Tuesday, March 23, 2010

8.11 Ounce Fight With 4:1 Odds

I learned several things on my recent excursion back to the homeland. Before I get deep into the subject at hand, let me point those things out for my own sanity.

1. Sometimes the best things are those we least plan.
2. McDonald's may not be the go-to place in the long West Texas drive, anymore.

3. Though I had stuck to dad's instruction of inspecting the vehicles used for travel all these years, the time I devi
ated from it, guess what? All of dad's warnings became reality.
4. If you wish a baby delivered i
n a specified window, call my wife and sister-in-law. They'll get 'ir done.

We had been toying with the idea of not traveling to meet Illianna -- our new niece -- until she made her showing. Because we live a round total of 1200 miles from the place of birth, risking a trip without a birth could pose a burden on a future rendezvous.

That said, Spring Break seemed perfect time to travel. Colder-than-usual weather would make the trip pleasant, in spite of how much Mrs. Commish loathes the land west of Abilene. And, Mrs. Commish and girls would be off of the week. The only one needing scheduling days off would be, yes, Yours Truly.

So, we took a chance. Tuesday last we headed out to El Paso hopeful, but nervous, that lil' Illianna would not make a showing.

Regarding point number three...

I didn't even lift the hood of the car upon take-off. I figured it had just been to the shop and things were OK. Well, the 600 mile trip was uneventful, mechanically. Nevertheless, on a short trip for cook-out supplies in El Paso, the A/C brought the temperature of our car to a rise. The "the-took-care-of-it" mechanics who changed my oil left the radiator cap loose. In the middle of one of the biggest sand storms in my personal memory, the car overheated and had to be stopped. I still have red marks from the sand hitting my back, as I held the hood firmly so the wind/sand blast would not blow it through the windshield. Dad's words swirled in my mind, as I was hoping there wasn't a tornado brewing, which would lift and hurl me on the 7th hole at Ascarate Golf Course nearby.

We landed in the Sun City about 14:00-ish, and family was ready, as they always are. I couldn't turn anywhere without someone handing me a cold lager, which hit the spot. Also, the Guevara-Portillo team made -- yes -- tamales, which were ready for our arrival. Oh boy, did those hit the spot. Wow!

Well, Monica, the mom in question (my lil' sister) was without any pain or so much as discomfort upon our arrival.

We couldn't have that non-sense.

So, Mrs. Commish (my wife), decided the thing to do was to make her walk, albeit a pleasant walk. It was suggested we go to Mesilla, New Mexico, as the town would afford a pleasant scenery, certainly plenty of time to walk, walk, walk.

Like good Mexicans, we loaded 17 people in two cars. We arrived in the quaint town and began the mission.

After walking and literally dragging her around for a couple of miles (Read: Aunt Tu literally pulled her by the arm), we decided it was enough. The drive back proved we might have been successful, as she felt "water" had come out. So, she got home, showered, put on fresh clothes and the water came coming.

22:00 hours on Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day 2010 -- Admission to hospital

14:05 hours on March 18, 2010, Ilianna is born, safely but not without a fight

All systems were OK with mom and baby. In the end, it was perfect. None of this was planned this way, ergo point number 1. We took a chance traveling, but Team Lizbeth-Idaly made sure that baby came.

And, in the end, it was about being with family. It felt very good.

Regarding point number two, McDonald's was a huge let-down on both stops. On the way there the wait was so bad, we got our order free. On the way back, they couldn't get our order right, and we literally wasted more than an hour.

The only redeeming factor about the McDonald stop is I got a figure of one of my favorite warriors, my man Yoda. As you all know, I'm sure, Yoda is the ultimate in Jedi-ness, even if he can't quite get proper English grammar right.

So, this adds another girl to the Najera grandchildren, making it 4:1 in our family. Four girls to my one nephew. In this picture, Ilianna was still in the womb, but not for long.

We couldn't be prouder.

Of course, what could be better than to the end the first day of Ilianna at home than a good game of cards with family. Can you guess who the sharks are at this table? I bet you can't. Looks can be deceiving.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Great Ideas Begin With a Cold Drink and LSD

**This story is an enjoyable account of how a Mexican man can really be trying too hard. If you read this and are NOT Mexican or of some Hispanic descent of the male variety, you may be perplexed. It is important you know this about Mexican men. 1. Most of us have a full-time job. 2. Most of us also have some sort of part-time job. 3. On top of that, many of us have "side businesses" going all the time. 4. Oh, and reason we're good boxers is not because we always win, but because we never quit. Now then...

