Almost spring!

February 13, 2011

Pitchers and catchers report to Mesa on Monday. Meanwhile, Ryno should be arriving in Clearwater any day now, if he hasn’t already. I’m not sure about the reporting date for the Ironpigs, but the Phillies pitchers and catchers report tomorrow, so the minor-league affiliates should be along directly.

I need to get off my butt and figure out the Isotopes’ schedule so we can plan some trips to Albuquerque this summer.

On a related note, Grant couldn’t find anybody to coach baseball this spring, so he’s doing it himself. Meanwhile, Lil Miss informed me that the softball coach is a 22-year-old first-year art teacher who played one season of coach-pitch softball when she was in second grade and only agreed to take over the team because she is inexplicably terrified of Grant and will basically do anything he asks, whether she has any business doing it or not. Coaching softball, Lil Miss assures me, falls into the category of Things She Doesn’t Have Any Business Doing, as she knows almost nothing about the game, so I tagged along with Lil Miss to practice this morning (the past two days, incidentally, have been much warmer than the last couple of weeks have been) and offered my services as third-base coach.

I am pleased to report that Coldwater High School’s head softball coach now knows how to keep score, fill out a lineup card, and give signs to the pitcher. She still plays ball like a girl, but given sufficient practice, I think Lil Miss and I can cure her of that.

Wisely, I think, I elected not to tell Grant about my latest volunteer project until after I’d cleared it with Dr. Scherer.

Grant, predictably, was apoplectic. He is under the impression that “pregnant” is a synonym for “invalid.” I explained to him that when I played summer ball in junior high, my coach — who had been the star pitcher on her college team — threw BP for us in the middle of June, while she was eight months pregnant. Her daughter was born perfectly healthy, after less than three hours of labor, and grew up to lead her high-school softball team to the state championship four years in a row, with the lowest ERA in school history.

Grant remains unconvinced.

I remain unconcerned.

The girls’ home opener is March 14, if anybody’s interested.

— Sierra

You know what would rock? Not having to drive all the way to freakin’ Tucumcari to see an obstetrician on Grant’s provider list.

You know what else would rock? Good decaf. Good decaf would rock like a Jimi Hendrix concert.

You know what would rock most of all? Not feeling gross. Not feeling gross would rock harder than Joe Perry, Jimmy Page, and Angus Young put together.

OK, OK, I’ll stop whining. I really don’t have any legitimate reason to whine. It sucks to drive 30 miles to go to the doctor, but I probably shouldn’t bitch about it, because I’m making the drive down Route 66 in New Mexico, in a late-model SUV manufactured by a company whose entire reputation is built around its stellar safety record.

My insurance coverage might be a little spotty and inconvenient because of Coldwater’s rural surroundings, but at least I have it.

And despite the fact that I feel totally gross about half the time,  the doctor says Rugrat and I are doing just fine. I definitely need to remember to be grateful for that. Healthy babies totally rock.

Here is something else that rocks: Joey and Lil Miss bought me a Space Invaders ice cube tray, a Tetris ice cube tray, and three big jugs of orange Gatorade for Christmas, so I now have an old rainbow sherbet tub full of Gatorade mini-popsicles in the freezer. Orange Gatorade mini-popsicles aren’t as nice as cappuccino, but they’re pretty good — especially when they’re shaped like Space Invaders.

It also rocks that the doctor told me I’m not supposed to change the litterbox while I’m pregnant, which means that job is officially Somebody Else’s Problem from now until August. That most definitely rocks.

— Sierra


December 22, 2010

No, I’m not dead. Yes, I have an excuse for my lengthy silence.

“Let me ‘splain. No — there is too much. Let me sum up.”
Inigo Montoya

Here are all the things I’ve done in the past week:

1. Made approximately seventy million cookies in forty-two different flavors. (You have no idea how many cookie exchanges are held in Coldwater, N.M., during the month of December. It truly boggles the mind.)
2. Attended two school programs, a band concert, a chorus concert, a Chamber luncheon, a chili supper, and a church Christmas cantata.
3. Helped the Chamber director sort and wrap umpty-three gifts for kids on the Angel Tree we put up at Bill Swinney’s place.
4. Watched Sandy and Joey use poster board and tinted craft glue to make a suncatcher for Grant’s office window.
5. Discovered firsthand that morning sickness is a bitch.

Yeah, you read that last part right.

Thus far, we have not told Joey. He will, of course, be utterly thrilled, but I am not sure exactly what he does and does not know about how pregnancy works or where babies come from, and we are not telling him anything until Grant works up the nerve to explain it to him.

If anybody wants to start a betting pool on when this will happen, I’ll put five bucks on “baby’s 35th birthday.”

— Sierra

Awesome idea

December 2, 2010

Joyce came by for coffee this morning. I hadn’t had a chance to talk to her since my wedding, but Grant has been telling Dr. Scherer all about Joey’s progress, so Joyce came by to see for herself.

