MOST EVERY morning following croissantitos and orange marmelade or Costco bagels and cream cheese lite, plus café americano negro, of course, we retire to the living room and sit on the red sofa.
The music machine is already playing. I turn that on before bagels or croissantitos. This morning it was Madeleine Peyroux who was serenading us. She’s been our morning music for quite a few weeks now.
And will remain so till we weary of her.
This is how the scene appeared this morning. It doesn’t last long because we are a very busy pair, but it lasts long enough to count.
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(Note: The rather loud tick, tock, tick you hear is my Aunt Ned’s (R.I.P.) antique wall clock which dates from about 1885. I date from somewhat later than that.)
SINCE MY CHILD bride broke her arm recently, life has taken some significant detours here at the Hacienda.
Some affect her more than me, and some affect me more than her, but everyone is affected. Perhaps the worst part is that she cannot go to the gym, something she’s done regularly for about 30 years.
This is driving her nuts.
Since her car has an automatic transmission, and her broken arm is the left one, and she’s right-handed, she can still drive, but she’s nervous about it, so she’s not driving. I am now the full-time chauffeur.
She cannot easily put cream cheese on her bagels in the morning or orange marmalade on her croissants. I do that for her.
Neither can she iron clothes, which she’s done since we got married. I am fully capable of ironing clothes, and I ironed clothes all the time during my previous marriage. Now I’m back to ironing clothes.
But I don’t do it as well as she does because the occasional wrinkle does not bother me. I’m more laid back about creases’ locations.
She still sweeps and mops, but not very well. Oh, well.
When she showers, I have to tape a plastic bag around her cast. She does remove it, however. We’re using lots of bags.
Which brings us to her hair, which is curly and very long. There’s not much she can do with it wielding one hand so I have been drafted. I am not good at it. Sometimes she looks goofy.
Her weekend pastry sales on the downtown plaza have been suspended, so she’s unemployed. I continue her benefits, however.
Today ends the first week of this new life. According to the doctor, it will continue for another three to five weeks. We’re praying for just three.
Neither of us had broken a bone before, and neither of us had lived with someone who’d broken a bone, so we’d never given it much thought.
STEVE COTTON, a retired barrister from Oregon who now lives occasionally in the “little Mexican village” of Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, and writes now and then on his website Mexpatriate — In the Key of Steve, came with family in February to stay in our downtown casita for a spell.
Señor Cotton, being a well-bred sort (tip of the sombrero to his Mom and Pop), as a token of apreciation — I didn’t charge him for the rental — left this orchid for us. We transported the flower from the downtown casita here to the Hacienda where we live, and we sat it atop the dining room table.
As I said, that was February … of 2017.
Yes, the orchid has graced our table for over a year, and it’s never lacked flowers. I find this remarkable. I didn’t know any plant flowered for more than a year.
So every morning especially, as we chew toasted bagels with cream cheese or the occasional croissant with orange marmalade, we think kindly of the former Oregon barrister who now lives occasionally — when he’s not flying all over the place — in the “little Mexican village” of Barra de Navidad, Jalisco.
MOST WORK around here gets done in the morning, and that would be after the bagels and cream cheese.
The labor this Good Friday morning included the yearly cleaning of the underground cistern.
Our concrete cistern holds 9,000 liters of water.
The reason you don’t want to drink tap water in Mexico is less because the water didn’t come from a clean source at the get-go. It may have. For instance, our municipal water comes from an underground spring. It is quite clear.
What happens is that almost everyone stores water in an underground cistern. From that cistern, water is delivered, one way or another, to a roof tank, and from there it’s dropped into the house faucets via gravity.
There are variations, but basically that’s how it works.
I have no statistics, but I’d bet a pocket of pesos that few homeowners ever clean their cisterns. I’ve peered into cisterns that you could use for a horror-movie scene.
But we are better than that.
Here’s how we clean ours. First, we turn off the incoming water. After that, it takes almost two weeks to empty as we use the water in the house. Finally, the cistern is empty, and we switch to a small backup tank for a day or two.
We leave the lid open overnight, and the cistern’s dry in the morning. I go down and sweep. She goes down and mops. We turn the water back on, and toss in half a liter of bleach.
It takes three or four days to refill. The municipal water runs six days a week for six to eight hours daily.
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Having finished that work, it was time to reassign cacti.
You’d think that after what happened with the monster nopal that I would have learned my lesson regarding prickly plants.
But I’m stupid that way.
I love deserts and the things that live in them. I used to plant cacti in my yard in Houston, and they never did squat.
Next to the verandah, there’s this stand of pole cacti that I started years ago with one small one. The tallest now is six and a half feet high.
Another shorter — but not by much — stand nearby provided a cutting about 15 inches tall. It has been planted out by the property wall, and I anticipate a nice stand of pole cacti there in a few years — if I live so long.
Being a newbie, it needs a little support from string and a stick.
Following these two chores, I only had to water the potted plants on the verandah, dust the shelves and sweep the floor.
The only other labor for the day will be cooking pasta and broiling salmon. After that, it’s a café Americano negro on the downtown plaza, watching the beautiful tourist babes.
It will be a Good Friday. Even if I’m not a Christian.