Just before George left, Mike and I got the Hong Kong Flu. It was a complete wipe-out of several weeks of my life. I slept first on the emergency room floor waiting to see a doctor and later on a mattress in the front room of our rental. Mike bounced back quickly and I went from unresponsive to coughing up a lung. It ended my job and put me in a new financial bracket called "...so far down it looks like up to me".
When I finally recovered and found a way to make money again I also found a new home for us in a lower rent section. My new job was spreading some kind of resin on floors of balconies to make them a.) beautiful and b.) weather resistant. The apartments were not occupied so were very hot and I mean New Mexico kind of hot. The resin was some kin to glue I think as breathing killed my brain cells. After I did a balcony with my partner (The boss) I would lay outside on the grass or cement and try to get over an incredible and not too enjoyable high. They say we all have a twin somewhere. My boss was an identical to Richard Nixon and much like him in character as well. Did I mention I had met him at Red Dog Dan's?
My new home was with a darling young woman with a sweet baby girl who needed a roomie so Mike and I moved to a low income area and a new adventure began. We shared the house with mega cockaroacha! They were the oriental type and large. I learned to put shoes on or flip a light when getting up in the night so they would try to escape my size 11's paddling across the floor.
I remember many games of "Go" played on the kitchen table and a pool cue by the back door which only had a chain lock so a hand would sneak in now and again and try to unlock from the outside. I would whack whoever's hand I saw and they would stop trying to get in. There was an amazing stove from the 1930's in the back kitchen. I would love to find one like it now..so retro and cute but then I thought "Oh, save me!"
One day my son Michael tried to light a torch secretly in the bedroom and to keep me from finding him he hid behind the clothes in the closet. I was sitting at the kitchen table when I got such a strong feeling of panic that I ran and went straight to the closet and pulled back the clothes just as the torch lit. That was one of many times I was so thankful to have that, well, call it a 6th sense.
I did not last forever at this place, though the gal and I became fast friends who stayed in touch for many years. I was ready for the mountains. They were calling to me. High above the cockaroacha and latinos who watered the dirt every day, bless their resolve, to keep the dust down. I was looking for my paradise.