We always have a housesitter when we travel, so it’s a case of “no news is good news” when it comes to knowing what’s happening on the homefront. However, while we’re almost a thousand miles south, we encounter lots of little New Mexico-isms on a regular basis. First there are the license plates of the guests at our vacation spot. Then there are the Kokopellis that grace much of the tourist-wares for sale in town. And then a boat or two in the marina with a New Mexico placename on the back and even the catamaran here on the beach that hails from Santa Fe. We’re far from home but never far away.

Some reminders are less pleasing that others. Like the Mother of All Goatheads we found in the lawn two nights ago. We had just that day been opining that Goatheads didn’t seem to grow down here, surprising considering the sheer volume of those awful green ground clinging vine producing abominations we have at home. But in truth we had never seen a single one, that is until MLW stepped off the seawall and straight into a mat of them. Barefoot. I’ll admit I was shocked, but I quickly channeled that shock into anger and determination. Falling to my knees I dug every last little vestige of the beast out of the Bermuda Grass until none was left. My hands were numbs with sticker punctures, and many seeds escaped, but the plant was gone and in the trash and defeated in its nefarious task of reproduction. How it got here is unknown, but a guess would be one stupid burr traveled down in someone’s boot or on their dog and kicked off the colonization of this pristine environment. And I’m glad I did my part to stem it.

The other little hint of home was less direct. Our shower has a tile bottom so we went out and bought a rubber mat. I dropped it in place and forgot about it until the next time I went into the bathroom and smelled that most ghastly yet common of smells – Skunk. We lived on a Skunk highway at home and barely a night goes by that one of us doesn’t have to get up in the middle of the night and close the door because one of those little black and white monsters has let go nearby. A few nights before leaving, I encountered one under the bird feeder when I went out to reload the animal cam. In other words they are pretty common. So it was with great surprise that I found myself in the midst of Skunk stink in the middle of the afternoon in Mexico. Not that there aren’t Skunks here too – I saw one sizing up the swimming pool only two nights ago – but afternoon is a weird time. I stood there sniffing and sniffing and just when I was beginning to hyperventilate, it dawned on me – the new bath mat smelled like a Skunk. So now, each day I am reminded of what I have to look forward to in a mere 5 days.

You can leave home, but home never really leaves you.