Where’s the onerousness?

butcher
Felipe runs a butcher shop in the next block. He’s a good guy.

I WAS READING yesterday on the blog of an old Gringo who lives in the sticks outside the touristy, Gringo-infested burg of San Miguel de Allende that the old Gringo in question — his name is Alfredo — was finding life in the Plague Year “onerous.”

I am not finding it onerous, just a bit inconvenient at times, but mostly I’m doing just fine. I read, I watch Netflix, I fix lunch, which is the main meal of the day in Mexico, I power walk around the neighborhood plaza every weekday, and I tend to the  yard. With some exceptions, it’s what I did before the Kung Flu tossed everyone into a tizzy.

I don’t garden every day — not the lazy days — but I do what needs to be done, and Abel the Deadpan Yardman does the heavy lifting, so to speak, and there’s rarely much heavy lifting. This morning, I hosed the yard plants for the first time in a couple of weeks, just the plants, not the grass, which fends for itself.

Then I rested on a downstairs veranda rocker and shot this picture of myself. That’s me in a good mood. I already had the camera at hand because I planned to photograph the butcher minutes later during the power walk. The butcher is named Felipe too.

That young man is a red-meat entrepreneur. I like him. He has a wife and a young boy, and they are all well-behaved.

me
Grinning from ear to ear.

I’m a little scraggly, but I tidied up later. One must maintain standards of appearance and deportment. I learned that in the Air Force decades ago. Or not. Just after snapping this shot, I grabbed my mahogany cane — to thrash unruly dogs — ushered my child bride through the big, red gate, and we powered around the nearby plaza.

Perhaps there was a bounce in my step. She detoured to a little store to buy peanuts for  cookies this afternoon. They are tasty cookies and go great with coffee.

The plaza was empty, so we didn’t have to maintain social distancing. The space was all ours on this lovely, blue-skied, cool-aired, carefree day.

plazaa
The neighborhood plaza was wide open today.

We’re not letting the Kung Flu get us down. Tomorrow I’ll be meeting a guy named Miguel at the Downtown Casita, and he’ll do some renovation in the carport that will entail removing plants — one of my preferred activities — and installing ceramic floor tile.

Faux brick. It will look sweet.

To date, the Plague Year has prompted two cancellations for the Downtown Casita, leaving just one in place, a couple who’ll arrive in late October for only two weeks. I don’t much care for two-week reservations because the income is hardly worth the effort.

There’s plenty of time for them to cancel too. I rather hope so.

Quarantine days

WE EASED into it, gradual-like. At first, early last month, during our habitual afternoon stays on the downtown plaza with a hot café Americano negro and the Kindle, I’d just keep away from the passing mob to the best of my ability.

During that time, the two of us were driving downtown afternoons in both cars as usual because my child bride required more time chewing the chorizo (Mexican fat) with her sister than I was willing to sit and wait for it all to peter out.

Great God Almighty, women can talk. No fleeting thought is kept inside.

Then we started driving down there in one car, returning together. A week or so later, we stopped going altogether as things seemed to worsen a bit, especially the first report of Kung Flu here on the mountaintop. That report remains questionable.

We stopped shopping entirely except for necessities. Grub and knitting material. Now we’re at home. I ordered face masks online, and we began using them yesterday during our weekly shopping trip to the nearby capital city. Costco and Chedraui.

Our governor announced, starting yesterday, that it is absolutely forbidden to leave one’s home for anything other than essentials. And masks required! The penalties include fines and community service.

The governor of the abutting state of Jalisco has issued the same order.

Clearly, these two think they’re talking to Germans or Swiss, not Mexicans.

During our shopping trip yesterday to the state capital, we encountered exactly what I knew we would encounter: life as usual. People out walking around, riding bikes, eating sidewalk tacos, the same ole same ole. Some wore masks, some not.

