Whole lotta shakin’ going on

The Jesus Patio. The tallest “bush” behind it is the cursed pear. It’s coming down!

WHOEVER SAID life in retirement is easygoing was only sometimes correct.

We have too much on our plates right now. First, my child bride broke her arm a month ago. The cast came off last Friday. She still has swelling in her wrist, however, so we phoned the traumatologist yesterday. We got an X-ray of her wrist in the afternoon, and this morning we go back to the doctor.

* * * *

Five guys arrived yesterday morning and lugged the old LP tank from the service patio through the dining room, through the living room, and outside, leaving it in what I call the garden patio. It’s out back.

This tank is extremely heavy and six feet long.

I said it was free for the taking, so one of them will return Thursday morning and haul it away. It is 15 years old, our first LP tank.

We were going to have this tank removed in January when other work is scheduled, but this weekend a blacksmith is coming to install circular stairs from the service patio to the roof of the dining room/kitchen, something we should have done ages ago because it’s necessary to go up there at times.

Now I creak up there on a ladder.

The circular stairs will partially obstruct the door from the kitchen to the service patio and likely would have made removing the LP tank next to impossible. I say “next to impossible” because Mexicans can do anything.

So we got the LP tank out of there while we still could.

* * * *

There is another circular stairway on the upstairs terraza that climbs to the roof of the second floor. That stairway will be moved next January to the roof of the dining room/kitchen, so we still have access to the highest roof.

One circular stairway from the ground to the roof of the dining room/kitchen, and then another from there all the way to the roof!

And why are we doing that? Because we’re going to remove the small, tile roof from the upstairs terraza and install another that will cover the entire terraza. This is how that terraza looked on a fine day many years ago.

This is going to have an entire roof overhead.

But nowadays, it’s never used at all. It was never used much in the first place because it’s under blazing sun in the dry season, and it’s got an almost perpetual lake in the five-month rainy season.


In the above shot, you can see the current tile roof, a small one, at the very top. It was installed almost exclusively to cover the hammock that was there for years, but the hammock is long gone. I just stopped using it.

The new roof will cover all of the upstairs terraza. It will be either more red-clay tile, or something more modern — glass and steel, which will not blend with the architectural style, but it will be more convenient.

For the entire space to be covered, the circular stairwell has to go.

That work will be done early next year.

* * * *

At the same time, we’ll tear up the Jesus Patio you see in the first photo, replacing it with a larger patio with a nicer ceramic floor. We’ll also remove the cursed peach tree, not shown, and the damnable pear. They both toss hundreds of fruits on the grass every summer, and I’m sick and tired of picking it all up.

Nopal: Thirty-plus feet high.

Also to be removed is the cursed nopal tree. It tosses its little “tuna” fruit onto the new rock-and-concrete yard surface below, more crap I have to pick up. It sheds hundreds, perhaps thousands, of those “tunas.”

This nopal tree is at least 30 feet tall, and it’s covered with spikes. I stupidly planted it years ago when it was knee-high to a petunia. If I had only known.

Originally, I had planned on removing the nopal along with the other work in January, but I asked the crew who moved the LP tank if they knew of someone who would remove it for a “good price.”

Someone’s coming Thursday morning to remove the nopal! They will charge me $1,500 pesos, about $80 U.S. today.

* * * *

Our washing machine has committed suicide, so we bought another yesterday afternoon. The original washer, like the LP tank, was new when we moved into the Hacienda 15 years. I found a repossessed washer at a store marked down from 12,000 pesos to 6,500, which is a steal. It looks like new. Whirlpool.

We’ll repair the old washer if it doesn’t cost a bunch, and we’ll take it to the Downtown Casita for the convenience of vacationers.

* * * *

So, lots going on. I hope it settles down soon, and I can return to my previous life of croissantitos, orange marmalade, bagels, cream cheese, cafés Americano negro, and Kindle books on the sprawling plaza downtown in the afternoons, a child bride and no more broken bones.

Let us pray so.



24 thoughts on “Whole lotta shakin’ going on

  1. Felipe: You are an industrious man. My long-term chores include doing the laundry and going to visit my aunt.

    I hate circular stairs, but they are an excellent solution for occasional use. The building code in Canada does not consider them a means of access to a living space.

    Surprisingly, or maybe not, appliance repair (rather than discard and replace) is becoming a growth industry here. Maybe due to the cost increase of major appliances over the last 10 years.


    1. Kris: Circular stairs are cute to look at and, I think, kinda fun to climb. Straight stairs are easier, of course, but they’re not cute to look at. That the Canadian government officially frowns on circular stairs is yet another reason I’m glad not to live in that meddling nation. Sounds like California.

      As for repair instead of replace, Mexicans are masters at repairing instead of replacing. It does make sense. But in the case of the washer, getting a new one after 15 years isn’t so bad. The technology has improved markedly, and if the old one is fixable at a reasonable price, our Downtown Casita will get it, and that’s a good thing. Winning all around, just like President Trump.


