Saturday, April 25, 2009

How I spent Easter...aka: the Resurrection

This is something that I wrote on Easter but couldn't post because I was unplugged. Happy Easter...a little late.


Easter morning. A text message from David with wishes for a Happy Easter. Doggies waiting to go outside.

On the way to the terraces for the morning run (the dogs, not me), I turn the handle on the big blue container that holds our water supply to refill it. Nothing. No beautiful tinkling of water dripping in.

Up at the terraces I check the first stop on the water's journey to our tubes, a cement "vasca". Nothing. The vasca is empty.

This is bad news. It means one of several things, none of which are particularly nice: 1. someone has diverted the water going into this vasca into their own vasca, 2. there is NO water to fill the vasca, or 3. the tube from the spring to the vasca is plugged. Whilst the 3rd situation is not a pleasant one, it's the best of the three. With a little work I can get the water running again in situation 3, with the other two I'm either 1. arguing with neighbors (again) or 2. am screwed.

I walk up to the terrace where the spring is. Although it's in the middle of a gorgeous area - green, mountainous, wildflowers, etc, - it's not an enjoyable walk. The land belongs to a neighbor, who we will call Luigi for the sake of this story since I am now going to totally slam this man.

The guy is the walking, talking figure of white trash. No, that's not quite right because HE always looks great - clean and pressed clothes, not a hair out of place, never in need of a shave. He keeps his land, however, in quite a different way.

Imagine old appliances rusting away outside the structure that could be called his house but it also serves as the chicken coop and the stalls for the goats and sheep.

Ever smelled a chicken coop?

Lying among the rusting fridges and extra bathroom sinks in the yard are piles, no, MOUNTAINS, of yesterday's spaghetti, stale and molding bread, and bones from the last animal who lost his life to feed Luigi and his family.

As I was saying, I have to pass through a bit of Luigi's land to get to the spring. First I encounter the smell. I hold my breath and go forward. In recent years Luigi has been taken ill - not so ill that he wants to give up his chickens but not well enough to tend to all the land that he could at another time in his life. So after the smell accosts me, I have to pass through a tent which housed the "greens" that Luigi once sold to the flower industry. Now it's overgrown with brambles and cane, the net ceiling is caving under the weight of the branches and leaves that are collecting in tons on its roof.

Surviving the smell and the brambles I get to the other side of the tent. Almost there now! The ground is pure mud from the water that is not going in the tube down to my house. Pure mud except for more stale, moldy bread that Luigi has left for...well, I don't know what animals he's left that for. I'm pretty sure his chickens can't make it down there through the brambles.

Good news. There is water and no one is redirecting it. We've got a plugged tube.

Armed with a shovel and pitch fork, I go at digging the tube out of the mud canal that it's embedded in. NO movement. NO water is going through this thing.

I shove a stick down in to it to see how far down the blockage is. Two foot stick isn't long enough. 4 foot stick doesn't do the trick either. Luckily I'm surrounded by 12 foot cane. Unfortunately the bramble have grown, twisted, woven their way through all the cane and is starting to wind around my legs and stick in my hair. After about 15 minutes, 20 curse words, and body full of scratches, I liberate a 10 foot cane.

Down the tube it goes. I hit the block at about 8 feet. I keep pushing. All 10 feet are in the tube now. I've managed to push the blockage further in the tube, without freeing it up. Perfect. I pull out the cane, swear some more and begin to analyze the situation.

I need something longer than the cane that are available. Do we have a snake - of course I don't mean the kind with fangs that bites you but rather the metal kind that you keep for plumbing emergencies. No. And what would that help anyway - I don't have a stopped up sink. Could I dump some Drain-o down the tube? Probably not a good idea since I'm hoping this water will arrive through my taps pretty soon. I could cut the tube where I think the blockage is. Yeah right! With what am I going to cut this 6 inching tube of hard plastic? The kitchen scissors? The chain saw?

My phone rings. "Happy Easter, Honey!" says a perky David. Standing up to my knees in mud, surrounded by moldy old bread and with brambles stuck in my hair, facing the prospect of no water, I'm not feel quite so perky myself. I explain the situation, in not the nicest tone and ask for any ideas.

"Call Augusto".

Great. As if I hadn't thought of that myself. Just what I want to do on Easter morning is pull our friend from his family gathering to stand in the mud and brambles and moldy bread so he can help me.

"I have to hang up now because I'm approaching a place with my emotions that will not be good for you if we stay on this line." Through a couple of tears I add, "I'll call you later."

Then I start digging in the mud around the tube. I have no idea why. The problem is the mud INSIDE the tube, not the stuff outside. I dig and dig and cuss some more, dig and dig, working myself up into a frenetic panic until I stop with exhaustion.

I stop, breathing heavily, leaning on my shovel, when I see it through some tears swelling in my eyes. A small tube hanging through the brambles and cane, coming quite literally to me, from above.

I undig the big tube that I had just buried in the mud, twisting it toward the little tube that came from above with the excitement of long awaited foreplay promising to lead to an orgasmic connection of the two tubes.

I get the little tube in the big tube. I push and push, pull more little tube from above and push it further into the big tube. It goes WAY in. I push one last energetic thrust and, with this, the big tube got what it needed. It gurgles and groans and then the running. Quickly disengaging the tubes I put the big one down in the spring's pool (puddle, actually) and watch.

Sure enough that water is going in the tube. I make my way back through the brambles, bread, cane and tent to the first stop vasca.

I hear the beautiful sound of water running and falling into the tub.

Resurrection. Happy Easter.

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