Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Morning, Feeling Good, Freaking Out

It's a cold last Saturday in January. I've set the thermostat at 74 but it's reading 62 in the house and that's chilly. But it's beautiful because it's Chepa's baby, Sierra's birthday. Well, birthday was yesterday but the party is today. She's 4 years old and fantastic. The way she can talk you'd think she's mine. Madeleina hasn't stopped talking since she was 2 or so, and hell, I haven't stopped either.
I'm pitching in with the food: cooking some bar-be-que chicken legs, a nice pasta salad with red peppers, garlic, onion and a touch of balsamic vinager; a potato and egg salad and beans. I soaked them, they're pintos, overnight, then got garlic, onions and salt pork sizzling. Added water, when it boiled I added the beans, and when they've been on three hours I'll add diced tomatoes and the Peruvian seasonings. Effortless.
Now Chepa, my wife/ex-wife, called yesterday morning. After reminding me what a great job she did cutting my hair a couple of days ago, she grew serious. "Carachama, I need your advice. Here's the problem. I have only $64 for the food and balloons for Sierra's party. The balloons are going to be about $20. Then I need three gallinas--wild chickens--and since you won't give me any more of yours--I gave her one for soup last week and only have 6 grown ones left--I have to buy them at the Spanish grocery store. So that's another $25. That leaves about $19, and I need gas and more food. So what would be your advice in this circumstance?"
I thought for a moment, then deadpanned: "Well, if I were you and I was in this situation, I'd probably call Mr. P Gorman and ask him what to do. He'd probably offer to cook more food and give you money. Hell, that plan has worked for you 10,000 times, it'll probably work once more..."
"I hate you!!!" she screamed. "That's not what I'm doing here..."
"Darling, who are you kidding?"
"How dare you know me like you gave me birth?"
"The problem is I can only give you $20 until I get to a bank. But if cook more food, that will save you another $30-$40."
"Okay. That's a good plan. I'll be going that way then, to get the money."
She'll always find me easy when it comes to things like money. If I have it, I just as soon share it.
The problem is that I don't have it now. There's a perfect little tornado flashing through my life that's left me with no dough for a couple of months. I used up the reserve and might have to resort to credit cards this week. I weaned myself from them years ago, so don't want to fall into that.
Not looking for sympathy here--a lot of you are in the same boat--just noting that things change when there's no money. Mortgage due in a couple of days. Don't have it. Electric, television, phone, car insurance, water and the rest...don't have it.
In my case not so bad because editors owe me and that will come, along with a tax return, in time to save things. But when you got it, you don't need to think of it. When you don't, you spend a lot of time mentally scrambling with ways to come up with it and with which bills can wait and which can't and that's an awful lot of wasted brain space, eh?
It's that indigenous hunter thing: You only really have one or two main jobs. You put food in the pot, and you protect the people around you. And if you can't put food in the pot, there won't be people around you to protect, so that makes hunting the real number one job.
For us modern day hunters it's the same story. And when we hunt and come up short, we feel like failures. Or feel like we didn't do enough.
And that's a lousy feeling.
But don't worry Sierra. Mr P Garman will still find a cookie jar with enough dough in it to take care of bunch of birthday presents. And if I got to credit card the mortgage, no sweat, cause my editors have promised me that the checks will be in the mail shortly.
Ah, living. Ain't it grand?


Gritter said...

Made me think of the old song "...and the beat goes on, da da da da da de dum. The drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain. la da de deedy dee..." and so on.

Yer right again my captain - the more the world changes, the more it remains the same - and so do we.

chantal said...

Peter, i don't know if you get my message in your mailbox but now i find your blog. Can you help me to buy a sapo stick from the pepe matses? I just want to continue my cleaning, did already 15 times a sapotour with a sjaman but i want to do it myself because i cant afford paying the sjaman and i'd like to buy a good quality stick. Hopefully you can give me an emailadress or something that can bring me in contact with the good persons. Thanks a lot, Chantal (