Today started with greeting Kalo in the lounge and blending my breakfast. As I tossed ingredients in the little 15 ounce blender, I completely ignored the fact that the measuring lines stopped at 12. A quartered apple was far too much for it to handle as the whirring stopped and the motor started to make a deep vibrating noise. I unplugged it immediately once I noticed smoke.
How ironic, I thought to myself, if I were the cause of a fire here.
My arrangement with Kevin was that I would be cutting down peppercorn trees and doing fire prevention work.
Kalo came over and we diagnosed the problem as a simple lack of mindfulness. I took the half masticated apple out and sliced it in to smaller chunks. The blender cooperated this time.
As I prepared for work, Kalo and Kevin were speaking just outside the lounge about a couch and a job or something. When I approached them, I was volunteered to go with Kalo at the end of the day to grab this freecycled couch. With this trip being the beginning of my zen training, I agreed. It was my attempt to say yes more often.
Work went extremely quickly, as I was still used to ten hour work days in worse heat. Any inconveniences I had using an electric chainsaw to make uts way too big for it were stifled by my desire to help Kevin. Together, after some brainstorming of methods, we cut and hauled a few loads of slashed tree.
After work, Kalo came to grab me and we loaded a door in to the back of his van. It was a white van with makeshift racks on the inside and no back seats. We carefully placed the door he personally crafted inside the van and then took off to Goleta.
On the ride there, Kalo told me about his plants to go back to Thailand, his upcoming trip to New Mexico and his friend Michio, who I would soon meet. When we arrived to pick up the couch the owner was outside and directed us to its location. We removed the door, inserted the couch after a bit of fiddling and re-positioned the door carefully. I was under the impression that our work was almost done.
We rode across town in to Downtown Santa Barbara where we stopped to drop off the door. We were greeted by a man coated head to toe in white paint from a paint sprayer. He introduced himself as Steve. The side gate funneled in to a bamboo garden back yard with a peaceful bamboo fountain. This is where I met Michio.
Michio is an aging Japanese man with black hair, gray in the front, and a shoulders forward, slightly hunched stance. He had a slow and deliberate way of speaking and his jokes were a dull, understated sort of clever. He smiled with his eyes.
Main quality: Relaxed
He was the one who ordered the door for one of his projects and its final destination for us as we leaned it against the house while Kalo thriftfully negotiated a favor in exchange for a discount. Our next stop was to fix a lever on a broken balcony door, but the screw hole was worn. This is when Kalo told me that Michio was a master jeweler who made a living making unique pieces of expensive jewelry. I watched him in action as he welded the metal for the door together with a personalized torch setup.
We left after we cooled and polished the pieces and went out to lunch at The Natural Cafe. I was under the impression that it was provided, since he offered to go, but I was mistaken. Here I learned of the time Kalo spent in Egypt in the Peace Corps working on natural restoration projects and setting the standard for the irrigation work used there. His beginning as a craftsman and odd job man came from the tree houses he constructed with his dad as a kid and his consistency, never doubting himself or the work he was capable of.
Eventually we made it to Bob A’s house. It was an ocean side estate that Kalo build himself for $700,000 and sold to the previous owner for $900,000. Bob bought this summer home for $2,800,000. Fixing the door was done almost immediately , but we had to stick around so Kalo could show the owner how to operate his Jacuzzi. With the utmost nonchalance, Kalo opened Bob’s fridge, took out a watermelon and sliced it up, handing me a huge chunk. I ate it on his porch overlooking the ocean.
Our last stop for the day was at the house of an old friend. Kalo told me “Sometimes it’s good to just give an receive a hug.” This man was Bob P.
Age: 54 (my assumption since he went to Kindergarten with Kalo)
Bob P is a spirited man and a photographer with a gray handlebar mustache and short, neat hair. His smile was obscured by his mustache, but you could always tell he was after laughing at something Kalo said. Their relationship reminded me of my close friends. Bob was a major technophile when it came to camera parts and had an extensive knowledge of the craft. He is also the kind of man who flirts with younger girls and who I wouldn’t be surprised if he made some traction with them.
Main quality: Charming
We stood around the huge island in his kitchen as Kalo mentioned the various wine coolers embedded in it. They talked about their upcoming travels as I watched them beam with friendliness.