One child cleans up in California as the other hunts gems in Mexico – Orange County Register

Jan 31, 2024 | Canyon Crest Guide Newspaper | 0 comments



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I guess the holidays must actually be over because the kids not only took down the Christmas tree and put it back into its case in the garage, but they also removed all the holiday lights from the front of the house.

People in this household are major procrastinators so this usually doesn’t happen until around President’s Day. So as you might imagine, I was shocked and delighted to return from my trip to Guadalajara to discover that mysterious forces had done this in my absence without any nagging on my part whatsoever.

I’m not really sure what’s going on around here, but strange things have been happening. The day after Christmas, when I’d gone to bed without cleaning up the kitchen, I woke up to hear strange sounds emanating from that room.

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I got up to see what was going on, only to discover my son, voluntarily washing the dishes and wiping down the counters, while listening to jazz. That’s right. I said jazz. Not Eminem. Not Kanye. Not Drake. But jazz.

This is a guy who was fired from the Von’s deli counter because he didn’t clean up satisfactorily when he worked the late shift. Like many men, he was just incapable of seeing actual dirt. Although he did learn to appreciate fine cheese while he worked there, so it wasn’t a total loss.

My first reaction to the cleaning and jazz was that he’d been taken up into a spaceship overnight and replaced by an avatar, but I asked him who won the World Series in 1938 and he knew the answer. At least I think he did, because I have no idea.

And then last night, he cleaned up the kitchen again. And even wiped down the counters. He’s on this bodybuilding regimen that involves a lot of cooking nutritional meals, and, greatly to my surprise, he’s cleaning up after himself. Combined with the decluttering project I have going on in the rest of the house, it’s entirely possible that our habitation might soon look like human beings live here.

As some of you know, I took my daughter Curly Girl, her baby Floyd and her best friend to Mexico for a few days, to celebrate her birthday. I’m always looking for excuses to go to Mexico, so that seemed like a good one.

We stayed in a cute artsy town called Tlaquepaque, located inside the metro area of Guadalajara, that’s become one of my favorite places. The reason for our trip was to go to a fire opal mine.

I know, you’re scratching your head and wondering what on earth I’m talking about. A few years ago, I went to a small town nearby called Magdalena that’s famous for its fire opals. There are hundreds of small mines in the area. I bought my daughter an opal ring set in silver at a store called Opalos de Mexico, and she loved it, because opals are her favorite gemstones. Even her wedding ring is an opal. (I know, I know, it’s not a good idea because opals are soft, but no one asked me.)

She immediately informed me that she wanted to go to this town. So that’s what we did for her birthday. We flew to Guadalajara and our driver, Anwar, took us to Magdalena where we not only went to the store but also to a mine.

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For $15, you can arrange to go to the fire opal mine called Santo Niño and dig around looking for your own opals. If you find one, you get to keep it. My daughter was beside herself with excitement at this prospect, so we headed out there one morning.

The mine manager handed us a hard hat and a rock hammer, and we took a short walk on the ranch. We ended up in a tiny box canyon of cantera stone, where miners were digging down in a small open pit. The manager demonstrated how to use the rock hammers, and then people got to banging away, trying to find opals in the rock.

I didn’t have any desire to mine opals, so my job was to hold the baby, who’s now 10 months old and a budding genius prodigy. My daughter handed him to me and said, “Don’t drop him.”

I told her that was my intention, to immediately drop her baby down the mine pit. She just glared at me and walked off. After maybe 90 minutes of hammering, Curly Girl and her friend had found a few rocks with glistening opals in them, but nothing that could be fashioned into jewelry. Meanwhile, Anwar found two nice pieces that we envied.

When everyone was tired of the mining life, we said thanks to the miners and headed to the town of Tequila, which was on the way back. It goes without saying that we all drank vodka at lunch. Okay, it was tequila. And, yes, that is the town where tequila was invented.

An hour later, we were back in our lodging and it was time for a nap, before doing a little shopping and eating the fabulous food available there.

Baby Floyd was an amazing traveler on his first trip. He never cried once on the airplane, surprising the people next to us who looked alarmed when we sat down with a baby. All in all, he’s clearly a superior international traveler, and I’m planning to take him all over. Just like Auntie Mame.

We’ll leave the son home to clean the kitchen.

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