Last night I baked peanut butter cookies. They did not turn out to be the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever tasted, but a good deal of energy went into their production, and given the unreliability of an oven without a thermostat but just a gauge that “approximated” the temperature—and three hanging thermostats I had purchased in a kitchen shop in the states—each of which registered a different temperature between 350 and 400 degrees—they were at least edible after I had scraped overdone bottoms off the last batch. At any rate, I tasted one, judged them my usual baking failure and sealed them up in my favorite Tupperware storage container.
The next morning, I apologized as I offered them to Jesus and Eduardo with their morning coffee. “Good!” said Jesus, and he and Eduardo each took another one, prompting me to do the same. They weren’t bad. A bit dry. A bit too grainy. I set the top back on the Tupperware container of cookies that sat on the counter, not sealing it in case they decided they wanted more.
Then they went out to continue to paint the murals on the outside of my house and I called a plumber. I had no water this morning—hot or cold—and he was the plumber who had installed the new water pump a few months before. Yes, he was still working. He’d be there in an hour, he said. I did a million other little chores and then heard Jesus and Eduardo talking to someone in front. The Ilox installers, I thought, grabbing the keys to the studio where they were to install wifi. (Edit by Forgottenman: Ilox is her local internet provider.) But when I got out to the front yard, it was Alberto the plumber. I led him out the bedroom door to the patio above the bodega where the water pump was. He quickly determined that a faulty filter had stopped the water flow and while he was here, I asked him to check the outside lights on the patio that had refused to light for months. Then he had to go upstairs, around to the other patio, to my bedroom, to check which lights were controlled with which switch.
Meanwhile, I heard a car drive up and voices on the side of the house. The Ilox men, I thought, and heard car doors open, women’s voices. As though someone walking along the street had recognized them. I wedged an old axe head under the front gate door to keep it open, laying the garbage can lid I’d meant to repair with duct tape on the steps as I did so. Then went inside to find the studio keys. I had had them within the last half hour. The whole pile of keys to the laundry room, spare room, studio, back bedroom door, doggie domain, front door and front gate–all the keys needed for the plumber and the Ilox installers, were in a pile on the front table, but not the studio keys!
The weather had grown hot and rushing around with the damn face mask on (necessary because of all of the humans that seemed to be buzzing around my house lately) I started to fear an asthma attack. I was flustered in the way my Aunt Stella used to get flustered, walking around in tight little circles and muttering, “Blahsy Blah!” Alberto the plumber took pity on me and started looking, too. Did I ever open the back bedroom door? I asked him, remembering the painters had piled up flower pots in front of the door so we’d used a side door instead. Yes, he replied, I had opened it once, and the studio key was on the same ring. Where had I gone after I last used the key, he asked? To the studio, upstairs, to the kitchen, to the garage, to the front door, to my desk, both bathrooms, the closet. We looked everywhere.
By then it had been 10 minutes. Why had the Ilox men not come inside? I could still hear the women talking. I called Yolanda, in a panic. She had the extra pair of keys but it seems she was in Riberas, miles away (where she promised me she was no longer going) with my keys! I went out to see the Ilox guys to discover the big white truck was not the Ilox guys but the man across the street who prefers to park in front of my house because my big tree furnishes shade. “I’m gonna cut that damn tree down and get my parking back,” I vowed for the umpteenth time, but as I went back into the house, I picked up the gray garbage can lid and lo and behold—the studio keys!!!
As I came into the house, Diego came running out of the living room into the hall. “How did you get in the house?” I scolded and he zipped back into the doggie domain the second I opened its door. I went to find the plumber, told him I’d found the keys, thanked him for his help in trying to locate them, and paid him. As he went out the door, the Ilox men entered. After a good many false starts and horrible wiring jobs—one in which they just draped the cable across the patio and lawn—we finally got the wifi installed, the men paid.
By then it was late afternoon. I was hot and exhausted and when I went into the kitchen for a drink of water, my eye fell on the Tupperware cookie container. I hadn’t eaten all day and suddenly the idea of a peanut butter cookie sounded good. I put a cup of water in the microwave for a cup of instant coffee and whipped the lid off the cookie container to find it—empty! Then my mind flashed on Diego zipping out of the living room and so obediently out the door to the doggie domain and back yard. He had somehow managed to get the cover off the Tupperware and to eat three and a half dozen cookies without moving the container and somehow nudging the cover back on the cookies!
This is what was left:
Some days. Some days.