Monday, July 20, 2009


Well. I did have a dialup internet connection while I was in New Mexico, but there were so many problems with my laptop that it was hardly worth the bother. The battery won't charge, browsers crash, and something from AOL (which came with the machine) won't stop notifying me that an AOL connection is Available! I don't care.

So, except for some emails, IMs with the household in California, and a few scattered comments on other people's blogs, I didn't participate much in the wonderful world of the Internets while I was there. For one thing, I was very busy with the house and all of its many requirements, and for another I was informed that a household member in California was a big prize winner: VIP tickets to seven country music concerts -- and back stage passes for meet 'n' greets -- (Kenny, Keith, Tim, Alan, Brad, B&D, and Rascal Flatts) and would have to start going to shows pronto. Which meant, I thought, I would have to return early. Or something. Actually, I didn't, though. All sorts of upheaval, in our own lives and those of others -- recruiting people to go to the concerts with was quite a job, besides all the travel arrangements to be made, and on and on, made this into a "stimulus" issue, despite the free tickets. There were so many other things to consider, buy, arrange, take care of just to take advantage of the grand prize. You couldn't sit home bemoaning your fate as it were. By some happenstance, things worked out pretty well all in all at least for the Kenny concert in San Francisco. But that's another story.

One of the things I wanted to make note of was what additional effect the recession was having on my corner of rural New Mexico. What I found was that the Stimulus was in nearly full gear. The town has a whole host of infrastructure issues they've been preparing to deal with for over a year, and so they had plenty of shovel ready projects on tap. One of the coordinators of New Mexico Stimulus funds (or maybe even two of them) is from the town, so it was relatively easy to approval and funds in the pipeline to go ahead, so the water and sewer systems are being upgraded (yes, an area has actual "city" water and sewers!), roads are being repaired, fancy new signs are being put up welcoming travelers, and on and on. There's a corporation yard full of materials and equipment ready to go on other projects. It's really something. While things had looked pretty bleak indeed in March, they're looking up now. Quite a few people had left the area -- no work after the biggest employer in the area shut down -- houses were abandoned, the one on the property behind us had burned (arson), and things were grim.

One of the houses nearby had been vacant since April, the family that had lived there moving closer to the husband's work. When I was there last week, though, a new family was moving in as I was packing to drive back to California. The property behind ours sported a new mobile home as of May, and someone was living there until just before I left, when they moved out. No more businesses had closed in town, and one that was teetering on the brink of closure was doing fine now, so the owners said. People's moods were much better than before.

And I expected things to be worse, perhaps because they are getting grimmer in California by the day. Oh, a budget deal is rumored to be likely within the next few days, but it will be a monstrosity, like the last one -- only worse. People are not happy here in the Golden State, and they are not likely to be any happier after the slashing and burning of the State Budget.

They still know how to laugh in New Mexico.

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