Mexican life

Dream from half a century ago

ROOF
Didn’t envision this half a century ago, but here I am.

WHEN I WAS 22 years old, married to the first of three wives, I drew plans for a Mexican-style home I would have liked to have built. I was broke, of course, so there was no way to do it. I thought maybe with cinder blocks it would be possible.

Cinder blocks?

The plans reflected my thoughts of a single-story hacienda (small h, not big H) that was completely enclosed with an open courtyard in the middle.

Nobody in my family had ever lived or aspired to live in Mexico, so where did this architectural dream come from? I didn’t think of living in Mexico either. I simply liked the idea of that type of house. I wanted it there in New Orleans.

I was a serial renter, not buying a home until I was 42 years old, and I bought it in Houston, Texas, not New Orleans. The house was not Spanish-style. It was a Texas ranch house of medium size, not a ranch house on a ranch, of course. Ranch house is a style: single-story, low roof, yard out front and back.

My second ex-wife lives there today, more than three decades later.

But I am living in a Hacienda with a big H. And, like the one I designed half a century ago, I designed this one too. I used graph paper. My child bride assisted with her civil engineering skills, but the design is 95 percent mine.

Perhaps the design would have more closely copied my ideas of 50 years ago except for one thing: I wanted a mountain view, and for that I needed a second story due to the brick wall that surrounds our property, Mexican-style.

So here I am. In the circle of life. What goes around comes around. If you manage to live long enough, stuff happens. And so on.

Maybe I should have been an architect.

* * * *

Color and current events

New Image
With luck, we’ll start burying utility cables soon, but it’s still pretty.

My child bride is abandoning me today, heading to Querétaro by bus for a belated Baptism and 4th birthday party for a niece named Sophie. I’ll be batching it here until Sunday evening. It will be lonely but quiet.

For years I tried to participate in these sorts of family activities, but I’ve given up. I’m not cut out for endless chitchat and peals of hysterical laughter.

Thursday afternoon I was taking a leisurely stroll alone down a back street of downtown, thinking of the above, when I noticed the scene in the photo. I had my camera. Our mountaintop town is changing rapidly.

I do not believe most, or even any, of those houses up there existed when I moved here over 17 years ago. And the city recently began a major renovation of streets and sidewalks around the main plaza. It will take months, if not years, to finish but we will be so pretty when it’s completed. The downside is that it likely will attract more Gringos.

I prefer they stay put in San Miguel de Allende, being all artsy-like.

Mexican life

Glimpse of sunshine

yard
The psychedelic birdbath is full of fresh, clean water.

WE’VE BEEN dreadfully wet of late. Not Houston-style, but extra wet in our own way, and it’s due to two factors.

One, it’s the rainy season, and it rains a bit every day. But, in addition, we were getting almost nonstop rain for a spell due to a hurricane out in the Pacific. Not Harvey but Lidia.

When hurricanes run amok in the Gulf or Pacific, we get extra rain sometimes, and that’s all we get, which is good.

But the sun was out this morning, so I did some yard trimmings, cutting dead stuff, picking up nopal fruit that had fallen to the grass. You need gloves to do that latter, as I discovered painfully some while back. Nasty little spines.

And I refilled the birdbath, which I had not done for days due to the rain keeping it full. However, I noticed today there were tadpoles in there, so I dumped it out, and refilled.

During the morning activities, I needed something from the downstairs closet and while in there I got in a sharing mode. I don’t think I’ve ever put a closet photo here, so …

closet
We maintain marginal order in the closet. There’s a similar closet upstairs.

The closet is across from the downstairs bathroom and next to the bedroom. You enter from the hallway. It was my idea, and it baffled my child bride at first because it’s as big as many — perhaps most — bedrooms in Mexico.

I hired a carpenter to build shelves that don’t just abut the wall but extend outwards, giving much more storage space. It’s an idea I got from the late, great Al Kinnison (R.I.P.) who had such a closet next to his kitchen. He lived downtown.

