Monday, May 25, 2015

I've Got My Happy Face On

Caretaker’s Log, Friday, May 22, 2015

Gerry is already cooking when I get to the kitchen. I start the coffee. Between the two of us we fixed up homestyle potatoes, sausage, and scrambled eggs. He sets it up buffet style on the table in the dining room. Arnie, Bill, Aaron, and Sandy come and serve their plates. I eat potatoes and scrambled eggs. Arnie does the dishes.

Shortly after breakfast, Arnie, Bill, and Sandy leave.

I hang up sheets and plastic in the kitchen. Aaron is going to finish the sandblasting and buffing and I want to limit the cleanup damage as much as possible.

Gerry goes out to finish digging the trenches for the new propane lines.

I catch up on some things online until it's time to go and try to make the kitchen clean again. I post a blog. I think it's an easy day. Until later.

Lunch is leftover soup and quesadillas, apples and avocado.

The Hydro seems to be working properly today—there isn’t too great a pull on the power with fewer people using power tools. I don't have to run a generator bulk charge.

Aaron starts to sandblast the front of the house. Gerry tears up an old bridge with the backhoe. I sit on a fence post and watch.

I go back inside. The phone rings. It's Porgy calling for Gerry. I go out to give the message. Gerry is geared up to go fishing. He invites me to come along for a walk. At the river, he catches a cutthroat trout. He keeps it long enough for me to take some pictures and then he releases it. It starts to rain little ice pellets. I go back to the lodge. Aaron should be done and I can start to clean the kitchen so that I can make food again in there.

I start cleaning. I'm very thorough. I don't want glass-sand in the food. I don't want it in the house.

JoAnn calls. It's the perfect time. I actually have a moment to chat.

I'm making good headway with the cleaning and just starting to get dinner going when Gerry comes back. Sometimes too much help is no help at all. I was hoping to use up some leftovers. I haven't had a chance to make up new things with the kitchen being out of commission and so much time being spent prepping and cleaning. And since it's only three of us I think I can get away with it. Gerry asks what’s for dinner but doesn't seem to like my answer. He makes other suggestions like spaghetti. I'm going to make tuna for myself and consider sharing with him. When he sees what I'm making he says, "What's that, cat food?" Okay then. I didn't want to share anyway. 

Gerry is also concerned about lunch for the cleaning crew tomorrow. I think he has a crush on one of the ladies and wants to impress her. But the way that he says it, "We need to do something special for lunch tomorrow," makes me feel as if lunch has been subpar for the past two weeks. I had planned to make tomato soup, quesadillas or cheese toast, and a salad. But Gerry doesn't seem to like that menu plan.

He calls Porgy back. Porgy asks if I need anything. I haven't had a chance to do an inventory. I think hastily to try to remember what there is out in the root cellar and in the freezer. What we might need. I can't think of anything. They end the conversation and Gerry begins to ask if we have bread and deli meat and other things. "You better call Porgy back," I say, "and tell him to bring all that stuff." Gerry does. And apparently Porgy says, "Loring brought all these groceries out how could she have used them up already?"

Porgy wants to talk to me. The conversation leaves me angry and frustrated. After I hang up, I try to vent it out, to defuse the feelings. I'm fragile with lack of sleep. It's been a rough week and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Haven't I cooked three meals every day for the last nine days with little to no warning as to how many people will be at the table? Without a blink. Without a complaint. I hate feeling not good enough. I thought I had been doing a good job.

"Don't let Porgy get to you," Gerry says. "Don't let me get to you either."

But the tears have already started. I cry. I try to hold it in so that Gerry doesn't see. I step out of the room and attempt to put my happy face on. When I come back the tears are still in my eyes. Gerry sees them this time. He comes around and puts an arm over my shoulder. Comforting always makes things worse. "Don't worry. Relax. Go get a glass of wine," he says. As if that will fix everything. I go get a glass of wine, but I don't drink it. I only had a light lunch and I know the wine will go straight to my head. I'm angry. Feeling underappreciated. Needing to be alone. Just at that moment, the phone rings. It's Phinehas. "Hey, sis," he says. His voice is cheerful and I want nothing more than to talk to him. But my voice must carry all the emotion I'm feeling because he says, "You sound busy."

