30 May 2015

My Fear Is My Concern

Sometimes I frighten myself. From time to time I suspect that most of us do silly things . . . little unwitting mistakes in judgment. But there are times when I actually pause to ponder, consider all the angles, make a conscious decision about something, and later conclude that I’ve made a very poor deliberate choice. Pledge wipes or furniture polish. We don’t need that. Our fully furnished home has all wicker furniture. And how thoughtful of me to also leave behind the stainless steel polish for the new owners of our Texas home. After all, our completely refurbished Texas kitchen boasts all stainless appliances.

I’m an idiot! One of the nicest features of the interior at Mil Colinas, in addition to the stainless kitchen, is the beautiful almond and laurel wood doors and bedroom cabinetry (no, not closets, but semi built-in cabinetry). And then there are the beautiful cedar and almond cabinets in the kitchen and laundry room. And guess what? It’s the end of dry season. Dust is everywhere. It’s like little Pô. Dust-wipe all wood. . . no . . . rather, mop all wooden surfaces with a sopping wet cloth, and then wait 15 minutes for the polish-starved wood to appear dusty again, and wait for dust to reaccumulate. Our interior doors look as though someone blasted them with a dust grenade, or dragged them up the mountain. And bleach. We don't need no stinkin' bleach . . . it might harm the septic system. And I'm the woman who wears nothing but black and white. I've been scrubbing a white linen swimsuit cover-up for 30 minutes.

And the scary part is that I consciously chose to leave the furniture polish at home. We shipped five pallets of goods and toted nine (9) pieces of baggage a half-a-continent from home, but packed nary a little travel size bottle of bleach, stainless polish, or Pledge. Yes, one can purchase furniture polish here, even the name brand Pledge. Yesterday I broke down and spent $8.00 for a can of Pledge. Eight dollars . . . though it came with the gratis can of multi-surface cleaner. So this afternoon’s schedule included wiping all the wooden surfaces (those that I can reach) with my $8.00 can of Pledge. I’d have been in heaven – that instant-results-thing, except that all I accomplished today were oily spots on a white linen shirt. Oh, and I got lost, twice, driving down the mountain to locate the trash drop-off area. I did, however, get to know on a first-name basis Eduardo at the liquor store. Bill stresses the importance of becoming well integrated within the Samara community. With Edwardo, I'd say I'm well on my way. 

Now before you judge me for dusting in white linen, let me explain that it's an old tuxedo shirt of Rusty's . . . it was headed for the donation pile, and I rescued it as a cover-up to prevent sunburn. If you're going to judge me, do it for my foolish decision to toss back two very icy beers on a very hot day after returning from a morning on a very sunny beach with little Jill . . . wisely realizing that I desperately needed to rehydrate. Now alcohol in any form does not equal rehydration. I know this as surely as I know my own name.  Again, stupid yet conscious decision. Jill and mommy napped in the air condition on the big bed for two hours. Now we both feel better.  And, Jill, my name is not mommy, and I'm not here to cater to your every whim. Alright, I am.

Rusty and I love a philodendron. For years we had one in Texas; his name was Phil. We repotted Phil numerous times as he grew. We moved him indoors in the winter, and outdoors into dappled shade each spring. At some point Phil grew too large for even the largest container, forcing us to plant Phil in the ground. He survived one or two Texas winters (mild ones, probably); and then one winter Phil went to that great greenhouse in the sky. We never had another. Now we have dozens  -- I've counted 23 already planted, with more to arrive. Cynthia selected for us, in addition to other wonderful landscaping plants, several philodendrons.

I’m a digger . . . a good one . . . and somewhat of a plant expert. I pride myself in being able to name-that-plant/tree-at-twenty-paces. I’ve taught Rusty to I.D. mango trees, papayas, teak, etc. Why, even Rusty can identify a plumeria from many meters. And here the plumeria grow to the size of large Texas oak trees. It’s going to be delicious to have plumeria. What’s disturbing about this landscaping process in which Cynthia and I have painstakingly selected shrubberies and flowers is that it never dawned on me to select a philodendron, despite the fact that I’d seen several around Bill’s beautiful home. I scare myself. Ha, and I call myself a gardener.

I’m convinced that there is a latitudinal continuity on the planet heretofore undiscovered or at least unacknowledged. If it's sold at 10 degrees north latitude in the Sahel, you can buy it in Samara -- Nido powdered milk being a fine example, and it's actually delicious and perfect if you use milk only for cooking. Truth be known, it makes a great fettuccine Alfredo . . . but I digress. As to the continuity of flora . . . if it will grow at about 10 degrees north latitude in West Africa, it will grow here. Thus many of the bushes and flowers are the same . . . especially in dry season. If it required a local woman to clean it in  Pô, it's going to require a local woman to clean it here. It's been years since I've had a housekeeper, but I believe it's de rigueur here . . . and this should be a tremendous compliment to the local women as generally men are blissfully unaware of how things are actually cleaned (save and except automotive parts, Rusty, my pet).

I can't get my whites Oxydol-white, I can't remove dust from the intricate raised paneled wooden doors, I can't remove the hard water stains from our coffee mugs . . . but what I can do is water my new lawn. Bill, who (to my knowledge) has never been wrong, says that you can actually hear the plants growing in Samara . . . says they'll keep you up at night, which is going to be quite a feat since the Howler monkeys are out in force this evening. I just spent 45 minutes watering our new lawn . . . you envy my glamorous first weekend in Samara, right? It's going to be a long Saturday night. Lo que hay.