De' fliengde Vuogtlänn'r

Observations, rants, etc. from a guy who really gets around.


Getting Acclimated

Actually, the first challenge for me in Albuquerque was getting accustomed to the altitude and the dryness. The dryness I loved right away, after having spent 5½ years in the humidity of Alabama (no, I never "got used to it", as they kept telling me I would). The altitude was a bit harder. And going on a honeymoon camping trip to the Fourth of July Campgrounds out near Tajique didn't help. I kept wondering why I had no energy until Virginia told me that we were up around 7,000 feet. Oh...

And even though I loved the food, it still took a while to get accustomed to how incredibly spicy it is. I learned that there are actually three things that are lumped together under the heading of "Mexican food". There's true Mexican food, the way it's done in Old Mexico. Good stuff, but not as hot as ours. Then there's "Tex-Mex", which is basically what you get at Taco Hell. Somewhat of a bastardization, I'd say. Then there's New Mexican food -- hot enough to take the enamel off your teeth. Anytime I'm back in town, I know right where to go to get the good stuff.

When Virginia and I first got married, we got a one-bedroom, third-floor apartment near Central and San Mateo. Even back then (1982), it wasn't a great neighborhood, but it was better than it is now. We only stayed there for 7 months and were glad to leave when we did. A few nights before we left, some guy got pulled out of his apartment and stabbed.

Setting up a household is rather interesting, as well as daunting. I hadn't had to do much housework in the 6½ years of active duty, so I didn't mind doing the dishes and the laundry. Virginia hated it, so that worked out quite well. The one incompatibility was that she's a night owl and I'm a morning person. That got rather interesting, since I was working nights a few times. I'd come in around 6 in the morning and try to wake her, but no luck. One day, I even sat on the bed and said "Are you awake?" Yes. "How do I know you're awake?" My mother eats.... "Dirty tennis shoes?" ...dirty tennis shoes. "OK, you're awake." Then I went out in the living room and read the morning paper. When she finally got up, she gave me heck for not waking her. Had no memory of our conversation. Scary.

Working as a security guard just wasn't doing it, so I found a part-time job repairing pallets at a local food distribution company. That helped out a lot, but after a while, I had enough of the security gig that I had to quit. Just too much aggravation. After that, the job search was just a constant hassle.

Before we moved, one of the irritants was that our neighbor kept stealing our paper. About once a week, I'd go out to get the paper and it wasn't there, necessitating a call to the carrier. Then, one day I had a flash of inspiration. I took the previous day's paper and taped a piece of writing paper over the headline. On that, I wrote "Please stop stealling our newspaper". The next morning, I was ready. When the carrier tossed the paper up onto the balcony, I quietly opened the door and switched papers. Later, I noticed the rigged one was gone. Problem solved; our paper was never stolen again.

That first (and only) Christmas together was rather interesting. We got invited to her family's celebration down in Socorro. The only part I really remember was that just before we went down there, Virginia's dad checked the road conditions, as there was some snow in the area. That's when I learned that if more than 20 flakes fall, all the roads are "snow-packed and icy". It wasn't until we were just outside Socorro that we actually saw real snowflakes. And there was a bit of snow in Socorro, but the streets were all clear. Go figure.



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