Soggy Sunday in late Spring

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Sheep’s tail relishes the aftermath of rainfall this morning.

IT RAINED yesterday, and it rained again this morning. It’s supposed to rain this afternoon. We embrace this even though we’re not sure of the cause.

It could be the start of the five-month rainy season, or it could be due to the hurricane out in the Pacific, or it could be both. No matter. We’ll take it.

Sunday is a good day around here. There’s a certain sameness to Monday through Friday, and Saturday is devoted to pastry sales downtown. Sunday is up for grabs.

There is some routine to Sunday. My child bride usually irons. We invariably go to a restaurant for lunch, and we usually watch a Netflix movie in the late afternoon.

But if we wish to change all that, we have the right.

Every morning of the week, after croissants or bagels at 8, we move from the dining room to the living room and plop down into the cushy sofa for a spell. Put our feet up. It’s one of the best times of the day, every day.

If the light is just so, a cobweb or two around the big living room becomes visible. We really should have a maid, but we don’t, mostly because we are solitary people who don’t want anyone underfoot. So my child bride does the best she can, ever bitching about why didn’t we build a smaller place.

I help a bit, but most of my work is in the yard. Plus, I’m ancient.

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Even the Jesus Patio table welcomes the rain.

The rain has cooled things considerably. We didn’t have the cooler blowing upstairs last night, and we only turned on the ceiling fan in the bedroom. The tower fan stayed in the off position.

Not only is it fresher, but we’re feeling good, which is notable due to both of us having some health issues in the last few months, things that appear to be resolving themselves. Sunday is usually a great day.

Even better if you’re feeling fine.

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From the downstairs veranda this morning, also enjoying the cool air.

Eternal bloom from the barrister

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STEVE COTTON, a retired barrister from Oregon who now lives occasionally in the “little Mexican village” of Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, and writes now and then on his website Mexpatriate — In the Key of Steve, came with family in February to stay in our downtown casita for a spell.

Señor Cotton, being a well-bred sort (tip of the sombrero to his Mom and Pop), as a token of apreciation — I didn’t charge him for the rental — left this orchid for us. We transported the flower from the downtown casita here to the Hacienda where we live, and we sat it atop the dining room table.

As I said, that was February … of 2017.

Yes, the orchid has graced our table for over a year, and it’s never lacked flowers. I find this remarkable. I didn’t know any plant flowered for more than a year.

So every morning especially, as we chew toasted bagels with cream cheese or the occasional croissant with orange marmalade, we think kindly of the former Oregon barrister who now lives occasionally — when he’s not flying all over the place — in the “little Mexican village” of Barra de Navidad, Jalisco.

Sometimes there’s just too much

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About half finished with this year’s section. Photo from this morning.

I’M A LAID-BACK kind of guy. Don’t like having lots on my plate. Prefer having my feet up on the desk, or up on the table on the Jesus Patio. I’ve always been this way. Some call it lazy. I call it relaxed.

So I’m on edge of late. The biggest bother is the guys out in the yard. They arrive every morning about 8. We hardly have time to eat our bagels before the doorbell is clanging, which means I have to move the cars from Point A to Point B because the guys mix cement in Point B. The Honda goes out to the street for the day.

As I’ve dreamed of doing for years, I’ve begun the process of eliminating most grass from the yard and replacing it with stone and concrete, a process called empedrado, very common in these Mexican parts.

Looks nice and doesn’t need mowing.

The work being done this year will uproot about a fourth of the grass that will be uprooted when all is done in three more years. A big semicircle in the middle of the yard will stay put, the only grass I’m keeping. I’m doing the work in stages every winter.

That’s one thing on my mind. Another is that renters arrive to the Downtown Casita on Friday, and I want to get some plumbing and electrical work done there first. It could wait, but just this morning the Hacienda’s solar water heater sprang a leak, so I called the plumber. Maybe he can do the work here and at the Downtown Casita in one fell swoop.

Or not at all. You never know.

Retirement is supposed to be easier than this. I want the workmen done and gone. I want the solar heater to quit leaking. And I want my feet up somewhere with not a care in the world, reading my Kindle and dozing off now and then.

Now that’s the good life.

Post-bagel labor

MOST WORK around here gets done in the morning, and that would be after the bagels and cream cheese.

The labor this Good Friday morning included the yearly cleaning of the underground cistern.

Child bride descends to mop after I had descended to sweep.

Our concrete cistern holds 9,000 liters of water.

The reason you don’t want to drink tap water in Mexico is less because the water didn’t come from a clean source at the get-go. It may have. For instance, our municipal water comes from an underground spring. It is quite clear.

What happens is that almost everyone stores water in an underground cistern. From that cistern, water is delivered, one way or another, to a roof tank, and from there it’s dropped into the house faucets via gravity.

There are variations, but basically that’s how it works.

I have no statistics, but I’d bet a pocket of pesos that few homeowners ever clean their cisterns. I’ve peered into cisterns that you could use for a horror-movie scene.

But we are better than that.

Here’s how we clean ours. First, we turn off the incoming water. After that, it takes almost two weeks to empty as we use the water in the house. Finally, the cistern is empty, and we switch to a small backup tank for a day or two.

We leave the lid open overnight, and the cistern’s dry in the morning. I go down and sweep. She goes down and mops. We turn the water back on, and toss in half a liter of bleach.

Here comes fresh water into the clean tank! Yipee!

It takes three or four days to refill. The municipal water runs six days a week for six to eight hours daily.

* * * *

Other labor

Having finished that work, it was time to reassign cacti.

You’d think that after what happened with the monster nopal that I would have learned my lesson regarding prickly plants.

But I’m stupid that way.

I love deserts and the things that live in them. I used to plant cacti in my yard in Houston, and they never did squat.

The tall ones.

Next to the verandah, there’s this stand of pole cacti that I started years ago with one small one. The tallest now is six and a half feet high.

Another shorter — but not by much — stand nearby provided a cutting about 15 inches tall. It has been planted out by the property wall, and I anticipate a nice stand of pole cacti there in a few years —  if I live so long.

The little bugger.

Being a newbie, it needs a little support from string and a stick.

Following these two chores, I only had to water the potted plants on the verandah, dust the shelves and sweep the floor.

The only other labor for the day will be cooking pasta and broiling salmon. After that, it’s a café Americano negro on the downtown plaza, watching the beautiful tourist babes.

It will be a Good Friday. Even if I’m not a Christian.