The Rain, the Park, & Other Things

Writing: The Final Frontier.

It is for me. I generally don’t have any idea what I’m going to write about. If I’m fortunate, I have a vague theme in mind. Sometimes I have a sentence. Sometimes, I only have a word. Today, I have a title!

* * * *

The Rain, the Park, & Other Things is a psychedelic pop song recorded by The Cowsills in 1967. It was a big hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard charts. Maybe you remember the 1970’s TV sitcom The Partridge Family. The Cowsills were more or less the inspiration for the premise of the show. At least the musical/family/band part.

I have fond memories of that song, but I’m not sure why. If there was some special event associated with it, I can’t remember what it was. Maybe I just thought it was a good song…

* * * *

The Rainy Season here has probably run its course and might even be officially over. I’m not going to say more than that. Every time I’ve predicted the end of the Rainy Season this year, it has rained. A lots.

Be that as it may, it’s been mostly less wet here. The golf course is drying out, and that has contributed to the remarkable improvement I’ve seen in my scores over the last three weeks.

There’s a few reasons why my golf game has suffered lately, but perhaps the most significant one is my back. In layman’s terms, my back is fucked up. I’m not young anymore. I have osteoarthritis of the spine and spinal stenosis. I can’t remember the last time my back didn’t hurt.

Most of the time the pain just annoying. The rest of the time it’s almost unbearable. That’s basically where my pain level has been for the last week and a half. Sometimes golf makes my back pain worse. Sometimes it snaps all my vertebrae into alignment. I’ve had both of those outcomes happen over the last three weeks.

Right now, my back is about as good as it ever gets.

* * * *

Country Club de Chapala has a lots of really good caddies on staff. That’s good for me because I’m not a great golfer. Most of the time I doubt that I’m even a good golfer, though my caddies like to tell me they think I’m a good golfer. But then, they like getting good tips, so there’s that.

My favorite caddy is Francisco Flores Bernini. He keeps me grounded on the golf course, and he makes me laugh. He’s a great guy, and has become like unto the son I never had. Francisco isn’t the only good caddy in his family. His older brother, Mario, and his younger brother, Sergio, are also good caddies.

Sergio was my caddy a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t playing well that day. Sergio gave me a lots of tips, but I couldn’t do much of anything right. Finally, he said this. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pretend that you do.”

That made me laugh. That’s essentially the secret to my success. I’ve been doing it most of my life.

* * * *

Whoa, dude! You were a nurse, and you didn’t know what the hell you were doing? I’m glad I wasn’t one of your patients!

Hang on there, Chicken Little. Real nursing is a science, and in that sense it really helps if you know what you’re doing. But I was a psych nurse, and psych nursing is an art. There’s probably only one rule that applies all the time in Psychiatry, and it is this: You should be less crazy than your patients.

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I was less crazy than some of my patients, but I was very good at pretending I was. And you probably would’ve loved having me as your nurse.

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So, I started pretending I was a good golfer. And some pretty weird stuff started happening. I stopped caring about my score. Because I no longer cared what my score was, I relaxed — except when my back was tied in knots. And that’s when my scores started improving. My scores were in the 90’s for 18 holes. Not great, but better than what I had been shooting. 

During the Cruz Roja Tournament, on the par 5 fifth hole, I nailed a sixty yard chip shot for an eagle 3. That wasn’t an almost great shot. I lofted that sucker up into the sky, straight at the pin. It landed on the green about a foot from the cup, one bounce, and in the hole. As of this moment, it’s the greatest shot in my life.

Today, I did something I’ve never done before. I shot an 89, two strokes better than my previous best score. I made six pars! I broke 90 for the first time in my life. 

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Inside each and every one of us is one, true, authentic swing. Somethin’ we was born with. Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone. Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned. Somethin’ that got to be remembered…

Now all we have to do is get our golf cart fixed, again. The brakes have been sorted, so it stops now. It just has problems starting. Sometimes. Our golf cart is old. It’s like unto the Flintstones mobile, but the electrical part we need to replace is made by Spacely Sprockets…

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Go figure on that one

Poco y poco…  We’ll get there little by little.

* * * *

Detroit Lions fans will be dismayed to learn that since I’ve become an athletic supporter of their team the Lions have won one game. Well, maybe they won’t. They’re probably used to it by now.

Matthew Stafford, the Lions quarterback, might miss the rest of the season because he has micro-fractures in some of his upper thoracic vertebrae. In layman’s terms, his back is really fucked up.

Conversely, the Minnesota Vikings have gone 6-1, and are undefeated at home. They were getting shutout in the first half of the game today by the Denver Broncos 20-0. Then something that almost never happens, happened. The Vikings played lights out in the second half and scored every time they touched the ball. They defended the North, and won 27-23.

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The Vikings are playing some quality football. If I had known this was going to happen, I would’ve become a Lions fan a long time ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I root for the Lions. But I have trouble letting go of long term relationships. I’m the guy that stayed in love with my high school sweetheart for ten years after she broke up with me.

I will probably always wish the Vikings well, except when they play the Lions…

* * * *

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Our new kit-tens are doing well. They seem to have adjusted to their new home and their new people. Mika and Sadie might be less antagonistic towards each other, but maybe not. Maybe I’m just getting used to their squabbling.

My lovely supermodel wife is also doing well. We just celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary eleven days ago. Congratulations, honey! Thanks for hanging in there with me.

We’re getting ready for the holidays. Lea and I are hosting Thanksgiving at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa for a select group of friends. For Christmas we’re taking a ten day sightseeing trip  to Mexico City. 

That should be a lots of fun.

* * * *

My Twitter account has been temporarily suspended, again. Because of something I said to Donald Trump, again. It’s the third time this year. Maybe the fourth. At this rate it’ll probably be permanently suspended before the end of the year.

The Democrats have initiated impeachment hearings, and The Donald has gone off the deep end. The crap he spews on social media is beyond all belief, unless you happen to be one of his supporters, in which case you believe everything he says.

