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How Quickly We Forget

Oh how quickly we forget; so, a couple days ago it was down right cold, 29 to be exact here in the Highland Lakes Area of Texas. I looked out to see a pretty white frosting on the rooftops and ground cover on the North 40, I thought that was kind of neat?

I read the electric meter every morning at 7:30, it’s an old habit, keeps me “in the know” so I don’t get any nasty surprises at month end (or mid month here). In MX I would say to Max “come on let’s go out to the casita and he’d join me for a morning walk and check out everything and I’d read the casita meter. At first up here I’d say that and he’d come out with me even though he had no idea the “casita” was actually the “barn”, but no mas since it turned cold.

So, I ran Max off my lap, he’s bored bored bored and has no taste for cold weather and parks on my lap every time I set down. Anyway I headed toward the front and snapped a couple of pics to send to friends in MX telling them how lucky they are – and stepped out onto the deck. With my first footfall I felt a slip – ah yes, frost on the deck. How soon we forget this little phenomena and I quickly shifted into my “little old man gate” as I pad pad padded short stepping gently across the deck to get to more solid ground rather than end up on my keister looking up at the sky and wondering how I’m going to get back up?

The meter says; not too bad, we only used 61KWH of juice to keep the place livable for a day (yes, remember 500KWH for 2 months in MX?). A bit later I headed into town, I hadn’t bought any 2X4’s for days, Home Depot probably laid off the second shift thinking I didn’t like them any more. I glanced down at the right front tire which looked low and I pulled out the little tire inflator and got it going although it was complaining about the cold as well. There I stand with no gloves and my fingers are already getting stiff from the cold as I wait for the tire to be roadable.

Then, jump in the car and hit the cold, hard leather seats that are normally nice and soft and welcoming – not today, darn near slid to the passenger side? Crank the starter and the Jeep reluctantly awakes and I dive for the heater controls to turn off the fan, turn the heat to max and double check to make sure I didn’t leave the sun roof cracked open from the day before. As I backed out of the carport I begin to notice that I can see my breath? – hmmm, haven’t seen that in a lot of years, but then the memories begin to rush back.

As I pulled out on the highway I kept it at 45 for a couple of miles just to give the Jeep a chance to warm up it’s systems etc. so it could warm up the heater and my system. As I drove, all the memories of the years flood back, getting up at dark:30 to get ready to go to work, going through whatever necessary, scooping, ice scraping of windows etc. and then the poor car complaining mightily about the cold and the tires flat spotted from sitting all night and thumping until they could warm and round themselves out – yes, now I remember all that – the things I mostly forgot when I moved to TX and totally forgot when I moved to MX – but I remember now – and this part I hate.

Today is the 30th and a miserable gray, cold, edge of rain day and I needed to work on the deck railings, so I went out anyway and promptly made two cuts on a railing section, both wrong, both too short, NEVER too long and I looked at them for a minute and made and executive decision – I shut down the power tools and came back inside, it was NOT a day to be working outside and definitely NOT with power tools – Home Depot just sold two more 2X4’s. We’ll try again next year as it looks like we’re hovering in the late 30’s for a couple of days – oh yes, now it all comes back.

Well, at least sitting here at the PC I can be sure Max will show up and park on my lap, he’s a good leg and hand warmer you know.

Hope you all have a fabulous 2015.

Happy New Year from Max the WeatherCat and me.


I thought I better sit down and write a note to tell those of you who follow this blog that all is well and we’re settling into our new existence, sort of like how an old house creaks and settles. But, Max and I are finding our rhythm of daily life, he’s found a couple of hidie holes and some sun spots to nap in and I’ve found where to get all the necessary paint, screws, wood etc. to keep the projects going.

One thing that is behind schedule is the clearing of the storage area. Actually, if you’ll go to you’ll find this years note from “Weedy Acre” and more about why we’re here. To say the “welcome home to TX” was a bit rough doesn’t cover it. First it was hot and I do mean caliente, muy caliente, and/or humid? – I don’t remember this, then all of a sudden it’s “FREEZE WARNING” time – that’s a bit early so our welcome home was more than hot and darn cold all jammed up together, but the DWOP (double wide on the prairie) is actually pretty tight and the AC works and the heatOmatic works and electricity is plentiful and cheap so we’re ok.

As you’ll see in the snoozeletter, much work is still ahead of us and things just jump out and grab you. Yesterday I was walking by some sort of scruff bush in the back yard that is now 8′ tall and ugly, I’ve glared at it since day one and I walked over to the bodega, got out the chainsaw and an hour or two later, no scruff which is only scratching the surface, I’ve got cactus and other scruff the previous owner let grow to whack.

