A history of beds

As a youngster, I often spent summer weeks at the farm home of my grandmother in southwest Georgia. It would only be the two of us, separated by long decades of life. We slept in the same bedroom on two spindle beds head to head just by an open window that faced the yard, the passing dirt road and, beyond that, a pasture that sloped down to a tree-lined creek a quarter of a mile away, more or less.

There was no air-conditioning, so we depended on the incoming breeze. We would talk a while before dozing away somewhere or another.

Often there were fireflies in the yard.

Decades later, long after my grandmother’s death, I slept on that same spindle bed in Houston. I do not remember how it got from Georgia to Texas, but it did and, after the divorce from my second wife, she sold the bed for some reason known only to her.

The first place I lived after being tossed unceremoniously out into the cold, unloving world, was a small apartment in a downtown Houston high-rise. I left the spindle bed behind and chose instead to use this bed that I had painted.

A happy bed for a sad time.

Painted by me.

The bed of many colors was a double, what we call a matrimonial in Mexico. While they are fairly common below the Rio Bravo, they are far less so up north. That was true even back then in the 1990s.

I left the small apartment after a few months, moving to a much larger place where I still slept in the bed of many colors. And after a year I moved into yet another apartment, and that was when I moved up to a queen bed, leaving the bed of many colors somewhere I do not now remember, but I do know that my daughter has it today in North Georgia unless she got rid of it too. Women do odd stuff.

Queen beds are more spacious than doubles, of course, and I enjoyed the extra room even though I rarely slept with company in that last Texas bed.

On arriving in Mexico, I spent seven months in the capital city in two very different beds. First was a lumpy twin in a room above a garage. The slats collapsed regularly, dumping me onto the floor. Then I moved into a sparsely furnished house that had a brand-new king, my first king ever. I slept like royalty.

Later, on moving to the mountaintop, I bought a double for the rental in which I lived alone for one and a half years. After marrying and moving into the Hacienda, I was back in a queen with my bride. Then, a few years later, we moved up in life and bought a king. That’s the situation today, but overnight guests sleep in the queen that now sits upstairs.

I suspect I’ll die in this king unless I’ve been hauled off to a hospital. I hope not.

Kings are the best, but they’re a bitch to make up in the morning.

Sweeping the roof

roof
Top of the Hacienda. Two chimneys, solar water heater, water tank.

NOBODY SWEPT the roof when I was a child in Jacksonville, Florida, certainly not my father who never showed any interest in home maintenance.

He focused on just three things: whisky, poetry and my mother, not necessarily in that order, but maybe.

It’s a good thing the Florida roof required no maintenance from my father. He likely would have stumbled off anyway. The flat roof was asphalt and gravel.

You don’t put a man focused on whisky and poetry atop a roof with no railings.

Years later, I bought my first house. That was 1986 in Houston, Texas. My second ex-wife still lives there, but let us not digress toward matrimonial horror. The roof was a gritty, sheet material that resembled glorified tar paper.

For mostly the same reasons that my father ignored his roof, I ignored mine, though I never paid attention to poetry.

And now I’m in just the third home of my life that isn’t a rental. The roof is concrete, and it has a gentle incline so it doesn’t collect water in the rainy season.

The only maintenance I give it is a yearly sweep, and I did that today, which inspired this information going your way.

While up there, via the circular staircase, I also wiped down the glass rods on the solar water heater. And I admired the view, which is spectacular, and I took this photo.

The roof is on its own until next year.

Night salads

SOMETIMES it’s good to show one’s human side.

Our evening meal is always a salad. I fix it myself. It’s served about 8 p.m., and we dine upstairs sitting in recliners watching Netflix, recovering from our ever-arduous days.

kit2While making the salads last night, my child bride snapped these two photos with her phone camera. The photos are not very sharp.

But neither am I.

It’s been quite nippy here in the evenings lately, and that’s why I am heavily clothed. We have no central heat. Or central air-conditioning either for that matter. No need.

kitThe flannel pants I am sporting were purchased in Costco, and are adorned with skulls and crossbones. The heavy hoodie was also a Costco buy.

That thing atop my head is an ancient and dreadfully misshapen watch cap. My child bride detests it.

But I never wear it out of the house, and I have a much newer version of the exact same model for social wear. The newer one looks quite smart, I think.

My normal preference for black-and-white photos has been cast aside for obvious reasons. We live in blazing color.

Work and solitude

WHEN WE first wed years back, I was the primary cook and dishwasher. I remain the latter.

But I tapered off on the cooking, mostly due to shiftlessness. It’s not that she took over so much as we just prefer the easy route. Quick stuff, takeout, restaurants, etc.

I used to do other work too. Decorative painting on the Hacienda’s walls. I’ve stopped. Too much effort.

Due to feeling increasing shame recently for my laziness, I’ve begun fixing more meals. I have some old standards. There’s jambalaya and gumbo. Jambalaya is lots easier than gumbo, so gumbo hasn’t returned to our plates just yet.

Maybe it never will. It’s not a quick meal.

I prefer easy fixings. I do a nice 15-minute minestrone. And there’s a pasta dish on which I dump steamed broccoli and garlic. Just today we’ll be having meatballs that I made yesterday in a crockpot.

And I’ve decided to work more in the yard, easy stuff. And wash the Honda more. I’ve been letting carwash guys on the plaza do it because it only costs a bit over two bucks.

Paying anybody to wash the car in these parts from June through October is akin to burning cash since it rains every single day. A clean car lasts about an hour.

But you gotta do something or, come November, you won’t even remember the color of your car.

So I’m working more now. Cooking, gardening, carwashing. It’s good to keep fairly busy, I think.

* * * *

The hermit life

I‘m reading a fascinating book called One Man’s Wilderness: an Alaskan Odyssey. A writer named Sam Keith used the journal of Richard Proenneke to construct the story of a man who moved alone at 51 to the Alaskan wilderness in the 1960s where he erected a cabin and lived solo for 30 years.

Proenneke’s talents with his hands and mind were awesome. He wasn’t an actual hermit because he received occasional guests, which he enjoyed, and, now and then, he returned to the Lower 48 for brief visits with relatives and amigos.

The book spoke to me perhaps more than to most people due to my longstanding hermit inclinations. Were it not for my love of womenfolk, perhaps I would have been a Proenneke. But I would have needed to hone my handyman skills first.

As a youth, I dreamed of living alone in an underground home on the bank sweeping down to the pond among cypress trees that rested on my grandparents’ Georgia farm.

Decades later, my hermit dream was to live in a half-buried school bus in the desert near Big Bend National Park. I read of a woman who did just that. I was flush with envy.

One wonders what a psychiatrist would say about those two dream homes being half buried beneath ground level?

I would have required a hermit woman, but doesn’t that negate the concept of being a hermit?

New ImageI would have cooked her gumbo in the school bus. And I would have washed her dishes. And maybe I’ll fix gumbo at the Hacienda again one day.

One must be kind to women.