A nice, tidy roof

Before I swept yesterday. The darker part is rainwater stain.

At least 17 years passed in which I never swept the roof of the dining room/kitchen. It was too much trouble because there was no easy way to get up there. But that changed a couple of years ago when we installed a steel stairway.

And that altered everything, access-wise. And then last spring I hired a painter who came with a pressure-spray machine. He blasted off years of grime, and laid a coat of red, waterproofing paint.

Before the restoration and waterproofing, the roof was brown from grime. It was so dreadful that there was something like algae growing around the edge. I’m amazed cacti didn’t sprout as I’ve seen quite often on roofs in Mexico, usually when they’re clay tile.

Before the stairwell was added, the only way to get to that roof was by ladder, and the ladder had to be set almost vertically, so it was a perilous challenge for an increasingly elderly dude, i.e. me.

You’ll notice a circular stairwell that goes up higher to the second-story roof. That stairway was on the upstairs terraza for 16 years until I had it moved to its current location so the upstairs terraza could be covered completely by the steel-and-glass roof it sports now.

And just visible on the second-story roof is our solar water heater, the second we’ve owned. The first wasn’t worth warm spit, and the manufacturer gave me a refund after about four years. The current one, a different company, has been there five years or so, and it’s defective too. Sometimes it forces scalding water through both the hot and cold faucets.

Yesterday, after bolting out of the upstairs shower stall, screaming, I climbed up and disconnected it entirely, and that’s how it’s going to stay. No more solar.

We’ll remain old-school. It’s not like propane costs a fortune.

Sweeping the roof

roof
Top of the Hacienda. Two chimneys, solar water heater, water tank.

NOBODY SWEPT the roof when I was a child in Jacksonville, Florida, certainly not my father who never showed any interest in home maintenance.

He focused on just three things: whisky, poetry and my mother, not necessarily in that order, but maybe.

It’s a good thing the Florida roof required no maintenance from my father. He likely would have stumbled off anyway. The flat roof was asphalt and gravel.

You don’t put a man focused on whisky and poetry atop a roof with no railings.

Years later, I bought my first house. That was 1986 in Houston, Texas. My second ex-wife still lives there, but let us not digress toward matrimonial horror. The roof was a gritty, sheet material that resembled glorified tar paper.

For mostly the same reasons that my father ignored his roof, I ignored mine, though I never paid attention to poetry.

And now I’m in just the third home of my life that isn’t a rental. The roof is concrete, and it has a gentle incline so it doesn’t collect water in the rainy season.

The only maintenance I give it is a yearly sweep, and I did that today, which inspired this information going your way.

While up there, via the circular staircase, I also wiped down the glass rods on the solar water heater. And I admired the view, which is spectacular, and I took this photo.

The roof is on its own until next year.

August roof view

ON THE ROOF recently to wipe the rods of the solar water heater, I took this video and snapped the photo below.

I’m a sharing sort of fellow.

At about 10 seconds into the video, you can see what I call the Garden Patio down there with the red water tank. It’s where I keep yard gear. And then at about 23 seconds you can see the solar heater at the left, briefly.

In the photo below, the brick surface is the roof of the kitchen. Farther along, the red tile covers the downstairs veranda.

In the upper right corner is the home of our grumpy neighbors, the ones with the horse, pigs, dogs, etc.

It’s fun to go up on the roof because the view is spectacular, not just the neighbors but the mountains.

roof

The only other video I’ve shot from atop the roof was made five years ago. It’s on YouTube, not Vimeo, and presents quite a different perspective. Plus, it’s got Hillbilly music!

The video was shot very early. That’s morning mist.

That’s all for today. Enjoy yourself.

A day in the life

HAVING STOPPED working for “the man” many years ago — in 1999 actually — one would think I’d have plenty of time to fill, and sometimes I do.

Sometimes not.

lifeI took a shower this morning in the pre-dawn darkness. It was the first trial of the solar water heater after it had sat on the roof under moonlight. Would there be hot water? Yes. Not as scalding as that boiled under daytime sun, but quite adequate.

I am happy for that.

And why would an unemployed geezer shower before dawn? To be at the bank door at its 8:30 opening downtown. I had business with one of the “executives.” If you get there later, expect quite a wait. I was No. 2 in the door, and was sitting next to an “executive’s” desk in a nanosecond.

What was my business?

Last week the bank (BBVA Bancomer) phoned me about suspicious activity on my spanking new credit card, a card I have never used anywhere except online. (Yes, I have beefy computer protection.) To make a long story short, I opted to cancel the card. I was told that in five business days, a replacement would be awaiting me at the bank branch. That would have been today.

The “executive” told me it had not arrived. I was not surprised because I’m in Mexico. Come back next week, so there’s another predawn shower on my dance card.

Permit me to tell you an amusing story, something I’ve never witnessed at my other banks, HSBC-Mexico and my former Banamex. When Bancomer opens every morning, the branch manager and the other “executives” all gather at the door and greet you as you come in.

¡Buenos dias! ¡Buenos dias!  I’ve never had a bank so tickled to see me.

The credit card thing is no big concern. Connected to that same account is another credit card with my wife’s name and a different number. It still works fine. I just had to switch a number of monthly online payments to the second card.

While sitting at the exec’s desk at 9 a.m., my cell phone rang. It was Ramón, my contractor guy, who told me he and his crew would be at the downtown Casita at 10 a.m. to install a metal door to the second-floor balcony. Perfect timing. I had enough minutes to walk through the outdoor market nearby to buy avocados, tomatoes and strawberries. And to check my PO box.

When Ramón and his crew pulled up outside the Casita just before 10 a.m., I was sitting in a chair on the balcony reading a book on Kindle. Apparently, that amused Ramón who hollered up that he hopes to live that way one day.

I hope he gets to live that way too. He works hard.

The metal door replaces a silly plywood number installed by the home’s builder five years ago.

I left the Casita in the hands of Ramón, and I returned to the Hacienda, about 15 minutes distant, for breakfast No. 2. Since I’m writing this shortly after High Noon, the headline here would be more accurately written as “A morning in the life.”

The day is scarcely half over.