Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Machinegun Fire

I have hot friends, si, no?

The weeks are just packed. We cannot believe how short time is before we travel back to Vermont. Thank God. (This is actually a wonderful pattern we have. We are both so excited to go to our hometown, and by the end of our stay there, we will be so excited to go back to Madrid.)

Every single day I think “I cannot believe how hard I am working.”

We hosted a party last week for the Madrid holiday honoring their patron saint “San Isidro” and this weekend is Wendy’s bachelorette party. I have to mention (because this is my blog and I get to spew my random thoughts whenever I wish) that the world is conspiring against us.

Wendy and I have never been in a better place. We have never been more in love or happier with ourselves, our bodies, our relationship, our life, than right now. Wendy has lost almost TWENTY POUNDS. I have not lost any weight, but I fit into my skinniest jeans and my shoulders are broader than they were in college. The worker at the gym, who I thought I was going to have to smash into tiny pieces (or, get smashed into tiny pieces because he is enormous) has turned into a good friend.

(See, maybe I'm over-sharing a little bit here, but I come from a family where the men are nice, quiet, friends with everyone, but if you push them too far - they will kill you. My father is like Bruce Banner. You do not want to see him angry. It happens about once every five years. My older brother is the same. I could give some great examples, but I don't know how they would react to me talking about their courage or things they have done on my website, so I will refrain.)

Someone once said to me, "If you're not sure if you should post something, the answer is probably no."

I have the same gene and I have over-reacted in the past, exploded when I did not expect to, and have not reacted sometimes because I am afraid it will be an over-reaction. Since I don't understand the language perfectly here in Spain, I have to rely on Wendy. I don't always know what's going on. There was one time when I thought a guy was apologizing to her and he was in fact cursing her out. (Don't worry, Wendy handled it fine, being very capable of defending herself.)

But since that incident, I have had to tell her - "You cannot think I am a coward. I don't want to over-react and embarass you, so if you want me to wreck someone, you have to come to me and say "Him. Wreck him. He needs an ass-beating."

That way, I can know I'm doing the right thing.

So, our first week at the new gym, I knew she was inches away from saying "Him. Wreck him."

Now, we really like and respect him.

So, as I was saying, everything internally is good.

And yet, every week some other outside force seeks to ruin that happiness. A good friend disappoints us for the seventh time, a wedding dressmaker refuses to return calls, my accountant falls down on the job and I keep getting mail from the IRS blaming me for things he said he handled months ago, a volcano erupts jeopardizing our trip home, the BBQ charcoal won’t light, Lindsay Lohan goes on another bender – I mean how much more can we take?

One of the biggest stresses right now is the noise of a city rebuilding itself.

As I type this, it sounds like there is machinegun fire erupting, endlessly, outside my window. It is actually the jackhammer that we wake up to every morning.




They wake us up at 8:00 a.m. to the sound of machinegun fire. It has been going on for months. Are they drilling to China, because, seriously, haven’t they destroyed all of Madrid’s streets at this point? For twelve hours a day they are using a drill to destroy pavement and it goes on EVERY DAY! Pavement has to run out eventually right? Or, they could move down the street and destroy pavement there, right?


When I got here, three years ago, there was work being done on the church up the street and we were awakened every morning to the insane beeping of the crane. When that finished, the woman behind us started having work done to her apartment. When that was done, our downstairs neighbors decided to knock out all their walls and redesign their apartment to look just like ours (because we love them and let them look at ours which is much better designed than theirs used to be.) Still, it was more noise. Then, one of the two old gay English guys died on the first floor and the remaining partner decided he needed to redo the apartment so he could rent it or sell it. More noise. The building next to us has just had scaffolding put up and, no shit, every single day we hear them banging away with a hammer. They could have built Noah’s Ark in this time frame and with that much banging.

Now they are outside our street every morning, making it sound like a war zone.

I am hoping Vermont will be a little quieter.


  1. Jamie… I have no sympathy. Here in Tucson – we are plagued with morning doves. When I was in Penn, we had two little cute doves that would “coo coo” in the afternoons and evenings on or near our roof. It was cute. But here? They are maddening. No daylight savings in this State (why does AZ insist on being so radically different? (don’t get me started on other things)) and they are out there by 5:00am – “KA KA KOOOOO! KOOKA-KOOKA!! GOLLUM! GOLLUM-KOO!” Mutant freak doves!! I bought a new stereo that plays mp3s to try to drown out some of the noise (have tried music, white noise, waterfalls, rain, etc). I have owl decoys. I have rubber snakes on the roof and in the trees. I have a 40 ft-reach water jet attachment on my hose – and can get them out of our lone mesquite tree (fun at 5:30am) – but the cursed neighbor has pine trees it won’t reach (really? Non-native big pine trees in the middle of a friggin desert – what a waste of water you schmuck!). I have no control over the ones in his yard. It’s a townhouse – so our back yard is small, and we have a 6-7 foot wall – but it’s only about 20 feet from back doors (we have patio doors in our master bedroom and our living room out o the back). Jack hammer at 8am? I would love to sleep in that late. Imagine monster-dire-dove-roosters cock-a-cooing-coo in your ear before sunrise each day…

    I can sympathize with you for the other things though. Perhaps we need to sacrifice Lohan to the bjork volcano god?

  2. At least you're not waking up to a big bowl of sauerkraut!

  3. They wake you up at what time? 8am? seriously...No sympathy here...

  4. Okay, you all need to remember a couple things.

    1. Everything starts later, and stays open later in Madrid. There are families walking kids around the park at 11:00 p.m. Families with little kids.

    2. We have no children.