Where’s the onerousness?

butcher
Felipe runs a butcher shop in the next block. He’s a good guy.

I WAS READING yesterday on the blog of an old Gringo who lives in the sticks outside the touristy, Gringo-infested burg of San Miguel de Allende that the old Gringo in question — his name is Alfredo — was finding life in the Plague Year “onerous.”

I am not finding it onerous, just a bit inconvenient at times, but mostly I’m doing just fine. I read, I watch Netflix, I fix lunch, which is the main meal of the day in Mexico, I power walk around the neighborhood plaza every weekday, and I tend to the  yard. With some exceptions, it’s what I did before the Kung Flu tossed everyone into a tizzy.

I don’t garden every day — not the lazy days — but I do what needs to be done, and Abel the Deadpan Yardman does the heavy lifting, so to speak, and there’s rarely much heavy lifting. This morning, I hosed the yard plants for the first time in a couple of weeks, just the plants, not the grass, which fends for itself.

Then I rested on a downstairs veranda rocker and shot this picture of myself. That’s me in a good mood. I already had the camera at hand because I planned to photograph the butcher minutes later during the power walk. The butcher is named Felipe too.

That young man is a red-meat entrepreneur. I like him. He has a wife and a young boy, and they are all well-behaved.

me
Grinning from ear to ear.

I’m a little scraggly, but I tidied up later. One must maintain standards of appearance and deportment. I learned that in the Air Force decades ago. Or not. Just after snapping this shot, I grabbed my mahogany cane — to thrash unruly dogs — ushered my child bride through the big, red gate, and we powered around the nearby plaza.

Perhaps there was a bounce in my step. She detoured to a little store to buy peanuts for  cookies this afternoon. They are tasty cookies and go great with coffee.

The plaza was empty, so we didn’t have to maintain social distancing. The space was all ours on this lovely, blue-skied, cool-aired, carefree day.

plazaa
The neighborhood plaza was wide open today.

We’re not letting the Kung Flu get us down. Tomorrow I’ll be meeting a guy named Miguel at the Downtown Casita, and he’ll do some renovation in the carport that will entail removing plants — one of my preferred activities — and installing ceramic floor tile.

Faux brick. It will look sweet.

To date, the Plague Year has prompted two cancellations for the Downtown Casita, leaving just one in place, a couple who’ll arrive in late October for only two weeks. I don’t much care for two-week reservations because the income is hardly worth the effort.

There’s plenty of time for them to cancel too. I rather hope so.

Toil and beauty

red
Lovely red flowers adored by hummingbirds.

JANUARY IS THE time for annual chores, but the chores are done before a backdrop of beauty here at the Hacienda. Well, at least till the first overnight freeze clobbers us.

That likely won’t be long in coming.

The chores include paying for our post office box for another year. Paying for water at the Downtown Casita for another year. Paying property taxes for our three places. For the Hacienda and the Downtown Casita, we go to City Hall. For the Mexico City condo, which continues to be rented to a nephew university student, I do that online.

I won’t even mention that property tax amounts because it would shock and sadden those of you who live above the Rio Bravo and pay through the nose. The water bills too.

The Hacienda’s unmetered water runs 720 pesos annually, about $38 USD.

January is also a great time to begin outdoor renovations because the annual monsoon is on hold till June. The Hacienda is almost 17 years old and, like aging people, is beginning to sag. That includes the Romance Sidewalk, which was sagging at one spot, literally.

So the guy who was painting here for a couple of weeks — he finished painting — turned his attention to repairing the sidewalk. First, he ripped up the sagging section.

There was a little cave below, empty space caused by Lord knows what. Were there bears living in there? Wolverines? Rats? I neglected to snap a photo. But here’s how it looks after the cavern was filled with sand and concrete detritus.

romance

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And here above is how it looks this morning. Ready for romantic walks in a level manner for another 17 years. We’ve now finished this season’s renovations at the Hacienda. However, there will be more work at the Downtown Casita. We’ll hire a blacksmith to install a circular stairway from the balcony to the roof and a handrail for the stairs inside.

A homeowner’s work is never done.

