There have been so many people in and out of our house for so long that I am beginning to wonder if it´s safe to leave Paddy alone with them. (He is fed-up with pilgrims, and mutters vague threats anytime there´s a knock at the door.)
It is October. It´s time for all good pilgrims to GO HOME. Instead, for some unknown reason, they are coming here. Every night for at least a week, at sundown. In twos and threes, exhausted and broke and hungry, often brought here by well-meaning neighbors. We are nice to them, show them to the salon, let them cook their dinners if they want to, so long as they clean up after.
Tonight it´s a Swiss and a German and a big tall Spaniard. They´re in there now, chattering companionably and periodically yowling along to the guitar. One of them is wearing extremely strong cologne, or maybe he´s spilled some. I hope to God it isn´t soaking into the mattress or the rug. It´s making my nose run, two rooms away...
Usually the pilgrim wave would have abated by now and left us with a few days of peace, but not this time. Maybe it´s because the pilgrim hostels are closing now for the season, and more pilgrims are on the road later in the day, looking for cheap lodgings. Maybe it´s the "occupancy effect," the fact that we have a full house already: Brian in one spare bedroom, and Annie (an invited guest) in another, attracts more people just through sheer mass.
It´s getting hard, having strangers in here. It´s true, pilgrims are pretty much the reason we came to live here. Still, we´re going to have to start turning people away, just for the sake of our own sanity.
I am questioning my sanity these days. It´s not just the weirdness I wrote about previously. I am having great bursts of Organization and Tidiness, completely foreign to my usual menu of Sloven and Chaos. I want to get writing on the book, but instead I am dragging the dining room furniture into the patio and scrubbing the floors, or I am leading a work gang of amateur masons on a concrete-mixing and hauling expedition to the heights above our bodega chimney. I´m working hard and losing weight and not eating or sleeping very much.
I told Annie, our wise visitor, I think maybe it´s to do with My Time Of Life. But she stepped in with something wise and wonderful:
"Remember when you were pregnant, and you couldn´t wait for the baby to come, but labor wouldn´t start?" she said. "You started putting everything away, and cleaning the house, and making everything perfect, so you could concentrate on the labor once it started, and the baby, once he arrived, would be your focus. You were nesting, getting ready."
"So you´re going to write this book, and it´s not ready to happen yet, but it´s about to," she said today. "And you´re doing the same nesting thing now. When the writing starts, you won´t have to think about the dust in the corners or the state of the woodpile. You can relax into it. You can´t rush it. But you can get the place ready for it."
(And you can make sure there aren´t tons of extra people hanging around the place when "It" arrives, eh?)
And so, presuming my head is aswim with the next great best-selling "life abroad" volume, I made a list of all the great Nesting Achievements we chalked-up in the past month, with help from many hands. They are legion. I am proud. Among them are:
Major "spring cleans" of the living room, kitchens, bathrooms, and potting shed.
Re-roofed the Hermitage/dispensa.
Got the garage and woodpiles in order, got the chainsaw working and got a fine new sawhorse made;
Got the dogs and cat flea-treated and wormed, and got Blodwyn back on her feet;
Dodged a bullet in Torremolinos (we turned out not to be the last resort after all!)
The Kangoo-mobile got its vastly overpriced 50,000 km. "checkup";
Hauled 16 tons of concrete up the bodega (this project is still in progress!)
Harvested grapes with the neighbors, and lots of other veg from our own little garden;
Got all the outside walls painted;
Did our share of church-sitting duty;
Hiked the Camino San Salvador;
Made three new friends;
Got a tetanus shot;
Watched a Pittsburgh Steelers game WAY late at night;
Spent a day at a donkey farm;
Danced in the moonlight on the Equinox;
Canceled my private health insurance and overpriced car insurance;
Planted heather and lavender in the patio, and tore out the spiky cactuses (yow!);
Found the missing Leonard Cohen CD, and my lost address book;
Got my mobile phone working again;
Hosted pilgrims, pilgrims, pilgrims from Canada, England, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Colombia, and the US of A.
The car still needs new tires on the back. We still gotta finish that bodega, and get it stocked with this year´s wine. And sometime in between I still need to blog... like now. It is 2:16 a.m., and I am out in the summer kitchen where it is quiet and cologne-free and the computer works. (something is very wrong with the wifi unit.)
So, Book Muse? When you decide to show, we´ll be swept and stocked and ready for a nice friendly stay. Just be sure to shut the gate tight behind you when you come inside. And never mind that muttering man on the sofa.