Quiet September 16, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
I didn’t realize it immediately, but days ago I began to understand that his e-mail of August 31 would be the last I’d hear from him. I’ve been writing something to him most days since—cards, e-mails—but I know that if he receives them, I will hear nothing back. He is busy dying and—according to my Texan partner in mourning—planning his funeral. His wife and daughters are at his side. The interim is theirs, as it should be.
AnotherMondayforMali: No September 15, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
No, I can’t turn on the heat, it’s only mid-September, and no, I’m not ready to switch my closets from summer to winter, and no, I don’t want to put flannel sheets on the bed, and no, I don’t want to figure out something warmer to wear to a beach wedding in North Carolina 11 days from now, and no, I can’t seem to get caught up on my work or these chores or get through these messes, and no, I don’t want to stuff my attic so full of insulation that I lose storage space and a floor I can walk on, and no, I don’t want to think about how to best protect the new wellhead from the snow plow, and yes, of course I want Mali and New Zealand to enjoy warm weather and life-affirming sunshine, and yes, I know it’s their turn, but no, I don’t want to give it back yet. No.
Oysters September 8, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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I used to think I didn’t like them, my sole experience being a surreptitious, teenage-peer-pressured taste on a catering job. A decade ago(ish), I was convinced to try again; I fell unexpectedly in love. For years, upon arriving in Portland, Tim and I would make the pilgrimage to the place of my conversion and split a half dozen with glasses of Gavi. Now, I’m sure I could eat a dozen on my own, but I never have, keeping myself to no more than six. Yesterday Tim and Louise and I split the dozen, four varieties, three ways. Sometimes, when one begins by typing oysters, one ends by typing three ways.
A Couple of Days Later September 8, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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to: dear friends and all the ships at sea,
Last Thursday, midnight, it was discovered at the ER that my cancer had outwitted my chemo and taken over my innards. I am now at home in the tender care of Hospice, with soothing drugs, for the duration which might last a month or two.
Ever in paradox, we are both quite well where being well most counts.
“It will be brief. The interim is mine.”
Crumpling August 29, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
This just in, from my 88-year-old boyfriend:
Thursday night was the turning point. The cancer has won out, and I am now on hospice for a month or two.
Well, Well, Well August 26, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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$1,300ish. That’s what it cost me.
But it was fixed the day of my last post.
They weren’t supposed to show up until Thursday, but when I got home from work Wednesday afternoon, they were finishing up.
Turns out the well was in that corner, just not under the slate. They put the new tall wellhead right at the edge of the driveway.
The good news is that they didn’t have to dig up my driveway at all.
The bad news is that the wellhead now exists on a corner I regularly drove over to back out of my driveway. There will be a learning curve.
There will need to be some clear marking of the wellhead so the plow doesn’t take it out this winter. The corner is one the plow also regularly cuts.
Tim and I may have to switch places in the garage. We park the longer car in the tighter spot so that our batteries are side by side. If we switch places, we need much longer jumper cables. Or a portable battery booster.
So there will be more money involved.
But we have water. (I love water!) We know where the well is. The problem was fixed about 30 hours after I called.
I think that’s pretty good.
Well, Well August 20, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
When I bought this house fifteen years ago, one of the questions I asked the previous owners was “Where’s the well?” There was no visible wellhead anywhere. The answer? “I don’t know.”
This concerned me.
So I called the local well-drilling guys for a consult. One of them was a dowser. He said that the well was under the driveway. The paved driveway.
The driveway hadn’t always been paved. When I first rented the house across the street, most of the driveways in town were dirt. One day someone came and paved a bunch of driveways in the neighborhood, including this one. A package deal, perhaps.
I doubt the previous owners knew the well was there. At least, I hope they wouldn’t knowingly pave over all access to the well.
In the four or five years they lived in this house, they had no trouble. So clearly, the pump in the well is at least nineteen or twenty years old. Obviously, someday it would fail.
That day was yesterday.
Tim ran out of water during his morning shower, but it came back. He did dishes after breakfast just fine. But when I drew a bath, it ran out again. So I called the plumber to (likely) verify my worst fears.
Which he did. But he called the well place for me and was able to explain to them all the electrical tests he had run.
The well guys were out on a job, but the woman in the office said they could come out this morning. Instead, they called late yesterday afternoon and drove over to check out the situation.
I told them that my neighbor, who has been here much longer than I, was convinced that my wellhead was under this huge slate in the corner of my house. The well guys doubted the well would have been dug that close, but they crowbarred the thing and dug down a bit. Nope. No well.
So it’s under the driveway. Somewhere. They will come back with a jackhammer. Tomorrow, not today.
The motor keeps heating up and shutting down. So we’re actually not completely without water—we just can’t do something too big, like shower, and likely we can’t flush too many times. I keep a couple of huge buckets filled with water to deal with flushing if summer storms take out my electricity. I’ll be putting that water to use if I have to.
