Tag Archives: rain

Moments in time

FOLLOWING MY afternoon café yesterday, I stepped across the street to sit a spell on a stone bench. I whipped out the Canon from my man bag and shot a brief video.

It was about 6 p.m., and nothing much was going on. Kids were playing. You can hear them. You can also hear music, which is coming from ground speakers installed around our plaza, part of a renovation about five years ago.

City Hall says it’s the largest main plaza in the country after the Zócalo in Mexico City. Maybe it is.

The rainy season is easing in. We got a good blow just last night, rain and wind colliding with the windows that face in that direction. The bedroom windows.

The Hacienda lawn got cut last Saturday, first of the year. Within three days it needed cutting again, but once a week is the limit. The rest of the time we’ll just wade through grass.

Things are getting cooler, which is the main advantage of the five-month rainy season. Cool summers! Who would have imagined it? I had no idea before I moved down here because I had done little research about anything at all.

I’m writing this at 8 a.m. It’s time to go downstairs for croissants and orange marmalade. Then I’ll sweep the veranda of the crap that storm last night blew into there.

It won’t take long.

(Post-croissant update: We played Pancho & Lefty on the music machine. A hummingbird flew into the veranda and looked directly at us through the dining room window screen.)

The first yank

My trusty machine, red like the house.

THE RAINY SEASON arrived this week with a splash!

Three days ago I was enjoying a nice café Americano negro at a sidewalk table downtown when the skies opened with a vengeance.

In short order, the street vanished, and a lake took its place. Passing cars pushed waves onto the sidewalk, so I retreated closer to the wall with my chair and table.

The temperatures have dropped. The dust is washed into the gutters, down the drain pipes and into the lake.

And now my grass is greening. Soon it will need mowing and edging. Yesterday I pulled the mower from under a table on the Garden Patio and wiped it off with paper towels.

I poured fresh gas into the tank. I primed the carb (three times), and I yanked on the rope. Roar! The first yank!

Craftsman makes good stuff.

That leaves the weedeater, which I bought just last year, a Stihl, which is also a good item, but all weedeaters are a bitch to crank. The Stihl is just a little less so. But it has a rather complicated process you must observe to start it.

And being along in years, my arm is not what it once was. If the Stihl does not crank  quickly, I’m out of the game. I have not tried to start it yet. I am procrastinating.

Stihl weedeater, better than most.

While I let Abel the Deadpan Yardman mow the grass with the Craftsman, I am hesitant to put the Stihl in his mitts. The last time I let a local use a weedeater, it ended up in tatters.

Mexicans tend not to take care of things owned by other people. It’s a cultural trait and not one of their better ones. But I may be forced to hand it over to him.

Happy cacti.

After shooting the mower and Stihl, I photographed these cacti. I’m a cactus man. I planted them in Houston, but they never did squat.

Here, however, they’re right at home. I planted these cacti when they were small. The ones at the far end are  now taller than I am.

So summer and its accompanying rains are here. We love it when that happens after the stuffy, dry, dusty spring. But by soggy September we’ll be praying for an end to it.

What the hey!?

new-image
Just this morning. Circle of hippie women and the green floral frog.

IT RAINED last night, which is against the rules.

Normally, February is clear, blue and cold at night, cool in the day. The last couple of days, however, have escaped the mold. It’s been overcast, cold and very windy.

This morning dawned overcast, but it’s mostly blue before 10 a.m., and the cursed wind has diminished.

Lots on the calendar. We will soon flee our hardscrabble barrio due to Carnival. We’ll go to San Miguel de Allende where, among other things, we’ll visit a friend of mine from high school. She and her husband are spending three months there.

They live in North Carolina.

She’ll be the first high school friend I’ve seen in over 40 years. She’s a retired professor of Chinese something-or-other. She’s very smart, which is why we were friends.

Shortly after returning, we’ll go to Mexico City for our twice-yearly airing of the condo. It’s highly likely that we will actually get our hands on the deed at last.

