Watch your step

THERE’S A street project right off the main plaza downtown that’s been going on since last autumn, which is a long time because the renovation is just two lengthy blocks.

This project interests me, and I take a stroll by there almost every weekday after sitting at a sidewalk table with my Kindle and a café Americano negro.

In the United States, it would have been done far faster, and the entire work site would be blocked off so pedestrians and gawkers like me could not walk all over the place.

Around the workmen. Hopping over wet cement.

Here, no effort is made to keep pedestrians out of the work area, and none of the workers sports a hard hat. The main reason the project is taking so long is that there is little mechanized about it. It’s strictly manual labor.

If a passerby trips on something, falls and busts his noodle, he should have watched where he was going. He does not sue the city. We are not litigious that way.

The work started last year with an extensive excavation. New sewer and water lines were buried deep as were electric cables and wires in fat orange conduits.

Part of the reason the project is taking so long is the detail work, primarily on the sidewalks.

I should have photographed some of the detail, but I didn’t. This is fine rock work that will last a century.

There is sunken lighting for a nice nighttime look.

About the only nod to modernity are wheelchair ramps.

This photo shows the area where most of the stone is being worked to make it usable. It was a rose garden outside the church/hospital to the left before the renovation began.

Big stones are cut to size by hammer and chisel.

The scenes of the first two photos are at the end of the block down thataway, the far side.

We don’t have the reams of rules and regulations here that are so prevalent above the Rio Bravo, rules and regs made necessary by lawyers and government meddling. No environmental impact study was required.

Bugs were just squashed.

Here, if you need something done you hire some guys and do it. There are always guys available, plenty of idle hands of men who never grasped the need for schooling.

Just around the corner from the renovation I noticed this sign outside a tiny pharmacy. Look what you can have done. (Excuse the photos’ blurry edges. I had the camera set for that effect, but I did not notice till later.)

You can measure your blood sugar and blood pressure, or get a pap test.

You can get a medical certificate, maybe to get out of class. A problem with your toenails? No sweat.

A wound will be bandaged, and if you need an injection, they’ll stick you with the appropriate needle.

And all will cost next to nothing, and no pricey doctor reference is needed, but a doctor is likely there. Just go in, pay a buck or two if you want some medical advice or a prescription.

Living here is easy. Even if renovating a street takes forever. It will last forever after it’s finished.

A dental case

I MADE IT more than 72 years with the big-boy teeth the Goddess installed in me when I was a kiddie.

Never lost a one, neither to decay, accidents nor bar fights.

I joined the Air Force at 18, and one day early on I was ordered to report to the dentist. I had no idea why. When I got there, he told me that he was going to yank my wisdom teeth.

When I protested, he sent me on my way with my wisdom teeth intact. I still don’t know what that was about.

Keeping my wisdom teeth contributed to the wisdom I possess to this day, the wisdom to move to Mexico, the wisdom to marry a Mexican, the wisdom to vote for Trump.

Well, the long run with my own teeth came to a halt on Friday. One had to be pulled, and I was faced with two options: a bridge or an implant. I chose the implant, of course.

Bridges are for old people like my grandparents.

I sat in my dentist’s chair in the state capital, totally ignorant. I had not even Googled tooth implants. I was flying blind with faith that my good dentist would do me right.

And he did, both on price and service.

I was reclined in the chair, except for a brief break, for two-and-a-half hours. My mouth was deadened, so I felt nothing. Actually, I saw nothing either because a cloth was over my head, executioner-style, leaving just my mouth accessible.

First, my defunct tooth was broken into parts and removed. Then a post (yipes!) was screwed into my jawbone. Then a temporary fake tooth was attached to that post.

The permanent tooth will be installed in three months after the jawbone has firmly grown around the post.

I expected the area to be inflamed and ugly from the abuse when he was finished, and I was worried about what would happen when the anesthetic wore off.

When I walked out of the office almost three hours later and peeked into my mouth with the car mirror, it looked totally normal, as if nothing had been done. Later, the anesthetic wore off, but I never felt any serious discomfort.

I’m writing this 24 hours later, and I feel fine. I am taking a week’s worth of antibiotics. The whole shebang, excluding the antibiotics, cost about $750 U.S.

Like all things medical here, I paid out of pocket.

Life is good, and I can chew.

The abortion thing

Health care? No. Abortion? Yes.

LET’S TALK about abortion.

