Admittedly I’ve neglected this blog.
But–by God, I’m going to modify my delinquent behavior. I must motivate myself to maintain this commitment. In other words, I need to get my ass in gear and write. Whatever happened to my admonition to students to write no matter what—even if what one produced was shit? Yeah, yeah, I fell off the wagon en route to writerly success—got dropped in a ditch alongside the road to blogosphere bliss.
But—enough about what I’ve not done, and more about what has happened in the last several weeks.
Sara and I returned to Ho Chi Minh City after Habitat Vietnam’s staff and model build, moved 20 suitcases of stuff to Hanoi—another 30 hour trip by train, located and moved into a charming, French colonially inspired house near West Lake. But after a mere two days in our new home, I returned to the US for a less than two week “opportunity” to check on our Lexington house and the pets we had left there.
In equally brief terms——–
Let me mention——
The hell that I found there—
An infernal flea infestation and equally hellacious and nauseating odor that turned out to be hard wood floors having absorbed several month’s worth of cat urine—the urine of not just one or two feline friends, but four—four cats whose bladders and kidneys seemed to have worked well in our absence—tragically for all noses exposed to the foul stench. Clearly, litter boxes were not kept clean—four 20 pound jugs of Tidy Cat were left unopened and unused. Eleven days worth of scrubbing did not remove the stench. The floors are ruined—will, at the very least, need to be sanded and refinished, if not totally replaced.
I won’t mention———-
The rug that Sara had brought back from Turkey—left out on the back porch for weeks, if not months—mud and grass stained. Probably the most valuable single item in the house, the only possession Sara actually adores—probably destroyed.
I won’t mention———-
That our dog Ralph was so infested with fleas, he had lost massive amounts of hair, was heart-brokenly depressed and alarmingly cowering in response to abrupt movement. I was sickened. I wanted to vomit. I wanted to scream. I wanted to kill. God help the person who hurt and frightened him—god help whoever you turn out to be.
But all is much better now—
I had to find homes for our four cats, which thanks to amazing friends I was able to do in a matter of days. I had to bring Ralph with me back to Vietnam, where he is this moment asleep on the couch next to his canine “sister”—Lucy. He is playing again and seemingly happy—seemingly content to be back with his family, wherever on the globe we happen to be.
I won’t mention (at this point)——–
Our agonizing journey to get here—stuck in Seoul—overnight in the airport, Ralph in a crate, me wheeling him on a luggage cart—no place to pee—no food to eat—nowhere to sleep. That’s a separate story—more than I can manage to include here.
Suffice it to say, that we are all well.
Suffice it to say———
That Sara and I have celebrated our third anniversary in a part of world I’ve come to love—a place I never expected to live. But we are building a wonderful life here in Hanoi—amid much that is “other” to us—strange but lovely—Hanoi with its winding narrow streets, trees, lakes—
All I imagined Vietnam would be—
Magical, enchanting–take-your-breath away with wonder and grace——with a conical hat kind of peace—pointed and narrow at one end but broad and open at the other.