Still moving

Every square inch of my bedroom is now covered with books, boxes, clothes, and random objects pulled from closets and cabinets as I attempt to sift through everything I own and sort it into piles: yard sale, Freecycle, fireplace, landfill. I am actually sleeping in one of my own motel rooms tonight because I can’t find my bed.

I’d take a picture of this craziness, except I think my camera is buried somewhere under the clutter.

A very big part of me secretly wants to pile all this stuff in front of the Tumbleweed and put a big sign next to it that says, “Free Useless Crap….”

Lil Miss came up with one idea that I really like. She pointed out that motel rooms — including mine — always feel sort of sterile and cold, no matter how cheerful the paint job or how friendly the clerk in the lobby, but even the worst bed-and-breakfasts generally feel warm and inviting. She suggested that we might give the Tumbleweed more of a B&B feel while reducing the monumental piles of clutter in my bedroom by putting a shelf full of books in each guest room. Lil has even volunteered to sort the books into collections that include a little bit of something for every sort of reader, and she said if I will get some boards and brackets from Bill Swinney’s tomorrow, she will help Joey build the shelves, paint them to match the trim in the rooms, and install them for me this weekend.

I would like Lil if she were merely bright and efficient, but her patience and willingness to go out of her way to include Joey in things are just amazing. I should send her mama a thank-you note for raising her right, because she is an absolutely great kid.

— Sierra


Friday night in Coldwater

It’s a cool Friday evening.

Grant drove down to Vaughn for the Roadrunners’ game. Lil Miss has horses to feed in the morning before she comes by to help me with breakfast and laundry, so she opted to hang out in the lobby and watch the Phillies-Reds game with Joey and me instead of driving an hour each way to a football game. I made some kettle corn and hot chocolate, and Lil brought Joey some leftover Fourth of July sparklers she found while she was cleaning her room the other day. She has promised to go outside and light them with him as soon as the game is over.

A nice couple from Wisconsin checked in half an hour ago, and an Englishman called from Amarillo a few minutes ago to see whether we had any rooms available. Other than that, things are pretty quiet around here. It’s a good night for popcorn and sparklers, I think….

— Sierra

Thinking of hiring some help.

I know tourist season is winding down, but I think I’d like to take a little time off now and then without having to impose on Joyce. I’ve been talking to Grant, and he knows several reliable kids at Coldwater High who would probably like to have part-time jobs turning over rooms and helping me man the front desk. I can’t spend a lot, but I’ve done well enough with the Tumbleweed that I think I could manage 10 to 12 hours a week without breaking the bank.

Whoever works here will have to be able to put up with Joey, Harvey, and the cats. Grant has a kid in mind. I’m trying to decide whether I want to mess with a formal job application or just say, “Come by and talk to me if you want a job.” The latter would be less work, but the former might be better for the kid, as it would give her some experience with the application process.

On an unrelated note, it looks like we’ve got some storms blowing in from around Moriarty and Dilia. Should be a good night for curling up with a book and listening to the rain….

— Sierra


Sorry I didn’t post anything last night; the Roadrunners had a big game, so as soon as I’d checked in the Vespa club that had reserved all my rooms for the weekend, I gave them instructions to call if they needed anything and headed over to the football field. The game went into overtime, and it was ridiculously late by the time it ended. (The Roadrunners won; I think the final score was 34-28.)

With my rooms already filled for the entire weekend, I just switched on the “NO VACANCY” sign before dark tonight and headed down to Casa de Jesus with Grant. Joey tagged along. Jesus won’t let him drink beer, but he’ll fix a sort of limeade for him out of Sprite with a little sour mix and some lime juice stirred in, which is fine with Joey. (I can’t imagine he’d like beer anyway; he generally dislikes any beverage that isn’t sweet. I once made him a macchiato because he liked the looks of the rosetta in the top, and after he tasted the espresso, he was convinced that I was playing a dirty trick on him.)

As soon as he saw me come in, Jesus got out the karaoke machine. I wasn’t going to sing this time, but Joey begged, and you know how hard it is for me to say no to Joey. He has discovered my record collection and has been on a big Grateful Dead kick lately, so I sang “Ripple” for him, and then Grant leaned over and murmured something about Amy Winehouse, and the look in his eyes was so impossibly smoldering that I couldn’t really say no to him, either, so I wound up singing “You Know I’m No Good,” and then we had to leave, because the football captain’s parents walked in just as I was finishing the song, and Grant didn’t think it would be cool for them to see him sitting around a bar, watching his girlfriend give him come-hither looks while singing suggestive R&B songs with a microphone in one hand and a margarita in the other.

Sometimes there are disadvantages to living in a town this small….

— Sierra

Time well spent

After church this morning, Grant and Joey and I spent the afternoon making caramel apples and half-bake cupcakes. Half-bakes are the greatest invention ever. The first time I ever had them was at Cake Fetish in Albuquerque. Cake Fetish’s version involves white cake batter with chocolate chips stirred in and a dollop of chocolate-chip cookie dough dropped into the center before baking. You end up with an ordinary-looking cupcake with a big blob of half-baked cookie dough in the middle, topped with frosting and miniature chocolate chips. I don’t know who came up with half-bakes, but that person is a genius.

Our version involves chocolate cake batter with white chocolate chips stirred in, chocolate-chip cookie dough in the middle, and chocolate ganache on top. They’re every bit as good as you think they are, and maybe a little bit better.

I’m glad it’s finally gotten cool enough that I can bake without making the whole lobby unbearably hot. I hate to see summer wind down, but fall has a few advantages.

— Sierra

In the long run

I have been inexplicably restless for the past two days.

I finally got sick of feeling uncontrollably fidgety, so this afternoon, after I’d finished the laundry and given Joey a math lesson and a reading assignment, I went out for a jog with the intent of running until I was too tired to think about anything.

Three hours and a little over 15 miles later, I stumbled into the kitchen and downed a bottle of Gatorade.

I think I might actually manage to sleep tonight.

— Sierra

Gentle rain from heaven

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