The good times

This morning around 10.* Sunshine!

The monsoon starts here in June, and then it rains every single solitary day till about now. It normally tapers off in October, but I remember one year that it rained on October 1, and that was it. It was a happy month. The Goddess had smiled.

But sometimes she manifests a mean streak, and rains on the cemeteries on the Night of the Dead, November, disproving the existence of a Goddess with our best interests at heart.

It seems to be tapering off now, and maybe it’s ended. Hard to know. But it was a beautiful day yesterday, and this morning dawned in the same way. See the photo above. I planted that pole cactus years ago when it was a pipsqueak. Now it’s about to bump the drainpipe above. Just two of them, the others are farther out.

Yes, the rains are winding down, and it seems the pandemic is following suit, which is no great shock. Pandemics historically last one to two years. In Mexico we had a spike last winter, the first wave, and another in August when it spiked even higher.

But now it’s way down. An ending pandemic will distress the Democrats above the Rio Bravo, a happy thought.

Another indication that life is returning to normal is that we have tenants arriving Sunday for a two-week stay in our Downtown Casita, the first time since 2019. We had a number of reservations last year, but they all canceled due to the hysteria.

In any event, I am wearying of renting the place due to the effort involved and the fact we do not depend on that income. It’s pure gravy. To that end, I have spiked the rent waaay up. If I have to be bothered with tenants, let ’em pay!

But for people I like — perhaps you, for instance — they can come and stay a week or two for nuttin’. Free.

Well, you might leave a tip for Marta the Maid.

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The best month

October has long been my favorite month. When I lived in America, it was my favorite month because that’s when it got cool and nice after the sweltering summers of Texas. That’s not a big factor here because it’s always cool. It’s my fav month now due to the end of the monsoon rains. In any event, I love October.

Sitting on the printer.

Thirty years ago, I started a personal tradition. Every October, I purchased a small pumpkin and placed it atop my computer terminal at The Houston Chronicle.

I still do that today, but it has to sit atop my printer because my H-P All-in-One PC has no “top.”

Life goes on. For how much longer, nobody knows.

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*In December, all that grass and even more will be removed and replaced with stone and concrete. Oh, boy!

Watch that step!

This looks insignificant, but it isn’t.

Age at times brings clarity. Things that never occur to you in youth or middle age become crystal clear with your increasing decrepitude.

Take stairs or even single steps, for instance.

When we built the Hacienda in 2002-03, my child bride suggested we do a “sunken” living room. I was neither here nor there about it, so we told the builder to do it without specifying how “sunken” it would be. He took the easy route, thank the Goddess, and sank it just one step, which you see in the above photo.

And then there was the notion of a second floor even though the property is large enough to have expanded a one-story villa all over the place with lots of yard left. A smaller lawn would have been nice because the yard is a constant wedgie in my butt.

I was a nimble 58 when this place was constructed, and now I’m 77. Things change, and my advice to you is that if you’re building a home in which you expect to live out your life, don’t do steps.

They are not a significant problem yet, but they likely will be with time. Let’s look at the one-step up to the dining room, the one you see in the photo above. My catching one foot on it as I step up is fairly common, but I have yet to take a dive.

My child bride, however, due to a damp rubber sandal a few years ago, sailed off that step and ended up in an arm cast for six weeks. When will it be my turn?

And there’s the stairwell to the second floor, a floor that could easily have been avoided, as I mentioned earlier. Climbing it many times a day is good exercise, so there is that. Neither of us has fallen on the stairwell yet, but will we and when?

I read recently that stairwells are a major cause of accidents. And if one or both of us live long enough, it could be an almost unpassable barrier to half of the house. You never think about this stuff when you’re relatively young.

But I’m sure thinking of it now.

A summer deluge

Video was shot yesterday afternoon.

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Those canvas curtains come down in early June when the monsoon season starts, and they roll up in November, which is about when the world dries up in those parts.

This is our third summer under the new terraza roof which included those canvas curtains to avoid as much rainwater during the daily downpours as possible. We left one side open because we didn’t want to be totally enclosed for five or six months a year. If the rain blows from that direction, we just have to deal with it.

The clear section in the curtains was entirely transparent until a hailstorm last year blew one of them out, shredding it entirely. The sun damage after only one year had rotted it significantly. We called Nico, the guy who sold and installed the curtains, and he replaced those center sections with tougher material, which is not transparent, but it still lets light in.

Our fingers are crossed that this will hold up longer, especially since Nico, it appears, was one of the many business casualties of the Kung Flu hysteria. His establishment downtown has been gone for months. However, there is a good chance he now operates out of his home. I have his phone number.

The selfie bandwagon

Taking photos of oneself in bathroom mirrors has been the rage for years now, but I’ve never jumped on that bandwagon. Of course, the photos are normally shot with cell phones, and if you’re a good-looking babe your butt and boobs are center stage.

I’m not a good-looking babe, and I’m not using a cell phone. I used my Canon. That’s our main bathroom downstairs. It has a tub, which is rare in Mexico. The other bathroom, upstairs, just sports a shower stall. Those wall tiles are green and white. I don’t recall why we made the mirror so huge. Our biggest regret is that we installed only one sink when the counter is about a mile long, and a second or third sink would fit nicely.

And here’s another photo. I took it today through the small window in the upstairs bathroom. It’s the only window in the house that faces out back. The wall you see at the bottom is part of our house. There is a parallel street just beyond.

An extended family lived in that lot with two now-crumbling houses for years. One day, they were gone, leaving it like a ghost town.


I had a surprise this morning. I drove downtown to the post office, something I do once every two weeks, to check the contents of my PO box. The reason I go only once every two weeks is because there is rarely anything there, which is the way I like it. Ninety-nine percent of what I find is from the United States.

There was a check from the U.S. Treasury for $600, a Kung Flu payment from “President Donald J. Trump.” There are a number of odd elements to this. One is that I did not receive the first Kung Flu payment because, the IRS informed me, we file taxes jointly and my child bride does not qualify for a Kung Flu payment, so nothing came.

So why did this one come? The second odd element is that it came in a window envelope and was completely obvious that it was a check from the U.S. Treasury. The probability of its being stolen was sky-high, but it wasn’t.

A tip of the sombrero to the Mexican postal system.

I am opposed to this payment that is sent to just about everyone regardless of need. It’s a textbook example of why America is chest-deep in debt. I do not need the money, and many — likely most — of those who received it do not need it either.

And it has delivered a dilemma. What the devil am I going to do with it? I cannot cash it. I cannot deposit it to my Mexican bank account, so …

I have a year to figure it out. That’s what the check says.