April 26, 2004

Where Was I?

Oh yea, I was about to go to a choral at the local church. It was a suite of Cataluynian folk songs (sorry folks if my spelling goes bad here, I?m winging it without spell check on the fly). We sat in the pews with the family as the Dad whispered loudly why he?s agnostic (all in Castillian of course, we?re barely hanging on here with the Spanish), whislt his wife Rosa is jabbing him in the ribs.

Afterwards, we went to a bar to watch the game (Madrid vs Barcelona) and we have a beer and sandwiches as teh place goes crazy with every goal and near miss. I don?t have a sports gene, so to me it looks like Madrid has the white Mr. Clean correct professional image thing while Barcelona has the rasta man get down Mr. Funky don?t you like me dreds, man... but boyy isn?t the Barzo goalee good at deflecting the ball. Two cortados later (a cortado is a short cafe con leche), Joan tells us his heart can?t take the suspense anymore, so we have to go for a walk at half time. Later, we hear that Barcelona won by the horns blaring in the streets and the fire crackers going off fr a few hours. Our dog Juno was a bundle of nerves, she hates frieworks.

Today, we went to Girona again to visit Bauhaus again to buy more paint. Our friend Joan offered to take us and we accepted, all they while trying to convey how appreciative we were about his generous help. The kitchen sucked up about 25 kg of goop (a substance between paint and plaster). We bought more of a different type. We fuly expect this task to take the rest f the week.

Where was I?

As I work, the tasks of scraping and painting are simple and require a limited set of routines. My mind wanders as it is wont to do, I think of my friends. I think of Texas, the great people we met there. It was wonderful to have spent the year there. I think of my pals in Chinatown LA, all y?ll folks in the barrio chino ?hood. Nights at Hop Louie, the best bar ever. I remember the folks I taught with at Woodbury University, Geraldine and Stan and the whole team there back in the day. I thought of the guys in San Diego, Jim and Jim and Robin and Ted and Kathy and a whole bunch of others. A big hug to you guys. I thought of the people I met in the early days in LA back in the middle eighties, Rick Corsini and Chuck Crawford and Michael Maltzen and Amy Murphy. Then there?s the Navy days. There?s a whole bunch of others, but I don?t want to get all weepy here and stupid with the list. I just want you all to know Ive been thinking of you.

Where was I? Oh yea, working on the walls, el pared en la primera planta en nuestro casa. We?re taking Spanish classes too. Two days a week here in Tossa. The class is small with three others, two Brits and a woman from Holland. I can undersand much more Spanish than I can summon to speak, a little pathetic. Stephanie can sure whip it out, complete with verb tenses all in place. Of course she?s a lot smarter. It helps to be shameless, and blather forth on a wing and a prayer. Eyes roll and smiles curl. I guess that as I murder Castelleno, the Catalans won?t take it personally.

It may look like we are Richie Rich here with this big house in the middle of town, but this whole adventure is riding on a a multilevel gamble. So, we?ve been watching our money. We figure it takes us half of the cost that food did in the States. Instead of plunking my card down and buying half of the Bauhaus (Home Depot, remember?), buying the equipment to build my panels, I decided to ry out the local carpenter, Ramon. He?s going to deliver the first cuadros this week (100 x 110 cm to start) and I will see if it is better to have the carpenter do the woodshop for me. I still might need a compressor to staple in the canvas. We?ll see. I?ll try to do it the old fashion way and see what happens. I have to get rocking to be on track for the show in August. All I have to do is paint the forst floor first.

Tossa is bursting with new construction. I heard the mayor has mandated a moratorium on building permits. The contractors roll their eyes, they don?t believe it will last. We have a little matter of a roof repair and we got a bid for that and the reconstruction of doors with two side lites that leads to the terrace. The numbers look good, but we didn?t factor that into our budget earlier. Our contractor Kiko will use an elastometric coating that is new here in these parts. I expect that will be the end of the leaks from now on.

But everywhere we look, there?s much to do, working on this house. Many years ago, I realised that architecture is a temporary proposition at best (paintings seem more durable by comparison), a building is more like a sail boat. Especially here by the beach. Today, I was on the roof, looking down at the neighbor?s well (we have one too, in our courtyard), and I realised that the water level is not that far below the house. I?m surprised that the walls hav?n?t degraded faster than they have, wicking the water up and foaming the plaster and paint off. I remember seeing the work of that great Italian architect Carlo Scarpa in Verona and I remember the shock of seeing the steel rusting and the conception of his work- so pristine in the coffee table books, so violated by the cracking concrete and the streaks of brown corrosion. And then I see here in Tossa the snails and the spiders, the sea gulls, the smell of the sea and I realize all of these are the forces of nature working to take back the futile gestures of extistence, our fists raised in defiance as we fission back to dust.

...or these gestures are just working to put a coat of paint in a kitchen so we can cook a few meals again.

Posted by Dennis at April 26, 2004 1:47 PM


nice visuals...thanks for the imagery...

Dennis !!!! Where are you? WRITE!!! Chuck Crawford: cecsd@cox.net

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