Vision

It’s the Independence Day weekend in Mexico. El dia de independencia. 16 de septiembre. On that date in the year 1810, the cry of freedom first rang out in Mexico, and the revolt against the fucking Spaniards began.

¡Viva, México!

This weekend inaugurates what I’ve come to call fiesta season in the Lakeside Area. It’s more or less one big party down here from now until Christmas. Lea has actually looked up all of the annual national and local holidays. There’s something like unto ten thousand of them.

I call it, Los Meses Que Nadie Duerme. The Months That No One Sleeps. The locals don’t sleep because they’re celebrating! And the gringos don’t sleep because there’s no such thing as a quiet celebration in Mexico.

Neither Lea nor I got any sleep last night. A loud party nearby kept us awake until 2:30 AM. There was music. And singing. And storytelling. And laughter. And I’m going to guess all of that was fueled by a lots of alcohol. Then our four kit-tens took over when the celebration finally died down. Yes, we now have four felines and Casa Tara has become a cathouse.

I’ll get to that later.

* * * *

The Minnesota Vikings played their arch rivals, the Green Bay Packers in their biggest game of the young NFL season today. The Vikings were favored to win, so they played their worst game and lost 21-16.

I can’t say I’m surprised. Or even disappointed. I’ve learned to accept the fact that my team just doesn’t do well with high expectations. I’m going to hope that they’re able to get their act together and play better. It’s either that or give up on football and take up ballet. Or fishing. Or anything else.

The Detroit Lions won yesterday. I’m still considering them as my new team. They’ve sucked for years, so any game they win is a pleasant surprise.

* * * *

The Vision is a fictional superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe®. He’s an android created by Ultron, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Thor. He possesses the Mind Stone, one of the Infinity Stones that Thanos collected so he could exterminate half of all life in the universe.

Vision is the faculty or state of being able to see. Sight is one of the five senses. It’s arguably the most important one of the bunch. Most people I know like to be able to see what they’re doing. When people talk about sight they rarely use the word vision. Vision seems to have taken on a long range connotation in the minds of many people.

Except when you’re drunk. Then there’s that whole double vision thing…

And that’s all I have to say about that.

* * * *

I haven’t been able to write lately. Actually, I haven’t been able to do much of anything. There’s a reason for that.

I recently got a new pair of glasses.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Me: I’m more or less legally blind without corrective lenses. I’ve been wearing eyeglasses since the third grade. I probably should have been wearing them in the womb. I’m terribly nearsighted. I’m also farsighted. And I have astigmatism. Oh, and sometimes I can’t see colors so good. I probably should have learned Braille. But even if I had, the keyboard on my Notebook isn’t equipped with it, so there’s that.

* * * *

There’s nothing wrong with my old glasses. I’ve had my current pair of glasses for almost five years. The lenses are getting a little scratched up, but that’ll happen over time. I can still see out of them, and that’s really the only purpose eyeglasses serve.

I’m not sure why I decided to get new glasses. My lovely supermodel wife got new glasses this year. So did my golf wife. They both look super cute. Lea actually looks like a really hot librarian. It would appear I thought it was my turn…

Normally, something like this wouldn’t have a major impact in my life, but in this case there was one small, insignificant detail. I couldn’t see much of anything with my new glasses.

I wear progressive bifocals. Hey, I’m old, okay? I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain what went wrong, and this is the best I can do: I live in a Central Time Zone, but my right eye was seeing in the Eastern Time Zone, and my left eye was seeing in the Mountain Time Zone.

Everything was clear, then it was fuzzy, then it was blurry, then it was distorted. And then the process started all over again. It was déjà vu, jamais vu, and goo goo g’joob all rolled together into one disturbing optical illusion.

My eyes were sending so much contradictory stimuli to my brain I started hallucinating. For someone as loosely held together as myself, it was the last thing I needed. I was pretty sure a bunch of ninjas were trying to sneak up on me because that’s what I was seeing out of the corners of my eyes. When I tried to focus on them, the ninjas disappeared. It made sense to me at the time. That’s kinda what ninjas do…

* * * *

Another Little Known Fact About Me: I don’t look crazy, but I have at least four Axis I psychiatric diagnoses, and at least one Axis II diagnosis. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have more. I’m not going to elaborate on any of them, but I’ve never taken any psych meds. I’ve learned to adapt to the kooky way my brain works, mostly by trying to ignore it, and rarely taking anything that goes on inside of my head too seriously.

If you don’t know what Axis I or II are, look them up on the Google®. They’re all in the DSM-IV. It’s the Big Book of What’s Wrong With You for Psychiatry. And you should probably know that there’s no diagnosis of Normal.

Be that as it may, I…suffer…from frequent unpleasant intrusive thoughts. If they weren’t so unpleasant, I don’t think there’d be any suffering involved. It’s one of the reasons I tried drinking myself into a coma for three decades.

I don’t hear voices, but I do have thought insertions. They can also be intrusive. And unpleasant. And, they can sometimes be misinterpreted as voices. Thought insertion is a somewhat uncommon symptom: I sometimes feel my thoughts are not my own, but rather belong to someone else and have been inserted into my mind.

You know, like, whenever I actually have a good idea.

* * * *

I got my new glasses last Saturday, so that’s when my corrected vision problems started. I figured it was just the new prescription, you know, my eyes would adjust. I wore them last Sunday when I went golfing. It was the worst round of golf I’ve played since I quit drinking. I finally ended up doing this:

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As ridiculous as it might sound, this classic bit of advice actually worked for me. Once I stopped trying to see the ball, I could actually hit it better. I might have accidentally learned something from essentially being blind, and Caddyshack.

Feeling the golf course, finding a form of oneness with it. Seeing not with your eyes, but with your mind. It was oddly spiritual, and even more oddly, relaxing. I don’t recommend this method to improve your golf game to anyone. To be honest, I’d rather be able to see.

I went golfing today with my old glasses, my new Tour Edge® putter, my golf wife, Phyllis, and our friends, Tom and Cheryl. For the most part, I think I putted better today, but I also discovered I’m still capable of three putting.

Motherfucker Osmond Brothers!

The biggest problem with any golf club is they all have manual transmissions. There’s no D for drive. There’s no cruise control. There’s no semi-autonomous driver-assist features. They are all subject to user error.

But something amazing happened to me on the front nine today. For the first time in my life, I did not fuck up a single fairway shot. I nailed every one of them, setting myself up for all of the things golfers dream about: eagles, birdies, and pars.

Unfortunately, reality decided to tag along. My chipping game still needs some serious tweaking.

* * * *

I think I tried getting used to my new glasses for four days, then gave up and put my old glasses back on, then went to see Kristi, the sweet young lady that runs the optical shop where I bought my glasses. My new glasses are under warranty, so she’s going to have a new pair made with my old prescription.

I’m sure there were several factors involved in the process that resulted in my incorrect corrective lenses. There have already been a few steps in the process to re-correct them, and there’ll probably be a few more. But it probably won’t be as arduous as getting our refrigerator fixed.

By the way, that’s still working. I’m starting to believe it’s not going to break down again this time.

* * * *

Last Thursday, we welcomed two more kit-tens into our household:

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Behold, Sadie and Sammy. We’re going to rid of all our dark clothing

Planet Janet, our former landlady, asked us if we could help out her best friend, Neelam. Neelam is being treated for cancer, and she could no longer care for her three dogs and two cats.

We didn’t want the dogs, so we took the kit-tens.

Sadie is a Champagne Tonkinese mix female. I’m not sure if she’s a Mexican kit-ten, or if she’s a gringa gatita, but she is the cutest, littlest little kit-ten, ever! She’s roughly seven weeks older than our purebred Mexican street kit-tens, Mika and Mollie.

Sammy is a five year old male of undetermined lineage, but he’s probably a purebred Mexican street kit-ten, too. I think he’s half white tiger — like unto the tigers Seigfried and Roy used to have in their magic act — and half polar bear. He. Is. One. BIG. Kit-ten.

His real name is Sonny, but Lea kept calling him Sammy because of Samantha, our first kit-ten. I suggested we change his name. He’s a cat. It’s not like he’s not going to come when you call his name, you know, like he’s a dog.

