Summer cleaning

MY CHILD BRIDE  encountered a nasty allergy in March — first ever — shortly after we started staying home due to the Kung Flu. That staying at home lasted till May 10 when we wearied of it. Now we are out and about since it’s become patently obvious that it’s just another pandemic like the world sees now and then. You die, or you don’t.

Most don’t.

She’s been to two doctors, and various solutions have been offered. The allergy has calmed down about 90%, but she still has occasional flareups, but nothing like what was happening in March, which coincidentally was when she stopped going to the gym religiously, again due to the Kung Flu. She returned to the gym about two months ago.

She imagines a new cause of her problem — sneezing and runny nose — on a daily basis. One, of course, is dust, so she’s been on a cleaning campaign that comes and goes. Today was one of those days, and she tackled the downstairs terraza.

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Wall stripped of hats. Shelves stripped of clay pots.
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Pots get a good wash.

Inside one of those clay pots, she encountered — much to her dismay — a mummified bat that had gotten himself trapped. That whole pot went into the trash barrel. She also tossed most of the sombreros that had been hanging on the wall for about 15 years, including the cowboy chapeau of my old buddy Al Kinnison.

But I was no slacker this morning. Swallows had built one of their nasty mud nests high on a second-floor overhang in the service patio. A family was there before I noticed it, so I left them in peace to raise the kiddies who tossed plenty of poop to the patio floor. They finally grew up and flew away. Good freaking riddance!

An extension ladder and a broom put me within range, so I knocked the nest down this morning. I’ll be more vigilant next year. I also climbed to the roof of the kitchen-dining room to sweep accumulated dirt that gives algae and weeds a happy home.

I was surprised to find the roof completely dry. Usually, there’s a pool up there throughout the rainy season, but it’s been raining less this summer. Must be that climate-change thing. If so, I favor it. We’re getting plenty of rain, as you can see in the video, but not so much that it causes problems. I shot that video about three days ago.

We’ll be having green pozole for lunch today. Come join us.

Plagues in perspective

THERE WAS A global pandemic in 1957-58, an H2N2 virus. The estimated death toll was 1.1 million. I was 13-14 years old, and I do not remember it. Do you? If you weren’t born yet, ask your mom and dad.

In 1968, an H3N2 virus caused another pandemic. It killed an estimated 1 million to 4 million globally which, yes, is a very wide range, and about 100,000 in the United States, most of whom were over age 65. Sound familiar? I was 24 years old, married with a daughter. I do not remember this pandemic. Do you?

Why are they forgotten?

During those pandemics, nations did not clobber their own economies nor force citizens to stay home and wear face masks to walk outside. What has changed? Communication has changed. And we’re scaring ourselves out of our wits.

This year we have the coronavirus, which has killed about 700,000 worldwide and about 159,000 in the United States, and it seems to be winding down in many places. In Mexico, 48,000 have died, which is one of the world’s highest tolls.

Mexico’s GDP has taken a terrific hit due to forced business closures.

To put that global death toll of 700,000 in perspective, it’s about midway between the populations of Albuquerque and Austin. For the whole world, which houses 7 billion, 800 million and change, people-wise.

Following is a brief video from the inimitable Katie Hopkins. She is addressing a ham-fisted shutdown in Melbourne, Australia, where lockdown has reached stellar absurdity.

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.

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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