Spring is for sprucing up

José walks atop glass. The dark area is covered with shade cloth.

I wait till April and May each year to do repairs. It’s the height of the dry season, and outside renovations don’t run the risk of getting soaked. Quite a few have been done already, mostly at the Downtown Casita where painting, plumbing and electrical occurred.

Yesterday, one of my guys, José, did some minor exterior painting here at the Hacienda, and then he climbed atop the roof of the upstairs terraza with a pressure washer to remove a year’s accumulation of gunk. The interesting aspect is that the roof is glass. He treads lightly and tries to stay atop the steel beams.

Old faithful.

My focus now turns to the water heater, which is about 16 years old. We started out with an identical heater 18 years ago, but it failed after two years and was replaced for free because it was still under warranty. It’s a big sucker, and has always worked great.

It has a nonstop pilot light, however, and it sits quite near the propane tank, which concerns me a bit. Plus, I would like to spend less on gas. I tried to reduce gas costs years ago by installing first one solar water heater, then another. Neither were worth warm spit, so I’m turning to another solution, one of those on-demand heaters.

But I’ve had bad luck with those too. We installed one in the Mexico City condo, and it’s been quite temperamental. We installed another in the Downtown Casita some years back because the little cheap traditional heater the home came with worked poorly. The new on-demand heater was no better, so I installed a large, traditional heater, which works great.

Avera.

We also have an on-demand heater in my child bride’s pastry kitchen. It’s never failed us in seven years.

I’m going to buy an Avera instantaneous heater, probably the model that costs 3,199 pesos. It has great reviews on the Avera website, and I’ll also keep the old heater online. I can switch from one to the other. Another option is a modulating model. Anyone have experience with those?

Homeownership, never an idle moment.

No free lunch

We can always count on John Stossel to put things in perspective. And you can always count on me to point out the rampant imbecilities that run amok these days among spoiled, clueless Americans.

In this video Stossel showcases Americans who think that loans do not need to be repaid, but those loans — especially government-guaranteed tuition loans — often are paid by blue-collar workers who have no choice in the matter.

I have been a blue-collar worker. I enjoyed it. I might still be one had I not been stymied by unions. I left the newspaper game in the early 1980s. I went to a trade school and studied electrical construction technology. I have an Associate Degree in that.

I worked for a while in commercial construction, helping build a massive Schwegmann’s supermarket in Metairie, Louisiana.

But I was less interested in commercial construction than in residential work, an area mostly controlled by the electricians’ union in New Orleans. In order to reduce competition, the union blocked new membership to anyone over 25 years old. I was in my early 30s at the time. I am not a fan of unions. I returned to newspapering.

Blue-collar workers should not be forced to finance university degrees for others, especially these days when universities are leftist indoctrination centers, and students build massive debt to get silly degrees.

This works.
This doesn’t.

Mind Control

Let’s move on to another subject. Let’s look at face masks. Here we have two examples. The one on the left is virus control. The one on the right is mind control.

Do what we say!

I wear neither voluntarily. I don’t need the one on the left, but I sport the one on the right when I have to enter a store that requires it, as many hereabouts still do.

In my town, I am constantly surprised and disappointed at the YUGE percentage of the population that wears masks, especially where it simply makes no sense whatsoever, such as driving alone in a car or walking alone in the open air down a sidewalk. The people who do those things have lost their ability to think rationally.

They have lost their minds.


(Note: I ate my first raw oyster in a Schwegmann’s supermarket bar. Yes, Schwegmann’s stores often included bars. It was a sweltering summer afternoon, and I was sitting solo on a barstool at the Schwegmann’s on Airline Highway in Metairie. After more than a few cold Dixie beers, I ordered a dozen raw oysters out of curiosity. I was hooked.)

Cheese, avocados & eggs

Within a block of the Hacienda sit three mom-and-pop stores that provide essentials. These stores are called abarrotes, and most are connected to homes, and most abarrotes are tiny, dark and grim. They have eggs and cheese and plenty of other stuff one needs occasionally. Many are crammed with merchandise.

We used to frequent an abarrotes just around the closest corner, but the owner was such a suspicious sourpuss that we abandoned her. This was made more convenient when another opened about 20 feet farther on.

The newer one is run by a woman who is the mother of the sourpuss neighbor just next door. The barrio suffers no shortage of sourpusses. The second store owner has a daughter with severe Down Syndrome, and she has a big dog that sits in the door, obstructing.

We walk down there — it’s very close — almost daily. It’s far more convenient than driving a few miles to the nearest chain supermarket to contend with long, slow lines, hand gel and face masks. The woman who owns the second store won’t win any personality contests either, but she’s nicer than the other one, and it’s got to be hard for a middle-aged single woman with an adult daughter with Down Syndrome.

Plus, the abarrotes owners — just like me — don’t care about face masks or hand gel.

I usually buy tomatoes and avocados. Sometimes cheese, sometimes eggs, and often a package of baked tostadas, which we eat with pozole and minestrone.

Abarrotes remind me of a mom-and-pop store on a red-dirt road in the rural area where I lived with my parents and grandparents in southwest Georgia a million years ago. The main difference is that the Georgia store was far larger than your average abarrotes, and the owners had smiles on their faces. They were glad to see you. I’ve never had the impression that an abarrotes owner was happy to see me at all.

But the convenience makes up for that.

The third abarrotes I mentioned in the first paragraph is behind the Hacienda, not too convenient. We rarely go out the back door.

As I write this Thursday evening, a hog is screaming bloody murder next door. They’re possibly killing it for bacon and ham steaks. That also reminds of my grandparents’ Georgia farm where hogs were murdered for the same reason.

The CIA goes PC

Behold the official YouTube channel of the Central Intelligence Agency.

A recruitment video.

Note the title is not “Men and Women of the CIA.” It’s “Humans of the CIA.” The woman starts out fixating on her skin color. Later, she informs us she’s cisgendered because we need to know. And she chirpily reveals a past of mental illness. Then she takes a dig at “the patriarchy”! Lord help us.

The Chinese must be grinning from ear to ear.

This video is appalling, and I’m not surprised the CIA disabled YouTube comments.

Every time I think the U.S. government cannot be more dangerously imbecilic, it does just that. This is not a case of the fox getting into the henhouse. It’s that the dimwit chickens are inviting foxes into the henhouse.

Columnist John Nolte wrote a good piece on this lunacy.