Saturday, June 6, 2015

One Last Perfect Day

Caretaker’s Log, Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I get up. Porgy is making coffee. Henry is drinking a cup of what must be day-old coffee. I don't mind doing that myself, but Porgy does. Tim is out working. I get breakfast going. Steel cut oats, fruit with syrup, bacon. Then it's ready. Henry leaves to go get Tim. Porgy and I wait. We wait some more. The other guys don't come and don't come. Porgy and I eat without them.

There's a skittish moose in the northeast willows. Henry gets some pictures of it on his phone. By the time I get my camera out the moose has vanished into the tall red branches.

Henry tears out the old unused furnace that's in the corner of the room where the refrigerator is. Tim helps. After that, they finally eat a cold breakfast.

Tim and Henry leave at 10:20 AM.

Porgy enlists my help to go around and measure the distances between the new pipe Ts and various points around the yard and the buildings. We do this for about an hour with me calling out measurements and Porgy writing them down.

After we’ve finished with that, Porgy does some digging and a few outside things then he works to cover up the hole and the now open vents the furnace’s removal has left in the floor.

I can see he'll be here at least a few more hours. While he's here, to be my backup, I go out and do the battery equalize charge. While it's running, I clean off the porch. Bag up some trash. Set out sandwich stuff for Porgy's lunch and eat the leftover noodles from last night’s dinner for mine.

Suddenly, it's 2:30. I clean up the dishes. Porgy finishes the furnace job. The EQ is done. Porgy leaves about 4:00 PM. I may get as much as 24 hours of time to myself. I'll take it.

I send an update email to Karen and Kathy. I have a glass of wine as I write up and post a blog. When I’ve finished that, I go out and call down the cat. We spend some time together.

I eat tuna for dinner. Cleaning the dishes for one is easy.

The evening is mine and mine alone.

The cat is curled up and happy in her makeshift bed on the table in the screened in porch. I glance out affectionately at her and see her far off gaze. I look out to see what she sees and see three deer grazing near the wood pile just on the other side of the fence. They move fast, nervously, and soon enough vanish among the willows.

The cat disappears. Maybe into the roof.

I enjoy every moment of my evening alone. I drink some wine. Watch some shows. See the sun go down behind Sportsman's Ridge.

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, June 4, 2015

I get up sometime in the seven o'clock hour. I take a bath and wash my hair.

The sun is already gloriously out. I start some coffee. Say hi to the cat. Take her fresh water and fill up her food dish.

The phone rings at 8:30 AM. It's Laura. She asks if I need her to bring anything in. During our conversation when she finds out I'm the only one here today she offers to come tomorrow. To give me a full day alone. She knows how nice that can be.

"You’re great!" I say with heartfelt gratitude. She laughs. "That's funny," she says, as if greatness can't be found in kindness. I let her know she's welcome anytime. "See you tomorrow," she says. I almost cry with happiness.

I take a cup of coffee and a crossword and join the cat at the chairs. After I finish the crossword the cat and I walk around the lodge. She joyfully rolls in all the new dirt piles.

Back at the chairs, I sunbathe. The swans, with their delightfully funny trumpeting, settle down somewhere on a northeastern lake. My skin is probably as white as the swans’ feathers.

I enjoy the sunshine, stick my bare feet in the grass. A ground squirrel comes right up to me and tries to nibble on my big toes, first one and then the other. "Hey," I say, before it can chomp down on either. It runs off. Crazy ground squirrels.

I have a three egg omelet with mushrooms and cheese for breakfast.

After the bulk charge is finished, I gear up and go for a hike. It's a perfect day. I've decided to go up the west red faced cliffs and see if I can get far enough up and around to see the Wind River Range. I climb to the top of the first red bluff and looked down into the meadow. Two moose are grazing. I'm happy to see them.

I go on upward. The path leads through the trees and at some point I encounter a deer on the trail. We stare at each other and then it bounds away.

I find where the trail opens up to the road. Then I turn around and go back and upward and even farther along.

I see a squirrel.

