Been too busy to write. I figured if I was being forced to do all the yard work due to the storm damage I might as well go ahead and get a fall garden started … well late summer garden … whatever.
Promptly in the first week of August I planted pole beans, sweet corn, okra, black eyed peas, squash, watermelon, broccoli, lima beans, cucumbers, and late tomatoes. Heat has been so bad I had to hang burlap to shade the seedlings or risk them shriveling up as soon as they popped out of the ground. At least we now have power, although it continues to be sporadic since they basically just put bandaids on the worst of it until they can put in more permanent fixes. There is a new excuse every day; the latest one is that the parts that were ordered from overseas turned out to be wrong or something so now the process starts all over again.
About the only thing in the produce markets these days that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg is local tropical fruit but a lot of people have forgotten how to use them, or didn’t realize they were edible to begin with. You’d think with things being as they are people would be more willing to get outside their comfort zone and try something new, or at least new to them. Soursop, sweetsop, atemoya, karanda, kei-apple, langan, pineapple guava, governor’s plum, imbe, acerola, mango, sapodilla, prickly pear, avocado, strawberry guava, guava, pomegranate, downy myrtle, muscadine grapes, pineapple, papaya, calamondin, lemon, Persian limes, carambola, fig, passion fruit, pear, Surinam cherry; I’m just thankful that we’ve got it to use even if some of it does look a little like something a Martian might enjoy. The price of groceries is getting outrageous. No, they’ve been outrageous for a while, now they’re … they’re … well, not even sure there is a word in Papa’s thesaurus that fits the way things are right now. It’s even caused rioting in some places. Not around here, the stuff coming in at the Port kinda keeps things from completely falling apart. But Chicago and LA have only been saved by the fact that school has started back up. Now that’s scary. Of course what is happening closer to home is scary too.
Sorry for the smudged page, thought I heard someone on the porch but it was Cal up prowling around again out in the Florida room. I don’t know if it is that his days and nights are mixed up, or he’s still getting used to living in the house, or if the dead stranger down the road is still weighing on his mind; or maybe it was the conversation he had with his oldest brother. No matter what it is it seems to be dragging him down.
He sold the trailer. He got a good price for it too; some cash which he has insisted on adding to the household money as “rent” though I swear it makes me want to kick him in the ankle every time he brings it up, and some equipment in trade. Some guy in the gated community down the road walked over to talk to Cal the other day. Turns out he’d had enough of the Florida life and was moving back to Maine, wanted to know if Cal would sell him the trailer. He wasn’t interested until the guy was ready to up the cash and throw in a solar set up he’d never bothered installing after the HOA nixed placing anything on his roof.
Cal and I had a long talk about it. We both know that we’ve crossed some kind of indefinable line. We’re family. We’re friends. I honestly can’t imagine surviving this past year without his support. But when we started this whole “survivalist” thing it was with the idea that Lily would be coming out and we’d be one, great big happy pod of people … like Feena would have three parents or something; kinda like I had growing up to a certain extent. But with Lily out of the picture but not quite gone and Daniel’s ghost still haunting me on occasion I’m not sure either of us were eager to be forced into redefining what the future was going to be.
I’m not going to repeat word for word what all was said. Bottom line is this is my home, but it is Cal’s too, just like it has been home to various members of my family, from blood kin to marriage to adoption, since the land was first cleared back in the 1800s. If at some point in the future either one of us does – and here we both shuddered like a goose had walked over our graves – does wind up finding another significant other then this would be their home as well or we would be free to once again redefine our living arrangements.
OK, as a solution it isn’t perfect, there is potential for problems, and people might get the wrong idea on occasion but lots of people are having to go back to the old-fashioned way of families doubling up to make ends meet. Look at Dorrie’s family. Four generations, some of them blood, some halves, some steps, all under one roof making it work because they need to. If the menagerie works for Dorrie, then Cal and I can make it work.
Actually after learning that the body I found is still unidentified but more than likely belonged to a looter – the body had bullets in it so it is a toss-up whether he bled out or drowned first – and because there have been a lot of mysterious lights on the river and coming close to shore, it doesn’t hurt my feelings any to know that Cal is closer.
About half the houses in the gated community are now empty. There had already been a few due to foreclosures but some of the homes are just in too much disrepair and the fire marshal won’t release their hold preventing the electric company reinstalling the wires to the house until all of the code inspections have passed. I don’t know where all the former residents have gone. I walked over there one day only to find that some of the places are now deemed “hazardous to human habitation” due to things like black mold or vandalization. The entire neighborhood has a really creepy feeling to it and Cal asked me not to go back alone anymore. He also told me there have been several domestic calls in the area and he’s heard that one guy in particular is on the raw edge.
He must have seen my face and realized I was thinking about Daniel. “I didn’t mean to bring it up but at least you have some idea of what I’m talking about.”
“Sure. And I’d rather know than not. My Pollyanna days are long over.”
He nodded and went back to his brooding. He’d called his brother just to give him a status update that all was well, yada, yada. His brother then just flat out told him that he needed to make some other plans if he had imagined being able to come to him if his life fell apart here in Florida. Said he’d seen the pictures and it looked like a war zone in some areas and he just couldn’t afford to invite that kind of thing into his home.
“I never planned on coming out to your place without an invitation but I wasn’t holding my breath Gary. I’ve yet to get an invitation to even visit from any of you. I get I’m on my own and I got it a long time ago.”
And then unbelievably you could hear the relieved smile in Cal’s brother’s voice. “Oh? Well … well good. I hadn’t known how to tell you, you’re my little brother after all. It’s a relief to get it out in the open. The others feel the same and they’ll be happy you’ve finally grown up. So, how’s the job going? Made detective yet?”
Talk about thoughtless and out of touch with reality. And it didn’t help that he’d asked about Cal’s work. He’s heard through the grapevine – whether he wanted to or not - that Percival Perfect and Lily are still hot and heavy. PP thinks that Lily is his upwardly mobile ticket to the big leagues. Lily … well I’ve given up trying to guess what Lily is thinking. But to make himself look better PP has used innuendo to blacken Cal’s reputation. That’s going to be a lot of political compost to overcome if he does decide to pursue being a detective.
Cal is thinking seriously about considering other career options but all he has ever been is a cop, all he ever wanted to be was a cop, and with the economy being what it is he feels stuck.
I’m feeling moments of panic myself. The support and benefits checks were almost a week late this month. They said it is because of the hurricane but still, it gave me pause. I’ve got enough in savings to pay the taxes on this place for a couple of years and I intend to keep it that way but any time a major repair comes up … like the septic system I had to replace … it eats into my savings and it seems to take twice as long to get the money back in to the account. Just writing about it is making me itch.
I think I’ll go downstairs and see if Cal wants to watch something completely mindless on the blue ray. I’m just tired of thinking and worrying for a while.