Mex 2010 Blog # 1 Readying to Leave

Mexico 2010, Blog # 1                                            October 21, 2010

 Friends, Haverim, Family, Colegas, y Amigos

 Despite all the admirable reasons for staying put, despite the flutters in the tummy provoked by contemplating crossing the Mexico-US border, despite the faltering economy and our anthology of funky ailments, Linda and David are prepping ourselves for departure on All Saints’ Day morning. Ten days left, and twenty pages of check lists to keep us on task.

Fortunately, this is not our first (or tenth) protracted abandonment of hearth and home. We know about winterizing: storm windows; bringing in the potted plants; turning the compost heap; folding up the garden; pruning the grapes, apple and cherry trees, trimming the quince and forsythia, chopping back the canes of the black- and raspberries; defrosting the fridge and freezer; draping sheets over clothes racks and furniture. We know how to put together the monthly calendar of upkeep duties for our neighbor/tenant/friend Vicki. We have updated the encyclopedia of emergency handymen: carpenter, plumber, electrician, and —God forbid— roto-rooter. We have made extra copies of all the numbers that define us and squirreled them away in places we hope we will be able to find. We have shifted most of the bill paying to electronic, arranged a system of banking deposits in case a $10 royalty check comes in, paid ahead on insurance and taxes, and set up an April 10 meet with our tax accountant. We have finished mailing our annual contributions. David has monitored one last time the Land Trust properties for which he is steward. Linda will notify the credit card companies of our travel plans so they don’t cut us off en route, and the car insurance people and the newspaper that we will be ceasing service for a few months so they won’t keep billing us. We are making the last tune-up visits to our medical community. We are negotiating with our suppliers to fill a six-month supply of pills, and have picked out the suitcase which they in turn will fill. Though if we buy one more bottle of baby aspirin we may have to find a larger suitcase.

We will travel in a newish car, a Honda CRV. Newish, because thanks to the grad student who tried to drive through our garage one night in late August (see our blog “”Big Bang”), it has undergone substantial repair. One nice thing about the CRV is that it is much smaller than our former Dodge Caravan, which means that we can take only half as much stuff. Linda would probably not have used the word “nice”. Our difference of perspective means that there are discussions still to be had. How extensive a picnic kit should we carry? The portable canvass chairs? Both binoculars plus the telescope and tripod? How many books for light reading, heavy reading, gifts? How much research material? How many back-up electronics? How many packages of American food (puddings, dill, walnuts, matza ball mix) can fit into the nooks and crannies of the plastic tubs? How many clothes  --  bearing in mind that we will be in several different climates (by latitude and altitude) and social situations (by design and serendipity), not to mention two weeks in wintry Spanish Galicia in December? Knitting supplies? Pairs of shoes and boots? Last year, with the Caravan loaded, David recalls that he brought only one pair of socks that he didn’t end up wearing. As we said: discussions ongoing, decisions pending.

And the loose ends. The cash flow problem until the insurance check comes in for the damage to the car and house, expenses that we had to front out of pocket. And the publicity for The Lost Minyan that UNM Press promised for July but are now indicating will arrive either the day we depart or shortly thereafter. Leaving us copies to be mailed. Publicity to be coordinated. Blah blah blah and so forth.

Wait, Linda says, there’s more, even more:   That David forgot how to say “no” when approached to teach a double-time course during the first half of the fall semester. Final papers and exams come next week. That Linda really didn’t have to move most of our furniture around for the fall redesign of the manse, but it helped, she says, to put a finer touch on the colonial dwelling. Then the neo-traditional early Thanksgiving dinner for a dozen and a half folks (this Friday night) has become an annual event: the RI guests began asking a while back when they should show up. That said, we couldn’t have the dinner without also inviting some of our fave out-of-town guests for the weekend.

But, ¿qué vamos a hacer?, the bottom line is that it is all fun, and each new frantic flurry of activity raises our level of anticipation and excitement. We are looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. Though we are fond of New England quiet and reserve, we look forward to the surround-sound cacophony of Mexico. Gray and white houses are nice, but rainbow streets are waiting just south of the Río Grande. Flat is tolerable, but mountains, deserts, jungles . . . And of course, we can’t wait to get back to street markets and to real Mexican neighborhood restaurant food.

Last year David logged 200 different species of birds during our wanderings south of the border. This year . . . ?

 When we look out our study windows we see lots of things, but 2 primarily jump out. The first is that the absolutely splendid red, yellow, orange, sienna, and magenta fall leaves are drifting lazily down to speckle the remaining lawn. What last week was a stop-the-car-and-gawk moment is now more of a memory. The second is the street outside our door. Highway 138, leads to Highway 95, which leads anywhere we want to go.

Which route will it be this year? Maps, guidebooks, dots on gridded lines of latitude and longitude. Oh yay, says Linda. Let’s go hit The Road.

 So, barring the unexpected, in ten days we’ll be driving south. We may write from time to time, and when we do we will post the blogs on this website. Maybe a photo or two as well . . . .

Hasta pronto,

David & Linda