Friday, June 12, 2015

The Road Out

Caretaker’s Log, Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I sleep fitfully. I have dreams about painting sixteen story buildings with Peter Warren and Zion. I hear Laura down the kitchen just before seven o'clock. I get up. Make coffee. Quickly post a blog. The staining crew may arrive any moment and I’ll need to be set to host once they're here.

I pour myself a cup of granola just as the first truck comes down the road. It's minutes before nine o'clock. Through the window I can see Laura helping the guys get arranged in cabins. After I eat my breakfast I go out too.

Arnie says that some of the guys didn't eat breakfast on the way and could I throw something together? For a moment I'm at a loss. Then I remember the two loaves of banana bread I made yesterday. The ham Arnie brought in on his last trip in. Laura says to tell them, "Too bad." And adds for my benefit, "They should have thought ahead." True, but I'm over my panic and I’ve reminded myself to be gracious. I set out the food. The seven guys come in and eat the quickly put together breakfast.

Then they get to work. I clean up the dishes. Between breakfast time and lunch, I pack up the rest of my winter gear. I'll leave it here, tucked away, for if I come back next year. I answer some emails. Take a walk up to Industrial Park looking for the cat. I don't see her. I walk until the mosquitoes get bad.

Then I start lunch. I set out sandwich stuff, fix up soup with added rice, and throw together a quick batch of cookies.

Arnie says the guys eat a lot. I'm prepared. For this meal.

By the time they finish eating and I've cleaned up the lunch dishes it's 2 PM. Two and a half hours from lunch preparation to lunch cleanup.

With a little time on my hands, I start to edit my book. Write a new first line. Then rewrite it.

I go for another walk and take some pictures of the work being done. Of the flowers.

The cat is still nowhere to be seen.

I work some more on the book. Arnie comes in and takes a nap on the couch. I could use a nap.

It's four o'clock and then five. I eat tuna for dinner.

I start dinner a little before six o'clock. At seven o'clock, I record the weather. 0.07 inches of precipitation. Dinner is served. The casserole is a hit with toasted bread, tortillas, and salad. These guys say "thank you" and "this is good" and "que rico" more than once. After it's all said and done, I start to clean up, but then one of the guys steps in to wash the dishes and convinces a second guy to help. They're fast. I tell the first one he's like a machine, a professional. They do a good job. It would have taken me twice as long. I think them both. "It's okay," Humberto says.

I go out and call for the cat. I see her running down the road toward the barn, toward me. We go into the barn and she eats, fast. "Take a breather, chew," I tell her. Then we do a quick walk around. We sit on the porch and she growls at the Mexicans when they bring a soccer ball out to play in the early evening light. She growls and nearly runs off when Arnie comes outside. Then she settles back in my lap. "In case I don't get the chance to say goodbye," I tell her, "maybe I’ll see you again next winter."

I walk with her back to the barn and call it a night.

I take a bath, wash my hair. Drink the last of the wine that I have. That must mean it is time to leave this place.

Caretaker’s Log, Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I wake up panicked that I've overslept. But it's only 6:30 AM. I get up and go start coffee, scramble up 27 eggs, and set some sausages to cook. Porgy calls to check in. I set the table, make juice, and put out water. Kathy calls. She’s planning to come in today. Breakfast is served at 8:20. Then the cleanup. I have a lot to do today. Michaela calls from Mexico and we chat for little bit.

I get about a half hour of down time. Check that the bulk charge is running. I’ll have to run a manual one later today since the voltage is too low right now.

I make scrambled eggs for my own breakfast. There weren’t enough leftovers from the big breakfast for me to finish off.

Then, amazingly enough, it's time to start lunch. I brown some meat and make a taco filling thing. Set the table. Grate cheese. Fix up a salad.

One of the guys comes in and says, "It smells good." Then he catches himself and says in Spanish, "Huele sabrosa." After the lunch cleanup, I clean the front room. Sweep and mop. Loring calls to say he's back in town and available to troubleshoot problems if needed. I go out and tell Laura about Kathy’s plans and Loring’s availability.

I sweep the stairs. Sweeping and mopping gets interrupted by some of the guys leaving, making fresh coffee for another, taking out the trash, burning the burnable trash, and bringing out the recycling bags for Arnie to take to the recycling center.

Arnie and the last other worker are set to leave. But Arnie's car battery is dead. Laura jumpstarts it and all the guys are gone.

I run a manual bulk charge, finish sweeping and mopping, wash up the last dishes. I call my grandmother. Make tuna for dinner.

It has rained on and off all day. Kathy calls to say she and her daughter will stay the night in Pinedale. She says maybe I can meet her there in the morning and then drive on to Cody afterwards. Suddenly, my departure is imminent. It's been so static with flexibility that I'm not even sure I know how to leave.

Laura comes in and eats leftovers for dinner.

Arnie calls to say the roads are bad, muddy and messy.

I go out and call for the cat before I turn off the generator. I come around the lodge, head toward the root cellar, and she's on the porch wondering where I am. We go to the barn and she eats a quick bite. Then we go to the root cellar. I get some apples to take on my road trip tomorrow. The cat and I collect the precipitation bucket. 0.43 inches of rain. Maybe the most I've measured. Then we sit on the chairs which Arnie and one of his guys put back on the porch. We sit there until it starts to rain. I go with the cat to the barn. She likes to eat with me there. I start to feel just a tiny bit sad. But I have too much to do for that. I bid her good night. She follows me back to the porch. "Good night, Kitty," I say.

I make snacks for my road trip. Make sure I have all my things together. Tidy up. Put things away. Try to update Laura on any anomalies.

I bid her goodnight and go upstairs to really pack. I plan to leave at nine o'clock in the morning, weather permitting. It's raining with purpose and I wonder if I'll get out.

It has been so nice being the one who stays, all this time, all winter, I haven't had to worry about roads and weather until now.

I sit on my bed and two mice rush out from behind a wall, squealing and chasing each other. They run around my bags and then disappear back into the place from where they came. So many mice.

It's still raining. I hear the drops against the skylights.

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, June 11, 2015

I'm up early. I make coffee and collect all my kitchen things. I eat my granola between trips upstairs to bring things down and a trip up to Industrial Park to drive the suburban closer to the lodge.

I call the cat. She's not around. I go in and bring out a load of bags and there she is. She walks to and from the suburban with me.

I get all my things and the things of Karen's that I'm taking with me packed up with minutes to spare before nine o'clock.

 I call Kathy and tell her I'm on the way to Pinedale. She and I are meeting there for coffee.

It'll take me at least an hour and a half to get to Pinedale. Here's to hoping the roads aren't too muddy. If this weather is any indication, bright sun, fluffy clouds, the sky a gentle longing, it’ll be a perfect day for drive.

I get in the suburban and call out a chau to the cat and an adios to the ranch.

Laura follows me up the road in the ranch truck to make sure no trees have fallen during yesterday's rain and to make sure I don't get stuck in the mud right off the bat. I've got the suburban in four-wheel drive and a confident air that everything will be just fine.

Three miles up, when the trees have cleared, we bid each other goodbye and good summer and drive off in opposite directions.

I head down the long and muddy road to Pinedale. My caretaking time is over.

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