Well, I’ve got a newsflash for you:

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And, they still won’t get it…

Here’s a prediction for you. Trump will resign from office just before he’s impeached, citing health reasons. I’m not the only person who has come up with this scenario.

This weekend, The Donald was admitted to The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for an unscheduled visit. In what can only be assumed to be another of the over thirteen thousand verified lies that Trump has told since becoming President, he tweeted that the visit was part of his routine annual physical. The results haven’t been released.

Remember this?

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His doctor later said he didn’t write the report. Donald Trump did.

This is also the guy who said he would absolutely release his tax returns if he was elected President, and has been in a non-stop legal battle to keep them private ever since. He’s currently petitioning the Supreme Court to keep his records out of the public eye.

Do you have any idea how many appeals you have to file to get to the fucking Supreme Court? Hint: It’s way more than one. And there’s only one reason why he would spend so much time time, effort, and money to try to keep something private. Another hint: It’s not because his tax returns will show perfection.

Technological Wonders and Blunders

On the offhand chance that you’ve become addicted to reading nonsensical blogs written by retired, bald, handsome guys living in Mexico, check this out: https://eldavesexistentialshit.home.blog

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It’s written by my buddy, Dave Naisby. Dave is a funny guy. And he’s Scottish, so when you read his blog make sure you have that whole Gaelic accent thing going on inside your head. It’s just so cool!

You probably shouldn’t try to imagine my voice if you read my blog. I sound like a cross between Ben Stein and Eeyore. I could put a meth addict into a coma in ten minutes.

My beautiful and talented daughter, Gwen Markes Henson, has also started writing a blog. Unlike me, she’s a serious writer. https://gwengetsreal.wordpress.com 

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She is on a mission to change the world. I admire her greatly. Best of success to you, honey. And good luck. You’re going to need it.

* * * *

The Rainy Season endures in the Lakeside Area. Seeing how it’s a season, there’s an implied beginning and end. Theoretically, the end is in sight. It has historically always stopped raining around this time of year. It might continue for another week or so, but then it won’t rain again until next June. However, the rain this year isn’t going out with a whimper. It’s been raining like a bastard down here. We were hit by two of the biggest storms we’ve had all year last week.

The first storm hit Thursday night, which just happened to be the same night as the Halloween Night Golf Extravaganza at the Country Club de Chapala. How do you play golf in the dark? you might ask. Probably about as badly as I do during the day, except it’s harder to see how much I suck because it’s dark.

Ah! Now I understand. We use special golf balls that emit light. And we have flashlights. And stuff. Like, booze. So that’s how you play night golf.

Some of my Christian friends might be tempted to say, I guess Satan didn’t want you to play golf that night. But c’mon, man! It was Halloween night! Something wicked this way comes. Witches, ghouls and goblins. Things that go bump in the night. The scariest fucking ghost you’ve ever seen…

I’d think Satan would’ve been all over that idea…

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Clearly, someone or something didn’t want us playing golf because the sky opened up and it rained down a deluge of epic proportions, cancelling the tournament. We got at least five inches of rain in a couple of hours. And it rained like two hells again on Saturday night, turning the golf course into a veritable quagmire.

I golfed on Sunday. In wet socks. I sucked from the first tee to the eighteenth green. My caddy told me it wasn’t me, it was the golf course. So I gave him a really nice tip for lying to me.

Being a serious golfer has turned to be a lots more work than I thought it would be. Though I should have been smart enough to figure out at the very least you have to be serious. Yeah, it does appear to be rather obvious now that I think about it. I’ve taken some lessons. I’ve even gone to the driving range to practice doing the stuff I’m supposed to be doing.

My lovely supermodel wife came out with me yesterday to record my swing so I could review the videos. Thanks, honey! You’re the best!! I’m not sure what to think about my swing, other than I look like I’m in a coma. I do talk to myself a lots when I’m on the driving range, so that might be part of it…

There’s a reason for the practice. The Cruz Roja Tournament is this Thursday.  It’s a charity event for the Mexican Red Cross. I don’t think my team has any chance to win it, but I don’t want us to finish in last place, again. And the Night Golf Extravaganza has been rescheduled for the following week.

I’ll let you know what happens.

* * * *

Technology is an amazing thing. The greatest invention of the modern world is arguably the flushable toilet. My grandparents had an outhouse at their farm. Like unto Salvador Dali, my grandfather hated paying for anything. Every time someone flushed the toilet, that was money out of his pocket as far as he was concerned, so he made everyone use the outhouse, except at night.

But turning on the lights in the bathroom was also money out of his pocket, so if you had to use the bathroom, you better be able to do your business in the dark.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Indoor Bathrooms: According to Allan Burnett, historian and author of Invented In Scotland, the Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae in Orkney boasted the world’s first indoor toilet. There is evidence of stone huts equipped with drains built into the village walls, dating back to around 3,000 B.C.E. The sewer system was basic – waste was flushed into a drain with pots of water – but the basic principle remains to this day.

* * * *

Everyone thinks Thomas Crapper invented the toilet, but Sir John Harington first conceived the idea in 1596. Another Englishman, Alexander Cummings, was granted the first patent for the flushable toilet in 1775.

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Thomas Crapper also invented a flushable toilet, which improved on Cummings’ original toilet design. But Crapper gets all the credit, probably because his name so aptly describes the function of the product.

The next greatest modern invention has to be the toilet plunger, and it was probably invented one day after the toilet was.

Mrs. Crapper, come and seest what thine brilliant husband hath invented! I just took the biggest dump in the history of mankind, but looketh! All I hast to doeth is depress this clever lever and — sonethofabitcheth! Run! Runeth for thine lives!!

Plungers are rarely impulse purchases. They are mostly bought out of necessity, and when you need one, you’d be willing to pay $500 for one. I know I would.

* * * *

There’s at least one thing that modern technology should’ve made obsolete, and that is warfare.

