THROUGHOUT MY recent struggles with a head cold and a very bloody nose, the guys continued toiling in the yard. They have finished.
The scraggly, 15-year-old, stone-and-concrete Jesus Patio has been replaced with a sleek, sturdier surface that includes a concrete bench topped by talavera tile. The labor ran me the peso equivalent of about $600 U.S., and the material totalled about $350.
But the old name, the Jesus Patio, inspired by a zealous workman’s unsolicited placement of a Christian cross on the patio’s surface, no longer applies. The cross is gone. Forgive me, Jesus!
I need a new name, and I’m open to suggestions. I’m leaning toward something that has to do with Buddha.
WORK PROGRESSES on the replacement of the Jesus Patio.
At top, the space is cleared for the cement. That metal grid is to put bones in the concrete, making it less likely to crack in years to come.
The guys arrived shortly after 8 a.m. — we barely had our bagels down — and started mixing the cement with water and gravel. Where did they do that? Right on the floor of one of the two carports.
In the top photo, on the right side, you can see a grass circle that’s a different color than the other grass. That’s where the cursed peach tree once lived. Aha! And on the far side of the square just above the smaller pile of rubble, there is another circle.
That’s where the damned pear tree resided. Double aha!
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On New Year’s Eve, word began spreading around the area that gasoline was disappearing in stations in the nearby state capital.
I immediately jumped into the Honda and filled up.
Two years ago, as one year segued into another, this also happened. It got pretty serious and lasted a couple of weeks. And it happened last year too, but not nearly so grievously.
Strange thing is that no one seems to know exactly why. The government offers various excuses, and then there are rumors.
Mexico always has rumors.
This year it’s reported to be affecting four states, and guess which one is the worst. That’s right. It’s mine. And this morning I read that propane gas shortages were also beginning to appear.
I called the LP gas company, and I’m awaiting a delivery.
(And it just arrived!)
So our propane tank is full. That should last a couple of months, so we will survive winter with hot showers.
SATURDAYS ARE variable, but some are far more varied, i.e. busy, than others, and this is one of those Saturdays. I pause to fill you in due to my being a sharing sort of fellow.
When Saturday falls on the first of a month, then things get even fuller. There are Saturday chores, and there are first-of-month chores. There are also occasional chores, and one of those fell on this Saturday too.
That was the twice-a-month 8:30 a.m. drive downtown to check my postoffice box. I did that only to discover the postoffice shut due to this also being inauguration day for our new president (ugh!) in Mexico City. Why they had to close the postoffice here is one of those Latino mysteries.
So I came home with no mail, but since I almost never get mail, this is no big thing. That’s right, I get virtually no mail in my postoffice box, not even the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.
I also don’t get sales calls at dinnertime.
Saturday morning is when Abel the Deadpan Yardman arrives to mow the lawn. Normally, we’ve ended that by December, but stubborn rains in November have kept the grass green and jubilant.
The first of the month means I check the two cars, the fluid levels, the tire P.S.I., that sort of thing. I did not do that today. Tomorrow is okay.
Saturday morning is when the plants on the veranda get watered, so I did that. It’s also when I shot the photo. It’s a cool, lovely day. I also wiped the Jesus Patio table and web chairs. You can see them in the photo.
Saturday is when my child bride sells her pastries in the afternoon on the downtown plaza, and I accompany her for the first few hours. As I write this, around noon, she’s out in her private kitchen baking up a storm.
Simultaneously, I hear pigs screaming bloody murder next door. They are not kind to their pigs. Sometimes they do murder them.
My neighborhood is not for the squeamish.
Though not specifically a Saturday chore, I washed the Honda because it was grubby due to the nasty weather this week, lots of rain and mud, and one wants to present an elegant face to the world.
And after Abel the Deadpan Yardman cuts the grass and heads home, two doors down, with his weedeater, I upend the mower and hose it clean.
It’s a Briggs & Stratton.
Furthermore, arriving this afternoon while we sit on the plaza hawking pastries is a woman from Santa Fe, New Mexico, who will live in our Downtown Casita for a month, maybe two. She just retired as a therapist. Perhaps she can heal me, make me right.
I’ll drive her to her new, temporary, home with the keys.
Yes, it’s been a very busy Saturday, busier than usual, and it’s only half over. And it will continue till tonight when we climb weary under the goose-down comforter draped over the king bed, and call it a day.
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(When I retired 19 years ago 19 days from now — yes, Dec. 19, 1999 — I wondered how I’d fill my days. It hasn’t been an issue, to put it mildly.)