While I’ve been writing this, the clouds have grown, which may cause a problem for my morning exercise walk around our nearby plaza. I think I need to get going.

Adiós.

The Odd Pot

New and improved

typewriter

LOTS OF related websites are connected here. There are links in the right-side column. History has shown me that few folks pay them any mind in spite of their often being more fascinating than what you see here in the middle space.

I’ve not been happy with one of those related pages for quite some time. Newspaper Days. Recently, a nice woman clicked “like” on it, and that brought the page to my attention.

Still didn’t like it, so I zapped it.

In its place is a new and improved version of my Newspaper Days. More info, more photos, better written. Think of it as a Prius instead of a Ford Fairlane.

For folks who’ve been passing by the Moon for more than a short spell, you already know that I am a retired newspaperman. Not a journalist, a newspaperman. Having never taken a journalism course in my life, how could I be a journalist? I did work for newspapers for 30 years, however. Newspaperman.

I never had delusions of grandeur.

When I got into that now-discredited occupation, having studied journalism frequently was not a requirement. Being fairly sober and being able to stand up straight and construct a reasonably coherent sentence often was enough.

And being male. Getting hired in newsrooms if you weren’t a guy was pretty much impossible with one exception: society pages. Lots of ladies in the Society Department.

It’s called Lifestyle now. Or simply Style.

In Newspaper Days, I follow my checkered career from New Orleans to San Juan, back to New Orleans and then to Houston, Texas, where I spent the entire second half of my newspapering life. It was a good gig, so I stayed 15 years.

The best was San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was the briefest even though I worked there on two separate occasions in the early to mid-1970s for a bit under two years total.

This is a photo of where I lived the second stay:

new-image.jpg
My penthouse was just off to the left, one or two buildings. Sweet, huh?

You can see the news business was good to me. The pay was okay too. I did not get rich, but I did retire debt-free to Mexico when I was just 55 years old. Wife-free too.

Take a look at the longer version, which gets into booze, suicides, mangy bars, mangy dogs, Cuban coffee, the effects of political correctness, the effects of Watergate. And there are my mugshots on all my press passes save one. Cute!

Mexican life

Mexican Bond

THE BODY sprawled by the pool on the first page of Ian Fleming’s novel From Russia With Love sported, among other things, a Gerard-Perregaux wristwatch.

He may have seemed dead, but he traveled in style. Fleming called the Gerard-Perregaux a “badge of the rich man’s club.” I also wear that badge in spite of not being rich.

Mine.

I found the watch in 1998 in an antique store in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The watch was inoperative, frozen, and I knew nothing of the brand. It was a time two years before I became Mexico’s Bond.

The watch was priced cheaply because it did not work. I forget how much I paid, but I immediately left it in a repair shop where it was resurrected for about $100.

Gerard-Perregaux, founded in 1791, is a Swiss maker of very high-end watches that sell new for thousands of dollars. They are every bit as good as Rolex though they make fewer watches and don’t crow about it so much.

I bought the watch for one reason. It was motion-activated. Battery-run watches screech to a halt on my wrist in a matter of hours. You may have heard of this odd phenomenon.

It is no myth.

I can only wear motion-activated watches or the old style you actually wind up. Try and find that these days. So, it’s motion-activated, or no watch at all for me.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, it was easy to find motion-activated watches, but they gradually vanished until the late 1990s when it was almost impossible to locate one. These days, they have become popular again, considered “eco” or “green.”

I wore my Gerard-Perregaux for about five years, totally unaware of its snazzy rep, till it stopped dead again in Mexico. I took it to a humble repair shop, and the guy got it running — for about a week. I tossed it into a drawer and bought a Citizen.

Sometime during the decade it sat in the drawer, I learned what it was that I had, but I did nothing about it. But six months ago I fished it out and took it to the repair desk at the Liverpool department store in the state capital.

A month later and with my wallet over 3,000 pesos lighter, I picked it up, and it’s been running like a watch ever since. I pray this will continue for the rest of my days. I rather like being Mexico’s Bond, or at least resembling him in one small way.

Seems about right to me.