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Sunday, October 23, 2016


With no 'ding, ding, ding', from the cooker, nor 'whiz, whiz, whiz' from the beaters, the silence in my kitchen was almost deafening. My oven fan did not whirl, my mixer paddles did not spin and my counter tops remained untouched.  I thought I heard a communal sigh of relief, from all my appliances, as I closed the door on Monday morning, going to work, without having spent a considerable time concocting something in the kitchen. 

I had spent most of the morning, before going to work, putting dust covers over my beds, and removing pictures from the walls, as I was expecting a team of roofers to arrive, bright and early, to renew my ailing, and leaking house covering.  As sunrise was shortly after seven, and the temperatures were expected to reach well into the nineties, I had vague expectations that work would commence earlier rather than later, but as I left my house just before eight, there was no sign of the crew who had insisted that my 'driveway' be 'empty' at the crack of dawn.  

Arriving home at lunchtime, I drove into the complex, and spotted a few men loitering on the grassy patch next to my neighbour's steps that lead to their front door.  I noticed that a large truck was parked under my living room window, and assumed that the work must have started.  As I walked into my sun room, I saw that the inside of my condo was dark, due to a tarpaulin that had been thrown from the roof, to no doubt protect the glass beneath. Obviously, the workmen had intended to make a start of the job at some time during the day.  

As I walked down the stairs to go for my daily swim, I saw that the loitering men were now enjoying a midday 'siesta', and all were now sprawled over the grass, as if they were playing a game of 'dead lions'.  Our maintenance man, Raul, was sitting in his cave, which is the basement of our unit.  He was not happy.  Although Raul speaks beautiful English, his accent is still, after twenty nine years of residing in the USA, very strong, and the Mexican twang sometimes makes it difficult for me to understand what he is saying, as does my English twang, make it hard for him to understand me.  Our conversations are normally twice as long as they could be, due to each one of us having to repeat our sentences at least twice. However, we are very patient with each other, and I may, one day, have time to take up his offer of teaching me conversational Spanish! Eventually, I gleaned that the workmen had arrived later than expected, and were not particularly interested in letting my neighbours know that there may be some noise coming from above.  I thanked him for his diligence, and went down to the pool, where I swam for a solid twenty five minutes, before returning to find a very dissatisfied Raul attempting to wake the lions from their slumber.  

When I returned home on Monday evening, the tarp had been removed, and the truck that was parked beneath my living room window was full of gravel and timber, presumably the old materials that had not been preventing rain from entering my home.  I went upstairs, and removed the dust covers from my bed.  As I did so, an almighty thud was heard from above, and then the drilling began. The noise permeated throughout the house and I wondered if my neighbours were home!  'Bang, bang, bang' went the hammers! 'Brr, brr, brr' went the drills.  The sun had set and as the electric cord, that I had noticed at lunchtime, had been removed, I wondered if they were able to actually see what they were doing.

Dana called to say he was leaving the office around a quarter to eight, and asked if I wanted him to pick me up, and take me out to eat, or if I would like to meet him somewhere.  "Meet me in St. Louis!" I thought, as I felt like singing a new version to 'The Trolley Song'.  As dinner was the last thing on my mind, and I sat waiting for a foot to appear through my bedroom ceiling, as 'stomp, stomp, stomp', went the boots, I said that perhaps he should come home, and then we could decide.

We chose to eat La Madeleine, one of our favourite breakfast stomping grounds.  It was deliciously quiet, as is probably the norm for Monday night, and we enjoyed the faint 'strum, strum, strum', of the violin, as classical music flowed through the restaurant.  As we were finishing our meal, one of the waitresses who is usually around on Sunday morning, came to greet us.  She said that it was good to see us again, and please, would we have some dessert, on her!  She boxed up two very scrumptious pastries, and we left thanking her profusely.

Upon our return home, the noise had ceased, and the truck had gone.  We hoped the workmen had secured the roof, in case the rain that had been promised, actually materialised.  

