Posts Tagged ‘Herself’

Rise and shine

January 8, 2022

If you sleep in, you miss stuff like this.

Marriage, freelancing, and New Mexico gradually turned me into a morning person, kinda sorta.

I spent the bulk of my newspaper career working nights on various copy desks scattered around the West. Clock in around 3 or 4 in the p.m., clock out when the presses start running at stupid-thirty. If you’re lucky, there’s a bar still open somewhere.

But when Herself hitched her little red wagon to my jackass in Fanta Se there were accommodations to be made. I was on the usual night shift at The New Mexican, but she worked like normal people, running the B. Dalton Bookseller in the DeVargas Center.

She was asleep when I came home; I was asleep when she went to work. We saw each other at dinner and sometimes on the weekends, if I wasn’t chasing commas or racing bikes. Our wedding vows may have included the endearment, “Shut the fuck up, I’m trying to sleepI”

In case you’re wondering, kids, this is how you make a marriage work.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla insists on sunlight as soon as it becomes available, if not sooner.

In 1991, when my mom developed a hitch in her gitalong and we moved to Bibleburg to deal with it, my routine went out the window. Herself found more retail work, but I was trying to freelance, and the first thing you learn in that racket is fear. You fear that the last dollar you earned will be the last dollar you earn.

So I said yes to every job, worked a lot, and all the time, not just from afternoons into the dark of the night. In point of fact, I was compelled to embrace the early morning hours.

It wasn’t awful. Not nearly as bad as I remembered from having a paper route. For starters, I was working indoors, and I was writing the news, not sidearming it onto stoops.

Nor was I restricted to a copy desk, where the routine is … well, routine. Daily editorial meeting, editing copy, writing headlines, sizing photos, writing cutlines, laying out pages, drinking dinner, overseeing pasteup, proofing pages, taking a quick look at the paper hot off the presses as they began rumbling up to speed, and going home.

Going freelance took me off that daily merry-go-round. When the deadline was every other week, or once a month, I found I could squeeze the work into my life instead of my life into the work.

Yeah, I worked almost every day, and at all hours of every day, but I did it in bite-sized pieces and a lot of different flavors. Cover an early morning Tour stage for VN.com, go for a ride. Write a column for Bicycle Retailer, do the grocery shopping. Edit some copy for Inside Triathlon, drink a beer (editing triathlon copy would make a stewbum of a Seventh-day Adventist). Draw a cartoon for VeloNews. And so on.

True, I was not always at my best in the early morning hours. Old habits die hard. And Mom had her own routines, which included wandering the house at night while chatting with the voices in her head (yeah, that shit runs in the family). But you get used to it, or at least learn to manage it.

Eventually she passed, leaving only one of us to argue with his invisible friends. And the mornings got a little easier, whether sunup came in Weirdcliffe, Bibleburg, or The Duck! City.

My paying chores have drifted away one by one, but the mornings have not. Herself rises earlier than ever, working four 10-hour shifts as a librarian for Sandia National Lab. But I insist on sleeping in, until 6 a.m. if I can manage it, before dragging the old bag of bone splinters and bad ideas out of the sack and into the kitchen.

Somebody has to make breakfast and inspect the sunrise, make sure God’s on the job. Some days one wonders.

Early morning watermelon at the foot of the Sandias.

Loafer

January 7, 2022

Get it while it’s hot.

Behold the first loaf from our “new” $40 Toastmaster Bread Box, acquired on eBay. The Wirecutter boyos can keep their $300 Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus with my compliments. Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!

In other news, retirement is proceeding swimmingly. This morning I arose late, ground beans, brewed coffee, made tea, toast, and oatmeal, did the dishes, emptied the litter box, took out the trash, refilled the bird feeders, shooed Herself out the door to chauffeur Herself the Elder to a couple appointments, scratched Miss Mia’s back, and glanced over the news, about which the less said the better.

Soon, the healthful outdoor exercise. Herself and I went for an hourlong run yesterday and nothing hurt any more than it should, so I think my back may have finally realigned itself (knock on wood).

Joe Walsh was right.

All is well

November 24, 2021

It’s nearly kickoff time for the 2021 Cavalcade of Consumerism, so grab yourself a sammich and a frosty beverage and settle into the La-Z-Boy for the Big Game.

