Homes, homes on the range

The view from the back yard at Rancho Pendejo.

The view from the back yard at Rancho Pendejo.

The move to Duke City is going two ways, gradually and then suddenly, like Mike’s bankruptcy in “The Sun Also Rises.”

Since August we’ve managed to shift Herself, her toiletries and a subset of her wardrobe, and Mister Boo to Rancho Pendejo. Then, a week from today, boom! The movers show up and in two days Chez Dog will be stripped bare, its innards exported to New Mexico.

Mister Boo supervises my cycling coverage from the other side of the couch.

Mister Boo supervises my cycling coverage from the other side of the couch.

I spent Saturday night at the new place. Herself had scored a queen-sized bed for one of the guest rooms, which meant we could dispense with the inflatable mattress in the master bedroom, and come morning I did a few hours’ worth of paying work in the living room before stuffing the mobile office back into the Subaru and motoring north.

I’m out of practice at working on the go, and it shows. I tapped away at the MacBook in a crouch from the couch until I remembered the previous owner had left a cheapo desk and chair in a back room. Duh. That took a few of the kinks out of my process.

But I missed having the Turk sprawled out on my drawing board, and Mia peevishly demanding someone’s attention (“Meow? Meow? Meeeyow!”) So it was good to come home, even if “home” is something of a fluid concept at the moment — here today, there tomorrow.

And I even managed a ride, the first in a good long while. And just in time, too. Last night I dreamed that I had shed so much muscle mass since this two-speed exodus commenced that my bib shorts had become baggies.


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32 Responses to “Homes, homes on the range”

  1. Steve O Says:

    Had to put down our 15 year old kitty yesterday. So I’m hearing you about it feeling a bit too quiet working without crumb-snatchers and silent stalkers monitoring ones presence.

    Bone cancer. Man, that shit sucks. A mild limp one day, tiny lump on the shoulder the next, scheduled a vet appt and by the time we got there, it was a frigging grapefruit growing where the ball and socket shoulda been.

    Big mistake, getting four animals in the space of as many months. Didn’t realize that meant they’d all get old about the same time.

    Anyway, exposed beams in the new temp-a-office look cool. Good luck getting all of your stuff in one place.

    What did George Carlin say along those lines? A house is just a place to put your stuff. Something like that.

    • Libby Says:

      So sorry to hear about your cat. That is really tough. Mine is 16-ish and had a terrible health crisis this summer and is only back on track in the last 2-1/2 weeks.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oh, man, that sucks for real. We cried like babies when Chairman Meow died. That, too, was a sudden thing; enlarged heart, she was gone in an instant. Whoever is in charge of the Universe needs to revisit animal design, ’cause this planned-obsolescence thing ain’t doing it for me.

      Speaking of Carlin, he did a thing on losing his animals, in “40 Years of Comedy.”

      “It’s part of the deal. … You’re supposed to know it in the pet shop,” he said. “It’s going to end badly. You’re purchasing a small tragedy. ‘Look at him, isn’t he cute? Aw, shit, he’s gonna die!‘ Unless you’re in your 80s and you’re buying a tortoise.”

    • Jon Paulos Says:

      Echoing Libby, I’m sorry about your loss. We’ve got three felines, about a 2 year spread in age. Not looking forward to the end of life. I was grieving for years when our last cat died in the 90’s.

    • Boz Says:

      Our little 4 year old Siamese was attacked by something on Monday afternoon and was put down Tuesday morning because the damage was too extensive to repair. Vet sez it looks to have been a large, powerful dog. Only two close enough to have done it, but no proof. He must have been one tough little guy to come in the house, go up a flight of stairs, then get on a bed with both front shoulders broken, a dislocated leg, and crushed chest. We didn’t even notice until a couple of hour later when I touched him and he flailed helplessly in pain and barely dragged himself into a corner in the bathroom. He shouldn’t have been outside being the type of cat he was, but he was hard to keep inside. Lesson learned. The hard way….