Last night I showered at my next-door neighbor’s. Tim has access to a shower at his office. Today I’ll hit the gym near work, then shower there. Maybe by tomorrow night we’ll have regular water flow again.
Then I’ll have a driveway to deal with, which will present its own challenges, as we can’t have a wellhead raise above tire level if I want to use my garage. I’ll have to find someone to pave it who can pave around a flat covering in an awkward, tight space.
Frankly, part of me is relieved. I’ve been waiting for this shoe to drop for fifteen years. I have avoided certain projects—repaving the driveway, replacing outdoor stairs—because I didn’t want to just have to rip them up/out when the well died in its unknown location. Tomorrow I should find out for sure where my well is.
I wonder what that will cost me.
At Last August 13, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
Yesterday I went to a shop for Certain Underthings, one that I’ve been avoiding because these Certain Underthings almost never fit me properly, but I’d met the proprietor at a wedding reception, and I needed a Certain Other Underthing anyway, and she assured me she could fit me, and I both wanted to be fit for obvious reasons and didn’t want to be because of what I’d no doubt end up spending, but I did go in, and she fit me properly, and as I was trying on Certain Underthings that actually fit, I overheard a conversation with another customer, a woman who had come in looking for a bra to wear under something for a wedding, but she didn’t want to spend more than $20, and this place didn’t have a bra for $20, and she asked about things on sale, not because she couldn’t afford what this place was charging for bras, she said, but because she was from Notsosnootytown about an hour away, and people there just didn’t spend that kind of money for this kind of thing, and then she began to ask about how much was actually being made in this business, and the proprietor noted that well, it was retail, so it could be assumed that said proprietor was paying about half the ticket price for any garment, but the woman said no, she meant that she wondered how much it actually cost to produce the garment, in Sri Lanka or wherever it was happening, because someone was making a lot of money, and the proprietor couldn’t really help her there, and when I walked out of the fitting room and saw the other customers in the store, I recognized one, a woman who used to show up at poetry readings I attended fifteen years ago, a nice woman who nonetheless gives off a bit of a crazy vibe, and I was pretty sure it was she who had had this conversation I’d overheard, but I don’t think she recognized me, and when she left the store I almost said something about her to the proprietor, but thought better of it, and then was glad of it because there were still other women in the store, and maybe it was one of them, and anyway, it didn’t matter, and when I left, now a bit in debt, with my bag of newly purchased Certain Underthings and a Certain Other Underthing, there was the Notsosnootytown woman from poetry readings sitting in a chair at the doorway just outside, and as I walked down the stairs, she called out to me, “I love your haircut! It’s very flattering!” and I thanked her but didn’t tell her I remembered her and was glad I’d kept my big mouth shut.
Chinatown July 23, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
The first time I saw Chinatown, I was a seventeen-year-old kid passing through Camden, Maine, on vacation with my best friend’s family—in a motorhome. We had traveled from Maryland to Boston, to Cape Cod (taking in a play at Falmouth, I believe); taken a ferry (sans motorhome) to Martha’s Vineyard and back; then headed up the coast of Maine, getting as far north as Camden.
Sue and I were ready to be on our own, away from her parents and an accompanying couple. There was a movie theater in town, kind of art-housey, I guess, because they were showing Chinatown, and this was five years after its initial release. Could we go? Sure, Mary Helen said. Get a cab out to the campground after. Off they drove to the outskirts. Somewhere.
So we saw Chinatown. (“She’s my sister and…!”) Then, in the dark Camden evening, we found a phone booth (remember those?) and scanned the phone book for a cab service.
There was none.
Sue and I grew up in a small town. It’s not so small anymore, but it was then. In that small town, there were cabs to be called. A complete lack of cabs hadn’t occurred to any of us.
We didn’t know where the campground was or how to get there or how far a walk out of town it might be. There was no way to contact our peeps and have them disconnect all their hookups, leave their campsite, and come get us.
So we walked to the police station.
It turned out that despite our having always been told how helpful the police could be, these particular police were not very sympathetic to our predicament. They sat us down on a bench with other teenage hoodlums and made us wait. And wait. For what, I’m not sure. It seemed that there were more cops than hoodlums and perhaps we might be helped more quickly. Clearly, no one wanted to lower himself to cab service.
“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”
Perhaps an hour later, figuring we had suffered enough, someone loaded us into the back of a police car and drove us to the campground, several miles out.
That night, that station, that car—that’s what I think about when anyone mentions Chinatown. I remember very little of the movie.
But another Sue—one who has never seen the film and has had a DVD copy forced upon her by a mutual, well-meaning Faye Dunaway–freak friend (“What? You’ve never seen Chinatown?”)—plans to drop over this evening, right after she gets her hair done, and watch it on my big-ass TV screen. I haven’t seen Chinatown in thirty-five years. No doubt the police in this film will prove to be very helpful people. Right?