easy chair to the laundry/2nd bathroom to collect my clean drawers and bra so I could take a (downright FREEZING) shower. Before I can get back to my room and scrub my booty, the handy-men show up to finish what they've started on my house.

I should explain about the house. It's not mine, of course. I'm just out of college, so I'm renting this huge casota in Guayama. It was relatively cheap by my standards when I first began to rent it, but it's full of antiques- puts a whole new meaning on "fully furnished"- and old, old antique itself. Like historical.
In fact, that's the word I use every time I'm working on the dueño of the house to improve it just a little bit more, pull it a little more from 1949 portareeco standards to 2004 LIVABLE US colony standards.

(Yes, I said C-O-L-O-N-Y. Gotta problem wittit? In denial about the territories? Didn't even realize portareeco was a part of the USA? Email me and we'll discuss: forevertwenny (at) gmail (dot)com.)

I put on my southern heritage and feminine wiles and go to work: "Oh, Don Carlos, you simply must consider tearing down those dripping acoustic tiles. Why, one fell on the stove just yesterday, took out a pan of my homemade roast chicken. And look at the wood underneath, why, it has to go back to the historical construction." Or, " I told those handymen they just have to be mistaken, Don Carlos, I know you didn't intend for them to really paint the ceiling boards white. Surely the ceilings will have a historical glow to them when they are merely protected with a clear varnish. You would increase the home’s value by restoring that." All of this in Spanish, mind you, which is much more formal and therefore lends so many more opportunities to be a flirting debutante.

Man, the Deltas who threw my actual debut would be mad if they heard me say that.

But seriously, this house is just as much a pain in the behind as a pleasure, because someone let it go. If I had to guess, and I'm not all that educated about stuff like this, it was built in the mid-to-late 1800's for some relatively affluent people, since the ceilings are high but the rooms aren't all that big. It's had some additions, most recently the very narrow TV porch, where I chill since it opens onto the garden with the orchids- and of course, because the tv is there. Built on a woodframe, it's rare now when everything is made of concrete to withstand the hurricanes. And its full of sawdust from termites. I've never seen a termite here, but their gritty, round, plentiful, dark, almost microscopic leavings are present every time I turn around. I'm always sweeping the floors, I never walk around barefoot and I've just about given up on keeping the dust out of my shag bathroom carpet. It's like sand but worse because in my mind,it is intrinsically "dirty", making my house filthy because it just won't go away.

When I moved in, there was water damage to the white acoustic tiles above the stove in the house. But when the November rains and inundaciones came, closing schools and swamping the region for two weeks, they also brought the rotten tiles down, sometimes leaving me in danger of getting boinked on the head and one time actually taking out the second portion of my dinner.

At which point I informed Don Carlos that I was ok with living in a 3rd world country, but that I knew he had the resources to fix the house, and enough was enough. Three things I don't allow people to futz with: my family, my money, or my food.

Now I live with brand-new, natural-varnish ceilings in the kichen and two living rooms, and they're working on tearing down and replacing the walls and ceiling in the bedroom where I'll let JW stay if he decides to come. And, I'm getting a showerhead water heater, so no more cold showers!! WHOOOHOOO! It's the little things, I declare.

Anyway~ I unlock the door for the 3 handymen- Robertón, the grandad, Roberto, the son, and Jose de Jesus, the grandson- with my bra and pink Vicky undies in hand. That sparks a whole nother thought pattern, because the middle of the three is about 30 and VERY HANDSOME. (psst, Isa: He's fine as frog hairs, girl!) One side of me is blushing because this man is seeing my drawers (to get this you have to hear this word as "draauws", which is how I think it), and the other side is annoyed and hence could care less: what the heck are they doing comin'round at 8:30 on a Saturday?

Which is when I noticed that it really was 8:30 so I`d better get it going if I was gonna be on time for my driving lesson.
It's a ridiculous point of my reality that I have been driving solo for 5 years on a temps.

Twenty minutes later, I'd found out the lesson was canceled. I actually waited to call my house, thinking that 7:30 on a Sardy is too early even for my mother- so when I do call, my brother JW answers the phone and tells me that my parents are walking out the door. Dangit.

On the other hand, that meant I Spoke To JW for A Whole Twenny Minutes! You should be proud of me!

My youngest brother is 16. I love him with all my heart. I try to talk to him and send him letters once in a while, to help him through the Personal Hell that is living as the only child left in the house with our parents. They get to focus all of their attention on his very temperamental self, and it ain't easy. Talking to him is both a treat and a trial. One of those things where I know he's smarter than I was, but he's so smart he's throwing it all away. I know now where all the teacher's get the word "potential".

I offered JW the chance to live with me because I think it would be easier for him, and I think I can handle the responsibility. Right now, we're still making that decision,so I had a great conversation with him about it. He didn't snarl at all! I think he really does want to come, get away from our parents and see how he can do for himself. We'll see.

And that was just the beginning of the day.

This has been the most productive Saturday I've had in a while- I picked up the mail, spoke to my mother, sister, brother, and best friends, did more work on an incomplete project than I have in two months, and even came back home in time to offer refreshment to the handymen like a proper hostess. I got some isht done, you know? And until just now, it didn't even occur to me that this is the "Dia de Amores", the day for lovers, meant for romance and all that junk. I spent it last year sick, bummed out that I had to drop line, and feeling sorry for myself that I didn't have a boyfriend. I feel good that this year, I spent it showing some tangible responsibility and peace in myself.

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