Valentine’s Day in Coldwater

This was Valentine’s Day in Coldwater:

A love note written in dry-erase marker on the bathroom mirror and a delicate half-and-half heart with baseball stitches etched into the sides, floating atop a decaf macchiato, from Grant.
A lopsided construction-paper heart decorated with Necco sweets and a lot of glitter from Joey. Message: “Happy Valentine’s Day. I’m glad you’re my Sissy. Love, Joey.”
A sunrise hike up Sangre Mesa.
A spirited softball practice in which Lil Miss taught the rest of the team how to slide under a tag. I love that kid. She’s the scrappiest little thing I’ve ever seen — no bigger than a minute, but she puts on that catcher’s mask and scares the living crap out of everybody who even thinks about crossing the plate on her watch. Funny girl.
A couple from Tularosa celebrating the holiday by coming back to the room at the Tumbleweed where they spent their wedding night 50-odd years ago.
A pack of coyotes singing somewhere out on Hank Freed’s back 40.

Hope you had a good Valentine’s Day, wherever you are.

— Sierra

Great advice

It is six degrees below zero in Coldwater. That is the actual temperature.

The National Weather Service has issued some helpful advice for the general public: Try to stay warm, because exposed skin can get frostbite in less than an hour.

You think so?

Grant, who just came in from a 15-minute trip to the convenience store, assures me that the windchill is now “somewhere between holy shit and sonofabitch” and that it’s probably best for the gene pool if NWS stops offering survival tips to people who are too stupid to come in out of the cold.

He’s obviously enjoying this weather almost as much as I am.

— Sierra

Approaching autumn

Fall is approaching. I can feel it as I sit out here in front of the Tumbleweed, sharing a mug of hot cider and a plate of chocolate-chip cookies with Grant. Joey spent most of the evening in the lobby, watching the movie Benji with a preacher and his family from Oxford, Miss. I made them a big bowl of kettle corn and a batch of cookies. I’m thinking about caramel apples. I always think about caramel apples this time of year. Maybe I’ll make some this week.

Coldwater’s fall festival is coming together pretty nicely. We’re going to have a big chili cook-off, with special only-in-New-Mexico categories: green chile stew, posole, menudo. The Chamber president is trying to track down a company to set up some inflatables for the kids, and the high-school band and chorus are going to perform. We’re thinking about doing a craft show, too, if we can get any takers, and the church ladies are planning a bake sale. It won’t be fancy, but it will be pretty nice for a first-year event, I think.

— Sierra

Mystery

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

Flash floods

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

Back to school

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

Power outage

Power is out. It’s been out for two days. Apparently a storm fried a substation and blew down a bunch of lines. The Tumbleweed is still open at the moment, but the rooms are being illuminated with battery-powered LED lanterns, and there’s obviously no wi-fi or espresso.

I’m blogging from Grant’s iPhone, which doesn’t lend itself well to extended posts, so I’ll just get off of here now. I’ll post again when the power comes back on.

— Sierra