Cleaning the windows

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From the living room at 9 a.m.

YESTERDAY, WHILE I was Oiling the Cat, my child bride was not idle. She was cleaning the windows. We are a dual-labor couple. And since I bragged on my work, I’m now giving her equal credit so no one will call me a sexist.

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From the bedroom at the same hour.

It’s been a good morning so far. I have Al Gromer Khan on the music machine in the living room playing Tantric Drums. A touch of incense completes the scene.

Like most of the Hacienda, the window designs are mine, my idea 100 percent. Alas, I hired a crappy carpenter way back then, and the windows have been an ongoing problem, especially from the outside where they have warped.

I also stupidly told the carpenter to include the glass in his work. I did not want to fool with details. Of course, he installed the cheapest, thinnest glass available. I keep meaning to have it all changed, but so far I  have done nothing. Inertia for 17 years.

I imagine these windows will outlast me.

But they look nice, especially on clear, cool, sunny winter days like this one.

Below are two more.

A keen observer will notice that Dining Room window #1 is the only one without the section in the middle that can be opened. It initially was like the others, but there was so much leakage during the annual monsoons that I had it sealed off.

We’ll be installing a canvas awning outside that window in a few weeks. It’s the window most exposed to the elements, not just rain but brutal sunshine which requires the wood to be refurbished every few years.

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Dining room window #1, clean as the whistle.
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Dining room window #2.

Oiling the cat

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SOUNDS LIKE a chapter title in the Kama Sutra: Oiling the cat.

But it’s something more mundane in this case. The cat — a panther, actually — has posed on our front door for almost 17 years now. And the cat, like kitties everywhere, requires care, something I’ve put off too long.

I cleaned him this morning, the entire door too, and then applied a coat of 3-in-One furniture oil. The cat’s coat was dull before, but now he’s nice and shiny.

Cats like that.

The door design was my idea, and it was made by an artisan hereabouts during the Hacienda’s construction in 2003. There is an identical design on the inside of the door, but not being subject to the elements, the inside looks almost like new.

The inspiration for this was a panther vision I had under the powerful influence of psilocybin in 1997. It stuck with me, and now I see it daily.

This cat is my friend.

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.