A day in the life, etc.

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The only rose here that does anything interesting.

IT’S FUN TO WATCH the plants in our yard. It’s even more fun now that I have eliminated the beasts that tossed trash everywhere, primarily fruit trees.

We still have no gardener — no maid either — if you don’t count Abel the Deadpan Yardman who cuts the lawn every summer and autumn. I get him to do other chores on occasion, but once the monsoon stops, I’m mostly on my own.

We’ll likely get a maid before we get a gardener. It’s a question of how much longer it will be before my child bride runs out of steam. One reason she has not run out of steam so far is that she has ants in her pants. Relax is not a word she’s familiar with.

I, on the other hand, am very familiar with it.

But, like me, she’s not getting any younger. And the house is very large. She does most of the housework, and I do all of the yard when Abel’s not around.

I had an encounter with what seemed a good maid option about a week ago. I was out on the street sidewalk one morning, picking up trash that had been dumped by ill-bred locals when a woman approached and asked if we needed a maid.

I told her no, but I was taken by how exceptionally nice she seemed. Good vibes. She then crossed the street, walked one house down and knocked on that door. I figured she was going to ask them the same thing, but no. The door opened, and in she went. So she works there. It’s likely a part-time gig, and she’s looking to fill out her schedule.

I should have requested her phone number. But it was 10 a.m., and perhaps I can see her again if I go out there and wait at 10 a.m. some other day as she arrives for work with the neighbors. The housewife there is something of a grump, so perhaps that’s the problem, the reason she’s looking to make a change.

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This plant is huge, far bigger than the photo indicates.

Returning to the gardening theme, the plant just above is a philodendron that lives in a corner of the yard. Like most all overgrown things here, I planted it when it was an itty-bitty baby. One day, perhaps I will learn. Quit planting stuff.

I had to shove aside its monster leaves to poke the camera closer to the meat of the matter. I also planted the same thing in the small carport green space of our downtown casita years ago. That too has attained Godzilla proportions.

I always thought philodendrons were smallish, potted plants. Maybe at times they are. We also have rose bushes. Years ago, I planted four. With one exception, they’ve done squat, and I’ve dug up two. Of the remaining, only that top one shows pride in itself. I’ll soon dig up the other, I imagine. It looks so lame it should be embarrassed.

Tomorrow will be a busy Monday. We’ll head out early to drop off the Nissan March at a tire place for a new set of Uniroyal Tiger Paws. That’s on the ring road. Then we go downtown in the Honda to pay and leave paperwork for another year of the P.O. Box. Then to the bank to add my wife’s name to a new account and ask about credit cards.

If the line’s not too long at City Hall, we might pay property taxes too.

Somewhere in there, we’ll walk laps around the big plaza to maintain our physiques, and then we’ll visit a restaurant facing the plaza for a yummy dish called Huevos Tarasca.

We’ll be home shortly after noon. Normally, we never leave home before noon, so this switch will rock our world. We’ll return to normal on Tuesday.

Build (more of) that wall!

BEHOLD AN excellent video noting how the Democrat Party has morphed from the Party of the Working Man to the party that obsesses on Political Correctness, race, open borders, diversity and socialism, all to the detriment of the American Working Man.

Thoughts in the night

TWO DECADES AGO when my mother was about 80, I asked her what entered her mind at night during those moments when she was awake, those intervals we all have.

I was curious about what old people with lots of history thought in the dark night.

New ImageIf we’re worrying about something before going to bed, that’s what we’ll be focusing on, of course, but at times we awake when there’s nothing worrisome in our lives. Usually, we slip back into our dreams easily, but not always.

I forgot what my mother told me, but I recall it was nothing notable. I thought she’d be remembering the Great Depression or the time she eloped at midday with my father in Athens, but she didn’t mention anything like that. I would have remembered.

Well, now that I’m pretty old myself, I know what old people think, at least what I think. I have a few set skits for those moments. I think, for instance, of a photo of me standing on Cesery Boulevard in Arlington, Florida, posing with a baseball bat as if someone were pitching a hardball at me. I was about 9. I have lost that photo.

But it lives in my mind.

I sometimes think of my very small bedroom in that Cesery Boulevard home, the twin bed, and getting up mornings, stepping across the narrow hallway, and opening the folding canvas door into the kitchen where my mother would be smoking a cigarette. Maybe she’d just downed a Miltown to get her through another day.

What I have thought of more frequently than anything the past 25 years is the moment my last wife told me she was leaving. I was standing in her office door in our Houston home one evening, and she was sitting on the floor going through files.

She mentioned fairly casually that she had found an apartment in Montrose and was moving out. She was shockingly nonchalant. She didn’t even look at me.

Since we had never discussed the possibility of divorce, this was like a meteor. I remember the moment in detail a quarter of a century later. And here is the strange part. Conjuring up that memory during an insomniac spell almost instantly returns me to sleep.

You would think it would be precisely the opposite.

But I’ve just recently noticed that I’m not using that memory anymore as a substitute sleeping pill. The 25-year-old habit has died. I do still think of the kid with the baseball bat, and mornings walking from my small bedroom into the little kitchen and seeing my mother, but not the moment my wife announced she’d had her fill of me.

A single Tylenol will also send me to dreamland, but where’s the drama in that?

Cleaning the windows

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From the living room at 9 a.m.

YESTERDAY, WHILE I was Oiling the Cat, my child bride was not idle. She was cleaning the windows. We are a dual-labor couple. And since I bragged on my work, I’m now giving her equal credit so no one will call me a sexist.

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From the bedroom at the same hour.

It’s been a good morning so far. I have Al Gromer Khan on the music machine in the living room playing Tantric Drums. A touch of incense completes the scene.

Like most of the Hacienda, the window designs are mine, my idea 100 percent. Alas, I hired a crappy carpenter way back then, and the windows have been an ongoing problem, especially from the outside where they have warped.

I also stupidly told the carpenter to include the glass in his work. I did not want to fool with details. Of course, he installed the cheapest, thinnest glass available. I keep meaning to have it all changed, but so far I  have done nothing. Inertia for 17 years.

I imagine these windows will outlast me.

But they look nice, especially on clear, cool, sunny winter days like this one.

Below are two more.

A keen observer will notice that Dining Room window #1 is the only one without the section in the middle that can be opened. It initially was like the others, but there was so much leakage during the annual monsoons that I had it sealed off.

We’ll be installing a canvas awning outside that window in a few weeks. It’s the window most exposed to the elements, not just rain but brutal sunshine which requires the wood to be refurbished every few years.

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Dining room window #1, clean as the whistle.
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Dining room window #2.