What’s been up with me for the past 8 months

I’ve had a lot going on over the past two four six eight months with a lot of stress I couldn’t talk about publicly until now. News is, I’ve moved three five nearly six months ago, hopefully for the last time. I’m back in Albuquerque again. I couldn’t say anything because Mr. F-I had not given notice at work and some of his staffers visit this site. People in the forum knew. I’m very appreciative you kept my confidences all this time and I sincerely thank you. From the strike outs, you can see I’ve been updating this post for months.

I’ve been wanting to move back to Albuquerque for years. It’ll be nice being closer to an airport and of course, gal pal Sal. There’s still not much in the way of apparel manufacturing in Albuquerque, some of the usual suspects are still around which is only good news in that they’ve weathered the economy -but not in that I’ll get any work out of it. Sally doesn’t work local either. I only did for a short time when I lived here before and called it a lesson learned. It’s like anywhere, you only get respect in your home town after you’re dead and dessicated.

We bought a place in an area known as the South Valley. A veritable real estate buffet, the South Valley is a hodge podge of trailers, mixed agriculture and animal husbandry with high dollar horse properties. Next door is a sheep herder. Behind us is some kind of fancy place, a whole compound. Don’t know what they do but the clerk at Western Mercantile says to not make the mistake of using their driveway (it looks like an easement or street) or the property owner will become unhinged. Across the street is a trailer park. Amid the mix, the polite term is to describe our place is “fixer upper” but it’s closer to a dump. Ugh. It has benefits though, the most obvious is a 2,100 sq ft shop building on the property. I have mixed feelings about that; I haven’t worked from home in years so it’ll be an adjustment. It also has a cute guest cottage meaning I can house two or three people who want to take classes on site (the move is why I said the last class I did was going to be it for awhile). Hopefully I can start having them again in May June July. Before then, we have to redo all the electric and install decent lighting among incidentals. I have a class scheduled for June July with openings starting in July August. I supply a rigorous learning opportunity on the topics of your choosing (you can work after class as late as you like with the shop so close) a place to sleep, breakfast and lunch. And maybe dinner if you’re willing to cook. Let me know if you’re interested.

Other than the guest house -the only pristine building- the property is in a sad state of repair. Parts of the house are rumored to be 200 years old with 18″ thick adobe walls. It was originally a stage coach station on what later became known as Route 66. Sounds quaint, no? The cost of having the foundation repaired wasn’t. It needs new floors, down to re-leveling. The partial second story -also needs work- has a bedroom and a bath that from the size of it, must have been a ballroom bedroom at one time. It also has a small basement, that’s unusual around here. The house has quirks, like interior stained glass windows. A previous owner must have been a Bavarian carpenter; all the interior and exterior doors are dark stained dutch doors -with a twist. The top portion of the doors fold accordion like. While not without its charms, getting this place together is going to be a ten year project. I feel like I’m camping and fishing things out of boxes. I have no furniture beyond what was in my shop in Las Cruces because my family is still down there. We’ve yet to put our home there on the market. [Anyone want to buy a 1,300 sq ft home in Las Cruces? It has water rights and a nice pool.] Here, I am all alone and sometimes lonely.

Outside are the towering trees typical of the area. There’s an eight foot adobe wall out front. There’s some fruit trees -technically, an orchard, meaning five or more trees- there are two wells (one for drinking, one for irrigation), and surface water rights. There are several outbuildings comprising a 30’X75′ metal shop building, a small horse house (space for two can’t be called a barn), a chicken coop with a run and a walk-in closet sized little house that is down right spooky -there’s a stuffed owl in there that gives me the creeps and I don’t like owls anyway since they eat cats- and I can’t wait to tear that down, I think it was the original outhouse. There’s also a carport with partial adobe walls all around, about four foot high. And the guest house. That’s the only thing on this property that is comfortably habitable. It’s about 700 sq ft with a bath and kitchen. It also has the dutch doors. The floor in there is pine, laid in a chevron pattern; it matches the pattern in the wood ceiling. Vigas are everywhere. Last of all is the back pasture. The neighbor next door was grazing his sheep there in exchange for taking care of it, irrigating and what not, but didn’t do such a bang up job, taking as good a care of it as he takes of his own and that’s not saying much. Mr Fashion-Incubator wants to plant meadow with native flowers and grasses. He’s hoping it’ll be enough to support a hive.