"I'm so busy right now," I say, and my voice cracks.

"Well, get back to it," he says and we hang up. I wish I could talk to him. To get all this frustration off my chest, but Gerry is in the room and I know I'll cry.

It doesn't take too long for Gerry and me to get back to a calm place. By the time Aaron comes in for dinner I'm clear faced and seemingly okay. But I'm thinking that maybe I'm not able to do this. Maybe I bit off more than I can chew.

After dinner, I go out to see how the cat is doing. It's chilly and I'm tired. I don't stay out there nearly long enough for her liking.

Aaron goes to bed. Gerry and I clean up the dishes. Then he and his dog Cody go to bed. I finish the cleanup and shut things down for the night.

Upstairs, I check my email and sort through some things. Then I have my cry. I haven't cried like this since I got a rejection for one of my books that hit me too hard, too personal. I didn't even cry this hard when I was frustrated about the Hydro being broken.

I'm just too tired.

Like a baby, I cry myself to sleep.

Caretaker’s Log,  Saturday, May 23, 2015

I'm up about seven o'clock on my own. I get downstairs and make coffee. I put together omelet fixings for Aaron and me. Gerry has said he'll have oatmeal and make it himself. He does, but I have to watch the pot, stir the oatmeal, and add more water. I feel like he should just let me do my thing. I also hate how petty I feel. I wish I were unshakable, unflappable, easy-going enough to handle anything. Gerry eats before Aaron and I do. I don't know if he's upset or just hungry. I'm still a little angry and wish I could just open my hands and blow the feelings into the open air. Let them dissipate.

I call and leave messages on both Ben and Marie's phones. It's my niece Shea's birthday. She's turning four today. Ben calls back at a perfect time. I get to talk to Shea, goof off with her little bit, and wish her a happy birthday.

I clean up the dishes. Make a salad for lunch. A buddy of mine, Stan, calls to give me a review-critique on my book. His comments are spot on and helpful. All good points. Nothing too hard to fix. We talk for about thirty minutes. While he and I are still talking, Porgy and the cleaning crew arrive. It's about 10:30 in the morning. I go ahead and finish my conversation. This feedback is very important to me. I can be a host after I hang up.

After I hang up, I go introduce myself to Kathy the boss cleaner. Her crew is already hard at work, vacuuming what they are now calling the Great Room and I've called the den, cleaning out the bathroom and the little front room, scouring the piano room. I am so thrilled they are here. I had a bit of fear that I would be asked to clean the entire lodge. I knew it would take me two weeks to do what they do in five hours.

Porgy, Gerry, and I put the system on generator direct. Porgy walks off and Gerry takes me aside. "I told Porgy that we need to be considerate," he tells me with his hand on my arm. It's an apology. Close enough.

I clean things around the cleaners, take out the trash, watch the work being done, sweep, burn trash, reset the breaker over and over again, fix lunch and serve it with a little bit of help from Gerry and Porgy.

Gerry leaves shortly after lunch. Porgy leaves about four o'clock.

The cleaners are done at 4:55 PM. They pack up and drive away. One of them has left a yellow coat. I grab it and run out after them, whistling and waving, but nobody sees. I'll send it out next week with the crew that comes in then.

I go in and walk through all the rooms. I have a great sense of relief that the inside of the lodge is now more or less dust free. I’m happy that the most major part of the work is done. I start putting the kitchen back together. It's beginning to look like the lodge again and not some disaster zone.

I call my grandmother and talk for a while since I have the time.

Aaron still has buffing to do.

Porgy calls to tell me there are a lot of cars out on the road and that it would be a good idea for me to run up to the gate and lock it. Or to have Aaron do it. I’m in the middle of a lot of things and don't want to spare the time to try and drive up the road. Aaron says he will. But the mud is too thick, too slick. All three vehicles are stuck. The gate will just have to stay unlocked and hopefully no unwanted guests will come down.

