Friday, September 18, 2009

Sept 17, 09

Written September 17, 2009

It's been a wonderful week in the country. Sunny, longer days, a small morning fire, days to dry vegatables and rearrange the furniture in the "spring-summer" formation (couch and chairs moved further from the woodstove) and a few vases (preserves jars) of freshly cut evergreen sprigs set around.

The fat cat provides much of our entertainment since we are still not up to full power so we don't watch movies at night. We still use candlight to read by, not out of necessity now, but because it's pleasant and relaxing, even as the cat attacks our feet under the comforter.

I spied some fresh parsley on a recent trip to town, and snapped it up along with some decent tomatoes, thinking of my unopened bag of quinoa purchased in Temuco. I don't remember if tabuoli (tabuli?) is supposed to be made with quinoa or with bey, or what, but it works well. I barely cooked the quinoa, let it cool, finely chopped fresh garlic and parsley (lots), and diced a tomato. Adding a little fresh-squeezed lemon juice and olive oil (salt for me) and we gorged ourselves. As a side experiment, I threw a pinch of the raw dry seeds in a planter. Just to see...

With my diminished physical capacity, I enlisted Greg to go buy the new mattress for my mother's room. One plaza y media. A little bigger than a twin, not quite a double...that's the size for the bed that Ismael made for us last year, and which we put in the spare bedroom. He bought a good mattress, not the cheap foam things that you find generally down this way. He paid handsomely, but as I told him, for a mattress (as well as other items) you get what you pay for. He roped the thing in the bed of the truck, wrestled it down to the house, then upstairs to the bedroom. I cut off the thick plastic cover and something didn't look right about it. I flopped it over onto the bed frame and dear lordy, he bought a twin mattress. I looked at it, then at him. I said, "Did you not ask for a "plaza y media"? "Yes", he says, "but they only had the size that fits our bed, and bigger." "So, why...why did you buy a mattress that clearly isn't what we needed," I continued to bitch, as I looked at the 10-inches or so of bare bedframe. Why, indeed.

"If you sent me to buy a 17-inch tire for the truck, and I came home with a 15-inch tire, would it make sense to you if I said that all they had were the 20-inch tires and the 15-inch tires, so I bought that one?" "No, not when you put it that way," he says looking at the mattress. Grandmother always said, "Everything happens for a reason, even if you don't see the reason right away." And she has always been right. The old, cheap foam mattress sat against the window. I looked at what we had here. We could tape up the plastic on the new mattress, Greg could wrestle it back up to the truck the next day or so, return it, and order a "plaza y media". I sat down on the sheepskin rug and thought. Then it came to me. This small, but charming room with a view of Tres Monjas and the forest could be more than just a bedroom. It could be a Guest Room. I rocked myself back up on my cast, grabbed the foam mattress and shoved one side down behind the back wall behind the bed, folded it over onto the bedframe between the single mattress and the sideboad, and created a lovely day bed. Covering both mattresses separately, I then made up the bed with the patch-work quilt and feather comforter, pillows agains the back.

Greg was downstairs, quiet, humbly feeding the evening fire in a state ofcontrition. When I finished making up the bed, I lit a candle, put the nice bottle of white wine I bought for my mom on the bedside table, shook the basket of herbs hanging on the wall to disperse the aroma and summoned him up to check out the room. I felt pretty rotten for being such a snark about the whole thing.

"Come on, snuggle in and see what you think." I didn't want to say "sorry for being a bitch," but he knew I meant that. I pulled back the covers for him and he slid into the "day bed". Fifteen minutes later, he was snoring to the odd music of the Rio Azul. He had felt badly about messing up, I had felt a little rotten about being harsh, and here we ended up with something much lovelier than I imagined. Mom will be charmed with her room.

Around 10, or 11 this morning, the house jumped. Not the normal truck hitting the bridge span up by the road, but a hard, quick shake. It's two in the afternoon and another quick shake. With our experience in May 2008, and again February 2009, our first thoughts always go to Volcan Chaiten. Did it blow again (though it's never really stopped) or did the dome collapse? Did a tree fall? Was it just a quake? Though we don't feel quakes here like we did in Panama...real shakers that would set the rocking chairs and light fixtures in motion and cause us to get downstairs and open the front door. `I watch the sky and am keen to the light, which if the volcano acts up and the wind is right, will darken, and plunge us into mid-day darkness, as it did on those previous two occasions.

