Looking to next year

Every second morning, more or less, after biscuits, honey and café Americano negro, I head outside to sweep and view the dawning day, which is most always a pleasant sensation. Today was no exception, cool, clear and blue.

I stood on the yard patio and looked up at the house, parts of which have not been painted in 17 years. The area up there, around the glass-brick windows, has the original paint, and it looks better in the photo than it does in real life.

The main reason that has not been repainted is its relative inaccessibility. You cannot walk up there without removing the clay tiles which, now that I think about it, also need to be taken up, cleaned and replaced. And some are broken, and they need replacing with new ones. This work would disturb the bats and the workmen who find them.

Renovation work here almost invariably takes place in December through May, which is to say when it is not raining every day, so I’m thinking about this now.

Perhaps even more than the paint and tile, I want to remove this section of grass below and replace it with concrete and something or other that has yet to be decided, anything but the grass and weeds currently in residence.

I really want to do this, but I really do not want the hassle and disorder it will require for a couple of weeks, guys coming every morning and hanging around most of the day.

But it will happen. Some things are inevitable.

Might even install a fountain there. That would look snappy.

I would keep the aloe vera and philodendron.

By the way, yesterday’s post about having to put comments into full moderation has been deleted because the problem has been solved. FYI.

November is the best

November is the best month here by far, and this one is no exception. Yesterday, we raised the final of the three canvas curtains that enclose the upstairs terraza during the long months of the rainy season. Raising the curtains lets the loveliness in.

How about that orchid? It was a gift from Steve Cotton when he, his brother and sister-in-law stayed a spell in our Downtown Casita three or four years ago. I forget exactly when. That plant has been in bloom nonstop throughout those years. How is that possible?

The final raising of the curtains has also returned a beautiful view through the window behind my PC of the sunrise over the mountains when I’m sitting at my desk at the proper hour. During the months of the summer rains, I just have a view of brown canvas.

November mornings bring cool air and blue skies.


Return to normal?

Today at noon marks the end to my week of recuperation after my repeated nosebleed episodes. The ENT doctor at Star Medica Hospital who cauterized my schnoz Friday of last week prescribed some blood drug, some nose spray, a week of reduced physical activity and avoidance of nose-blowing. Try that last one sometime, will you? No fun.

Leaving one’s nose totally alone for a week is a challenge, but I hope it paid off.

Pray for me.

We do not live alone

Shot this morning. Lovely day.

For years I’ve given the impression that there’s just the two of us living here, but that is false. We share the Hacienda with crickets much of the year.

Like most Mexican homes, the Hacienda is full of little spaces through which they enter, and they prefer to hole up in the kitchen, which is good because they sing at night — and it’s not opera or even Bo Diddley — and the kitchen is as far away from the bedroom as you can get.

Behind the refrigerator is a favored spot. Sometimes when I enter the kitchen at dawn I will find one in the sink. I imagine he was thirsty. For years I just trapped them and tossed them into the yard, but now I smash them and toss them into the trash.

On rare occasion, a cricket will grow bold and exploratory, and there’s only one direction for that, toward the living room and, even farther, toward the bedroom where their night yodeling is not permitted. They are hunted down and slain.

Better crickets than mice, and we’ve never seen a mouse. Occasionally, we spot rats in the yard, and there are holes out there that look suspiciously like rat tunnels. At times, I toss poison down there, but I’ve never seen a corpse. If we ever see a rat in the house, or perhaps even a mouse, my child bride will immediately move to the Downtown Casita.

But the crickets aren’t so bad if they stay on their side of the house where they belong.

Pile of broken flower pots and excess roof tiles sit in the Garden Patio today.

My Mexican mistakes

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Bougainvilleas I planted 17 years ago in error.

THERE ARE almost too many to count, my errors. And I committed most during my first two years here. I have since wised up or I’ve been corrected by hard knocks.

Where to start? How about where we constructed the Hacienda. Big mistake. It’s on the edge of what once was a separate village, one of numerous surrounding our huge lake. Being the closest to the “county seat,” we’ve been incorporated, and we’re now just another neighborhood (colonia) of our mountaintop town.

An acquaintance who works with the police once told my child bride that of all the villages surrounding the lake, ours causes the most problems.* In spite of that, we’ve never experienced a crime. I think that is due, in large part, to our being next door to the sex motel, which is open 24/7. It offers us cover, so to speak.

Getting downtown requires about a two-mile drive down a high-speed, two-lane highway with no bike lanes, no sidewalks and often no shoulder. This rules out bicycles, which we would have enjoyed. Rules out a motorbike too.

And then there’s the property, which is two adjoining lots that extend a full block from the street out front to the street out back, which is way too big.  I thought it was nifty when we bought it. I don’t think that any longer. The yard is almost constant maintenance which is why I’ve removed a number of trash-tossing plants/trees and covered part of the yard with stone and concrete, more of which I plan to do.

Let’s move on to the house itself. Again, way too large. I thought it was a great idea, but now it’s obvious that it’s not. I could never have afforded such a palatial home above the border, but it’s a housecleaning problem. We could hire a maid, but my wife opposes the idea for some reason. Perhaps she just enjoys complaining about the house size.

Looking at the plus side, you won’t suffer claustrophobia here.

And the details. My wife had the idea of “sinking” the living room a bit, so we did, but not much, just one step down. There is a step up to the dining room/kitchen and another step up to the hallway that continues to the bedroom and bath.

I have stumbled, but not fallen, on the step countless times, and that won’t get better as I age. My child bride sailed off the step a couple of years ago and broke her arm.

For such a large house, it has just one bedroom, which will be a problem if she ever wants to sell it. Don’t be your own architect. There is another huge space on the second floor, which serves as a second bedroom because there’s a closet and bathroom up there.

It’s good for guests, which we rarely have. In addition to having a queen bed, the top floor serves as a TV room, office and gym. And access to the spectacular upstairs terraza.

And there’s the railroad track behind the houses across the street. We did not notice that when we purchased the property. Trains pass in the night, and they rarely do it peacefully. The good news is that we are accustomed to it, and usually don’t wake up.

We could sell the Hacienda and move to our Downtown Casita, which is ideally located just a 10-minute walk from the main plaza. We could get bicycles. We could buy a four-wheeler. We’d have no yard to mess with. But, after 17 years in the Hacienda, I would feel cramped. There is only a one-car garage, and we want our two cars.

You never know. Maybe one day. But I’m used to living large.

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* At some point in the distant past, we were dubbed “The Village of the Damned.”