The weekend update

MEXICANS VIEW Friday and Saturday as the weekend, not Saturday and Sunday. At least that’s what my child bride tells me.

So I wonder what Sunday is. Maybe it’s just the day you go to Mass.

This business of Friday and Saturday being the weekend is akin to Mexicans’ thinking that a week has eight days instead of seven, and two weeks amount to 15 days instead of the 16 they would have if one week has eight.

Where’s the logic? There is none.

These are a few examples of why I say living in Mexico is like living in Alice’s Wonderland. There’s always a huge cat grinning in a tree somewhere.

Phil in Arizona emailed me yesterday, asking about the progress on the upstairs terraza dome. I’ll tell you what I told him. There is none. We’ve been shopping for glass, which turned out to be a whale of a lot more costly than I anticipated.

I finally got a price of 98,000 pesos, which is a bit over $5,000 in dollars. The initial price I got from the first business I asked was a stunning 280,000 pesos, almost $15,000 U.S.

That’s what I paid for the Honda CR-V new, and it’s one-fourth of what we paid to construct the entire Hacienda. Sure, those were 10 and 16 years ago, respectively, but still.

On Wednesday, I made the 50 percent deposit on the 98,000-peso deal. They say it will be installed in two to four weeks. Don’t count on two weeks. With luck, it’ll be four.

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Stunning stupidity

In one week more, I’ll have a story to tell. It’s a very Mexican story, one that made me steaming mad, and I do not get mad easily. I’m still mad.

It’s a two-pronged story of stupidity. But, for reasons I will explain in another week, I cannot get into it now. It may bring bad luck. I am superstitious.

And as things stand so far, all is well. Fingers crossed.

A passing scene

New Image

THIS MYSTERY plant has been hanging for at least 15 years from a wooden beam that’s part of the roof of red-clay tile atop the upstairs terraza.

I rarely do anything to it. I don’t fertilize it. I often go long spells without watering it. Yet it soldiers on, as they say, sometimes sprouting these lovely flowers. I see this plant daily through the window just above the computer screen that sits on my desk.

Alas, the scene isn’t long for this world. Next month, or possibly February, the roof will come down, and so will that brick column you see in the photo. It’s one of two that help support the red-clay roof.

The two support columns originally were carved wood, but the bases rotted over time, and were replaced by brick columns.

We’ll be installing a huge steel and tempered-glass roof that will cover the entire upstairs terraza. Currently, the tile roof covers 20 percent at best. It was one of the last parts of the Hacienda construction in 2003, and I was weary of spending money.

I shortchanged the roof.

Five months of daily rain and then seven months of direct sun every year have not been kind to the terraza’s ceramic floor. We’ve had it repaired a number of times and just last summer a leak somehow made it through the inches of solid concrete and dripped into the bedroom below.

That was the straw on the camel’s sagging back.

So a new, far larger roof is on the way. The scene I’ve been admiring through the window above my computer screen for years is going to change drastically, and the fate of this faithful plant has yet to be determined.

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The oddball, leaning roof is visible over the upstairs terraza in this photo from 2003, just after we had moved into our abode. Putting it there and in that way was entirely my idea. I should not try to be an architect.

The Hacienda marks its quinceañera

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:

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Home done, but the yard still a mess in 2003.

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:

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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:

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One of my favorite photos. I took it in 2014.

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.)

Miles of counter space

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Shot last night just before I hit the sack.

ONE OF THE MANY advantages of designing your own home is that you need not follow the dimensions of other people. And size does matter.

In the five-year period between when my last wife tossed me on the street in Houston in favor of her new boyfriend, an illegal-alien Mexican half her age,* and the day I boarded a Delta jet in Atlanta headed to Guadalajara I lived in three apartments in Houston.

Their kitchens were laughable in size. The strangest of all was the second place, a huge, two-bedroom, living room, dining room, office, spread that had a kitchen you could hardly turn around in. And the counter space? Virtually zero.

The other two abodes were not much better.

When I designed the Hacienda on graph paper (no architect in sight), an effort I shared with my child bride though I did most of it, I decided to go big.

The kitchen counter measures a bit over 23 feet, and yet my wife and I bump into one another if we’re both fixing something. And that 23 feet does not include the separate work table there at the right, added a few years later.

Then there’s the bathroom where again I decided to go long. The bathroom counter is almost 11 feet, but it has a major defect, a reflection of my stupidity. There is just one sink. It never occurred to me to install two sinks, which is all the rage.

Lord knows there is space. Again, we bump into one another.

I am tall, and all my life I’ve been bending over to get under showerheads which sprayed me nicely … on the back. The two showers here come straight down from high overhead. It’s really sweet, akin to bathing in a jungle waterfall.

Designing your own home is preferable, and if you do it in Mexico, cheap.

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* The relationship did not last long. Shocker!

(Note: Tomorrow marks the end of President Trump’s first year in office. I have an exciting roundup of his remarkable accomplishments. Stay tuned. You don’t want to miss it. Manaña on The Unseen Moon where the news is biased but never fake!)