I get the front room and the piano room back to normal. The kitchen is nearly set. I wash the drain towel and hang it to dry over the fire. Once that happens I'll be able to wash and put away all the dishes.

I record the weather. Take fresh food out to the cat. Then I join Aaron in the sauna. I stay in there for about an hour. The heat is nice. Aaron and I chitchat. On my way back to the lodge, I take a pile of wood with me and talk to the cat.

Before I make up some dinner I get in a quick rinse off in the bath and then go set out leftovers.

I eat salad. Aaron gets brisket and barbecue sauce, salad, soup, potato chips, and cookies.

I leave all the dishes for tomorrow.

I take a glass of wine and go upstairs. Check my email. Watch a show. Chill out. Tomorrow will be easy with just Aaron here. I've got to get a plan in place for next week. Crews will come in again on Tuesday. Up to eight guys. I've got to get my act together.

Caretaker’s Log, Sunday, May 24, 2015

I wake up at 6:30, glance at my clock, then settle in deeper under the covers happy that I can sleep a little bit longer. I get up an hour later.

I scramble up some eggs, fry some bacon for Aaron, and set out bread, jelly, and butter. Aaron comes into the lodge around eight o'clock. After breakfast, I put the dish drain back together and get started on the mountain of dishes. Order is being restored.

Aaron gets his van unstuck from the mud and pulls the compressor out with the backhoe. He was beginning to worry he wouldn't be able to leave with the continuing rain making the roads a muddy mess. But now he's set to go once the work done. We are both relieved about this.

At around 11 o'clock he starts buffing. He still has several hours of work and then the cleanup.

I dust and wipe off the things someone set on the front porch and left there. I put them back in the little entry room where they belong.

The bulk charge runs the way it should.

I even have time today to work a crossword.

I go back out and sweep away the sawdust and glass from off the porches. Try to see what I can do to move things along.

Then I come inside and have some time to look at the pictures my sister-in-law sent by email of yesterday's birthday party for my niece. It was Alice in Wonderland themed and my niece was dressed as Alice, my sister-in-law as the Red Queen, my brother as the Mad Hatter, and my eight month old nephew as the March Hare.

It's Sunday so I water the plants.

I put away the dry dishes. I fix lunch just after one o'clock. Aaron takes an hour rest and then gets back to work. He’s hoping to be finished by six o'clock.

I finish up the dishes.

I get some more down time.

At four o'clock, I start two casseroles going. Boil chicken, grate cheese, open cans, etc.

Aaron leaves at 5:15 PM. He still has a lot to do and will come back next week with another guy to finish the buffing. We all need a day off.

I call my grandmother and report that I will get a day to myself after all. She’s very happy for me.

As I'm cutting up the cooked chicken, I call Phinehas and leave a message on his voicemail.

I finish up the casseroles and wash yet more dishes. The casseroles go in the freezer.

I eat salmon and rice for dinner. Then I record the weather. I write down the kilowatt hours. I bring in some wood and hear the phone ring as I come in. I reach for the receiver, but it was the last ring.

I go outside and spend some quality time with the cat.

Then I head back in. I'm ready to take it easy. The phone rings again. It's my brother Noah. We have a good conversation. He wants me to look at a piece of art he's working on and give advice on a troublesome section.

The pipe that has been leaking all winter long into the catching bucket is now dripping from the ceiling portion of the pipe. I can't tell if it's just condensation or something more major. One of the guys coming out on Tuesday is supposed to fix it. I call Porgy to let him know there are additional problems so that the guy can be sure to bring the right parts.

With the evening set as regards chores and responsibilities, I go take a bath and wash my hair thoroughly. I don't think I've done that for a week.

I feel good now. Calm. Relaxed.

I look at the picture Noah sent and sketch out some hopefully helpful suggestions for him to use.

I bring up the last bag of barbecue PopChips and a glass of wine and sit in bed and watch a show. It's vacation time.

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