War used to be a fairly primitive thing. You’d get pissed off at your neighbor because he stayed up all night listening to that newfangled music, and he couldn’t stop banging on those goddamn things he just invented. What did he call them? Oh yeah. Drums.

So, you sneak over to his yard at night, and you knock over all of his garden gnomes.

And that’s kind of how wars began way the hell back when.

Then technology came along and weapons were invented. And improved on. Over and over again. Until the ultimate weapon was invented.

Now, if you sneak over to neighbors’ yard and knock over his garden gnomes, your neighbor just might retaliate. From space.

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Way back when I was a dental x-ray technician in the US Army, I received highly specialized combat training. I know at least a dozen ways to knock over garden gnomes. But how do you defend yourself against bombs? A lots and lots of bombs?

* * * *

Excuse me, Drill Sergeant Byrum. All this training in knocking over garden gnomes has been real enlightening and all, but how do we defend ourselves from tactical and/or strategic carpet bombing from the enemy?

Private Roland, there ain’t no viable defense against carpet bombing! If you ever find yourself in that situation, you run! You run like the goddamn toilet is overflowing and you need to get a plunger! Do you hear me!! Now, get down and give me fifty!

* * * *

Mankind has produced some truly amazing inventions over the centuries. It has also perpetuated some of the most stupidest beliefs and practices that should died off with the dodos. Because, you know, we killed them all to death and it didn’t take so much as one bomb to do it.

It’s time to take a quantum leap, people. It’s time to go back to the 1960’s, and remember what might be the smartest idea that my staunchly noncomformist generation ever conceived.

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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.

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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.

Resort Style Living at its Finest. And Stuff

Greetings from the Chula Vista Resort and Spa!

Life is still mostly idyllic here, but as you and I both know, there’s always something.

Before I begin to start to commence to complain about my almost perfect life, I should mention the good things.

Lea finally got her curtain rods for our master bedroom! It only took about two months. And about a dozen visits to the ironworks shop to talk to the Moron Twins. I think she wore them down and they eventually realized the only way they were going to get rid of esta gringa loca was to give her what she wanted. I’ve got to hand it to her. I didn’t think she’d ever get anything she’d be remotely satisfied with from those bozos.

Way to go, honey. You’re still a force to be reckoned with.

She still has to make the curtains, but my lovely supermodel wife is more than just a pretty face. She has some pretty serious crafty skills. She’s made a lots of stuff over the years. She already has most of the materials she needs, and she has a plan to procure the items she lacks. I’m sure they’ll turn out great. I’ll post pictures of the finished product.

* * * *

We had to replace the toilet in my workshop because the water tank fractured and flooded the floor. I think it had been cracked for years and finally succumbed to the pressure. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. It’s not a high traffic area. It probably hasn’t been regularly used for more than ten years.

The floors are all tile, so no significant damage occurred. Jaime, our property manager, bought a new toilet. Tacho, our general handyman guy, installed it. Mischief managed.

The only weird thing is this is the second new toilet we’ve had to have installed in the short time that we’ve been here.

I’ve also asked Jaime and Tacho to construct some water diversion devices for the corners of the eaves by the pool. This is our first Rainy Season at this house, and after the first couple of serious rainfalls, we discovered that we had a problem.

I’ve written about the Rainy Season before. People that live here might tell you the rain is very polite because it mostly falls at night. I’d tell you there’s nothing polite about the rain. It’s true that it mostly falls at night, but when it rains here it rains like a bastard. Maybe two of them.

We basically have two waterfalls pouring off of the roof into the patio when it rains. The tiles on the patio are polished porcelain, and when they get wet they’re just about the most slipperiest surfaces on the planet. I bought a giant squeegee the last time we were at Costco. I think it’ll come in very handy for the next few months.

The patio is open to the weather, so there’s no way to keep all of the water off of the floor. I don’t want anything extravagant. I just want something that will direct most of the water into the pool. But if we can divert both of those sources, we might not slip and accidentally kill ourselves to death.

* * * *

Our LG refrigerator has been acting up. Again. Well, the refrigerator part is still working. It’s the freezer part that has been acting up. Essentially, it’s not freezing anything. Luckily, we have two freezers, so we just moved everything from the kitchen to the casita. Again.

Lea is as close to furious as she ever gets.

The refrigerator is still under warranty, and after all the work we’ve had done on it, the LG Service Department in Guadalajara no longer gives Jaime any crap when he calls to tell them they need to come repair their piece of shit refrigerator. Again. They didn’t even ask us to do another 12 Hour Test this time.

They’re supposed to be here next Tuesday. And they won’t have the part they need to fix the problem, so that will take another week. It might be fixed by the middle of July.

Thankfully, the restaurants here are mostly excellent, and affordable. Dining out is going to be an ordeal, but we’ll get through this somehow.

* * * *

We received our WiFi Super Booster about a month ago. As near as I can tell, it doesn’t even mildly boost our WiFi strength or speed. I’d actually go so far to say that our ambiguous signal works better when it’s not being boosted. So, if you were planning on purchasing this technological wonder, I’d advise against it.

It’s too bad. I doubt that Telecable® has any plans to improve their service, and they have the lowest customer satisfaction ratings of any communications company in the Lakeside Area. Telmex®, the other local communications company, has the second lowest.

It’s like having to choose between having cancer or leprosy.

This is easily the most frustrating part of our new lives. And by our lives, I mean mine. I don’t think Lea finds this anywhere near as irritating as I do.

Ask any blogger you happen to see and they will tell you in order to post anything they write, they absolutely need an Interweb connection. And if they like to research their topics, it’s an invaluable resource.

Research is too much like work for me, so I mostly make shit up. I might be lying about that, but I’m a very good liar. And yes, I could be lying about that, too.

* * * *

Despite the fact that our WiFi mostly sucks, I have binge watched a couple of series on Fire TV®. Catch-22 was quite good. Chernobyl was even better. It was so refreshing to watch something where there was no question whether or not the government was lying. It was one of the best qualities about communism. They lied about everything! And you could trust that.