On returning from Mexico City, we’ll hire a crew to do stuff both here at the Hacienda and at our downtown Casita, mostly maintenance, but we’ll probably remove the grass, and plant stone and concrete in the yard’s semicircle.

yard
Photo from a few years back. We sold that blue Chevy in 2014.

I’ve been wanting to reduce the grass for years. Maybe it will start this year with that semicircle. Depends on the price. But the peso-dollar exchange rate makes me feel rich.

I’ll keep you posted next month because I know you’re on the edge of your seat about this.

In the meantime, I’ve got to walk the plaza now, take a shower, get dressed, drive to an outdoor market, buy veggies for stir-fry, and fix lunch. Pork chops, pasta and that stir-fry.

I’m a very handy hubby.

The evening wall

walll

AS I STEPPED through the Hacienda’s steel door from the street yesterday evening, I spotted this.

The day was fading, and the sky was gray. It was about to rain, which it should not do in mid-November because it’s simply not right. We’ve had enough by now.

Speaking of water, I was returning from paying our water bill, which I do every four months. Most people pay monthly, but I pay four months at a whack just for convenience.

The water office is a block and a half away in a corner building on the plaza. The building is likely about four centuries old. The office is only open the last two weeks of each month.

A woman waits in there at a paint-flaking desk where sits a computer. I don’t know what the computer is for because she does everything by hand on sheets of paper.

The monthly charge for municipal water is 50 pesos, which is about $2.50 U.S. bucks these days. Water usage is not metered. It’s a flat rate for everyone.

And it’s the honor system. Nobody gets a bill.

The woman writes a receipt by hand from a receipt book she likely purchased in a stationary store. I leave 200 pesos for the four months, walk out the door and head home.

Opening the steel door to the Hacienda, I look up at the Alamo Wall, the monkey and the swan. It’s a nice evening in spite of the threatening rain, which did fall later.

Object of envy

New Image
How it looked today, June 30 of 2016.

HERE I SIT on the veranda, just in from the morning walk around the neighborhood plaza, something I do most days to maintain my boyish physique and high humor.

I am an ideal object of envy. No job. No money worries. My health is good. My wife is young and beautiful. The weather is wonderful. Waffles and maple syrup (100%) await.

Birds sing. Burros bray. Horses neigh. Dogs bark. Hogs oink. All within earshot, night and day. And last night till 2 a.m., musicians howled on the plaza, so we slept with earplugs, something that doesn’t warrant envy, alas.

Hereabouts 11 a.m., the sky is blue and white. The temperature is 69. My utility bills are low, and my grass is high, green and damp. My wives are all alive and my daughter too.

I have no dogs, no cats, no outstanding bills, and both of our cars run smoothly though they could use a wash. It’s the rainy season, a constant battle for self-respecting vehicles.

The waffles are ready now, I’m advised. The maple syrup too, the daily second breakfast around the hour of 11.

It’s an enviable position in which to find oneself.

Who’ll stop the rain?

after
After: With the rain gutters.
before
Before: No rain gutters.

SPRING APPEARED over the past few days. I’ve sported short-sleeved shirts thrice. One is brown-checkered, one yellow-checkered and the third was a rose-colored linen.

We’ve replaced winter’s goose-down comforter on the king bed with a wool blanket that, we discovered on the first night, was inadequate for the cool air that flows in the window.

Another blanket will go atop it, but the goose down is retired till next winter. Short sleeves are in order for daytime.

Spring on the mountaintop brings numerous changes. One is the hour switch, that irrational nonsense that soldiers on yearly out of pure inertia. That happens next weekend.

Yes, the schedule is slightly different than what happens north of the Rio Bravo.

People tend to think — people who do not live here — oh, boy! Springtime! Fact is that it’s the worst season. It gets stuffy in the afternoons and evenings, and then there’s the dust.

The rainy season changes all that, cooling things off and inspiring Mother Nature to go full-tilt green. It’s nice.

That arrives in June.

