room with a view

Starting to feel a little enclosed, despite—or maybe because of—the lovely views. Mom did not sleep last night. She was wakeful but happy. She seems to be making up for lost sleep during the day. I am going to take a walk presently, while Chris and Ben are here,  to shake the cobwebs from my brain and enjoy the outside world.


the scene at casa mama

Revisiting the card games of our youth, Chris and Ben and I have been playing 500 rummy, crazy eights, gin rummy and many different kinds of solitaire. 

Max has been moping under mom's bed, but he perked up after his beauty parlor appointment and with attention from Sara, Ben's daughter. She leaves today for LA and work.
Mom is hanging in. He has had two solid nights of sleep—the first in three weeks since she fell. And this morning Rosio managed to feed her a bit of papaya. Rosio has been trying to give her strengthening broths (chicken soup and a corn soup) and water with syringes. She has moments of clarity, especially when each of us arrived to see her. Rosio has been caring for her and also for us, cooking for the masses. 


missouri to mexico

Just after leaving Missouri, I found out that my mother was going downhill. A shift of plans brought me to Mexico, where I am ensconced for the near future. She gave me a big smile and a "Hi, Sweetie." But she can't fall asleep for more than a few seconds and is fearful of the dark. She must know that the big dark approaches. But Rosio and her other caregivers say she has been much calmer since I got here, The doctor said, "Love is better than medications."


scoff away

I did not like having a view of the beer store when I bought the Goose. So I transplanted privet from around the yard next to the road. (I like the view of the beer store even less now. It looks like a bomb went off in it. ) Yes, I know, privet is invasive. But it sure grows fast here.
Fast forward eight years. Despite my attempts at pruning, it was catching up to the maple tree at right.
So Dave hacked it back with a chain saw. Now it's only about seven feet tall, and will bush out next year and have to be chopped back again.


hellos and goodbyes

Yesterday Dave finished all the odds and ends left for this year, and his wife, Char, and daughter Cydnee took a last dip in the Eleven Point River. Note the Goose's dirt yard (next year!) and newly functioning heat pump. Hot and cold running air as well as water!
Bill and Carla, home again from Prescott, Ariz., stopped in to bring me lunch and mow the yard at their river cabin. Nice T-shirt, Carla!

Denise stopped in after having a 30-year anniversary dinner with her soon-to-be-divorced husband and stayed the night. We yakked about journalism, politics, polyamory and circumcision.


all systems

Just as everything is working—bathroom, kitchen and even ac/heat—it's time to leave. Place was filled with workers today, and next few days filled with engagements, so no time to settle into writing, solitude and entertainments. Well, there's always next year, barring another flood!


Bear, in car, has a powwow with the folks who live where he used to.
"Hi! Do you want some tomatoes? I bought too many."
It was my new across the street neighbor. Her name is Brandy, and her boyfriend, Mike, is Bear's nephew. It turned out that when she tried to give the tomatoes to Bear, he told her to offer them to me. So I guess that's rapprochement of a kind.
   It should be no surprise that I have been spying on my neighbors—they're in my face, after all. I know they bathe in the river (as I used to). I know they have no electricity or bathroom. I know they arrange their lawn chairs meticulously every time they leave. I know they have friends who stop by to chat. Including Bear when he picks up his mail. And I know they are nice to their dogs, making sure to leave them in shade with water and walking them on leash now and then.



Turns out Virginia had rescued a lot of my dishes and silverware, so now I have dishware in abundanza. She and her daughter Nikki and her daughter Lulu brought it back down the hill in the ATV.
  Sorry if I have been MIA, but my mother is declining after a fall.  She cracked her pelvis and, after a brief hospital stay, is at home, though she doesn't know it. She has good, 24-hour care, but we have to wait to see if she snaps out of the fog.


ideal guests

I am fortunate in my friends. Last night, five of us had supper together. Two of them brought silverware and serving dishes and pots and pans. Two others brought the table and chairs and plates and glasses. Everybody brought desert. And today, my houseguests (who brought their own house!) are trimming trees, shoveling gravel and cooking supper. My word! And a couple days ago, the Welcome Wagon arrived with a  gourmet dinner and fine wines (David) and tomatoes (the new folks). More about the latter later.


goose: the reveal

 It has been a very long July, but yesterday, the last day of the month, everything came together. It is amazing to me that the same fundamentals—power, wiring, well and pump, plumbing for kitchen and bathroom, doors, windows—require the same amount of work for  a 16- by 22-foot room as for a three-bedroom house.
   I moved in Saturday. Yesterday, Monday, Dave finished the final projects and he and his wife and I moved in the fridge. (I bought it at Sears on the Internet and it turned out to be black on the sides!) We moved in the old tin counter and hutch that Virginia had saved and washed, and I rewashed and painted. I just found out that she also has many of my pots and pans and dishes. Now I can pay bills and clean and shop, and tomorrow friends arrive.
 Just to refresh your memory, here's what the place looked like, gutted, when I got here. Sans power or water
 And here's what it looked like when the flood waters receded. Virginia and Randy and the Christian Aid ministries cleaned it out and power washed it.
 And here's what it looked like last year, before the flood.



