Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

PUCHEROS (POUTING) IN THE HUERTA

PUCHEROS (POUTING) IN THE HUERTA
My closest translation to the word pout in Spanish is puchero—which either means pout or pot, I’m unclear. But two out of three references I found in the little Spanish/English dictionary say that puchero means pout. I believe I’m pucheros in the huerta. My hormones are raging and I have no chocolate or cigarettes. Becky’s been mean to me all week long. I don’t even think she realizes how much I do around here. I sweep all the time, and clean the bathroom, and vacuum and clean the kitchen. I have slacked off a little bit on unloading and loading the dishwasher, and I have fallen off the strict watering schedule, but not because I don’t want to do them I just get busy and forget. The other day she asked if I would water and I said “sure” and did it. Not to mention the fact that I vacuumed the whole house, did the laundry and swept three floors of patio. The top one is exposed and had a lot of spots of bird poop, and none of the top two floors had been swept for months.

We had a little misunderstanding about “office day,” today. I thought we were going down the road to hang out with an amigo who has an empty room overlooking the ocean, which she offered up for me to use as a writing space. Going to the office certainly merited getting a little dressed up; okay, at least a shower and fresh clothes. So I was up early and got my walk done so I could get home and shower and go to the “office.” Apparently today’s event wasn’t really an office day, or rather I wasn’t really invited. I know I could have tagged along and everyone would have been okay with it, but I gracefully bowed out and told Becky I would just stay home and write. I sucked up my disappointment and assured her I was fine with it, and yes, I would stick around and wait for the Ponchos to come do the gardening. She needed to speak with them urgently, and through some misunderstanding she wasn’t sure what time they were coming.
“No problem,” I said. “Do I have time to run up to the tienda before you leave?” meaning literally run, or jog.
“Si seester,” she said sweetly.
I grabbed my tunes, my stick and my pesos and headed for la tienda. There was a breeze blowing and its not very hot yet, so it was a pleasant jog, but I was hot and dripping with sweat when I arrived at the locked gates to the tienda. There are black iron gates that swing closed in front of the entry when the store is closed, and for whatever reason, the store was closed. Dammit! Dammit again! Not only was I being ditched, but I was going to have to sit home alone and work without even having any cigarettes. I hadn’t had one for about 12 hours, and while I was shoving my hurt feelings down so Becky wouldn’t see my disappointment, I smoked every available butt in the ashtray. I only briefly considered diving for butts in the trash outside, but last time I looked in there there were maggots in the trash, so that thought was only fleeting.

I jogged home quickly, sweat running down my back, glorious in my indignation. Oh woe is me! I had worked myself up to the point of tears by the time I got home and sent Becky on her way. I went online and checked out flights back to Salt Lake. She would be so sad when I was gone. Then who will sweep her floors? And there was that really big wolf spider I killed, and the roach. She’s really gonna miss me. In fact, if I leave three weeks early I can get back in time to drive to San Francisco with Jessica and all of her belongings. Oh that will be wonderful. A great roadtrip with my daughter, surely she’ll be thrilled to spend a week on the road with her mother! I’m emailing her right now with the details, I just priced and mapped everything out. Oh yes, Becky will surely miss me when i’m gone…

It’s been three hours and no sign of the Panchos, the ice cream man or the cigarette fairy. I texted Becky and asked if I could leave for 15 minutes to yet again jog to the tienda. I was granted a reprieve, so I grabbed my stick and pesos and headed out. I ran past six Mexican men along the road, the first was a group of four and then a group of two. I figured the universal sign of stick and earplugs would get me by them with a simple “hola,” but as I got closer to them I tried to look mad, like the kind of mad I would be if I was a local gringo who just got in a fight with her husband or boyfriend and just looking to kick the ass of any man she could find. It must have worked, because I think they looked a little afraid as I passed them scowling and swinging my stick. The tienda was open this time, there was no chocolate today, but I scored cigarettes and a friendly exchange with the old Mexican man who owns the store. I think he sensed that I needed chocolate, because when he saw me looking for the bon-bons (which are truly indescribably yummy) he seemed to sympathize with me. He said something I didn’t understand and I smiled and shrugged, he giggled and said something else. When I paid the bill he told me the total in english, and smiled and giggled again.

I returned home eager to check my email and get Jess’ joyous response to my great offer. While I was walking I had grand visions of camping our way across California. It would be glorious! Who needs Becky anyway? I can go have fun a lot of other places where I’m appreciated. Ha!

