Sunday Feature

inside the old adobe

Got way too good at looking for trouble like my daddy taught me. I mean, you probably think that view’s askew, but soon it’s like an old damn shirt and you won’t see the cobwebs. Anyway, here we are in heaven. Good to understand that. God’s living room, I call it, and everyone’s allowed to rearrange the furniture. “Is this all there is?” Well, yes. No doo-dah angels waiting in the wings. Heaven, I tell you. Everything. Right here.

Gonna take a little trip to Arizona. I love being able to say that. About 600 miles each way and I have scheduled overnights. Very uncharacteristic. But Brad’s Desert Inn in Holbrook for 60 bucks a night plus “free earplugs for the train noise” pulled me in. You get to park right in front of your room, too. The other day I looked up my mother’s old doublewide in that “mobile home retirement community” in Tucson where the residents ride golf carts flying huge American flags to the edge of the desert to let their chihuahuas shit in the cactus, only reason I’m not sitting there now for $59k, thank you Jesus for the nails. The Google Earth view was recent enough that I could see how the idiots who bought it cleared out all the native plants along the west side of the only property in the whole damn place that actually borders a natural arroyo. I used to visit when she was sane and watch javelinas and Gambel’s quail go marching through there of an evening. Helen would put out leftovers to attract them, but it’s all gone now.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided to be helpful instead of scared. The jury is still out on that, but hey I wrote some words.

What Do You Do?

What Do You Do? post image

What do you do when you see, when you finally see? When you see that you’ve always seen and constantly ignored the bleeding obvious? When she hurts this much and it’s all your fault? When she gave you everything and you kept asking for more? What the hell do you do?

“If you were a different sort of woman, you’d have killed me by now.”

“I hurt…”

“I know… It’s my damn turn and I’ve put it off so long…”

“I hurt…and I don’t know what to do…”

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author at rest

Maybe get up and shave now

Three or four years ago I thought I was dying. Just walking up the driveway took away my breath. I’d wake up at 3:00 a.m. unable to breathe unless I got up and walked around until I felt stable enough to google all the horrible shit that might be wrong with me. Bought an oximeter and scared myself silly. On my usual four mile hike I’d run out of gas on the upgrades and panic about making it back to the car. The main thing though was waking up at night and feeling like I couldn’t get enough air. Bloated you see. Gas in my stomach that crowded the lungs. Burp like a sonofabitch, sleep, wake up and die… Most of this I kept hidden so I’d be free to keep worrying about everything else.

Yes of course I went to my doctor. I hardly ever do but both of us are cool with that. He wondered if I was lactose intolerant. Me the biggest milk drinker on the planet my whole goddamn life. I freaking love milk. My whole diet was predicated on what I could wash down with great gulping glasses of ice-cold milk. My body knew best and my body said milk. Come on man. So naturally I thought he was wrong.


No testing no nothing. Haven’t seen the guy for a couple of years. Remember I had more googling to do. After all my lungs might be damaged. My heart might be failing. My ears certainly were and a few other things so don’t take this lightly right? Watch me wear out

Then a couple of weeks ago I made a bad face and sloshed my wife’s almond milk over my cereal like she’d been telling me to. We must have been all out of milk is all I can figure ’cause almond milk Jesus. Probably make me grow titties and leaves in my crotch. It tasted pathetic but I didn’t swell up.

We did buy more milk but I stopped drinking it at night and then tapered off altogether. What the hell would I eat now much less drink. I still don’t know what I’m doing but I’m not drinking milk. Cheese and yogurt for sure but no leche and I’m watching the cheese. Jesus the doctor was right. Not one instance of bloating and belching for 14 days now and it seems like my lungs are still clearing from mucous and crap.

When I test my blood oxygen now the percentage is several points higher than it’s ever been here at 7,000 feet. Did you hear? Several points higher. For two weeks I haven’t awakened at night not even to pee. Just sitting here typing it feels like my lungs have doubled in size. There’s less sinus congestion as well. I breathe in and there’s nothing but space in my nose as the air pours into my lungs which are huge healthy and fine. All the damn oxygen all the damn time.

Oxygen, oxygen.

Come here you’re mine.


Costilla, NM

Costilla, NM

He awakened in spider webs with husks of dead moths and beetles in his hair. Yellowed newspaper pages lay about the floor and his clothes were grimed with dust. What may have been a squirrel was in the corner in what sunlight made it through the window as the clouds of autumn gathered in the mountains.

Do you remember the small black and white cat dead by the side of the road?

For several days he drove by and wondered why no one removed it. Finally it was bloated with stiff little legs poking out at the highway and the the day after that the county animal control guy shoveled it up. Less than a week later there was a brown pit bull lying dead in the same spot. Then someone covered it with a blue plastic tarp that didn’t stay down but flapped in the wind. A couple days later someone pinned the thing down with a dozen small rocks but the dog was still there. There were dreams like no other. Pure evil and madness. Pain in the heart.

A fresh ground squirrel jumped up on the window sill and stayed for a time. It was dark with tan speckles and wriggled its nose then slipped to the ground as the dry stalks of tall grass shook in the breeze.



Was told this is fashionable

Yesterday I closed windows before the sun went down, so I guess it’s time to buy some firewood. In my next life I’m opting for central heat, but here we are, fairly stuck in this one. (In a manner of speaking, that is.)

Not much action on the blog lately, eh? That’s as it should be. Yesterday, for example, the goddamn cat was dying. Well, not really. But vomiting every five minutes through most of the night before is hardly normal. The vet immediately went for kidney failure and ordered up “full senior blood work” plus a urine sample on the beast. After disappearing with the cat for 20 minutes, she came back to say that Callie wasn’t “co-operating,” which I took to mean the vet got bitten, and she advised us to go back home and wait until the cat calmed down enough to have the needle stuck in her again.

The upshot of all this was that we sat around for hours figuring the cat was a goner. I’d already researched feline renal failure, so we mostly cried and tried to steel our nerves for putting her down. (Don’t get me started on doing this with pets.) But then the phone rang: it was the vet reporting that the cat’s kidneys were okay—not perfect, but good enough to cross that worry off the list. The next choice in the disease raffle was an unnamed intestinal infection, so poor the vet had given Callie a whole laundry list of injections of everything from antibiotics to steroids. It’s amazing how much better spending $252 makes a cat feel. Today, however, she’s listless as hell, sleeping all day in the middle of the living room floor, and hasn’t eaten anything in 36 hours.

UPDATE, 24 hours later. The cat ate a few pieces of kibble overnight! Either that, or the packrats are back.

In any event, we no longer anticipate buying the “appetite stimulant” the vet wanted to sell us: “You’d need to go to Walmart and buy gloves, then you take this medicated gel and spread it around on the inside of her ears…”


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