Slowly but surely, I am wrapping up painting the upstairs. It’s funny how a coat of paint can change the feel of a house. Suddenly, we don’t feel like we are living in someone else’s home. The energy has completely changed. Even down to our new mailbox.
Since moving here, we have encountered mucho delivery hiccups. This is due to many things, not the least of which is the fact that we have anywhere from 10-15 different delivery companies, Correos (the mail service), Correos Express, and taxis delivering our online orders. No kidding. Taxis deliver our last-mile Amazon packages with some frequency. And we order a lot of stuff, because we are outfitting a farm and a larger home. But there are times when they cannot find our home after calling or WhatsApping, asking me for gps coordinates. Suer is the worst. They change our town from Palas de Rei to Areixo in their system automatically. And they won’t allow us to fix it. My Thai red chili paste took two weeks. The package was destroyed when it arrived. Whenever we know Suer is delivering a package here it will always be a problem.
So I decided to make our mailbox – where the address is located – and our house number, unforgettable. Sure, our weird hyphenated name is already a head-scratcher. I would have thought that would be enough. But my newly painted mailbox should seal the deal. Meet Señor Búho – or Mr Owl. In honor of Emilie, who loved owls as a little girl. The owl represents knowledge, and was the familiar of Athena. She is goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, strategic warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. All things I need these days to open my business. Athena sprang from Zeus, after a blinding headache. Seems appropriate. Now, when they ask me which house it is I can tell them it’s the white house on the right. The one with the owl mailbox. Jeff had me make the house number twice as big and bold as I originally planned. So no one would miss it. You can tell I’m leaning in hard to this Strange Americans thing. What do they say in show biz? The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about. I figure the delivery drivers and taxi drivers can have fun with it. And they won’t soon forget our house.
We have stared getting the garden area ready for winter, in anticipation of Spring planting. It’s an area 160ft long and 45ft wide. Surrounded by an 8ft metal fence and a cement barrier a foot below the surface. To keep critters, both big and small, out. We had heard the previous owners kept pigs and hunting dogs. The grass was very high in there and we got here too late in the Spring to plant anything. So we just left it. And we couldn’t get the gates open as the grass and weeds were too high.
This was fine by me. It needed work and we had other priorities. And it has some sheds in there. Creepy looking sheds with holes at the bottom. One was supposedly where butchering and jamón smoking took place. I wanted to be the one to open those doors, not at all. But, suddenly it’s Fall and we want to grow a garden next year. And I also needed a greenhouse during winter inside the fence for my citrus, olives and pomegranate. They would not survive a Galician winter.
So Jeff got out the weed wacker and cleared the gate area. Then he tackled the beds. And he opened the first shed. This is one where he will replace the roof with clear plastic roofing so I can use it as a potting shed. But it seems it wasn’t used for dogs or pigs. We have a chicken coop!
Clearly, it wasn’t a large egg laying operation, and now this shed doesn’t seems as creepy as before. But there will be no chicken eggs. I’m allergic.
Jeff put up the new greenhouse, while I used our tractor picker-upper attachment (a technical term) to collect chestnuts and leaves. Then we moved all our vulnerable plants that were happy in Valencia heat, into the greenhouse. Although, I think my trees have done much better here than on our balcony in Benimachlet. The air here is cleaner.
I walked to the industrial area to pick up our car today, after hearing nothing about the progress of the hitch installation last evening and messaging them several times. Communication isn’t our new mechanic’s strong suit. When I got there it still wasn’t done. ‘Dos horas mas.’
Ugh. There were no cafe’s in the industrial park. Which is crazy because there are cafes everywhere, including the local Tanatorio (funeral home), and people go there for coffee or a beer. It freaks me out. I try to avoid having drinks with death, if I can help it. So I had two hours to kill – pardon the pun – until the hitch was done. I walked into Melide, learned our bank no longer has a branch in town, toured the tractor dealership and met the wife (yes, I’m that person now, too), and got a coffee (not at the Tanatorio).
Finally, I took a taxi back to the mechanic, picked up the car and called Jeff from the car, sure he was worried about me because I had been gone so long. But no. He was not interested in my goings on. ‘I have news! Better news than the hitch being finished.’ That’s simply not possible, but I listened. ‘The trap caught a mouse in the barn!!’ He was ecstatic. ‘I told you it would work!’
I could have been injured, laying bleeding on the side of the road. Would he have come looking for me after three hours? Only to tell me about his mousetrap.
‘Well, congratulations. But you can forget about getting my winnings back. I just spent it on the hitch.’
Jeff is up in his office as we speak, shopping for utility trailers. Ironically, we have no outstanding Amazon or Leroy Merlin orders to be delivered. So Señor Búho the mailbox will have to wait to make his impression upon his first delivery driver. But I feel sure our local mail carrier will get a kick out of it. And Marie Carmen is like a blood hound. She sees all and will be over to check it out very soon. So it should be a fun weekend.