That was our weather today, freezing fog. Everything was gray and still and the fog froze and clung to the branches of the trees in back of the house. I didn't have to go anywhere today (when do I ever these days?) but the street looked wet and slick. Yuk.
Today's recipe was Slow Cooker Chicken, Mushroom, and Brown Rice Casserole. May I say that the aroma from the kitchen taunted me all 7 hours that it cooked but I stayed strong and portioned it out into eight servings when it was done and got it into the freezer. I nibbled a tiny piece of the chicken that fell off and I licked the spoon I used to scoop out the rice casserole part. It was tasty.
I started the cuff of the second mitten this afternoon, got the cuff knitted, and the three rounds before starting the thumb gusset knitted too. Oh dang it, I just realized that I forgot to decrease four stitches in the first round of the hand so that the mittens match. Wait a couple minutes while I go do that so I don't forget tomorrow and then royally screw up the thumb. Okay, I'm back. I don't think one extra round below the thumb gusset will make a huge bit of difference. It already seems like the first cuff is looser than the second one so my mittens will be fraternal twins. That's okay, they're for blowing snow, not fashion.
03 January--Barbara Malcolm, The Seaview.
It was Saturday, a day we didn't usually work, but Iggy and I wandered down to the Seaview after washing our breakfast dishes, showering, and getting fully dressed.
When we got close to the hotel Iggy detoured to his truck for his tool belt.
"It's Saturday, Iggy, we have the day off."
He waved a hand over his shoulder. "There is one thing I want to fix before I forget."
I noticed a note pinned to the door as I walked up. I was reassured to see that the padlock was secure and I reached into my pocket for the key. Silas must have had quite a night, I thought, or maybe he’d slept at home. He usually waited until Iggy or I arrived before he went down to Johnno’s for a wash-up, but it was Saturday. Except for Ian calling to Dougie as he brought the dive boat into shore the neighborhood was quiet. I squinted at the sheet of red paper stuck to the back door of the Seaview.
“Unfit for Habitation” it said in big black letters across the top. Unfit for Habitation; what did that mean? I was certain we had gotten the proper permits; that was one reason I was so adamant to have a properly licensed electrician and plumber. I wanted things done right and safely. I got closer to the paper. “Premises found to be unsafe for habitation. Sanitary regulations not complied with. Contact Anguilla Health and Safety Commission office for further details.”
“Huh, I wonder what that’s about.” I slid my key into the padlock and turned. It didn’t turn; it must be stuck. I set down my coffee and held the lock with my left hand while I tried to gently turn the key with my right.
“It will not work, Mrs. Rose.” Silas had come up behind me and stood on the patchy grass near the dumpster.
“What? Why not? It’s worked every day so far.”
He shook his head. “It is not the same lock. Gerald LeMoinette, the Health Inspector, he came by because he heard that I was camped out here to keep vandals away and I have to use the restroom at Johnno’s. He said it’s not safe or sanitary or some such. He changed the locks and will not take them back until there’s a working bathroom.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. “What? How can we make a working bathroom if we can’t get into the building? Did he think of that?”
Silas slowly nodded. “He did think of that. He will give a key only to Calvin so his crew can come in and make the bathrooms work.”
“All of the bathrooms? All of them have to work before he’ll let us back in? I can’t believe it.” I flung my hands up and accidently knocked my coffee mug off the end of the porch. It broke. “Oh no,” I said, “oh no, that was Jim’s favorite mug.” I slid down one of the porch posts, put my face in my hands, and cried. I felt Silas kneel next to me and gather up the shards of mug.
He set them gently on the shelf next to the back door. “I can glue them, Mrs. Rose. It might not hold coffee anymore but you can still think of Mr. Jim when you see it. Maybe it can hold pens on the desk?”
It took me a few minutes but I sat up, wiped my eyes, and said, “Thank you, Silas, that’s very considerate of you.”
Iggy walked across the sand and gravel road, buckling on his tool belt as he came. “Why are you two sitting out here goofing off? Did some fairy godfather come in the night and finish all the work?” He chuckled at his own humor.
I shook my head and opened my mouth but Silas beat me to it. “Gerald from the Health Department came and locked us out yesterday after we quit for the day.”
Iggy’s jaw dropped and his hands fell away from his belt buckle. “What? Why would he do that?”
“Because he heard I am sleeping in the hotel to keep the vandals away and there’s no working, uh, no working, uh…”
“Toilet,” I said, “no working toilet so it’s not fit for human habitation. At least that’s what the sign on the door says.”
Iggy flapped his hand at that. “I don’t care what Gerald’s sign says, unlock the door and let us go to work.”
Silas shook his head. “We can not do that, Uncle Iggy, Gerald changed the locks.”
I never thought that a man whose skin is as dark as Iggy’s is could turn pale but it did. I looked into his eyes and knew I never wanted him to be mad at me.
“Did you unlock the doors for him, boy?”
Silas took a step back and bumped into the edge of the porch. I put my hand up to steady him and give his arm a little squeeze. “I did, Uncle Iggy, I had to. I was just locking up when he drove up and called for me to hold up a minute. Before I knew what was happening he was inside looking around. He took one look at the bathroom in Mrs. Rose’s apartment, well, where it will be, and he snorted. Then he clomped up the stairs to look at the two bathrooms up there. You know that Calvin has only had a chance to put up the sinks in the bedrooms and planned to hook up the water and start getting the bathrooms and the sinks all working proper next week.” Silas held his hands out to his uncle. “I tried to tell him, Uncle Iggy, I tried to tell him that we were all working as fast as we could and that I have keys to Johnno’s so I can use his restroom and shower but he did not listen. He just snarled something about Americans not being so smart. Then he smacked the notices on the doors, jerked the keys out of my hand, took off our locks, and put on his own once he had chivvied me out.”
Iggy had been pacing up and down while Silas told his sad story. “And you did not think to call me or go see Mrs. Rose here when it happened? You let all night go by without telling us? What were you thinking?”
Silas looked like a scolded puppy. “I was thinking that no one could do anything about it until today and there would be no good coming from you storming over to LeMoinette’s and making him even angrier. In that case, there was no reason to ruin Mrs. Rose’s evening or yours. That’s what I was thinking.”
Iggy stared at him for a long moment. “That was good thinking, boy, good thinking.”
“Is there anything I can do?” I asked.
Iggy blinked at me as if he hadn’t noticed me before that instant. “Yes, call Dru Brooks and tell her what happened. Tell her to get Calvin and his crew over here on the double to get a toilet installed and running. You can’t be leaving this place empty.” Iggy and Silas exchanged meaningful glances and then they both looked at the Seaview.
“What?” I asked. “What have I missed? What don’t I know?”
Iggy and Silas looked at each other again. Iggy tugged at the waist of his jeans. “You remember Bo who we think started the fire in the lobby.” I nodded. “Gerald LeMoinette is his uncle. We sicced the police on him…”
I opened my mouth but he put up a hand to stop me.
“And rightly so," he went on," but that doesn’t change the fact that Bo is in trouble because of us, because of you, so his uncle is giving us a bit of trouble back.”
Writing today was a pain. The prompt asked questions about me so I felt like I had to write a memoir piece rather than fiction and I didn't like it. I'll try to do better tomorrow. Tossed another trivia game. Only three more to go.
Today was LC's seventh birthday so I got to Facetime with her this morning to sing her Happy Birthday and just look at her sweet face. OJ popped in to say hi but he was busy playing with his Christmas gifts. I can't wait for the time when we can have a Meemaw day again. I've got a hankering for cornbread cheddar carrot waffles.