Nighttime & drainage

Man in the dark.

I SHOT THE above using the camera on my Hewlett Packard All-in-One desktop PC just before beddy-bye the other night. Let’s file it under “Fun With Cameras.”

It was almost 10 p.m., and we had finished our supper salads seated in our recliners, one of which you can detect in the right of the photo, watching something on Netflix. My child bride had headed downstairs, leaving me to my mischief.

Unrelated to the above is the news that the wonderful, new and spacious drain hole has been constructed on the upstairs terraza. I mentioned that in an earlier post appropriately dubbed Adding a New Hole. The work was scheduled to start Monday, but the guys started Tuesday instead, after giving me a heads-up.

Most of the time when Mexican workers cannot show up when promised, they just don’t show up when promised, an annoying cultural habit. Maybe a day late or a week. Or never. But my guys are not like that. They’re reliable.

The ones who showed up Tuesday were Miguel and his son, also Miguel, who is about 12. At one point, Big Miguel was sweeping some trash as he told me that Little Miguel didn’t want to sweep because it’s “woman’s work.” I told the boy that sweeping is a useful skill, and a hour later I spotted him sweeping, so maybe I changed his life.

He’ll score a better wife now.

They did excellent work on my new drain, so I’m awaiting a downpour that must blow in from a specific direction so I can give it a test run. I am optimistic.

One of two initial drain holes. Useless.
Child labor: Little Miguel chips away.
Adult labor: Big Miguel chips away too.
How it’s looking on the other side. The ceramic base is new.
Covering up on the other side.
The new drain space from the inside. Way bigger.

More stuff about water

New Image
The shiny, new pump above, and the old faded one below.


A FEW DAYS ago, I wrote about where water comes from, and the annual cleaning of the underground cistern, a chore we handle ourselves, the two of us. Coincidentally, during that same week, the nearby pump that delivers water from the cistern to the tank on the roof made funny noises for the second time in recent weeks, so I decided to replace it. It was 17 years old, installed during the Hacienda construction.

It is not a pump you want to fail. Without it, there’s no water anywhere in the house.

I don’t know the useful life of such a pump, but 17 years seems a long time, and the pump looked quite ratty, as you can see from the photo. The new pump is big and beautiful.

Like Muhammad Ali.

Coincidentally again, and also water-related, the Honda got a new water pump last week, another precautionary measure. That pump too was the original, and the car has 210,000 kilometers. As I write this, the Honda sits in the shop having its A-C radiator replaced. The A-C decided to commit suicide during our hottest month of the year.

Yes, the Honda has a streak of malevolence.

But enough about the Honda. Let’s return to the house. The tank on the roof sports some sort of electronic gizmo — with mercury inside, I think. It dangles inside like a snake — that senses when water falls below half full. At that point, it signals the pump below, the one that was replaced, to ignite and send water from the cistern up to the roof.

Following this?

Just after the pump started acting goofy, the electronic gizmo up top failed its mission, and the roof tank’s water level fell considerably below half. I knew this because I went to the roof, put a ladder against the tank, popped the top, looked in, saw the situation, and gave the electronic snake a shake. It turned on the pump below, and water started to come up.

But obviously, there was a problem. So today, Jorge the Plumber came with the new pump, plus a new electronic snake for the roof tank. Jorge is also an electrician.

So now I have a new pump down below and a new electronic snake up top. With luck, this pump will top the 17 years of the previous one, and the snake will last as long as possible. And the Honda’s A-C will keep me cool for a long time to come, especially in May.

The entire cost — the labor and materials — ran the peso equivalent of $160 U.S. The cost of the work on the Honda has yet to be determined.

Let’s go have a coffee now. I’m bushed.

More yard butchery

Before shot from the side.

STUPIDLY, I PLANTED a couple of these pointy things some years back, not knowing the plant’s tendency to run wild. It’s an error I have made numerous times in the past.

Yesterday I said to myself, Enough already! And I phoned Abel the Deadpan Yardman who came this morning and removed the entire mess.

Before shot from the front.
Abel the Deadpan Yardman does his magic.
After shot from the side.
After shot from the front.

Abel arrived at 10 a.m. and left 2.5 hours later with a paw of cash. The uprooted plants were dumped into a ravine down the way behind both our houses. They’ll likely revive there, possibly becoming like kudzu in the American Southeast.

I like our new clean look. There’s room for more cacti. Some of those tall cacti appear to be San Pedro, an hallucinogenic plant with mescaline that’s used in South American religious ceremonies. For me, however, they’re just decorative.

The garden tales

I FIND IT useless when people post photos of flowers. You can find zillions of flower photos online. No matter. Here I go.

Some readers may recall that last spring I butchered the monster bougainvillea that had lived in the yard for many years. Here is how it looked before the bloodletting. My child bride poses for the purpose of perspective. Both are beauties.

The before shot.

And here just below is how it look skinned.

The after shot.

And here just below again is how it looks today.

The today shot.

It’s about four feet high. The only reason it’s not bigger is that I maintain stern discipline. When the Hacienda was under construction over 17 years ago I foolishly planted five or six little bougainvilleas along the far wall. A couple died, a few did not.

Hearty survivors.

These are two of the survivors from 2002. They too are subjected to a heavy hand. The near one began to creep over the wall into the neighbors’ yard about five years ago, but I cut it back, and began applying discipline. Without discipline, a bougainvillea will make you his bitch. It can get quite ugly.

Oddly, of the original bougainvilleas from 2002, one is a different strain. It was unintentional. It looks different and does not want to rule the world. I like it.

A rare, polite bougainvillea.

That’s it behind the frog. It appears to be growing out of the frog, but it’s not. It’s planted in the ground. This bougainvillea is the only well-behaved one of the cursed bunch.

Speaking of curses, remember the monster nopal I removed back in October 2018? The neighbors planted at least two of those nasty babies right up against my wall — the property wall is mine, not theirs — some spell back, and now they’re topping the wall and likely will start creating problems before long, throwing their spiky fruits with red stain onto my grass. Here below you see the cursed things.

Mine grew about 30 feet high before I slashed it down.

A new development, alas.

Maybe some dark night, I should toss some plant killer over there.

Why can’t people be good neighbors? Perhaps you are thinking, Why don’t you speak with the neighbors? Because I know full well it would be useless. They are sullen.