With the sheep herder next door, I’m looking forward to restarting my It all starts here series but with wool this time. Now I can take pictures of cute little lambs. One got stuck under my fence. Poor little bugger, he didn’t make it. The move being secret and all, I was sad and couldn’t tell anybody about it. Lambs are bigger than I thought they’d be. I was dismayed that I couldn’t find a box big enough to put the lost one in when I took it over to the neighbor. It was sad and undignified with its back hooves hanging out. Then, something killed my hens (Billina and Orangatang) who conveyed with the property. I was very distressed about their deaths. We buried Billina in the back pasture, Orangatang we never found beyond some feathers. We had what I thought was an equitable arrangement. I fed them, talked to them, helped them find each other if they became separated and started sqwaking -and they left me eggs. I couldn’t eat eggs for a month after they died. I enjoyed watching them mill around the property talking to each other. Live yard art. When The Boy moves up and can help out, I want to get more chickens and name them all Dorothy. Not so much for the eggs although those are nice (I do not like Store eggs, even the kosher ones). I like live things meandering about. The only thing I didn’t like about them was that they’d eat the coffee grounds I put around the apple trees. You’d think bananas would be enough to sate them but no. Chickens are pigs with wings.

I’m thinking about getting geese too. Geese are fun -especially if you have cats. Everyone walks spryly and vigilant-like, keeping tails close to bodies or else. I had geese before when I lived more rural still. I called them my Witness Protection Program. We had a problem with folks who drove down from the city, sales people or others coming door to door and they’d want to witness while I was working. Their rules say they’re supposed to leave or not bother you at all if you’re a business but they didn’t follow their own rules. Anybody with a lick of sense won’t try to go through geese but these folks did. It never ended as they intended, not after one or two of God’s creatures got close up. The fact that they’d even attempt it told you all you needed to know. The boy was younger then. He’d prop himself up on a chair in front of the bay window and wait for the show to start. If the driveway had been any longer, we could have timed their sprints.

My family is still down in Las Cruces, I’m holding the fort by myself for awhile. We haven’t sold our house in Las Cruces yet so who knows how long it’ll be before they move up. I miss my family and I miss (all) my cats. I brought the three boy cats here a week, month six weeks ago. Also in residence are three other boy cats that the former resident has yet to find a home for and I don’t think she will. At this stage I’ve become attached and think I will tell her that at least one of them has disappeared if she wants to reclaim them. After one day of spatting (but no swats), the imports and existing residents are doing well together. No small feat with three alphas and a xenophobic cat. Now I need a dog. Or two. Something dug up Billina the day before yesterday and the desecration disturbs me.

bobcat_lying1 One week before I left for SPESA, it became apparent that we had a bobcat problem. They’re cute in National Geographic but not after they take out two hens, one cat (Fluffy, I was so sad, he was my sweetest cat) and three four five lambs. I didn’t have the heart to attempt to convince State Game & Fish to waste their time trapping it; bobcats are too smart to get in a cage unless they’re really hungry -and this one has been eating fine. I needed large dogs, but not just any large dogs. I needed dogs that wouldn’t go after sheep, cats, chickens or kids. Not so easy to find, it was quite a search. I found a remote shelter that specializes in dogs for rural properties, it was a three hour drive each way to pick them up. Call it a service for the newly rural, there’s markets in everything.