I left the house on Tuesday morning, having once again given the kitchen a wide berth, as I had tackled the ever growing dumping ground that was Samantha's room.  Everything and anything that does not have a home seems to end up in that room, as if it is lured! Dana had piled some empty boxes behind the ironing board, and the more I had tried to gain some sort of order, the more discarded items appeared.  For someone who does not 'hoard', he seemed to be breaking all his own rules.

The weather was hot enough to swim again on Tuesday, and I caught a disgruntled Raul sitting in the basement.  Siesta time had started sometime earlier.  I am not sure of the collective name for a group of sleeping workmen, but if I ever find it, I am sure I shall use it constantly!  "They tell me they need to secure the roof last night.  This is why they work late", he said, in his beautiful heavy accent.  I stood and mourned with him, firstly for his sorrow, and secondly for me, wondering if I would ever be able to speak his language as well as he spoke mine. I am sure that if ever I do get around to learning properly, rather than gleaning a few words, here and there, that we still will repeat everything twice, as my accent will not be to his understanding! However, I digress.  The workmen, with whom he could communicate perfectly, apparently to their distress, told him that they had to work late in order to make sure that we would not get wet should there have been any rain.  They saw no need to warn the neighbours of impending noise, as they had not bothered to let us know that they would be thumping around in the dark!  I assured Raul that we were thankful that the work was being done, and also thanked him for keeping an watchful eye on our property, during the restoration!  

My kitchen felt as if it held it's breath on Wednesday morning. Tuesday evening's dinner had been simple, and only involved the stove top, but I had some puff pastry sitting in the fridge that had not been made into sausage rolls, nor vol-au-vents for Samantha's party, and it was going to be put to good use.  Beef Wellington was on the menu for that evening, as we were expecting a friend to join us for dinner.  I whipped up a few individual blackberry cheesecakes, and found that I had a little bit of pastry left to make a few more sausage rolls, which I cooked and took to Joe and Gail, with whom I enjoyed coffee before going to work.

It was our neighbour's monthly soiree on Thursday, and the croquembouche, was more of a croquemess!  However, I splodged some cream rosettes around and it passed with flying colours!

I was delighted when Friday came around.  We had the dog for the day, as Samantha and Edward headed to San Antonio , with their visitors.  We did not leave the office until quite late, but my desk, and hers, were quite clear. 

The trip downtown on Saturday to the 'Fan-fest' was something that I had not expected.  'Ring, ring, ring', went my phone, as I vacuumed the stairs, and failed to hear.  'Ping, ping, ping', went the warning, which alerted me to the text message that told me that I had failed to hear my phone 'ring, ring, ring'.  "Do you want to come with us.  We shall pick you up at about quarter to twelve!"  It was a fait accompli!  I 'sped, sped, sped' up the highway, to the Container Store, where I intended to buy a couple of waterproof containers for my large bags of rice and flour that I was going to purchase in Costco, as my supplies had diminished rapidly with all the entertaining I had been doing! 'Clang, clang, clang', went the trolley, as I ran around the store.  I 'spent, spent, spent', on the groceries, in Sprouts, as everything was on offer, and I thought of wonderful meals I could cook with all the succulent ingredients.

Fan-fest was fun, although quite small.  We all came away with t-shirts, cups, sun glasses and other bits of 'stuff'.  We had a 'virtual reality' experience, in a booth set up by 'Facebook', and finally ended up in 'Voodoo Donuts', in their 'pop up' shop, and bought a variety box to take home.  

I swam on Sunday, despite the water being brisk.  As the year goes on, I treat every day in the pool as a bonus.  We still have a couple of weeks before the clocks 'fall' back, so I hope to be able to take advantage.  With my new roof, I am not going to dread rain coming my way.  The wonderful Raul completed a 'water test', so there will be no more 'drip, drip, drip' on the carpet!

Slightly later than usual, I am going to enjoy the rest of my Sunday, and the company of my husband!  I am no sure what is on the menu tonight, but it will not involve a trip to the kitchen!  Samantha and her visitors saw a British win at the Grand Prix and I will no doubt hear all the highlights over the next week.  In the meantime, I shall be trying my 'best, best, best' to come up with ..... another story!

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