Yes, the weather broke. And, yes, I am broke too. And again yes, I say yes yes I won't buy a black refrigerator. Instead I bought a stainless-looking one. I was swayed by those who thought a black one would look like a server or an amp at a Grateful Dead concert or a portal into the netherworld. So hopefully it will reflect the aqua floor. Downside: Not delivered to Sears in West Plains til Monday, which leaves me with the cooler til then.
  In other news, Judge David has returned from my apt in NY, bearing mail and a towel I hope I'll need and a Rhode Island sales tax report I definitely do.
  Also, I am a bad person, but this is my favorite story from the Quill since the Gainsville fire station burned down.
  And a very sad posting from Russell after his K2 expedition failed to reach the summit.


bad dreams

Bear's house before the flood. And after, when the new neighbors moved in. Same truck.
Bear in happier days before he 't decided I was bad medicine.
I don't know who the people who now live in the trailer across the street from me may be. Some relatives of Bear's. But the one night I spent there, they set up chairs on the concrete pad that used to be Bear's house and stared cross the highway and into my place. (Note to self: shades.) Then I painted myself out the door and had to leave the door cracked open for two days and nights.
 And then I had the first bad dream. When I showed up to look at the new floor, it was covered in layers of dirt and dust. Dave was working. And then I saw that the entire side of the Goose was stove in. It looked like someone had crashed a semi into it. And I realized that the floor was the least of my problems, that the Goose was totaled. That all the work Dave and I had put into it was wasted.
  And I suspected my new neighbors, who breezed into my dazed state. "Oh, Honey, said the woman. "I'm so sorry. Come over to our trailer." I went over. The man, whose name was Douglas Walker (Walker is Bear's last name) loomed over me, and I backed out of the door as I heard him say, "city people, Yankees, homos."
   I woke up and realized that it was a dream. And then I went back to sleep, and back into a continuation of the dream.
   I was at a town meeting of Thomasville with about five people and the governor. At the end I felt I should introduce myself. "My name is Claudia, and I'm from New York City, but I grew up in the Ozarks until the age of eight." I had a plan. I was going to shore up support from townsfolk and Bear's other relatives (he is one of a family with 12 kids) to fight Douglas Walker.
   I woke up again and hauled out to Thomasville. Everything was fine. Dave was working away and the floor looked great.

But that was not the end of nightmares. The night before last, I dreamt that my mother had fallen in San Miguel and slid down a slope. I couldn't catch her, and she hurt herself. Managed to get her back to her house and tried to settle her on cold packs.
   Last night we found out she had fallen in the night while trying to let the dog out and was in the hospital with broken finger and cracked pelvis.
  I have never had predictive dreams or true ones. Before.


partial reveal

Well, here  we are again. Back in the 16 x 22 foot first floor of the Goose. With a new water cooler, a new sink, a new table and an old chair that survived the flood. CBA please note that your beautiful fan was above high water, upstairs, and also survived! As well as drinking water, we now have hot and cold running water in kitchen sink and bathroom sink. Within days: tub and shower. Which is fortunate for my friends, as I move in Saturday.
   The new (black?) refrigerator will go in the niche left of the stairs where the old one was. The new white stove to the right of the sink. Taking advice on what color to paint the newly revealed stairs. And maybe the space underneath.


coming soon: the reveal

Spent my first night at the Goose on Saturday, which proved to be, at 96 degrees, the hottest day (and night) since I've been here. Fixing the AC had been the last thing on my mind until then. It has  become more pressing. Anyway, I was moppin' and sweatin' and sweatin' and moppin'. Then letting it "dry" and painting. Even with headband the sweat kept dripping in the paint. So I know there will be some patching up to be done, because some paint is already peeling up. But I don't think I will do it right away unless I get AC.
   And I have a question. Why am I always painting floors? Unless I'm misrecollecting, I think I did the pink one last year, and two downstairs floors in Block Island this spring. Am I trying to stay grounded?


the electric goose!