I’m a fence-straddler on this contentious topic. Not being a Christian, I have no religious issue with it. Like many people, abortion has been a part of my life.

My first wife got pregnant unexpectedly. It was before we married. We were young and shocked. Rather quickly she found an abortion doctor. This was before Roe versus Wade.

It was illegal.

I, however, was troubled and nixed it.

We married, and my life sailed in a direction it would have not sailed otherwise. I still feel the effects.

An unexpected pregnancy for young people is like a 10-ton boulder rolling down the mountain straight at you.

You can dodge it with an abortion. Or you can stand still, wide-eyed, and see what happens.

I support abortion rights when done early, and the fetus is just a nub. Where it gets troubling is when it’s done later and the fetus is a formed child.

Early, yes. Late, no. If you drag your feet making a decision, tough luck. Be decisive.

There’s lots of hubbub about Planned Parenthood, which is an abortion provider, and nothing more. Its supporters say it’s about women’s health. That’s baloney.

A reporter recently phoned Planned Parenthood facilities in various states to ask what prenatal services were provided. The answers were all the same. No prenatal services offered.

Planned Parenthood is an abortion mill, period. And given the strong emotions on the subject in many quarters, it should not be receiving taxpayer money.

Let the customers pay.

If you get pregnant unexpectedly, decide what you want to do with no dilly-dallying, and make an appointment with a doctor who provides the service. It’s legal.

Don’t wait five months and do it. It’s grisly.

Numerous undercover investigations have been done into Planned Parenthood, and what’s been discovered is quite disturbing. You’ll never see these reports in the socialist media like Huffpost, Mother Jones and The New York Times.

Abortion should stay legal for early stage. Illegal in the late stage.* To outlaw it altogether will just return us to the days of blood-soaked butchery in back alleys.

Outlawing all abortions is like outlawing drug use. It just creates worse problems. Use common sense.

* * * *

* Being an anti-government guy, I find even this troubling.

(Note: Later in my first marriage, we had another child, another accident. Ian Lee was born prematurely and with two club feet. He died three days later. After that, I got a vasectomy. I was 24 and out of the procreation game. My daughter recently turned 51 and lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband. She is thick as thieves with her mother and has little to do with me. Irony.)

The egg sandwich

LUNCH TODAY consisted of two egg sandwiches.

I hadn’t eaten an egg sandwich in years, much less two at a time, but I was hungry. I ate both sandwiches alone.

There were two reasons I made the egg sandwiches. One is that I was cooking for one, and it’s easy to do. The second reason was that I wanted to try out a new frying pan that I bought recently at Bed, Bath & Beyond in the capital city.

cracked-eggThe pan is copper-based, and it requires no oil or butter whatsoever to cook eggs or anything else. It just does not stick, slides right off. Sweet.

I ate alone, and I likely will spend the night alone too, but that’s okay, especially considering the circumstances.

* * * *

THE CIRCUMSTANCES

We have a nephew with cancer. It was discovered a year ago, late, and he’s been getting chemo down in the capital city at a government hospital.

Fortunately, he has medical coverage due to a new job he found — driving a wrecker on the autopista — not long before the cancer was discovered.

We’ve been driving him down there almost every week for the past year, waiting for two or three hours, and then bringing him home. The problem began in his testicles, but that was solved rather quickly with surgery.

However, it spread to his lungs where a number of tumors took up residence. The chemo seemed to be helping.

Recently, he began suffering severe headaches. A CT scan last week revealed the lung tumors were all gone. Alas, they had traveled to his brain, six of them.

He will not live. He is 31 years old, married with two children, 6 and 10. He was brought home from the hospital last week in an ambulance, and he’s been bedridden since.

The doctor said he may go blind, talk nonsense and other bad stuff. He seemed to be semi-conscious.

In the middle of last night, he began convulsing. His wife — and brother who lives next door — called an ambulance and returned him to the hospital in the capital city.

That’s about 40 minutes down the mountainside.

This morning at 8:30, we got a phone call, and we drove to the hospital. I left my child bride who expects to spend the night in the hospital. Tests are being done on the nephew.

I drove home alone and got hungry shortly after arrival. It was a good time to test my new copper pan.

The sandwiches were whole-grain bread. I applied Dijon, lettuce, spices and Worcestershire sauce.

I am counting my own blessings. When you’re feeling low, an egg sandwich can be a good thing to lean on.