Sonny/Sammy. What’s the difference? If he wants anything from you, he’ll let you know. If he doesn’t, he’ll ignore you, like any other cat.

Sammy appears to understand that he’s the only male in a house full of kit-tens, and if he plays his cards right he’s going to end up with a harem of adoring females. He already has Lea won over. He is one cool cat, and he knows it.

* * * *

The transition hasn’t been easy for any of our kit-tens. Sadie and Sammy are freaked out because they’re in a new place and the woman who had taken care of them has disappeared. Mika and Mollie are freaked because of the new kit-tens on the block and no one asked them if they were okay with this new arrangement.

If anyone reading this knows any tricks to introducing new pets into a household, I am willing to hear anything you have to say.

I know as much about being a parent as I do about algorithms, and that would be next to nothing. You could ask my stepdaughters. I’m pretty sure I sucked at it. But I figured our new kit-tens would need a safe place to readjust to their new environment, so we set them up in the den. It’s a huge room, and we rarely use it.

Sadie and Sammy essentially hid in the den for one day. We checked on them frequently so they could get used to us and sound of our voices and stuff. Then they came out into the living room and started exploring.

Mika and Mollie jumped up to the top of one of the bookcases and looked down on everything with kit-ten amazement. It’s been sort of a North/South thing ever since. Sadie and Sammy mostly occupy the South Wing of the house. Mika and Mollie mostly hold the North Wing and occupy the high vantage points in the living room, dining room, and the kitchen.

I’m not Doctor Fuckin’ Doolittle. I can’t talk to the animals and explain that we took the new kit-tens in because they would have been put to sleep if we hadn’t. I’m sure our first rescue kit-tens wouldn’t want that to happen to any kit-ten, and then they’d settle down.

There haven’t been any battles, but there’s been some aggressive posturing and a fair amount of blustery speech. It’s like unto the cold war between the US and the USSR back in the day. Except Saturday night when all four kit-tens ran into each other in our bedroom and all hell broke loose.

That’s when Lea and I decided we needed to trim the needle sharp talons of death on all of our kit-tens. That job was actually a whole lots easier than either of us thought it would be. I almost feel like a psych nurse again, trying to keep the peace on my unit. That’s basically what psych nurses do: keep everyone safe in a confined space until they’re stable enough to go home and start making bad decisions all over again.

Maybe I should try giving all the kit-tens some Cativan…

* * * *

In retirement, Lea and I have become real life versions of Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers. We rescued our first two kit-tens when they were darlingpreshadorbs babies. We rescued Lord Mark’s sprawling villa from hideous interior design and general disrepair and turned it into the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. We rescued Todd from having to spend another winter in Idaho. And we rescued Neelam’s adult kit-tens from having to get dead.

Life is essentially one long recovery/rescue program. We’re all recovering from something. Every now and then we get to rescue something. We didn’t know it at the time but when we got married, Lea and I would end up rescuing each other.

But that’s another story for another day. For now, this is Mark Rowen signing off. Que tenga un buen dia y hasta luego.

Headline Action Breaking News Live! Update … Report

If you were thinking about creating a news show and you needed to come up with a catchy title, you’re clearly not going to want to hire me as your slogan guy.

* * * *

There was yet another mass shooting in the US last week.

I’m actually too emotionally exhausted to even get outraged anymore. I’ve come to the conclusion that if the lawmakers in Washington DC aren’t going to do anything to change this, then there can be no more tragic mass shootings in America. They are simply the price you might have to pay for living in the Land of the Free.

And if the American people aren’t going to elect representatives that actually represent them, then they can go fuck themselves, too.

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Damn you! God damn you all to Hell!

* * * *

My Twitter® account was suspended again because of some comments I posted in response to Donald Trump.

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It appears there are some limits to my hypocrisy. I found I couldn’t encourage The Donald to be more of an asshat than he already was and continue to sleep well at night. So, I kind of went off on him the other day.

Apparently, you’re not allowed to call the President a dumb cunt…

Twitter® made me delete my posts, told me to play nice with others, and wouldn’t let me do anything on their site for a day.

It’s ironic because the one person on the planet that shouldn’t be allowed to post anything on their site never gets his hands slapped…

* * * *

I’m assuming the fucking rat I tried to kill to death in our carport, then disappeared into the engine of our car, decided to move to a safer location. One that doesn’t have broom-wielding maniacs. Or two dozen hungry cats. I haven’t seen it again, and believe me when I say I’ve looked.

I haven’t seen any rats anywhere, but I have seen a lots of the many semi-feral cats that live in the neighborhood.

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They like hanging out in our carport, too. And I’m reasonably sure they’d pursue the rat if it was still hanging around. If I thought there was seriously a chance the rat was still living in my car, I really would set it on fire.

* * * *

The NFL football season kicks off this week! This is the best time of the year for me. The Minnesota Vikings have looked good in their preseason games, so hopes of a stellar season are running high with their fans right now.

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Well, after last year, they can only go up…

To say that the Vikings struggled last year is an understatement. They were supposed to be an elite team that would be in the running for another Super Bowl appearance. Instead, they barely finished with a winning record and were mediocre at best.

This year should be different. The Vikings have a rejuvenated offense. They have two of the best receivers in the NFL, and they finally cut Laquon Treadwell, who was one of the worst receivers in the league. If the offensive line gives Kirk Cousins the time he needs, the passing game could be a force to be reckoned with.

The Vikings appear to have a veritable herd of decent running backs. If Dalvin Cook can stay healthy for an entire season, their offense might be an absolute powerhouse this year.

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Defensively, the Vikings appear to be solid, but historically they almost always have. Last year the defense seemed to play with a lack of intensity. And in more than one game they seemed to just not care. All accounts indicate they’ve got their goddamn minds right, and they are poised to dominate on that side of the ball again.

Might. Maybe. If only…  Every football season starts like this for me. Every year, this could be our year. But every fan of every NFL team is right there with me right now. If only — this might be the year — maybe…

I’m excited to see what happens. I’m another year closer to getting dead, so the clock is ticking, guys. I want to see you win a Super Bowl before I die. If it doesn’t, I’m coming back as the scariest fuckin’ ghost you’ve ever seen and I will haunt your asses until you do.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

* * * *

We’ve been busy here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. Todd, my lovely supermodel wife’s boyfriend, has finally arrived with all of his worldly belongings and has taken up residence in one of our guest rooms. He’s going to be our roommate for an as yet undetermined amount of time. I think of it as an experiment in communal living for all of us.

It’s not like we don’t have the room. Our house is huge, way bigger than anything we need for the two of us. And our kit-tens. Mika and Mollie turned one year old last month! I sang them the Happy Birthday song in Spanish. Our kit-tens are bilingual. That means they can ignore what we say to them in two languages.

Space here wasn’t an issue. The only concerns we had was how this arrangement would work in reality. If you exclude spouses and children, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one of the three of us that has ever had a roommate.

I’ve had a few people ask me how our new living arrangement came to be. I think it was my idea. Todd and Lea have known each other since middle school or something. They’ve been friends forever. Todd came down here to visit Lea a couple of years ago. That’s when I met him. We’ve been friends ever since.

We were fortunate when we moved here. We had a great network of people we could talk to. We didn’t have to endure many of the glitches that can occur when you move to a foreign country.  In my mind, having Todd move in with us seemed to be the best way to ease his transition into his new life.

Todd speaks no Spanish. I know the look that he gets on his face whenever anyone speaks to him en español. Lea and I have shared as much as we can with him about our experiences here. We’ll continue to help him as best we can until the deer in the headlights look goes away. After that, we’ll see.

As they say on TV, what could possibly go wrong?

* * * *

The Roommate is a 2011 cinematic psychological thriller about a deranged college freshman who becomes obsessed with her new roommate.

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Okay. I guess there’s that…

Experiment IV is a song by the English singer Kate Bush. The song tells a story about a secret military plan to create a sound horrific enough to kill a lots people.

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I can honestly say that this scenario had never occurred to me

* * * *

If you combine those two themes, this looks like unto the worst cohabitation idea, ever. Fortunately, Todd is not deranged, nor does he possess any of the intense, technological dental x-ray combat training that I received from the Army. He’s a good guy.

