“If it works, and it’s in Puna, it’s worth something,” Tom says to me. I laugh, but I don’t believe it. “It’s all bus up!” I say.
Tom is here disconnecting the old stove that came with this house, and installing a longer propane line and an electricity box for the new one we bought, which is being delivered this afternoon.
The windows are open as they always are, and we can just hear a bulldozer rattle and clank down the road.
Last year I was pioneer woman breaking new ground, moving to Hawaii, living off-grid, baking dozens and dozens of cookies in an all bus up stove. This year I’m getting a new stove.
All bus up is my favorite Pidgin phrase. When we bought the house, we tried to make their lawn mower and string trimmer part of the deal. The seller said, “Sure, you can have the mower, but the string trimmer is all bus up.”
I love how it sounds, how it makes me smile when I hear it again. Lawn-mowers, string trimmers – all bus up! Store-bought eggs, all bus up! This ancient, rusted stove is not literally all bus up, but it’s pretty far gone. There is just no way it’s worth anything. I would feel guilty even giving it away on Craigslist.
The Bearded One and Tom almost can’t get the stove out because of the window ledge.
It must have been here for at least 20 years, since the house was built. And now, it’s in the middle of the kitchen floor. Rusted sides, one lone non-sooty functional burner, a long-stopped clock (6:30), and a choking brown dust layer on the floor beneath the oven.
Bulldozer treads bang in the distance, metal plates on solid rock. There is no soil here. Not 8/10 of a mile from the ocean. This 500-year-old lava is virtually brand new. Pahoehoe (puh-hoy-hoy) lava flows pile up, and composting takes eons. I’ve watched the bulldozer work. A brown man in a bright blue shirt drives the bulldozer back and forth, over and over and down and around the bus up lava rock, grooming it to build, breaking it down into workable size chunks for altering the rough landscape into a big pool table.
This is not how our place was done, by a long shot.
I set to work cleaning the floor and wall and anything else that needs it as I wait for the promised phone call from the Home Depot delivery man saying, “We’ll be there in half an hour.” The Bearded One doubts it’ll all work out as promised. It rarely does here.
Finally the phone rings. It’s them! What? The man who was supposed to convert the gas jet to propane didn’t get the message?
He will do the conversion on Monday? They deliver to the other side of the island on Tuesdays. Wednesdays they don’t deliver. She apologizes, but the plan is all bus up and we won’t get our new stove until Thursday, five days away.
“No stove for five days!” I say to Tom a few minutes later. I hang my head. “What I would give to have the old one back.”
He smiles. “It’s already hooked up. I just used your new connections. You can have it back now.”
I laugh, deeply relieved. It’s still working. Kind of like the whole world. Even if it’s all bus up.