I've told you guys this before, but for my new pals, I own a building in Palm Springs and my only tenant runs a sleazy nude bar in it. It's not sleazy because it's a nude bar, it's just plain sleazy. They used to have a dancer their who was missing all of her teeth and wouldn't wear dentures. Hey, what do I know, maybe that seemed exotic in a kind of Nastassja Kinski as the bear in The hotel New Hampshire kind of way, for anyone who might get the reference, heh. I don't know if she's there anymore. It was never my idea to be the landlord of this kind of place. I inherited it from my grandmother. It used to be a lunch restaurant for workers in this light industrial part of Palm Springs, and then little by little, under my Mother's fabulous management, not, it went allllll nekkid. Now I don't know what all is going on in there, but I desperately need the rent, so I just shut my eyes and keep out of their way.
The owner, Art, is a crusty, old, landlocked, salty sea dog of a guy. He peppers all of our conversations with fucks and shits, and he's always complaining about his health and the high cost of running a nude bar. "These fuckin' girls. I don't let 'em do no drugs, no way no how sister. They get into that shit and I throw 'em out on their cans." But what's worse, much worse than dealing with Art, is when I have to talk to his nasty girlfriend Barbara who is about as tough as they come.
Now Art owes me thirteen hundred dollars and I have to call him to let him know this. Every April his rent goes up by six percent, and every June or July we play this game of catch up on the back rent owed. He likes to make me sweat him for it even though he brags to anyone who will listen about how he's making a mint in my building. Argh. So I have to call him and tell him how much he was shorting me each month on the old rent, and how much the new rent is, something a business owner, albeit a sleazy nude bar owner, ought to be able to figure out on his own, and I am dreading it.
The last time I had to deal with this was last September when my Mom was going in to the hospital for cancer surgery. I called Art at his home at three PM which is when he gets up from his nap, (he's in his seventies, Lord help me if he takes a spring dive off this planet because I do not want to be dealing with his Mrs. no way), and Barbara intercepted the call. She went crazy on me, told me that I was lucky they paid me any rent at all for that piece of shit building, told me we wouldn't have anything (what?) if it weren't for all the money Art's been paying me all these years. Then after telling me to fuck off about six or seven times wrapped it all up nicely by telling me that she doesn't give a fuck that my Mom has cancer. Oh it was a lovely conversation.
I was just telling Esther, (my assistant helper pal), this story again and she was laughing. She told me that she knows this woman named Raquel who acts like this. Esther and her family used to go to this restaurant near their house that specializes in fish dishes, but because this woman is always there swearing at her children, they decided that they don't want to go there anymore. Apparently she starts swearing over nothing, she starts out slow and then builds up speed until she's unleashing this torrent of verbal abuse, and she just doesn't stop. She doesn't give a thought to any of the people around her and how this might affect them or their kids, let alone her own children, and the fact that when she says things like pinche madre she's really just insulting herself. And everyone in the restaurant just sits there with their mouths hanging open.
Esther says, "She swears like she's delivering a fine poem." Here's an example, "Mira me hija de tu pinche madre. Pinche cabrona puta. Hijas de mil putas! Te voy a dar una chinga, cabrona! Que puta mierda! Ben! Chinga tu madre cabrona. Te voy a dar una chinga en el mero culo!" And she hits her husband as well, but that's when he blows all their money on booze and cocaine. When he comes home drunk having spent all of their money she gets out her belt and lets him have it. Wow, I feel sorry for this family. It reminds me of how lucky I am that I don't have to live like these people. No, I get to deal with my angry, anxious, depressed, elderly mother, and her bizarre attachment to this evil, desperate, thieving woman who spends her nights plotting ways to get her hands on my inheritance.
Yesterday I went over to Mom's to meet with her secretary and pay the bills. I always dread doing this because you just never know what kind of mood Mom is going to be in. Plus she always wants me to have lunch with her but I worry that Rosa spits in my food when no one is looking. Anyway Mom was in a nasty mood, everything was irritating her and no one was allowed to talk about themselves or be happy. When Tina, her secretary left, Mom said a bunch of nasty things about her and then went back to reading her precious newspaper. I had asked her if I could bring over some old family photos that I was going through so she could help me identify who the people were and she had sounded thrilled about it the day before, but then when it came down to it, all she really wanted was to be left alone. I would hold up a picture for her to look at, and she would snap down her paper and peer at me over the edge as if I were the most irritating person in the world. Of course when the pictures were of her she seemed very interested and would take them and marvel over her youthful beauty but when it was someone she didn't know she would snatch the picture and rip it up before I could dive over the table to rescue it.