I did most of the selection over the web and by phone, apparently people come from as far as Canada to get dogs here. The place does an extensive interview for the obvious reasons but also to determine needs, limitations, time, care, personality of both human and dogs as well as infrastructure and property size. We ended up with Sandy and Boo. Sandy is helpful, stays close and likes kids, hens and cats. Boo is a pure bred McNab shepard, he likes to chase cats sometimes if he sees them running which puts a scare into them but both dogs are sweet and docile companions who won’t like bobcats on the property anymore than I do. In fact, since I got the dogs, the only fatalities around here have been a slipper, a cat brush and a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Two weeks ago, Six weeks ago, Eric brought The Boy’s Mommy Cat, aka Shop Cat. She’s seems too old for 17, with a bad heart. We knew her eyes were bad but now I think her hearing is. I fretted the move would be hard on her but thought it’d work out, her originally being a barn cat who hunted prairie dogs and ground hogs. She never liked the city. She decided this place was great and completely settled inside of 15 minutes, surprising us all. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. I’d always felt guilty taking her to the city but I’m happy she’s in a good place to die when that comes. She sleeps on the Juki needle-feed most days and agrees it’s a grand machine.

Work wise… it’s hard. I can’t work in the shop yet and everything is still packed. The shop needs better electric, better lighting and climate control. I have a few books unpacked but am constantly reaching for an arcane title I can’t get to. Well, that’s not entirely true. When I was packing two four six eight months ago, I scanned the bar codes of each book as I packed it so I have a great database listing in which each book is boxed -numbered of course. The problem is I have no place to put books I pull out of cartons. I can’t work on patterns or sew anything -which I also couldn’t do however long it was before I actually moved so it’s been about four six eight months since I’ve been able to write anything fun. About all I can do is whatever I can cook up from the computer. It’s frustrating too; my posting suffers without work sources of inspiration to draw from. I can’t speak for any of you but moving is so detrimental to my equilibrium. It usually takes me about a year to recover and I expect this will take me longer since I’m not even settled yet.

Then there’s the issues of dealing with a bigger city. On the plus side there’s more amenities, the arts and what not. On the down side, there’s the bigness of it and having to drive. I mostly don’t drive anywhere, even for food. The farthest I’ll go is three miles to the dairy to buy milk products, farm eggs and whatever they’ve pulled from their back yard garden that day. Other than that, I live on pinto beans, peanut butter and vegetarian ramen until Mr. Fashion-Incubator comes on weekends and restocks the kitchen. Another plus, we have curbside recycling. In Las Cruces, we had to haul it ourselves and would save it up in 6 weeks worth batches. On the downside, the city doesn’t have a separate dumping place for yard waste and branches; it all goes to the landfill. It seems like such a waste. Another downside is my internet connection which is lousy. This being the ag part of town, it’s not much of a priority to the powers that be (ditto for power, the sky throws down two raindrops and the power goes out for an hour -a problem if you get water from a well like we do). Another downside is the northern New Mexico style food, I’ve never liked it, they do weird things to it. What most annoys me is that they don’t strain the chile pod skin out of the red sauce and they think the game is to make it as hot as possible (and locals who’ve never been anywhere near the border will argue how wrong I am for hours). Flavor is what matters, hotness alone has no chiste. If you just want the spiciest stuff, it’s more honest to get the original (Navajo food) but that is hard to find in my area. Another option are the few restaurants started by immigrants from down south but then it’s a crap shoot until you figure out which places are safe because most everything has some kind of meat product (lard) in it. On the plus side, Albuquerque is home to Double Rainbow Flying Star, my favorite coffee and dessert place. Mr F-I always orders Mexican food there and once it arrives, remembers why he shouldn’t but then forgets the next time around. After the last time, I’m not going to let him do it anymore.

I appreciate everyone in the forum keeping the news of my move confidential for as long as they did. Now that I’ve made a clean breast of things, I hope my posting won’t be as guarded as it has been since I don’t have to worry about spilling the beans. And if you’re local, do say hi!

[Updated 6/26/15]
My new contact info:
Apparel Technical Svcs
410 Old Coors Dr. SW
Albuquerque NM 87121

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