Yesterday afternoon we drove downtown here on the mountaintop for knitting gear. Again, everyone was doing the same as last week. Nothing had changed.

Humorously, the Gringos seem to be hunkering down at home, fearful not just of the Kung Flu but of being arrested, fined or whatever. There is an online forum that focuses on Gringos hereabouts, and it’s a hoot to read their hysterics.

Here at the Hacienda, the days go like this: My child bride does a daily frenzy of calisthenics and she knits. She dearly misses her gym. I read my Kindle and see stuff online, especially film noir from the 1950s and cheesy horror/sci fi from the 1960s.

The evenings have not changed. Salads and Netflix.

And we continue our exercise walks on the neighborhood plaza weekdays. I doubt we will be fined or pressed onto community service chain gangs.

I sure hope not.

chain-gang-suffolk
Is this what awaits me?

Plague year pleasures

ENOUGH OF GLOOM and doom. Let’s focus on pleasures, which we have quite a few here at the Hacienda on a daily basis.

They start at dawn. The window is open for the cool night air, and when the sun rises, the birds start to sing. Neighborhood chickens too, but the birds are nearer, sweeter.

And waking at age 75 with a sleek, smooth child bride at your side on the king bed is quite the pleasure, believe me. Were I still with wives No. 1 or No. 2, I’d been waking with crones. Let’s not underestimate the pleasure of this.

Then there is food. Neither of us is a foodie, but that doesn’t mean one doesn’t find pleasure in eating. This morning was special in that we had waffles, which we rarely do because we like to remain svelte and healthy.

waff
Aunt Jemima mix makes the best waffles.

Atop the waffles we pour real Canadian maple syrup from Costco.

To burn off the waffle calories, we did the usual morning exercise walk around the neighborhood plaza. We normally don’t encounter many people, but during these trying times we find even fewer folks. The plaza is ours, a pleasure.

A hot shower is great too. That happens later so we smell nice, a pleasure to others.

For lunch today, it’s minestrone, which I tossed together from a very simple recipe I’ve used for decades. It’s a healthy, low-cal version, which was the reason we ate syrup-drenched waffles earlier. We deserved it.

minn
Old Felipe makes the best minestrone.

In the afternoon, I make coffee at home, pour it into a thermos, and off we go to the big plaza downtown where we sit at a sidewalk table. I, of course, read my Kindle, and my child bride gossips with her sister. Bringing our own coffee negates the need to have the coffee house employees involved in the process during this plague year.

The less touchy-touchy you do improves your survival chances, it’s said.

That’s the primary period each day in which we escape the confines of the Hacienda to avoid going stir-crazy. Then it’s home for salads and Netflix before beddy-bye and pleasurably slipping into a world of dreams till it starts over the next day.

Plenty of pleasures available during the Plague Year.

Of bones and death

bedroom2
Out the bedroom window this cool, overcast Monday.

I HAVEN’T issued a recent update on my child bride’s broken arm.

On Sept. 28, two days before a month had passed (the doctor initially said it would require four to six weeks), the cast came off. Since neither of us had ever suffered a broken bone before, we were clueless about the process.

While an X-ray indicates the arm is healing nicely, we did not anticipate the effects of one month of having an arm immobilized. Things happen to muscles and tendons, painful things. Well, mostly after the cast comes off.

But she’s doing exercises and soaks in warm water, and all is improving, but it’s not back to normal. Patience.

Worst of all for her is not being able to return to the gym. This has been the longest spell of no-gym in her 30 years of gym fanaticism. Again, patience.

But she’s driving her car again, and dealing with her own hair.

* * * *

Weather-wise

We’re approaching the middle of October, which means we’re nearing the end of the yearly, five-month-long, daily deluges. The Day of the Dead arrives Nov. 2, and sometimes we get a rain on that candlelit night, messing things up in the cemeteries, but then the rain is gone till the following June.

With luck, the Day of the Dead will be dry. I’m told the corpses prefer it that way.