homemade pupusas and a jade plant
Monday, May 23 2022
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
Throughout the day, I could feel soreness in my body in my body any time I moved, particularly when I stood up from sitting at my computer. I would walk several steps hunched over until I gradually straightened my spine. This was, of course, all a result of the tiling (and, to some extent, pulling romex cable) I'd done at the cabin over the weekend. That tiling had caused me to go up and down the stairs many dozens of times and had actually put me outside in the sun enough (just from using the tile saw) to get a mild sunburn on my back. Other corporeal debt included dozens of insect bites all over my body (which happened mostly down at the lake on Sunday evening). A number of those bites were now inflamed and itchy. I scratched one of these on my arm so much that by this evening it was bleeding.
Despite the temporary damage working on the cabin does to my body, I enjoy working on something that is so new and so not funky and degraded. The house we spend most of our time in here in Hurley, by contrast, can be genuinely depressing in its clutter and decrepitude (and it's only 28 years old). There's the issue with the roof that we've decided to have a roofer deal with, and today I found a new problem: the bottom of the door jamb (the sill) between the dining room and the east deck is flexing a lot when I step on it, suggesting the structure beneath it has rotted away. There's also a little rot at the bottom of the casing on the west side (though on the east side it's all still sound). This was, it bears mentioning, a door that I installed in place of a window back in 2003. At the time, I also installed a little bridge deck connecting to the east deck. Evidently rainwater hitting that deck (most of which is intercepted by a system of gutters) has enough propensity to run under the door sill to cause rot (there had been some caulk there, but that appears to have delaminated and fallen away). At some point I'm going to have to tear the sill out and rebuild the rotten structure. It wouldn't be a big deal if I was as underutilized I was back in, say, 2006. But who knows when I'll be able to get to it?
After not getting all the much done in the remote workplace, I took my customary Monday evening bath, which was just what the doctor ordered for my little cabin-related injuries.
When I got out of the tub, I found Gretchen making pupusas. Yesterday she'd made curtido and this evening she'd mixed up some black-bean-based glurp and made balls of corn meal ("masa"). I jumped in to help, and before long we had a good number of them, all stuffed with the bean glurp and a small amount of vegan cheese. Fried on the stove, the pupusas were delicious. They weren't as physically perfect as pupusas from our local pupuseria (where we pretty much stopped going after we became vegans), and Gretchen kept finding things she didn't like about them. But they (and the curtido) scratched an itched I hadn't had scratched in a very long time. We ate out on the east deck and I ate four of them (at the pupuseria in Kingston, I always used to order five).
My old boss Alex, the guy who is moving to the eastern shore of Virginia, came by this evening with his wife (and good friend of Gretchen's) Celia to drop off a bunch of things they won't be moving to Virginia and to also pick up Alex's canoe, which I said I'd keep for him after he moved from Tivoli to the Rondout in Kingston more than a year ago (and never once moved from where he put it on the ground north of the house). Alex arrived in a Mazda, which lacked any sort of strap hooks in the front, so we were forced to strap down the front of the canoe imperfectly by running a strap through the cab from driver's side to passenger's side. (I consider it automotive manufacturing malpractice not to include strap loops under the front and back of a vehicle; adding them costs nothing and greatly increases cargo hauling flexibility.)
Alex also expected to find the paddles for the canoe, but since he'd placed them in the garage, I hadn't realized they were his. So I'd taken them to the cabin. Oh well!
Among the things Alex and Celia gave to us were two ripe avocados, some vine tomatoes, a great many small packages of spicy pistachios, some florally-decorated kitchenware, and a large jade plant.
After loading the canoe, Alex and I joined Celia and Gretchen out on the east deck, where we spent a fairly long time discussing the death and recent funeral of one of Alex's friends, who had just died of a rare brain tumor. This got us talking about who exactly should officiate at a funeral. Celia said she'd want someone close enough to know her and about her life, but not so close that the person was would be personally devastated. That would eliminate Alex, but then who would it be? Gretchen said she'd be willing to do it, assuming she doesn't die first. "You could pre-record it and appear as a hologram," I suggested. We then had a good chuckle riffing on holographic funeral officants, and the difficult-to-avoid selfishness of anyone giving a speech about someone else. I imagined a holographic officiant beginning his or her speech by saying, "If I am here in holographic form, that means I myself have already died. But enough about me!"
Meanwhile Powerful was off somewhere in Kingston meeting up with "a friend," as he put it to Gretchen.
I ended up sleeping in the greenhouse tonight mostly just to get away from Oscar the Cat, who builds up neediness whenever I'm away at the cabin for the weekend.
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