You heard it here first! Now with power, phone (417-764-3086) and Internet!
 And water! When I saw Dave digging up the pipe from well to pump yesterday, I was terrified. Everything we have done so far was predicated on having water. But the new pump is functioning and all is well. Fingers crossed. I am planning to sleep here tonight so I can paint floor first thing in the ayem. Also so I don't have to drive a hundred more miles with a screwed tire. Literally. Mr. Fixit used his compressor to put more air in yesterday, and so far has held (who knows how long that screw had been in there before the low pressure light came on?), but the tire places are closed today and tomorrow.


back and forth

There has been motion. I figured out that Dave likes to get everything going and then move from one task to the next in a round rather than completing one task and moving to another. I believe he is trying to calculate it so that everything will be finalized at the same time. Thus, he is rocking out and plumbing and doing electricals and carpentry all at the same time. However, today we suffered a setback. The tolet is in, the tub and kitchen sink are in process, but then it proved that something was wrong with the pump. We don't know what yet. Maybe tomorrow.


the junk

My stuff—bathtub, sink, cabinets, hot water heater—fetched up in Randy's Garden of Earthly Delights. That's it under the tarp. Alas, the crucified, green Chatty Cathy sculpture is there too, the one I'd hidden from the neighbors in the deep recesses of my closet. One of the Christian Aid Ministries people told Randy, "I don't know what that there is, but I ain't touching it!" Retreived an Eames chair, a stepladder (I had just bought another) and a couple more things. But still plenty left. I wasn't willing to crawl through the chiggers and under the tarp any longer to find out what.


to the rescue

This is Dave. He is a carpenter, plumber, electrician, mason, ac tech and all round fixit guy. He put the windows and doors in, repaired the deck, hooked up the power and the well, rewired and plumbed the house—all in two weeks. He charged me $800. Cash. Doesn't have a bank account. He is going to try to install a kitchen sink today and turn on the water in the house.  We have both been sweating a lot. It approaches 100 degrees lately (in the Walmart parking lot I'm sure it's more). So I gave him some coconut water.



 Frank and Dianne's yellow table was a win. When I picked it up (thank goodness I have a truck!) they had it nicely set for two en plein air. The yellow fridge was a reject, however, as is the corner booth below. Just can't cope with the upholstery, however sixties.
  I am taking today off from lumber yards and driving. I have been driving more than 100 miles a day. Today I will only drive 50—to West Plains and back to do some laundry. Also I will never ever eat at MacDonald's again. So sick last night.


white out

 Don't even talk to my sister about my painting skills. Or my daughter. Or anyone else. But it seemed wise to throw something on the back wall before all kind of pipe was laid there. (It also seemed wise to paint the floor, but that didn't happen.) (Also my sister wants me to mop the floor many times before painting it.) (Very hard to paint with people traipsing in and out with lumber and pipe glue.) (Or even mop.) (So I let other projects move forward.) Anyway, I scraped the back wall and wire brushed it and vacuumed, but as I rolled the paint on, old layers of paint rolled off onto the roller. I went through a couple, but still had to scrape paint chips off. The result was a lot of paint on me as well as the wall, the floor and etc.



See that line about a foot from the ceiling? That's where the floodwater got to.
Flushed with enthusiasm about the well water yesterday, I bought a stepstool, paint brushes, three bitter melons, a pair of flipflops for Caylee, a parsley plant and a toilet (called a "stool" here), to add to the thousands of dollars of other shit I had already bought.
 Then I got out to the Goose and found no one there. It was too late in the day to begin painting out those watermarks. I am hopeful that if no one else gets anything done today, at least I will. I'm sick of shopping.
Postscript: The cows got out, and by the time Carpenter/Plumber/Electrician Dave had rounded them up in the woods it was too hot to do anything but sit in front of the ac.


water water everywhere

Cydnee splashes in the water being pumped out of my well. Mud came out at first, but then the water ran clear. They pumped for an hour or so, then dumped in chlorine and pumped again. Looks like I'll be able to mop, paint and install a pot to piss in. The plan is to paint this weekend, and I believe I have settled on the swimming-pool color "Turtle," which I'm pointing to. My selection is influenced by the fact that Dianne has offered me a yellow formica table and chairs. And now Bill informs me that there is a yellow refrigerator for sale at the flea market. Might be destiny.


caylee has lunch

I was concerned when Caylee blew out her flipfop, because while Katie is picking raspberries, I am picking window glass from the yard, and there was the 4-year-old running around shoeless. She helped me scrape dead leaves from the porch and broke for a can of ravioli and a Pepsi for lunch.
   And here is the news from T'ville. Is it becoming a ghost town? What happened to families who lost everything? Where did all the money go?  Here is something getting done. And why do the rich get richer in disaster areas, according to Scientific American?


one week in

 As far as the view from the street goes, much progress has been made. Thanks to carpenter Dave and a window sash from Bill Dugan, the Goose is enclosed. All it lacks to be sewed up tight is the door hardware and some trim going on now. And there's power! Lights! Action!
    Nonetheless, I sat inside yesterday there feeling depressed. Without knowing what's up with the water and septic tank, it's hard to proceed. I can't even clean. Today due to make a plumbing run with Randy Marlow and then maybe we'll see.


the portrait chair

 This chair sits in the best light I have at the Goose. Yesterday a stream of visitors posed for me. Virginia and Randy Marlow are the two people who have made it possible for me to contemplate rebuilding. And today should decide it: If the well and pump are functional I may be in business. And the first thing I will do is repaint the floor. I loved the papaya pink I put down last year. But this is a new era. Swimming pool aqua? What do you think? Vote quick!