Saturday, October 24, 2009

fa so la ti do

Hey don't be shocked by I am gainfully employed again, though under the table about it. Looks like I might be able to keep my promise to myself after all: not filing taxes for one entire year! Ssssshhhh. A friend of a friend needs help in her home with cooking and cleaning, and so I am helping her.

(disclaimer! notice to the IRS! I haven't earned enough cash to file taxes, under the table or not!)

Yesterday at the workplace I wondered, Does anyone really live here? I wrote a friend: maybe it's a movie set, and someone is fanatical, has a weird fetish, keep this for fun. There were barely any hairs in the sink, the tub was strangely devoid of scummy stuff. The fake white-painted wood blinds (there were so many, there could have been so many more, I count my blessings): barely any dust. But I didn't cheat: I cleaned every damned one of those slats in the blinds. I have a weird conscience (once when I was in high school and just learning to drive I accidentally sideswiped the car in the next parking slot over, as I was backing out - hey. I was driving my mom's big-ass station wagon. But I didn't leave a number, I just looked around to make sure no one saw what I did, and conscience is fickle). So, the blinds, and maybe being a bit older now....couldn't be sneaky about not cleaning what seemed clean to me already.

Anyway, today both kids and the husband were home. The kitchen was a total wreck, in less than 24 hours! No surprise. T (name shortened to protect the innocent) had already warned me that her kids are 'enabled' and I asked to clarify: "You mean, you enable them by doing things for them?" and she said yes, and that her mother has a lot of ideas how she should raise her kids (they should do their own dishes, laundry, etc....well, it doesn't seem like such a bad idea really...the kids are 17 and 12...). Come to think of it though..I don't remember having to do many chores as a kid and I turned out all right, and I prefer my environment to be neat and tidy. Last night after seeing how clean their bathtub was I felt inspired to scrub down my own shower stall.

I made a good vegan meal for their dinner, with lots of veggies, coconut milk, and.....pant pant pant...cilantro.

Cilantro is one of those six-senses orgasmic experiences for me. Oh my god. I want to roll around in it. I promised myself as the summer wound down, with all the accompanying yummy fresh food smells, that I would buy myself a bunch of cilantro every week or so. Maybe just keep it as a bouquet, aromatherapy. (yes I said six senses by the way, my...aura....if you will, my 23 gram soul, responds to it in a very spiritually visceral way)

I asked how to run the dishwasher, explaining to T that I don't have one at home (even when I did, I used it for a big fancy drying rack instead of washing dishes). She then asked if I had a garbage disposal after I looked for the switch to turn the thing on (no I don't have one, it all goes into the compost bin out back). "I remember living like that." She said it without rancor or judgement, but I wanted to laugh. I forget that people become used to certain 'luxuries'.

"Do you have a TV?" This was as she hauled out a Swifter for me to use, to dust the floor and gather dirt.

I hesitated..."Yeah, but it's not hooked up. I watch movies on it." My television, purchased for ten dollars used, is small enough to fit neatly into the small wardrobe. A very small upright dresser. So I can close the doors and not see it when it's not in use. She continued, "well if you watch TV then you might have seen one of these Swifters." I said, "I have seen them, on the internet, as an aid to guerilla art." Unfazed, she said, "Well we don't make guerilla art with this."

But you can. I saw a pictorial demonstration! You can use it as a way to lengthen you reach, by altering the Swifter just a little bit, it will hold a sticker, so you can slap 'em up really high. People are so ingenious.

So I Swifted, and I felt very bourgeois.

Later in the garden, we put the beds to sleep. Pulled some weeds, composted the old tomatoes, and I raked and hauled leaves to mulch with (the best black gold ever - if people realized how great leaves are for compost and soil-making, I don't think there would be any fear of food scarcity...and people who sold mulch for a living might be out of business).

How did we come round to talking about how expensive it is, living? Oh, she would like to go off-grid, since utilities and living expenses are astronomical, and "it's impossible to live on not much money." I wanted to laugh again - ok I know that's not a laughing matter but I think she meant, "without certain luxuries" (they have two cars, two kids, big flat screen tv, hot tub, big yard, etc etc). She corrected herself and said, "well it's possible, if you live simply".

It's always easier to want more. Bigger. Better. You know. Before my brother died, I talked of trying to save money, and I'm pretty good at saving money. He asked me what I could live without, what did I spend all my money on? After I was laid off from work the following year and decided to go on unemployment, I learned how to live pretty comfortably on several hundred dollars less. The two combining events helped shape how I live today: without a car, and a lot of other extras...although I do have a kick-ass computer (when it doesn't go belly up, as it is trying to do again), and an internet connection. Completely unnecessary, but as my friend Clark would say, I don't have cable, I choose Internet :) After learning how to conserve and downsize, and not even feel lacking, I could conceive of working part-time...that lead to the job at the library, where I lived quite comfortably working only 24 hours a week. And, saving enough money to take a year off (what I am doing now).

(shit! I hope I don't sound preachy! ooh ick)

Even though I lived without a computer for awhile...for example...if I didn't have mine now, I would feel really deprived :)

So. It is all relative. And personal.

Autumn is upon us, and it is gorgeous. The flaming maple tree outside of T's house, where I raked, is flipping erotic. The colors here aren't as hectic or dramatic on the whole as New England, but the trees are definitely showing off. Smells good too. And there has been rain, with days of sun and warmth. I like these autumns, when we are easing into winter gently. My home is warm and dry...very cosy, and I am thrilled about this. The sunshine this evening was brilliant through the windows, all golden. I missed the golden opportunity, but I did manage some pretty nice photos of the inside of my little apartment to share, since that's been a habit of mine...documenting and all.

After the photography session, I received some emails from my new friend in Sao Paulo, who complied with my shameless request for Portuguese swear words. Much as I love saying the F word, it's nice to round out the vocabulary a bit. Thanks Caio, I am still laughing really a lot.

On with the show!

Standing by the art tables, on the south side, looking north at the wall of kitchen

Standing at the front door, west side, looking into the kitchen/studio and down the short hallway into the bedroom/salon 

The salon by day, bedroom by night

Now we've returned to the front door, looking south (right) this time, towards the studio with the kitchen wall on my left (same room, it's a two-room wonder I live in, and I mean that sincerely...just enough space for me, easy to keep warm, and easy to clean!)

Yes now we are looking back at the front door, with autumn's splendid glory outside, along with the clothesline (on the very left through the window, just visible)

Here is the cow I promised Caio. S/he sees you wherever you go, very kindly and full of the mirth

And now, I must memorize one more foul word in Portuguese, and call this a very wonderful, complete...kick ass day!!


Caio Fernandes said...

lovely lovey home !!!
you make this a piece of cosing art .
i would love to see how the mapel trees are now . and feel the smel .
i think you are doing right with your life .
but i am not good for to give advises about this .
so when you swift you feel very bourgeois !!! hahahahh!!! beautiful !!!

see you !!!

V.K. said...

Thank you Caio - I will bring my camera with me when I go out today and if I see another flaming maple I will photograph it. I am trying to do right...once in awhile I am a bourgeois though :) ha haha nice to see you this morning.