Wednesday, March 16, 2011
It’s ten past eight, and I’ve just crawled under the covers. Today has been a long one, luckily I start the day off driving Caleigh a couple kilometers to the school bus stop, and it gives me a chance to talk with her while we wait the ten minutes for the bus. She is doing well; she was moved up one level in her French class, which fills me with so much pride. Her school day is long and arduous, it’s a world of non-stop French speaking classes, and even her English class is in French. Then I return home after stopping at the Boulangerie for an “ancienne” style baguette. Today I continued on the kitchen ceiling, installing some more old wood beams perpendicular to the existing structural wood beams, to give it a more rustic appearance. After a few of those I decided to go outside and test out the new Huskavana chainsaw, there are a few unruly trees that need guidance. It is really rewarding, so I decide to attack the front driveway where it is overgrown and the type of task that you put off because of how intimidating it seems. This is the area where all the tractors attachments were parked when we bought the place, of course when we arrived to take possession, all the farming implements were gone. Luckily in their place was a collection…of crap. There were disorganized piles of cinder block, none useful, and a ton of termite infested logs, and rusty wire, etc. After about three hours of sorting and piling like pieces of junk in piles, I was able to start raking all the leaves that the Germans in WW2 had trod upon. It was starting to look pretty promising,…until I looked up, the tree that starts our driveway had some Jurassic aged vines engulfing the trunk, I kid you not. Someone had cut it at the ground level but had neglected to remove it from the tree trunk. So I went to the old outhouse on our front yard that now serves as the garden shed and retrieved our pole handled tree trimmer and returned to the strangled tree. After an hour of prying off the atrophied petrified vine, the tree and I took a break. Cindy had returned a short while earlier from going to pick up Caleigh from her one short day, and it gave me a chance to load up our other recent purchase, a new trailer, we had to buy one of course because all three that we bought with the place were gone, but luckily the crap that had been piled into the trailers when we bought the place was left for us. First I piled all the trimmed tree branches into the trailer and drove it to our back brush pile and deposited into the soon to be torched collection of multi-aged branches that were also left for us scattered about gods fifty acres. Then I returned for the trailer load of salvaged wood that would be suitable to be firewood for us next year and drove them to our wood barn. The last trailer full was of 800 pounds of leaves, topped off with all the cinder block pieces, and my trusty pitch fork. Cindy had been helping gather up logs from and adjacent field, which had housed 8 generations of termites, so that wood went to the brush pile, or the termite Viking funeral mount, whichever you like. Off I go to the dump, about 5 miles away, the trailer being fully loaded down with our collection of Sanford and Sons landscaping decorations made their way to the dump. I arrive and already know the routine and set about disgorging the two separate materials into their appointed containers, I watch as some novice arrives and is given the detailed instructions as to how to use the container setup. I smile the way you do at the wide eyed freshmen on the first day of high school, except I will admit that this rookie at least understood the instructions, the same ones that I faltered with. As I’m getting ready to leave I tell the attendant the name of my town” Saint Jean De Duras”, he nods he remembers me and I smile and hand him the Coke a cola I was going to drink on the way home, “Un Americain Champagne” he laughs as he takes it and say thanks and I make my way home. At my jobsite back in L.A. I used to give the Porta-potty cleaning guy a soda each trip he made, as he was a treated like a social leper, but if you thought about it he was the guy one most wanted to see on a regular basis, and he always had a smile and said thanks. It was a little thing but I was glad I had given it the thought initially, and then kept it up. I got home and raked up the remaining overspill of leaves and tidied up the area, and it looked great. I went inside and got a couple glasses of water and told Cindy to come out and check it out, we walk out there, and I’m not making this up the guy who speaks the oddest dialect of French has parked his car smack in the middle of my newly raked Pebble beach putting green. Luckily he sees me as Cindy disappears back into the cottony warmth of our house, so I head over to talk to him for forty minutes about what I still don’t know, either I’m expecting a litter of kittens, Beelzebub is fronting for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, or he’s offering to mow the grass near the house. I look on bewilderedly as he continues to admit to liking whipped cream of mushroom, Stalin was a misunderstood debutant, albeit a great accordion player, or he has to take his tractor to another pasture. I look at him nod as thought what he’s saying has made my day brighter and nod goodbye. Walking inside Cindy looks at me and my expression explains the pain I cannot describe, I really like the guy, I have French friends that have talked to him and also don’t understand much of what he says, but I really have to repeat that I truly like and most importantly trust this man. Cindy cracks up as I sit down for the first time in what feels like three days, she has prepared the most delicious dinner, and we visit with Caleigh for twenty minutes. It was a hysterical dinner with Caleigh relaying the romantic goings on at her school; mostly the naïve courting mishaps of kids here age. Cindy and I stay at the table in our combo kitchen, dining room, and living room and talk about what’s on tomorrow’s slate. We each have a glass of red wine from Bordeaux, which I love because it comes in a wooden six pack. Then she stays up a few minutes more checking e-mail and I lumber off to bed thinking what respect I have for farmers on all continents, waking at dawn, quitting at dusk, eating and shortly checking up with their families, going to bed to continue the cycle the next day. I can’t wait for my litter of kittens? I will post pictures tomorrow of before and after.