Martha doesn’t live here.

We hit the mother lode this afternoon in Tucumcari: a porcelain-topped kitchen table ($30), four shaky but salvageable wooden chairs with alligatored paint ($10 for the lot; I’ll strip them, reglue them, and repaint them next week), a Danish modern coffee table ($20), two big bookshelves ($10 each), and a mid-century sofa ($25).

The furniture is in fairly rough condition, but it’s serviceable, and it will look pretty good with a little TLC.

I also found a couple of decorations for the kitchen, but they’re a surprise for Grant when the furniture is all finished. He was a little disappointed that he couldn’t find the ugly chairs he was talking about, but the ones he got will look more authentic, as they are the same age as the refrigerator.

— Sierra


Morning in Coldwater

Coldwater sunrise against stucco through Venetian blinds = very gentle wake-up call.

We are moving Grant’s stuff out of the storage shed and into his house today, and then we’ll head over to Tucumcari tomorrow to see about getting him some furniture. He brought his bed with him in the U-Haul, but there wasn’t room for much of anything else. He really wants a formica-topped kitchen table and a set of metal chairs with canvas-textured vinyl upholstery in the ugliest floral print he can find. I have no idea why, other than the fact that this is exactly the sort of furniture you’d expect to find in a kitchen inhabited by a monitor-top refrigerator.

He has also informed me of his intentions for the living room. His primary goal involves throwing a couple of beanbags on the floor and constructing an entertainment center, computer desk, and end tables from Budweiser cases.

(I’m certainly glad I went to all that effort to restore the hardwood floor in the living room. I’d hate for classy furniture like that to be sitting on some dingy, worn-out carpet.)

On the up side, no one will ever be able to challenge his masculinity. Nothing says “house devoid of feminine influence” quite like furniture made out of beer crates….

— Sierra

Mother Roading

I am posting this from Grant’s iPhone at the end of an absolutely wonderful trip to Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Joyce came over last night and got the key to the lobby so she could come in and run the Tumbleweed for me while Grant and I were out of town today.

A normal couple, given the opportunity to spend a day in Santa Fe, would probably poke around the little shops at the Plaza, drink something overpriced in one of the little froufrou taverns around there, and maybe take in a museum or two before heading to La Fonda or the Coyote Cafe for an elegant dinner.

Grant and I did none of the above. Instead, we went shopping at a grocery/bait/hardware store in Pecos, where we grabbed breakfast on the fly (granola bars and oranges) and picked up some tenpenny nails from a bulk bin with the intention of making a bottle tree — a la Elmer Long. In Santa Fe, we paid a short visit to El Rey Inn to wander around the grounds and swipe some landscaping and decorating idea, and then we headed southwest to our real destination: La Bajada Hill.

La Bajada is an original alignment of Route 66 that is now little more than a rugged hiking trail snaking down the side of a steep mesa. It’s not a terribly difficult climb, but it probably burned enough calories to make up for the footlong chili dogs and strawberry milkshakes we had at Albuquerque’s famous Dog House. The Dog House does two things right: It makes the best chili dogs on the Mother Road, and it uses artificial strawberry syrup instead of chunky strawberry ice cream topping in its shakes. Awesome stuff.

After lunch, we poked around Nob Hill Furniture for a few minutes to see if they had anything Grant wanted to put in his house (he didn’t find anything, but I ordered a bubble chair for the lobby) before wandering over to Tijeras to visit an awesome little open-air arts market.

A bowl of posole at El Comedor closed out our adventures as we headed back home. At this writing, we are cruising down 66 somewhere between Santa Rosa and Coldwater with the windows down and the cool evening air whipping through our hair.

Life is good.

— Sierra

The good, the bad, and the ugly

The good: Grant’s house is now officially in move-in condition.

The bad: This means that Grant will be moving out of the Tumbleweed soon.

The ugly: Grant’s house. The interior is beautiful, but I swear that siding gets uglier every time I look at it. Grant considers this a grand joke: The outside of his house is a serious contender for Ugliest Building in Coldwater, but the interior looks like something out of a magazine. I think he also has some sentimental attachment to the siding, as he says it reminds him of his grandma’s house.

Next up: Spend three or four days ogling a shirtless Grant replacing the roof.

— Sierra

Almost done

Sorry I didn’t post last night. We spent the the whole day painting — Grant worked on the living-room walls while I took care of the bedroom floor — and then had to hurry back and turn over all the rooms before dinner so they’d be ready for the eight Spaniards who were scheduled to arrive on Harleys immediately after dinner. We wound up doing laundry after they checked in.

They liked the fire pit. I brought out the ingredients for s’mores, and they sat out there laughing and talking and swapping stories in graceful Spanish. I hope tonight’s guests have fond memories of Girl Scout camp, because all of the sheets smell like burnt marshmallows. I’d like it if my sheets smelled like marshmallows, but that might just be me.

I don’t know how long my guests were outside, because I was so tired that I nearly fell asleep in my plate twice during dinner, and Grant wound up clearing the table and sending me to bed at 9:30 with the promise that he would take care of the dishes and give the guests instructions to call his room if they needed anything.

I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

We installed the toilet and the bathroom sink today, and then Grant painted the kitchen walls while I worked on the trim in the living room. We’re going to paint the bedroom tomorrow, and then we’ll be more or less finished with the interior. Grant says we are taking a day off before we start moving his stuff or replacing the roof, because he wants to take me out to dinner in Santa Fe. I think that’s an excellent idea….

— Sierra


The bathroom floor is done. The grout has to cure before we can seat the toilet and install the sink, but I think I did a pretty good job with the tile. It’s not terribly elaborate, but it looks pretty professional, IMHO.

Grant sanded the bedroom and went over it with a vacuum and a tack cloth this afternoon. He was pretty wiped out by the time he finished, so we called it a day and headed back to the Tumbleweed for a nutritious dinner of frozen pizza and cheap beer.

Harvey is now asleep on Grant’s lap, Grant is asleep on my shoulder, and I am trying very hard to stay awake so I don’t fall over and wake up my boys.

— Sierra

Another step

We finished putting up the paneling and installed the shower enclosure today, so the bathroom is now halfway functional. The paneling should have been a quick, easy project, but of course it wasn’t.

We’re doing floors tomorrow: Grant is sanding the bedroom floor while I lay tile in the bathroom.

Hopefully we can put in the sink and toilet Monday and then get to work painting. We’re just going to paint the bedroom floor instead of refinishing it, partly because of the condition of the boards — which are pretty stained up — and partly because it’s just too bloody hot to fool with sealer again.

Grant has informed me that he intends to sell the XC70 and buy himself a Harley as soon as this project is done. The only thing about this that surprises me is the idea that Grant would rather have a cruiser than one of those Japanese crotch rockets….

— Sierra