It should be fun. Todd loves to cook, so Lea will have some help in the kitchen. And, he plays golf. I love to eat, and I love to play golf. This appears to be a win-win-win situation for everyone, but especially for me.

And we still have the casita/guest house for anyone who wants to come visit. We’ve had a few people ask if they could come down, so we’ll see. We might eventually get some visitors here.

* * * *

Speaking of golf, I’m still getting accustomed to my new clubs. The fairway woods I bought have been nice additions to my arsenal. They haven’t produced any noticeable reduction in my score yet, but I attribute that to my other new club.

The chipper is unlike any other club I’ve ever had. It has next to no weight, so I’ve been struggling with the “how hard do I have to hit the ball to get it to the pin dilemma.” My results with it have been very hit or miss.

Mostly miss, so far.

In a few days I can start getting accustomed to my new putter. I’m waiting for it to be delivered from Amazon. I decided if was going to get serious about improving my game, I better get the right tools for the job.

In a recent interview, Brooks Kepka said this: “I’m putting pretty good. I’m just not making any putts.” It sounds like just about the most stupidest thing anyone could ever say, but it makes perfect sense to any serious golfer.

My new putter is red, and it looks like a spaceship from Star Trek.

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See? I told you.

Once I figure out how to use it, I’ll probably never miss a putt again.

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Lol! More lol!! Snort lol. Stop it, you’re killing me!!!

This Mexican Life

This American Life is an American weekly hour-long radio program produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media and hosted by Ira Glass. I used to listen to it on Sunday afternoons if I was driving around town.

I used to listen to public radio in my car all of the time back in the States. I like classical music, and the shows on the weekend were entertaining. Car Talk. Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! The ubiquitous news and talk shows. I kind of miss it. At least I understood what they were saying, even if I didn’t always agree with their point of view.

My favorite show on public radio was Radiolab. It’s a program produced by WNYC, and hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. They’re a couple of spooky smart guys. The show focuses on topics of a scientific and philosophical nature in a light-hearted manner, with a distinctive audio production style.

It was amazing! Always informative and enlightening, and sometimes very funny. If you don’t have anything else to do on a lazy Saturday afternoon, check it out. You might be surprised how much you like quantum physics.

* * * *

There is a classical music radio station here. I listen to it when José Jimenez, the only disc jockey at Señal Noventa plays one of his repetitive playlists while he tries to fix the kitchen sink. Or whatever it is his wife wants him to do.

For all I know, there’s a radio program called, This Mexican Life. Even if there were, it’s doubtful I’d listen to it. It’s the whole language thing…

There are a lots of TV soap operas about Mexican life. They’re called telenovelas. The featured image for this post is from La Casa de las Flores (The House of Flowers). It’s  described as comedy/drama about the dysfunctional upper class de la Mora family.

If I ever get to the point where I can understand spoken Spanish, I might watch it. It sounds interesting.

* * * *

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. We completed our final home improvement project for Lord Mark, the guy that owns the house we’re living in.

We painted the interior rooms of the casita and set up a guest suite on the offhand chance that anyone ever wants to come visit us here. We hired Francisco Flores Bernini again to paint the casita. He’s very good and he’s also very reasonable with his pricing. He painted the entire interior of Casa Tara — roughly 5000 square feet — plus the casita, for about $1000 US.

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Yeah, it did turn out nice

Our casita consists of two rooms. A spacious bedroom with queen size Sleep Number® bed and an attached three piece bathroom, and a complete kitchen.

We’ve discovered that a lot of people say they’ll come visit, but they never do. They probably think they’re going to get killed to death if they come to Mexico. Good thing they don’t have to worry about that happening in the US…  We’ve been here for two and a half years. I feel safer here  than I do when I travel back to the States.

* * * *

I’m in the middle of the bowel prep for my colonoscopy tomorrow morning. It’s easily the worst part of the whole thing. You can’t eat anything, and you have to drink a couple of gallons of not-very-tasty electrolyte/laxative solution. The end result is something like unto cholera, except you probably won’t get dead.

Cholera is a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water. Cholera causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. Left untreated, cholera can be fatal in a matter of hours, even in previously healthy people.

Diarrhea is usually loose, watery, sometimes more frequent stools. A slang for diarrhea is the shits. Do you want to know the real difference between diarrhea and the shits?

If you make it to the toilet, it’s diarrhea.

* * * *

I’m writing this in-between trips to the bathroom. It’s going to take awhile…

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See? I told you it wasn’t pretty

I had my first colonoscopy in 2013. It’s one of the many things you can look forward to if you live long enough to become old. I met the anesthesiologist before the procedure and I told him if I remembered anything about it, I was going to sue him for everything his first wife didn’t take when she divorced him. 

“Count backwards from one hundred.” he said, as he injected the propofol into the IV tubing. “Good luck getting to ninety.” I think I made it to ninety two. He remembered me when I had my second colonoscopy in 2016. I don’t think I made it to ninety five. 

If I have to count backwards from hundred in Spanish this time, I won’t make it to ninety eight.

* * * *

Updates!

I completely rewired my home theater surround sound system while Lea was in the US last month. I now have ten sets of speakers and two subwoofers connected to my receiver, which is connected to every other entertainment gadget I have in the living room.

I thought it sounded good when I set it up when we moved in, but it’s been taken to a new level now. I think it needs at least one more set of speakers. Lea thinks I need my goddamn head examined.

She’s probably right. I doubt that I actually need more speakers. But there’s no doubt that I want more.

* * * *

Speaking of entertainment gadgets, when Lea returned from the States, she brought the Zoomtak box I had purchased to replace the XBMC box that died earlier this year.

If you’re even less tech-saavy than I am, these are devices for streaming TV shows and movies on a KODI® platform. At least that’s what they do here. They might work on other platforms, but I have no idea what they might be.

At any rate, I happened to be in the Telecable office last week, and I noticed they had been bought out by another company, and are now called Izzi.com. Unlike their predecessors, Izzi offers a range of services heretofore unavailable in the Lakeside Area, like, modems with speeds up to 10 mbs.

I talked to the beautiful and talented Carmen, with the really big eyes, and switched over to the new service. I thought it would give us faster download speeds for my streaming devices.

My lovely supermodel wife, who knows way more about this stuff than I do, said switching to 10 mbs would give us more data, but not faster download speed. Based on the few times that I’ve tried streaming anything since she’s been back, it seems to depend on the day. But she’s right. Zoomtak or Firestick, they don’t seem to load any faster. At least they’re not any slower…

I don’t stream a lots of TV or movies most of the time, but that could change, if I ever figure out how to pay attention to anything for more than five minutes. If I end up getting really frustrated by this situation, I’ll go talk to the ILOX people. They’re the fiber optic communications company down here. They might be my only hope.

* * * *

The magic lights in our hallway are working again! The motion sensor in the hallway that leads to the bedrooms died, but I couldn’t find a replacement sensor that worked because of the way the hallway is wired. Thank God for Francisco. Not only is he a great painter and golf caddy, he’s also my very good friend.

He went to a few different hardware stores in the Lakeside Area until he found one that would actually order the part for him.

Little Known Fact About Mexico: for whatever reason, the Mexican people generally hate to say No. So they’ll probably tell you anything until you get tired of asking them to do something they can’t.

The first couple of hardware stores said they could order a new sensor, but didn’t. The third one came through. Francisco came over and installed it in ten minutes. I absolutely love it. I gave him the replacement sensor I had purchased that didn’t work in the hallway. It works great in his bathroom because his house wasn’t wired by a moronhead.

* * * *

Somewhat surprisingly, our refrigerator is still working, and it seems to be working more better gooder than it ever has before! We even moved everything from the old refrigerator in the casita back into kitchen. And the refrigerator still works!! Maybe the fifth time is a charm…

* * * *

Damn. That was the shits.

* * * *

Tacho was here last week to install the water diversion devices he built for the eaves by the swimming pool. I wanted something done to diminish the amount of water that ended up on the patio floor when it rains. The polished ceramic tiles on the floor of the patio are more slippery than glare ice when they get wet.

I contacted Jaime Mendoza, our property manager, and he sent Tacho over to take care of everything. Tacho is a busy guy, plus his dad has been in the hospital. It turned out that Tacho would get here about a week too late.

