Saturday, August 27, 2016

Just come in from lawn mowing

So I've just come in from lawn mowing. I'm drenched. Took a shower this morning, worked, got ready for a ceremony tomorrow--a friend coming over for San Pedro--visited with a friend who came by, went to one of Alexa's 3 soccer games today--she's fast but hesitant; if Italo got six hours with her she'd be great--and then had some wine and went to mow the lawn directly behind the house.
   Now I'm not having fun mowing the lawn this week. I mowed when I returned from Peru in late July; but then Chepa and me and Chepa's babies Sierra and Alexa went to Mexico to get our teeth done ( and that became, somehow, a cover story, and then it rained for nine days, and so I had a couple of weeks of no lawn mowing while the grass kept growing.
   So the last few days I've attacked it. I first attacked a back portion, about 60 feet by 90 feet which abuts two small bridges over the "sometimes" creek and involves mowing around a large tree that lightning just knocked over and lots of poison ivy. I dont' think I'm allergic to it but it still is a pain.
   Then three days ago I attacked the beautiful large front lawn: 160 feet by 40 feet with end tables of 20 by 30 and 50 by 50. By the time I got done with that--I'm using a push mower with front wheels that turn on their own--I was pooped.
   Then two days ago I attacked the very front lawn, not large, maybe  50 by 50 with a 12 by 30 side bit and everything was looking good.
   Today I hit the lawn behind the house. That's 80 by 40. It's only 3,200 square feet but since that's where the gray water from our kitchen sink and laundry go, it grows fast. I mean that sucker, on the half I did today, probably averaged 15 inches high, which is way too high for a push mower. And after the nine days of rain, even though we've had sun the last couple/few days, was freaking wet. So I attacked it and stepped into two fire ant colonies I didn't see. I've got about 500 bites on my ankles, calves and thighs. I've poured Gorman's Jungle Juice After Sting all over them, so the pain is subsiding a great deal, but I didn't have my magic juice while working so just dealt with it. Man, those little bums can lay a sting on you. And now I've got to rake the part I mowed because there's clumps of cut grass everywhere that will burn the grass' roots if they're not taken up.
  So I'm taking this minute to tell you that. I'm soaked in sweat, I'm nearly eaten alive, but I beat the worst of it. HA! Ain't life grand? You don't need to look far to find a cause. Cause there's always something to do right near where you are.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Oy, vey! If I wasn't already near death, I'd be having a heart attack!

So a great friend paid me some funds he'd borrowed. Man, it was great to have them. Thanks. And then either the same day he said he was paying me back or maybe the next day, my house air conditioning unit went out. Now I'm from New York and never had AC in my life. But we always had plenty of fans. And we never had Texas' summer heat where it routinely hits 105 and often feels hotter than that. So to have the AC go out here, well, it makes it hard to get a good night's sleep, hard to focus on my work, hard to keep smiling.
    But I got this extra money, right? And how much could repairing a 3 1/2 ton AC unit be?
    Even better, I had a 10-year parts warranty on the thing and it's only seven years since I bought it. Hooray!
    Except that the guy changing the thing out said that when a compressor goes bad, the gas in it goes bad as well, so I need new freon, about 8 1/2 pounds of it at the good price of $62.50 a pound.
   And the labor is not included.
   Price tag: $1100 and change.
   If I wasn't already almost dead I'd be having a heart attack!
   I'm not really near dead. I'm actually doing well. My lawn looks great. Went to Mexico with Chepa and her girls, Sierra and Alexa and got dental work done last week. Madeleina passed her driving test and now has a license--if only I can get the new (old) 2003 Ford Mustang I got for her registered. Seems previous owner can't find the title. Don't worry, there are bonded titles and I'm working on one, which will allow me to circumvent not having a title.
   And I got the funds, which was great.
  It's just that $1100 AC fix that irks me. Although I must say, it was nice of the Universe to keep the thing running until the check was in the mail. That is a good thing, eh?
   So I guess that makes everything okay.
   Hope you all are having wonderful days too, only without the repairs needeed!!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gonna rail about something here

Okay, so I'm back from Peru, back from 3 days in Mexico to get dental work done for me, Chepa, Sierra and Alexa--good work, inexpensive, fast, with lots of good food and a couple of beers tossed in as a bonus in Nuevo Progresso--back from north Texas where Madeleina and I had to go to do some interviews and get some photos for an upcoming cover story. I'm back and I'm exhausted.
   So today there's a new report that just came out in the September issue of the Obstetrics and Gynecology that shows that pregnancy related deaths in Texas have doubled since 2011, the same year that Texas cut 66 percent of its budget for family planning funds, which resulted in 82 family planning centers, including a lot of Planned Parenthood centers, to shut down.
   Did you get that? The pro-life crowd tried to eliminate abortion centers and the collateral damage was that women had available pregnancy services dramatically cut, causing deaths to mothers during both pregnancy and childbirth to shoot up more than 50 percent. And it shot up the first year those cuts were made, from 72 deaths during pregnancy and childbirth in 2010 to 148 in 2012, the year the cuts were felt.
   The pro-life crowd? The same crowd that crowed loud and long about Obamacare Death Panels--which only existed when insurance companies were allowed to cut people off from care prior to Obamacare--screamed long and loud about needing to help poor women bring their fetuses to term by cutting the funding for pregnancy care, which has killed a lot of them.
   Good job if what you really meant was "we hate poor people and people of color and we want to see them die."
   I could go on, but I'd probably have a heart attack.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A little something about illegal workers

I just read something about illegals that made my blood boil. It was in the comment section of the Miami-Herald and the writer was disparaging illegal workers. His comment was basically that illegal workers pay sales tax and that was it. I don't generally comment on the Miami-Herald site but had to. The fellow obviously has no idea of how illegal laborers work here in the US.
Typically, an illegal worker gets hold of a quality copy of a real social security card, and with that can build the rest of his/her paperwork: Driver's license, bank cards, and so forth. But that person will then pay federal, state, and local taxes; they'll also pay into social security and medicare. But they will not be able to get a refund from the feds or state or utilize social security or medicare because the initial social security card is not their own. So the illegal workers are pouring billions and billions into federal, state, local taxes, social security and medicare and not getting anything in return for that. It's just gone. On top of that they pay gasoline taxes like we all do whenever we buy gas for our cars, they pay sales taxes, car registration and inspection fees and so forth. Oh, and they buy houses and cars and televisions and all the stuff the rest of us buy, keeping the economy going.
Additionally, a huge percentage of the illegal worker population take jobs that nobody else will do: roofing, road construction (not the cushy supervisor jobs, the ones working with the hot tar during Texas summers), motel and hotel cleaning, gardening, fruit and vegetable picking, chicken and fish farm work. Pretty tough and wretched jobs. So they're really a vital cog in how we live.
Why do they take the awful jobs and risk deportation and jail? For some it's because they imagine that their children will fare better for their hard work in a land with more opportunity than much of Mexico and Central America. For others it's a way to earn US dollars to send back home so that their families can start a business there. For still others it's a way to escape the violence of the drug wars raging in much of Mexico and Central America (which you already know are US-fueled because we love our drugs here).
In my book the illegal workers are to be celebrated not denigrated.