Friday, September 30, 2011

A Construction Moment

My bathroom re-do is well underway. The guys are working really hard and doing a beautiful job. Then yesterday at 6 p.m. as they were finishing for the day, they told me they had run out of tile.

¨How can that be?¨  I asked. ¨I bought the amount you said you needed.¨

¨Yes but we thought you were getting bigger tiles. These tiles are chico,¨ they replied.

¨But you told me to get 8 square meters and I did. It doesn´t matter how big or small the tiles are, they still should cover 8 square meters.¨

¨No, senora,¨ they explained patiently. ¨When the tiles are smaller you need more and they get used up quicker.¨

My beautiful chico tiles

¨Um, okay, ¨I said, scratching my head like Curly of the Three Stooges, ¨then I guess we need some more tile.¨

We decided not to go the square meter route this time and count instead. Cinco cajas -  five boxes - they told me.

It necessitated a three-hour round-trip drive to the tile factory, where I showed them the sample and ordered six boxes to be on the safe side.  They loaded them into the car for me. When I got home, I discovered they were the wrong color.

So it´s back to Delores Hidalgo again tomorrow for me. At least it´s a nice drive.

Out of the car window on the road to Delores Hidalgo

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Summer Vacation in Mineral de Pozos

Regular readers will notice that I haven´t posted a new blog for many weeks. The official explanation is that I took the summer off. The fact is; I haven´t felt one bit like sitting down and writing, either this blog or actual work. That´s unusual for me as generally I´m more comfortable in front of a keyboard than anywhere else. But since I settled into my new old house in mid-June, all I´ve been moved to do is work on it and in the garden. It brings me tremendous joy although I have to keep reminding myself not to feel guilty about not writing.

Now it´s September and somehow just the turn of the month has put me in a better frame of mind for sitting at my computer.  So to kick things off again, this is a catch-up with pictures of my Mexican summer.

Despite it being the rainy season, we had a hot, dry spell that gave me loads of time to plant and weed and reorganize my courtyard garden. The previous owner told me that she loved the garden to be all tangled and mysterious. I do get the appeal of that, but I felt I was not actually seeing half of it so I tried to sort it all out. I dedicated an area to succulents and cacti (and have the scars to prove it).

A shady spot outside my bedroom window has become the fern garden but there´s also a magnificent ojo santos bush that was thriving there.

I got the funky fish fountain to work, although it´s sort of jerry-rigged at the moment. I wasn´t sure if I should be reassured or made nervous when the dengue fever task force came round and put something in it to deter mosquitos.

Once I uncovered everything, I found I was better able to showcase my magnificent lavender patch; two spectacular hibiscus bushes; and a highly perfumed rose bush. After a shower my garden is heady with scents.

My fruit trees yielded me some delicious tiny peaches, a handful of figs, and more pomegranates than I or the birds could eat. I have a fruit called a lima that I´d never heard of before. It´s a citrus that´s not as tart as a lemon or as sweet as an orange.  I´m experimenting with smoothies and salads.

I also did a little art project in the garden. I inherited a painted arch over my bedroom door and embellished it with some metal birds and old birdcages I found.

 And speaking of birds, I had two batches of baby golondrinas in my entryway nest! The first was a trio that peeped and cheeped all day so I called them Peter, Paul, and Mary. I watched and photographed every stage of their development with total fascination and was sad when they finally got their wings and took off. On the other hand, I was happy not to have to clean up bird poop every day.

Then a couple of weeks later I was amazed to discover I had another four. Like all second children, they didn´t get photographed as much as the first, nor did I name them. They´re at the stage where they fly off during the day but around 7 p.m. come home and, fully grown, cram themselves back into the nest for the night with tails and wings sticking out everywhere. More poop to clean up.

The house got its share of attention. I repainted the kitchen, which was no easy task since the walls were red and now they are white. It took four coats! It´s still a work in progress as I´m planning to tile the floor and put in a colorful tile backsplash. The bathroom, which I thought would be the very first thing I´d do, is still not started. This is because the guy I found to do it is not available as his mother had an accident and he doesn´t want to leave her side.  Get well soon, mama!

I also had the sala painted; too big a project for me but Oscar and Chucho did a great job. And I finally unpacked all my boxes from California. I cranked up the sewing machine that came on the truck and made pillows and drapes. I invested in a couple of pieces of show-stopping furniture: What I call the Marie Antoinette bed and a huge room dividing buffet. So it´s starting to come together.

But the summer wasn´t entirely about work. I went to a number of lovely parties both here in Pozos and in San Miguel de Allende. Some had mariachis!

Happily, my friends Eleanor and Barbara each have places in San Miguel where I can bunk down for the night when I don´t want to make the 40-minute drive back to Pozos after dark.

Pozos also had a number of wonderful events: a blues festival, a mariachi festival, a mine tour, a home and garden tour, and several art openings. During the Toltecidad, Zaragosa Plaza looked like Venice beach on a Sunday afternoon. 

Friends who came to town from San Miguel for these happenings knocked on my door so I had a constant stream of visitors. Plus, I´ve made a whole lot of new friends in the neighborhood. What I´m finding is that weekdays are quiet here but there´s a whole lot going on at the weekend. That set-up pretty much suits me to perfection.

The only fly in the ointment this summer was that my little dog Henry got a nasty eye infection in both eyes. Many vet visits, antibiotics, three kinds of eye drops and mucho dinero later he now seems to be fine.  

Well, the other bummer was that my computer hard drive fried and my new one has a new operating system with the instructions in Spanish so that has been, to say the least, an interesting learning experience. I don´t really know if Windows 7 is good or bad because I don´t really know how to use it properly. But I´m managing well enough to have no more excuses for not writing, so tune back in for regular posts.