In my mind, this was a potential safety issue. Last week, Lea fell on the patio, and then it became an official safety issue. She hit the floor hard. Thankfully, she didn’t break anything, she only feels like she broke almost everything.

Tacho’s devices work. The runoff at the inner corners of the roof shoots into the pool instead of pooling on the floor. There’s no way to keep all of the rainfall off the patio, so we have to be very cautious out there whenever it rains.

Yeah, I don’t know why anyone would install tiles like that outside either, but it is was it is. It’s the price we have to pay for living an almost perfect life in Paradise.

* * * *

And, finally, let’s talk about golf.

I haven’t been golfing as much lately, mostly because the Rainy Season turns my golf course into a waterlogged morass. I’ve been trying to find some waterproof golf boots, but I haven’t had any luck with that yet.

I’ve shot a couple of sub-one hundred rounds lately, so that’s been encouraging. Not great scores, but better than I usually do at the Country Club de Chapala after it turns into the Mexican version of the Okefenokee Swamp.

After I finished golfing last Sunday, I wandered into the Pro Shop to turn in our score card, and I noticed a whole lots of golf clubs lined up along one of the walls. Three clubs caught my eye.

Two hybrid fairway woods, and a chipper.

I asked if they were for sale. Yes, they all were, but I would have to talk to Ramiro about the prices, and Sunday is his day off. Ramiro is the golf pro at CCdC.

No problem. I went back to the course on Monday, met with Ramiro, and bought the three clubs for $1700 pesos. About $80 US.

New golf clubs don’t guarantee that you’ll suddenly play any better, but they probably aren’t going to hurt either. If eighty bucks solves the problems I’ve had getting to the green, and I can start chipping more better gooder, it’ll be worth it.

The chipper could make a huge difference. Several of the people I’ve golfed with use one, and they were deadly with their chip shots. I should probably go out on Saturday and practice with it so I have some vague idea of what I can do with it before Sunday, which is the next time I’m planning on playing.

I’ll keep you posted.

It’s Always Something/Siempre es Algo

Greetings from Mexico! Hope you’re all doing well, wherever you might be.

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen my pictures of the Chinese Mountains behind our house burning at night. Las montañas de chino are still afire, despite the best efforts of the volunteers, and the fire fighters, and the helicopter that’s been ferrying big buckets of water from the lake to douse the flames.

It’s one of the hazards of living in this part of Mexico at this time of the year. It’s incredibly dry here right now, and there are fires everywhere. But you don’t need to expend any energy worrying about our safety. There’s no way the fires could ever endanger us, even if that were their only purpose, which it isn’t. So take a deep breath. We’re going to be okay. Relax, people. But it was nice to see so many people were concerned for us.

* * * *

It occurred to me the other day that the only people who come here to visit us are somehow related to Lea. Gwen is Lea’s oldest daughter, and she’s definitely related to her mother. She’s been here twice. Our only other visitor has been Todd, Lea’s boyfriend. He’s been here four times. He just put his house in Idaho on the market so he can sell it and move down here.

And it slowly dawned on me that I don’t have any friends who miss me enough to want to visit me.

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And that includes my celebrity crush lesbian girlfriend who doesn’t even know that I exist. Well, maybe she does now. I sent her a message on the Twitter® last week.

* * * *

Wildfires have become an annual summer event in many places, maybe even where you live. Arizona used to go up in flames every year that we lived there. Parts of Southern California burn down every year. Lea’s boyfriend, Todd, says he has the same problem where he lives in Idaho. A couple of years ago, Sand Point had a worse air quality rating than Beijing, China.

Thanks to Donald Trump, we all know the solution to this problem is preventative forest raking, which Mexico apparently doesn’t do either. The government could start trucking the abuelitas sweeping the streets up into the mountains and give them rakes…  Mischief managed. Probably.

The ironic thing is this fire started out as someone’s campfire. You’d think people would know better than to light a fire in a forest when it hasn’t rained since November, but you can never underestimate the power of stupidity.

Stupidity is probably mankind’s greatest common denominator. We all do stupid stuff. Some of us are quite good at it. It has actually come to define us. To err is human. And most human errors are caused by? Yep. Stupididity.

* * * *

Another thing you might know if you follow me on Facebook is I had the best golf week of my life. I shot three consecutive sub-one hundred score rounds. And I shot a 91 on Sunday, my new personal best score. It’s something I wasn’t sure I’d ever see a couple of months ago. In fact, I was seriously contemplating giving up golf for another decade.

One of my friends actually said I was getting good! I wouldn’t go that far because golf has a tendency to humble you. Did you see/hear that, golf gods? But golf has been a lots more fun to play all of a sudden.

I’ve written about my struggle with golf multiple times. You could read all about them if you don’t have anything better to do, but to summarize, I probably spent a lots of time whining about how much I suck at golf, even though I’m a good golfer.

Normally, the incongruency of that statement would make even me scratch my head. But last week made me think that I might have been right about me, and the only explanations I have are attitude and threshold.

The attitude part is easy to explain. All you have to do is believe you can do it. That’s what I used to tell my patients. And that’s what my caddy, Francisco Flores Bernini, kept telling me. You have to be positive. You have to think you can make every shot. Once I started doing that, I consistently started shooting better shots. I still have plenty of bad shots, but I balance them with some pretty great shots. And those are a lots of fun.

Threshold is a bit more complicated. It’s something that I learned about in nursing school. It’s the magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested. In other words, it’s the point or level at which something begins or changes.

It took me about two and a half years of frustration, a new set of golf clubs, a new golf bag, one pair of magic golf shoes, three new hats, a few generic golf lessons and a lots of practice at swearing in Spanish. And last week it all became worthwhile.

Now all I have to do to keep it up and keep getting more better gooder. I’m actually looking forward to it.

* * * *

I feel physically ill today.

Game of Thrones is fucking killing me, much in the same way that it has killed off just about every decent character in the series so far. And there are two more episodes to go!!

K8xRUaA

All of us that have become addicted to the show need to stop seeing the characters we’ve come to love getting killed to death, and we need to start seeing the evil motherfuckers start getting the deaths they so richly deserve. And we need to start seeing it now!

I have no idea how HBO is going to wrap the series up, but I know it’s not going to end like this: And they all lived happily ever after. That’s the one possible ending that everyone agrees doesn’t have a chance in hell of happening.

Hey, it’s not a Hallmark Christmas movie…

There are seemingly a lots of people that have become upset with direction the series has taken of late, but it doesn’t appear that has stopped any of them from watching. They’ve just been complaining about everything they don’t like on social media. It’s like unto watching a slow motion replay/review in football and noticing a penalty the referees missed. It’s not going to change the outcome.

It looks like a lots of people are going to need counseling once GoT ends. Maybe I retired too soon…  Nope. I’m good.

* * * *

Back when I was a nurse, I don’t think I ever admitted anyone because of a TV show. It’s probably the only reason. Crazy people get admitted to the hospital for pretty much any and every reason imaginable, and several that aren’t. That isn’t a lie. You could ask around if you know any psych nurses.

I remember a delusional young guy who the police had picked up and brought to the hospital because he was harassing Natalie Portman. He had somehow obtained her phone number and email address and was contacting her a thousand times a day, telling her how much he loved her.

Hmm…  I wonder how long it will take the Mexican police to show up here and take me to the nearest psychiatric hospital?

I’ve had people ask me What’s the strangest thing you saw as a psych nurse? Honestly, I don’t know anymore. It probably depended on the week. After awhile, insanity becomes hard to quantify. Like stupididity. It’s one of the reasons why I rarely write about being a psych nurse anymore.

That’s how my blog started. It’s probably some of the best stuff I’ve written. Over time, my blog evolved into some kind of diary about what I do now that I’m retired. And the answer to that appears to be not much.

* * * *

A couple of things happened to me after I married my lovely supermodel wife. First, I inherited two daughters. Second, I became a home owner. Homes and yards require a lots of upkeep and maintenance. Like, raking, among other things. We redecorated the entire interior of our house. Several times.

New paint. Wallpaper. Stuff like unto that. When we finished, I said something stupid, like, Well, we’re all done with that! Lea looked me in the eye and said, “When you’re a home owner, there’s no such thing as done.” The redhead does not lie.

