Sunday, 22 August 2010

Because You Have Asked....musings on a Sunday morning going down

     We are asked at times about the condition of my father-in-law, so I have decided to include a bit of an email which was sent to my wife's family and my children, who are all of the Clan of Garza, and authorized its dispersion to further members of the extended family.   This done, I shall share major portions of that communication with you, since you were kind enough to be concerned.This mailing is to closest family members, who will receive the information first, as is appropriate. Later it will be published in slightly amended form for those who have inquired via our blog and email connections.      Now, you know.    We are getting ready to start thinking about going down for a prolonged stay at the Quinta.    This involves buying cat & dog food, groceries, and odds & ends.   This time, I need to buy a couple of those silly night-lights for the bathrooms.   My old ones finally gave up the ghost....we think because of a recent nearby lightning strike.

      (Our Patriarch) has substantially restored himself to a point that none of us could have imagined just two weeks ago. I have followed his advance from a near distance and my objectivity serves, I hope, to assess on his way down as well as on his way up. He can ambulate here and there, he has much better control of metabolic processes, he feeds himself in large part, and he is "plugged in" intellectually. He greets, responds, and engages socially. We can celebrate these improvements, and I wanted to share my impressions with each of you so that you could think...,"David has been super-realistic about this whole thing, so if he is saying this now, then (Our Patriarch) really is better". If you believe this, then I have succeeded in this message to you all.
     This said, he is still extremely delicate and frail. He eats well, but little, and his stamina is much reduced from times....say...six months ago. (Our Matriarch) has to be either nearly adjacent or extremely close by at all times. When she must leave (IE. dentist, church), then Diana or, to a much lesser extent, your humble servant need to be in the house with (Our Patriarch). Finally, he sleeps a great deal, perhaps 20 hours per day....sometimes more. So while we must continue to be realistic, let us give thanks that because of the efforts of each Garza you have all brought our Patriarch to a level of comfort and to our Matriarch a bit of respite during these times. This is a credit to your parents (grandparents) and to each of you.

 Back to the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre:
     As an oddity, during the recent inclemency, there were huge variations in the voltages as well as significant power failures (I hasten to add that the same or less storm level in Texas caused the same effects, a year or two ag0).   These conditions resulted in many  of the older model televisions (like mine) being "burned out".   I learned that this is not a disaster for the "po' folks", because they could be seen, here and there, during the following days, with a television in a wheel-barrow, walking down to the place that fixes archaic electronic devices.    Alvaro had done this for me about four years ago, so I am an "Old Pro" and quite understanding of the whole process.   I hasten to add that Alvaro always unplugs everything at the merest sound of thunder.  This includes refrigerators, air-conditioners, lamps, radios, televisions, etc. 
     It makes considerable sense, because if your television is still otherwise serviceable, the "maestro" at the "taller electrico" will check out its reception, bypassing the off-on switch.....check the switch....and if all is well except the switch....he will either replace (70 pesos) or reset (30 pesos) the off-on control switch.    You need to bring your own handheld control zombo to check if the switch is fully functioning.   Once done, the televisions go back into their wheel-barrows for the return trip home.     So...everybody wins....the old, predictable, serviceable television receives a pardon from Fate and a bit of a city tour complete with fresh air and new views....the folks get to keep an old friend of the family in the house, they pay very little, while the "maestro" , after repairing 50 or so on-off switches, makes a good sum.
     And, yes Virginia, it does look a bit odd to see a line of people standing in front of a little home in Nowhere, Tamaulipas, Mexico with various types of wheel-barrows laden with various types of televisions....patiently waiting their turn to see the television doctor.     And in eight years, George Bush did nothing about this.  Not even for the children.  
More Later....
The Old Gringo    

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Consequences....Intended and Unintended

