Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011: Badajoz

Monticello, Florida
I woke up yesterday, July 4th not feeling my best.  I had some mild stomach issues, but what is new.  But since I had over done it the day before, I decided to  take yet another day resting and sitting.  I don't get much accomplished, but isn't that the point?  It does drive me crazy though.  I mean if I could post on this blog, or finish transcribing my notes, finish cleaning up the scripts, finish writing another commercial, then I would feel better.   It is hard for me to even understand, but I am too worn out to even do those things.   

I was going to go with Jack and Jan to see the fireworks at the old high school stadium, but by the time to go, my stomach issues had grown considerably, and even though I got dressed and walked out to the car, before I could get to the end of the drive, I had to run back in the house.  I tried a second time, then just gave up and called Jan with my regrets.  I love the fireworks.  I love holidays and celebrations.  I love doing things with my friends, and Jack and Jan and I could have simply walked over to the stadium, or maybe just sit in their front yard, something.  But I was unable to even make the drive.  I saw Jack today and asked him how the fireworks were and he said they had taken lawn chairs out to the front yard, and in between them and the fireworks was the largest tree in Jefferson County, so they could not see.   I am sorry that they missed them also, but I am glad that I stayed home since my stomach did continue to give me trouble, and so it simply would not have worked out.  

I woke this morning with stomach issues.  I am on the stronger chemo full time now, and I am sure that I will adjust soon.  But between tiring myself out with the trip and going on the higher concentration, I really should not be surprised.  I will go to the board meeting for the Stage Company tonight, but I think I will have to skip rehearsal.  I have ordered the xylophone and music box I need for sound effects, and I will go over my scripts and make my lists of what we need to get still instead of trying to sit through rehearsal and not getting home until  late.  I tried to prepare myself for going by not eating earlier today.  I managed to get my errands run, script copied, meds picked up, etc.  Then I came home and ate something, and well, my stomach is not happy again.  The board meeting is close to a bathroom, so that will be ok, and then I can come home and hopefully get to bed early.

When I last left off from my regular vacation postings we were in Badajoz.  I pick up where I left off with our trip from Badajoz to Barcarrota:

Luis drove Dad and I to Barcarrota after breakfast this morning.  As we left Badajoz, we drove past Josafina’s school so that we could get one more hug before we left.   I was wearing the lovely cotton shawl that Josafina had given to me.  We each had tears in our eyes, but smiles on our faces and we hugged tight.  Hasta la pronto!  (See you soon)

We passed fields of corn, sunflower, grape, tomatoes and behind every casa there was a nice size veggie garden.  There were groves of olive, orange, fig and oak.  The Oak trees are grown for their acorns which are fed to the pigs to make a very special acorn flavor jamon and a acorn liquor that is very similar to Amaretto, but not as thick or sweet.  There are still a few cork groves, but not as many as there used to be.  The cork trees are protected and can not be dug up, but they are not replaced  when one is lost.  Barcarrota is at the top of the hills and it is a beautiful drive.  

We will be staying in Teresa’s (Mata) family home.  Teresa is 4th generation Pharmacist in Barcarrota.  She has 3 sons are each pharmacist.  Two of them work at the family pharmacist, another works as a pharmacist technician and a daughter-in-law.  Danny, the third certified pharmacy son teaches science and religion at the Secondary school in town.

The street in front of Paco y Teresa's house.  Typical for all the roads in Barcarrota, if not a little wider then normal.  It is just about a regular sized car and a half wide.

 Standing in the front door looking back down the hallway of "Bob's Casa"

 Some of the details in the house

The tile in the hallway

Paco (Sanchez) was the town doctor for years.  He has been retired for as long as I have known him.  They brought in 3 doctors and built a small hospital in town now.

Paco and teresa met us at the house and took us over to “Bob’s casa”.   They said something about  eating.  I do know comair, and they mentioned siesta.  After we got settled in we had lunch over in Paco's house.   Paco and Teresa brought out potato chips, new cheese and  anchovy stuffed olives.  Paco had bought 2 bottles of wine, one red, one rose to show me what he had bought for me.  It broke my heart to tell him I could not drink on my chemo.  But he understood, having had to give up his beloved cigars after a heart attack and stroke.

Next up was fried cheese and our schedule.  Yes, a very organized printed out spreadsheet with our schedule.  We would have breakfast each morning with Paco and Teresa, but lunch and dinner had been divided up amongst some of our closest friends, and there would be a banquet at Playa de Maya our last night, so everyone could attend who wasn’t able to spend time with us earlier.  And on Friday was a little ceremony at the library.  Not only would each couple feed us either lunch or supper, but they divided up the tours so each person got to show us something in or around town.

Davey came in to say hello.  Paco and Teresa have seven sons.  Davey speaks a very few words of English, and my few words of Spanish were enough to get us through, sort of.  I  misunderstood about half of what I heard,  mostly about time.  I was never sure which time we were supposed to anticipate things.  They would always give me 3 or 4 times with a brief description in between.  I understood the time, but I did not get all the descriptions some of the times.