* * * *

I started watching Good Omens yesterday. It’s produced by Amazon and the BBC. Interestingly enough, a bunch of offended Christians sent a petition to Netflix trying to get them to stop airing the blasphemous series. Clearly, Satan had a hand or two in that.

Good Omens is yet another fantasy TV series based on the book of the same name by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s the story of an angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowle, who form an alliance in an attempt to stop the approaching Armageddon.

I guess there are plenty of reasons why Christians could be upset. Adam and Eve are black in the TV show. Everyone knows all of the people in the Bible were white. Even the Egyptians. And the Queen of Sheba. And they all spoke English.

In the TV show, God is a woman, so that could be another point of contention for the uproar. That’s the only part I find hard to believe. A female God would never have made all the mistakes that our solidly paternal God has.

Hey, mister! I thought God couldn’t make mistakes!!

Yeah, I used to think that, too. But for an entity who is supposed to be All-Knowing, it’s pretty hard to describe some of His actions as anything but mistakes. Granted, He probably has the ability to fix all of this shit because He’s also, you know, All-Powerful. In that case, He’s right. There are no mistakes, just clever corrections.

Back to the show: The angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley have been friends from the beginning of Time, and over the centuries they’ve essentially gone native, preferring life on Earth to life in either of the respective realms from whence they originated. They were supposed to be keeping an eye on the Antichrist, but through a series of semi-comical events, they lost him and have been taking care of of the wrong kid. It’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.

In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist will fulfill Biblical prophecies about someone who will oppose Christ and substitute himself in Christ’s place, just in cases you were wondering. “…Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:15-18

I have no idea what that means, so I hope you’re not looking for any great insights here. On the TV series, it turns out to be a telephone number. Little Known Fact About My State of Minnesota Nursing License Number: It’s a six digit number. The first three numbers are 111. Any guesses what the last (6) three (6) numbers (6) are?

I once desperately wanted to be a prophet, but I have to be honest. When I looked at my nursing license for the first time, I damn near died to death. I used to be obsessed with the End of Times. I even wrote a book about it. It probably wasn’t a great book, and I base that assessment on the fact that none of the publishers I contacted were interested in publishing it. I used to have a stack of rejection letters that was more than a foot tall.

Seeing how I wanted to be a prophet, but had somehow been branded with the infamous Number of the Beast, the premise of my book was simple. The true identity of the Antichrist couldn’t be known because all suspicion would roll off of him like water off a duck’s back. Being the super-spooky twisted genius guy that he was, he could literally say anything and everyone would believe him. It’s one of his evil superpowers.

All he had to do was accuse his sworn enemy,  the True Prophet of God, of being the real Antichrist. And the people of the world would blame him for all of the crazy shit that happened during the turbulent End of Days, which made life more than a little complicated for our righteous hero.

And just to complicate matters further, both the Antichrist and the Prophet of God do a fair amount of crazy shit. The Antichrist does it because, you know, that’s his job. The prophet does it because, you know, that’s what God tells him to do.

It’s too bad that I was such a lousy writer back when I was trying to be a serious author. There was some pretty good stuff in that book.

I doubt that I’ll be able to get Lea interested in watching this series. It’s too bad because the show is fucking hilarious. She’s probably afraid that I’ll go crazy again, and start preaching to the multitudes on the shore of Lake Chapala, telling them to Repent! Or, ¡Arrepentirse! in Spanish.

Historically, that’s what prophets have done, no matter which language they spoke. Clearly, it’s a method that hasn’t worked. Past performance is sometimes a fairly good indicator of future results. I’d try something different. I’d hire the BBC to produce another comedy show, and take it from there.

However, I should point out that this is a subject I doubt I could ever get serious about again, even if the long foretold events actually started happening. I’m not sure I could muster the necessary energy again. Lea will read this someday, and maybe she’ll relax a bit.

Yeah, you’re right. I could tell her that. I’m just not sure she’d believe me.

I’d call my show Seven Trumpets. It was the title of my book. It’s still the best name ever for a series about the End of Times. According to Revelation 8:1-2, seven angels will sound the seven trumpets after the breaking of the seventh seal. Seven is a very popular number in the Bible.

It’s God’s favorite number.

One Thing Leads to Another

It rained here early this morning. It’s probably safe to say that the Rainy Season has officially started in the Lakeside Area. It’s a good thing. The fires will stop burning. The Chinese Mountains will turn green again. And maybe my seasonal allergies will settle down.

I started this morning the way I usually do; drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and contemplating the vicissitudes of life. I will freely admit that I find life confusing. It’s one reason why I drink so much coffee in the morning.

My lovely supermodel wife drinks cappuccinos, but only because she can’t get find Coffee-mate® Flavored Creamers in Mexico.

images

She used to be able to find them at Super Lake, the gringo supermarket in Ajijic, but about four months ago they stopped stocking it without any explanation. We’ve asked about it several times.

“Vuelve la proxima semana…”

“Come back next week…” Next week, much like unto tomorrow, is something that doesn’t actually exist in reality. That’s why Lea drinks cappuccino now. 

Coffee is one of the weird tastes you develop when you become an adult. It smells like heaven, but it tastes kind of god-awful. Over time, you eventually get used to it. Unlike my wife, I don’t use creamers of any kind in my coffee. 

 “Café, negro, como mi alma.” That’s how I order it.

Black, like my soul. The baristas always laugh. I find it ironic because I’m not joking.

* * * *

The other thing I do in the morning is my daily Dualgringo lesson. That’s what I call my language app. Duolingo® is a platform that includes a language-learning website and app, as well as a digital language proficiency assessment exam. It keeps telling me that I’m doing great and having a good time, so I guess I am.

Lea and I stopped going to Spanish lessons, but neither of us have given up on the idea of kind of understanding how to sort of speak Spanish. We’ve both given up on the idea of ever being fluent in it.

I think if you really want to be bifocally fluent in more than one language, you should start when you’re six, not sixty.

