She does do windows

maid
That’s Maria on the ladder. She’s kinda short.

PROBABLY MOST people in Mexico, especially the foreigners, who can easily afford domestic help have domestic help.

While we have a maid who does monthly cleaning at our Downtown Casita, we have not had a maid here at the Hacienda in about 10 years. Neither of us like people underfoot, even if those people are lessening our workload.

My child bride has done most of the housecleaning for years, and I have done most of the yardwork for those same years. It seems fair enough, though I think I get the better part of the deal especially now that I have almost abandoned yardwork, turning it over to Abel the Deadpan Yardman.

But housecleaning here came mostly to a standstill when my wife broke her left arm almost two months ago. I picked up some slack, mostly ironing, but actual cleaning, well, it got a little grimy hereabouts.

Finally, we surrendered and called the maid, the same one who cleans the Downtown Casita. Her name is Maria.

There is a second reason we have avoided maids. They steal. Of course, they don’t all steal. Maria has never stolen anything from the Downtown Casita, and I cannot imagine she would steal anything here. But our last maid stole, and I know that it’s a common risk with domestic help.

We would leave home while the previous maid was here, giving her free access, access she took advantage of, which we noticed during the months after we let her go for other reasons. The robbery only became obvious later.

Clothes, music CDs, etc. Lord knows what else.

So we have a new rule. We never leave a maid here unsupervised. We will stick to this rule even though we have complete confidence in Maria.

There is one problem I have noticed. Both Maria and my child bride are gossip hounds, and if they’re in the same room together, Maria’s work tends to slow or stop while the mouths run. Why do women chatter so?

Maria came last week and this week, and things have gotten tidy again. We will likely hire her once a month in the future. Or not, depending.

We still dislike people under foot.

One great day

view
This morning’s scene from my rocker.

HERE I SIT on a rocker. It’s around 10 a.m., and I’ve already watered the veranda potted plants and the hanging ones too. I’ve cleaned the glass-top table on the Jesus Patio, and I’ve changed the yucky birdbath water.

At 11 we’ll be having second breakfast — either oatmeal or cereal — and then I’ll don old pants, take off my socks, slip my tootsies into ancient Crocs and circle the yard perimeter with my new Stihl weedeater.

When that’s done, I’ll shower and dress myself up. Later, I’ll make lunch, which will be fish burgers, wild rice, sauteed veggies and lentil soup from a can. I’m no elitist.

After lunch, we usually watch a show on Netflix before heading downtown. My child bride to her sister to gossip and me to a sidewalk table with café and my Kindle. I’m currently reading a bio of Ronald Reagan by H.W. Brands.

Tonight will find us in our soft chairs watching two more shows on Netflix while supping on big salads that I create myself. We don’t have real jobs, of course.

This routine is so grueling that we felt we deserved a vacation, so next week we’ll be heading to Colima and Comala for a few days. I’ve never been there. I want to see the volcano.

Now, on to politics: The California Democrat primary takes place Tuesday, and Bernie might beat Hillary, which would be an hilarity. And then the Brexit vote comes on the 23rd, and I’m rooting for a British departure.

It’s a lovely day, but it will rain later.

Thanks for stopping by.

The Ironman

weightsI AM TRIM and, to all appearances, quite healthy for an old fart.

I attribute this to years of steady, light exercise, salads and a child bride. Don’t discount the latter.

In 1980, I weighed 60 pounds more than I weigh today. Oddly, I was not so much fat as formidable.

It was in that distant year in New Orleans — where I often would eat French fry po’ boys — that I decided to get trim and svelte.

Being fat is not an issue of hunger. It’s about habits and emotions. Services like Weight Watchers can address your bad habits, but they do little with your emotions, which is why 99 percent of overweight people get fat again soon after ending a weight-loss program.*

Of the two — habits and emotions — it’s emotions that play the primary role. They form the habits, after all.

Here’s how I took and kept off 60 pounds, and you can do it too. Well, except for those sneaky emotions.

I quit eating crap, and you know what the crap is: cakes, pies, burgers, Snickers, deep-fried anything, etc. You don’t need to buy a book that spells it out. It’s common sense.

And I started exercising. Twenty minutes of brisk walking five days weekly does it.  Thirty-five years later, I’m still at it.

Most folks start brutal exercise routines, weary of it within two weeks, and that’s the end of that. Don’t overreach.

In addition to walking, I do what my wife considers a laughable series of weight-lifting. That’s my weight machine in the photo. Three times a week, and it takes about 10 minutes.

I weigh what I weighed at age 21, half a century ago.

Before buying the weight apparatus, I visited a gym here three mornings a week, but the gym went out of business about five years back, so I purchased my setup at Liverpool in the capital city for the peso equivalent of about $600.

So there you have Felipe’s Foolproof Weight Loss System. Don’t eat crap, do light exercise five days a week (forever!) and marry a child bride, preferably Mexican.

You womenfolk can adjust that last element to your liking, but know that folks will gossip behind your back.

* * * *

*Don’t ever start a “diet” because they never work. The concept of a diet implies a beginning and — when you reach your “goal weight” — an end. When you end your diet, you start eating like you did before. And you get fat again. Never go on a diet. Instead, change your habits permanently.

The coffee view

cafe

I WAKE UP early, go pour coffee from the machine that’s already got it waiting. I break off a touch of Bimbo toast and go upstairs to read the news and some gossip. This season it’ll still be dark outside.

dawg

As time passes, the day outside the window over the computer screen starts to lighten, turning from dead of night to dawn as the sun brightens the mountaintops. I finish the coffee and the touch of toast.

horseSometimes I stand and walk out onto the terraza to get a feel for things. I’ll check the thermometer that’s nailed to the exterior wooden frame of the screen door. This time of year, it’ll be the high 50s. Sweet!

I take a look around, always liking what I see, the neighborhood.

Next door, of course, I see the horse in his makeshift barn. The street out back is where a house sits with its permanent dog up top. I doubt he’s ever felt tierra firma. He’s the stereotypical Mexican roof dog.

hotel

The horse and the dog are off to the right and behind. To the left is the sex motel, which is the building with the windows. The closer section is the corner of our upstairs terraza, here where I am standing.

Appears all of one piece, but it’s not.

The day is dawning foggy, as many mornings do these days. It will blow off in a couple of hours, and clear, sunny skies will emerge.

Until it rains this afternoon.

It’s a great place to live.