LATE YESTERDAY, around 6:30, I was standing at this seafood stand on our mountaintop town’s smaller plaza, the one where the ancient, colonial library abuts. I was enjoying a shrimp cocktail.
Like Christmas Eve, I was flying solo, but there was no hotel waiting. All I had to do was drive home, lock the big, red gate, put on my jammies, write this and slide into the king bed well before midnight.
And that’s exactly what I did. My child bride, yet again, was overnighting with 500 or so of her closest kinfolks, but this time it was downtown at her sister’s home on our big plaza.
One day earlier, on Sunday, we had planned to lunch at a seafood restaurant on the ring road because we knew going downtown would be difficult due to tourist traffic. But the traffic was far worse than we’d imagined. We were stopped dead in our tracks in less than one block from the Hacienda.
We switched to Plan B, which was devised on the spot. We went away from town, not toward it. We drove to another town, Quiroga, to hunt a restaurant. We parked on one end of Quiroga’s main drag and walked almost entirely to the other end before spotting a Chinese restaurant.
And that was lunch. It wasn’t bad.
Returning down the jammed main drag afoot, we sat a spell on a steel bench in Quiroga’s main plaza for a bit of people-gawking. Then, on the way to where the Honda was parked, we bought an ice cream cone and shared. Vanilla with Oreo bits.
Driving toward home, we passed through another little town with the odd name of Tzintzuntzan. Can you say Tzintzuntzan? Just outside Tzintzuntzan, there’s a series of stone-carving businesses.
I stopped and took the photo below. Then we went home.
Yesterday, my child bride was busy most of the day fixing grub for last night’s New Year’s Hoopla with her 500 or so relatives. In the afternoon, I went downtown for a nice café Americano negro on the plaza. Then the shrimp cocktail. The traffic was quite light for some reason.
Then I came home and did what I already told you I did in the paragraphs above. I hope 2019 is a fine year for one and all.
I’ll continue what I’ve been doing for many years, which is not much of anything aside from awaiting the Grim Reaper. I find it suits me.
WHOEVER SAID life in retirement is easygoing was only sometimes correct.
We have too much on our plates right now. First, my child bride broke her arm a month ago. The cast came off last Friday. She still has swelling in her wrist, however, so we phoned the traumatologist yesterday. We got an X-ray of her wrist in the afternoon, and this morning we go back to the doctor.
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Five guys arrived yesterday morning and lugged the old LP tank from the service patio through the dining room, through the living room, and outside, leaving it in what I call the garden patio. It’s out back.
I said it was free for the taking, so one of them will return Thursday morning and haul it away. It is 15 years old, our first LP tank.
We were going to have this tank removed in January when other work is scheduled, but this weekend a blacksmith is coming to install circular stairs from the service patio to the roof of the dining room/kitchen, something we should have done ages ago because it’s necessary to go up there at times.
Now I creak up there on a ladder.
The circular stairs will partially obstruct the door from the kitchen to the service patio and likely would have made removing the LP tank next to impossible. I say “next to impossible” because Mexicans can do anything.
So we got the LP tank out of there while we still could.
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There is another circular stairway on the upstairs terraza that climbs to the roof of the second floor. That stairway will be moved next January to the roof of the dining room/kitchen, so we still have access to the highest roof.
One circular stairway from the ground to the roof of the dining room/kitchen, and then another from there all the way to the roof!
And why are we doing that? Because we’re going to remove the small, tile roof from the upstairs terraza and install another that will cover the entire terraza. This is how that terraza looked on a fine day many years ago.
But nowadays, it’s never used at all. It was never used much in the first place because it’s under blazing sun in the dry season, and it’s got an almost perpetual lake in the five-month rainy season.
In the above shot, you can see the current tile roof, a small one, at the very top. It was installed almost exclusively to cover the hammock that was there for years, but the hammock is long gone. I just stopped using it.
The new roof will cover all of the upstairs terraza. It will be either more red-clay tile, or something more modern — glass and steel, which will not blend with the architectural style, but it will be more convenient.
For the entire space to be covered, the circular stairwell has to go.
That work will be done early next year.
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At the same time, we’ll tear up the Jesus Patio you see in the first photo, replacing it with a larger patio with a nicer ceramic floor. We’ll also remove the cursed peach tree, not shown, and the damnable pear. They both toss hundreds of fruits on the grass every summer, and I’m sick and tired of picking it all up.
Also to be removed is the cursed nopal tree. It tosses its little “tuna” fruit onto the new rock-and-concrete yard surface below, more crap I have to pick up. It sheds hundreds, perhaps thousands, of those “tunas.”
