03 Aug

to be or . . .

We’re struggling with the whole idea behind this blog now that we’re back. We think we’d like to keep it going, but it brings up all sorts of questions of the techno-geek-existential variety. Such as: Do we really have anything to say? Are our circumstances special enough to warrant updates on our lives? What happens when your own sister rolls her eyes at your overly sentimental, cheesey entries?

We’re now living in a world made less remarkable to our seven readers by the fact that they also live in that world (more or less). Our experiences in the coming year will not be exotic or alien to anyone. Today is an example. We kinda just floundered around all morning, and then finally wrote a to-do list that included such items as, “hook up printer,” “get new shoes,” and “call Marcos.”

As we were mid-flounder, a colleague of mine came over with the agenda of trying to convince me that going back to school wouldn’t be that bad. We had a little debate about it, and I’m pretty sure I won. It will, in fact, be “that” bad. And yes, I’m sure I’ll adjust and all that, but right now, I’m still in the stage of not wanting to adjust. Adjusting, in fact, is one of the things I’m dreading.

In other news, two roofing estimators came over and told me the roof would cost over $5000.

You know, there are a few things (though I admit very few things), where, when they break, you actually get kind of excited. “Oh, our computer isn’t working? I guess that means we’ll need to get a new G5. Darn.”

But a new roof and new fridge just aren’t exciting purchases. Neither is a box of coil nails, a dumpster rental, kitty litter, an allen wrench, or a six dollar sandwich — all of which we’ve bought recently.

02 Aug

Noises in the night.

On Monday night, Eileen and I went to bed early. We were thinking we’d get up early on Tuesday to go down to the new boathouse and that way be assured a coach would be there. So at about 9:00, Eileen was out, but naturally, I couldn’t fall asleep.

I got up, wrote a blog entry, pirated some software, and then went back to bed around 10:30. Just as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard the cats running around, playing with some squeaky toy. I had a sudden realization, however, that they don’t own a squeaky toy, and that it was probably a mouse. So I got out of bed, stood in the doorway in the dark, and struggled with the decision about how to best walk barefoot into the mouse play-zone.

Once I got out there and turned on some lights, I saw Pablo proudly holding the mouse in his mouth. He strutted into the piano room, set it down, and growled at it. When it moved, he batted it across the room, under a little table/stand. I had to grab a stick to help the cats get the mouse out of there; then I caught it in a tuperware container, walked it three blocks away, and dropped it in a dumpster.

When I got home, I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t brushed my teeth. So I pasted up the toothbrush and went to work, then wandered into the living room and tried to get the clock to stop making noise. It has this defect wherein the pendulum hits the side of the clock every time it swings, so you hear a constant tick, tick, tick. I attempted to move the clock just a hair so that the pendulum would stop hitting the side, but every time, the tick, tick, tick returned until finally, I got the clock centered perfectly, and the pendulum started hitting both sides!

I finished my tooth-brushing job and went into the kitchen to turn off the light when I heard the refrigerator kick on (see yesterday’s post)!

I finally got back into bed around 11:15, but I couldn’t sleep because of the loud tick-tocking of the defective clock.

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.