      • Libby Says:

        Oh Boz, that is terrible. I’m so sorry.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Aw, shit, Boz, that must’ve been awful. Well, actually, I know it’s awful. A coyote got hold of Chairman Meow when we lived outside Weirdcliffe and she survived despite injuries that we thought surely were fatal.

        Turkish and Mia are inside cats now for this very reason. Well, Mia always has been; Turk was confined to quarters after getting into a scrap with something and subsequently developing a huge abscess that he managed to hide from us until it required surgery.

        Lesson learned the hard way there, too. They’re tougher than whang leather, these cats, often to their detriment. Now the two of them only get outside on harnesses.

      • DownhillBill Says:

        It’s bad enough to lose a feline family member to cancer or old age, but sudden gratuitous violence… that’s just obscene. So sorry for your loss.

  2. Libby Says:

    Nice to see a photo of Mr. Boo relaxing in his new nest. I just read up on “pendejo” in Wikipedia. Very colorful with many varied and nuanced meanings in the Spanish-speaking g world. Except in Spain, where it is not used, according to Wikipedia ( without citation). Good luck with the move and the felines!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Great word, isn’t it? I first stumbled across it in “The Milagro Beanfield War,” by John Nichols.

      Pendejo was the name of the scruffy sheepdog belonging to Cleofes Apodaca, the Patron Saint Crazy of Milagro. Writes Nichols: “(T)ranslated loosely, (it) means ‘idiot’ or ‘fool’ —or, translated more literally, means ‘pubic hair.'”

      Clearly, I’m going for the loose translation in my irreverence.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I am assuming slump block construction. What a nifty place. I am officially jealous. Looks more like “Rancho Tranquilo” or “Casa del Perro” to me.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The back yard.

      The back yard at Rancho Pendejo.

      It is a nifty place, Pat. Lots of skylights, brick floors, a recently redone kitchen, and just enough yard for evenings on the back porch, watching the sunset paint the Sandias.

      As regards nomenclature, now, I went for “Rancho Pendejo” because (a) I already used “El Rancho del Perro Loco” to describe our Weirdcliffe place; (2) no working stiff in his/her right mind buys a third house; and (iii) no banker in his/her right mind gives a 30-year fixed to a 60-year-old free-lancer. A tortoise, maybe. But a mortgage?

      • Libby Says:

        Beautiful backyard and you have a fantastic view.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I hear you. But, it is such a classy looking place, and that living room just begs for a New Belgium Abbey Ale in a big snifter, some furry animals for company, and a good book. Plus I doubt if any assholes are about. But then, maybe I will get a chance to visit some day.
        But I am in a pissy mood. I haven’t seen the sun in 48 hours, and it looks like 24 more before it shows up. Duffy, Sandy, and I had to walk in the rain this morning. It has rained 1.5 inches in the last 36 hours with perhaps 3 or 4 more on the way. We have had 18.5 inches so far since July 3rd. That is 4 inches more that our normal annual rainfall, and 11 more than our normal monsoon total. Good thing is that most of it, since the ground and plants are saturated, is recharging the aquifer Riding might happen again Saturday, if I’m lucky.

  4. Debby, south of Longtucky Says:

    Best wishes for the remainder of your move, PO’G.

    I had to google pendejo. I knew it wasn’t a flattering term but didn’t know the exact meaning. I found a wikipedia page on Spanish profanity. Hours of entertainment! I’ve already learned a couple of new phrases! 🙂

    • Libby Says:

      We were reading the same page, Debby! How about the “papaya” reference? All those unsuspecting tourists soliciting fruit sellers ….

  5. Larry T. Says:

    Buona fortuna with the new digs and such.
    Just arrived in the Eternal CIty last night. See what our view looks like here
    though of course we don’t OWN (well, you don’t either when it comes down to it) the joint, we’re just camping out here for awhile. Funny thing – hadn’t been here since 2005 but when the Google map directions I printed out became useless (about 5 kms from the airport) and I had to wing it from memory, I didn’t take too many wrong turns before the neighborhood began to look familiar and I found the Academy atop the Janiculum hill. We’re right in the ambassador’s residence area, the US guy was even here last night for dinner.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    Looks nice, Patrick. We had a chance to bid on a place with exposed beams, but it raised the price over 400 k. JFC….

