A Relationship Forged in the Fires of Hell

We have twelve days until the movers arrive on the morning of the 26th, to pack us up, and head out. Suddenly, what seemed like an eternity feels more like we’re caught a bit short for time. Strapping on the track shoes is the only solution.

Originally, we had the move set for the 16th. But I have some tests that needed to be done and the results are still undetermined. So I wanted to give myself an extra week, in case they decided they wanted to do something before we left for good. Sure, I’ll be coming back here monthly in the near term to keep up my treatment, but eventually we will transfer everything up to Galicia. Likely, either Santiago or Lugo.

In preparation for the move, and since it’s the anniversary of our annual physicals and dental check ups, I scheduled a bunch of appointments – for el Jefe. And you know how much he likes going to a Dr? Well, as much as an actual dental appointment. He hates it. And he kind of hates me for pushing him to do it. I have reminded him, over and over, that as a man who loves data it boggles my mind that he doesn’t enjoy data about his own state of physical health.

On the morning we signed at the notaria, we had to go to a Dr appointment and we were running a bit late. He blamed it on over scheduling. I blamed it on the fact that he walks as slow as an angry toddler past naptime. We arrived at the notaria flustered and sweaty. We hadn’t eaten. It would not get better until food passed our lips. We had had words on the way. A lot of words.

Once at the office, we were ushered into the conference room. Notarias are the busiest places in Spain. Not that there are thousands of people in the offices. But that everyone is walking and talking very, very fast. The energy is a 20 on a scale from 1-10. It’s like any office I ever worked in in the US. I love it! Jeff? Yeah. Not so much. Normally, at the notaria they offer you a beverage. In COVID times the notaria sits behind a glass screen and shouts at you so he can be heard through, not one but two, N95 masks. But before we got to the shouting part, they were preparing all the paperwork. The assistant came in periodically, peppering us with seemingly random, incongruent, questions.

She barged in the first time, startling us in the cold, simmering silence that was sitting between us after my morning of dragging Jeff from one appointment to the next.

‘Where were you married?’ she asked cheerfully.

I forgot, in that moment, no one in Spain gets my sense of humor.

‘In the fires of hell.’ I told her.

I could hear Jeff exhale under his mask.

‘No, honey.’ he scolded. ‘She doesn’t mean where you were hatched.’ Then, he told her where we were married, and she literally ran off. ‘Do you think they understand where Lake Curt is?’

It’s the mythical house of a friend of ours who hosted our wedding. So, now I’m pretty sure our contract is invalid. Ugh.

But I got my licks in. Yes, Jeff’s physical check up numbers came back the best they have since I’ve known him. His cholesterol and all the other markers are amazing. No high blood pressure. That’s gone, too. He’s finally decided he’s not 15 anymore, and has given up his Software Engineer diet of Coke, Cup-o-noodles & potato chips, and embraced the full Spanish lifestyle. He eats olives like chips now. And it’s clearly working. I know he wanted to rub it in my face at the Drs office but he knows the reason for those number. My nagging. He also knows what my health has been this year, so he held off. The Dr told him ‘Whatever you are doing, keep doing it.’ So the nagging will continue, unabated.

But then he had to go to the dentist. My lovely dentist down the street. We will be flying to Valencia to see her twice a year for our check ups. A filling is €40. Sofia loves our sense of adventure. ‘Only Americans!’ she told me when I told her about the farm and our plans. She has assured us that she and her family will be our first guests when we open our Albergue something or other. But, she had to deliver bad news to Jeff. He will be having a tooth pulled before we head out the door. What is an angry bear like, with a sore tooth? Yeah. Just like that.

Every day now is filled to the brim with this and that. I’m dreaming of the new house, and all the things I’ll be doing to it. And walking in bare feet, maskless, across the grass. What is Jeff dreaming of? ‘You’ll find me out in the barn.’ Mr. Grumpy told me. And that pretty much sums up where we’re at in this pandemic. Twelve days. Just twelve days to go.

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