Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I pushed.
I didn’t really want to, but I guess I had to know. And it wasn’t easy to ask, so for courage, I opened a bottle of wine and poured a glass. Then another. Then I offered one to Monsieur, and then I poured myself another.
I was nervous. Of course, he knew it.
“Is something wrong?” he asked.
I shook my head. “Just – there’s been something on my mind,” I said.
“Tell me,” he said gently.
“Well, I don’t know if you remember, but, well, I wasn’t supposed to bring up us getting married until after the first of December. Of last year,” I added.
He nodded.
“Well.” I took a deep breath, and just said it like I practiced it in the mirror. “I want to be married to you. I’m not going to ask you; I want you to ask me, when you’re ready. Don’t decide right now. Think about it carefully, but I really do want to spend the rest of my life as your wife, looking after you, raising your boys, and being a family.”
He toyed with the stem of his wine glass. “The reason I haven’t brought it up,” he said, slowly, “has most to do with the debt.”
“The bills?” I asked. “You’re worried about bills?”
“Not just that,” he said. “I don’t think we’d have the ability to do a ring and a wedding, and I know you deserve both.”
“How much debt is there?” I asked.
He told me.
“Well, okay so there’s a lot. But we’re handling it now, right?” I asked.
“Yes, we’re doing well, making payments and handling it. But to add to that a wedding, a ring, a honeymoon...”
“Which I never said I wanted,” I replied.
“You don’t want a ring?” he asked.
“Not a big one. Not even a diamond. I’d be perfectly happy with two gold bands. One for me, and one for you. I don’t need a big wedding, and I don’t need a diamond. Maybe a nice dress, one that I could wear out anywhere. Not a bridal dress. Just something nice. That’s all. I’d feel ridiculous if you spent $5000 on it. Do I look like I need a big chunk of Africa on my finger?”
“It always seemed to me that you would want more than that,” he said.
“Of course not. Am I really that high maintenance?” I asked.
He looked at me.
“Okay, I am,” I admitted. “But not in that way.
He was quiet, in an uncomfortable sort of way, and said, “Let me figure out a way. There are more things that we have to agree on, as well.”
“What? It’s because I snore, isn’t it??” I asked.
“Don’t be absurd,” he said, smiling. “Let me figure out a way, and I will let you know.”
“I will need sex tonight, Monsieur,” I added.
“I understand,” he said.

Monday, July 02, 2007

after the flood

We had DSL out, or intermittently off-and-on, for the last week. There were horrible floods downhill from us, in Marble Falls especially, and other places. Skip and Monsieur were out there; Skip was hauling in debris on a backhoe, and Monsieur coordinating some emergency networks for the locals.

the creek, flooded.

Low-water crossing. When you see a road look like this, turn around, people, and save a rescue worker.

The Little Blanco, just downhill from us a couple miles. It’s usually narrow enough to throw a paper airplane across.
When it was really bad last week, Monsieur was checking the radio and the radar on TV and then had me go upstairs and clean all the bathtubs with bleach, then fill them up with water.
“Is it that bad?” I asked him.
“We may lose water at any minute, not to mention electricity and phone. DSL will be the first to go, on these lines,” he added.
He was right. DSL went down last Thursday, and it didn’t get restored until Monday.
On Saturday, Monsieur was down by the little staging area where people were setting up a Wi-Fi network, and providing equipment, especially batteries, and wireless cards to the coordinators.
It’s a mess: boats in the trees, houses in the river, and concrete culverts down in the creek washed in from who knows where. We’ll be cleaning stuff out of the pastures for months.
On the good side, we’ve had homegrown tomatoes into July. In Texas, which is unheard of.
Also, we’re on voluntary water rationing, which means no high-water use until after 9 pm. Laundry and the dishwasher must wait until evening, and we wash dishes by hand if we need them. That rather interferes with my resolution to have all the day’s laundry done by 5 pm. Also, 5 minute showers are no fun.
“You could shower with me and we could make it ten minutes between the two of us,” I suggested to Monsieur.
“I showered already tonight, as soon as I got home,” he replied.
“Well, at least check to make sure I rinsed all the conditioner out of my hair?” I asked him.
Monsieur gave me that look.
“Pretty please?” I said, batting my eyes.
“All right,” he said finally, “I’ll check on you after the animals are locked down.”
Later, as I was showering, I heard him come into the bathroom. He pulled the curtain back.
“Turn around,” he told me.
I shut off the water and complied.
“Hm,” he said, looking over my hair. Finally, he said, “It looks like you missed a spot,” and then dumped a large plastic cup of ice water over my head.
I screamed, then, dripping wet, I chased him out of the bedroom with a rolled up towel. He moves fast.