In other words, It’s always something. In Spanish, Siempre es algo. I don’t want to brag too much, but I’m kind of proud of my bisexual language abilities. And that saying appears to be just as true in Mexico as it was back in the States. It might even be more true here.

We don’t own a home in Mexico, but we have become the Stewards of Casa Tara, a position we’d love to keep for a very long time. At least until we die. After that, I don’t think it’ll be as important anymore.

I’ve written about most of the the improvements we made to our home when we moved in. I’ve written about most of the challenges we’ve faced since we moved in. I do have a couple of updates, just in cases you were wondering.

We have a new kitchen faucet. Again. If you’ve been keeping count, this is our fifth faucet in six months. The Terminator Faucet 2.0 was installed last week. Tacho, our general handyman guy, was impressed with it, so that’s a good sign. Lea likes it, and that’s the most important thing.

Our patio has been free of bats for about a month. No bats, no batshit. Just to keep it that way, I bought a bunch of nightlights and plugged them in on the patio. They don’t emit a lots of light, but they’re seemingly more than bright enough to keep the bats away. Mischief managed. Hopefully.

We’re still waiting for our custom curtain rods for the master bedroom. Jaime, our property manager, went down to the ironworks shop with us last week to speak to the Moron Twins in Spanish on our behalf. One of the twins said that ours was the third complaint they’d received that day about the poor quality of their work.

That’s not a huge surprise to me. They seemed to understand exactly what we wanted. Unlike us, Jaime speaks excellent Spanish. Lea even gave them another diagram and measurements of what she wanted. They seemed agreeable to try to correct the situation. At least, they said they would.

And, nothing happened.

I’m ready to move on. Lea isn’t, and Jaime is on her side. He wants these guys to do the right thing. I think there’s some pride involved in this. He doesn’t like the idea of Mexican con artists ripping anyone off. He doesn’t want any bad apples giving people the wrong idea about what Mexico is really like.

You know, like me. I purposely misrepresent some aspects of life in Mexico because I don’t want any more people moving here.

At any rate, we’re essentially in a holding pattern with this process until something yet to be determined reaches threshold…

* * * *

My KODI box died some time last week. I tried to fire it up on Sunday, and nothing happened. Well, it’s Mexico. I waited an hour and tried again. Then I tried repeatedly for another hour. It stayed dead. I unplugged it and threw it out this morning.

The best thing about the KODI box was it was hardwired to our piece of shit modem, giving it an almost acceptable download speed. I had piggybacked my Amazon Firestick to it, and given the sketchiness of our WiFi service here, both devices worked miraculously well, most of the time. 

Our WiFi goes down here almost everyday for a few hours for no apparent reason, and none of our electronic devices work. That includes all of the telephones in the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. The only reason that I haven’t gone totally ballistic about this is our WiFi eventually reboots, also for no apparent reason.

I had to reconfigure the power supply to my Firestick. On the bright side, it still works, but it’s totally dependent on our WiFi strength, which, as you probably know by now, sucks. As a result, our Firestick doesn’t work at all during times of peak usage. Like, Sunday night, when Game of Thrones airs. However, it still works quite well during non-peak hours, so there’s that.

There are two possible solutions to my problem. One is a WiFi booster. Lea actually ordered one a week ago from an electronics company here in Mexico. It was invented by a Mexican guy to solve what appears to be a pervasive Mexican problem. That device might work, if we actually receive it. Their website says it might take as long as thirty days for it to be shipped. My guess is they have to make it first…

The second solution would be to buy another KODI box. A replacement would cost about a hundred bucks, and I could get one in about a week because it’s already been built.

Lea wants me to wait for her WiFi booster, mostly because she’s already paid for it. If we ever get it, and it works, it should theoretically solve all of my problems. I’ve been trying to convince myself that I can wait. I don’t really watch TV most of the time. All I really need is background noise, so in the Big Picture, it doesn’t really matter what that is.

The only problem is I’ve already decided that I want another KODI box. There are very few things that I actually want anymore. I’ve already got almost all of them, except for more speakers for my home theater system. And the only reason I haven’t bought more of them is I’m not ready for my lovely supermodel wife to kill me in my sleep.

Another holding pattern until something else reaches threshold…

And finally, my $40,000 flashlight died. Yeah, you read that right. A forty thousand dollar flashlight. It came with my Chevy Blazer, so I figure that’s how much I paid for it. It was a Maglite, and they’re really good flashlights.

Little Known Fact About Me: I have a weakness for flashlights. I had more than a dozen of them at one time because you never know when you’ll need a flashlight. I put them everywhere around the house, you know, just in cases. Lea finally told me I had enough flashlights, and I’ve mostly quit buying them.

Flashlights, much like homes, require a fair amount of maintenance. Batteries need to be replaced regularly, and I hadn’t done any maintenance on my $40,000 flashlight since we moved to Mexico. I kept it in my car because if anything goes wrong when I’m driving at night I want to be able to see whatever it is that I’m not going to know how to fix. There’s a reason why I became a nurse and not a mechanic, and you  almost have to be a rocket surgeon to fix a fucking car nowadays.

Because I had been lax in my duties, the batteries in my Maglite had corroded and were welded inside the battery tube. And I couldn’t get them out. I even tried drilling them out before I gave up and decided the only thing to do was replace my $40,000 flashlight with another one that wouldn’t cost anywhere near that much.

I found a lots of Maglite flashlights on the Amazon Mexico website. I bought a replacement for around 700 pesos ($35.00 US), and it was delivered to our house in three days.

I call my new Maglite Lightsaber. It kind of looks like one, and it emits a beam of light that can illuminate the backyards of the houses on the other side of the golf course that runs parallel to our backyard. That sucker is bright.

I’m keeping it on the patio. If one of those fucking giant Mexican bats ever tries to attack me, I’ll be ready for it. I’ll blind it with an atomic blast of light, then I’ll hit over the head. Go ahead and laugh, but you could seriously kill someone with a Maglite flashlight if you needed to.

It’s one of the things I learned in Dental X-ray Combat Training.

This Week Today

Hola, feliz miércoles. 

I normally have Spanish lessons at this time of day, but Planet Janet has fallen ill, so there’s no class today. She has a stomach bug and should recover soon. We’ll resume muddling through Spanish next week. I’ll try to sprinkle in some español and create the illusion I know what I’m hablando sobre.

I should probably thank Donald Trump for proving my assertion that he has no idea what he’s doing. If there was any doubt, Helsinki took care of that. His fans still love him. That will probably never change

I think they all have Battered Idiot Syndrome.

* * * *

It’s been a busy week here. I should clarify that. We had a busy Monday. There really hasn’t been much of anything else going on in our lives since.

Monday was MRI Day. Lea’s orthopedic specialist thought there was a shadowy area on her x-ray. He ordered an MRI, which will give him the best view of what’s going on with her wrist.

I’ve done some additional Interweb research on wrist pain. It seems there’s something called a ganglion cyst that is a frequent cause of wrist pain, especially in women. The shadowy area on her x-ray might possibly be a cyst. The good news is it’s relatively easy to treat, if that’s truly what it is. We’ll probably know more on Friday after Lea sees the Ortho guy.

Lea had the clinic receptionist here call the imaging clinic in Guadalajara for an appointment. The imaging clinic said she didn’t need one. She could walk right in.

Cool, huh?

So we went to the Imaging Clinic in Guadalajara early Monday morning and arrived about 7:30 AM. Lea drove. I was the Navigator. She says I’m a better navigator than she is, which is probably true. But I think she also likes driving far more than she likes navigating. I don’t mind doing either, and you get to do a lots more sightseeing as a navigator. There’s a lots of sights to see in Guadalajara.

The first thing the imaging clinic staff asked us when we arrived was, “Tienes una cita?” Do you have an appointment?

Yeah, not so cool.

There’s nothing like a language barrier to remind you that you’re living in a foreign country. Between the little Spanish we spoke and the little English the staff understood, we explained that we tried to make an appointment, but we were told to just come in.

The staff was apologetic, and very accommodating. The first available time they had was 1:00 PM. We had several hours to kill, so we asked if we could go spend a bunch of money and come back at 1:00. There’s no word in Spanish for shopping. There are a few ways to say spend money, or buy stuff. But you can’t technically go shopping in Mexico.

