Saturday, August 21, 2004

Around 3 am I woke up to the sound of dripping in the bedroom. I knew the roof was, once again, saturated, cracked and leaking. I got out the buckets and then lay down to try to sleep. My sweety-pie was sleeping peacefully away. The lady can sleep through a train wreck. I jump up at the whisper of a mouse. Then I heard our guest, my sister in law, grumbling and thrashing about. She had placed her laptop on the desk directly under the stain on the ceiling. I know I have warned the ladies about this, but they thought my last adventure with the tar bucket had solved the problem. I have no confidence and was proven right. So with several buckets stuffed with towels to soften the sound everybody got back to sleep. The faint drip sound eventually drove me to the living room where I lay down under a throw and tried to get back to sleep. The old cat Oona decided she wanted attention and came up to yell at me and purr loudly. The cat has the loudest purr I ever heard. I grabbed her and in a fit of unjust anger, tossed her out into the rain. She hid under the car in confusion and the rain continued to pour down.

Now I'm up and about, drinking many cups of coffee. I let Oona in and apologized and gave her some wet food... she has no teeth. She happily purred and yelled at me. My neck is stiff, the back is sore, the eyes are red and in a couple of hours we're all going to go to a happy birthday party for a 9 year old, the daughter of good friends who live in town in a house whose roof does not leak, despite it being a hundred years older than ours. I like that house. It has a lot of funny little stairs leading to servants quarters, to the basement, odd little bathrooms with nothing but a toilet inside. It's the kind of house I figured someday I'd live in, except it has no tower. I always figured I'd have a house with a tower. Maybe the second floor of the garage where I keep my clay studio counts as a tower.

From that tower I can see the new beds in the garden I built last week. The second crop of lettuce is sprouting and the snow pea bed is ready to be cleared off and replanted. I added a couple of beds to the garden in happy hopes of growing more dried beans and other foods to augment our meager income. I have a barrel full of dirt and potato plants growing, secure from the chipmunks. It's something I think I got from Mother Earth News. If it works, when I turn the barrel on it's stand the potatoes will pour out and we'll have happy purple tater pancakes. If it doesn't work I'll have proof that chipmunks are even smarter than I thought. If it works I have another barrel I will cut and build a stand for next year. The raised beds have produced a huge crop of green plants, but not as many squash and beans as I expected. I have found out that birdhouse gourds not only love raised beds, but will grow over the top of nearby bean plants, driving them to the ground. If I can make birdhouses out of the gourds maybe I'll make enough money to buy dried beans to make up for my bad planning. Next year the birdhouse gourds grow on the fence, not in a bed. I'll add loofahs, too.

Jon had a stay in the hospital to deal with a urinary tract infection induced by a catheter. Instead of using a diaper and risk his skin breaking down, as it sometimes does, they shove a catheter up his dick. Needless to say the thing is sterile at first, but if the nurse drops it on the floor she uses it anyway. I've seen this. I mentioned the idea of using sterile catheters and she changed the device for a new one, but I know that when I'm not there she uses the dirty one. Jon gets fevers very easily but since the doctors have abandoned helping him emerge from his coma-like state, the nurses follow the cue and just maintain him. they talk to him, in much the same way you talk to a teddy bear or a car with a bum battery, but they don't really talk TO him. They talk at him and around him but not to him. He's inside now, not listening, not paying attention to the catheter being shoved up his dick.

When Jon comes to visit I can feel his hands take control of my hands. My chopping changes style, becomes more effective, more profesional. Jon was a good chef. He starts adding herbs I rarely use and lectures me on the overall look of the meal. Maybe this is a memory of his lectures from before the accident. Maybe I'm just imagining what Jon would be doing if he had used a seat belt back then and was dropping by in person to help me prepare a meal. Maybe his soul is still trapped in that broken form 100 miles away. Then again, maybe all I need to do to get rid of the pain in my back is accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Maybe all I have to do to get rid of the pain in my back is to accept the Lady Bjork as my personal savior. Maybe all I have to do to get rid of the pain in my back is to accept that my back is broken and stop paying attention to the pain. Lots of maybes.

The rain in Spain may fall mainly on the plain, but the rain in upstate New York falls mainly in our bedrooms. In my universe there would be a great geodesic dome over our living space, preventing the rain from dripping into my life. I'd have a few panels of clear glass, a few of stained glass and a few of solar panels for heat. I'd also be living alone, because I'm the only one in the family who likes domes. I'm also the only one who really believes that Jon comes to visit in spirit form and advises me on my cooking habits. I'm kinda used to being the only one who feels certain things. The typical shaman is a solitary person and even in the 21st century in an all white household filled with computers and cd players, the resident shaman is a lonely man. He misses his son, he misses having a roof that doesn't leak, a back that doesn't twitch and jolt with pain, and the feeling that the rest of his life will be all smooth and under control in a house with a lovely productive garden and a great looking tower where he runs off to create his art.

I still run off to the garage studio to create my art. The garden is productive, if only for biomass. My son still comes to visit, although nobody but me talks to him. And if I was smart enough to suspend a spider plant under the leaks I'd have an automatic watering system instead of an annoying household problem. Why didn't Jon mention that last time he was here, why does he always try to tell me how to cook? Oh well, he always liked cooking over gardening, and I guess a leaking roof was never something he had to deal with. I wonder if I could shove a catheter into that stain on the ceiling and redirect the drips to a bag on the wall? It's a thought.

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