A morning shot

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UNLIKE MOST mornings when I stay home till past noon, today I drove downtown just before 9 to open the Downtown Casita for the maid. The place had not been officially tidied in two months. Normally, it’s done once a month when there are no tenants.

But the Plague Year has made me fall behind on my responsibilities. However, last week a pack of kin from the nearby state capital spent the night there, so it was a good excuse to hire the maid even though the kin always leave the place neat.

I scooped up the used sheets and towels and drove two blocks to a laundromat. As I got out of the Honda, I looked back up the hill that I had just descended and decided to take a photograph. There’s a VW Bug up there. Bet you don’t see them much anymore above the Rio Bravo. They’re still common here.

It rained a bit last night, so the morning was cool and fresh.

My father will die tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Sensible healthcare

I LOVE OUR healthcare system, one of the many positive aspects of Mexican life.

My child bride developed a stomach ailment yesterday. It kept her up much of last night, so we decided on a doctor visit today, which was easy as pie.

medThere is a privately owned clinic in town that’s about five or six years old. It’s a modern, two-story affair with a small hospital upstairs and doctors’ offices and a lab downstairs. The doctors include an internist, a family doctor, a dermatologist, an ear-nose-throat man, a traumatologist, a gynecologist and a pneumologist, whatever that is.

I imagine most are also surgeons because in Mexico many doctors are surgeons even though their specialty is something else. This is a major difference from how doctors are developed in the United States where if one is a surgeon that’s what he is, period.

Here it’s common to encounter an internist who’s a surgeon too. Same for family doctors, dentists, etc. My father-in-law was a small-town doc and a surgeon to boot.

You can also go into medical school straight from high school. No intermediary degrees are necessary. This means you can encounter some very young doctors.

Back to this morning. Keep in mind that it’s Saturday. We phoned the clinic. The doctor was in, the main one who’s also the owner of the clinic. We drove there. A nurse took my wife’s vital signs and within five minutes she was in the doctor’s office. I waited in the lobby with my mask on. A few minutes later, she exited with a treatment plan.

The doctor visit cost the peso equivalent of $18 U.S. Medical insurance did not enter the picture at all. We paid cash.

I stopped at a nearby drugstore for medicine on the way home.

We decided to visit the doctor around 9 a.m. We departed the clinic around 11, treatment in hand. The patient is resting comfortably as I write this.

The Un-greening of Felipe

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The Before Shot.

THE CREW came this morning with machetes and a chain saw, a pickup too.

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Guys at work.
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Wielding the axe.
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No more aloe vera, at least not on that spot.

They got the stump almost level with the ground, so now the question is if it will try to pop up again. Probably. I’ve seen people pour motor oil on stumps in these situations, but I hope not to have to do that.

Background on this work can be seen here.

This ongoing process I dub the Un-greening of Felipe. When the Hacienda was young, and I looked at the yard with the attitude I developed in Houston, I made mistakes. I planted things thinking they would grow as they grew in Houston, a little bit or not at all.

But Lordy! I am now running in reverse. We had three stands of banana trees, and now we have one. We had three monster magueys, and now we have none. We had a towering nopal, and now we have none. We had a trash-tossing peach tree, a pear and a loquat. Now we have none. We had three aloe veras. Now we have one.

The un-greening, still ongoing, makes life easier, and ease is what I crave.

Days of our lives

YESTERDAY WE ate tuna lasagna in The Lasagna Factory in the nearby capital city. We wanted vegetarian, but none was available. So tuna it was, and it was good.

Then we visited Costco and Chedraui for various staples before heading home to our mountaintop abode where peace reigns.

This morning I stepped out to the service patio and noticed, just past the steel stairway to the kitchen roof, a sizable spray of bird crap and a baby bird, deceased. Crap! I uttered to no one in particular. I glanced up, way up, and saw no nest. Strange.

I swept up the birdie corpse, tossed it in the trash outside in the Garden Patio, returned and looked up again, which is when I saw movement. Here’s the situation: There is a huge wasp nest up there, long abandoned, and so high I had never knocked it down.

Swallows had somehow turned a part of the wasp nest, a part that was drooping, into a home of their own, and there’s a family there, minus the one who plunged to his demise. I’ll keep an eye on the situation, and when the little buggers bugger off, the extension ladder will put me within range to knock the whole shebang down, and I will.

Why can’t swallows mind their own business? Nest under bridges or in the house of the people out back who blare music too loud? Where is the justice?


Tomorrow will be a big day here. More plant murder is planned.

The monster aloe vera which resides at the bedroom corner in what I’ve long called the Willy Nilly Zone will be uprooted and toted to God knows where.

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That aloe vera will go, but the datura will stay.

We once had three of these big babies, but Abel the Deadpan Yardman removed one a few years back. It was somewhat smaller than the one in the photo. I have a crew coming in the morning with machetes and a pickup truck.

It’s the same crew that removed the towering nopal, the monster bougainvillea and the annoying loquat tree.

After that’s done, Abel comes the following day, and I’m going to have him remove most everything in that area. It’s not clear from the photo, but there are tons of weeds. I will plant new stuff, but not plants that grow enormous.

More on this in a few days.


Our mayor has tested positive for the Kung Flu virus. He posted a video announcement on Facebook yesterday while sitting at a desk, which I assume is in his home, in normal clothes, wearing a facemask, to say he’s staying put for two weeks.

He’s a real glad-hander, so his getting Kung Flu is no shock. I wish him a speedy recovery, or maybe he’ll be one of those who never show symptoms, if such a thing exists.

He looked fine in the video.


In closing, here’s a little humor on the state of America. I might make this a recurring feature. Send me stuff.

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