There are a lots of stores in Guadalajara, so we went to the Walmart Superstore. The Golf Express Store. And Costco. By a spooky twist of fate, all of those places were within ten miles of the Imaging Clinic, and each other.

Driving in Guadalajara is pretty much like unto driving in any other very large urban area. There’s a lots of traffic and traffic jams, and plenty of crazy drivers. But thanks to the technological wonders of smartphones and Google® Maps, you can get almost anywhere fairly easily, even if you’ve never been there before.

We went to the Walmart Superstore first because it was only place that was open at that time, and bought a few items to kill some time until the golf store opened at 10:00. Well, that’s when it was supposed to open.

Golf is becoming more popular in Mexico, but it’s nowhere near as popular as futbol. The only golf store that popped up on my Interweb search is in a nondescript strip mall in an equally nondescript neighborhood in Guadalajara. Then we waited for half an hour until the owner arrived at 10:30.

It’s Mexico. Time isn’t as important here as it is in the States.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I might need some new clubs. Well, they had a lots of new clubs at Golf Express. Very new, fairly expensive golf clubs. This created a dilemma for me because I have relatively inexpensive golf clubs, and I could’ve bought three sets of used clubs for the one club I eventually decided I probably couldn’t live without.

It’s a Callaway Rogue Hybrid Fairway Wood. I don’t know if it will be the answer to my golfing needs, but it’s so pretty! And then I decided I couldn’t put my brand new, very pretty and expensive club into the old, beat up, cheap-ass golf bag I had purchased at Goodwill several years ago in Arizona. So I bought a new bag for my new golf club.

On the bright side, I won’t look like a homeless golfer anymore.

After stocking up at Costco, we headed back to the clinic. And I got to do some sightseeing. From my point of view, the most impressive things to see in Guadalajara are las señoritas bonitas. 

I doubt I’m the only guy here that thinks some of the latinas are stunningly beautiful. They are obras de arte. God clearly paid a lots of attention to what He was doing when He designed them. He measured everything carefully, and made sure He had all of the necessary ingredients, unlike when He made me and used whatever He had laying around.

These very special creations look like unto angels, and dress like unto porn stars. It’s a very eye catching, head spinning combination.

At any rate, we were sitting at a table outside of Costco after we finished buying stuff. Lea was drinking a soda. I was packing all of the stuff we had purchased into our insulated shopping bags. When I finished, I saw two chicas bonitas walking through the parking lot toward the store.

They were young, of course. And thin, very pretty and shapely. Their long raven hair was flowing behind them in the breeze. They were talking to each other and smiling. They were both wearing skintight outfits that looked like they had come out of a can of spray paint. Form fitting tops, skinny jeans, high heels. One of the angelic chicas was wearing a lightweight, sky blue sweater that appeared to be struggling to contain the talents she had hidden underneath.

If there had been any music playing, I would’ve thought Costco was filming a music video.

I’m not sure why they started running, if you can call the short-strided scurry that women do when they’re wearing heels, but every guy who saw them stopped what he was doing to watch in a kind of awe, and silently offered a prayer of thanks, even if they didn’t believe in God.

I nudged Lea and pointed the girls out to her. She said, “Oh my. Those are real.” as she watched the chicas scurry toward us, bouncing all the way.

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They were real all right. Real fun.

I might need to go see a chiropractor, preferably in Guadalajara.

The last time we took a day trip there, we went to the Andares Mall. After Lea had made all of her purchases we had lunch at a charming restaurant near the mall called Vincent’s. If you’re ever in Guadalajara, it’s worth checking out. The steak tacos were to die for.

Seated at a table near us were several chicas bonitas. Again, they were all young and ridiculously gorgeous. They were all wearing stylish yoga outfits, like they had just finished working out at the gym. A couple of them had ordered something to eat, but the rest of them were drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. There are very few professions where exercising enough to stay fit, yet drinking and smoking are combined. In fact, I can only think of one.

“I wonder what those girls do for a living?” Lea asked, as if she was eerily thinking along the same train of thought my mind was on. When you’ve been married as long as we have, that kind of thing happens a lots. So I told her.

“They’re strippers. Go ask them if they have any business cards.”

She wouldn’t do that, of course. She doesn’t mind that I enjoy seeing the sights. She even points out a great set of knockers to me on the rare occasion that I don’t see them first, but she has her limits.

As a rule, I tend to not write about anything that requires a lots of research on my part. However, if I were ever planning on writing about the Gentlemen’s Clubs in Guadalajara, I’d be willing to make an exception.

I really think we should go to to Guadalajara more often, like, every day. But I haven’t been able to come up with a reason that Lea will agree to yet.

* * * *

If not for occasions like those above, and updates from my virtual friends, I’d probably be bored into a coma most of the time by now. I’ve been retired for roughly twenty months. After six months, most everything becomes routine. Thankfully, my virtual friends have lives vastly more interesting than mine.

At least two of my virtual friends announced that they are pregnant. One of them is asking for prayers for a daughter. She has two boys already and doesn’t think she could survive having three sons.

Three or four of my virtual friends are on vacation. They’re traveling the world and having a great time.

Several of my virtual friends just started new jobs, and they’re so excited! In six months they’ll be struggling to remember that at one time they really wanted this job. Probably. That’s what usually happened to me.

One of my virtual friends also writes a blog. She’s much more successful than I will ever be at blogging. She has hundreds of people who read what she writes. She just finished her first book, and she just got it published!!

Yeah, I pretty much hate her fucking guts right now.

My virtual friend has become kind of a marketing machine. She sells advertising on her blog site. She always features an image of herself for her posts, and lately she’s started asking this, Do you want to buy this look?

She’s young–early thirties–thin and pretty, of course. All of her outfits look darlingpreshadorbs! She doesn’t look like an angelic pornstar, she just looks like an angel. Everyone seems to agree on that.

There’s one more thing about her. She’s a virgin. She writes about not ever having had sex all the time. I’m thinking a few of the guys who read her blog do so for that reason only. However, she’s also an English major, so she actually knows how to write good. That’s probably why she has hundreds of real fans.

I’ve contemplated adopting her tactics, but there are a couple of mitigating factors. She’s basically everything I’m not. I can’t remember a time when the old, short, fat, bald and myopic look was ever in vogue. I’ve never had anyone ever tell me that I look like an angel. And it’s been a very long time since I was a virgin.

* * * *

I haven’t had any friend requests from kooky young Christian women who want to have a deeply passionate with a benign grandfather figure in over a month. I think the guy living in his parents’ basement in Iowa has decided to move on to easier scam victims. I’m kind of relieved, and kind of disappointed.

They were kind of entertaining. But they were also very predictable.

I’m going to guess they’ll return some day. They’re probably all at conference trying to think up new gimmicks and taglines.

* * * *

There’s a Go-Go tournament at the country club tomorrow. And according to some posts on social media, the world is supposed to end on Friday. If it’s on the Interweb it has to be true, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s next Friday. Either way, I’ll get to use my new golf club at least once before The End.

You know what? I’m going to ask for prayers on the tees for the par three holes. I haven’t had a decent tee shot on either of them since I almost got a hole in one.

I don’t think I can take another six…

A Day in the Life

I started writing this a couple of days ago. This morning, thanks to the wonders of technology, I lost everything I had written. It’s very frustrating. It’s like unto spending hours talking your date into going to bed with you, and the moment she starts taking off her clothes, her kid walks in and says he needs a glass of water.

Okay. That’s probably a lots worse than losing my blog installment.

I almost decided to quit writing forever, and then I decided to quit acting like a Borderline and quit crying, and get back to work. It’ll be interesting to see how much my fractured mind can remember of the stuff I had already written.

* * * *

The rainy season is in full force here in the Lakeside Area. Las montañas de chino resemble heads of broccoli once again. Everything is green, lush and growing. It’s probably the most beautiful time of the year to be here.

After nine years of living in the Arizona desert, I love watching the storms rumble in. I’m still enchanted by rain. Yep, I’m very easily entertained.

