The dawn of August

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Out in the yard, a’blooming.

AUGUST DAWNED chill and gray. I like the chill part.

The first day of any month brings chores. I pay my Megacable bill online. I do my monthly car checks — air, water, oil, etc. And sometimes the first of the month falls atop other chores unconnected to the first of the month. That was the case today because I had to drive downtown early — to avoid heavy traffic — and check my post-office box, which I do every second Saturday. Only one item in the box, which is about par.

Often there is nothing, which I prefer.

I very rarely get mail these days from above the border, and 99.9 percent of the mail in the PO box comes from above the Rio Bravo, invariably pension stuff.

And since it’s Saturday during the rainy season, Abel the Deadpan Yardman came to cut the grass, something he’s doing at this moment as I write to you.

August is the month when the incessant rain becomes obvious in the yard, which gets very beefed up, so to speak, greenery thick and abundant. It looks nice.

We’ll be having beans, rice and sausage for lunch today, and this afternoon we’ll drive to another small burg abutting our lake to look for some religious thing to attach to my mother-in-law’s tombstone in the not-distant town of Taretan.

My child bride and some of her sisters had the tombstone renovated recently because it was in bad shape. She died over half a century ago at the age of 31.

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.