The day has grown eerie, gray, and calm. A road-side hawk is screaming up above the tree tops. The Rio Desague has dropped and calmed somewhat...just enough that our hydro power is diminished, but not enough to retrieve the tube ends and reconnect them. We will come to a "tipping point" where we will not have enough power, but still too much river. Then, when the river drops enough, we can reconnect the two ends of the tube, secure it and be back to full power. Before, during and after, our lives will not be much different. We will have lovely meals, enjoy the warmth and smell of the wood fire. Watch the goofy cat hide in a cardboard box or stalk imaginary prey in the "tool area", read by candlight and watch the rivers below, the sky above and just having a fucking in Patagonia where Nature rules, and we are never at a loss for reasons to stay despite ourselves.

Later in the day I stand in a spot of afternoon sunlight, warming my feet, and I listen to a song, Simple Man, on the computer from "Live: Crosby and Nash. 1977." The year I graduated from Highschool. "I can't make it alone," it goes. And then, after a lovely interlude and other lyrics, "Like the last time. Just want to hold you...Don't want to hold you down." And it occurs to me, that is what we are doing here. Holding each other. And the sun streams in the window. Greg is readying for a "going to town" trip. He sings the words to the song. I write. The cat sleeps on the chair, her long "pelo de gatos" drifting in the sunbeams, tickling my nose. We are never at a loss for reasons to stay despite ourselves.

And so it goes.

[Majong stats: Games played: 658 Games won: 154]

I've posted two posts today, so if you are interested, read below for other mundane news.

September 8, 2009

Written September 8, 2009 - Forgive the spelling and other time.

It happened. We woke up and it was Spring...if only for the day. I flung open the front door to let out the cat and for the first time in months vapor crystals did not freeze in my lungs. The kind of day in town that people find themselves digging under mounds of long underwear and wool sweatersin their dresser drawers for a t-shirt, which they will wear, walking down the spiffy, rose-bursting streets of Futa, unable to bear another day in a winter coat. I will have to dig in cardboard boxes, but it's the kind of day that having no dressers or closets cannot dampen my spirits. Nor can the fact that the waterline to the house is clogged and the hydro not at full power crush my Spring Fever emotional upswing.

Foot-in-cast aside, it's been a beautiful couple of weeks. Rains stopped, stars came out at night, and one evening the moon was so full and bright as it crested over the ridge behind the house, the opposing mountain range lit up, covered with glowing snow. We turned around in the bed so we could lay staring out the window until we feel asleep. Beds are the same one way, as they are the other, so I wonder why it feels so odd to sleep opposite? I woke up that morning at 5:30 a.m. feeling like I'd been camping out, and hobbled down to stoke the morning fire and make coffee. The cat was happy for the company, and wildly enjoys the toys I made for her from sticks, goose feathers and masking tape last week (I was bored out of my mind). I've also been carving pumice stones I collected on Santa Barbara beach in June when we were stuck in Chaiten for a day and a half (the volcano rumbling just 8 kilometers away).

Greg has finished chainsawing, splitting and stacking all but one of the fallen trees Ismael hauled to the woodlot with his amazing oxen. I always wonder when I see him working them how the term "clumsy as an ox" came about because them seem incredibly graceful, though huge and a bit scary to me.

Nono sent down five new pairs of her signature wool socks. I was a little dismayed to realize it would be stupid to wear just one new sock (I love a new pair of socks), and that got me to thinking about how when you wear socks, after a while it always seems that ONE will get a hole in it, but never both. I spent an afternoon sewing up holes and managed to salvage a few old pairs, but the happy spot in the afternoon was realizing that I could still utilize the orphan socks left over from unpatchable, unrepairable pairs. As my Grandmother always said, "Always a reason for everything...we just don't always know at the time why". She was a wise woman who also often lamented while shaking her head, "Vicki Jo...What WILL become of you?" She was right again on that point. No one knows.

I'm trading my refridgerator for having my floors finished and sealed. It's an energy hog (both the fridge and the floor). I'll look for a smaller, more efficient one. Greg traded a used alternator for Ismael's oxen work. Ismael and Nono brought back 70+ pounds of flour and several gallons of cooking oil I ordered from Argentina where it is half the cost of buying it in Futa. I'm back making bread and pizza dough again. Greg is happy.

We get enough power to listen to audio books each evening, and to turn on the bathroom light in the middle of the night and not trip over the mounds of laundry that are impatiently waiting to be washed. When not listening to bedtime stories podcasts, we read by candlight and Greg pretends to go downstairs to put a log on the fire but I know he's sneaking a piece of bread with peach jam. We are done dog-sitting, and will miss Chon, the big sheepdog. Inexplicably, the yellow Collie disappeared the day Greg brought home 25-pounds of dogfood. Minky is queen of her castle again.

Tomorrow it might rain, and the temperature drop to a two-pair of socks, fleece jacket day. But for today, it's Spring, and lovely.

[Other ways I spend my time: Majong Titan. Statistics: Games played: 445. Games honestly won: 86]