As we sipped cappuccino and discussed the risk of ennui in Coldwater during the winter, she offered a terrific idea to keep Joey and me from getting bored while we wait for tourist season to return: Volunteer to help out at the grade school.

She said Coldwater Elementary is always in need of volunteers to help with stuff like making copies, reading to little kids, and helping teachers prepare materials for bulletin boards. There are a few parent volunteers, but most of the kids’ parents are working two or three jobs just to keep food on the table, so their ranks are fairly limited. Joey and I don’t have anything else to do with our mornings during the winter, and Joey is great with little kids, so I think we’ll head that direction Monday morning and offer our services as volunteers.

I am really amped about this idea. I think it will be really good for Joey, and it will keep me busy.

— Sierra


October 23, 2010

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

Wedding gift

October 1, 2010

At five minutes after seven tonight, Dad’s agent, Valerie, pulled up in front of the Tumbleweed in a rented Lexus and presented me with a small package wrapped in yellowed paper with wedding bells on it and a slightly frayed silver ribbon around it.

I opened the package. Inside were a CD and a small envelope containing a note written in a familiar hand:

Dear Sierra,

I wanted so much to be there to give this to you myself. It breaks my heart to think that after missing so many moments of your life through my own selfishness, I’m missing this one through a cruel trick of fate, but I console myself with the knowledge that I am there now in the same small way that I was there when you lost your mother.

The enclosed CD is my wedding gift to you. Do with it as you will. I hope you enjoy it, and should you choose to release it, I hope and pray that it will be the most successful album of my career. I’d like nothing more than to provide my daughter a proper dowry.

I wish I could have met your fiance. I wish I could have heard you squeal with excitement and stumble over your words, giggling breathlessly, while delivering the news of your engagement. I wish I could have glanced down and seen my own dark eyes sparkling up at me, your mother’s smile spreading across your beautiful face, on the way down the aisle. I wish I could have hugged your husband and congratulated him and whispered, “Welcome to the family, Son.”

Some wishes are impossible. Love and a dozen songs will have to suffice.

I love you, Sweetheart. I always will.


P.S.: I am proud of you, even if I’ve no right to be.

I have no idea when or how he recorded it without my knowledge, but it couldn’t have been too long before he passed, because in addition to ten songs I’d never heard before, the album includes the song Dad was singing while we looked at the stars.

It also includes a cover of “Coldwater Morning.” Really.

— Sierra


September 26, 2010

Remember the old Burma-Shave ad campaign, which involved little poems written on carefully spaced signs placed along roadsides during heyday of Route 66?

Yeah, I don’t remember them, either. Too young. But I’ve seen plenty of replicas along the road in recent years. They’re really popular with Route 66 travelers.

Set of Burma-Shave-type signs that mysteriously appeared along westbound 66 in front of the Tumbleweed yesterday afternoon as I was coming back from a grocery run in Tucumcari:


Set of signs attached to the backs of those signs at some point between the time I went to bed last night and the time I slipped out for a jog this morning:


Set of hastily made cardboard signs currently taped over the westbound signs for Grant to see when he picks me up for church this morning:


Back in Coldwater

September 4, 2010

I can’t decide whether to thank Grant for posting in my absence or slap him for being a smartass. I think I would die of embarrassment if I found out that Joey really did tell Ryne Sandberg that I said he had a cute butt. I wouldn’t put it past him. It’s not as if Joey has a really solid grasp of the difference between Things You Should Tell People and Things You Should Not Tell People.

Oh, well. I’ll just console myself with the knowledge that Sandberg has, like, umpteen kids, and I’m sure at least one of them has said something outrageous to embarrass him in public at some point.

Joey was so funny after he got Sandberg’s autograph. He carried that baseball everywhere he went: to the aquarium, to the botanical garden, to all the shops in Old Town, up the Sandia Peak tram … you name it. He showed it to the waitress at the Route 66 Diner, who was too young to have the foggiest clue who Ryne Sandberg is. He showed it to the tour guide at the rattlesnake museum. He showed it to the animals at the zoo. (Some of them actually looked sort of interested, which was hilarious.)

Grant did a good job with the Tumbleweed while I was gone. I don’t know how he managed to put up with kids all day and then deal with customers and turn over rooms and do laundry all evening, but he really did a great job.

When we got home, Joey presented Grant with a rattlesnake fang he’d bought at the museum gift shop. He wanted to buy one for Sandberg, too, but I managed to convince him that there is an old baseball superstition that states that if a baseball manager touches any part of a rattlesnake before a game, his team will lose. (Yes, I realize I will probably go to hell for lying, but you have to understand that when Joey gets it in his head to give somebody a gift, there is no talking him out of it unless you can persuade him that the gift in question will actually harm its intended recipient.)

— Sierra

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


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


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