* * * *

I’ve been looking forward to the Rainy Season. It moderates the temperature, and I generally feel better when it’s cooler and there’s less dust in the air. On the downside, the Velcro grass will grow thick on the golf course, and my scores will probably suffer for the next several months.

It’s probably a good thing that I beat Cheryl on Thursday because it might be the only time I ever do.

My golf wife, Phyllis, and I regularly play golf with Cheryl and her real husband, Tom. Cheryl is Madame Champion at my country club. She’s a very good golfer, most of the time. She had a bad day on Thursday, and that’s the only reason I beat her. It certainly wasn’t because I was tearing up the course.

I’m consistently scoring less than 100 now, but still more than 80, which is my current goal. It’s something that I only dreamed of doing a year ago, so I know I’m slowly getting better. I have a lots of almost great shots. I’m practicing for the day that I actually have a lots of great shots. I figure I can’t miss them all, so it’s theoretically possible that someday I will make them all.

Attitude is everything.

Cheryl will probably beat me by twenty strokes on Sunday. I’ll need to bring my ‘A’ game, if I have one, just to stay within five strokes of her score. In terms of following up on my last post, I need to golf like unto a porn star.

* * * *

Golf has become one of my most frequent topics in my blog. Probably because it’s the only thing I do on a regular basis, besides eat and sleep. I could start writing restaurant reviews, I guess. But then more people would want to come down here, and I don’t want that.

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By the way, the food sucks here.

* * * *

I don’t write about porn stars often, but I can’t say that I’ve never broached the subject. And that’s how I got to this point. After I finished my last post, I started wondering why people become porn stars. And I drank a lots of coffee.

* * * *

What do you want to be when you grow up?

No one ever says they want to be a drug addict. I doubt that 🌟Porn Star🌟 ever ranks in the Top Ten in terms of future professions. I’m guessing Garbage Collector rates higher than being a porn star, and who the fuck wants to be a garbage man when they grow up?

So, how does this even happen?

* * * *

Possible Little Known Fact About Being a Porn Star: You don’t require any special schooling or training to become one. It doesn’t appear that you even have to know how to act. I have yet to find any Juilliard graduates working in the Porn Industry. As long as you don’t have any qualms about having sex in front of a camera, you probably have all of the qualifications you’ll need for a career in adult movies.

The process of becoming a porn star appears to be fairly simple:

Step One: Fill out an application form. I know, right! I couldn’t believe it either, but there’s even an online form available. Step Two: You have to be at least eighteen years old, but there doesn’t appear to be an age limit! So, if you’re looking for something to do after you retire…  And, it would give you the perfect opportunity to get back at your children for all of the times they embarrassed you. Step Three: You have to pass a physical proving that you don’t have any Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

If you can survive that strenuous process, you’re probably in.

* * * *

After that, it gets tricksier. And by that I mean, Why?

As a guy, I can totally understand it from a male perspective. There’s probably no such thing as a guy who wouldn’t want to be a porn star. Guys are essentially pigs that have learned to walk on two legs and wear clothes. The idea that a guy could have sex and get paid for it is essentially the Guy version of Heaven. That, and there probably has to be beer…

have to admit that I was surprised by the reasons women gave when they decided to become porn stars, mostly because there were so many of them.

* * * *

Why do you want to be a nurse?

It was one of the first questions we were asked in nursing school. You can probably guess the most popular answer.

I want to do something to help people.

99% of the the people in my class gave that answer, or something like unto it.

I was much more interested in helping myself when I decided to become a nurse. I was tired of working a bunch of dead end jobs and being unemployed. I wanted a career.

* * * *

Working in the Porn Industry doesn’t appear to be the first career choice for many people, even men, though I have to assume it has actually happened. But working in Food Service isn’t anywhere near as much fun as they make it look on TV, so there’s that.

I’ve had two jobs in the Food Service Industry. I was fired from both of them. If I had gone into the Porn Industry, I’m sure it would have killed me to death. I’ll come back to this later…

Interestingly enough, the most popular reason why women become porn stars is economics. More than half of the women surveyed said they did it for the money, and it can be a lucrative career.

One young woman said she was working three jobs to make ends meet somewhere up in Canadia, and she figured there had to be a better way. She filled out an online application and moved to Los Angeles. Apparently, if you really want to be a porn star, you have to live where porn movies are made…

One woman was working as a social worker before she changed careers.

Becoming a social worker isn’t easy, though it’s probably easier than actually being a social worker. You could ask around, they have shit jobs most of the time. You have to have a lots of education and training for a job that might pay you $50K a year. Many social workers have a Masters degree, which means even more education and training. They might make around $70K a year.

Yep. You read that right. It’s ridiculous. A good social worker is worth twice her weight in gold. Maybe three times.

I’ve worked with a lots of social workers over the years. I can think of at least a dozen of them I wouldn’t have minded seeing naked. So, if any of you are reading this, please let me know if you ever decide to change careers.

I haven’t found any information about nurses becoming porn stars, but then, nurses make more money than social workers, so there’s that. I can think of about fifty of my former co-workers that I wouldn’t have minded seeing naked. Nurse-themed pornography is apparently quite popular, and, they already have the wardrobe…  I almost hope none of them read this because I’m sure they’d all tell me to Drop dead. Or worse.

For some women, pornography was an opportunity to explore their sexuality, to travel, and get paid. “It sounded like fun.” Anyone who frequently travels for business will tell you that there’s nothing fun about it. That shit gets real old, real fast.

Interesting Fact About Porn Stars: None of them use their real names. They all have 🌟Porn Star🌟 Names. Vicki Vette. Aspen Rain. India Summer. Carter Cruise. Ivana Sukyurkokov. You can have a 🌟Porn  Star🌟 Name, too. Your first name is the name of your pet. Your last name is the street you grew up on. My 🌟Porn Star🌟 Name is Rusty Cherry.

Some women had friends working in the industry, and, “It sounded like fun.” More than a few porn stars said that. What I think is telling is they all said it in the past tense.

There’s a fair amount of evidence that indicates the life of a porn star isn’t all fun and games and multiple orgasms.

