Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Not Cheerful Weather

We had sleet today.  I don't like sleet.  At least it was warm enough (37 degrees) that it didn't turn to ice because I had to drive downtown to pick up my complimentary pumpkin pie from my Edward Jones office.  Every year they give a pie to their clients. That's just one of the things I like about them.  Once I got home the sleet turned to snow for about an hour but it didn't stick much.  I'm not ready for snow.


I found a recipe for zero point Cranberry Pineapple Relish so I made some today.  You use a packet of cherry or strawberry jello to sweeten it.  It's not bad.  It will make Thanksgiving a bit more Thanksgiving-y since I'm not having turkey and stuffing, as will the pie.



In the afternoon I sat down to knit and promptly fell asleep.  I wouldn't mind except I missed a half hour of the audiobook I'm listening to.  When I woke up I managed to knit a bit and stay awake.

 24 November--Barbara Malcolm, The Seaview. 

“You must wait, though, Mrs. Rose.  First the Anguilla Customs man must come and break the seal that the Miami Customs man applied.  If it is broken when he gets here we are all in big trouble, you especially.”

I frowned at the back end of the slow moving crane truck as it made its way ponderously away.  No one would be able to pass it so there was no chance that the Customs man would get there for at least an hour.  “Why would it be bad for me especially?”

Silas slipped his hand over my elbow and steered me back toward the Seaview.  “Let me get properly dressed, you bring the percolator and a mug for me, and we will discuss it.”

Just as I set off for Sydans to fetch the coffee a well-dressed man got out of a white car that had been parked in Tamarind’s lot all the time.  The man wore pressed khaki pants, a khaki shirt complete with epaulets, and he carried a clipboard.  “Mrs. Rose Lambert?” he said.

“Yes, I’m Rose Lambert.  And you are…?”

He straightened up to his full height, puffing out his chest so that the official patch on his shirt was displayed.  “I am Hernando Gomez, Customs Agent on Anguilla.  I am here to certify that what is in your container is what is listed on the bill of lading you sent and to make sure that all required duty is paid.”

He’s got the potential to be a real pain in the neck, I thought, but I kept a mild smile pasted on my lips and handed him the key to the padlock on the door of the container.

“Thank you.”  He took it from me, bowed his head a bit, and crossed the street.  He paused and closely examined the tape applied by the Miami Customs office when the cargo was loaded onto the ship, making sure that it had not been tampered with before he slotted the key in the lock and turned it.  The door latch creaked and the hinges squealed as he opened the double doors.  He stepped back when he was faced with a solid wall of cartons.  “You packed this very full.”

I nodded.  “You bet I did.  I wanted to use every square inch of this thing; it cost enough.”

Word spread fast that my container had arrived and droves of people wandered down to watch the unloading, because unload it we had to do.  Mr. Gomez insisted on checking each and every thing in there, every inch of wire, every can of paint, every sheet of plywood and drywall.  He was meticulous, and a real pain in the ass.  At first he did not want me or Silas touching things.  He was going to unpack and check it off his list all by himself.

I began to argue with him but Silas shook his head and pulled me away.  We sat on stools in the shady back garden of the Seaview and watched him work.  He would lay out a row of boxes, open each one, and check the contents against his list.  Then he would repack the box, close it and shove it aside.  After he had done that a few times and realized that he had made barely a dent in the container’s contents I saw his shoulders slump and he turned and motioned us over.  “I can see that it would take me two weeks to go through everything in here.  I think that you should give me a hand.”

Silas and I looked at each other and shrugged.  “Well,” I said, “we don’t want you to get into trouble, Mr. Gomez, but it is a big job.”  I waited but he did not speak.  “If you are certain, we will be happy to assist you.”

Silas suggested that he and Mr. Gomez pull out cartons and open them while I checked things off on the thick sheaf of pages of the bill of lading.  Mr. Gomez agreed and the pace of the work picked up considerably.


Today's toss was a handful of crochet books and patterns.

Writing didn't work well today.  First I forgot about it until after supper, then the daily prompt didn't resonate with me which made it hard to write anything, and finally I sat here and couldn't get into the story.  I typed a few words but didn't make the daily quota.  Maybe tomorrow.


Monday, November 23, 2020

Moving Beer

 I got a text from DS today that OJ wasn't feeling well so he'd be staying home with him tomorrow and could I maybe visit him today?  Yep.  I got there to discover him moving beer from the fermentation tank to the bright (carbonation) tank.  Every time I go I get to see another piece of equipment and another part of the brewing process.  Today it was pretty dark red beer flowing from one tank to the other and then beer flowing across the floor when it was time to drain the first tank.  Don't worry the beer on the floor was cloudy with yeast and other particles from the brewing process, not good to drink.  

