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

February 2, 2011

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

September 7, 2010

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


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

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

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

Power outage

August 10, 2010

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

Still raining

August 4, 2010

Judging from the tumbleweeds scurrying down Route 66, we’ve got another nasty storm blowing in. I wish I had a cistern. I could save a lot of money on water bills if I could harvest some of the rain that’s been running off my roof lately.

I finally got my picture printed and framed. I put it in a shadowbox with the baseball card and my game tickets and — is this too dorky? — the marker Ryno used to sign it. I think it turned out pretty well.

I hung it behind the front desk, much to the delight of a couple from Chicago who checked in right after dinner. Their first date was June 23, 1984. He took her to Wrigley Field.

They were even more delighted when I told them I happened to own a Cubs DVD set that included that entire game. I made them some kettle corn (the closest I could get to Cracker Jack on the spur of the moment) and let them watch the game in the lobby.

I really ought to put DVD players in my rooms and let people check out movies to watch while they’re here. I bet that would go over really well.

— Sierra

More rain

August 2, 2010

I don’t have much to report around here lately. The rain is still coming down in buckets, but it hasn’t had much effect on tourism, as far as I can tell. We’re just getting a lot of really wet guests and handing out a lot of coffee and cocoa to drenched bikers.

The rain dislodged something from the culvert yesterday. Joey came in with a Rubbermaid box containing a wet notepad and an assortment of random objects. We went through it and figured out it was a geocache. If you’re not familiar with it, geocaching is a sort of treasure-hunting game in which you use GPS coordinates to find containers that people have hidden. The containers will have a log inside, and some of them also have little toys and trinkets in them. When you find a geocache, you write your name in the log, post your find on the geocaching Web site, and — if you feel like it — take a trinket from the box and leave something of equal value in its place.

It looks like fun. Joey and I e-mailed the person who placed this cache to let him know it needed attention. We’re going to make it more watertight and help the owner rehide it when the rain stops. We’re also putting some little trinkets of our own in there.

— Sierra

Busy weekend

July 31, 2010

We were at 100 percent occupancy last night, and we’re already booked up again tonight. I haven’t even had time to print out my Sandberg picture and frame it yet.

You can’t believe the rain we’ve had here lately. It’s storming like crazy. I feel sorry for the travelers; a lot of them have no idea how to drive in a downpour like this, and of course they were expecting the desert to be nice and dry. Harvey and the cats absolutely hate this weather. They’re scared of the thunder and lightning, and Harvey staunchly refuses to go outside when it’s raining. I have to try to catch him between storms and put him out. As soon as he sees the puddles, he gives me this reproachful look, as if to say, “Oh, Mom, how could you?” but I figure it’s easier for him to deal with puddles outside than it is for me to deal with them inside, so out he goes, like it or not.

I’m sure if I ever scrape up the money to get my sign relit, I’ll hate thunderstorms as much as my animals do, but right now, I’m perfectly content to curl up in a chair and listen to the rain.

— Sierra


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