Wedding update

Grant is asleep, Joey is watching TV in his room, and I am wrapped up in a falsa blanket, blogging from a metal lawn chair under a clear New Mexico sky, watching the steam curl from my cocoa mug and drift off into the cold night air, and thinking that this quiet evening is probably the best chance I’ll have to post a full account of the wedding.

The ceremony itself was simple but pretty. Brother Jerry and a couple of deacons from church set up a little metal archway at the park, and Sandy decorated it with solar-powered Christmas lights, faux-fall-leaf garlands, and a couple of small chile ristras. Lil Miss presented me with a bouquet of sunflowers and daisies that she and Joey had arranged, and we set up a portable sound system and played a couple of Dad’s songs during the ceremony, which made me cry.

The most memorable part of the whole wedding — at least for me — was the gift Grant presented to me immediately after the ceremony.

Hank Freed came over one night last week, while Lil Miss was working, and offered to donate a junk car to the FFA for a fundraiser. He talked Bill Swinney out of some spray paint and a sledgehammer, towed the car to the festival site, and let the FFA kids charge people $5 to spraypaint an enemy’s name on the car and then hit it as hard as they could with the sledgehammer.

As soon as the ceremony was over, Grant took me over to the car, painted Jim Hendry’s name all over it, handed Lil Miss a crisp $100 bill, and told me to have fun avenging Ryno.

I’m no Willie Stargell, but I think I did a pretty respectable job with that sledgehammer. :)

Remarkably, I still had enough energy left to change a tire on the Volvo after Grant ran over part of a broken bottle on the way up to Santa Fe — the only glitch in an otherwise lovely weekend.

We stayed at the beautiful El Rey Inn. I’d had some good intentions about leaving work at work, but El Rey’s owners have given the property so many cute little flourishes that I couldn’t resist photographing some of the details and writing down a few ideas to bring back to Coldwater. We spent part of Sunday afternoon hiking La Bajada Hill and then spent Sunday night in Santa Fe before heading home on Monday.

We came home to find a check in the mailbox from that consignment lot in Flagstaff where Grant put the Firebird up for sale. After five months, it finally sold. We’re thinking about using the money to get the neon sign out front relit.

— Sierra



I was expecting something a little more dramatic right about now, but the primary emotion flooding my mind at this moment — three hours after Brother Jerry pronounced us man and wife, and fifteen minutes after I broke out a four-way lug wrench and wowed Grant with my best impression of a NASCAR pit crew after he ran over a broken beer bottle in the middle of the interstate somewhere between Dilia and Starvation Peak — is relief.

Flat tire notwithstanding, the day went very smoothly, and if the rest of the evening goes according to plan, I’m less than an hour and a half away from a long, hot shower, a cold bottle of champagne, and a much-anticipated evening at the beautiful El Rey Inn in Santa Fe.

In case you are wondering, I will be out of pocket for the next few days….

— Sierra

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

Moving in

Grant and I spent most of today moving non-essential items from his house to the Tumbleweed. I have no idea where we’re going to put everything. Most of it is in storage at the moment while I sift through my possessions and jettison anything I don’t absolutely need.

Something tells me I’m eventually going to have to rebuild those units that burned down in 1968….

— Sierra

How to make a biker cry

A half-dozen bikers from Las Cruces checked in tonight, having taken advantage of the utterly gorgeous weather to hike the dunes at White Sands in the morning, cruise up Highway 54 all afternoon, and then pick up 66 from Santa Rosa to Coldwater this evening. They’d called from Alamogordo to tell me they were coming. I told them I’d give them a discount on their rooms if they’d stop in Tularosa and pick up some green chile pecans for me. They showed up with two pounds of pecans and a little package of pecan brittle. I managed to get one piece of the pecan brittle before Grant and Joey descended on it like locusts.

Our guests were in the mood to socialize, so Grant and I let Joey and Lil Miss hold down the fort while we headed down the street to Casa de Jesus. As usual, Jesus fired up the karaoke machine as soon as I walked in. I am playing a very dangerous game with this karaoke nonsense, but Grant loves it, and the little snot knows I can’t resist when he turns those dark eyes my way and whispers, “Please?”

If you ever need to make a big, tough biker cry, I have the secret:

1. Sing “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
2. Follow it up with “Old Violin.”

After I’d made everybody in the bar sniffle, I roughed up my vocal cords with smokes and bourbon and then tackled “Kozmic Blues,” which about drove Grant up a wall.

I really ought to be ashamed of myself for teasing that poor boy so mercilessly.

Two weeks….

— Sierra

House for rent

We’re trying to figure out what to do with Grant’s house. I am obviously not going to move away from the Tumbleweed when we get married, but we put so much work into the house that we don’t really want to sell it just yet. If anybody wants to rent an 800-square-foot cottage in Coldwater with a beautifully restored interior and a kitchen full of wicked-cool vintage appliances, I know of one that will be available in November.

— Sierra

Wedding plans

Lil Miss — who is rapidly proving herself to be worth her weight in gold, as she is quite adept at running the wringer washer, processing credit-card transactions, and keeping track of reservations, all while listening to Joey’s endless stories and nodding at the appropriate times — has volunteered to help with the few details I have to arrange for the wedding.

Joey wants to make my bouquet, so Lil put herself in charge of acquiring materials and helping him with that project. She assures me that they will come up with something “appropriately garish, but not too embarrassing,” whatever that means. She also insisted on joining me for a dress-shopping excursion in Albuquerque yesterday, because — as she put it — “You know Mr. Loucks isn’t going to tell you if something makes your butt look big.”

If her parents ever get tired of her, I swear I am going to adopt this child. She reminds me of myself at 14, only much more practical.

I started to walk into a bridal shop on Nob Hill yesterday, but then Lil asked me what I thought one of those $500 dresses would look like the first time one of Coldwater’s brightest citizens bumped into me with a bowl of chili in his hand. I laughed and let her lead me into a hippy-dippy little vintage shop, where we both immediately zeroed in on a strange little dress made of several layers of filmy, paisley-patterned fabric in a range of dark colors. The top looks sort of like a poet shirt, and the skirt is long and flowing and very pretty. It looks nothing like a wedding gown, but it suits me, and I’m sure Sandy will approve. I bought myself a new pair of Birkenstocks and some vintage costume jewelry to go with it. The Birkies cost literally ten times as much as the shirt.

Grant assures me that he doesn’t care what I wear, because whatever I come up with will look just fine scattered across a hotel-room floor three hours after the wedding.

I’m so glad I’m marrying a man with such a strong sense of class and decorum….

— Sierra