The NPD Group advises us that 30 percent of respondents to a recent survey yearn for the door-busting, clerk-trampling, no-holds-barred combat of Black Friday, in which sleep-deprived, half-frozen fatties who spent Thanksgiving night camped outside a Lubbock Best Buy do it hand to hand over dubious bargains on giant TVs that will watch them like famished zopilotes and suggest other must-have items based upon their observed activity, if any.

“Damn, another ad for Weight Watchers. And Planet Fitness. Who has the time? Pass the Fritos and bean dip.”

NPD doesn’t explain their survey methodology, but you know they didn’t ask for my thoughts, because 100 percent of me would rather stuff an angry ferret down his bibs than head for the trough on Black Friday to see what the Waltons are serving to the sneezers and wheezers (there’s still a plague going on, you may recall). Let ’em make their bacon out of the NPD’s dummies.

We plan a muted Thanksgiving here at El Rancho Pendejo. Herself will collect her mom from The Facility and we will do a late lunch —  cider-braised turkey thighs with taters and apples, stir-fried succotash with edamame, some class of a green salad, and Herself’s famous lemon bars. The ladies will enjoy a dram or two of wine, while I make do with a bottle of fake beer.

I bought the fixins on Monday to avoid the rush. There were just two cashiers at Sprouts and the queued natives were restless. If we get through the weekend without gunplay it will be a holiday miracle.

March in October

October 25, 2021

“Hup, hoop, hreep, horp … hey, where’d that senile old fool get off to now?”

I’ve been neglecting my footwork lately, so I left the bikes on their hooks yesterday and took a hike.

Herself thought this a fine idea and joined me, setting a brutal pace as per usual. I had to take a picture just so I could remember what she looked like in case some good Samaritan happened upon me as I lay collapsed in a weepy heap at trailside.

“Have you wandered away from the Home, old timer? Mind if I rummage through your pockets? You won’t need the wallet; the coyotes don’t take Visa, and they sure as shit won’t honor this UnitedHealthcare card. Say, you don’t have a keeper somewhere nearby, do you?”

“Yes (sob) … she looks like this.”

“Oooh, iPhone, cool, I’ll take that too.”

Mission accomplished

August 31, 2021

The backyard maple is shedding leaves, and it’s not even Labor Day yet.

’Twas a glorious day to ride the bike in ’Burque.

Nobody told me I had waited too long, or left too soon, or was just plain doing it wrong. That I had left my wife and cat behind raised nary an eyebrow among the chattering classes.

This may be because El Rancho Pendejo remained firmly under the control of said wife and cat; their autocratic ways are not exactly breaking news. Herself has been in the driver’s seat since 1990, and Miss Mia Sopaipilla has been a key member of the ruling class for nearly half that time.

In my absence they do exactly as they please, which is pretty much what they do when I’m around, the United Nations and Geneva Conventions be damned.

The only uproar arose when I returned after 90 minutes of pooting around in the foothills on the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff.

“What’s to eat around here?” they yowled. The knives were out, along with the forks. Can a call for comment from The New York Times be far behind?

It’s a family affair

July 24, 2021

Beth, Herself the Elder, and Herself.

We’re halfway through round three of The Visitation, this time hosting Herself’s elder sister Beth.

The sisters have been working mom over pretty good, inflicting a pedicure, salon cut, shopping, and restaurant meals.

Me, I’ve been keeping my head down, trying to stay out of trouble. This is not easy, with three women barking orders and nowhere to hide. Four, if you count Miss Mia Sopaipllla, who is not shy about expressing herself either.

The photo is courtesy of Beth’s giant iPhone 12 and its gee-whiz camera array, which makes my original SE look like a Mesopotamian wax tablet and stylus.

Willin’

July 18, 2021

Nope, not a church. It’s the chimney for the bedroom kiva fireplace.

The Lowell George song is pretty much all I know about Tucumcari. That, and that round two of The Visitation occurs today, as another smallish herd of Texicans gallops in from there to see Herself the Elder.

Their trip looks like a stroll through the daisies compared to what Herself’s sis will endure when she jets in from Maryland midweek. Holy hell. That itinerary is why I drive any distance under 3,000 miles that does not involve an ocean crossing. A UPS driver at Christmastime makes fewer stops. Plus there are fewer psychos to duct-tape to their seats en route.

Meanwhile, the news of the world remains an ongoing refutation of both Darwinism and theology. One envisions the Son having a Word with the Father while the Holy Ghost spitballs a new PR campaign:

“I got nailed up for these people? What were You thinking? I’m going to put You in a home while HG and I try to figure out how to turn this thing around.”

