Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another woman

I don't know why it took me so long to buy a washing machine. I was always moving something else to the top of the list of "Things to Spend Money On". But now that I finally have one, it's just as my Moroccan friend Souad said: "It's like having another woman in the house!"

I used to either send the laundry out to other women and do it myself. I used a series of buckets situated under the very low spigot on the terrace. Let me tell you, it was hard work. And the towels were soooo heavy to wring out and a little stiff from some soap that inevitably remained behind. My wrists would complain for days for it really does take two to properly wring out a towel. But my little 6 kilo capacity washing machine spins most of the water out, reducing my drying time considerably and mesmerizing me with the "essourage" cycle as the timer displays the final 3 minutes of each wash. So the work of several women is now the work of my machine and yours truly. I am so happy to have the assistance.

These days, I rather enjoy hanging out on the terrace when the sun is shining and conditions are ideal for drying. Our plumber was very practical when he set up the fixtures, affixing the hose for the gray water to the terrace wall and fastening it just above a bucket rather than above the floor drain. This way, I can use the gray water to rinse the terrace floor, or the plastic on the halqa windows. What my new laundry area lacks in form is certainly made up for by it's absolute functionality.

One of the things that held me back from purchasing a washing machine was not the cost of the machine itself, but the need to create a space for it and the need to install the plumbing that goes along with it. But after 3 months in the U.S. this summer with full and ready access to a washing machine and a dryer, I threw caution to the wind when I returned to Fes and impulsively bought the machine. I had hoped to have enough money to build a shelter around it but that project soon got superceded by more pressing expenses.

Big problem for we were entering into the rainy season.

So, I was hanging out on the terrace one day, a mound of clothes, curtains, cushion covers and linens being washed for me when I began to tackle a heap of dusty, tangled tents that had been occupying a corner of the terrace for too long. As I wrestled with one tent, I began to envision arranging a tent around the washing machine.

Eventually, after lots of trial and error, I managed to create a little fort above and around my new best friend, the washing machine. I cut the tent apart and used bamboo, a rusty metal bar, cuttings from the tent and miscelleaneous pieces of plywood to enclose the corner of the terrace into a makeshift laundry room. Now, everytime I look at it I feel like a kid who build a neat fort or treehouse from an assortment of left over materials. But it's working. The washing machine stays nice and dry in the rain storms and the structure has held steady during strong winds.

Is it any wonder I am so delighted to have 'another woman' in the house to help with just one of the myriad of tasks I undertake? I think I'll go up to the terrace right now. The sun is shining periodically and it's about time to join forces again and make things happen around here!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Writer's Block

Thanks to all my readers who have written and encouraged me to start blogging again. Months and months have gone by without actually following-through on my intention to post on the blog. I would tell myself, you must write about this or that and then the thought would just hang there, never actually becoming a written piece. I figure I must have been in the throes of the dreaded writers block these past 8 months.

Small wonder the block took hold, though. I actually was doing quite a bit of writing early in the year as editor of Cafe Clock's blog. Perhaps all the words I had to put together were spent there. But after a year of writing articles (which I thoroughly enjoyed as it entailed meeting incredibly interesting people and researching topics I only knew a little bit about) I decided it was time to reduce the 5 jobs I was doing to 3. I was really tired and leaving Morocco for the entire summer. And I found I was censoring my words before I wrote them ... I had lost the ability to let the words move through me onto the screen.

But everything comes and goes and I feel the block is moving on. This summer I met with a publisher who read some of my blog postings and encouraged me to write a book. I even began to outline the various chapters and found I had two books to write rather than one. Then a backslide into writer's block occurred.

But just a few days into the practices and activities in the book, The Artists's Way I find myself with pen in hand and fingers poised over the keyboard. The computer is fixed of all the problems that kept me from accessing the internet and the unexplained crashes that had me throwing up my hands in frustration have been addressed. All systems are 'go'.

So, as Lyle Lovett sang: "Here I Am". ... back in Morocco and ready to write once again.