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Been a While Since I Rapped At Ya

Whew! It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? The big news, of course, is that after seeing Jillian off to America on Monday morning, I made four Jeep trips back and forth to Chelem and moved into our new house. So far, the living is pretty rough, as I have no appliances, no hot water, no phone, and no internet. Hell, I don’t even have a bed or a window up in the kitchen, which means I get eaten alive by mosquitos as I sleep in my hammock in the living room. There are flashes of struggle and questions, including, “Where is that water coming from,” and, “What’s the deal with all these gnats in the toilet?” Mixed in with that, though, are some truly delicious moments. Here’s the breakdown of how I’ve spent my week so far:

Spent the entire day shuttling our bizarre collection of odds and ends from the house in Progreso to the house in Chelem. My cell phone falls to the ground and explodes. One water cooler, one television, a parasol, and a giant painting of Cervantes later, and the work was done. It only took four trips, which the Jeep handled with aplomb. My parents, exhausted from their day of helping, took the Jeep back to Telchac Puerto, and we agreed they would pick me up at 9:00 in the morning to take me into Progreso to buy a wireless card, so that I can work all week in the new house.

Spent the evening wandering around the property, thinking about new projects and improvements. Did some halfhearted unpacking. Olivia very excited and confused, running up and down the beach and eating rotten fish, which she then spent the rest of the evening vomiting. At day’s end, sat on the front deck with feet dangling over the side, drinking a beer and watching the pelicans crash into the ocean not 10 feet from me.

5:50 AM: A black bird who walks around my deck at sunrise saying “MEK!” wakes me up.
8:40 AM: I discover that walking into town is the closest place to buy a cup of coffee and a pack of smokes.
9:00 AM: My parents have not arrived.
10:53 AM: Maybe they assumed I wouldn’t be up and are waiting until later.
11:14 AM: Wait, did I explain that I wanted them to pick me up?
12:40 PM: They probably drove my Jeep off the road into the mangroves, and I have no way to call them because my cell phone shattered yesterday.
1:14 PM: I’ve gotta get out of here and find some Internet. There’s bound to be an Internet cafe in Chelem.

And so, with great hope in my heart, I strapped my laptop bag on and walked through Chelem, until there were no more buildings. And no cafes, except for a new restaurant called, somewhat unfortunately, “Gringos.” More on that in another entry. By afternoon, the breeze had totally quit, and I was sweltering in the late afternoon Mexico heat, so I powered home and took my first cold shower in my new house. The water pressure was great, and the whole experience was pretty delightful. The most functional bathroom right now is the tiny one in the bedroom, where it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a shower curtain, because the whole room is tiled. I can clean myself and the entire bathroom in one fell swoop.

As I sat and stewed all afternoon, wondering if anyone I loved was still alive (since I had heard from neither Jillian or my parents), it occurred to me that Gringos was the most likely place in town to have Internet access. Hadn’t they said so in their radio commercial?

5:44 PM: Maybe if I turn the radio on, I’ll get lucky and hear that commercial again.
5:54 PM: Just, like a prayer, your voice can take me there, just like, a muse to me, you are a my-ster-y
5:58 PM: What the hell is this box of wires?
6:12 PM: I am lonely.
6:14 PM: Maybe I’ll go to Gringos and have a burger and ask them if they have Internet.

So I walked back into town for the third time that day, this time leaving my laptop at home. I had a perfectly serviceable hamburger (full review coming soon), and learned that, YES, they are the only place in town with a high speed satellite Internet connection. Score! This means that, in addition to finding out what has happened to my whole family, I can have a normal work week. Not to mention lots of eggs and coffee. I plan to return in the morning, armed with my laptop and a desire for breakfast. For now, I am exhausted, have unpacked nothing, and return home to my dog, my pelicans, and my hammock. The pelicans are still crashing, meaning all is still right somewhere.

4:00 AM: I dream that I have a very violent and bloody testicle injury, no one cares, and I am for some reason forced to climb to a hospital, aggravating this injury. It appears I am experiencing some anxiety that I am not addressing.
5:50 AM: MEK! MEK! MEK! The arrival of my black bird friend tells me its morning.
8:00 AM: I strike out down the road, to finally connect to the internet and learn what is happening with everyone I know.

Emails from both my parents and Jillian tell me that:

1. The Jeep had broken down the night before, and my parents had to walk the remaining mile or so back to their house, much to the utter joy of my mother.
2. Jillian had arrived safely, and was readjusting to life in the States.

This was a relief…at least I knew what was going on and could plan accordingly. I fired off a few emails to people, ate some eggs, and tried to get home to work offline before the heat set in. Shortly after arriving back home, my parents arrived. The fuel pump had gone on my car, which they had gotten fixed for about 300 pesos. It is now running like a champion again. I ran around and did errands with them all day, which put me in a rather cranky mood, so I dropped them off at home and went back to my house.

With my Jeep parked in the driveway, and a much increased sense of mobility, I settled in comfortably. The night ended the way every night has so far this week: Sipping beer, looking at the ocean, and watching the dog eat stinky things she finds on the beach.

It was a rocky start, but moving into a new place always is, no matter its level of readiness or completion. I am both disappointed and thrilled that Jillian is not there to experience it with me. While I miss her mightily, and we have already sworn never to do this again, roughing it by myself is a lot easier. When she returns at the end of July, everything ill be ready, there will be paint on the walls, and maybe even a place to sit down. Next week, I will have all of the utilities set up, and things will start to return to normal. In the meantime, if you don’t hear from me, don’t worry…I’m probably eating beans, drinking beer, and staring at the contrast between a vast ocean that belongs to no one, and a house that is, for the first time, all mine.

There Are 8 Responses So Far. »

  1. It’s definitely good to hear you written voice again. I’m looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks–have heard from Jill, but probably won’t get to see her until next week. Keep up the good work.

  2. We read that it’s been a year since you rescued Millie. You are still a hero to kitties everywhere.

  3. Hi Malc, it sounds divine!! Soooo happy for you guys, enjoy these early days and can’t wait to see you both in October!!

  4. more photos please! including some current ones of Olivia, oh and of our parents.

  5. Hello Malcolm, hero to kittens everywhere. I’m curious, what ever happend to Dr. Jean Grey and her 2 kittens?

  6. Wanted to let you know that you are still one my my heroes too for what you did for Millie. Probably seems long ago and far away to you now that you have an exciting life in Mexico… but we remember you!

  7. Just wanted to let you know that you and Jillian are about the most entertaining people I’ve ever…read about?

    (Found you through Millie’s blog…big surprise, right?)

  8. [...] rebuilt almost entirely from scratch. And while the inside became more and more comfortable (making my first nights here a distant memory), the outside still left a lot to be desired. We had a huge piece of land that we [...]

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