You’ve heard it before: Be careful what you wish for. I wanted to create a spiritual retreat, and spirited it is. I was open minded when Barb told the story of the door that wouldn’t close until she yelled at Father (Father Srebernak, deceased, a good man, retired priest who lived in the Guest House for many years) to let her shut the door. She insisted that it felt like someone was on the inside pulling on it. I’d been thinking that the pad lock plate just got in the way. But then there was the paint roller brush that was hopelessly stuck on the roller and Barb called on Father again. Whoosh! It flew off, like a Ouija Board indicator gone wild. I felt like she yanked it off in an amazing show of strength while she thought I had pushed it with brute force. Okay, maybe it was just the right time for it to come loose. Then there was the other door. It had always been tight. But now it had been painted and I COULD NOT close it. Barb had her back to it, yelled at Father to close it, grabbed the handle and swung the door hard. It closed. Okay, that’s not so weird. It just needed to be closed fast. But now that it was closed it surely wasn’t going to open. Except that it did. Easily. Very easily.
Okay, so Barb has a relationship with the house, with Father. And she’s asking, “Why would he be here when there are better places to be?” I’m thinking this is a great place to be if you’re interested in helping the new owner to rejuvenate the place.
I’m well known for doing too much. I danced too much for my out of shape body at Julie’s birthday party back in July and my knees have been sore ever since. But I’ve kept up my pace scraping, spackling, sanding, wood puttying, caulking, shopping, taping, painting, deciding, hiring, investigating, etc. My Ace bandages and ice packs got a lot of use, as did the cap on the Ibuprofen bottle. Too much to do to lay around. But I did keep up with my nightly sunset viewing. On Thursday it was mostly cloudy but with enough clear sky for yet another awesome sunset. I took some pictures and then ran into the Guest House to get Barb so she could see the last of it. We stood at the top of the bluff enjoying the majesty of the setting sun when, without warning, BIG raindrops began falling. They hit hard, like hail. We screamed like little girls and ran toward the back door. On the way I collapsed in pain against the side of the house. My knee refused to handle the uneven ground, the LCL (lateral collateral ligament) went out on strike. The pain reminded me of the sprained ankles I’ve had. I figured I could limp back to my house, rest with ice and Ibuprofen and be mostly okay the next day. Barb wanted me to go to the hospital. Too busy for that I thought. I said I’d go if I still couldn’t walk in an hour. She gave me the first thing she found as a cane – a six foot metal pole. Heavy! So I grabbed that on my bad side and leaned on her shoulder with my good side and slowly we made it into the house. When we got there we realized that we were NOT soaked. The big rain drops? All gone. Just a light sky spittle as soon as I injured myself. I was on the couch with the ice pack but we both agreed I should just go to bed so she helped me hobble in there. After I settled in I wondered what had become of my camera. I remembered having it in the hand that had been on her shoulder outdoors. Its my second camera; the one I bought to use as a temporary back-up after my really good camera broke. I’m planning on getting it fixed when I get back to Long Beach. I bought one of those extended warranties. “You HAVE to find my camera, Barb, it will get ruined in the rain.” She took a flashlight and went out. Came back. Nada. I begged her to go back out and to retrace our steps. She went other places. Came back. Nada. So on her third trip I insisted that she take Pigasus. Let’s just say for now that Pigasus is a small toy winged pig that has been traveling with me for about 20 years and is a tool for finding lost things. I know. Its weird. But its my thing. Barb will believe in saints and spirits but not toy winged pigs. But because her beloved friend was laid up in bed in pain, she agreed to tuck it into her shirt pocket and go out one more time. Before she left I decided to go her way and called upon my grandmother (who left FIVE cameras when she died) to help find the camera. When Barb was in the Guest House kitchen she called on Father, on my grandmother, and a couple of saints. A calm, gentle female voice told her to look in my backpack. She replied that she would when she got back to my house but in the meantime she was going to keep searching the house.
She came back in, grabbed my backpack and threw it at me, telling me to look inside. I did. It was there. How did it get there? Was my subconscious in control enough to drop it into the backpack as I basically fell onto the couch? Very weird. Oh. But wait. When I held up the camera to show it to Barb she screamed, threw the BIG MagLite flashlight (it landed an inch from my injured knee) and went to the floor, laughing. We were both laughing and screaming.
When we recovered I noticed the lack of a little black and silver winged pig in her pocket. “Where’s Pigasus?!” Barb is amazing. She took the flashlight back (after apologizing for throwing it at me) and went out. But she said that she didn’t want any arguments now about me going to the hospital. She came up empty, but said that this time (in the kitchen again), she said Father said that the pig was “out there” (outside), but she couldn’t see it. I went along to the ER without a fight. Poor Pigasus, a city pig out in the cold, windy night. In the forest. I imagined Tammy the dog finding him in the morning. Tammy the dog, part wolf, with a hot drooling mouth, clutching my little friend with her chipmunk killing fangs. Brrrrrrrr
Barb is not known for keeping a closed mouth. So first thing in the morning she went out and told the guys (my three hired hands) and told them that they needed to be on the lookout for my toy pig. Nate (the crew boss) found Pigasus in “Fibber McGee’s” (the basement tool room). Why Barb had been looking for my camera in there, I don’t know. Now all those tough northwoods men know that I travel with a winged pig. “She’s gone all over with that pig. She takes it with her everywhere!” Oh dear. Oh well. There’s no use in feeling humiliated. I am what I am. I am a 57 year old woman who brings her toys with her as she jaunts around the globe.
The next day I was late for the airport (another long story) and the airline said there was time to issue me a boarding pass but not to accept my luggage. WTF? I couldn’t agree to take try to get on a flight the next day AND pay them more money. I was hurting, tired, stressed that I hadn’t been physically able to finish up at the Guest House and missing my cats and boyfriend in Long Beach. Barb called Nate and he said he’d pick her and my luggage up from the airport and would find a way to get my luggage shipped to me.
So if you’re wondering, ala Rocky the Flying Squirrel, “Are they friendly spirits?” You Betcha!
Yeah, I know, I know, you’re thinking “If they are so friendly how come then let you sprain your knee? That is all on me. I needed to be reminded that my body has limits. I only pretend to be Wonder Woman. And the airline? Since 9/11, anyone showing up late is suspect, and the rules are stricter than ever. Back at Artemisia Barb, Nate and the guys are hard at work. For me. For Artemisia. With a little help from the spirits.