Pac-Man Fever

Grant brought something to the Tumbleweed this evening that I can only describe as, like, totally awesome … or perhaps, y’know, like, bitchin’ to the max.

While he was unpacking a box today, he found an old Atari 2600 console, several sets of controllers, and about 50 game cartridges.

I wouldn’t have given you a nickel for the chances of it working, but we connected it to the old TV in my lobby, put in a cartridge, and lo and behold, there was Pac-Man, in all his blocky, pixelized glory.

Grant kicked my butt at Frogger and Asteroids, but I pwned him on Q*bert, and we were pretty evenly matched on Yars’ Revenge and Space Invaders. Joey thought it was hilarious when one of us would get shot by an alien, and the game would make a raspberry sound effect to let us know we’d lost a life. He spent about 15 minutes purposely allowing the aliens to shoot him just so he could hear the noise.

I think that may have been the most fun Grant and I have ever had together.

Maybe I should try to find one of those old tabletop Pac-Man games on eBay. That would be a great addition to my lobby. Probably not a bad little moneymaker, either….

— Sierra


I am a terrible girlfriend.

I don’t know whether Grant’s is the cutest butt in Guadalupe County, but it’s definitely a strong contender for whiniest: “Sierra, can you bring me another beer? I can’t walk on this ankle.” (This while I was regluing his chairs in the middle of my lobby.) “I was going to take Harvey out, but my ankle is just so sore, I can’t do it.” “Does this ankle look swollen to you?” “I might be able to help you with the dishes later, but I’ll need to keep my ankle elevated. Maybe you could set up a couple of chairs for me so I can help you dry. What do you mean, it’s faster if you just do it yourself? Don’t get snippy about it. It’s not like I fell off the roof on purpose. I’m just trying to help, even if I am in pain.” [Winces dramatically in obvious ploy for sympathy.]

I finally got sick of waiting on him hand and foot and told him to suck it up, quit being such a baby (not my exact choice of words, but close enough), and get his own damn beer.

He did not appreciate that very much, but his condition appears to have improved dramatically in the past four hours or so. Go figure….

— Sierra


Last time I had to give any real thought to a deadline, I was shooting a Cubs-Cardinals game on what would turn out to be the last night of my photojournalism career.

With Grant’s contract set to take effect this Thursday, we were under a certain amount of deadline pressure to finish replacing his roof.

This wouldn’t have been a major issue, except Grant managed to fall off the roof Saturday afternoon, necessitating a hell-for-leather trip to the emergency room in Santa Rosa. He didn’t break anything, but he sprained his left ankle and dinged himself up thoroughly enough that the doctor told him to let somebody else finish the roof. I’ll let you guess who wound up spending the next two days up a ladder while a very frustrated Grant supervised from the ground.

Fortunately, small houses have small roofs, so it didn’t take me terribly long to finish the job. I am now sitting outside the Tumbleweed with a big glass of lemonade, listening to the silence of Coldwater at 1 a.m. and enjoying the fact that my plate is finally more or less clear.

In case I haven’t said so lately: Joyce Scherer is worth her weight in gold. I had a motorcycle group scheduled to come in Saturday night, so Joyce came over and checked them in while Grant and I were in Santa Rosa. She came back over first thing Sunday morning and took care of the laundry so I would have to whole day to work on the roof. I need to come up with a really good thank-you gift for her, because she has been a huge help around here.

I know she has sort of a vested interest in helping me help Grant settle in, what with Dr. Scherer being Grant’s boss and all, but she’s really gone above and beyond.

— Sierra


If I am quiet, it’s probably because I am either doing laundry, repairing Grant’s roof, or checking in guests. I’ll return you to your regularly scheduled posts as soon as I get through this weekend….

— Sierra


GRANT: (Fumbling with iPod) Hey, listen to this song and tell me if it turns you on. (Plays song)

ME: (Trying not to laugh) Not really. Why?

GRANT: According to this article I just read, statistics show that women are eight times more likely to have sex after hearing this guy’s music.

ME: I am eight times more likely to join a convent after hearing that guy’s music.


ME: He’s my dad.


For reasons I cannot begin to comprehend, Harvey got up sometime around 3 o’clock Monday morning, sauntered into the lobby, and proceeded to demolish my DSL router.

Grant and I went to Tucumcari today and bought a replacement router.

A sane person would probably buy a replacement dog, too, but Harvey redeemed himself yesterday when a twitchy, drug-addled man walked into the lobby and announced that he needed a place to stay.

I offered him my special meth-addict rate (three nights for $480) and explained the house rules. He became very agitated and began moving toward the end of the counter as if he meant to come around to where I was standing.

Before I could react, Harvey — sweet, goofy, affectionate Harvey, who usually has to be told to stop nuzzling people and clamoring for attention when he meets them — put himself between my visitor and me, raised his hackles, and let out the most menacing growl I’ve ever heard.

The guy called me a “crazy bitch” with a “damn crazy dog” and took off.

Grant is taking me to a shooting range this weekend….

— Sierra

Fire danger: HIGH

This morning at church, Bill Sr. told me that we are in the middle of the wettest spring and summer Coldwater has seen in 70 years. As if to reinforce that point, around 8 o’clock tonight, the sky opened up and dumped four inches of rain on Coldwater in less than an hour.

Fifteen minutes into the storm, all my rooms filled up, and I turned on the “NO VACANCY” sign.

Twenty minutes into the storm, a young couple came in to ask whether I’d mind if they waited out the storm in my lobby. I told them to go right ahead and went to get them a couple of towels.

By the time I got back, they had taken Grant’s spot on the couch, and he was starting the espresso machine.

“Sierra, I’d like you to meet Jerry and Monica Larson,” he said. “Monica is a former student of mine.”

The couple had gone to a Route 66 festival in Kansas and were planning to cruise back home at a leisurely pace, but after learning that their neighborhood had been evacuated as a result of forest fires in the mountains around Flagstaff, they decided to drive the whole distance in one shot.

Seeing their exhaustion, Grant put the kibosh on that plan. Instead, we made them a couple of sandwiches out of the pork shoulder Grant had smoked this afternoon, and then he gave them his keys and sent them to his house for the evening, with the understanding that he would stay in my lobby, monitoring the situation in Flagstaff, and call them immediately if he got any news about their house.

Grant is now dozing off on my couch. Meanwhile, I am pretty sure that I will get absolutely no sleep at all, what with the most attractive man on Route 66 sleeping in the next room….

— Sierra