Oh So Brownsville

Tracy saw a stray dog in Lowe’s the other day, just trotting down the aisles like it lived there. Then he heard an announcement over the loudspeaker: “If anyone’s lost a tan dog, it’s in plumbing.” Well, that’s optimistic on several counts.

Next, an employee tried to shoo it out the front doors, but it resisted. He ended up just picking the danged dog up and carrying it out. As soon as he set it down, of course, the dog turned around and followed him back in.

Oh so Brownsville.

Life is pretty laid back here. People follow traffic rules loosely. We saw a guy ride through an intersection on his bike at rush hour, the kind of big intersection where everyone’s in the middle waiting for a break to turn left. He just coasted through the middle of the chaos like he was a hapless hero in a comedy sketch.

Here’s what our days look like as we coast through the end of winter here.

Parrots, Goats, Fruit Trees

A flock of red-crowned parrots passes over us at dawn and dusk every day on their way to and from roosting at the sports park beside us. If I’m lying in bed or reading a book in the tent and I hear them coming, I know immediately what time it is (6am or 7pm). You’d think I’d have gotten good video footage of them by now, but danged if I don’t miss ‘em every time!

In the mornings, Banjo and I are getting ready to go walk in the field here. They’ll fly over while I’m putting her harness on her, but sometimes we’ll be in the field doing a few laps around the brush pile when they go over. I’ve got an eye on Banjo though because she likes to flush a certain cat out of the pile. She also eyeballs a goat in a neighbor’s yard. She knows that sucker isn’t a dog, but it’s also not a horse. What the heck is it?

I also keep an eye out for ripe fruit for Tracy, who delights in scavenging food. The citrus trees have suffered from the occasional cold night, as have the avocado trees (not pictured, that’s how bad they look). Check out the papaya tree on the right, though! Tracy says they won’t be ripe until this summer, but aren’t they lush-looking in the meantime.

Super Bowl in the Rec Center

We didn’t go to the Christmas meal in the rec center because I wanted to be sure I was healthy for when Finn got here (health and school-shooting updates are below), and we got flack from our neighbors about that, big time. So, for the Super Bowl in the red center we made sure to prep a snack and show up on time as instructed.

You’re probably familiar with the scene. We show up at the carrying a basket of brownies for everyone and beers for ourselves. We’re wearing clean clothes, even! Let’s party.

Only, no one’s there. The TV is on and a few coolers are set out at the banquet tables in front, but nada in terms of partygoers. We’ve been had! Turns out most people show up at halftime. So we played pool with the old guys for a while, then sat down with the few early viewers.

Immediately after the Star Spangled Banner though, someone wanted to turn down the volume, at which point our neighbor pressed a button and the screen went blank. And no one could get that TV back on again.

Word was the only dude in the entire park who knew how to work it is Robert the Groundskeeper, and he was watching the Super Bowl elsewhere for the night. So we sat there complimenting each other on homemade meatballs and Chex mix, staring at the blank screen just in case it spontaneously came on again.

Eventually, someone walked in and dared to press a few other buttons, and we were back in business. They TV was still too loud though because everyone was afraid to touch it. But that was okay; we had chicharrones. Oh so Brownsville.

Border Patrol?

Lots of days here are seriously windy, so we stay inside, which Banjo protests.

We made up for time inside on the first warm, non-windy day with an afternoon at the beach. Everyone at nearby SpaceX is gearing up for a launch, hopefully before we leave March 15—we really want to see it! So many heavy trucks have been delivering parts and fuel and such to Starbase that they’re replacing sections of the road right around it pretty much constantly.

We waited for ages to drive through the customs checkpoint, and the guy with the gun looked right at Tracy and paused. Was he going to ask us anything, or could we drive through? Long silence as Tracy thinks about pressing the gas and risking this guy’s ire or sitting there unnecessarily. So hard to tell.

Finally, the guy asks if we enjoyed our paddle in the water. What?

Oh yeah, we have kayaks on top of the truck! Tracy tells him we didn’t take them off and then has an awkward exchange about tide versus current, until he realizes the guy is making conversation to fill the silence created by us just sitting there and is not in the slightest bit testing us. We finally drive through. Border patrol small talk: Oh so Brownsville.

Evenings we sit out in the tent reading and listening to music, waiting for the parrots again. I can stand in the road for ten minutes watching the sky, and as soon as I go in to the bathroom they’ll fly over. Bastards, fooling me into thinking they’re predicable and then cruising on by in their own time. You know, oh so Brownsville.

  • Health update: I was sick with Covid for a full yucky day, but thank science it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first time I was sick. Tracy sidestepped it, again!
  • Shooting update: The mass shooting at Michigan State University happened while Finn was at his house near campus, but not on campus. He’s okay.