Between November 2017 and January 2018, at least five adult performers died due to alleged drug overdoses or by suicide. One of them was the young woman who had been working three jobs up in Canadia. She was 23 years old. “We are in a crisis in the adult industry. It’s almost becoming like an epidemic.” That’s a quote from a female porn star who wanted to remain anonymous because, you know, Snitches get stitches.

No one likes bad reviews in the movie business, even if they’re true. Probably, especially if they’re true. #metoo

There’s another saying in Hollywood. You’ll never work in this town again. It means, You’ll never get another part in a film. If Hollywood is a small, cinematic community, it’s even more true of the Porn Industry.

Suicide actually appears to be one of the leading causes of death for people in the adult film community, whether it be from ‘accidental’ drug or alcohol related overdoses, or a more direct method. You can look it up on the Interweb. It’s a pretty long list.

If you can’t speak out against injustice in your occupation, it can only lead to despair.

You can quote me on that line.

“After a year or so of that so-called ‘glamorous life,’ I sadly discovered that drugs and drinking were part of the lifestyle.” That’s another anonymous quote from a female porn star. This is where I would have died to death. In a profession that glamorizes excesses, I wouldn’t have lived long enough to get into The 27 Club.

* * * *

The 27 Club is the name given to a group of influential rock musicians who died at the ripe old age of 27. Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Jim Morrison. Kurt Kobain. It’s another pretty long list.

* * * *

I’m sure there are plenty of reasons for drug and alcohol abuse in the Porn Industry. There always are. Some of them might even be reasonable, not the least of which is societal scorn and shaming. The Porn Industry makes billions of dollars a year, but no one ever watches it. Porn stars are easy targets for cyberbullying/harassment.   #andyouthinkyouhaditrough

If you work in the adult film industry, there’s no such thing as Bring Your Child to Work Day. And those Parent/Teacher conferences at school take on a whole new light.

I couldn’t find any statistical analysis of drug/alcohol abuse/depression specific to the Porn Industry, but there are a lots of articles about the prevalence of it. Somewhat ironically, the profession with the highest rates of alcohol abuse and depression is healthcare. Yeah, go figure on that.

It would appear that literally getting fucked at work has the same net result as figuratively getting fucked at work, which is something almost all of us are familiar with.   #andididntevengetkissed

Back in the Saddle

True rock and roll aficionados will know that Back in the Saddle is song by Aerosmith. Therefore, they might wonder why I chose an album cover by The Doobie Brothers as my featured image for this post.

It’s pretty simple. I couldn’t find any pictures of Aerosmith riding horses. Little Known Fact About Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry: he’s an equestrian, and owns a ranch with several very beautiful horses.

* * * *

How’s it going, eh?

My lovely supermodel wife and I recently returned from a whirlwind vacation/tour of our home state of Minnesota. As much fun as vacations are, it’s always good to be home again. I have to admit I was a little sad to leave Minnesota. It’s a beautiful place, and it’s the only place where people speak Minnesotan.

Much like unto Spanish, speaking Minnesotan correctly involves the inflection of vowel sounds, especially A’s and O’s. It sounds kind of weird if you’re anywhere except the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Yah, real good then.

I could tell you all about our vacation. Back in the day, people would have their vacation pictures developed into slides, then invite all of their friends over for a slide show presentation with commentary provided by the host.

It was even more boring than it sounds, and the only redeeming factor about it was the host always provided free booze.

I posted all of my vacation pictures on my Facebook page, commentary included. You can look at them if you like, but you have to provide your own booze.

It was good to see the old neighborhood again. It was great to see all of our family and friends again. When you’re planning a vacation, twelve days seems like such a long time to be gone from home. Once you’re actually on vacation you realize that you’re only going to be here for twelve days!

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is alive and well, and just as pertinent as ever.

We went a lots of places and got together with a lots of people, but we didn’t get to see all of the places or all of the people. Perhaps next time, people. Or, you could come visit us here.

You probably won’t get killed to death…

* * * *

For those of you who know my lovely supermodel wife, Lea’s wrist surgery appears to have been successful. And that is one of the best suturing jobs I have ever seen. You’re going to need a magnifying glass to see her scar when it heals.

Here’s the best part. Her surgery, including the MRI, cost us less than $3000 US.

Yep. You read that right.

I’m getting back to my everyday retirement routine, which amounts to doing a lots of nothing, taking naps, and thinking about golf. I’ve become very skilled at doing nothing. In fact, I’m not sure what I can actually do anymore. If I needed to find a job again, the only thing I think I could do is portray the inept person at the beginning of infomercials. You know, the guy who can’t open a jar of pickles, or put on his socks.

I’m looking forward to golfing again. It’s still the rainy season here, and it’s been very wet out on the golf course. I’ll continue to look forward to golfing until I get to the first tee. Then I’ll probably wonder why I was looking forward to it so much. Maybe the break will do me good because not doing something for a while always improves your performance the next time you try it.

I’ll find out tomorrow morning. Film at ten.

Case in point regarding my decreasing ability to do anything productful, this installment of my blog. It’s taken me five days to get to this point. Five agonizing fucking days. I can’t remember how many times I’ve started over. If this ever turns into anything, you’ll be thankful that I did. I’m not a great writer, but even I know bad writing when I see it.

Part of my problem is lack of a topic. I’ve successfully written about essentially nothing before, so it’s not my entire problem. Another part of my problem is I haven’t written anything since mid-July. And I think that blog was more or less about tits. Well, that’s the way I remember it.

Maybe I should write another story about boobs…

So, how about that President Trump guy? He’s had a rough week, huh?

I think the person who wrote the Anonymous OpEd in the New York Times should have identified him/herself. It would certainly have added more credibility to the article, and the New York Times took a huge risk publishing it in that manner. Besides, if things are as bad as the shitshow described, why stay there? It’s not like you’re going to fix it.

Seriously. Come clean. Identity yourself. Then quit your job and come to Mexico. I’ll let you stay at our house for at least a couple of weeks.