After Mom left with Rosa to go to the hair salon, Beau and I stayed on to finish arranging our trip to Hawaii. Then Beau had an earache and we went in search of Q-tips. Mom didn't have any so we looked in Rosa's bathroom, not that I need an excuse to spy on Rosa. The way I am looking at this, I am just looking out for my Mother's and my interests. Anyway in a cabinet in her bathroom I not only found the Q-tips but this vintage Chinese lusterware bridge ashtray set that I had bought on eBay and given to my Mother for Christmas. How interesting that it should wind up on the bottom shelf of Rosa's bathroom cabinet, hidden by a < a href="http://126.96.36.199/luck/gideon.htm">Gideon's Bible</a> that she must have stolen from some motel, and a pair of expensive Borghese skin softening spa socks that I had also bought for my Mother. I also found a couple of business cards for lawyers, lovely. This is all getting so scary. Every time I think I can relax and just let it slide something comes up to remind me that I just can't and that this woman is a serious threat and means to get her hands on some real cash here. And my Mom just doesn't get it at all.
Pause here while I give my pet rat Pinky his antibiotics. It amazes me how hard I have to work to keep my rat pals healthy and meanwhile my Mom has these back snapping rat traps all over her house and gardens. Beau and I took a pencil and set one off so it couldn't kill anyone and the force with which it snapped the pencil into splinters was really frightening. It jumped three feet into the air and the little lavender pencil pieces went flying everywhere.
Beau is going to be going to his first nighttime party tonight. It's at the home of an older girlfriend of his. Angie just graduated from eighth grade and Beau just finished sixth. It's no big deal if you're twenty-one and your gal is twenty-four but at thirteen and sixteen there's a bigger gap. She makes me a little uncomfortable, she's kind of preternaturally direct and has no qualms about confronting me about things. My sister-in-law Athena used to be like this. You know, kids who are super smart, but also super opinionated and judgmental because they don't have any life experience to temper their opinions with? Anyway Angie lives in Topanga Canyon and she's having a party to celebrate the Summer Solstice, which completely reminds me of Claire in Six Feet Under, going to visit her aunt for the weekend. Scott and I are going to go with him to make sure Angie's Mom is around and that everything seems safe and he's comfortable. Then we'll go to Malibu for dinner and maybe walk on the beach and then come back for Beau. I'm happy and excited for him.
I'm reading Highwire Moon by Susan Straight. It's about a Mexican woman and her American daughter who get separated and the struggles they have to endure to find their way back to each other again. It's so sad and realistic and involving. I started it a while ago and then got distracted by something else and then picked it up again. God, I love to read, which reminds me, I need to pick up the new Harry Potter book for Beau. It would have been fun to get it last night at one of the bookstores that stayed open until after midnight.
I wish I had an endless supply of money so I could help all of my friends. Esther's son Eduardo needs seven hundred and fifty dollars to go to an Olympic qualifying volleyball event. He's an amazing athlete. He never gives any of us enough warning though when he's going to need these huge sums of money otherwise we'd be able to plan for it and help him out. I mean don't schools have fundraisers for their athletes. We could have a bake sale or a garage sale or do something. I could raise half of that easily if it were the beginning of the month when I get my money. I feel so sorry for Esther because she tries so hard to give him the things he needs. He just went to the prom and he had to rent a tux and a car and his yearbook cost seventy dollars! I give her two extra days of work just to help her out and it breaks me every month because I'm paying two people to work here on those two days and we don't really get that much done.
This sounds silly but will you say a prayer or light a candle or think positive thoughts for my continued weight loss and health? It's stalled at seventy lbs down for a few days here and I want so much to see that scale move downwards again, although I know this is probably normal, my body adjusting by trying to hang on to the few calories I'm giving it. Although yesterday I really felt like I ate a lot, and the day before my weight actually went up a pound, which was scary, but then today it was back down again. I woke up with a weird sore throat and I'll spare you the gory details but when I took a look it was ucky and kind of alarming. Anyone wanna kiss me?
Anyway I have things to do, mail to read, phone calls to return, and e-mail to go through. Then I need to take a shower, wash my hair, and get Beau ready for tonight. Everyone has been asked to bring a plant, a potluck dish, a CD, and a game. That's kind of a lot to bring. I'll get a plant and some kind of food to contribute but I don't know if Beau wants to risk losing one of his CD's or games. It's up to him.
Okay, well, happy summer solstice everyone.
Big loving hugs,