But the rainy season is not without its drawbacks. The roads here essentially become rivers in a heavy downpour, especially on the mountainsides. The cobblestone roads are never in great shape, and rainfall doesn’t do anything to improve their condition. Potholes doesn’t begin to describe some of the craters that have emerged.

The rains also have effected a change on the conditions on the golf course. In the dry season you get a much more friendly roll, if you know what I mean. Even on a bad shot you can get an extra fifty yards. In the rainy season the Velcro grass grows thick and grabs your ball, more or less holding it hostage. Without a ransom demand. I’ve added one or two strokes per hole because the golf course suddenly has something like unto a goalie helping to impede your shots.

Neither my new and improved golf clubs nor my magic golf shoes have been effective tools against the prolific flora spawned by the seasonal Mexican rains. I’ve been a bit dismayed by this. Prior to becoming the epitome of suckdom, I had fired off the three best consecutive rounds of my life. A 45, and back-to-back 48’s. And I almost shot a hole in one. I thought I had figured out this golf thing once and for all.

You know what? I started thinking I was good. Well, at the very least, not as bad as I used to be. I should know better by now. Pride always goeth before a fall.

On Sunday, I worked up a sweat on the driving range. I haven’t been on la platforma de practica in months, but I went out to practice because I’ve pretty much sucked from start to finish the last couple of times I’ve golfed.

The weird thing was most of my shots on the driving range didn’t suck! I was killing it out there. My drives were long, and straight for the most part. My chip shots had arc and trajectory, and landed on or near the green. I actually looked like, you know, I knew what I was fucking doing with a golf club in my hand.

Go figure.

This is apparently a very common problem for most of the retired gringos at the Country Club de Chapala, which probably helps to explain the high volume of alcohol sales in the clubhouse after a round of golf. Everyone I talked to Sunday said that they sucked at golf, too. I think they were trying to tell me to get over it. And possibly to have a beer.

Golf, perhaps more than any other athletic endeavor, requires a tricksy set of skills. Strength, concentration, precision, finesse, and something nebulous called touch. And sometimes you need all of those things, plus luck, just to make one shot.

No wonder golfers drink.

Hell, if I were to ask Tiger Woods, he’d probably say, “Dude, sometimes I suck at golf. And I’m Tiger Woods!”

I’ve started imagining God talking to Jesus, telling Jesus that his earthly ministry was to invent golf and teach everyone in Judea how to play. And this is how Jesus responded: “Oy vey, what do you think I am? Meshugana? Just crucify me and get it over with!”

I went golfing with my golf wife today. If it’s true that misery loves company, we have the market cornered. Phyllis has also been suffering from a golfing slump. Her best shots of late have been coming out of the trees that line some of the fairways. Granted, it takes a pretty lousy shot to get into the trees, but her recovery shots have been nothing short of brilliant.

Where’s there’s a problem, there’s always a solution. Phyllis and I have decided to go to one of the golf shops in Guadalajara. Maybe we’ll buy a couple of more better gooder clubs. It can’t hurt. Right?

I wonder if there’s a Twelve Step program for golf…

* * * *

As an aside, Phyllis and Lea were talking about me the other day, and Phyllis said, “Don’t get me wrong. I love Mark dearly, but sometimes he’s just so oblivious.”

I didn’t dispute Phyllis’ assessment when Lea told me. But I was curious about what she meant by it. “Oh, you’re kind of in your own world, and you’re just so chill.” That’s how Lea interpreted it. And yes, my lovely, super conservative, supermodel wife called me chill. I couldn’t believe it. Lea has gone gangsta. 

The only thing I can think of that’s funnier is listening to Queen Elizabeth rap.

* * * *

The rains have also impacted the population of the hummingbirds that my lovely supermodel wife has taken under her wing, so to speak. Hummingbirds are migratory. Apparently, they aren’t big fans of the rainy season here, so they go somewhere else in July.

We had about four birds at our feeder at the beginning of the year. Then the population jumped to four thousand when Lea’s boyfriend came to visit in April; we hung another feeder. And then it exploded to four hundred million after Todd returned to Idaho in May, and we added a third feeder.

We’re down to maybe forty birds now, and two feeders. Hummingbirds are territorial little bastards. One of them has claimed overlordship of one of the feeders, but he’s not badass enough to control them both. Hence, two feeders. It’s kind of a relief. Even Lea feels that way. It’s kind of a full-time job keeping the feeders filled when the ravaging horde is in town.

* * * *

Speaking of my lovely supermodel wife, Lea mysteriously injured her left wrist a couple of months ago. With a normal injury, you know how you hurt yourself. It hurts like hell for a few days then gradually gets better.

It’s been the reverse for Lea. She woke up with a vague ache in her wrist, and a month later she was in agony. She went to see our doctor, Carlos García Díaz del Castillo. That’s his real name. He’s probably the descendant of a Spanish conquistador. He’s an affable guy. I’m not sure how skilled he is as a doctor, but the people here either love him or hate him, so there’s that.

When Lea went in to see him for the first time about her wrist Dr Garcia ordered a boatload of labs, and he had her wrist x-rayed. As you might know, coming up with a diagnosis is basically a process of ruling shit out until you can rule something in. Injury is the usual suspect in a situation like this, however, there was no identifiable injury. Just in cases, she started wearing a brace on her left wrist to minimize any further aggravation.

Lea’s situation has given me the opportunity to think like a real nurse again, so that’s been kind of fun. Most doctors aren’t interested in hearing what you think is wrong with you, like they’re so goddamn smart or something.

The radiologist who interpreted Lea’s x-rays saw signs of inflammation consistent with a sprain. Dr Garcia hasn’t offered an opinion, other than he doesn’t have any idea what’s going on yet. He seems confident that he’ll figure it out.

He started her on a combination medication of a corticosteroid, an NSAID, and a muscle relaxer. The medication made Lea’s wrist feel a lots better, but the side effects were hell.

Lea couldn’t sleep. She was hyperactive, hyperreflexic, and irritable. She stopped taking it after one week, thank God, and went back to Dr Garcia. El medico Garcia wasn’t pleased with this, but he understood. He switched Lea to a COX-2 inhibitor.

COX-2 inhibitors are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Lea’s lab results showed an elevated SED rate, which indicates an inflammatory process, and a slightly elevated rheumatoid factor. Maybe it was arthritis…

Lea is sixtysomething. She’s going to read this someday, and I’m not in a big hurry to die. Arthritis is commonly associated with aging. In addition, Lea has fractured her left wrist before. Twice, to be exact. Arthritis has a real affinity for joints that have been previously injured.

Little Known Fact About Rheumatoid Arthritis: it’s an autoimmune disease. If you don’t know what that means, look it up on the Interweb. Little Known Fact About My Lovely Supermodel Wife: Lea has Crohn’s Disease. It’s also an autoimmune disease. One autoimmune disease can trigger another. So this possible diagnosis and treatment actually made sense.

There were only two problems. It was only her left wrist. Rheumatoid Arthritis is more of a systematic inflammation. It’s more likely that all of her joints would have hurt. Additionally, Lea’s Crohn’s Disease has remained quiescent. That’s not very probable. And the second thing was the COX-2 inhibitor didn’t work. So, it couldn’t be arthritis.

Lea went back to see Dr Garcia a third time. He put her on a stronger NSAID and an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat malaria. And he gave her a cortisone injection, not in her wrist, in her hip.

I’ve seen crazier things. In cases of extreme psychosis we sometimes administered a drug usually prescribed to treat leprosy. And it worked! I am confused by the injection. I’ve never heard of it being administered like that before.

And then I came up with this brilliant diagnosis. Lea has a bone spur, or bone spurs, in her wrist. It was a localized reaction, and it has gotten progressively worse over time. There’s only one problem with my diagnosis. There were no bone spurs visible on her x-rays.

A CT scan would provide better imaging. An MRI would be even better. And if we need to get one, there are facilities in Guadalajara we could go to. And she made an appointment to see an orthopedic specialist at Dr Garcia’s clinic. Maybe he’ll have a better idea of what’s going on…

* * * *

In a few months I will have been retired for two years. I’ve had ample time to reflect on my career, the good and the bad of it. The few successes I’ve had don’t bring me much joy or satisfaction. The failures I’ve had still make me uncomfortable. A couple of them will haunt me until the day I got dead. Possibly longer.

