Oiling the shelves

Nice, oiled shelves, good for another couple of months of neglect.

Home ownership brings chores you don’t face as a renter, and I did one of those chores this morning because it was long overdue. I oiled the wooden shelves on the downstairs veranda. I use Three-in-One or, as it’s called here, Tres-en-Uno.

Before tackling that chore, I completed another, which was sweeping the roof of the kitchen/dining room. Years passed in which I almost never swept up there, and quite an evil garden grew. I ignored the chore because there was no easy way to get up there, but now there is a steel stairwell, installed about three years ago.

I sweep the roof of the kitchen/dining room every month now. I get reminded by an internet calendar. I am a big (Yuge!) fan of internet calendars, and don’t know how I lived without them for most of my life. I must have forgotten many things. My current calendars are, I am ashamed to say, Google’s, but also Outlook’s and Zoho’s.

A righteous person avoids all things Google. But I am flawed.

If you tend to overlook things, especially important things, internet calendars will save your butt. Unfortunately, Google makes a very good one.

I mentioned a week or so ago that I’m going to remove the last stand of banana trees and cement over the area where it now sits, so it won’t resurrect. Earlier this week, I called one of my guys, the best one, but he’s working on another project, so I’ll wait.

I also mentioned recently our transition from music CDs to a Bluetooth speaker. No matter how old you get, life changes, hopefully for the better. I subscribed to Deezer for my tunes, and discovered lots of new music. As I write this on the PC, I’m listening to Esperanza Spalding singing, I Know You Know. I had never even heard of Esperanza before.

She sports an impressive ‘fro.

We’ll be dining on roasted chicken at El Lonch nearby this afternoon. The best roasted chicken around, plus cole slaw, rice, salsa of two shades and tortillas made by Granny on a comal over an open fire just behind our table. And a laminated roof over our heads.

I anticipate the rest of the day will play out favorably.

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.

More stuff about water

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

old

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.

Sweeping the roof

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Top of the Hacienda. Two chimneys, solar water heater, water tank.

NOBODY SWEPT the roof when I was a child in Jacksonville, Florida, certainly not my father who never showed any interest in home maintenance.

He focused on just three things: whisky, poetry and my mother, not necessarily in that order, but maybe.

It’s a good thing the Florida roof required no maintenance from my father. He likely would have stumbled off anyway. The flat roof was asphalt and gravel.

You don’t put a man focused on whisky and poetry atop a roof with no railings.

Years later, I bought my first house. That was 1986 in Houston, Texas. My second ex-wife still lives there, but let us not digress toward matrimonial horror. The roof was a gritty, sheet material that resembled glorified tar paper.

For mostly the same reasons that my father ignored his roof, I ignored mine, though I never paid attention to poetry.

And now I’m in just the third home of my life that isn’t a rental. The roof is concrete, and it has a gentle incline so it doesn’t collect water in the rainy season.

The only maintenance I give it is a yearly sweep, and I did that today, which inspired this information going your way.

While up there, via the circular staircase, I also wiped down the glass rods on the solar water heater. And I admired the view, which is spectacular, and I took this photo.

The roof is on its own until next year.