This nopal tree is at least 30 feet tall, and it’s covered with spikes. I stupidly planted it years ago when it was knee-high to a petunia. If I had only known.
Originally, I had planned on removing the nopal along with the other work in January, but I asked the crew who moved the LP tank if they knew of someone who would remove it for a “good price.”
Someone’s coming Thursday morning to remove the nopal! They will charge me $1,500 pesos, about $80 U.S. today.
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Our washing machine has committed suicide, so we bought another yesterday afternoon. The original washer, like the LP tank, was new when we moved into the Hacienda 15 years. I found a repossessed washer at a store marked down from 12,000 pesos to 6,500, which is a steal. It looks like new. Whirlpool.
We’ll repair the old washer if it doesn’t cost a bunch, and we’ll take it to the Downtown Casita for the convenience of vacationers.
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So, lots going on. I hope it settles down soon, and I can return to my previous life of croissantitos, orange marmalade, bagels, cream cheese, cafés Americano negro, and Kindle books on the sprawling plaza downtown in the afternoons, a child bride and no more broken bones.
LAST DECEMBER, I wrote here about throwing my back out, as they say, rendering myself a temporary cripple.
I’ve had that problem now and then for decades, far more before my last divorce,* but it usually cures itself in four or five days. Last December it lasted two weeks, which had only happened once before. It was a hard time.
But it woke me up. Though I’ve done somewhat light exercise on a regular basis for decades I had begun to get lazy about it, and that matters.
I have a gym set here at home, and my schedule had been thrice a week, and I cheated occasionally. I now do it five times a week. I still cheat some, but not often and not without good reason.
I also do a 20-minute, rapid walk around the neighborhood plaza. Again, I was known to cheat, but now I’m cheating far less.
A new element is some light stretching exercise. I call that yoga, but it’s not. It’s stretching. I do short stretching of my back in the morning before getting to the gym set, and in the late afternoon after returning from my usual café Americano negro on the main plaza downtown.
That afternoon session is longer and involves lying and sitting on the living room floor atop a faux Persian rug. Sometimes I even light incense. I’m invariably alone at that hour, between 6 and 7.
While sitting, I’m getting the view above. The lights are out, and the late afternoon sun is out thataway. Thought I’d share the view with you.
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* It’s an issue with a psychological element.
(Note 1: Aging is no fun though I appear to be holding up better than most geezers my age. Last September I wrote here about a crippling heel spur I had developed. There is no good solution to that except for surgery. I chose to do nothing because it only bothered me now and then. I thought it was permanent, but it lasted eight months and vanished. Just recently. How about that!)
(Note 2: Unrelated to anything written so far but included just to keep you up to date on Hacienda joys and sorrows, a lightning strike on Monday fried our Samsung 32-inch LED smart TV, our TV-cable box, and a wifi box. The surge entered via the TV cable, not the electric wires. I have a surge protector by the TV, but I only had the TV power cable connected to it. The surge protector also has the option of running the TV cable through it, but I had foolishly not done so, an expensive oversight. As for wifi, I have two services, which is how I am communicating with you right now.
(I’ve already purchased another TV and connected it to Netflix, which is all I watch anyway. Our TV cable provider is a company called Megacable. Its service is abysmal, so Lord knows when the second wifi will be restored. I really don’t care about the cable TV, but my child bride watches it while she irons.)
SOMETIMES YOU wake up to a day in which nothing of note is waiting. This is one of those days. They do not bore me. I like them.
Given that the eventless day stretched before me, I decided to do at least one thing that needed to be done, and that was to whack back three bougainvilleas, the smaller ones. The fourth, a monster, is beyond hope and goes its own way.
But due to the day’s relaxed atmosphere, I just whacked back two of the three. The third will have to wait. Maybe mañana. It was warm out there, and the sun was glaring, reason enough to come inside and drink cold, red tea.
Speaking of red, I photographed the above before calling it a day. Midday actually because it was scarcely beyond noon. That’s a bottle-brush tree, the red of which complements the red of the house. While the grass grows more yellow and crunchy by the day, some yard plants are blooming.
Though you cannot see it, buds are erupting on the uppermost reaches of the nopal tree there at the rear. That’s always fun until they fall to the ground, ground that was until recently grass, but now is concrete and rock.
In a couple of hours, we’ll be lunching downtown, location yet to be decided. That will happen around 2 p.m., breaking up the afternoon nicely. Then we’ll come home, relax a spell, then head back downtown for a nice cafecito on the plaza.
Lazy days are great days. I’ve never been ambitious.