Monday, July 25, 2016

Muck’s A Good Thing—Mud Is Just Fine

Muck’s A Good Thing—Mud Is Just Fine
            And “the best things in life are dirty”, the gospel according to Ben Rumson (Lee Marvin) and Pardner (Clint Eastwood), words to live by from “Paint Your Wagon”. Amen.

            A lot of spiritual truths hide in songs and when I’m up to my knees in mucky ol’ mud, and the song, even a song from a cringe-worthy musical, makes me smile, so be it.

            Rainy season is here, an undeniable truth.

Josue and Abel are building my new wall between my casita and the neighboring property. The man who sold me my place owned both plots, requiring no division except for lines on a property map.

            Following measurements from said map, my property line bisects diagonally a low brick planter. It’s a long planter, running from my gate to the connecting wall at my patio, a distance of about 30 yards. In order to build my new wall, the planter had to be dismantled, brick by brick, then the men sliced good ol’ dirty dirt down lower than the planter base so the concrete pad could be poured on which the brick wall will be built. Clear as mud?

            Did I mention the rainy season? Locals call it the “monsoon”. Rains for hours every night. Every night for four months. (Near as I can tell, after October it never rains again until June, but I’ve not experienced the whole year in Etzatlan, so what do I know!)

            Rain plus dirt equals mud, another undeniable truth.

            Clumps of mud litter my patio. The area between construction and my house is a muddy soup. Wide swaths of grass in my back yard wear mud overcoats. It’s a mess.

            I tend to be a teensy bit house-proud. I dust and sweep and mop daily, because I like a clean house. I also like to go barefoot but don’t like dirty feet. Ergo . . .

            This morning I woke intending to start my day with the usual housekeeping chores before giving my attention to the weeds among the flowers. My toilet wouldn’t flush. No problem. I know how to fix it with button twine and twist ties. So I did. I fixed it. And while the lifter thingy worked, the rubber flopper refused to seal.

            Josue and Abel showed up at 8:00 to work on the wall. I pulled Josue aside and showed him my problem. “I don’t mind flushing a few days with buckets of water, but could you please move the bathroom tile and new toilet installation forward on your project list. I don’t want to fix this one while I have a brand new toilet sitting in my bodega. I understand my new sink cabinet must wait until the rains are over.” (Josue’s workshop is partially outdoors so he sets aside carpentry during the monsoon.)

            Josue grinned. Personally, I wasn’t finding my situation amusing. “The brick delivery has been delayed. The truck sunk to the hubs in mud in the brickyard.” 

            In minutes the men had my water shut off and my bathroom dismantled down to the bare floor. Abel is on his knees laying tile. (Don’t you just love a man on his knees?) Josue is cutting tile and otherwise generally helping. If all goes well, tomorrow Josue will install my new toilet. By tomorrow night, hopefully, finger crossed, I’ll be able to use my bathroom.

            I’ll drag in a patio table to hold a wash basin and my toothbrush. It’ll be like the olden days but with a modern shower and flush toilet.

            My screen door is wide open for the men to easily move back and forth with materials. My floor is littered liberally with mud and debris. Flies swarm in and out. Chunks of old cupboard and an ancient toilet have joined the mud clumps on my patio. I set up a table and basin outside to wash dishes. I walk to my neighbors to use the facility.

            I don’t know that the best things in life are dirty but I know I’ll have a new tile floor and a new toilet in my bathroom before many more rains. Mud? I’ll mop manana.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

July 21, 2016

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