      1. They don’t frown, just say that they are not an approved access/egress from a living space. In the event of a fire, or example, they’re difficult to navigate. The same applies to a ladder. Fine for attics or a roof, like you’re planning, but not to a second floor or bedroom, unless there’s another stairway.


          1. Remembering my background in engineering and construction, and the things contractors will try to pass off, I am grateful for a building code and building inspectors.


            1. Kris; I’m sure that’s very necessary in unscrupulous Canada, but down here in Mexico we’re all honest, and nobody ever tries to pull a fast one. It’s one of the many beauties of living south of the Rio Bravo.


  2. I am tired just reading about the ups and downs of your current existence. May all your trails end in flowers without thorns.

    However, I notice you are praying so I will start to pray with you. I wonder if we’re praying to the same entity. No matter. Prayers work.

    Saludos, Señor


  3. Poor Felipe. Life is tough for you right now, it seems. But you must be grateful for your Mexican compadres for it is they who will be the mules of your chores of changes. And cheaply too, I might add. Soon this will all be a distant memory. It likens to childbirth. Your exterior home improvements will look fabulous, those dreaded fruit-bearing trees will come down, but sadly your fruit-eating and -pollinating bats will have to seek their meals elsewhere. But best of all, your child bride will be on the mend. Life once again returns to near idyllic, high up on your Mexican mountaintop.


    1. Leisa: Well stated and true. I don’t think I’ll lose my bats. They were living in the terraza roof tiles before the fruit trees got big enough to make their messes. As for my child bride’s mending, we’re off to the doctor in a couple of hours. Fingers crossed. We looked at the wrist X-rays last night that were done yesterday, and our untrained eyes saw nothing broken. We’re hoping for a sprain.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. One thought about the glass and steel roof is that it may give off a greenhouse effect. Way too hot to sit under on a sunny day and the floor tiles would add additional heat. Cheers.


    1. Shelagh: That is true, and that’s why the roof would not be clear glass. There are products to add that cut down the glare to whatever degree the customer wants. We’d be doing something like that.


      1. Really, you’ve already gone native in so many ways. Why not do the Mexican thing and build a palapa on the terrace? If it’s well-made, it should shed rain, and it would certainly go with your architecture. And it’d certainly be cheaper than tile, and probably cheaper than steel and glass.


        Kim G
        Redding, CA
        Where blazing sun is a problem much of the time.


        1. P.S. Your “steal” on a washer looks expensive to me. I just looked at the Sears website and you can get a basic, top-loading washer for $448, or about $8,300 pesos. I hope you’re getting something far fancier for your hard-earned cash.

          As for newer washing machine technology, it’s a mixed bag. I have an 18-year-old Maytag top loader that I’m very happy with. But my mother has a newfangled top-loader that’s kind of annoying. Specifically, you can’t fill it with water before you put in the clothes. So you have to have pure detergent in contact with your clothing, which has ruined at least one non-colorfast T-shirt of mine. It also is designed to use very little water, which means that stuff doesn’t get as clean as you might like. It’s yet another example of “improvements” that seem more driven by government mandate than by what consumers want. Either that or I’m an oddball in what I want out of a washing machine too.

          In any case, best of luck.


          Kim G
          Where the new-ish dishwasher also takes an eternity to wash a load of dishes. Progress, I suppose.


          1. Kim: Yeah, the steal is not quite as good as I had hoped. Today we saw a very similar Whirlpool in Walmart. It cost more than we paid, but not all that much more. No matter. We bought it, so it’s done. It will serve us well. And it’s not a basic washer. It’s fancy Dan.

            I imagine you are an oddball in what you want from a washer. Okay, let’s be honest. You’re an oddball, period.


  5. Our house is also in need of some maintenance. The last time we had an overhaul, it lasted what seemed like forever as we had many things done all at once. Then the recovery seemed to last just as long. And now it needs all those things (after about 10 years) done again. Seems like only yesterday.


    1. Carole: Renovations, or about anything about a house, is far easier and cheaper to do in Mexico than above the Rio Bravo. Sell your place, and move south. That’s my recommendation.


  6. I hate to see the fruit trees go. Surely there is someone in your neighborhood that is keeping a few pigs. They would love that fallen fruit.
    The spiral staircase sounds like a broken neck. Mexicans have this thing about steps without a handrail. It scares the bejesus out of me. Moving furniture must be done very carefully.


    1. Señor Gill; No shortage of pigs. The folks right next door have pigs, but I don’t like them much and, apparently, the feeling is mutual. As for our spiral staircases, they will have handrails. No sweat. And as for moving furniture, I don’t do it. That’s why God made Mexicans. Well, at least Mexicans younger than I am.


    1. Ray: If these peaches were anywhere near as good as Georgia peaches, I likely would, but they are not. Not by a long shot. They’re miserable little things. The rats enjoy them.


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