 The other good thing was he was able to unhook the old car seat from my back seat so I can replace it with another booster seat so that when I can have my grandchildren in the car again I'll be ready.  I wouldn't have been doing this seat exchange now except I've been keeping my eye on the booster seats and a couple weeks ago they were on sale so I bought one.  I'll put the car seat on Nextdoor to see if anyone needs it.

Lots of buds on the Christmas cactus.  I keep watching them, waiting for them to open, and hoping that they don't pucker up and die or drop off.  Fingers crossed.


We had our Zoom Clearing breakfast this morning.  I made oatmeal in the microwave with dried cherries in it and put brown sugar and cinnamon on top.  I had my coffee in my Zambaldi mug and drank it with my left hand so the logo showed.  Gotta advertise when I can.

Tonight I cast on another toe cover for casts.  I enjoy making them and there's always a need for them.



23 November--Barbara Malcolm, The Seaview. 

Chapter 14

My cargo container did indeed arrive the next day and it came hard on the heels of the rooster’s early morning cock-a-doodle-doos.  I was lying in bed fantasizing about ways to cook that rooster so that I could sleep late just one morning a week when I heard a very loud, very slow diesel coming down the road, getting nearer and nearer.  I leaped out of bed, threw on clothes and raced to the entrance of Sydans.  Trying to hide my bed-head and barely clad form behind the bougainvillea by the door, I craned my neck out to see if it was my container coming and it was.  Forgetting that I was badly and scantily dressed I darted out into the road and waved like a crazy woman, whooping and hollering.  Then I realized that I was barefoot and was jumping up and down on gravel.

I scurried back to my room to brush my teeth and hair and get myself decently dressed to sign for my goods.  By the time the coffee had perked I was brushed and flushed and looked more like a woman who had just bought herself a Caribbean beach bed and breakfast than the crazy woman who had been dancing in the street fifteen minutes earlier.  I poured myself a travel mug of coffee and hurried down to see my container.

The truck with the crane on it had moved down the narrow road so slowly that he was barely past Sydans when I emerged.  The vehicle was so wide that no one could get around it so I took off across the road, past Johnno’s, down the beach, and back between the Seaview and Tamarind Watersports.

Silas was up and out, standing in the sun bare-chested wearing only his Levi’s and flip flops, waiting to direct the driver how to place the container.

God, I thought, I hope that none of the Customs agents made off with any of my goods.  I had heard horror stories about people opening their supposedly sealed containers to find that most of their things had been detained or summarily relocated as payment for some imagined unpaid tariff owed by the freight company or the haulage company or even the recipient himself.  As near as I could tell the Customs seal put on the container in Miami was still intact.

I was certain that right behind the delivery truck would come the Anguilla Customs agent with his clipboard and his hand out for any duty he could devise to charge me.  I had my checkbook ready but I had been reassured by Johnno that the Customs agent on the island was a fair and reasonable man.

Silas turned to grin at me when I came up beside him.  I thought he looked like a kid on Christmas morning.  “Now the fun really starts, huh, Mrs. Rose?”

“Yes, Silas, now the fun starts.”

With delicate maneuvers and tiny tweaks on the controls of the crane the operator positioned the container right in the center of the lot with its door a few feet off the edge of the road and facing out.  It looked like he had dropped a prebuilt shed on the spot.  The driver jumped out of the truck cab, climbed up the ladder welded to the corner of the container, unhooked the crane cable, and slid back down to earth looking like a gymnast he was so graceful and quick.  He reached into the cab for a clipboard, handed it to me with his finger pointing to the line I was to sign on without saying a word.  When I handed it back he climbed aboard, raised the crane hook and the lifting chain clanked off the metal container, then he spooled it back into the boom, turned the cab turret back the way he had come, and began the slow crawl back to the cargo off-loading dock at the other end of Sandy Ground.

“Talkative, isn’t he?”  I pulled the keys out of my pocket and started to cross the road and unlock it but Silas put his hand on my arm and stopped me.  “What’s the problem?” I said.  “Don’t you want to see what’s in there?  I’m so anxious to get started I can’t wait.”

Today's toss was another sleeve of magazines into the recycling.

Writing went pretty well today.  I always start with a daily prompt and today's was "write about being underwater."  Well, I can write about being underwater with the best of them.  I just sent my character on a scuba dive.  First she took a practice dive and then signed up for class so I got to write about all the fish and critters she saw down there.  Piece of cake.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Not A Great Plan

I thought I had today all figured out.  I needed to go to the grocery and to stop at a friend's porch to drop off some charity knitting and pick up a few books for LC.  I did the porch stop first and got a small handful of books, then went right to the grocery.  See my plan was to be at the grocery when the Packer game started.  I figured that most people would be at home watching the game so it wouldn't be as crowded.  Unfortunately I wasn't the only one who thought that.  The aisles weren't exactly crowded but there were six checkout lines open and each one had three or four people waiting.  Of course with social distancing the waiting lines were strung out across the store departments.  Not my best plan.  And the couple ahead of me in line needed a price check and an override which took long enough that the cashier took $5 off my bill for the delay.  That was a nice surprise.