    • Larry T. Says:

      $400K? For a house? On earth?

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Median price in Santa Fe is $439K.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Santa Fe is a bear, always has been. And you wouldn’t believe some of the prices we saw in Albuquerque. Most of the top-shelf real estate was in golf country, but there were a few places elsewhere that were just absurd, with swimming pools, detached three-car garages, bathrooms bigger than our house here in Bibleburg, you name it.

      Go on and look around. It’s amazing. I heard on NPR the other day that media home sale prices were in the $225K range last year and that investors have grown weary of snapping up “distressed properties” for cash, so maybe some starry-eyed working folks can finally dive deeply into debt for the foreclosed fixer-upper of their dreams.

      • khal spencer Says:

        So what did Rancho Pendejo set you folks back, O’G?

        Here’s our new dive

      • khal spencer Says:

        I love the description on the SFProperties site: “…Prices range from the $200,000’s to $500,000+, with many of the lower priced homes offering buyers an opportunity to update untouched originals….”

        Yeah, we looked at some of those “untouched originals”. In other words, homes that had not had a stitch of work done to them in fifty years, and boy, they looked it.

      • Larry T. Says:

        My guess is with all the “quantitative easing” that’s been going on combined with the pathetic interest rates being paid for the use of your dough, people are shoveling theirs into real estate and the stock market…which makes me wonder how far away are we from the next bubble… and how soon will it pop? No doubt it’ll happen before I can get all of mine out of both of those things and retire to Italy.
        Just signed up (don’t ask me why) for the Campagnolo Gran Fondo Roma….one week after l’Eroica…and haven’t sat on a bike since mid-September. Great training program, eh?

      • khal spencer Says:

        We tried to buy a place in the Duke City a year ago when a friend of ours was selling her small home over in the SE Heights. While we were fumbling to qualify for a loan, our friend’s real estate agent showed up with a suitcase of cash (well, a check) and bought the place, basically as an investment. Its crazy out there.

        Many of the homes we looked at in Albuquerque were over by the UNM since my plan was to spend some time dabbling as a part time old geezer in the Geosciences Dept. Those homes appeared to go for Santa Fe prices. We didn’t look out farther because I wanted to be in bike distance from UNM without donating my own bike as a ghost bike on one of those fast Duke City arterials. Patrick, from my understanding, is up in the NE Heights off of Tramway somewhere, and I have no idea what other parts of the city cost. Some parts you don’t want to ask, because part of the going price is concertina wire and a rack of M-4 Bushmasters.

        Albuquerque and NM in general was spared a lot of the home loan fiasco of a few years back because our banks are pretty conservative. Not sure how that influence prices and the bubble.

  7. Pat O'Brien Says:

    21.5 inches of rain here since July 3rd. About 3 times normal. I completed the ark. Anyone with critters need a lift?

  8. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Flooding has been a problem, not a big one unless you live close to a big wash or a stream. The Nature Conservancy Mile High Preserve in Ramsey Canyon and the road to it had major flood damage. Went riding up there this morning. Water logged with stream flowing very hard, but not as hard as last Friday. Bisbee got hit again this weekend.

  9. DownhillBill Says:

    That looks palatial, POG. And the scenery… we just don’t get that sort back here in the east.

    The only rain we’ve gotten lately was when I was riding a century.

  10. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Well, Patrick, hope you, your bikes, Mia, Turk, and all the other stuff have made a smooth move to Rancho Pendejo. No fooling!

  11. John Dallager Says:

    Via con dios at Rancho Pendejo!

    I stopped by Coal Train Wines today and they said business is down 5% since you motored south!!

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