Septic tank symphony

THE BOYS have been here for a month now, arriving every morning before 8:30., building the pastry workshop as my lovely wife has chosen to call it, not the kitchen, not the storefront.

This brief video serves just one purpose: to give you a short taste of life on a Mexican construction project. There on the left is the helper, José, who looks to be about 16. He should be in school. Down in the hole is Juan, who looks to be about 35. He is an artist at what he does, incredibly skilled.

The music is theirs, blaring from a dusty boombox nearby. A Mexican construction project requires music, always. The size of the crew varies, but usually it’s just these two because Ramón the honcho is also building the new courthouse downtown, and a courthouse outranks a pastry workshop.

Ramón told me it should all be finished in another week. Due to Christmas, I am skeptical. I’ve also decided to paint the entire façade of the Hacienda property, what you see out on the street. We will be so pretty.

rebarJust a couple of hours after the video was shot, the septic tank roof had been covered with boards — supported from below by parts of trees — and rebar laced atop the wood. There’s an opening at the top left of the tank.

And then just an hour or so later, the entire shebang was covered in cement.

cement

As always, a blow by blow photo spread of the construction can be found here.

And the previous post about this matter can be found here.

Let’s deport citizens

CAN A NATION inhabited by such colossally vapid people expect to stand?

Were Mexicans asked this same question, not one would be on board. Nobody.

Video by Campus Reform, which points out the stupidity running rampant on American campuses.

Poop hole, solar heat

excavateEARLY WEDNESDAY we left the construction crew working at the Hacienda and drove the 40 minutes down the mountainside to the state capital for a bit of shopping.

The honcho Ramón had told us he was renting a machine to excavate the septic tank. We envisioned a hand-held apparatus of some sort and a smaller hole, so imagine our surprise at finding this when we returned four hours later. The dirt this thing was excavating was being tossed into a dump truck out on the street.

That was Wednesday.

hole

forpoopBy late afternoon Thursday, the septic tank was making progress, as the photo just above shows. There is nothing prefab about this baby. It’s being built from scratch, like Granny’s peach pie. The bottom had been covered with a layer of gravel, unlike the pie, and a concrete foundation lined the sides, atop which bricks were placed.

Liberal use of string keeps things level, and notice the spaces between the bricks in the lower part of the wall, obviously some sort of filtration system. It’s a hoot to witness this process.

For previous entry in this gripping saga, go here.

As always, for a blow-by-blow photo history, go here.

solar

SOLAR WATER HEATER

While we’re on the subject of home improvement, let’s turn now to the solar water heater on the Hacienda roof, which has never worked well in the four years it’s relaxed up there.

About a month ago, a commenter on another post inspired me to climb the circular stairway to the roof yet again and test the water. Still tepid, so I decided to return to the hardware store where I purchased it and complain for about the third time. The gizmo has a 10-year guarantee.

The reason I had not pressed harder on this is because I know that guarantees in Mexico are less a promise than a come-on, a selling point. They are not cast in rock. There is little a Mexican loathes more than giving a refund.

Previous complaints led the hardware manager to phone the manufacturer, a major Mexican firm, while I was sitting there with him. Drain the tank to get rid of crap, I was once told. I did that. Another time I was told to flush the whole shebang with vinegar. Never did that because I had no faith it would work.

I won’t bore you with details, but today the hardware store will send someone to dismantle and haul this bugger away. Turns out they had discovered a major design flaw. Well, duh. Initial indications are that I will get a full refund, not a prorated one. The purchase price was 10,000 pesos, about $850 U.S. at the time.

We’ll be buying another one, a different brand with a better track record. The hardware manager said they only sold six of mine, and four were defective. He does not sell them anymore. He’s sold 26 of a different model from a different company, and they work great, he claims, plus it only costs about $450 U.S.

This turn of events would not have happened were it not for the verbal, unintended nudge of a commenter here some weeks back. I don’t remember who it was, and a cursory (I’m lazy) search of the stacks revealed nothing. Please raise your hand and take a bow. I appreciate it.

Your reward, should you choose to accept it, is a free week in our lovely downtown Casita. Bring a friend. No smoking, no pets, but other than that, it’s here for you. No joke.

Beasts breaching the barricades

THIS SHOCKING VIDEO is a stunning example of what can happen to a nation that opens its arms to people who only return the favor with mayhem and murder in their black hearts.

Weep for England. Blame political correctness. And rampant stupidity.

The sole reason this is happening more in Europe than in the United States is that Europe is far closer to the shifting sands of the Middle East where these fanatics spawn.