I've been going for nearly three hours. I know I'm close to the top but the forest seems unending and the path eternally climbing. Along the way, as I ascend, I encounter patches of snow. I'm probably as high as 10,000 feet. I sit on a rock and eat a Lara bar and drink some water. I listen to the soft sounds of the forest. The birds, the creaking trees, the soft sigh of the wind.

After my break, I head back down. It's much faster than going up. I take the way out that leads to the road and then cut across and down.

It begins to rain as I clear the last curve. There's the lodge. All in all, it was a four hour perfect excursion.

I take a second bath for the day. Wash my hair again.

I eat my leftovers from breakfast for a snack.

I call my grandmother to tell her that her wish for me to have another perfect day had come true.

Then I serve myself up a shot of rum with a splash of lemon.

Through the window I see the cat sprawled in her makeshift bed on the porch giving herself a bath.

A pair of geese flies by.

Per my grandmother's suggestion, I take the time to sit and read. I choose to read one of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe stories. It’s like visiting with old friends. Archie Goodwin is my pal. I haven’t read anything since the workers began to arrive over three weeks ago.

The cat comes with me to record the weather. Then she settles back in her bed.

I eat tuna for dinner.

I watch a couple shows. Then I go up to bed.

What a delightful day.

Caretaker’s Log, Friday, June 5, 2015

I’ve slept well. I don't have to rush to get up, but I'm up and downstairs before eight o'clock.

I go out first thing to say hi to the cat.

There's a moose in the northeast willows.

I have some coffee. Start a fire. There's a chill in the room. It's an overcast morning.

I eat an omelet for breakfast. Use the last of the mushrooms.

There's a mouse in the living room. "What are you doing out in the middle of the day?" I ask it.

I take my second cup of coffee outside. The cat and I make sure the bulk charge is running. She rolls in the dirt. We sit on the chairs. There's an eagle in a tree. There are deer on the dam road.

About 10:15, I hear a truck rumbling down the road. The cat darts away and sits watching from the grass behind me. Growls. "Sorry," I tell her. "Our idyllic life is over for now."

Porgy and Gerry are here again. As they get out of the truck and walk near, the cat vanishes up into the roof.

A few minutes later, Laura arrives.

The guys get right to work. They're planning to leave this afternoon. Arnie and his crew are also supposed to come in today to stain the lodge.

While Gerry, Porgy, and Laura are up at the spot where they fixed the Tame Hydro leak backfilling the hole, I putter around.

A mouse drinks from the cat's water dish. I wonder if it’s the same one I saw in the living room.

About 12:30 I set out sandwich stuff for lunch. The three come in and eat. Then they get back to it. I wash the dishes. There are other little chores I could be doing, but I'm not feeling it.

Clouds move over bringing some thunder as accompaniment.

I bring in a load of wood. Light a fire. Relocate a bumblebee that somehow got upstairs. Relocate four flies that have been buzzing against the living room windows all day long. Like me, they just want freedom. I read for a little bit. Nearly take a nap.

I call my grandmother.

Just before 7:00, I call the cat down from the roof and she and I do a walk around. She starts at the distant sound of voices, at the groan of machinery, but she comes with me.

JoAnn calls as I’m putting a casserole in the oven. Porgy and Gerry are staying for dinner, staying for the night. Arnie never showed up. He’s set to come tomorrow. I boil some corn on the cob, put out salad, roast a pile of vegetables, and set the table.

Laura, Porgy, and Gerry are in the sauna. I’m not in the mood to be around people. I have too big a need for a longer solitary recharge. Also, I think I wore myself out on yesterday’s hike. And, I’m a bit uncomfortable around Gerry. I wish I better knew how to respond or react to unwanted attention earlier, even before it happens. But I always miss the signs and then end up feeling affronted and in some strange way betrayed. Right or wrong, my post-event reaction is to distance myself emotionally and physically until I feel a proper boundary has been reestablished. There has to be a better way to deal. Maybe one day I’ll learn it.

I’ve only got five or six more days here.

After dinner, I wash up the dishes. The night has sped away. The three leave the lodge just before 10:00. I’m beat. I take a glass of wine and go upstairs. There are two flies in the loft going crazy around the light. They fly too fast, too frantically for me to catch and relocate them. I finish my wine and turn out the lights. I go to sleep and I guess the flies do too.

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