Curse of cats

Steve Cotton’s eternal orchid provides a floral touch.

Our neighbors on the side opposite the sex motel are a troublesome bunch. It starts with their personalities and goes downhill from there.

They have at least two cats, and the unruly beasts have discovered our upstairs terraza, the nice faux-wicker chairs and the soft cushions. At some point during the night, they come over here — it’s easy for them atop walls and roofs — to sleep and perform other functions.

A month or so ago, I walked out there one morning and stepped directly into a big pile of cat caca. It seemed like a lot for a cat, but my child bride says she’s seen cats drop that quantity. I was thinking raccoon or mountain lion. It had been left on a rubber rug at the door.

I simply picked up the rug, took it outside and hosed the poop off.

This morning, I stepped out there, and one of the cushions had an equally copious deposit of caca. It was my child bride’s turn, so she took it outside and hosed it down too. Clearly, measures must be taken.

Winter is here, and we don’t spend time out there, so the cushions are now stored in a closet, and the chairs upended against a wall. We have three months till Springtime arrives, so perhaps the nasty cats will have adopted another home that’s not theirs by then.

If not, I may purchase a shotgun.

A pre-cat scene from last year.

Doings of November

Downtown yesterday afternoon, walking back to the Honda.

November is delightful here. It’s my favorite month. In another life, above the Rio Bravo, my favorite month was October. But here it’s November because it’s often still raining in October.

I phoned my stone-and-cement man yesterday to get the work started on the yard. I’m planning to eliminate another big chunk of grass, replacing it with stone and cement. There will also be some artistic touches. Alas, he is currently building a house somewhere, but I have through next May to get it done. Rain starts in June.


Mail from France

This morning I drove downtown to check my PO box, a biweekly chore. I rarely get snail mail, but this morning I did, a handmade greeting card from a woman in France who used to be a coworker on the New Orleans newspaper in the 1970s. As I live in Mexico with a “new” wife, she lives in France with a new husband.

Her card said: The trouble with retirement is you never get a day off.

I find laziness increasing with age, but this morning I hoofed it outside to clean the birdbath, wipe the glass top of the patio table with its web chairs, and water the potted plants on the downstairs terraza. It’s good to have chores. It’s better to actually do them.


The Honda gets glitchy

The air-conditioning on the Honda committed suicide last week. I took it to my garage yesterday to add more Freon, or whatever they call that gas these days, but sadly it did not need Freon, which means there’s a deeper problem. Monday, we’ll be driving to the nearby state capital where there’s a good AC shop near Costco.

My fingers are crossed. This could get pricey.

We’ve had the Honda for 12 years, and it’s never had a major problem, so we’re ahead of the game. The Honda was nice to do this in November instead of waiting till next April or May, which are the only months you really need AC here, and just in the afternoons.


Artwork in yarn

November finds my child bride busy too. Her downtown pastry sales have been on hold for two weekends due to the Day of the Dead hubbub, but no grass grows under her butt.

She’s crocheting up a storm. Here is her latest creation, a unicorn. It’s her second unicorn. The first was purchased by a nice lady in Texas via our Etsy website. This unicorn is still not listed there, but it will be.

We’re doing something wild (for us) this afternoon. Eating hamburgers and French fries at a new spot downtown that we’ve yet to try. Eternally striving to stay healthy, hamburgers rarely are placed on our plates, but today will be an exception.

I hope it does not give me the trots.


More water heaters

We have three functioning water heaters at the Hacienda although we only use two, a solar plus an on-demand version. The solar works great in the afternoon and evening if it’s been a sunny day. On overcast days, it’s easy to switch over to the one that runs on propane.

We have a Dallas couple in the Downtown Casita now, a two-week stay. The townhouse has been mostly vacant since the pandemic hysteria started, so a couple of unexpected problems reared their heads, alas, for the paying tenants. First, the water heater grew balky. I sent a plumber to fix it after two days.

I decided to check the water tank on the roof last Sunday, and it was almost empty because the electronic gizmo that automatically fills it when it reaches a certain level malfunctioned. It was an easy fix for me, but I hope it does not recur. They leave Monday.

Paying tenants should never lack hot water, so I’ve already bought another of the same on-demand heater we have at the Hacienda, and when the tenants depart, the plumber will install it, thus providing two options for future folks.

I am wearying of being a landlord, the hassle, which is why if I like you, you’re invited for a free stay. You might leave a few pesos on the kitchen counter for the maid, the gas and the electricity.

That would be nice. Keep in mind that those things are very inexpensive here.

Old things around the house

Probably more than 15 years ago, we were walking through the downtown street market and happened upon an old woman selling old sewing machines that were displayed right down on the sidewalk where she was sitting.

I bought this one. I have no memory of what I paid. It now lives on that little table in the hallway to the bedroom. She had five or six more in other styles. I wish I had bought them all.

I’ve shown this typewriter here in the past, but it’s an old thing, so it deserves an encore. It’s a Royal, cerca 1923, that belonged to my paternal grandfather, then my father, and now it’s moved down to me. When I lived in Houston, I shipped it to New York City for a refurbishing. It came back better but not perfect.

Its claim to fame is that I typed my Mexican citizenship application on it in 2005. Now it’s just a living room decoration.

This clock is the oldest thing in the house. Like the typewriter, I inherited it. It belonged to my paternal grandfather’s sister whom we called Aunt Ned. It dates back to the 1880s. When Aunt Ned died, my parents got it. And later my mother gave it to me. My sister got most of the family stuff, so it was the least my mother could do.

The clock sits on a stand connected to the living room wall, and it still keeps pretty good time. It chimes the hour and half hour. I turn it off every night and crank it up again every morning.

Otherwise, we’d never get to sleep.

Last but not least, and certainly not as old as the sewing machine, the typewriter or the clock, is this decrepit piece of work, the male half of the Hacienda couple. He sits on the scarlet sofa in the living room just after this morning’s biscuit and coffee.

Unlike the other items listed here, he has an expiration date. We just don’t know what it is yet.

Premature optimism

Dark clouds seen Sunday from the Downtown Casita’s roof.

In yesterday’s post I said it had not rained in a few days, and maybe that meant the monsoon has departed for this year. It’s always risky to say such stuff because the universe will smite you.

It poured last night.

Since we have tenants arriving at the Downtown Casita next weekend, we visited the condo to do some cleaning, primarily washing the enormous skylight over the stairwell. The skylight covers the entire stairwell, and it had not been washed in many months. It’s a nice opportunity to visit the roof and see the spectacular view.

That was late yesterday.

Some of our neighbors have constructed covered patios on their roofs to take advantage of the view and the space. We have not done that. We would if we lived there, but we don’t live there.

This condo, which we bought in 2010 with money I inherited from my mother, has been a mixed bag. We had no intention of renting it when we bought it. It was purchased as an investment, nothing more, but after a couple of years of its just sitting there, all pretty and nice, we decided to rent it to tourists on AirBnB.

That’s become a burden because it all falls on me. The tenants are invariably English speakers, and my bride is not. Plus, I’m more a stickler for details in the host department while she’s more, well, Mexican. The condo has a 100% five-star rating from guests.

And that is on me.

I wonder if it will rain today. It’s gray outside.