Saturday, September 13, 2014
Dear Friends and Relations;
Greetings from Arizona. I hope all is well with your lives. Mine continues to be interesting.
I must say, the past week or so has been more than a little stressful. I have had to negotiate a few compromises with the Powers that Be, and I have had to adapt to a few lifestyle changes I am not at all comfortable with.
Late summer/Early autumn in the mountains of Arizona is quite lovely. Days are warm; nights cool enough to require a blanket and/or a dog. The grasses are all going various shades of gold and brown. The evergreens taking on a more somber wintery color. We’ve had mad storms due to the hurricane winds combining with the monsoons. No flooding around here that I know of. Just thunder loud enough to wake the dead, followed closely by intense rains.
School is going well. I have some really awesome students. We have submitted a query re: taking a field trip to Spain in the spring of 2016. It has to go through a number of bureaucracies before we get an answer. In the meantime, we continue to discuss what we need to do in preparation.
One of the things I need to do is actually pass the teaching exam. My scores ranged from 100% to 53%, and the final tally is 18 points below the state minimum. I freeze up during the speaking/recording part, and that brings the score down. I have to retake the exam again sometime at the end of September. I would greatly appreciate LOTS of prayer so that I might get through the thing successfully. In the meantime, I have been scouting out Spanish-speaking communities so I can practice real Spanish in conversation. I miss Regina and her family, because they were great teachers.
My evenings and weekends have been filled with the chaos that passes as my home. Imagine….a carpeted barn where dog and horse, man and myth did their personal business so often that well-trained and mannerly dogs choose to come in from the backyard to do their personal business on the same spots…that is my house. Thus, the carpets are leaving. The underlying foam is leaving. Off go the edging pieces. Away goes the dust, the mold, and who knows what else, that was living under the sewage. Discard that dead scorpion in the closet (not to be confused with the live one in the woodpile). Just throw away the desiccating rat that met its demise in the shop vac. Fill the tub with bleach and water, and leave it outside with the filter in the monsoons. The machine will be good as new in a week!
I was advised to shellac the floor before adding anything else. So, today we shellac! It still looks disgusting, but I am hoping the smell improves.
I am doing all of this with the hope and expectation that my life as a teacher in Cibecue will be filled with friends visiting from parts East as well as within the state. I have met very sociable folks out and about, who are comfortable sharing their contact information at the end of a casual conversation. Most of them have never been here. I’d like them to feel at ease when they come.
For those of you who missed the emails, I was on a rant about a number of folks, not the least of whom is one of my neighbors. We will refer to her as Homeland Security – HS for short. (Rolling of eyes is appropriate throughout this paragraph.) This is the same woman who invited me to celebrate a very personal and intimate coming-of-age event with total strangers. This is the same woman who took me around town when I first arrived, introducing me as “the new woman living up on the street” – you figure it out. This is also the same woman who assumed I was interested in taking the Suicide Prevention course so I could be on call 24 hours a day to sit with folks considering offing themselves. (I’ve done my share of this, thank you, I do not want a career doing this, thank you.) The very same whom I am supposed to call if there is any kind of emergency… like, for instance, the hot water knob in the bathtub coming off in my hand – causing the steaming flow to throw itself full force against the bathroom wall…on Labor Day weekend, smack dab in the middle of the week-long Tribal Fair, when the head maintenance man was at a rodeo in Colorado, and the other guy was fishing above Hondah…. Sure. Just go ahead and lift that lid on the water line in the front yard. Pray there aren’t any snakes or spiders or Creatures from the Dark Lagoon in there, and reach in and turn it off. No problem…Until HS shows up, and gives me the lecture and recall of every related disaster that included water pipes, snakes, deadly spiders and propane and carbon monoxide poisoning. Not a word about scorpions because, so she says, they don’t live up herein the mountains. I can find them (like I want to?) in the Valley (aka Phoenix). Right. My closet and woodpile must be in Phoenix….
Did I need more stress?
Anyway, the knob is back on, so I can shower. The floors are in progress, and sometime or another, I’ll be able to afford to have my things which are currently in storage brought out here, and I’ll buy a bed (Jess, you should see the oak mission bed I’d like to buy!), and even a couch so you can sit down comfortably when we chat. But do be careful when you bring wood in for the woodstove. I have yet to see a snake in the backyard – with four dogs, who needs a snake? – but we do, indeed, have beautiful black widow spiders (or we did, anyway. I regret to confess, I murdered it, all the while admiring its beauty), and scorpions – dead and alive.
And, just in case that isn’t enough. HS is just a few doors up the block.