Tag: home renovation

Work & Glitches

patch
Space awaits its cement.
mix
Cement gets mixed on the floor of the carport.
new image
And the cement goes in.

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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Gasoline shortage

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.

Mexican life. Never a dull moment.

Hacienda happenings and pilgrims too

New Image
Some pilgrims travel this way.

HOLA, AMIGOS. It’s a lovely day at the Hacienda, and here’s what’s happening.

I am alone today, abandoned by my child bride who, with her sister and the nephew formerly known as The Little Vaquero, has gone on a pilgrimage. The trio is walking to a town about 12 miles distant.

They left at 10 a.m.

This is an annual event, and hundreds of folks hereabouts do it. But not me. I have no desire to go on pilgrimages. It’s a religious event — Catholic, of course — but that’s not why my trio does it. They just like the walk, which takes about three hours.

They switched to this pilgrimage two years ago. They previously went on a far longer one to a town called Caracuaro to visit the “Black Jesus.”

I once went on that pilgrimage, years back, out of curiosity. The traditional way is to walk, but I drove because I am a lazy pilgrim.

I walked through throngs of other pilgrims in the streets of Caracuaro, some on their knees. I ate tacos and beans, and I came home. It was my only visit. The Black Jesus will have to get along without me in the future.

I said I was alone today, but that’s not quite true. There are workmen here. January and February are when we do renovations at the Hacienda. It doesn’t rain in January and February normally, so it’s a good time for renovations.

We’re having work done on some windows, and there’s painting too. I’ll have a full post on that in a few days because I know you’re curious.

Meanwhile, here I sit, alone, while my pilgrims stroll in the sunshine.

Sometimes there’s just too much

rock
About half finished with this year’s section. Photo from this morning.

I’M A LAID-BACK kind of guy. Don’t like having lots on my plate. Prefer having my feet up on the desk, or up on the table on the Jesus Patio. I’ve always been this way. Some call it lazy. I call it relaxed.

So I’m on edge of late. The biggest bother is the guys out in the yard. They arrive every morning about 8. We hardly have time to eat our bagels before the doorbell is clanging, which means I have to move the cars from Point A to Point B because the guys mix cement in Point B. The Honda goes out to the street for the day.

As I’ve dreamed of doing for years, I’ve begun the process of eliminating most grass from the yard and replacing it with stone and concrete, a process called empedrado, very common in these Mexican parts.

Looks nice and doesn’t need mowing.

The work being done this year will uproot about a fourth of the grass that will be uprooted when all is done in three more years. A big semicircle in the middle of the yard will stay put, the only grass I’m keeping. I’m doing the work in stages every winter.

That’s one thing on my mind. Another is that renters arrive to the Downtown Casita on Friday, and I want to get some plumbing and electrical work done there first. It could wait, but just this morning the Hacienda’s solar water heater sprang a leak, so I called the plumber. Maybe he can do the work here and at the Downtown Casita in one fell swoop.

Or not at all. You never know.

Retirement is supposed to be easier than this. I want the workmen done and gone. I want the solar heater to quit leaking. And I want my feet up somewhere with not a care in the world, reading my Kindle and dozing off now and then.

Now that’s the good life.

Hogs, hats, Mozart and chores

hat
Art can appear most anywhere.

YESTERDAY ABOUT noon, I was sitting on a web chair beside the glass-top table on the Jesus Patio. I was sporting my thick, black, winter hoodie with the hood atop my head. It was a bit overcast and quite cool.

To flip the hood up, I had to remove the old straw hat, which I sat on the table. It was then that I noticed that I had an art shot. The camera was with me, so I photographed. That’s the cursed peach tree, sans leaves, you see reflected.

I bought that hat for just 50 pesos a few years ago in Zihuatanejo.

For a good length of time, a hog next door was squealing bloody murder, and that’s probably because murder was in his future. They come, they go, they’re eaten.

In addition to the camera, I also had my Kindle because my initial intention on sitting out there was to start a new book, a brief bio of Mozart, but I got sleepy, set it down and started to doze. I woke a bit later, refreshed, and began to think of spring repairs.

Every December I have a list already made up of “spring” repairs for the Hacienda. However, I usually start them as soon as January arrives. If I actually wait till spring I may not have enough time to finish. It depends on the length of the list.

The list is usually work that needs to be done outside, either in the yard or on the house’s exterior. Doing such labor from June through October is a challenge due to the daily downpours. The time for work is from January through May.

This year’s list, which I’ve already printed out, consists of eight items.

  1. This is the biggie. A major section of the yard will have the grass removed, and cement and rock installed. Included in this is the removal of the last giant maguey from the yard. Never plant a giant maguey in your yard.
  2. Renovate the exterior of the downstairs bathroom window. It’s tatty, and the screen needs to be replaced.
  3. Repair a hole in a corner of the roof over the downstairs veranda. It leaks during the rainy season.
  4. Reroute a drain spout over the service patio.* Currently, it dumps rain into the service patio, but I want the rain dumped out on the street.
  5. Remove a plastic laminate roof that’s over part of the service patio.
  6. Install a new one, bigger and better. Gotta cover the new propane tank.
  7. Install a plastic laminate lid over the water tank and propane tank on the roof of our Downtown Casita. The sun is playing havoc with them.
  8. Get a blacksmith to make and install a handrail on the upper section of the stairwell here at the Hacienda. The bottom, larger, section already has one.

I’ll be getting price estimates in January. Contributions accepted from readers.

So there I was on the Jesus Patio with Mozart, the hat, the camera, hearing the hog and thinking of springtime chores as the cool breezes blew.

* * * *

* Patio de servicio, something most Mexican homes have. It’s where the water heater, propane tank, scrub sink, etc., are installed. Ours also has a clothesline. Service patios are usually outside.