Mexican life

Ton of steel



WE’RE INSTALLING a metal-and-glass roof over the upstairs terraza, as some readers may recall. This decision was made after 16 rainy summers in which the upstairs terraza turned into a small lake, rendering it useless for anything.

The lake problem resulted from the builders’ not installing the terraza floor with any incline toward the small drain holes. It is level. This was done because we did not explain adequately that the space above the downstairs bedroom was going to be open.

Maybe even we did not know it at the time. I don’t recall. We hired no architect, and we were winging it. It’s akin to being your own lawyer at your murder trial.

We lived with the annual six-month lake out there until a straw broke the camel’s back last summer — a small leak into the bedroom below. We had previously replaced some of the ceramic tile in the terraza because it had buckled. That happened twice in recent years. But the leak did the trick. Serious action was required.

Two neighbors of our Downtown Casita had installed a glass-and-steel ceiling partially atop their house, making a nice roof patio. It looks good, so we decided to do something similar. They told me what it had cost, and it was reasonable. And they had hired a contractor to handle everything, making things simpler for themselves. Smart.

I contacted the same contractor, but he never responded. Screw it, I said. I’ll do it myself. And it will cost less.

First, we hired the same blacksmith who did the work on the neighbors’ house. After he installs the framework, we will buy the smoked glass elsewhere and pay to have it installed by that separate business.

The blacksmith arrived Tuesday with four guys to deliver the steel beams and columns, depositing them in our yard. Be back later this week, he said, to do the installation. While the neighbors’ price seemed reasonable, I had neglected to notice that our upstairs terraza is far larger than the domo (that’s what it’s called here) over their home.

We were flabbergasted at the quantity of it all.

The size of our framework dwarfs that which tops their house. After the installation, the metal will be painted the same color as the Hacienda. Rojo costamar. Seacoast red.

But first the blacksmith must return and install the frame. Hope he doesn’t take long. You never know with those folks. It only needs to be fully done before the rains start in June.

But I want it done far before then. We’ll buy some patio furniture. Maybe throw a fiesta. You can all come. Whoopee!

Mexican life

Betterment, municipal and otherwise


OUR TOWN and our home are improving daily.

While I’ve shown you segments of our ongoing street and sidewalk renovations downtown on a few occasions, I’m going to show you yet another!

Two of the four street sides of our spectacular plaza — one of Mexico’s nicest — are finished. Above is the third, which is just curing before being opened too. The fourth and final, the street outside the family coffee shop, is about half done.

Sidewalk renovations will follow, both on the street above and then on our side, which will, at least temporarily, disrupt my child bride’s Saturday pastry sale.

But we’re also doing improvements here at the Hacienda.


Behold! A new stairwell. It goes to the roof of the dining room/kitchen, an area that has been accessible only by ladder for the past 15 years.

It’s necessary to go up there sometimes to unclog rain drains, plus other details, and I’m getting a little long in the tooth for the ladder routine.

A blacksmith made, painted and installed the stairwell for the peso equivalent of about $340 in Gringo cash.

So up I go via the new stairway to the roof of the dining room/kitchen:


It’s kinda grungy, but it provides a great view. Maybe a nice, ceramic floor would be a good addition, and then a table, chairs and umbrella. Party time!

The angled roof just beyond is the ceiling of the downstairs terraza. And in the distance, you see a freshly painted house, yellow, a new development. That place was built about 10 years ago, and it just sat there vacant with a façade of gray concrete till recently. But it’s still vacant.

More on that later. Our street is improving.

Life goes on.

The Odd Pot

Urban renewal


THIS IS THE street out back of the Hacienda. It stands in stark contrast to the street out front, which is colorless.

Out front, drab. Out back, LSD trip.

Out back is getting changes which might have been inspired by our recent removal of weeds and construction of a new sidewalk, work detailed in Home Improvement last month.

We noticed during that work that a house down on the corner, the rear of which also included a weed strip, had someone removing its weeds. They have yet to build a sidewalk.

And then a few days later, this yellow house in the photo, was repainted, the yellow part, at least. It was yellow before. It’s just more yellow now. The yellow house and the neighboring orange one are inhabited by the same family.

A notable architectural note on the yellow house is the naked woman painted on the façade. Now there’s something you’ll never see on a home in Kennebunkport.

The naked woman was painted about eight years ago by a hormone-fueled young man who lives there.

It’s an interesting block, which I’ll be seeing more of because of the new steps and sidewalk we had built. Why, I was out there just yesterday sweeping my new sidewalk.

The block goes like this, on the other side, starting on the right: A hovel with a large lot. A hovel with a smaller lot and lots of bamboo and chickens. This yellow house, the orange one, a weeded lot, and then another humble home.

On this side, starting on the right: the humble home of Abel who cuts our grass, the sex motel, the Hacienda, the sourpuss family with the white horse and assorted beasts, and the corner house where they recently dug up their weeds.

There is scant traffic on this street because our block is the final one. It’s a dead end past Abel’s place, terminating in a ravine where green trash gets dumped.

The neighborhood septic tank is down there too.