The water jungle


And the rains came . . .

The change seems to come overnight, but it actually takes a spell.

And things happen, large and small.

* * * *

Swallow this!

Saturday night, during a downpour, I opened the steel door from the kitchen to the service patio. There’s an overhang under which runs the clothesline, a clothesline that draws no attention to itself most of the year.

But swallows like to sleep on that clothesline during the rains because the overhang keeps them nice and dry, and that would be okay if they didn’t crap on the floor. They are nasty guests.

On opening the steel door that night, I saw one swallow there, so I yelled at him. He ignored me even though he was only about three feet away.

Smart ass, I muttered to myself as I went for a broom. I whacked the clothesline with that broom, and he sped away, leaving white poop on the cement floor.

Of all the nerve.

* * * *

Like the goat Hefner

Later, I was in the downstairs bathroom, the big one, brushing my teeth, getting ready to lay my aging carcass on the king bed with my child bride, like the goat Hefner and his preposterous playmates.

Drip, drip, I heard, alarmingly. There’s a skylight over the tub, and it was a leak. Fortunately, it was falling into the tub so no harm done. I checked the two other downstairs skylights, one in the hall, one in the closet.

No leaks, but the season is fresh and young, as I once was.

I sealed those skylights with silicone in May, and what good did it do me? The other two will give out before September for sure. One cannot win against water.

* * * *

Making lakes

Depending on which way the wind blows, a good stiff rain can leave lakes on the floor of the downstairs terraza. Sometimes they are small ponds. Other times, the lake covers almost the entire terraza, a roofed terraza, mind you.

Later, it’s necessary to push it all out with a broom and squeegee.

* * * *

Blame is mine

The windows have never worked well, probably because I designed them and then hired a third-rate carpenter to build them. There’s no one to blame but me.

No matter how much silicone I squeeze along their edges, water still finds a way. Paper towels are the permanent, stopgap solution, it seems.

* * * *

Curtain mice

Years ago, I lived alone in a two-story rental closer to downtown. The summer rains would drive mice inside. I set out sticky paper nights, and mornings I would fling the little thrashing buggers over the property wall into a sewage creek.

I was an unkind man.

One night, lying in my bed reading a book, the drapes pulled shut nearby, I heard a scurrying sound as the curtain jiggled from bottom to top, as if something were climbing up from the floor on the far side.

He reached the curtain top, and peered over, and our eyes locked, yes, another dratted mouse! I shut my book, closed the door and slept that night in the upstairs bedroom. He was gone by morning. I think.

In that rental, on three occasions, I found rats in the toilet bowl. I just flushed them back where they came from. Don’t live next to a sewage creek.

A rat flushes easily, if you didn’t know.

* * * *

Poison and peaches

But that was then, and this is now.

Outside, the yard is going wild. Abel, the deadpan neighbor and lawnmower man, cuts the grass on Saturdays, and by Monday it needs it again. That’s just not right. We await the following Saturday anyway.

Snails come out and eat my poison. Flowers burst forth. The fruit trees muscle up. Soon, peaches will litter the grass, to rot and annoy me. I must wipe the glass-top table and web chairs every morning if I intend to sit out there.

* * * *

The good finale

It’s a superlative spot to sit, that stone patio, when the sky is partly blue, the temperature is 75 at noon with a gentle June breeze, and the hummingbirds and butterflies are making rounds to the riot of bougainvillea, banana tree blooms, nopal flowers and anything else with a hint of tasty color.

I sit there amid the grass under the big brown umbrella with a book which usually gets closed swiftly because one cannot read and sufficiently appreciate the cool, clear air one inhales in this damp summertime world . . .

. . . making me sleepy.

So much better than the dust of spring, no matter the leaks.

And there are no mice. It is a joy.

14 thoughts on “The water jungle

  1. There is a tropical “disturbance” offshore from mid-Belize this AM. Storm tracks take it over in your direction eventually. Unless it goes into the GOM.


    1. Carole: You had me scratching my snowy noodle for a few seconds over GOM. I finally decided that means Gulf of Mexico.

      Yes, let us hope it heads out into the GOM.


  2. My roof leaks, too. First the front room. Patched. Now the spare bedroom. Waiting a repairman. The front yard is a wild tangle of weeds overtaking the dry season flowering ground cover. Water is abundant except in my indoor plumbing which decided to quit last night. Sigh.


    1. Peter: Your Smiley did not show up correctly here, at least on my screen. But it did in the email copy I get. Go figger.

      In any event, I like feedback, so thanks.


  3. We have rats as well. We live on the ocean and that means rats, It matters not how clean you keep the place, Norma is very clean. The rats were here before us and they will be here after us.

    Last winter we had a house sitter who left the place vacant while he had dalliances with his girlfriend on an island where she lived. Rats love to have the place to themselves so they thrived. They had rat parties.

    When we returned home and started the dishwasher, it deposited several gallons of water on the kitchen floor. The repairman came and told us that everything made of rubber or plastic (including the pump) underneath and inside the washer had been eaten.

    It was cheaper to buy a new dishwasher than to repair the old one.


    1. Croft: I assume you will not be employing that house-sitter in the future. Jeez.

      I’ve never heard of a connection between seacoast and rats, however.


  4. A Mexican swallow is one of the most aerodynamic creatures on earth with their split tail design copied by our latest jet fighters. The swallows’ main function in life is to eat as many pesky and annoying flies as possible. I enjoy watching their daily dive bombing to rid the world of flies.

    Smart Mexican builders use gravity to rid flat surfaces of standing water by either elevating one end or by creating a king-size shower floor with a drain in the middle.


    1. Andres: Our principal roof, over the second floor, has a very slight incline to it. You hardly notice while walking on it, but it does the intended trick. There are no leaks there even though there are three skylights. The skylights downstairs are put into the floor of the upstairs terraza where there is no incline to speak of, if at all. And therein lies the problem.


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