Sunday, December 26, 2010

Santa's Helper

For three years I've had a great helper named Vicente who has helped with the yard work at our Wimberley home. He has built stone retaining walls, spread loads of dirt, and moved many thousands of loose rocks into neat piles and rows. Vicente has been the most reliable and honest guy I've ever hired.

His English is better than my Spanish, but we still have a hard time communicating at times. Once I had him and his friend do some yard work on a weekend when I was gone, so the following weekend I paid him for the hours I had understood they worked. A few minutes later I was working away inside the house and there was a knock on the door. It was Vicente telling me that I had paid him too much, and he gave me some of the money back.

We took this photo earlier today when Vicente brought his family by to visit, one of his Christmas traditions. Only this visit was bittersweet. I may never see Vicente again because our US wacko immigration policy requires him to go back to Mexico in January. And he'll do it because he always does what he is told to do. I know the immigration mess is big, complex, and can't possibly be fair to everyone. But this one case tells me there must be many more equally sad cases out there. And it tells me that we need some kind of comprehensive immigration reform soon to start the decades-long process it will take to get us out of the mess which we spent decades creating.

Best of luck Vicente, I'll miss you.

Cat from Hell

One of our holiday traditions is working jigsaw puzzles, and we have now started following that tradition in Wimberley. This one was so tough it needed a couple of holidays to accomplish, starting on Thanksgiving and finishing late last night just before Christmas day was over. A thousand pieces of diabolical. Much more trouble than a real cat... but no litter box needed.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Aftermath

Our first Christmas tree ever in Wimberley (cut from the front yard) looks a little lonely in this photo. OK, it looked kinda sad even with the presents under it. We just finished the gift opening frenzy with Mike & Ginny and families, and are getting ready for round two this afternoon at the Chambers' home in Austin, followed by round three Monday/Tuesday in Dallas with the Smith clan. Merry Christmas everyone!