House of horrors

phil
Seven feet high! Doesn’t look it. I just finished whacking it back.

I DON’T WANT this to become a gardening website, but awful things merit mention.

The plant in the photo, a philodendron, is about seven feet tall.  Before moving to Mexico, I thought philodendrons were little, potted plants for the home. Only sometimes.

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Better Homes & Gardens says this about philodendrons:

(It’s) one of the toughest houseplants you can possibly grow. Whether you choose upright or trailing/climbing types, they are perfectly happy in a home setting. Even people with so-called “black thumbs” are usually successful at growing these plants. Philodendrons are very low maintenance and can sit idle for long periods. You can train them up a trellis or simply leave them to their own devices — philodendrons will survive no matter what.

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By toughest houseplants, they don’t mean tough to grow. Quite the contrary. It’s a tough customer. Very low maintenance? Will survive no matter what? No joke!

Not only does this grow easily. It multiplies. It started with one little stalk about a decade ago. Now it has many and continues to add more. And the plant is creepy. As it grows, it tosses “stuff” below. It’s the sort of stuff you’d expect to see in a werewolf movie, the scene in which the villagers discover what happened in the forest overnight. Oh, gross!

But this is one plant I do not plan to remove because it doesn’t toss trash over a wide area, just at its base. I do wish it would stop the proliferation of stalks, however.

I foolishly planted another in the small, carport, garden area of the Downtown Casita. It too is beefing up at a remarkable pace. I never seem to learn.

trash
The wheelbarrow contains just a bit of the gooey, grim material found at the plant’s base. The photo does not do justice to the miserable stuff.

Glass, blooms & design

glass
Easy does it, boys!

ABOUT TEN guys showed up at the front gate yesterday morning to unload more glass, lots more glass, about 35 huge, additional panes. It’s not trickling in anymore.

They brought just six last time.

This is the most exciting project that’s happened around here in years. The previous most exciting project was the construction of my child bride’s pastry kitchen. That was five years ago. They will both end up costing about the same thing, $10,000 U.S.

We could have purchased two decent used cars instead.

walk
Doing the glass walk.
drop
Both the fellow on the left and the far one on the right are standing directly atop the glass, They are braver than I, or they know something I don’t. Likely both.
New Image
End of the day, almost finished. There’s more glass installed to the left.

Seven hours later, they left, eight panes shy up top, and eight smaller vertical ones elsewhere. You can see where those smaller ones go in the top photo. The crew won’t be back till some day next week, they said. Lordy, I hope so.

The next things on the to-do list are to install a ceiling fan and additional lighting. And some system to reduce drastically the force of the sun. We’ll almost certainly opt for a fabric screen on top. Home Depot sells various designs specifically for that purpose. We could install it atop or drape it below, but atop will help somewhat in avoiding hail damage.

It hails like Hell here at times.

We’ll also be installing canvas curtains in at least two areas to reduce the entrance of water from the side during the five-month monsoons.

And last of all, some nice, comfy furniture for the wild parties we’re planning.

All this work and expense is happening because of one tiny leak in the upstairs terraza that cropped up last year. I didn’t think the solution would be so humongous.

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Bye, bye, bougainvillea

second
Tried, convicted, condemned.

I’ve finally had it up to here with the monster bougainvillea.

Someone from the sex hotel next door rang our doorbell yesterday asking if I’d mind if they whacked back the large part of my bougainvillea that’s hanging over on their side, tossing red trash everywhere. Have at it, I replied.

Meanwhile, massive mounds of wind-blown fallen flowers accumulate in our yard and in our downstairs veranda. I’m sick of it! So, like the peach tree, the pear tree, the nopal, all garbage tossers, the bougainvillea is coming down. Not totally, but 95 percent of it. I’ll leave the fat trunk and a small bush on top, a bougainvillea bonsai.

It’ll be cute.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be hiring the same crew that removed the monster nopal to return for the bougainvillea. I can’t take it anymore.

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The Moon has a new look. Hope it suits you. I used the same theme when I updated the website last week for our Downtown Casita rental. Life is change.