Then there’s Bob Woodward’s book, Fear: Trump in the White House. Another equally unflattering portrayal of the President. According to The Donald, it’s filled with lies. That makes me laugh out loud. Like Bob Woodward doesn’t have any journalistic credibility.

Sadly, neither of these exposés will change the minds of Trump’s supporters. They don’t read books, or the New York Times. They’re more like The Walmart Journal type of people.

I read an article in the local paper written by a psychotherapist about a new anxiety disorder that he calls TDS: Trump Derangement Syndrome. People wake up in the middle of the night in a panic, terrified that President Trump is going to blow up the planet. Or worse, be re-elected.

And it’s not just Melania who does this. People all over the world allegedly admit to having this disorder.

I’m not a big fan of The Donald, but this seems to be more than a little kooky to me. And I have a suggestion for the people afflicted by TDS. There’s a simple solution. Get off your fat asses and vote in the next election.

Vote. Just do it.

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.

Lookin’ Out My Backdoor

Hey. How’s it going?

It’s been warm here in the Lakeside Area, like, low to mid 90’s warm. As the locals say, muchos calor! Lea and I lived in Phoenix before we moved here. That, was hot. The temperature can climb to 120° there. Even if it’s a dry heat, as Arizonans claim, it still feels like unto being in an oven.

One of my former patients at Aurora Behavioral Health sustained second degree burns from laying down on the sidewalk in the dead of summer. In the interest of full disclosure, the police made him lay on the sidewalk after they put handcuffs on him. I can’t remember all of the details, but even if he was guilty of whatever the cops busted him for, laying him down on a sidewalk hot enough to fry an egg seems a bit extreme to me.

The rainy season should start soon, and the temperature will drop back into the 80’s. We had a false start to our seasonal rains. It rained for about a week a couple of weeks ago. Las montañas de chino started greening up, and then the rains stopped. The Chinese Mountains don’t quite look like heads of broccoli yet, but they don’t look like unto a wasteland anymore either.

The rain here is kind of monsoonal, and kind of not. It’ll rain here almost every night until roughly October. Yeah, it usually rains at night, and only sometimes during the day. Even the rain is polite here. I’ve never lived any place before where rain was so seasonal. And predictable.

Arizona has a monsoon season, but it’s not a monsoon like the monsoons in India where it rains day and night for months on end. An Arizona monsoon is a monster storm of wind and dust that pops up, followed by torrential rain, then the storm abates and dies. Consecutive days of rain in Arizona are a rarity.

The only downside to the rainy season is I have to suck all of the water out of the pool we don’t use every time it rains. It’s basically a really big rain gauge. Rain water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, and I’m not a big fan of mosquitoes, so the water must go.

However, it’s not like I don’t have the time. I have a shop-vac. It’s not a big deal, and I like the way the pool looks afterwards. It’s the cleanest vacant pool you’ve ever seen.

And, well, you get kind of tired of the rain after awhile. I know Lea does. This will be our second rainy season. I’ll have to pay more attention to how I feel about the rain this year.

* * * *

My golf game remains a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. I shot the best nine hole round of my life few weeks ago, 45. Then I followed it up with a 54. I haven’t come close to equaling my best score since. It’s kind of frustrating, but that’s golf.

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I’ve gotten better at the Big Three aspects of golf. Most of my drives are things of beauty. I’m getting better at chipping. I’ve had a lots of almost great shots. They would’ve been really great if they had only gone in the hole. I can actually hit a ball that rolls very close to the pin at least half of the time now. And I’m getting better at putting. Most of the some of the time.

It’s those times when my shots aren’t beautiful or almost great that are killing me, and I have at least ten of those in every round I play. Every goddamn stroke in golf counts, even the ones that suck. The trick, according to everyone in the know, is to put all three of those pieces together.

Drive. Chip. Putt. It’s a simple game.

Unless your game is more like this: Drive. Chip, chip. Putt, putt, putt. Oh well. It’ll keep me focused on something besides getting old and fat and bald-er. I have to believe that I’ll continue to improve, and all of those things will fall into place one of these days. Or months. Or years.

* * * *

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We have a ga-jillion hummingbirds at our feeders! They arrived en masse at about 10:00 AM last Saturday morning. We started out the year with about four hummers. When Todd came down to visit, that number jumped up to around one hundred, and Lea happily hung a second feeder on the patio.

On Saturday, we hung a third feeder because there was a cloud of ten to twenty hummingbirds swirling around each feeder, waiting to get a chance to drink. And it’s like that all day. A voracious herd of hummingbirds can empty a feeder in about two hours. Keeping our feeders full and all of our hummingbirds happy has become kind of a full-time job.

Our feeders have six ports for the birds to drink from, and when their numbers are vast, the hummingbirds are actually pretty good at taking turns and sharing. When there’s only a few, one bird tends to become a monopolist, and will chase all of the other birds away.

We had one of those before Saturday. Lea named him King. He perched himself on the edge of my hammock, close to his feeder, and he guarded it with ferocity. When Lea hung the second feeder, he tried to keep all the others away from that one, too. That lasted about an hour.

He still sits on my hammock, but there’s nothing ferocious about him now. He actually looks kind of depressed. I’m wondering if I need to put him on suicide precautions.

Lea made a special trip to El Walmart yesterday, just to buy a half a ton of sugar. It’s a good thing that sugar is inexpensive here…

* * * *

Lea has her hummingbirds back, and I have a praying mantis living on my fern on the patio. I call her Ferngully because, you know, she lives on a fern. 

I think she’s a girl. She was less than an inch long when I discovered her. She’s about twice that size now. I catch bugs and stick them between the leaves of her fern frond. Sometimes she eats them. Others she won’t touch.

Who knew that bugs were picky eaters?

I can’t really say Ferngully is my pet. She doesn’t come when I call her, and she doesn’t know any tricks, unless you think hanging upside-down on a leaf is a trick. She’s very good at doing that.

