Saturday, October 31, 2015

When You Wish Upon A Star

When You Wish Upon A Star
I hope your week has been good. I hope your week has not been like everyone else’s. The only thing I can attribute it to is astrology. I’m sure you must believe in astrology just as religiously as I do. I’m sure the Moon is in Mar’s pocket, Venus is flirting with Jupiter, Pluto is in the twenty-ninth house of Disney and the Sun has measles spots. None of the planets are tending to business.

One of my close friends had three deaths in her family this week. Another friend had stomach surgery. Another is going through an ugly court-battle divorce.

One of my daughters must have knee surgery on both legs, her father has galloping Alzheimers, her insurance took an astronomical hike upward, and her daughter who has cerebral palsy must be tested for another malady.

Another daughter wrote me that “she is alive and everybody is fine”. I know what that means. We are much alike. “Fine” tells me that she feels like her life is floating in the toilet bowl with the Great Hand hovering, poised to flush. But she doesn’t want to talk about it.

And world news—let’s not even go there. That’s the quick road to depression.

My worries are tiny in comparison. But I do wonder if the planets are all sitting in the sports bar watching football on the telly and ignoring their real work of making our lives run smoothly.

It’s been a strange and difficult week for me. Nothing big; just a string of small irritations and disappointments. My big worries I save for you.  

My living room ceiling is falling to the floor. Water dripped from three different locations in that small room. The drip is not consistent. Sometimes the ceiling drips when it rains; sometimes when it hasn’t rained in weeks. I’m vigilant with basins and towels.

The problem is not being ignored. People who’ve looked at it think the leaks come from the upper deck. I know better.

Lupita, my upstairs neighbor, completely retiled her floors and deck and sent two men down to remove and repair the plaster on my ceiling. My house became a slum of plaster chips. Dust flew everywhere. The ceiling looks “fine”.

Before I could return my apartment to my standard of cleanliness, the drip, drip, drip continued. I knew it would. I pay attention. The drips are most active when the humidity is extremely high. Condensation on the pipes above cause the dripping. How do I explain that with my rudimentary Espanol?   

The other niggling little mess in my life this week concerns my temporary residency permit. This permit is important to me, mostly because it means I determine when I fly to the States. The tourist visa limits one to six months in country. With temporary residency I can leave in four months or fourteen months. It’s my decision.

I flew back to Mexico September 17. Nobody told me I had five business days to update my permit. The rules had changed from last year when I had a month. So I showed up at the Immigration Office on the 25th, one day late. I had to pay a fine and a late fee. And begin the whole application process over from step one.

So I took a deep breath and did everything I could do, paperwork, payments, photo and proof of various things to begin the weeks-long process. Friday I received a notification from the Immigration Office in my email, eight hundred Spanish words, number six font. I can guess my way through a lot of Spanish but not “official-ese”. I called my friend Carlos who graciously interprets my way through many difficulties.

“There is a small problem. Don’t worry.” To me, this was similar to getting an audit  notification from the IRS. I had the whole week-end to panic. Would they deport me for transposing passport numbers? Did I misspell my name? Monday morning I was a bundle of tightly strung nerves when I showed up at the office to learn, “no problema”. I’ll get another notification for next step, leave fingerprints and pay more money. Maybe next week.

Like I said, my problems are small. But it would be nice if the planets would get back into gear and round up some good stuff. Whatever happened to meeting tall dark handsome strangers and pots of gold at the ends of rainbows? I’m not asking for me, but for you. I’m “fine”. And I don’t want to talk about it.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

October 8, 2015

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