Toil and beauty

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Lovely red flowers adored by hummingbirds.

JANUARY IS THE time for annual chores, but the chores are done before a backdrop of beauty here at the Hacienda. Well, at least till the first overnight freeze clobbers us.

That likely won’t be long in coming.

The chores include paying for our post office box for another year. Paying for water at the Downtown Casita for another year. Paying property taxes for our three places. For the Hacienda and the Downtown Casita, we go to City Hall. For the Mexico City condo, which continues to be rented to a nephew university student, I do that online.

I won’t even mention that property tax amounts because it would shock and sadden those of you who live above the Rio Bravo and pay through the nose. The water bills too.

The Hacienda’s unmetered water runs 720 pesos annually, about $38 USD.

January is also a great time to begin outdoor renovations because the annual monsoon is on hold till June. The Hacienda is almost 17 years old and, like aging people, is beginning to sag. That includes the Romance Sidewalk, which was sagging at one spot, literally.

So the guy who was painting here for a couple of weeks — he finished painting — turned his attention to repairing the sidewalk. First, he ripped up the sagging section.

There was a little cave below, empty space caused by Lord knows what. Were there bears living in there? Wolverines? Rats? I neglected to snap a photo. But here’s how it looks after the cavern was filled with sand and concrete detritus.

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And here above is how it looks this morning. Ready for romantic walks in a level manner for another 17 years. We’ve now finished this season’s renovations at the Hacienda. However, there will be more work at the Downtown Casita. We’ll hire a blacksmith to install a circular stairway from the balcony to the roof and a handrail for the stairs inside.

A homeowner’s work is never done.

12 thoughts on “Toil and beauty

  1. Nice job. Home ownership is a lot of work. We put our cabin to bed in September and open it up again in March-April. I’ve lived enough winters in the bush. Not having to chop wood and keep the fire burning … priceless. And due to a windstorm yesterday there is no power on the island. Add to that there are thousands of homes in the interior still with no power for five days due to a snowstorm. I think I’ll just turn up the thermostat and perhaps have a swim after breakfast. I love renting!

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    1. Brent: I’d love to have a thermostat where I could control the Hacienda temperature. But that would entail all manner of expensive, related things.

      So we live as Mother Nature intended. Gets a bit hairy in January/February and again in April/May. Oh, well.

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  2. Central heating, instead of fumey gas logs, is a luxury yet to visit our homes. About that pot of red flowers, I’ve got one of those too, and mine is bigger than yours. Was going to attach a photo. but I don’t know how to do it.

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  3. A full time RVers work is never done, and Lord knows a boat owner’s work is never done. Apparently the solution is to not own anything.

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    1. Creigh: You’ve reminded me of something I read in the Houston Chronicle about 25 years ago. It was a piece about the pluses and minuses of homeownership as opposed to renting. The writer listed the pluses and his final item was simply that it’s fun to own a home. I had never seen that offered as a reason to own instead of rent. But it stuck with me because I very much agree with it. So even if the work is never done, it’s a fun experience. At least for me.

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      1. Here’s a quote for you, courtesy of Jack Kerouac, if I’m not mstaken: “Keep your overhead low. It’s the surest way to leading the life you want to lead rather than a life forced on you by circumstance.”

        That said, I agree about homes. I might have used the word “satisfying” rather than “fun.”

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        1. Creigh: Kerouac was quite right. If only he hadn’t boozed so much, but that’s another issue.

          And yes, “satisfying” probably hits the mark better than “fun.”

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    1. Señor Cotton: We replaced the original, hair-raising, three-story climb from the ground-level service patio with another, far shorter, from the balcony facing the street. I don’t recall which one you remember. The second was installed, if memory serves, about four or five years ago. I think you are remembering the first one, but I think the second was there on your last visit. In any event, this circular one is long overdue because I’m getting to old for even the short one. We should have gone directly from the three-story ladder to the circular, but we didn’t because it’s going to entail much more cost and labor. No matter. Progress!

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