Thursday, September 25, 2008

To Be or Not To Be

"Oh stop it! Stop it. Stop it!" Brian heard Shelley berating the ficus plant once again.

"I'd never been able to grow one in Canada and I always thought it was because of the cold Canadian drafts, but they do the same thing here" she whined.

"Leave the poor thing alone" Brian said "You're scaring it. No wonder it's spitting leaves."

Every morning when we get up there are 5 or 8 leaves lying on the ground. Research on the internet tells us that ficus plants will do this when moved but it's been several weeks now and the poor thing's starting to get bare. Before we moved onto the boat Shelley had something like 170 plants in our home. Most of these were given away to one friend; a small forest rode away from the townhouse in the back of a pickup. Ivy would grow on the boat and for awhile we had a Douglas fir in a pot on the back deck, but Brian's grousing about it spoiling the lines of the boat put an end to that. A small succulent plant grew in the hot wheelhouse and some herbs in the back deck window but that was about it. Having the opportunity to grow plants again had Shelley in a frenzy for awhile, but she's settled down now.

We have several flowering plants on the balcony as well as a couple of succulents and a small cactus garden. Inside is our weeping ficus, an elephant's foot plant, a baby palm, a couple of ferns and some more cactus. It's not overwhelming like the townhouse, just green touches here and there. Brian's a little worried Shelley won't stop but she assures him she's no longer into the work of hundreds of plants.

"That ficus better buck up though, or it's going outside!"
"Quiet, it'll hear you."

We've progressed far enough into our Spanish lessons to find out (to our dismay) that there are actually two forms of the verb "to be" (ser & estar). Estar is used when something is transitional like your location, mood or weight. At this point we're not sure if hair colour is ser or estar and once Shelley started to really think about it she brought up sex change operations and a whole bunch of other things that only confused us even more. This new knowledge has disturbed Brian, not fitting into his conception of the world (to be or not to be). It's been fairly bad weather now for almost 2 weeks, rainy and cold. The occasional morning sun will fool us into thinking we're living at the equator, but by afternoon it's dismal again. So, we're attributing our minor depression at having to learn a jillion new words on the weather and not our laziness or encroaching old age.

Longing for a North American type burger we took a #7 bus, which we picked up at the corner of Solano & Doce de Abril down the stairs from Calle Larga, to the Mall Del Rio. This is not a frivolous drop in as, unless it's a day it's on special, a Whopper Junior costs $4.45 here. The Mall Del Rio is a large modern mall, echoing in it's lack of business, but it does have a Burger King in it's food court.

A couple of weeks ago, we'd asked at Muebles & Complementos (the place where we got our bed and our living room suite) how much it would cost to get a small complimentary table made up for the blank space in our hallway. We talked about height and width and detail work and that perhaps we'd like a couple of small drawers at the bottom. In any case, we were told they'd give us a phone call that afternoon and provide a quote as to how much it would cost to build. That call never came and we didn't pursue it any further. The idea was to look around town and maybe sooner or later the perfect little table would stand in our path. We actually twice admired a cupboard affair by one of the Vegas (a well known artisan family in town) and were only procrastinating until after our pension pay day (maybe). The short of it is, we got a telephone call saying our table was ready. Brian cautioned them we hadn't agreed on a price and if we didn't like the table, we didn't feel obligated (very much) to take it. Fortunately, we did like the table, it was half the price of the Vega cupboard and they threw in a nice cloth runner just because.

We're now pretty much completely stocked up and we have spent our dedicated budget for furnishings and decorations, so the whole thing co-ordinated itself rather nicely. On the way home from viewing our hallway table, Shelley spied a vase, quirky in that it was painted to somewhat look like a chicken. She fell in love and argued with herself and Brian about it.

"It'd look perfect on the new table. Please tell me I'm not being wanton."

Tripping down the side walk, new chicken vase carefully wrapped in a foam material and heavily taped, Shelley once again fell to the ground, the unmistakable sound of breaking porcelain accompanying her "Oh No!"

"I know it's irrational but I'm mad at you" she told Brian.
"You're right, it's irrational. What'd I do?! Accidents happen. Don't feel bad."
"You could have stopped me from buying it. You could have caught me when I fell. You could have carried the package."

Shelley mumbled under her breath, enumerating her irrational thoughts as they walked down the street until Brian stopped her and gave her a big hug, "Oh, OK, I forgive you" she said.

Brian looked bemused.

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