Since we built the Hacienda 13 years ago, we’ve had endless problems with the downstairs veranda flooding from water that runs in during downpours.

Finally, we’ve done something about that. It’s a two-prong solution, the greater of which you see in the photos:

Rain gutters!

Common sense would have had them installed long ago, but common sense often is in short supply in our house.

The second prong is work done on the floor under the fourth arch you see in the photos, the rear, left.

It’s an entryway and previously was flat, providing a sweet path for blown-in rainwater. It now has a gentle incline urging rainwater outward instead of inward. Duh!

I’d like to jump completely over springtime every year, going straight from the goose-down comforter and coats to the rain of cool summer. But the Goddess ignores my opinion.

But by October, we’ll be asking, Who’ll Stop the Rain?

A winter shot

window

datura

WHAT A DIFFERENCE a season makes. The top shot is through our bedroom window this week. The lower one is the view through the same window in rainy summer.

A sharp eye will detect the butchered trunk of the golden datura in the topmost photo. Datura, like the banana, takes winter very badly, and must be whacked back yearly.

But it’s an enthusiastic, stubborn plant and swiftly returns in springtime, giving us quite a view from the bedroom on our perfect summertime mornings.

The blooming rain

aloe vera

THE INTERMINABLE rain should begin winding down in about a month. It started in June, as it almost always does and should, and it’s continued daily till now and onward. It’s a blessing.

But in September, one starts to think: Enough already.

Every year the yard plants increase in size, which is not good most of the time, especially since I’ve grown weary of controlling them. Take this aloe vera, for instance. When we moved here in 2003, I snipped a twig from an aloe vera in the yard of the rental where we lived before.

I stuck that twig in the soil next to the downstairs veranda. It grew. How nice, I thought, so I yanked off some pieces and stuck one against the property wall between us and the neighbors, not the sex motel, the other way where the grumpy people live with their nasty kids.

Another piece went into the ground next to the bedroom. That’s the “twig” in this photo. Just around the corner, out of the photo, is where I planted the fourth twig. It is the smallest of the quartet. But growing.

Well, here’s what happened: The one next to the veranda had to be removed last year due to its monster size, which reminds me now of what my second ex-wife, an avid gardener, often mentioned. When you plant something in a spot, think about its eventual size.

Neglect this step, and you may be sorry in time.

The one against the property wall grows daily, but it’s still smaller than this baby in the photo. I chop off a limb or two each year in part just to show it who’s boss, that it’s my bitch, not the other way around.

In the 1990s, I planted a little aloe vera next to my house in Houston. It never did a dang thing, just sat there like a wart on a log. I also planted a nopal cactus in a whisky barrel. Never did much either, and my then-wife removed it after she kicked me out because it was unfavorable feng shui, which is not something you want to mess with, she said.

Here at the Hacienda some years back, I planted a little piece of nopal. It’s now about 18 bristling feet high. I know squat about its feng shui, but it is not something you want to mess with either. Wish I had not planted it.

But the rain will end next month, which is the introduction to our most glorious period: November, which kicks off with a long night in the cemetery with candles, marigolds and memories of dead relatives.

Top of the world

roofABOUT 8 A.M., I climbed to the roof of the Hacienda with my camera. It was cool and nice.

The days are getting noticeably shorter. It’s still raining every day, but I’m optimistic that will be ending soon. Been raining daily since June, so we’re ready for the seven-month breather. We are very wet.

Thinking on it the other day, it occurred to me that every American I know of down here, either personally or online, is beyond happy to be living in Mexico. I cannot say the same for those above the Rio Bravo where the citizenry seems to be in constant turmoil — doubt, worry and anger.

Comments on news websites, when Mexico is the topic, almost universally reflect an intense dislike of my new nation. If it’s a right-wing news source such as Breitbart, illegal aliens are the cause. If it’s a left-wing website like HuffPost, they think we’re all living in abject poverty and corruption.

Well, think what you want. I love every morning, afternoon and evening of this place.

But I am ready for the rain to peter out.