Out to dry

sheets
Usually there are far more blankets, pillows and pillowcases out there.

I LIVE NEXT to a sex motel. It’s not as bad as you might think. Actually, it’s great because it functions as 24-hour security.

The motel has just eight rooms. They sit above their individual carports with outer curtains so Nosy Parkers can’t even spot the vehicles. Gossip, you know.

It’s a pretty snazzy joint. Late in the construction almost 10 years ago, we crept into one of the rooms for a peek. The rearmost room even has a jacuzzi.

Here’s something odd though. At the back of the mostly two-story building is a third story, the laundry room. There are a number of washers, and an indoor clothesline.

But no dryers.

The clothesline is, by necessity, rather short. The sheets are dried there, but the blankets are not. They are spread out on the roof to air-dry, and air there is a’plenty.

Blankets are blown about quite a bit on the rain-stained roof. Pillows are out there too. You can spot one by a skylight.

This does not seem sanitary. I wonder if they sweep before tossing out blankets, pillowcases and pillows.

I also wonder why they didn’t install a lengthy clothesline on the roof. Maybe the owner thought it would look cheesy. Wouldn’t want a sex motel to look cheesy.

The human shadow you see is your photojournalist himself. The two tall shadows are the Hacienda chimneys. The Hacienda sits higher than the sex motel.

And the skinny shadow to the right is my WiFi antenna.

While up there, I snapped the photo below in the other direction. That’s how the area looked from the roof Friday morning. It was 42 degrees, blue skies and breezy.

vista

If you click on the bottom shot, click again to enlarge it, you’ll spot a V-formation of white egrets at the top left.

Bat neighbors

MOST EVERY morning, after café, bagels and Philly cream cheese, lite, I wash the dishes and step out to the downstairs terraza to sweep. This is especially necessary in Springtime because the season creates plenty of dust.

broomIn July or August the terraza may be awash with blown-in rainwater, but that’s not an issue in Springtime, which is a time of dust. And bats.

This morning I arrived out on the terraza, took a look to my right and there on one of the wooden shelves was an ample supply of dry bat shit, guano they call it.

My gaze traveled upward to the red clay roof tiles, which is where the bats hang out during the day in Springtime but summer too.

I know they’re up there, but I’ve never seen them up there, just the proof — there on the shelf — of their presence. And if you’re on the terraza around dusk, you’ll spot them flying out and high on their nightly dining expeditions. However, they do it so quickly you can’t see where they start from, specifically, their hangar. No matter. The guano spills the beans.

Getting a brush, I flipped the little turds to the floor where they were included in the sweep.

We once found a bat hanging from the ceiling fixture in the downtown Casita’s back bedroom, just above the bed. He couldn’t have been there long because the bed was still unsullied by, well, you know. My lovely wife had gone to the Casita alone, and I quickly received a phone call informing me, hysterically, that “something” was hanging from the light fixture.

What is it? I inquired. She did not know, she responded. Some sort of beast.

I hurried to the Casita — about 15 minutes from the Hacienda — and immediately saw what it was. Nothing confusing about it. Women are funny.

I got a shoe box, donned a pair of leather gloves, and “encouraged” the little bugger to move into the box, which he did with little fuss. For lack of any other solution, I tossed him into a grassy area nearby. I hope everything turned out well for him, though I doubt it did.

How did he get into the Casita? I scratched my noodle, figuratively speaking, for the next few hours. It’s a modern construction, well sealed, and I was puzzled. Later, downtown on the plaza, sitting at a sidewalk table with a hot espresso, it hit me. The chimney! Well, duh.

There’s a small, non-functioning fireplace in the living room.

The next morning, I went to the roof and closed the opening with screen.

Problem solved.

Man and fire

fire

THERE’S AN ART to building a good fire.

And I have no idea what that is, so my approach is to bludgeon the matter. I pile a mountain of firewood, and I torch a handful of ocote, which is a resin-full wood that ignites gleefully when introduced to flame.

Stick the burning ocote under the stacked wood and wait. That’s all there is to it. Perhaps I do grasp the art.

I lit a fire downstairs yesterday, the first of the season. Before that, I climbed the circular stairway on the upstairs terraza to the roof and removed plastic sheeting from the chimney top. Most of the year it’s wrapped in plastic to keep mosquitoes out. It took me about three years to learn that.

On about two occasions, I forgot to uncover the chimney first, and you can imagine what happened.

I paused while on the roof and took a look around at the green mountains. I inhaled the clear winter air, and I thanked the Goddess, hardly for the first time, for landing me here in my declining years. It’s good to end one’s many days in such a spectacular fashion.

There were two blazes yesterday. The first was in the morning because it was dang cold. The second was late afternoon. It was less cold, but I desired a cozy atmosphere. After I got the fire burning, I sat on the nearby scarlet sofa and read a good book about Stanley and Dr. Livingstone.

And felt good about myself. A fine fire will do that.