The weather was been terrible in the Chicken Friend Nation (Dallas-Fort Worth) all February. I'm talking 10 inches of snow, and rain, rain, and more rain. We haven't seen the Sun much, and our energy bill is through the roof.

In the midst of that miserable weather, which we're not used to, about the only positive thing is the real snowmen the kids got to build, the snow fights, and even the sledding down the few hills around here.

The world heard about our weather. No news there.

What did create some news in my world is a decision a family member made on the whim, as they say.

Now, this may incur -- on my behalf -- some Man Law penalties, that I'm sorta selling out a man in my family. But, he's what I call, "small market," as he's not an online person, and surely will NEVER read this.

Also, he and I had enough laughs that day (after some fine lagers and many four-letter expletives) that this serves a one of those memories...

The temperature was in the low 30s. It was about 7 p.m., on a Monday. Mrs. Commish had an event at school she organized, so I usually do what I can to support her by attending, setting things up, etc. The call came in as we had finished setting up.

"I'm stuck in the mud. Can you come help me get out?"

In Mexican man terms that really means, "I did something really, really stupid. My wife is yelling at me through the door, and I'm running out of beer."

So, I left the school, jogged back to the house, got in my truck, stopped to get a fresh supply of cool lagers and headed to the crime scene.

Let me quarterback this for you...

Their house used to be our house. Dad and I built a chain link fence on the east side of the house, which we were very proud of. It -- the house -- sits on a corner, and the garage doors are on the east, too, instead of the front like most homes.

My Mexican cohort had done the following:

In a fury of rage, after an argument about dinner -- probably --, he decided he needed a reprieve from the home front, and the perfect excuse was to deliver a generator he had sold to a guy. The generator is/was one of the bigger types, i.e., heavy as hell to handle. The generator was placed inside a storage shed (I proudly built), which sits towards the back middle of the backyard. To his defense, it is a jog from the shed to the driveway, but a much easier jog to negotiate than what he actually did.

After the dinner which, caused this alarmed state of euphoria to begin with, he had a couple "soothing drinks" to ease the moment. And, in that soothing he thought, "Why not just drive my truck all way to the shed in reverse? I can load the generator much easier that way."

Well, soothing or not, he forgot the soil in this area is painfully deceiving. And, at the time of this incident, miserably moist and soft.

The drive in reverse to the shed was no problem, though he had to turn the front tires in an awkward angle to get real close to the generator. Feeling proud, accomplished and much better, he started loading the generator.

It was getting dark and colder. There was even a slight drizzle.

The front tires, turned almost all the way, began to sink.

It didn't' matter that his is a diesel, 3/4 ton Ford. It didn't especially matter that it went in fine. The truck was officially stuck in that backyard mud, and sinking by the minute.

Remember the movie, My Cousin Vinny? Marisa Tomei kept talking about positraction (LSD, but not the drug, rather limited slip differential) rear ends? By the way, I don't think anyone can quite describe LSDs quite like she did.

His truck did not have LSD. He attempted to place some boards under the one tire that would spin but no success.

Mud was everywhere, and when I did see the situation, I began to wonder what damage this backyard mud derby would have on the sprinkler system.

His blood pressure had risen. His soothing became altered rage. His outlook was desperate.

Just then, I arrived, still dressed in business rags, but with my Dodge 4x4 (the official Dallas Cowboys truck of the Najera Family as you can see to the left).

Mexican engineering requires two things: 1. Cold beer. 2. Lots of pointless argument about the plan.

The complexity of the thing was that the truck was facing in an angle which was not conducive to a straight pull. If we tied a chain the way it was, we ran the risk of pulling the Ford straight into the north wall of the house. Really bad move.

So, we made a serious but much less dangerous decision.

I could pull the truck straight from the street. A small problem, though, kept pestering our plan. There's the matter of the fence dad and I so proudly built. We decided fences could be re-built, but trucks did not belong stuck in the mud in backyards.

Ten minutes later, the fence was down and the truck was pulled out almost effortlessly by my truck, which I was proud of. With nearly 200K miles, I wasn't sure it had that kind of torque left.

Once we tied the fence back to the posts with rope -- literally -- , we sat to enjoy a second cold lager and recap the evenings events. Needless to say, the man did not get his generator that night.

We decided that next time a great idea like this comes along, for safety, we might want to consult each other, just in case.

The sprinkler system? We shall soon find out...