And the days pass

cacdti
Where the mother-in-law once ruled the roost.

WHILE WE’VE taken the Swedish approach to the Plague Year, that still leaves us at home more than before March, but less than the month or so in the middle. Free time means space and life to fill, and I’m doing that.

I’ve decided to make a cactus zone where I recently removed the profusion of mother-in-law plants. There were already some cacti amid the mess, like those tall mothers, but I’ve been adding others, smaller plants that resided in pots but now will live free.

This morning found me driving down the mountainside alone to shop in the nearby capital city. I was riding solo because Costco won’t let more than one person in the store per membership, so my child bride was left behind, which probably pleased her just fine and dandy due to the early hour.

However, just as I was jumping into the Honda at 8:45, I noticed a tire was very low on air, so I drove to a tire-repair place just up the way where the guy found not one but two nails piercing the rubber. That put me behind schedule on the shopping trip.

Just a bit, 45 minutes. Set me back just over three bucks too.

The afternoon presented opportunities to both kill time and be useful, a lovely combination. I painted a scraped area on the side of the house with Seacoast Red. I changed the water in the ceramic birdbath. Earlier, I made spaghetti topped off with bottled tomato sauce, canned tuna and a bit of sausage from San Antonio.

I responded to some people who had left comments here, which is always fun, plus it gave me another chance to sing the praises of Donald Trump. I wish we had such a fine man in the president’s chair in Mexico instead of the megalomaniac we do have.

We hung up king sheets on the clothesline because we don’t own a dryer. I checked the water in the underground cistern. The incoming water has been cut off a week — my doing — because the cistern is due its annual cleaning. It’s about half empty today. It holds 900 liters. Likely be empty in another week. Then we must ladder down and do the work ourselves. We could hire someone, but we never have.

I got a crick in my back climbing out last year, so it may be time for me to retire from underground cistern maintenance. I prefer to see myself as eternally 35.

There’s always something to do at home during the Plague Year even if you’ve embraced the carefree Swedish System. We dined in a new restaurant yesterday, not one we’ll likely return to. I think it’s where I got the second nail in the tire.

Plus, the pastrami was dry.

And the days pass.

Our interesting times

May you live in interesting times.

— ancient Chinese curse

CITY HALL here on the mountaintop yesterday reported the first Kung Flu case in our quaint Colonial town, news I could have lived long without, perhaps literally.

So we have pivoted, the two of us.

Till today we had reduced our gadding about, but every afternoon, simply to get out of the house, we had gone downtown with a Thermos of café, which we filled at home, to sit a spell in the open air of the coffee shop on the sidewalk abutting the plaza.

People-watching and reading.

Well, that’s off the table, so to speak. We’re staying home.

There will be exceptions. For instance, early this morning, we drove down the mountainside to the nearby capital city to shop at Costco and Chedraui. We got there just after they opened. There were few shoppers, which was the idea.

We’ll make that jaunt every Monday.

We purchased enough vittles at the two stores to last a week since we have now eliminated restaurants from our lifestyle.

Days will consist of some light exercise on our gym set at home, plus the daily walk around the neighborhood plaza. One must keep the blood circulating.

Mexico has relatively few Kung Flu sightings, 2,143 cases and 94 fatalities as I write this, but it will worsen, of course. Government action has been somewhat spotty so far, and our demagogic, airheaded president is setting a horrible example by continuing his hugs and kisses to one and all, including relatives of a famous narco capo.

The uneducated, not surprisingly, love him, especially since he gifts money, á la Bernie Sanders, but there are even a significant number of otherwise well-educated Mexicans who also embrace him, literally if possible. Astounding.

The good news is that his popularity is slipping.

I think we have an old backgammon board in a cabinet downstairs, and we need to wash windows and do other chores that we’ve been putting off. And there is also the internet, Kindles and Netflix. Life plods on.

About that Chinese quote at the top. It’s those damn Chinamen who got us into this Kung Flu mess in the first place. Ah, the irony.

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We’ll be sitting out here more often. Come join us, but sit over thataway.

