Tuesday, May 31, 2016

the camera that didn't bark

Whenever I am up north, I stop at Office Depot to pick up a packet of ball point pens I have enjoyed using since my trial attorney days.

They are nothing fancy -- Pilot. But they feel comfortable in the hand and they write smoothly. If I did not have them, life in Mexico would be every bit as pleasant. I may have the opportunity to prove that theory.

Back in December, I had about 20 of the pens on hand. I now have one. The fact that Barco came into my life in December is not an irrelevant factor.

I do not know what it is about the pens (the smell of the ink, the clicker, the sculpted plastic housing), but there is something that triggers Barco's obsessiveness when he catches sight or scent of one of the Pilots. Other pens leave him practically cold, as Cole Porter said. But he gets a kick out of Pilots.

Yesterday morning I was rushing to get to the doctor in Manzanillo so I could be back in Barra de Navidad in time for my Spanish lessons. I reached up on the shelf for one of the last two Pilots. It was gone. I knew I had put it there in the hope of getting it out of Barco's reach.

It turned out to be a vain hope. Barco was sleeping in the doorway of my bedroom -- looking as innocent as any golden retriever puppy can look. With one big exception. His right paw looked as if he had just cast his ballot for president in Kabul. It was a bright blue. The same shade as my Pilot ink.

It didn't take me long to kind the remnants of my drawn and quartered Pilot underneath the table in the courtyard -- where Barco has set up his dog den. There was nothing to be salvaged. The Pilots are beginning to live out their own Agatha Christie tale.

So, where is the photograph of Barco's paw? My Sony camera was just feet away from Barco lying in repose. But I never thought of it. I suspect that comes from truncating my essay-writing  schedule.

When I was writing daily, I was out in the community looking for both the perfect story and accompanying shot. Now that I have confined myself to the house with the dog and my Spanish lessons, I often forget I even have a camera.

Instead of shooting Barco, I cleaned him up and hopped in the car for a quick drive to the hospital.

"Hospital? Why did you go the hospital?"

I can answer that in one word. Cellulitis.

It is back. Last August I fought off a well-established infection in my left leg that necessitated a 12-day hospitalization. In December a similar infection cropped up in my right leg while I was in Washington.

On Saturday, I felt the same symptoms I had experienced twice before. Headache. Rushing heartbeat. Aching joints. Fever. Low blood pressure. I thought I knew what was coming. And, on Sunday, there it was. Swelling in my left ankle and foot with a red inflammation.

I discovered in Washington that immediate care was required. First thing Monday morning I headed off to Manzanillo for a shot (of antibiotics) in the butt and a prescription for more antibiotics. Over the next week, I will undergo a series of shots and tablets along with strict bed rest.

That explains why I became a phantom late last week and why I will undoubtedly be absent from the internet for a week or so.

Oh? That photograph at the top of the page? For the past week, my well pump has been turning off and on in short bursts. That usually means either a toilet is running or a tap is slightly open. But a thorough check of the house showed no problem.

I had a theory. Less than a year ago the arm on the float that regulates the level of my pool water had corroded and broken off. Antonio, the guy who cleans my pool, and I opened up the cover to the storage tank while e was here this afternoon, and there it was. The same problem.

The pool chemicals and the minerals in my well water were strong enough to eat through a metal rod. Leaving the float simply -- floating.

And that is the reason for the photograph. The rod is in far worse shape than my leg.

By the time my infection is gone, the tank will be repaired -- and I might actually find some interesting photographs for you.

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