Saturday, October 26, 2019
Woke up in my own bed this morning, Em-dash and Stet wheezing on top of me, Cliff still dead to the world. Had one brilliant moment when I thought all was back to normal, and I could pad upstairs to do yoga. This illusion was shattered by a piercing shreik and the thunder of feet on the stairs. The cats peeled off so fast they left claw marks on my tummy through the sheets, and Barsook, from the first floor, launched into his "fire! theft! murder! alarm!" barking.
We came home to not five, but seven house guests. Dolores and Flaco invited their cousins, Cintio and Zuza, to come stay. When we walked in the back door at midnight, stressed from the 20 hour trip back from Italy (not counting the eight hours it took to reach Pisa, manuvering through a trucking strike that blocked the highways) I blew up. Uncharacteristic for a repressed New Englander but heavens, what a mess! Flaco and and Cintio were drinking and playing guitar on the porch, Zuza and Dolores were cleaning up a massive mess in the kitchen from what had apparently been a dinner for 20 or so Latin American friends from the Smithsonian and the OAS. Evita was trying to get Juan Pablo and Chevre to bed, with notable lack of success. And worst of all, they had LET THE CATS OUT. Fortunately Em-dash, once out, succumbed to the inevitable feline desire to be on the other side of the door, and was howling on the back stoop. After a short, frantic search, we found Stet under the neighbor's car. Dolores thinks I am insane for insisting they are indoor pets (what a concept!) It was 2 a.m. before everything calmed down and we got to bed. Zuza and Cintio are sleeping on the couches downstairs, for now. I couldn't very well toss them out in the middle of the night with nowhere to go. They intend to stay for two more weeks--but I insist, not here! Today we will explore options.
To make things worse, I think Cliff is coming down with what Gilles had in Pizano. Though that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. My last anguished radio broadcast to the embassy on Wednesday night, telling them they might have a dead American on their hands (ok, so I exaggerated a little) provoked an entirely satisfactory response. The next morning, we were waked by a clattering roar, and ran outside to the inprobably sight of a U.S. army humvee trundling through the Villa gates. I would have sworn you couldn't get one of those behemoths down the road to Crespine as narrow as the track is, in places, between overhanging trees. On the trip out that puzzle was explained--the driver simply went off road into the vineyards or olive groves when she had to. I feel guilty about this--poor Simonetta! She lends me her radio and this is the destruction she gets in return.
Even the army couldn't make getting to Pisa through the trucking strike any faster, but the very, very nice (and well dressed) Mr. Amistead from the embassy did a bang up job getting us all through the health authorities, customs and security and onto a plane bound for JFK with minimum fuss. They even had a doctor waiting to check on Gilles (and it was not ReDS, just a very bad case of pneumonia) and put him on an immediate course of antibiotics. The steward (once assured that Gilles was ReDS free) made an enormous fuss over him the whole flight, plying him with tea and hot soup. Well, Gilles is very cute, in a Byronic way. Chris was getting irritated and started to snipe, but I kicked the back of his seat, and reminded him, in a fierce whisper, that this was a useful flirtation.
No rest today. Besides settling where Cintio and Zuza are going to stay, I have to go check on Tenciero and Iphan at the bakery. Dolores reassured me that everything seemed to be going well, so I am cautiously optimistic. And at least the tilapia didn't die this time, the last straw would have been coming home to a basement full of rotting fish...