Can a ghost be haunted? There’s a philosophical question for you.

And I contemplate on my life. If I were intuitive, I could probably have skipped this altogether. But, I’m not, so…

I said earlier that my mind was fractured. That is one of the most truthful things I’ve ever said about myself. It’s probably the biggest reason why I’m so oblivious most of the time. I’m not sure that I live in my own little world. I think I spend a great deal of time making sure I don’t fall into the cracks in my mind.

It’s a fairly chaotic mess in there most of the time.

It’s possible that I’m becoming crazier, and by crazier I mean saner. My thoughts are probably becoming more linear and possibly more logical. I don’t have to try to get into the head of a crazy person to try to figure out the best way to help them anymore. I just have to try to stay out of my head.

My patients used to tell me they thought they were going crazy. And I had an answer for them: Only a sane person questions their sanity. I believe that statement to be true. Really crazy people don’t think there’s anything wrong with them. It’s everyone else that has a problem.

I wouldn’t go so far to say that I had to make life or death decisions on a daily basis, but I was frequently faced with decisions where the safety of others was at stake. Those decisions had to be made quickly and decisively.

The only urgency I feel now is if I’m playing too slowly on the golf course and I let the group behind me play through. My life has become so simple that it astonishes me. I don’t miss my work life, but it’s possible that I’m starting to want more out of my retirement life.

Or maybe I just need new golf clubs.

Idle Musings of a Rambling Mind

I’ve been thinking about writing something for awhile. However, I’ve been having one major problem. I can’t stay focused on any one thing long enough to form two cohesive paragraphs. I’ve lost track of how many posts I’ve started, deleted, and started again.

Is it possible? Could I be a distracted geezer?

I have to consider the possibility, but it’s not like I have a lots of stuff on my mind. Back when I was a psych nurse, I had a lots of stuff flying through my head. Did I sign off all the meds I passed? Why do they call them woodchucks? Don’t forget to order labs on the Clozaril patients tomorrow…  Who came up with the word kumquat? 

Maybe that’s part of the problem. I live an essentially stress free life now. I no longer have to wonder about much of anything, though I do still think about kumquats from time to time.

Seeing how I’ve been unable to focus on anything in specific, I’m reduced to trying to write about nothing in general. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but I’ve been told it’s something I’m quite good at. I hope that holds true today. And probably the next time, too.

* * * *

There has been one thing that’s been on my mind, and that one thing is golf. Which, in retrospect, shows how narrow my focus of thought has become. I seem to have hit an impasse regarding improving my game. My score has been more or less stuck in the mid-fifties for several months, which is roughly twenty over par.

Twenty over par is the score of a bad golfer, and even though I know I suck at golf, I am not a bad golfer. And, yes, I’m aware of the contradictory nature of that sentence.

I watched The Masters Tournament last week. I wish I could golf as bad as Tiger Woods. One of the commentators said something about the mental aspect of golf. As Yogi Berra once said, “Half of this game is ninety percent mental.” The commentator said something very much like unto that about becoming a better golfer. The answer, it seems, lies hidden somewhere in my head.

My fundamentals are improving. I need to focus my mind. I’m still unsure about what that entails. I’m trying to remember what my dad used to tell me back when we used to play golf.

“Get your goddamn head out of your ass, McOffspring!”

Well, it’s a start…  I’m sure he said other things, too. I’ll have to think about it a bit more.

* * * *

When Phyllis and I were golfing last week, our caddy kept talking about my clubs. I’m used to having people make fun of my clubs. So I assumed he was also making fun of them, except he was doing it in Spanish, and that was something new.

Our caddy is a Mexican guy named Salvador Allende Ribiera del Lago Hernandez. He’s tall and lanky, with teeth like a mule. As with many Mexicans, his age is hard to determine. He’s somewhere between fifty and one hundred and fifty years old.

Salvador was our caddy the first time we played here. Phyllis almost killed him with one of her shots. I almost killed him twice. Despite our attempts on his life, Salvador continues to willingly caddy for us. He actually seems to like us, and I make sure I say hi to him and shake his hand every time I see him.

I get a kick out of Salvador. He tends to talk to himself a lots in broken English and fluent Spanish while he caddies. Maybe he hears voices(?). It’s possible his voices are telling him how much we suck, and he’s defending us. I’m just guessing. I know enough Spanish to know he’s talking about our shots, but not enough to understand all of the context.

At any rate, Salvador kept saying something to me about “two clubs” last week. And the next time we golfed, I found out what he meant. He had two golf clubs that had been made in the 21st Century. And he presented them to me.

“Try. Try the clubs. You like, you keep.”

I couldn’t believe it. They were beautiful clubs. Callaways. Metal woods. They weren’t brand new, but either one of them would’ve originally cost more than all of my antique clubs combined.  All of my woods are so old they’re actually made of wood. So I put the clubs in my bag and tried to figure out how to say, Thanks, but no thanks, in Spanish.

I played the first two holes using my antique clubs, then Phyllis pulled me aside and told me to try Salvador’s clubs.

“What do you have to lose? Give ’em a try. You might actually like them.”

So I grabbed the oversized driver that looks like a clown’s golf club. It’s called a Big Bertha, but I gave it a new name: The Terminator.

My drive went one hundred yards farther than I have ever hit a golf ball. I was so happy I think I might have humped Salvador’s leg. And Phyllis spent the rest of the game smiling that I Told You So smile of hers.

At the end of our round, I asked Salvador how much he wanted for his clubs.

“For you, señor, nothing. I give to you.”

What a guy! But I couldn’t let him just give me his clubs, so I gave him one thousand pesos for his caddying services. The usual and customary fee for a caddy is around one hundred and fifty pesos. 

I have no idea how or where Salvador acquired the clubs, but he seemed pretty happy with the fact that he had given me two golf clubs that I liked, and that I had given him the best tip he’s ever had caddying for gringos.

Then another unexpected thing happened. Phyllis looked at my antique clubs and said, “You know, I have another set of clubs. They’re a man’s set, and they have to be newer than yours. Five hundred pesos.”

I know that sounds like a lots of money, but it’s roughly twenty-five bucks.

My antique golf clubs were made in the early 1960’s. John F. Kennedy was President when they were new. They’re almost as old as I am. Phyllis’ other clubs are probably from the 1980’s. And like many people my age, I love the Eighties. It’s the last time we remember being young.

I now have what essentially amounts to a new set of golf clubs that are considerably younger than me for about seventy-five bucks. And none of my woods are actually made of wood anymore.

For the longest time I’ve resisted embracing any new technology. Computers. Cellphones. CD’s. DVD’s. Mobile devices. Golf clubs. And once I finally took the plunge, I’ve always ended up wondering why I fought such a pointless battle against something I actually like and seemingly makes my life easier.

It’s probably an old guy, old school thing, even though I know was doing it long before I became officially old. Resist change at all costs, even though it’s the only constant in life. Therefore, there’s no logical explanation for it. Much like life itself.

* * * *

And now, on to the random thoughts that have been occupying my mind:

If humans are the most advanced species on this planet, why are we the only ones that need toilet paper? And what would a real bear do if you gave it a roll of Charmin®?

What’s the opposite of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

Advertisers use a lots of rock and roll songs to promote their products. Maybe rock bands should start writing songs about the things we buy. Orajel is the Answer. My Mercedes. Pass the Polygrip. It’d probably make life easier for all of us.

What the hell is a kumquat? It sounds pornographic…

Do you ever make up nonsense lyrics to songs? There’s one group you can’t do that to. America. Remember A Horse With No Name? The lyrics are so inane that anything nonsensical you come up with makes more sense than the original lyrics. Go ahead, try it.

We’ve been living in the End of Times ever since the death and resurrection of Jesus. I wonder how much longer that will go on?

* * * *

I could probably ramble on for a few more hours about random thoughts in my head, but they’re too ethereal for even me to keep track of. Yesterday’s profundity is today’s mystery. It’s like unto a kiss in dream. Did that really happen? It seemed real.

Now that I’ve gotten some of my idle thoughts out of my head, maybe I can focus on something that isn’t quite so…frivolous. Maybe. Only time will tell.

How do you say kumquat in Spanish?