Changing times

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Well, lookee here! We’ve joined the Big Time.

IN SEPTEMBER 2000, when I drove to the mountaintop in a rental car, there was a shortage of stuff like stoplights, chain stores, Gringos and the like. That has changed.

Now we have stoplights, and most people heed them. We also have chain stores like Walmart’s Bodega Aurrera, Soriana, Oxxo and Coppel, one of which is a sizable department store. We also have lots more Gringos.

When I arrived after living eight months in the nearby state capital, there were about 40 Gringos hereabouts, many of whom were oddballs and lunatics. Now there are 10 times that number. Some are oddballs, but most are normal folks, it seems.

Though I intuit that many vote in the wrong direction, a sort of lunacy.

Way back then, we had a funky movie theater. It had two screens. One showed porno, and the other showed regular fare long after it had debuted at theaters in the nearby capital city. Our theater was old and fun to visit, but it closed about 18 years ago.

The town made a big step forward last week when a movie theater opened that’s part of the Mexican Cinépolis chain, which I hear now has theaters in the United States.

First-run flicks at last. It’s like we’re not in the boonies anymore. The five-screen theater is in a large, new retail area, and other buildings are under construction. The grapevine says that one is a Domino’s Pizza. Just what we need, more pizza.

Mexicans love pizza almost as much as they love tacos, cheese and salsa, especially pizza with weenie and pineapple chunks. This is not Paris.

I’m praying for a Costco, Sears, or perhaps they’ll resurrect Bonwit Teller.

The AMLO sandwich

sandwich
What might have been and what perhaps still will be.

THE POPULIST president Mexico elected last year got off to a rip-roaring start in December, his first month in office. He wasted no time in causing chaos. He’s known by his initials, AMLO.

Here’s what he did, if you can believe it. Mexico has a longstanding and, apparently increasing, problem with gasoline theft by organized gangs. Their favored modus operandi is to tap into a pipeline, preferably in the boonies, and siphon it into tanker trucks.

Mexico is a major oil producer and has lots of refineries.

AMLO’s solution to this problem is to stop sending gasoline via pipelines and to transport it instead in Pemex tanker trucks, often accompanied by armed patrols. The fly in this ointment is that you cannot send anywhere nearly as much gasoline by tanker trucks as you can by pipeline.

This has resulted in severe gasoline shortages in parts of the country. Alas, one of the heaviest hit parts is right here on my mountaintop.

Most of our gas stations are closed all day. The ones that occasionally have gasoline have lines up to a half-mile long. I drove by one yesterday afternoon just up the highway from the Hacienda.

Here is an apt analogy to AMLO’s solution to the pipeline thefts: Say you want to halt bank robberies. The obvious remedy is to remove money from banks, right? Unfortunately, while bank robbers won’t have access to money in the banks, neither will customers.

* * * *

The AMLO sandwich?

Until this situation gets resolved, we’re not wasting gasoline on our habitual weekly drives to the nearby capital city to high-brow shop at Costco and Superama.

We’re sticking close to home. The Honda still has nearly three-quarters of a tank of petrol because I filled up Dec. 31 and have driven little since.

Costco is where I’ve purchased hydroponic lettuce for our nightly salads for years. I used the final lettuce Thursday night. Since no supermarket where I live stocks hydroponic lettuce, I planned to switch to egg sandwiches.

I was planning on calling them AMLO sandwiches.  It would have been a painful transition in spite of the fact that I like egg sandwiches. We are critters of habit.

But yesterday I decided to check the lettuce in our mountaintop supermarket. No hydroponic, of course. The store’s nod to highbrow is some sort of Italian greenery, so I bought four questionable bunches, brought them home and disinfected them.

No need to disinfect Costco’s hydroponic lettuce. It’s fast and easy.

We have bagels for only three mornings more, and the croissants are all gone. We’re just six weeks into AMLO’s six-year term.

This could get mighty ugly.

We are the bourgeoisie, so I guess we had it coming.

* * * *

(Here’s a Washington Post story on our gasoline crisis.)