Note to university students: When you want to “divest” Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and the only place where women can walk free, these black-clad and bearded zealots are the people you’re in bed with.

General note: ISIS releases color pamphlets on rules for enslaving and raping non-believing women and girl children. That’s their approach to multiculturalism and diversity.

What’s happening in Great Britain and other uber-welfare states* of Europe in the name of diversity is not simply inviting a fox into the hen house. It’s ushering in a ravenous black panther. And it’s totally nuts.

* * * *

* It is the generous welfare that pulls these people in from the deserts. And a Jew or uncovered woman who walks through their insular neighborhoods in Europe does so at a very high risk. Mohammedans don’t assimilate.

(See Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech and the Twilight of the West by Mark Steyn.)

Nairobi lesbians

New ImageA FUN ASPECT to this blogging thing is followers. Everybody wants to have as many followers as possible because who wants to write if nobody reads?

I have a button in the right column where you can click “Get Mooned” to become a follower. Get Mooned. Get it? Usually, when someone decides to follow The Unseen Moon I get an email about it. One thing has become clear: Some people do it just so you’ll go look at their blog. It’s a fishing expedition.

Another method is “liking” a post. If you’re on a fishing expedition, this would be easier for you. Now don’t get me wrong. I am quite fond of followers which, in theory, are readers. The more the merrier, as it’s said.

There are ways to detect that a follower is just on a fishing expedition. Most have a Gravatar, which is a link back to them. Often there is another link and a photo on that Gravatar. If it’s a teenager, you’re likely looking at a fisherman. If it’s a teenager hugging a guitar, you’re definitely looking at a fisherman.

I’ve been thinking of writing about this phenomenon for a year or more. Yesterday, I was pushed over the edge. I got an email that I have a new follower. That person or persons is named “Nairobi lesbians.” Here is the Gravatar. The Nairobi lesbians Gravatar has neither photos nor links to a blog. They (or she) seem not to have a blog, so this appears not to be a fishing expedition.

One must conclude that one or more lesbians in Nairobi actually want to keep up with The Unseen Moon. I welcome that. I imagine that being a lesbian in Kenya is challenging, so perhaps I can offer some lightheartedness and political astuteness now and then.

I’m part of a lesbian family. I am intimately acquainted with lesbians. My only sibling is a lesbian. My father’s only sibling was a lesbian. My mother had no siblings, so her side remains a question mark. In short, I know lesbians. I have embraced lesbians often, literally. You might say lesbians are my people.

But I pray the Nairobi lesbians are not related to Barry Obama, a brother Kenyan.

That would be quite disappointing.

* * * *

(Note: I always try to  include some photo or artwork on posts that are related to the topic. Nairobi lesbians presented a challenge. I did a Google image search using “Nairobi lesbians” as a keyword and came up with some interesting stuff, but nothing I could display. I opted for some kente cloth. Everybody likes kente cloth.)

(Tomorrow: Beasts breaching the barricades.)

The tower view, 2

streetAS PROMISED yesterday, I climbed atop the kitchen/storefront lavatory and shot these photos. Above is our front street. I went for a Sam Peckinpah effect because I wanted it to look like an old Mexico movie.

Of course, Peckinpah’s actual movies were in color to accentuate the abundant blood flow.

Not much in the way of traffic out there, which is normal. This was photographed yesterday around 10 a.m. Sometimes there are men on horseback, plus the occasional burro.

In the distance, you can see trees on the right side of the street. That’s our local plaza, and it’s just 1.5 blocks away. Earth-shaking concerts are held there about eight nights a year. These events are inspired by stuff like saints, virgins and season change. We sleep with silicone earplugs on those nights.

About two years ago, a big blow, quite a storm, uprooted nine trees in the plaza, about a third of those present. It was never reported as a tornado, but I’m convinced it was.

Doing a 180, you’re facing the sex motel next door. I wouldn’t want you to miss that. You can see into the rooms, especially that first one. Those are the bed pillows. A similar direct view is available from the house’s upstairs terraza, and folks occasionally leave the curtains open, to their dismay if I show up.

The sex motel is a fun neighbor.

motel(Note: Coming up tomorrow. Nairobi lesbians!)

The tower view

View

ATOP THE LAVATORY of the kitchen/storefront under construction out near the street is a space enclosed by brick that will house the water tank. We have dubbed that high spot la torre, the tower.

