Saturday, May 14, 2011

goat hotel

I don't remember signing a lease with every goat in the village to take up residence in our house over the wet season.  While we love our four legged compost tumblers, I would rather they hadn't been able to spend months in the living room, depositing their excrement on the whitewashed furniture.  

The initial relief of arriving home was quickly replaced by an overwhelming desire to get the bulldozer in and start again. The rate of decay over a wet season is astounding, and having readjusted to the clean, well sealed houses of Australia, our humble shack was more rustic, rough and simple that we had remembered.

The parts of the tank stand that weren't replaced last year are riddled with white ants, animals had chewed through the power line from the generator and the water pump was seized.  Hinges had rusted off and wooden doors were swollen shut from moisture.  In the first 24 hours of shock we sketched multiple plans that involved knocking down the back half and building a separate kitchen and bathroom pod.  We couldn't agree on a design, and with the bags unpacked, the water and power reconnected, and a swim and a sleep restoring our sanity, everything seemed quite ok.  We were amazed that the lights all worked, the gas cooker lit first try and the fridge rumbled into life despite being left open to the elements. 

I will be forever grateful to our friend Chi for cleaning the house before we arrived.  I left her a list on our departure, but was not attached to it actually occurring. Had I been faced with the state of the house  as she found it, I would have most likely cried and booked myself into the hotel for a week. She said she didn't know where to start : should I shovel the shit out of the lounge room or cut a pathway clear through the vines to find the toilet?

The vine that was growing an inch a day in November, had four months of rain and free range, and has grown over the roof, through the roof and down to the floor.  Part Angkor Wat, part bat cave.  It exudes a sticky sap when cut, which turns black and stains.  Chi had cut the tendrils to head high so they looked like thin stalactites; certainly a literal interpretation of bringing nature inside.  As unique as it was, I swung from the rafters and relived my gymnastic youth to cut them free.  I'm slowly pruning the back yard with scissors, threatening the endangered species that could be lurking in the jungle.

Even paradise has cockroaches, and I can say with conviction that cleaning up their shit is not one of my favourite Sunday morning activities. My husband calls me his princess and my name is derived from the Hebrew word for princess, but I think someone is bluffing, because I am positive Kate and Mary do not have to wipe up gecko poo or scrub mold off the toilet floor. The shop sells an industrial strength blue cream cleanser that contains ingredients probably illegal in Australia, and any surface is eligible. Black mold in white silky underwear is not a language of love. 

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