Christmas in June

I’m running around like a chicken with my head…well, you get it. The lists are long and getting longer. Just when I think I have it all handled my gestor or my contractor calls and adds more. Appointments are made for me for digital certificates. More appointments for Social Security, or with the ayuntamiento (town hall). Forms and signatures. And more signatures. And then, there is the stuff.

I buy what I can locally, but sadly, much of what I need for the food truck is readily unavailable. And I need it now. That means that Amazon and I are past the friend stage and have moved on to serious dating. In a big way. And I know all the delivery drivers. They have me on speed dial. Driving home from my appointment at the Social Security office in Melide this morning – a cluster of clusters, again, with my strange name – my phone rang. If you think it’s difficult to understand español while standing in a cafe, try doing it with a shouting delivery driver while you are driving. My brain was on the edge of 100% capacity. I didn’t know it but it seems the part of your brain that allows you to drive, and also process language are the same part. And they struggle to do both, simultaneously. The GLS driver (a Spanish delivery service) and I are on a first name basis. And he has delivered so much stuff to our house over the past year that I am in his contacts. Now, with the business, he comes here even more often. He’s in my phone under Delivery Guy, but when he calls he just says ‘This is Miguel’. He has become very considerate of my time. Jeff calls him my boyfriend.

‘Kelli, it’s Miguel.’ Even though I know 20 Miguels, and he probably knows 100. He doesn’t bother to tell me which delivery service he is with. He knows I know. ‘I have two packages for you, but I can’t get them both to you at the usual 2pm delivery. So, I apologize, it won’t be before 6pm.’

Honestly, I had no idea GLS was delivering anything to me today. I don’t really track his SLA, but I suppose it’s good that he thinks I do. Noon. 9pm. Today. Tomorrow. I don’t really care.

‘No problem.’ I told him. ‘We are home all day.’

Then he called me back a little later. ‘I was mistaken. I have three packages for you.’

I swear, nothing beats Spanish logistics.

Miguel is just one of the trucks who will pull in today. So far, this morning we have had five deliveries before lunchtime. Now I realize, as children, why we all loved Christmas so much. And why online shopping is so popular. It’s not really the convenience, or the selection. It’s the dopamine hit my reptilian brain gets when I see a delivery truck pull through the gate and honk. Like Pavlov’s dog, I salivate. Even though most of this stuff is not a gift. I purchased it all myself and I know it’s coming. Jeff is the same way. He comes out of his office every single time to see what came in the truck.

That’s probably why the ice cream man was such a big hit when we were kids. We would hear that creepy carnival organ grinder music coming down the street, the stuff of nightmares, really, and all the kids in the neighborhood would run after it, with a quarter in the pocket of our shorts on a hot summer day. Money we had earned from operating a lemonade stand, or selling dandelion bouquets door to door. I mean, really, who wouldn’t pay 25 cents for a dandelion bouquet from a cute kid with two missing front teeth, messy pigtails, a sea of freckles, and two skinned knees. It worked every time!

I am hoping Miguel has my picnic tables. I wasn’t able to find them locally. Everyone was out of stock. Amazon is saving my bacon on this one.

Crossing the i’s and Dotting the t’s

Because we are foreigners, we need to do everything by the book (legit). I get advice from Spaniards, ‘Don’t worry, Kelli.’ But they can talk their way out of something when authorities come to call asking for this stamped official form. Or that license. But I can’t do that, and not because I am a linguistic infant. It’s because if they are going to try to stop us doing what we want to do with this business or the property, they won’t say they are opposed to us because we are foreigners. That would be discrimination. They will point to some stupid stamp, or form, or licensing shortcut, and they will pin it on that.

My contractor showed up today with one of his tech guys. They are surveying some work they can do without the approvals that seems to be going in perpetual circles. And we talked about this very thing.

‘Gallegos can be jealous people.’ He told me.

I was shocked to hear him say this. ‘Everyone seems very nice, and so helpful.’

‘Of course. There are nice people everywhere. But some people will be nice to your face and then turn their cheek another way. There will be people who will not like that you moved here and opened this business. They will make some trouble for you with the Concello, or the Patrimonio. Maybe they will call the Guardia Civil to ask them to pay you a visit to check all your paperwork is in order. The difficulty for you is that if you were Spanish you wouldn’t need to file half of these forms with the Ayuntamiento. But you have to, because if you don’t someone will point and say you aren’t following all the rules, when no one else follows all the rules. And, sadly, when you file the form it gives the bureaucracy the opportunity to either scrutinize you, slow everything down, or to tell you ‘No’. When, if you never filed they wouldn’t even know you were doing anything. And they wouldn’t care. It’s crazy.’ But he shrugged. ‘Nothing we can do.’

‘But we are generating tax revenue for the Concello and the Xunta de Galicia. That’s a good thing, right?’

‘They don’t care.’

So I spend a fair bit of time on bureaucracy these days. I find if I go to an office with hat in hand (this means with a humble demeanor) that people will usually help me. You have to acquiesce to their authority. There is no other choice. But there are actually people rooting for us.

One of my stops this morning was at our bank. Maria Carmen was happy to see me. She filed paperwork for my bank card machine so I can take cards as payment. It should be ready on Monday.

‘I am bringing my family to your grand opening.’ she smiled. ‘We are looking forward to it!’

2 am Musings

The cardboard was piling up this morning from all the deliveries. I flattened it all out and took it to the can by the gate, when I heard American voices. They greeted me when I said ‘Hello’. And where were they from? Seattle, of course. Well, Maple Valley but I didn’t get that out of them until I told them I was from Seattle and that my mother-in-law lives in Covington. Maple Valley is right next door. They were complimentary about the house and the property. And loved the idea of the food truck.

‘You’ll do well. It’s a beautiful setting and very inviting. We don’t like to go into dark cafes.’

I walked them around a bit and I told them about my idea at 2 am this morning. ‘I think I am going to do a photo booth on the backside. We will stencil some cool Camino stuff back there. Shells, some iconic cities along the way, and other stuff. People can take silly pictures with their Camino family against the backdrop and share them on social media. Tag us on Instagram and Facebook. What do you think?’

They thought that was a great idea. ‘There aren’t photo booths anywhere on the Camino.’

I agreed. Unless someone has done something in the past 60 days that I didn’t see when walking.

We are quickly getting things prepared. And, if the coffee machine comes from Italy as promised by the 25th, we will be ready to open on July 1st. Between now and then I better getting cooking. Jeff will be my culinary guinea pig as I pin down my very simple menu to start. Each night, I am dreaming of working in the food truck and I haven’t even opened yet! Tired but energized when I awaken every morning. With a head full of new ideas. It won’t be long now.

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