I want to train her to walk on leash…

* * * *

Not everything on the patio is peaceful and serene. There’s the squirrels. The Spanish word for squirrel is ardilla. I have a different name for them. Pinche hijos de putas.

I hate squirrels more than I hate any other animal on this planet. They’re essentially rats with fluffy tails, and if not for that fluffy tail, no one would think they’re cute. Squirrels are agents of evil. In the Bible it says that Satan is disguised as an angel of light, and so it is with squirrels.

We had hundreds of squirrels in our neighborhood when we lived in Minneapolis. They lived in our trees, and frolicked in the yard. They chewed their way into our neighbors’ house and caused them thousand of dollars worth of damage.

I wanted to buy a machine gun and kill all of the squirrels after that, but my lovely supermodel wife vetoed my idea. She thought they were cute. You what else Lea thought was cute? Flower gardens. She wanted gardens with lots of flowers, so I became a gardener. I removed half a ton of grass from our backyard. I bought a lots of flowers, and our backyard looked like unto a picture postcard.

It was darlingpreshadorbs!

And then one day, for no particular reason, the squirrels decided to dig up all of Lea’s begonias. “Kill them! Kill them all!” my lovely but pissed off supermodel wife hissed. I bought a Red Ryder Pump Action Carbine BB Gun®, and commenced to start to begin to kill every squirrel that entered my yard.

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I gave my air rifle a name. Ol’ Squirrelkiller. I set up a sniper’s nest from the window of our bedroom, and I got really good at shooting squirrels. I killed hundreds of them over the years. But there’s this one thing about squirrels: for every squirrel you kill, there are seemingly two more that move in to replace it.

Just before we moved to Phoenix, I gave Ol’ Squirrelkiller to my neighbor, Lyle, so he could kill all of the squirrels in his yard. I didn’t miss my air rifle when we lived in Arizona because there were no squirrels in our neighborhood. But I miss it now.

There’s a rule of thumb for gringos in Mexico. If you see something you want, or you think you’ll ever need, buy it. It won’t be there the next time, and you’ll never find anything like unto it again.

When we first moved here, El Walmart used to sell air rifles. I wasn’t at war with squirrels back then, but I still wanted to buy one, you know, just in cases. Once again, my lovely supermodel wife vetoed my idea because she thought it was foolish to buy an air rifle I didn’t know I was going to need until about a year and half later.

A week ago, I went to El Walmart to specifically buy my Mexican Viejo Asesino de Ardilla, but El Pinche Walmart no longer sells air rifles.

Madre de Dios!!

We don’t have hundreds of squirrels here. I think we only have two, maybe four at the most. And as much as I hate squirrels, I didn’t want to kill them until they started eating the plants on my patio. When we moved here we started decorating the patio. We bought a lots of ceramic pots and soil, and we bought a lots of plants to put in the pots.

One of the plants I bought was a greenish-yellowish vine with medium huge leaves. It loved its new home, and it grew like a weed, except it was a lots prettier than a weed. It was absolutely gorgeous last year.

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This year, it looks like unto Charlie Brown’s forlorn Christmas tree because the fucking squirrels have eaten every leaf off of it. Repeatedly. As Bugs Bunny used to say, Of course you realize, this means war!

Seeing how I may never find another air rifle, I may have to build one of these:

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I can bombard the house Seigfried and Roy is building below our house with squirrels.

My war with squirrels isn’t the only war that’s being waged in our backyard.

* * * *

We live in a development called Lomas del Lago, Hills of the Lake. The guy who started building here is a guy I call Seigfried and Roy. He’s an ancient German guy who has more money than Croesus. His name is Seigfried. I added the, and Roy.

Seigfried and Roy were a once famous duo of magicians and entertainers in Las Vegas who became known for their appearances with white lions and white tigers. Until Roy was, you know, accidentally almost killed to death by one of their tigers.

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Just in cases you’ve never heard of Croesus, he was the king of ancient Lydia, and is generally accredited with minting the first true gold coins.

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Seeing how he more or less invented money, he had more of it than anyone else in the world. Hence, the term.

Earlier this year, Seigfried and Roy started to construct a house below our house. We weren’t too happy about that, so we mentioned it to our landlady, Planet Janet.

She was something way beyond furious when she heard that.

According to Janet, she had a verbal agreement with Seigfried and Roy. He wouldn’t build anything on that lot, and she wouldn’t have him killed. I’m not sure if those were the exact terms they had agreed to, but they had an agreement of some sort.

Despite their agreement, Seigfried and Roy decided to build a house in the lot more or less right below our house. While the new house won’t completely destroy our scenic view of the lake, it certainly won’t do anything to enhance it.

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And the only way the occupants of the new house below us will be able to see their scenic view of the lake is by hanging out on their mirador. That will totally destroy any privacy we have when we hang out on our patio, and we spend a lots of time on our patio.

Everyone in our development has a mirador. It’s basically an outdoor lounging area on the roof, like unto a balcony. We have a mirador on our roof that we never use. Our patio is huge, and shaded, and you don’t have to climb any stairs to get to it.

Planet Janet has one of the best attorneys in the Lakeside Area on retainer. He has a couple of legal orders to cease and desist any and all construction on the house below us, which have accomplished absolutely nothing thus far. The consensus is that Seigfried and Roy has bribed pretty much every public official in the state of Jalisco, and half of their cousins for good measure.

Janet and her attorney are optimistic that they will eventually find someone that hasn’t been bribed, and at the very least they’ll be able to obtain some monetary compensation from Seigfried and Roy for obstructing the one time scenic view that our house used to offer. At the most, they might have the house taken down.

All of that remains to be seen. No matter what happens, we’re not planning on going anywhere. We love this house. We love this place. We love this time we have here together.

As Duke Leto Atreides once said, “Here I am, here I remain!” So, watch out squirrels. I have resources you’ll never be able to imagine because you’re just a rodent with a fluffy tail, not a highly trained assassin with years of military experience in taking dental x-rays.

Stop eating my plants. Or else!