The blueprints

casa

HERE IS THE “blueprint” for the construction of the Hacienda. It was drawn by me back in 2002. I’m no architect, obviously.

It’s on standard graph paper. It’s the ground floor. For some reason, I did not save the plan for the second floor, but I do have one for the window designs, which I did, and another for the electrical schematic.

I used to be an electrician. Did you know that?

The only changes to the downstairs plan are that the stairwell to the left of the sala (living room) could not go directly up. It had to hang a right up top and continue, a question of physics, and we extended the recamara (bedroom) about a yard farther to the right to make it roomier.

The second floor is one huge space, a fireplace, a walk-in closet and a bathroom with shower stall. The upstairs terraza covers the downstairs bedroom, closet, hall and bathroom, the same fat L-shape.

The second floor extends from the stairwell all the way to the right. The downstairs terraza and the kitchen/dining room (cocina/comedor) have no second floor above.

The “patio de servicio” at the top left is open to sun and rain. That’s where you’ll find the propane tank, the washing machine and the clothesline. At the very top left you’ll see a bathroom. It only has a toilet, and it was there when we bought the property, a brick outhouse. We just left it in place. It’s now a storeroom with a never-used johnny.

The living room is slightly sunken, my wife’s idea. There is one step up to the dining room/kitchen and a step up to the pasillo (hallway) at the right. Both of these have a stone archway above, which is snazzy.

The design below is the downstairs terraza, side view, drawn by my wife who used to be a civil engineer. Did you know that?

Click on either drawing for a closer look.

Before the three albañiles (bricklayers but far more) and the helper began work in August of 2002, we got a permit from City Hall, and that was the end of that. No one ever came to check the work. Construction lasted nine months and cost just under $100,000.

We moved here in May of 2003.

The photo at the very bottom was taken around 2006, I’m guessing. You would be looking at the top diagram from the right. See that baby palm at the bottom left? It’s now about 18- to 20-feet tall.

The only drawback to being our own architects is that the living room could use more light. The windows facing the downstairs terraza are huge, but the downstairs terraza is wide and roofed, so little light enters through those windows. An architect would have seen that coming.

No matter. It’s why Edison invented light bulbs.

And, as always, tons of photos can be found here.

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The Zapata Files

LET’S OPEN the 70-year-old file cabinet and peek inside.

Oh, dear. Look at the mess, the disarray. This is not a “Father Knows Best” cabinet. There appears to be neither rhyme nor reason nor direction. The files go this way and that. Let’s take a closer look.

filesThis cabinet seems strangely familiar. I do believe it’s my personal cabinet.

There’s a whiff of Boodles Gin. And ayahuasca.

Getting out of high school at the top end of my class, I enrolled at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Thought I’d major in philosophy. Weeks later, I dropped out and joined the military. A couple of years later, with only one stripe, I dropped out of that too. Better go to college, young man, because everybody does it. A path to success.

About seven colleges and universities later (really), from Louisiana to Tennessee to California, I got a Bachelor’s Degree in History, useless but better than nothing. In the meantime, I got married, became a father.

A file is tabbed Descendants. Inside are two sub-files. One is labeled Offspring. It contains two sheets. One is rimmed in pink and says Alienated. The other is rimmed in black and says Deceased. The second sub-file is labeled Grandchildren. That file is empty — and always will be.

And here’s a file labeled Siblings. There is one sheet inside. It is rimmed in rainbow colors and trimmed like sharp teeth. It contains two words: Alienated and Angry.

Let’s open the file labeled Marriages. There are three documents. Three wives! Here’s a file labeled Employment. The entry with the most sheets is Newspapering, but I never took a newspapering class in my life. What happened to the History degree? There are other pages in Employment.

I see taxi driver, bartender, insurance broker, insurance salesman, repo man and electrician. Electrician? Where did that come from? Let’s open the file labeled Schooling. Behind the Bachelor’s Degree in History are other pages. One is an Associate Degree in Electrical Construction Technology.

Here too is a document marked Incomplete. Looks like I was one class short of an Associate Degree in Computer Science. Digging farther, I find other papers. One says Certified Massage Therapist. Another says Certified Mixologist. (No shock there.) Another says Certified Private Pilot. Clearly, I was certifiable.

I often envy people whose life had a clear and straight trajectory. But perhaps I had more fun. I hope so.

I definitely had more wives.