This is Grant, posting an update from Sierra and Joey, who are busy having fun at the ballpark in Albuquerque this week. I’ve never attempted blogging before, so please bear with me if I do this wrong.

Sierra reports that after a lengthy wait, Joey did manage to get Sandberg’s autograph yesterday afternoon. She said she was too busy trying to take a picture of them to hear what was going on, but apparently Sandberg was laughing when he handed Joey his baseball back. She asked Joey what was so funny. He replied that they were talking about “guy stuff.” He refused to elaborate.

Of course, Sierra being Sierra, she is obsessed with finding out what Joey said. I told her not to worry about it, because Joey was probably just saying something subtle like, “Hey, Ryno, my Sissy really likes your butt.”

Sierra didn’t think I was very funny. Given the number of comments she’s made about Sandberg’s backside in the past month, she probably *shouldn’t* think I’m funny, because I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that were *exactly* what Joey said. What Joey lacks in social graces, he more than makes up in comic timing — especially when it comes to memorizing things he hears and parroting them back at inopportune moments.

In any case, they seem to be having a good time in Albuquerque. Sierra took Joey to the rattlesnake museum yesterday, and they’re going to the zoo tomorrow. She says Joey bought me a present at the museum. I’m afraid to ask what it is.

If anybody needs a room at the Tumbleweed this week, the office is open after 7 p.m. daily. If I don’t answer the phone right away, it’s probably because I’m outside hanging up laundry. And yes, I know how p—-whipped that makes me sound. Three of the boys from the football team drove by last night and caught me bringing in sheets off the line. I heard about it all day today. I guess I can’t fault them for laughing. If I’d seen my high-school principal standing around with a bucket of clothespins like a washer woman, I probably wouldn’t have let him hear the end of it, either.

— Grant

Peanuts and Cracker Jack

August 29, 2010

Things have been slow around here lately, and Ryne Sandberg is bringing his I-Cubs to Albuquerque this week. Unless somebody can give me one good reason not to, I think I’m gonna shut down the Tumbleweed and take Joey to the Duke City for a few days. He still hasn’t forgiven Grant and me for going to the last game without him. Maybe an autographed baseball would make it up to him.

At least the weather won’t be so bloody hot when we’re standing in line to meet the man of the hour, and I can make it an educational excursion by taking Joey to the Biopark and some of the museums while we’re in town. I don’t think he’s ever been on a vacation, so this could be really exciting for him.

— Sierra

Gentle rain from heaven

August 28, 2010

It’s raining lightly. We’re absolutely dead tonight at the Tumbleweed … which is weird, considering it’s Saturday night. I’ve been teaching Grant to pour latte art, which is a perfect way to spend a cool, damp evening. He keeps handing me his mistakes. One more failed macchiato, and I may never sleep again….

— Sierra


August 27, 2010

I wrote an entry last night, but when I clicked “Publish,” it promptly disappeared into cyberspace instead of posting to the site. I have no idea where it went; it just vanished into the ether. I suppose I could have rewritten it, but I was just too tired to stay up another minute.

Tourist season is finally on the wane, I think. Aside from a nice Italian couple who pulled up on a big Honda Gold Wing a couple of hours ago, things are quiet around here this evening. Grant ordered a telescope for Joey last week, and it came in today, so they’re out stargazing at Bill Swinney’s ranch. It’s 66 degrees in Coldwater. I am sitting in front of the Tumbleweed, sipping a cappuccino and listening to the coyotes and watching the tumbleweeds cluster along the fence behind Freed’s Garage.

Enjoy your evening, wherever you are.

— Sierra


August 24, 2010

Part of the roof blew off the high-school gym in yesterday’s storm, and several people are going to be replacing some flooring this weekend, but the flood damage could have been much worse. Joey and I went up to the school early this morning and helped the maintenance guys mop up the stormwater and clear debris off the basketball court.

Once the gym was taken care of, Grant sent us down to the grade school, where Brother Jerry and Dr. Scherer were busy busting up a fallen tree with a chainsaw. We managed to get it and the rest of the debris — broken lawn chairs, dented trash cans, roofing shingles, pieces of siding, and just about every trash-tree limb in northeastern New Mexico — off the playground before the kids’ lunch recess.

While I came back home to do laundry, Joey spent the entire afternoon and part of the evening going over every square inch of the playground with his metal detector (yes, I caved and bought him one a while back) to make sure there weren’t any stray roofing nails lying around for a little kid to step on.

Miss Shirley would have been so proud of her boy.

— Sierra

Flash floods

August 23, 2010

Coldwater is living up to its name in an alarming way this evening. We are in the middle of a violent thunderstorm that is flooding most of the eastern part of town. Grant parked the P1800 here at the Tumbleweed, which is on higher ground than his neighborhood, and has taken my truck up to the school to see if there’s any way he and Dr. Scherer and the maintenance crew can protect it from damage.

My rooms are full of frightened travelers and displaced locals. Joey is busy trying to coax Harvey and the kittens out from under my bed, where they are hiding from the storm, and Grant’s secretary — whose house was one of the first to flood — is dishing up big bowls of the posole I threw together for my guests, most of whom hadn’t eaten dinner when the storm hit.

What a mess.

