The nosy neighbor

The Before shot. Way bigger than it appears.
The During shot.
The nosy neighbor.

As promised a couple of weeks ago in Roses of September, the final monster aloe vera has been cut down to size, not totally eliminated as we did with the other one in July, but made more manageable, more petite.

One reason I did this is because when the rainy season fades away, we’ll be hiring guys to uproot the grass you see in the photos and replace it with stone and concrete as my ongoing lawn-replacement campaign soldiers on, perhaps to be completed before I die.

The aloe vera was poking way out over some of the grass, plus it was long overdue for some stern discipline anyway.

The rear gate was open during the butchery yesterday, so in walks the cheeky kid who lives out back, uninvited. I was sitting on the yard patio in a web chair overseeing the aloe vera trimming when he walks up and sits with me. I took his photo.

He had never been into our yard before and was quite impressed.

He, his parents and numerous siblings live across the street in what would accurately be called a miserable hovel. But he has a good attitude and is likable. When I stood up to go inside for breakfast, he walked to the dining room window and peered through the glass. I waved.

The work ended. The guys drove off with the green garbage in their pickup truck to dump God knows where — I don’t ask — and the neighbor boy was ushered out the back gate by me. Adiós, kiddo! Everything returned to normal.

The After shot.

The aloe vera appears as if it returned from a week at Weight Watchers.


Before you depart today, it will be fun to chuckle at the notions of the nutty folks on the other side of the political divide. Enjoy!

It neglected to mention the (half) black president!

My Mexican mistakes

New Image
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.”