01 Aug

The beaches of Quito

Today was more like Eileen’s Official Day Back in the US. Yesterday was very non-threatening cuz we were around family and friends the whole time. But today, we dove right into America.

First, some background.

I remember my oldest sister, the one with two kids, once telling me that she had taken her kids to the doctor after a series of bad winter colds in succession. She asked him why they had been so sick, and his answer was, “chaos.” He was supposedly a proponent of chaos theory and told her that some years are just bad. You’ll go several years without many bad sicknesses, and then boom!

I don’t know much about chaos theory, but our house seems to be undergoing something similar. The roofing has been postponed a few times (I think it will start tomorrow, but I’m not entirely sure), but that’s still looming over our heads (ha!). And my computer has been having problems that might be the result of a bad electrical outlet. There’s also the backyard, which was the guilty party in the basement flooding our tenants had to deal with this past winter, and when we returned to Madison from Mequon yesterday morning, we discovered another problem which will need immediate attention and money thrown at it: our refrigerator has died.

I was worried that it might be another sign that the electricity in our house was on the fritz (fritz?). So I may also call in an electrician to check things over, and we all know those guys aren’t cheap.

Today, Eileen and I went to three stores to begin the house-healing process. First, CompUSA. We were gonna look for something called an “uninterruptible power supply” to plug our computer into. We found it, but it remained unclear whether it would actually regulate the power output or not, so we passed. I was looking to Eileen for her thoughts on whether or not we should get it and I caught her staring up at the flourescent lights, looking a little frightened. “I know exactly how you feel,” I told her, and we left without buying the thing.

The next stop, unfortunately, was Menard’s for some more roofing supplies. Luckily I knew exactly where to go, but the process of checking out was further reminder that we’re back the the USA. Eileen opted to come in with me only because the alternative would have been waiting in the car in a shade-less parking lot on a 92-degree day.

The third and final shop was Kennedy-Hahn, where we felt like a couple of new homeowners as we were shopping for a new fridge. We decided we’d forego the service guys who would charge $70 minimally, and more for work exceeding 30 minutes. Apparently, a recharge costs about $200 – $250. And of course there was always the distinct possibility, since the fridge is probably from the 80s, that they would have just pronounced it DOA. So since a new fridge is about $400-500, we went that route.

It comes on Thursday.

I’m suddenly reminded of a song by Garth Brooks of all people, a song I haven’t heard in several years, called “The Beaches of Cheyenne.” It tells this story of a woman who lost her true love to a rodeo accident and then went crazy and walked out into the ocean. Now, her spirit walks on the beach. In the first verse, there’s a line, “The workers come on monday/ To fix the door and patch the wall.”

Here we are, back in the states. The workers come this week, to fix the roof, and bring the fridge. And our spirits are not yet wholly here. They’re back in Quito, riding the busses, walking the streets, staring at themselves in the windows of SECAP, looking at Cotopaxi from the roof of an apartment while they’re hanging clothes out to dry.

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