WHILE THE BIG adolescent birthday above the Rio Bravo is Sweet Sixteen, down here it’s the 15th, which we call quinceañera. Quince is 15 in español.
The Hacienda marks its 15th birthday this month, which is to say it was complete, more less, and we moved into the house in May of 2003. It looked like this:
We hired no architect, and we used no blueprints. We drew what we wanted on graph paper and handed it to “the guys.” This is how part of it looked:
My civil engineer child bride drew the top part, which is the downstairs terraza. I was not planning on arches. That was her good idea. The bottom part was drawn by me. It’s the downstairs floor plan.
Now you know where everything is. Downstairs, at least. We only planned on building the downstairs initially. We were going to wait to do the upstairs, but “the guys,” three of them, plus a helper, were so responsible and talented we didn’t want to lose them, so we continued nonstop with the upstairs.
I took photos of the entire construction process that lasted nine months. They were digital photos, and I stored them on my computer, a computer that suffered a hard-drive meltdown when all was done. I lost all the photos.
Moral: Always create backups.
Here’s a view from 2014. It’s not much different now:
I often crow here about the place because I’m proud of it. While the two of us did it, I did the lion’s share, most of the design, almost all of the color, almost all of the interior artwork. Some folks find it overboard, especially inside.
I don’t care. I love it.
I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else in my life. Runner-up goes to a house in Jacksonville, Florida, where I lived with my family from age 7 to 17.
Second runner-up is the Houston home I shared with my second ex-wife from 1986 to 1995, just one year less than the spell in Florida. There is no third runner-up because I moved around too much.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself, a middle-class Georgia Cracker, living in a place like this, but here I am. Not only that, but with a lovely child bride. At times, life exceeds expectations greatly.
Sometimes I think I should pinch myself, but I might wake up.
I sure as shootin’ don’t want that.
Felíz quinceañera, Hacienda!
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(As always, a horde of Hacienda photos available here.)