The fur is flying in Madrid. On the streets, in the shopping mall – it is all around us. Full length, mid-thigh and bolero. Fox, rabbit, mink, chinchilla and something Thing 2 thought was lion (?). Whatever. This princess forgot to retrieve hers from the furrier so us rubes are wearing Polar Tec, North Face, and Land’s End parkas, which is like tattooing “American Citizen” on our foreheads and causes the natives to sneer. The sky is blue and the air is freezing.
Moving, college applications, holidays, and birthdays – my readers must think by my long absence I have transitioned through several levels of hell. Not so. But it is true that I have not been able to think clearly, at least not clearly enough to write something coherent. I am not going to claim that this post rises to that standard but at least I’ve posted.
With every move, there are casualties. Currently, I am ever so slightly obsessed with the loss of my right arm, my iPhone. Lost between 5 – 8 p.m. last Thursday, it was either left on a bench at the sports club or in the mire that is my house. It did not go down a toilet like the one I “lost” during my move from the “Glama Villas” compound to the “Jewel Box” in Shanghai, China. I am hoping that a laundry basket full of silver that I hid in the attic of the “Sh*t Box” (Madrid, Spain) before leaving for the Christmas holidays was carried over carefully by the movers and is somewhere in the basement. Missing in action is also the GPS for the car (also hidden?). And where are my patent leather black boots, custom made in Shanghai?
This time, with the additional joy of more space, Mr. Understanding and I are determined to put everything away in its correct place in the Pink Palace. The walls are made of plaster board but we hope it holds together until we leave Spain. (When Thing 1 slams her bedroom door, the adjoining wall in the master bedroom shudders.) The Pink Palace is in a great neighborhood, close to the school, close to the city, with lots of light, four flights of stairs, and a swimming puddle. The kids get on the bus a full 35 minutes later than at the old house. We are happy to be rid of the Sh*t Box with its ball stealing neighbors, a landlady with an unparalled pair of cojones, and its myriad electrical and household problems. Oh, and the ghost who locked me in my bedroom.
It occurred to me this summer that, perhaps, our landlord’s reluctance to install an upgraded security system after we had been robbed was not about me. “An alarm would not be good for the house,” she said to me. This was the final sticking point. She asked us to pay half of the costs for the new equipment and installation, costs which we were unwilling to pay as it was not our house. At the last minute, she agreed to pay it (this was in October) but we had been chiseled enough during four months of negotiations and said thanks, but no. Now, many people would say to themselves, “It will cost me much more to move than 1,00 euros so I’ll just stay.” They would be right on a financial level.
We are going to have to pay a lot to repaint the old house. We already paid a lot for retoques even though we left the house in pristine condition. The Ikea coffers are full due to an outlay for bookcases, plastic boxes, and other storage containers. There are the lawyer fees for changing all the licenses, etc. Not to mention the movers and all the items lost, stolen, or broken. Singlehandedly we have contributed significantly to the Spanish economy.
But I have the satisfaction of knowing, thus far, that our former landlord will miss at least a month’s rent. It will have cost her something too. Perhaps the next time she has a tenant, she’ll be a little more accomodating. Maybe her next tenants will be welcomed with open arms and a softened demeanor. Maybe she will not have a tenant for a year or so and the loss of income will grab her attention. Justice is divine and only the Lord knows how this will play out for her. Me, my conscience is clear as a bell.
In the meantime, the kids are alright, Mr. Understanding has his own little room to play his guitar in along with a new space heater, and me, I have peace of mind. Priceless! Now if I could only find my iPhone ….
HAPPY 40TH BIRTHDAY TO MRS. NATO, THE BEST PART OF LIVING IN MONTECARLO! MAY HER HUSBAND RETURN SAFELY IN A YEAR’S TIME, MAY SHE HAVE A NEW BEST FRIEND, AND MAY HER BOYS COVER HER IN KISSES.