Good luck with that. Me, I’d think about starting over with a fresh crop of monkeys. But judging by the state of the place, maybe that’s already occurred to You.

Watch this

May 14, 2021

I’m losing most of my bets with the watch on my nightstand.

Lately I’ve been posing myself a little challenge when I return to earth from dreamland: Pop open an eye, peer around the bedroom, and try to guess what time it is based on ambient light leaking through the vertical blinds.

I was doing pretty well there for a while. Nailed it once or twice. But lately I’m minutes off the mark.

I’m not sure who’s to blame for the decline in my batting average. Possibly the “Harvard elite with perfect hair” who’s apparently behind all the psychos shooting the mortal shit out of each other around town. He’s certainly broken into at least one head down at Peterson Properties, which has more eyes than Avalokiteshvara and knows more about what you’ve been up to than Santa Claus.

We remain unventilated by pistoleros here at El Rancho Pendejo, though we have endured a busy week. Last Friday we moved Herself the Elder from the Dark Tower to the Bermuda Triangle, an assisted-living house a little closer to us. It’s where Herself had wanted to park the old gal when she first came to town, but there weren’t any vacancies. Suddenly there were. So it goes.

Wednesday was our 31st anniversary, and as we were both thoroughly shot up vaccine-wise, we went out to eat at an actual restaurant, El Patio on Rio Grande. It was my first sitdown restaurant meal in more than a year, and it was spectacular. Great food, excellent service, and we didn’t get plugged or burgled or tagged or nothin’, Harvard elites with perfect hair notwithstanding.

Today we’re baking bread and pulling weeds. Probably still working off some of those tasty El Patio calories. Gotta keep in fighting trim for the next 31 years.

Bench press

April 9, 2021

The rocky wash leading to the bench between Comanche and Candelaria.

The old red flag was flying again today, so instead of cycling Herself and I scrambled into the neighboring Sandia foothills, working our way along bits and pieces of the Candelaria Bench Loop.

Herself bouldering upward. There’s a bit of singletrack off to her left but it’s a slippery sonofabitch.

It’s only a four-mile hike, but there’s a fair amount of vertical at the beginning and the end, much of it on crumbly gravel switchbacks lined with sharp rocks and cacti.

After the first steep, loose climb east of Comanche we stuck to a stair-stepped, boulder-studded wash that was a whole lot more fun than the narrow singletrack I took a digger on last year, slamming my left thigh into a big round rock.

Oddly, the winding descent to Trail 365 near Candelaria seemed less challenging than I remembered.

Once I met another hiker on that stretch who said she simply sat and slid down some of the steeper sections (glissading, for the aficionados among you). I’ve done this a time or two myself, but never on purpose, or without consequences.

Didn’t happen today, to either of us, so yay, etc.

And we didn’t see another single solitary soul, either. Unless you count the three circling crows who seemed to be tracking our cautious movements downward and providing an appropriate soundtrack. Haw … haw … haw.

Herself inspects the Greater Duke City Metropolitan Area
from the Candelaria bench.

Nothing but blue skies

March 26, 2021

Puffy clouds to the north, above the garage.

Wednesday’s snow tamped down the pollen for a while, which is a pleasant respite for the snotlocker.

It’s still not warm — 39° at the moment, which would be 10 in the a.m. on a Friday morning — but as we’ve noted before, nobody who lives in the desert should complain when it’s cool and damp. Because it never lasts.

Sleepy Joe held his first presser yesterday, but I had to bail on it after just a few minutes because I kept hearing Dana Carvey’s spot-on impression of him in my head and couldn’t focus on what the real Joe was saying. I know, I know, bad citizen, bad bad citizen! 

But from what little I saw, and read afterward, I feel confident when I say that Sleepy José is unlikely to challenge his predecessor’s score on the Loon-O-Meter® anytime soon.

Meanwhile, Herself is slated to get her first jab today. She and a colleague will each get a dose of Moderna, and then if the weather permits they might find some nearby bistro for a socially distant bite of something and perhaps a celebratory shot that doesn’t go in the arm.

And I am scheduled for round two in late April, at the same place that stuck me on Wednesday. Round one left me with an achy arm and a touch of fatigue, though the latter could have been weather- or allergy-induced. As far as I know my DNA remains unchanged, I am not shedding mutant viruses, and I have not croaked. Yet.

Or is that just what “they” would have you believe?