     We have just returned from the Quinta.     It has been very hot.    There continues to be activity provoked by the need to recover from the heavy rains.   While I was up here last, the Quinta received another 10 inches of rain and the mountains had picked up more as usual.   The Rio Corona continues to run at above normal levels....but this is the time it should be running at above normal levels....a little early, perhaps, but still August, September, and October does constitute the second rainy season for our region there.
     There is not a lot of heavy physical damage....but medium to large tree limbs will be being sawn and stacked for the next three months or so.    Our losses were things like the blooming season for the it's one year lost for that.   Also, our big avocado tree just gave up waiting for a dry spate so it could set its fruiting blossoms.   So that will be a season of avocado production down the drain.   As well, our bouganvillas do not seem to be coming back with any great aggressiveness.   Sometimes they are slower to recover, so I shall wait on them.
      For those who inquire, my father-in-law actually seems a bit restored since I left and returned.   He is still very much in need of constant supervision, but he has returned to walking a little....20 or 30 feet...and eating a little better.   He still prefers, for some odd reason, for me to prepare things and bring them over to his table.   He still eats very, very little....but he seems to enjoy what little I contribute to his diet and his day's activities.   I told my daughter that it is something like "Meals on Wheels"  meets Marie Osman's diet plan.   Maybe we can set up a reality show for overnight television and have it sponsored by some kind of shouting sales-nut "But wait....we'll give you two more Bass and Carp Pulverizers ...ABSOLUTELY FREE!".....That way we can help the Red Chinese make even more useless junk that doesn't work to send over to us.     On second thought...maybe I'll just let my father-in-law take his long siestas.
     Our flooding situation has calmed  considerably.    The main danger now lies in weakened dams all throughout the drainage basin, and in the fact that all reservoirs are between 100% and 150% of capacity.   So, the dams that are built to protect us from floods, provide prosperity through irrigation and adequate water for home and industry, and even allow for wonderful recreation sites.....also become sources for catastrophe.
More later.
The Old Gringo         

Monday, 2 August 2010

Getting Ready to Think About Preparing to Go Back Down

     It is about time to go back down to the Quinta.   It is still necessary that I remain up here, but there is really no way that we can just keep Alvaro stuck in the ground down there....30 hours a day....9 days per week.    So I shall head back and see what work needs to be done and wait for people to drive by and ask to take pictures of the Quinta.   We have some folks who have indicated that they might be coming down before school starts....but no one has sent payment.    It is best that all know that we must, morally, permit the client who pays first the first right of access to the dates requested by that client.    We know of no other way to address this problem, considering the difficulty in communication at times, and the stocking of supply requirements that we have.    Please forgive this advisory....I'm not really being's just a matter of Natural Law, like gravity....and I know no way around it.

     We are probably going to invest in a chain saw finally, becasue according to Alvaro, there is massive amounts of mesquite and orange wood that simply must be reduced to firewood.   When I was  down last, about 2 weeks ago, it was evident that there was enough firewood available to stock our barbie and fireplace for three years....easily.   The damage from Hurricane Alex and, more especially , the "little tropical depression" not severe, but it is extensive.   Branches and old major limbs from many, many old trees abound in all directions.    There is so much that Alvaro thinks that he could even cut up a bit to sell to the "city people" from Victoria.     And yes, Vrginia, whatever Alvaro cuts up and sells...he gets to keep the money....and it could be 200 or 300 dollars worth....quite a bit for the area where we are.

     It should be stated again that we have been very fortunate at our Quinta.   There was little or no damage to the house itself, and the trees and shrubs are already acting brave, as if nothing happened.   We had a little damage to our new fence....about four of the concrete posts tilted due to the water pushing against them and pushing chaff and limbs up against them....but the posts have since been restored to their original vertical precision.    Our neighbour, adjacent to the downstream side, lost his entire 14 foot high concrete wall fence to the force of the flood.   We advised him that we thought he might want to use a more rustic, lower wall....but he wanted to make certain that the locals could not look inside of his compound.     Now his wall is one with the Cosmos...somewhere between here and the Gulf of Mexico.    All of our loose-stacked, non-mortared stone fences are still standing.
     In any regard, preparations begin and I should be gone sometime between Thursday and Monday next. 
More later,
The Old Gringo