I ascended by ladder yesterday, camera in hand, and was pleased by perspectives I’d never seen before. Above, you see the Hacienda house. Long-time passersby know that I’m inordinately fond of bragging on this place that we designed ourselves on graph paper in 2002. We hired no architect.

We’ve had fun decorating it over the years (I am an artiste!) and I was amused when John Calypso once commented that the living room looks like the lobby of a Turkish hotel.

That ivy-covered wall is stone. Its top is formed in the shape of the Alamo, and it was my idea to build it there to block the view toward the house from Nosy Parkers in the street when the main gate is open.

The orange edifice at the far right is the third story of the sex motel next door, its laundry room. If you click on the photo, it should get larger. That smoke at the rear is from the kiln of a family business that makes clay roof tiles. It’s farther away than it appears here. They made the tiles of our house way back when.

The yellow paint around the upstairs terraza is fresh, part of the work the construction crew has already done unrelated to the kitchen/storefront. Our second story is basically one huge room though it also has a walk-in closet and a bathroom with shower. The left-most window is where my desk and computer sit.

Downstairs, the window nearest you, is the bedroom. It’s the only actual bedroom in the house. We also have a bed upstairs for emergencies, but that big space is more than a bedroom. It houses my “office” in the corner, a gym set, two recliners and a nice Samsung TV for watching Netflix. The room isn’t cramped, due to its size.

At the right side of the archway entrance downstairs, a sharp eye will detect a stalk growing out of a tequila maguey. That stalk ascends higher than the second story of the house. I see it directly outside the window above my computer screen, and it’s a favored sitting spot in the mornings for a couple of black-vented orioles.

Things grow like mad here at 7,200 feet ASL. That fan palm behind the ceramic swan atop the wall is huge, and I planted it years ago when it was a tyke in a plastic pot. Same goes for the nopal tree at the far right and the yellow-green maguey to the left and the monster aloe vera a bit more to the left.

I planted them all when they were about the size of my hand. Stuff never grew like this back in Houston even though the climate is not all that different if you don’t count that Houston summers are far hotter.

That red wall you see extending to the orange property wall at the left, rear, is just a barrier I had built a few years after we moved in. It simply hides what I now call the Garden Patio. It has a concrete floor beneath which is a 9,000-liter cistern, another large above-ground water tank, and it’s where I keep yard gear.

It appears to have a tile roof, but that’s actually a neighbor’s house across the street back there.

The tower also provides an interesting view of the street out front. I should have photographed that too. I was going to shoot it this morning, but there’s too much fog. Maybe mañana. I want to get this item into the mail.

Kitchens and virgins

Tank space

CONSTRUCTION WORK continues at the Hacienda. In the photo above, you see a second-story brick wall going up that will serve to hide the water tank that will sit up there above the lavatory.

As previously announced, the initial plan of building a storefront has been modified. While the new space will have a large opening to the street so it can be rented or used as a storefront, our new plan is to outfit the area as a big, stand-alone kitchen where my wife can bake her stupendous pastries to hawk on the downtown plaza.

The new roof has been installed. Instead of just the traditional clay tiles that were there before, an additional subroof of plywood was added and the tiles now sit atop that. It makes for a tighter environment for the kitchen. The plywood will be painted to match the exposed wood beams that support the roof.

Saturday marks the end of the work’s third week and a photo album of the construction is here. The contractor initially told us the work would take four to six weeks, but that ain’t gonna happen.

The floor still has to be cemented and ceramic tile laid, the plumbing and electrical must be completed, the interior walls finished and painted, the door to the street installed, the propane tank, kitchen sink, bathroom sink, potty, water heater installed, the septic tank excavated. In short, God knows when it will be done.

* * * *

But Friday was more than just another construction day. It also was the Virgin of Guadalupe’s day. As you may know, the Virgin of Guadalupe is the personal virgin of us Mexicans. She is special to us because she is brown-skinned as most of us are. She is not just some old white virgin, and we love her for that.

Old white virgins — like old white men — are passé, so yesterday.

There was a parade downtown today, and there will be earth-shaking concerts on our local plaza Friday and Saturday nights. December 12 is when the Virgin was born, or was first spotted, or maybe her resurrection. I really don’t keep up with these things. I can’t keep Jesus’ or Moses’ lives straight, much less a Mexican virgin’s.

portal

I was downtown in mid-afternoon, and I shot this photo. It was tranquil — which is how I prefer it — the calm before the storm. But before I departed two hours later, there was a blaring taxi parade and associated drums, clarinets and tubas. The virgin apparently loves racket.

I got out just in the nick of time via a back street.