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.”

Glass, blooms & design

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Easy does it, boys!

ABOUT TEN guys showed up at the front gate yesterday morning to unload more glass, lots more glass, about 35 huge, additional panes. It’s not trickling in anymore.

They brought just six last time.

This is the most exciting project that’s happened around here in years. The previous most exciting project was the construction of my child bride’s pastry kitchen. That was five years ago. They will both end up costing about the same thing, $10,000 U.S.

We could have purchased two decent used cars instead.

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Doing the glass walk.
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Both the fellow on the left and the far one on the right are standing directly atop the glass, They are braver than I, or they know something I don’t. Likely both.
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End of the day, almost finished. There’s more glass installed to the left.

Seven hours later, they left, eight panes shy up top, and eight smaller vertical ones elsewhere. You can see where those smaller ones go in the top photo. The crew won’t be back till some day next week, they said. Lordy, I hope so.

The next things on the to-do list are to install a ceiling fan and additional lighting. And some system to reduce drastically the force of the sun. We’ll almost certainly opt for a fabric screen on top. Home Depot sells various designs specifically for that purpose. We could install it atop or drape it below, but atop will help somewhat in avoiding hail damage.

It hails like Hell here at times.

We’ll also be installing canvas curtains in at least two areas to reduce the entrance of water from the side during the five-month monsoons.

And last of all, some nice, comfy furniture for the wild parties we’re planning.

All this work and expense is happening because of one tiny leak in the upstairs terraza that cropped up last year. I didn’t think the solution would be so humongous.

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Bye, bye, bougainvillea

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Tried, convicted, condemned.

I’ve finally had it up to here with the monster bougainvillea.

Someone from the sex hotel next door rang our doorbell yesterday asking if I’d mind if they whacked back the large part of my bougainvillea that’s hanging over on their side, tossing red trash everywhere. Have at it, I replied.

Meanwhile, massive mounds of wind-blown fallen flowers accumulate in our yard and in our downstairs veranda. I’m sick of it! So, like the peach tree, the pear tree, the nopal, all garbage tossers, the bougainvillea is coming down. Not totally, but 95 percent of it. I’ll leave the fat trunk and a small bush on top, a bougainvillea bonsai.

It’ll be cute.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be hiring the same crew that removed the monster nopal to return for the bougainvillea. I can’t take it anymore.

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The Moon has a new look. Hope it suits you. I used the same theme when I updated the website last week for our Downtown Casita rental. Life is change.

The patio with no name

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whole

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THROUGHOUT MY recent struggles with a head cold and a very bloody nose, the guys continued toiling in the yard. They have finished.

The scraggly, 15-year-old, stone-and-concrete Jesus Patio has been replaced with a sleek, sturdier surface that includes a concrete bench topped by talavera tile. The labor ran me the peso equivalent of about $600 U.S., and the material totalled about $350.

But the old name, the Jesus Patio, inspired by a zealous workman’s unsolicited placement of a Christian cross on the patio’s surface, no longer applies. The cross is gone. Forgive me, Jesus!

I need a new name, and I’m open to suggestions. I’m leaning toward something that has to do with Buddha.

Our changing world

THERE GOES the cursed peach tree! Oh, happy day!

The guys arrived quite early today and got to work. Their task was to remove the Jesus Patio, preparing it for a larger and much nicer replacement, and to cut down the tree. They wasted no time.

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The Jesus Patio as it looked for 16 years. It’s where the glass table and web chairs lived. I spent many a peaceful morning and afternoon here.
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Partial destruction.
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Rubble chaos. And the tree is gone.
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The peach tree takes it on the chin.

This is the second phase of renovation we have scheduled. More phases are en route. Stay tuned! It will be very exciting.