Wednesday, December 31, 2008


December 29, Ft Myers.

Cleaning out the freezer, a remnant of Dylan's birthday party.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The lesson.

December 28, Ft Myers.

In the shed behind the trailer I discovered the history of this house.
Written in marker on one of the shelves:

(surrounded by lines like an explosion)

Bang here when you have finally smoked enough crack,
broken enough hearts, lied your way to hell, cheated, stolen
and become such a low life that you now have
what you deserve nothing.

Eddie in jail

Neighbors telling me bits and pieces of what happened with the people living in this house, the history of the foreclosure imagined, the darkest hours, a woman doting on her home, a marriage gone sour, then nasty, somebody using drugs maybe, it was barely a year ago and now the home is ours.
In an interview published in a French newspaper my mother brought me the Franco-afghan writer Atiq Rahimi talked about his life as a refugee and now a celebrity after winning one of France's most coveted literary prizes, about his philosophy of life in the light of his journey and his countrymen's plight, running away from warfare and death only to be deported back to the certainty of the same. He cited a fable recounted in one of his books about going home to Afghanistan for the first time after the Talibans were ousted: "Once upon a time there was a king and he asked an artist to create a work that would make him happy when he was sad and sad when he was happy. The artist made a ring on which was written: 'Nothing lasts.'"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Winter light II.

December 25, Ft Myers.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas and the Peruvians.

December 25, Ft Myers.

The Peruvian family (Sheyla, Alain, Friedman and don Sandro, with Pedro) arrived yesterday. That's on top of Marcos' other brother, Andres, his family, and yet another Peruvian, Carson and Barnes connection, Chachin, and his family. Christmas eve party, Peruvian version what else, was a late night dinner and waiting for midnight to open the presents. Dylan and Nicolas were up til 2 in the morning, lost in the kids and the frenzy.
Christmas day on the beach with a ceviche (more Peruvian.)

Friday, December 19, 2008


December 19, Ft Myers.

Handyman fabulous (only the tools are all wrong.)

Ze crew.

December 19, Ft Myers.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter light.

December 18, Ft Myers.

Green eyes.

December 18, Ft Myers.

The green of the ocean is in my mother's eyes.

(Forgotten) trailer with a view.

December 18, Ft Myers.

The power is on.

December 18, Ft Myers.

We finally have power, more than two weeks after we arrived. It took more phone calls than I care to remember and trying to stay calm as they yielded nothing but silence. Bureaucracy gone private makes for perfect inefficiency and a high price.
All the electric system will have to be redone, even the electric cables were vandalized from the house. Marcos is leaving tomorrow, his brother, Roosevelt, who lives here, will continue helping Fridman with what's left to be done. The house is taking shape.
I found a non-toxic paint dealer nearby and settled on colors after days of neurotically shuffling color samples. Tropical turquoise, deep red, flashing yellow, orange, lots of pure white.


December 18, Ft Myers.

Bedroom arrangement.

December 18, Ft Myers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Beach tango.

December 17, Ft Myers.

More paradise.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ft Myers Beach.

December 16, Ft Myers.

We went to the beach today, finally.
The sand was like powdered sugar.
We is the kids, my mother and I. The men are working, there is still so much to be done. We'll go to the beach together, soon.

Family update.

December 15, Ft Myers.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


December 12, Ft Myers.

To me the face of the U.S. financial meltdown is that of Sherri.
Sherri is probably in her forties, still beautiful. I answered her online ad for used furniture and walked into the living story of the real estate meltdown and the economic disaster it has created.
Sherri and her husband started out with nothing twenty years ago, and ended up building a successful business, a cabinet-making business that kicked ass, as she said, during the boom of the real estate market in Florida. Then the crisis hit and they lost everything: their business went bankrupt, their home is in foreclosure, they are selling pretty much all they own and moving to Georgia where her husband found a lesser-paying job.
When we started out we had nothing, I used to wonder how I would pay for formula, she said, and now here we are and I have to think of how to pay for milk.
Day after day as I call to find this and that for the house I run into the same story, people living in motels while their home is being foreclosed, Dave in room 154 at the Wonderland Motel selling a new fridge, selling their belongings before the bank gets them, Chris at another motel selling a stove, that's all I've left in there. Sherri said there was a story in the news this morning about southwest Florida having the highest unemployment rate in the country. She's trying to keep her two teenage sons in school, waiting to be reunited with her husband, and it's like we're dating again, she said, laughing. We need a drastic change, she said, and Obama has so much on his plate, but he'll do something good, this is nuts.
I had called about her ceiling fans, white with no lights.
They'll keep my home nice and cool.
My home was a foreclosure.

In between.

December 11, Ft Myers.

Wood frame, circa 1927.

December 11, Ft Myers.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Eggleston revisited, with permission.

December 11, Ft Myers.

The house is being transformed faster than I can think of which color of paint to choose. Think Marcos and his brother Roosevelt, coaching Fridman.
If it weren't for all the permits you have to get, the Kafkaesque bureaucracy, it'd be moving along even faster. I'm beginning to understand the folks who don't want to have anything to do with the government, move out to the middle of nowhere and just want to be left alone.
You'd start to wonder if there's a permit you need to breathe around here.
Ah, the simple life of the road in a trailer.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Green horizons.

December 4, Fort Myers.

Fresco floors.

December 4, Fort Myers.

A room with a view.

December 4, Fort Myers.

Eggleston upside down.

December 4, Fort Myers.

Tres Eggleston.

December 4, Fort Myers.

Only kidding. Oh so far from the American master of color.

Paradise found.

December 3, Fort Myers.

We're in paradise.
The trip was long and uneventful, too many road pictures missed, being strapped to a car seat for hours and days on end part of the kids' lives like waking up to a new view every day and eating their milk and cereals, we left at mid-day on Sunday and arrived here at mid-day yesterday, taking our time after dropping off Castro, the mechanic, sleeping in a McDonald's parking lot after his friends finally showed up, it was raining and Fridman was tired, and the next morning there was no rush to get here other than the trepidation to finally see the house.
We're in paradise.
The trees, the jungle of trees and shrubs engulfing the house, it took both of us and won't let go, there is an immensity of work to do, not to mention inside the home, but it's thrilling, it's beautiful, it's my tropical dream in the leaf. The house is a mess, everything and the meters had been taken out, but it's also charming and I can't believe it's mine.
Dylan says "la maison est tres jolie," accentuating the French r in a funny way, and so it is.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A trailer with a view.

December 3, Fort Myers, Florida (1,200 and some miles.)