mardi 1 septembre 2009

Fear and apprehension in Moosesucks

Spy photography,
trying not to be seen up on the balcony

The alarm clock went off. I turned it off, and waited for the second alarm 7 minutes later. If I am serious about going back to sleep, I change it to a minute before the time and, well, go back to sleep. Today, there was no chance. I was tense.

Tense and nervous. Can't relax. No psycho killers. Just the day before the return to school (and it isn't even my return to school; that would be much easier to bear) and September 1, the day we could expect the workers back.

Audouin rolled over and moved a few centimeters closer, "Tu boudes encore?"

I thought about it. No, fear and apprehension had moved into the place of a nearly week-long pout. Or, perhaps it was fear and apprehension all along. Add to the return to school and of the workers the fact that I have to go shopping for something to wear to a wedding on September 12, and my cup runneth over.

He lay there awhile longer, perhaps waiting for signs of intent to communicate on my part -- it wasn't intentional; I think I qualified as catatonic -- and then he said, "Je vais me lever."

The rain was falling steadily outside the closed metal shutters. Last evening's wind was not for nothing. It came up while I was applying a third coat of the black vegetable-tar stain to the balcony on a perfectly cloudless early evening, following an exquisite day, and then the neighbor came by, then we decided to have a little appératif, and then he went for his wife and the little ones, whereupon we sat out in the garden and drank too much authentic Porto, direct from his family's vineyards in Portugal, while their somewhere around 5 year-old-son played in the fish basin. It isn't due to Baccarat, our black Labrador retriever, this time that the newest water lily bud will never open.

I drifted back into a sleep troubled by strange dreams of people I hardly knew, but who my husband, who was also there, knew perfectly well. I was especially aggravated when I came into the kitchen -- my grandmother's kitchen, for heaven's sake -- and found the table covered with all kinds of things he had brought home after a dinner. Not food. Plastic tumblers, empty bottles and things he said would be "useful". That's all well and good, I thought, he isn't the one who has to find a place to put them away until I have use for enormous clear plastic tumblers. Not in France.

The church bells chimed the hour. 10 am. I don't stay in bed that late. This was serious.

And then I heard it. Voices. A truck. I jumped out of bed and opened the metal shutters. I saw my husband's head bobbing along just along the edge of the balcony planks as he crossed the terrace, went out the gate and got into the Voyager, parked in from of the telecom building next door. Maybe it's just someone for a repair, I hoped. That's when the truck went past the gate, "ENOV" was all I had time to see painted on the side before it slid past the house. That was enough: BATRENOV.

They were here. Back right on time for work to start again in September as promised. Right along with the rain.

Sam called a moment ago. I was expecting the call. He has to ride his scooter nearly an hour from across our department. He left on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for what turned into a 36-hour gathering of friends before school starts, and he didn't have a thing to protect him from the wet and the rain.

"It figures," his turn to pout, "all it does is rain here, from September until May."

That is just a little pessimistic. There are some sunny days.

I guess I have to get busy and get ready to oversee the work. It really wasn't reassuring the day that Georges looked doubtfully at the brick pillar and wall design, then back up at me and said, with an air of newfound hope, "You'll be here to help us, won't you?"

I see the brick on the truck bed, and it looks browner than I recall from the manufacturer's supply facility. It's true that it's called "brown brown" ("brun marron" translated), but it was based on dark reds, and that's what the catalog says, too.


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