This Downy Woodpecker came to the suet feeder today.  I like how she cocks her tail under the feeder which helps her keep her balance.

22 November--Barbara Malcolm, The Seaview. 

Spending the afternoon with Pastor Davis made me anxious to see what, if anything, was in the safe deposit box at the bank.  The next morning, I dressed in my nicest shorts and top and drove into The Valley to the Scotiabank.  Arriving right as they opened, I went in and asked to speak to the manager.

After a short wait a middle-aged man came out of an office in the corner and walked toward me.  “Mrs. Lambert?  I am Charles Larkin.  How can I help you?” 

I stood and shook his hand.  “How do you do, Mr. Larkin.  I’d like to talk to you about safe deposit boxes.” 

He took my elbow to steer me into his office.  “We have a variety of sizes of safe deposit boxes,” he began, but I interrupted. 

“I’m not interested in having a box at this time, but I have an old passbook and what I think is a key for a safe deposit box.”

A frown wrinkled his forehead.  “We do not allow non-box holders to open them even if they have the key.” 

I put my hand on the edge of his desk.  “Of course not, and I’m not even sure if the box is still in Mr. Reynolds’ name.  It’s been over forty years since he was on island and I know that if the rent isn’t paid the bank clears it out and re-rents it.” I reached into my bag and pulled out the passbook and iron ring of keys.  Sorting through the skeleton keys and brass keys, I came to the small key that I thought was for a box at the bank.  “Is this one of your keys?” 

Mr. Larkin took the key from me and nearly dropped the ring.  “This is heavy,” he said. 

“Yes, I don’t carry it around with me often.” 

He turned the key over and peered at the number stamped on it.  “Four seventy-three,” he said.  He pulled a ledger off the shelf next to his desk and thumbed through pages until he found the listing for that number box.  “It says the box is rented to a Mr. Abram Reynolds.  The rental fee was prepaid for fifty years, which expires in three more years.”

My spirits lifted at the news.  “Can we open the box?  I have the key.” I had my fingers crossed in my lap. I didn’t think he could see over his desk. 

“W-e-l-l,” he dragged that word out so far I nearly exploded, “I imagine that we could open it.  Since you have the key and are the new owner of the Seaview. Excuse me for a moment.” He stood and left the office. 

I thought he needed the restroom, or some emergency popped up but then I realized that he had my ring of keys.  I craned my neck to see if I could find him or where the private cubicle for box holders to sort through their things might be, but I didn’t see him or a private space.  He popped out of the open vault with a gray metal drawer with a locked lid cradled in his arms.  He carried it back into his office and laid it on the desk.  “I will leave you alone to open it.” He handed me the keys.  “I will be right outside at the teller counter if you need me.”  He gave a little bow and left the room.  He didn’t close the door, but I did. 

I wanted to look through whatever was in there by myself.  Of course, with one whole wall of glass the office wasn’t closed to interested eyes.  I stood up and lifted the flat metal lid of the box. It wasn’t full.  Too bad.  There were a few papers and a fishing lure.  Why would someone put a lure into a safe deposit box?  Maybe one of the papers would give me a clue.  There were more love letters from more than one woman.  I snorted.  Trophies, I thought.  What a creep.  Under the letters was the actual photograph of Hemingway and another man with a marlin on a dock in front of what I now saw was the Seaview.  Cool.  I had proof that Ernest Hemingway had been in my hotel. I took a closer look at the fishing lure.  A name was scrawled on the silver side of the fake fish, Ernest Hemingway.  This must be the lure that he was using when he caught the marlin and gave it to Reynolds as a souvenir or as a thank you for a successful fishing trip.  I wonder if I could find a shadowbox picture frame someplace on the island so that I could display the photo and lure in the lobby. I wished there was a letter too.  I thought I’d leave it all in the safe deposit box for the time being and read the letters I’d found in the hotel to see if one was from the famous author either making the reservation or thanking him for the stay.

I waved to Mr. Larkin and when he came back into his office asked if I could leave the items in the box for now and even bring other items to place them in there for safe keeping.

“That will be fine.  I can change the name on the box to yours since the address of the box holder has not changed.” He patted my hand.

I thought that was unorthodox but agreed.  Then I pulled out the old passbook but, as I suspected, the account was closed.  While I was there, I opened an account in the bank to have an on-island bank that my hometown bank could transfer money to as I needed it.  When I left, I realized that I had just sunk another root into the sandy soil of Anguilla.

Today's toss was a real toss.  I tossed a sleeve of magazines right into the recycling.  I don't know why I kept them, I don't go back to go through them again.

I didn't sit down to write until after supper but managed  to get just enough words piled up to meet the quota.  I'm not saying it's getting easier but it's a little less of a slog the last few days.