I got a heartfelt response from Jess saying that although she would love to take a trip and spend time with me, she had already turned down several offers from friends to make the drive with her, and was really looking forward to the 12 hour drive to enjoy some quality bonding time with herself as she begins yet another big life journey. Ooohph! Of course I knew she was right, but my hormones got the best of me and I retreated to the shower and cried and tried to scrub away the weight of the world that is always put upon my shoulders. Blast them all anyway!

The Ponchos finally arrived and I texted Becky to let her know they were here. She came home to speak with them. Meanwhile, in my silent protest, I took my computer and coffee upstairs to the middle patio and set up office. I planned to just stay out of her way and be quiet. I might even stay up there all night, or at least well into the evening, just to show her.
“Tabba? Are you up here?” I heard her little voice from the bottom of the steps.
“Yes.” Ha. That was a scathing “yes” if I’ve ever given one. She climbed the stairs and I saw her cute little freckles and her green eyes pop up over the railing as she came up the stairs.
“Ah, I see you’re writing. Bueno. Good for you seester,” she was smiling.
“Yeah, it’s a pretty decent setup,” I replied, looking glaringly out over the ocean, which is visible from the middle and top patios. She made a little small talk and I responded with a little small talk, then she leaned back in her white plastic patio chair and exhaled satisfyingly.
“I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you were so cool when I talked to you about the chores and stuff the other day. I’m used to every thing I say or question turning into this huge thing, or a fight, or a battle. I realize that’s the conditioning I have from spending five years in a relationship with a narcissist, and thank you for reminding me that not everyone is that way. I love you so much,” she got up and gave me a big long hug. I tried to resist but she just kept hugging and hugging, until I finally melted and hugged her back.“ I love having you here, seester, I wish you could stay until October.”
As I devoured the bon-bons she had brought me I began to feel just a little bit foolish for my childish thoughts earlier in the day. Yes, it would be great to stay with my sister for a while longer.

ECLIPSE IN THE HUERTA
I’m sitting on top of the top deck of the house, looking at a near lunar eclipse. The moon is still low in the sky, hanging over the ocean. I’ve been watching it for about half an hour, and it began as a pretty good sized sliver of moon, now its just tiny line, glowing orange, barely outlining the bottom half of the moon. I don’t think it’s a complete eclipse tonight, I think that was a few days ago. The sliver of moon is oddly out of place in the night sky. Surrounded by round, bright, twinkling stars of white in the sky, the moon’s presence appears to be a red hot poker that reaches up to them. It’s nearly gone, it may be a full eclipse.

We have the binoculars and I can see how people can get hooked on stargazing. There’s what I think might be a supernova directly over the ocean, and its rays alone light up the night sky. Looking at it through the binoculars is incredible. There are a couple of other, smaller stars, that are twinkling blue and red, and now the moon’s completely gone. It’s a full eclipse. The night sky swallowed the moon completely, leaving only twinkling stars in the sky. A surreal ending to what began as a rotten day.

SIN AGUA IN THE HUERTA
While I was busy wallowing in self pity, the unthinkable has happened in the huerta. We can live without a lot of things here, no fast food joints, no newspapers, no Ding Dongs. But today the well ran dry. As in the actual well, or whatever body of water that serves this area is. It started with the gurgling and spitting of water while Becky was trying to shower. It escalated to the toilet gurgling and spitting so much it sounded like it was going to explode. So we’re on water rations, which adds yet another complicated layer to the societal intimacy that comes with throwing your toilet paper in the trash. Now I can’t even flush the toilet. Luckily I was home waiting for the Poncho’s all day, so I was alone with my misery. When I could stand it no longer and I knew Becky was on her way home I used a small bucket to get water from the swimming pool to make sure there’s water in the bathroom tank. The water is all run by a pump, and the risk of burning out the pump is high. Becky went out and looked in the water tank and said it was nearly dry. There are spotty reports of others in the huerta having problems with water, but no official word on whether or not its at the source or whether the problem is on the property.

We awoke this morning to a dry well, apparently its going to be dry for another couple of days. Nothing really bothers anyone down here, and when I briefly panicked at the thought of no water for two days, Becky gave me the same response she always does when I asked her what we were going to do; “we wait.” I used a bucket of water from the swimming pool to flush the toilet, and apparently I’m going to be boiling water to use to wash the dishes. This kind of thing happens regularly down here I suppose, so I’m going to look at it as “dry camping,” which is the term my parents use when they’re traveling in the RV and camp someplace that doesn’t have water and utility hook ups. We’ll use the bottled drinking water for everything, which means we’ll have to go to town today and refill the three empty jugs we have.

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July 15, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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