I picked up my vejuco bench the other day from Carlos. When I arrived, the family was waiting for me. They asked if I would take their photograph. I was happy to accommodate them and told them I would post it on the Internet. They are a very sweet family and I told Carlos I would give him more work whenever he had the time. While the benches look charming, they are in need of cushions. Now that I have all the pieces, I will have to sew up some seat pads.
Evers and I have been working hard on the bathroom these last few weeks. It's been a long process of remodeling what could hardly be called a bathroom. There was a pila for water that was stained and cracked, a crumbling cement floor, and two toilets that did not flush. Why two toilets almost side by side? Only my great grandfather knows the answer to that question.
We have since poured a new floor, installed ceramic tiles, repaired, and painted the pila, removed one toilet and the remaining one is now flushing. Evers sanded and varnished the cedar walls and trimmed the joints with stained bamboo. This weekend, I had Evers create a cover with bamboo to camouflage the pila. None of us recognize the bathroom anymore.
It is 5am here and I can hear Evers and Vigil stirring in the room next door. Evers will run home for breakfast with his family and return at 7. He is painting the windows this week and staking the tomatoes which are now tall and robust. Vigil, I believe has no home, and I don't ask. He keeps all of his clothing here hanging neatly in a corner and does his laundry on Sundays. He had a family, but they left for the United States and he never heard from them again.
His morning routine is to light the fire outside and cook up a few eggs. He likes to use tons of cooking oil and is forever setting his entire pan on fire. He feeds the animals and gets the drinking water ready for men before leaving for the fields at 7. At 3pm, quitting time, he usually disappears in town before returning in the evening at 7:30.
When I realized he had no home, I made an effort to make him feel like the finca was indeed his home, but had to pull back. Vigil took me quite literally and began helping himself to everything in the kitchen. I would go looking for sugar, salt, or Juana's leftover's and everything would be gone. Batteries, laundry soap, sewing needles, shoe polish, and miscellaneous other items started to disappear like a chapter out of, "The Borrowers."
Juana cooked beans everyday. An entire potful of delicious beans grown here on the finca. While I like beans, I can only eat so many. Every evening, Vigil would come to me and tell me we had to heat the beans or they would go bad, and he would march off to the kitchen and turn on the gas stove. I finally realized that not only was I filling up the gas tank every week, but that the beans were being consumed at a furious pace, and not by me. I told Juana to nix the beans.
I then went out and bought Vigil his own supply of sugar and salt and presented them as a gift. He got the hint and stays out of the kitchen. Things still disappear now and then, but nothing of any consequence that cannot be easily replaced.
Later this morning, I am off to the phone company to have them print out a detailed usage report. My phone bill was $137, more than double the normal monthly rate. I have unlimited Internet and a fixed land-line which I hardly use. Obviously someone has been enjoying it. This afternoon, I will scour the bill and try to figure out who the culprit is. I have moved the phone from living room to my bedroom and locked it. Yes, it comes with a keyed-lock. Maybe that was a clue I should have noticed from the beginning.