Now that we have had the "appetizers"  it was time for lunch proper.  First chicken noodle soup, then a tortilla, which in the US, we could call an omelet.  This one had eggplant instead of potatoes and served with steamed veggies.  They also brought out a grilled pork cutlet with french fries for dad, and as always their version of bread they call, “pan”.  It is like a cross between french bread and Cuban bread.  After the main course then came watermelon and finally ice cream.  It is very hot in Spain, up over the triple digits, and so they eat a lot of fruit and ice cream to stay cool. 

You must know “muy bueano”, “no mas” and “mucho gracias” to eat in Spain.  It is sure to bring out smiles, and if you constantly say those three statements over and over, you might even get a smaller portion.  Don’t think of skipping any course, thank you very much.  My stomach was bursting and I tried to eat as small of portions as I could get away with and still be polite, but I just don’t eat that much food.  And of course today I would have my stomach issues from the meds.  A little inconvienent, but it did help to take the pressure off of my stomach.   People are constantly grabbing my arm and saying something about me being too thin.  They think if they can feed me enough and fatten me up, I would be all well.  They sweet generous, gracious people are insulted if you do not eat as much as they think appropriate. 

After lunch Paco brought out presents.  We had brought them a box of cheese from Sjaak and Karin’s farm in the shape of a tulip.  Paco was confused what it was.  I kept saying queso.  But my ancent is bad as my spelling, so he was not sure if it was a plant that grew something like cheese.  Davey got things straightened out.  Paco pulled out a keep chain with the patron saint of Barcarrota on it and a key to Bob’s casa.   The important thing Paco wanted me to make sure that I told Dad, was that was his key.  He was to keep it forever, siempre.  Paco had tears in his eyes when he gave dad the key. 

Paco giving Dad the keychain

Then it was my turn.  I got a friendship bracelet in silver with red and gold threads and then a bracelet made of silver beads with flat round glass beads in between and a silver charm with the patron saint of  Barcarotta.  Paco also gave Teresa the same silver/glass bead bracelet and she was so happy for both of us to have the same bracelets.  
We giggled like little girls.

Teresa and I admiring our bracelets

Hugs and kisses were shared all around for the presents, then Paco, the doctor, looked at Dad’s hand.  He is very thorough and obviously knows what he is doing, but gentle he is not.  He ripped the bandage from Dad’s hand and every hair on Dad’s body stood up and I thought his eyes and tongue would pop out of his head.  Paco busied himself with cleaning the wound.  I held Dad’s other hand so he could squeeze instead of scream.  Paco then squeezed out an ointment then triple antibiotic ointment, a sterile mesh went on top of all this to prevent the bandage sticking from the wound.  Teresa chatted on about the sons and grandchildren giving me updates while she provided advice to Paco.  I got some of the information, and Paco ignored Teresa completely.  After the hand was newly bandaged, Paco turned his attention to Dad’s fingers.  His ring finger on his left hand catches and is very uncomfortable so Paco rewrapped the ring finger and the middle finger together to keep the ring finger from bending and catching.

I helped Dad to his feet, he was a little wobbly after Paco’s doctoring.   I was almost wobbly just from watching.  We walked back to Bob’s Casa which Dad unlocked with his new key and let us in.   Finally time for a siesta.  Dad had the second bedroom.  It had a taller bed and is one room closer to the aseos, bathroom.  He climbed up on his bed and immediately fell into a deep slumber.  So far we had seen three of the brothers, Danny, Davey and Pablo with his lovely wife Marie and their adorable 2 year old daughter, Amalya.  Pablo and family live in Badajoz.  Moses, the youngest brother is studying chemistry at the university in Salamonca. 

According to our schedule we are to have dinner with Jose Murillo and his wife, Lolly.  Jose is a former mayor of Barcarotta.   It said that dinner was at @ 10:00pm.  That basically means that at 10, Julio and Lolly will start getting ready to come and get us.  We were still not used to Spanish time, so we went over to Paco y Teresa’s around 7.  The house was full of family and freiends.  We all sat on the porch and watched two of the grand daughters play.  Montana and the pharmacist daughter in law with her 11 month old daughter was there, plus a cousin of Teresa’s.  Julio and Lolly came and we took pictures of everyone and talked until after 9.  Then Julio took us on a driving tour of the town and we got to the restaurant, Play de Maya a little after 10.  The city has grown so much since my last visit and they are in the process of building lots of new apartments, and have landscaped the roads and the little town filled with white houses with faded red tiles standing in the shadows of the two cathedrals, one is like 400 years old.  I can never remember if that is the new or the old cathedral. 

Paco, me, Teresa, Dad, Lolly and Julio

Julio, Lolly, Dad and Teresa

This was a light dinner, first dad and I had an Insalada mixa, which is the standard “mixed” salad in Spain.  Some restraurants get fancy, but all of them include lettuce, tomato, asparagus and usually hard boiled eggs, carrots and olives.  After the insalada Dad had a beef dish and I had a grilled tuna dinner.  We got home about 12:30 am.  I am getting tired.  It is very hot here, well into the triple digits, but Bob’s casa has walls that are 2+ feet thick, the roads are narrow, usually just wide enough for one vehicle, so that cuts back on the sun beating the west side of the buildings.  The ceilings are at least 12 feet tall, so any heat that does manage to creep into the house pushing up, settling the naturally cool air down towards us.  It stays so cool in the house I have had to add a wool blanket to my bed.   Our first night at home in Barcarrota.  It was lovely and we got to see so many of our dear friends, and it is just beginning! 

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