— Sierra


August 21, 2010

I take back what I said the other day about Grant looking too tired to get through a day on the mesa. He walked in yesterday morning as bright-eyed and chipper as you please, flashed a dazzling smile at Harvey and the cats, and announced that I’d better be ready for a long day, because he was going to wear me out.

(I won’t tell you what my dirty-minded little self conjured up just then. Not that such thinking would do me a bit of good anyway. I have resigned myself to the fact that I am dating the most morally upstanding — or, at least, the most image-conscious — man in the state of New Mexico, and unless he suddenly decides he’d like to flip a property and score a break on his car insurance in exchange for tying himself to a neurotic motel owner for the rest of his life, one little corner of Coldwater is going to be in the middle of an extended drought for a long time, no matter how the monsoons may rage outside. *Sigh*)

Anyway, we spent most of yesterday morning exploring the mesa. True to his word, Grant wore me out with rock-climbing and off-trail hiking. I could have done without the tarantulas and snakes, but it was cool to explore parts of Sangre Mesa that I’d never seen before.

By the time we got back, Grant was still going strong, but I was so tired that he wound up helping me with the laundry and sticking around all evening to check in late guests. I’m not sure what time he left. I fell asleep on the couch and only vaguely remember him picking me up and carrying me (!) to my room, mumbling something about turning on the “NO VACANCY” sign and locking up on his way out.

I don’t know what kind of magic is out there on that mesa, but it was wonderful to have Grant back to normal this weekend. We spent this afternoon watching the Cubs give Lou Piniella what has to be the worst send-off in the history of baseball, then took Joey down to Scout’s Yellow Snow for a jumbo shaved ice. We’re just sitting around the lobby now, killing time and trying to decide whether we’re hungry enough to bother making dinner.

— Sierra

Weekend plan

August 20, 2010

Grant says he is taking me hiking on Sangre Mesa this weekend. I love the idea and think an afternoon outdoors would be good for him at the end of a stressful week, but I truly don’t know how he’s going to pull this off. For the third night in a row, he is asleep on my couch because he just didn’t have the energy to keep his eyes open for the duration of a movie.

Somehow I just don’t see him hiking up a mountain tomorrow.

— Sierra

Quiet evening in Coldwater

August 17, 2010

It is 71 degrees outside here in Coldwater. A gentle breeze is fluttering the curtains in the lobby. Harvey is snoring on his back in front of the door; Nash and Young are piled up next to him, a silent confusion of calico and gray tabby fluff with little paws and ears and baby-pink noses sticking out in random directions.

Joey is sitting in my bubble chair, reading The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree all by himself — which makes me so proud I don’t know whether to burst into tears or smile until my face hurts — and I am trying to type this very quietly so as not to wake Grant, who has fallen asleep here on the couch with his head on my shoulder.

I hate to see Grant so exhausted, even if he has assured me that it’s a temporary and completely normal condition that will correct itself in a couple of weeks, but he is so very cute when he’s sleepy that I can’t help relishing these peaceful moments when he is dozing beside (or on) me with his soft, dark hair tousled and his impossibly handsome face relaxed except for an occasional twitch at the corner of his mouth as he dreams.

Earlier tonight, I was looking back at the blog entry I wrote the day after I met him. Did I really think he looked ordinary? How did I miss the movie-star smile, the carelessly perfect hair just beginning to flirt with a trace of silver, the gentle eyes, the commanding presence, the beautiful complexion darkened but somehow undamaged by 10 years of rough-and-tumble weekends in the Arizona sun? Is he this stunning everywhere, or are my eyes the only ones that see it?

I should wake him so he can get home and go to bed, but I’d rather sit still and study his face for just a little longer. Beautiful boy; selfish, selfish girl.

— Sierra

Back to school

August 16, 2010

Today was Grant’s first day of school. He said it went pretty smoothly. Aside from issuing a few warnings about dress-code violations and defusing an angry parent who didn’t like the cell-phone policy (her kid got busted for texting in class and won’t get his phone back for three days), he didn’t have to deal with any discipline issues, and he said the kids all seemed friendly enough.

I think he scored points with his faculty by backing up the civics teacher who confiscated the cell phone. Evidently the last guy was bad about undermining the teachers when the parents showed up to complain. He’d get all intimidated and give them their way if they started cussing or threatening people. If they’re hoping to intimidate Grant, they’re going to be sorely disappointed. He does not suffer fools gladly, and if he is afraid of anything, I’m sure I don’t know what it is.

Despite the relatively easy day, he nearly fell asleep in his plate during dinner tonight. I was a little worried about him, but he said that’s pretty much par for the course the first couple of weeks of school — it’s just mentally exhausting to be responsible for a bunch of kids all day, even when they’re being good, and it takes him a while to build up his endurance after a few weeks off. He finished dinner, kissed me goodbye, and went home at 8.

Another heavy rain blew into town about 10 minutes after he left, so he should have had a good night for sleeping. I’d have turned in early myself if I hadn’t had a steady parade of customers in my lobby all night. Rain always drives travelers off the interstate and into my parking lot.

On the up side, the rain cooled down the kitchen, so I took advantage of my long evening to make a batch of biscotti. The last tray came out of the oven half an hour ago, and I’ve just about finished cleaning up the kitchen, so I think I’ll switch on the “NO VACANCY” sign and head to bed. ‘Night.

— Sierra


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