Thursday, 17 January 2008

Death Comes for the Weasel


Today is death and life and forgiveness. First, death.

While out in the wilds of the Promised Land this morning, the dogs flushed out a Least Weasel. They did a perfect double-team job on the little guy, and killed him dead.

Paddy hadn´t seen a Least Weasel before, and until the last moment assumed the dogs were hunting a rat. The three of them (the dogs and Paddy, sans weasel) came back to The Peaceable all tired out and rather solemn. Paddy said it´s a good thing I didn´t go along. (I was cleaning up the chicken house and coddling the hens, if not the eggs.)

Somehow, having the dogs kill a rat is okay, but a small, fierce, seldom-seen, ferret-like creature? No. We both felt pretty bad about it. We were lucky enough in the past to keep Sid Vicious and Cootie, two fine pet ferrets, so we have lots of respect for them and their near kin.

Even as we discussed these things, Paddy was cleaning and chopping up several fat fresh chipirones -- squids -- for our lunch. How is killing a Least Weasel any different from killing chipirones? I was saying. And just then he sliced one longwise, and inside he found... a little fish. How positively Lao Tsu!

We are talking more about profundities these days, perhaps because we are reading Camino documents. Paddy´s going through the latest John Brierly guide to the Camino de Santiago,lots of pilgrims are recommending it. There are lots of great maps and pictures, but Paddy says it gets a bit ´poncy´ with statements like "El Bierzo: taste of the fruit of its vineyards, bask in the effulgent rays of its sun..." that sort of tourist-office dreck that kept food on my table for a while, and which Patrick greets with a Bronx cheer. But he reads on, until tempted away by the decidedly non-ponce but deeply profound Brothers Karamazov.

I have managed to get, online from the University of Toronto, a copy of a 1919 art history treatise on the Camino, written by a North American professor who was full of wonderful opinions and observations. It´s in English, but with passages in French and Spanish and Latin. Lucky me, now that I´m reading Spanish all the time I can pretty much make out the other two! Yay! I´ll post links when I figure out how.

And so to Forgiveness. Jose Antonio Castro, our building jefe, gave us an estimate of how much work the Bozos did for us, so we can have a Euro figure to pursue them with legally. All that demolition, then the steel, concrete, masonry, and heavy labor? A house this size? Eighty, he said. Eighty thousand Euro!

So, if Castro is right, (and if we clearly understood what he told us) the Bozos did a good 14,000 Euros´ worth MORE work than we ever paid them for! They vanished because they´d way oversold what they could do, and they were losing money every day they showed up and worked... and we´d stopped paying them until they "caught up!"

So. We need to get this in writing first, then call off the attorney. And me, personally, I need to consider the magnitude and enormity of my presumption, overreaction, and rage. I assumed the Bozos lied, cheated, ripped us off, and walked away laughing at our stupidity, and I was ready to hunt down that weasel Mario to get back what I though I was owed. I was wrong, wrong, and wrong.

The actual work they did was pretty good, we are told. We still have a good case for the consumer advocacy process, seeing as they did lie like rugs, break their contract, trash our place, damage our barn roof, and create some lasting harm thereby. So we´ll let that process roll... if it is indeed rolling. (Spanish bureaucracy moves at glacial speed.)

I am very glad, really, to let this one go. Being that peeved takes an awful lot of energy. We must accept that this house is simply costing a whole lot more time and money than we ever guessed... and hopefully we have enough of both to not worry too much, now that progress is continuing apace. We are a mere year behind the schedule we so blithely set for ourselves!

And now I have to forgive myself for behaving so foolishly, mistaking a rat for a weasel.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reb,
Yes please, post a link or the name of the author. Here is another interesting book: "Roads to Santiago" by Cees Nooteboom, a Dutch writer. It´s not exactly about the Camino de Santiago but about Spain and the author himself. The book is not totally accurate but it's interesting.

Cheers
Tino

Rebrites@yahoo.com said...

here´s the link: http://www.archive. org/details/ wayofsaintjames0 1kinguoft >

Yes, I know ol´Cees. You need a couple of finos before you take him on!

Elizabeth said...

Mommy! I'm so glad you can now move on to being less angry (that's a vague way to put it, no?). I've been thinking of you guys a lot lately. I've got the winter-time blues. In other news, I have an interview on Tuesday, so that's hopeful! I love you.
-Lib

Amawalker said...

How sad for the weasel! I have a photograph of a weasel, taken at Tosantos, on my Blog.
The post is "Of slugs and sundials - weasels and weathervanes" dated November 20th.
He was a cute little creature and very curious about us.