The music man

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ABEL THE deadpan yardman came right on time, 10 a.m., yesterday to execute the yard’s weekly trim, which started late this year because the rain started late.

I used to mow the yard myself. Then I mowed half, and my child bride did the other half. Then we abandoned the chore completely and hired Abel who lives on the other side of the sex motel, which is very convenient for all involved.

At first, he mowed, and I continued edging with my weedeater, and I also swept the trash tossed on the Romance Sidewalk by the mower and weedeater. Then one year, I decided to let Abel do the edging too. He has his own weedeater, but I provide the gas. And just last year, I turned over the sweeping to him too, taking myself entirely out of the process, which a fellow of my vintage deserves.

Over the years, I’ve gradually increased his pay, and I did that again this year. I give him 250 pesos for about 90 minutes of work, which ain’t bad down here. If he does more than the basic trim and sweep, which he often does, I pay more.

Abel, who has a wife and kids, does not have a normal, fulltime job. What he is primarily is a trumpet player. He’s part of a musical group that once had an old bus of the Greyhound variety, which was parked on the street outside his house. But they sold it a few years back, probably because they couldn’t cover the maintenance costs.

Abel says they’ll be getting another, but I think that’s wishful thinking. It does provide a certain panache for a band to pull up to a gig in its own bus.

When he leaves, I flip the mower on its side down by the front gate, and hose the undercarriage which is jammed with grass gunk. I still do that part.

I then sat yesterday on a web chair on the yard patio, put my feet up, removed the straw hat which protects my snow-white cranium and breathed in the lovely day, which it was. The air was cool. The sky was blue. The lawn looked great.

And from the neighbors’ yard, I heard a rooster crow and a horse neigh.

Then it was silent.

And later we ate roasted chicken from a place down the way.

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.