So, all in all it’s been an interesting year, the move was tough, but necessary and while it’s a big step down from our life in MX, it’s time to be doing these kinds of things and accepting our time and place in life for what it is. Do we miss MX – sure, but then I miss a lot of things, fat paychecks, black hair (even though I still have plenty of gray), I miss Chris after 10 years now it still seems like only yesterday. But, the Lord has given us much to be thankful for and we enjoy the simple things in life, a sun spot to take a nap in, a nice day with the house open like in MX and more.

To all of you we send the blessings of this season and hope you and yours are healthy and happy.

Steve & Max the WeatherCat

Six Weeks and Some Daylight – Maybe?

It’s been about six weeks since Max and I arrived and I’ve been busier than a one armed paperhanger trying to get the place “livable” and so haven’t spent the time to update things here, but a friend in Canada reminded me yesterday I was overdue. I arrived at the weather shack this morning to find I have no Internet so it’s as good a time as any to update things. This is only the 2nd time I’ve been without Internet and the last time they had it back up by around 8am, so we’ll hope for the best today. Ironically I have an email from the owner of the house in MX saying their router may be down as well and I can’t answer him? – technology is a hoot, when it works.

Max has settled down finally and the weather is cooling a bit so he can be outside more and although it still scares me, I’ve started allowing him more unsupervised time out in the mornings. He seems to have finally given up on finding the upstairs, for a couple of weeks he wandered around the house meowing and looking up, I think he also misses his friend Sweet but now, like me, he’s accepted this is as good as it gets. A note from MX says all the cats are fine down there so that’s good, I worried about them.

I’ve been busy working on the house, seems everything you look at needs fixing or cleaning, or updating. I hadn’t really expected that to be the case so I’m a bit behind in my real purpose of being up there and that is to clean out the storage area.

Probably the biggest nuisance is that we’re a bit remote, it’s 5 miles into Kingsland and the nearest hardware, but more like 20 into Marble Falls and Home Depot and Lowes etc. so I’m on the road a bunch. However, gas is coming down, I filled up at $2.93 a gallon the other day. Seems I calculated the current price of gas in MX as I was leaving and it was something like $3.70 a gallon so we’re getting a deal and that’s a good thing because I drove 228 miles to get a ceiling fan?

Nothing is more annoying than a ceiling fan hanging over your head humming & buzzing – nor more rewarding than one silently doing it’s intended job. The fans in the house were the smallest, cheapest you could buy and the one in the office and the living room were unacceptable. I picked out a nice one at Lowes and of course it was out of stock in this end of the world, so I ordered it and it took about 2 weeks to come in, but finally it’s in place and doing a great job, it’s still hot up here (except for yesterday). The office was the next target and I found a smaller one also at Lowes, but the nearest one in stock was 57 miles? – but, I wanted it and drove into NW Austin and retrieved it.

After removing the old one for it’s trip to Goodwill I began installing the new one and was down to the final steps of attaching the blades when I noticed it was “bent” – and not just a little. So, yesterday I took it back down, repacked it and waited for the rain to subside for another 114 miles round trip to return and exchange it. And in the mean time the rain gauge had “stuck”. I suspected due to a bird using it as his personal latrine? – but I wasn’t going out in the rain and climbing on a ladder to find out.

I made the trip, exchanged the fan, but a funny thing happened at Lowes, the girl at the Returns desk set the old fan on a counter and it’s end heavy and it fell off onto the floor, the poor fan was never destined to be, it’s had a hard life.

When I got back home I checked the rain gauge and sure enough my suspicions were confirmed, I fixed that problem and went back to installing the fan. One of the reasons for replacing the fans is the attached light. This place has a single switch for each fan and you turn the light on/off with the pull chain and I generally prefer a dimmed light, so the new fans have remotes with dimming capability and now I have that in the two main areas I “live” in.

The front storm door project was finally completed along with a new LED porch light and weather stripping and now it’s time for the Mbath vanity. Friend George helped me haul the vanity home and the faux marble top arrived this week so that looks to be the project for next week and it’s going to be huge involving plumbing, flooring, wall painting, electrical etc. so I’m really not looking forward to it, but has to be done. It’s also time to haul a big stack of cardboard to the recyclers along with the old aluminum storm door plus other scrap metal and then we’ll be ready to seriously dig into the storage area.

Probably one mistake I made, well, I’ve made a bunch, but one that rubs salt in the wound is continuing to manage the weather station in MX. Each day I check it several times, look at the webcam, check the forums etc then look out at my weedy acre and 90+ degree temps and miss MX all the more which sounds odd, I never imagined or expected to live out of the country yet Max and I found a wonderful life there – and I especially miss Pedro my gardener – wow, do I ever. I got a new weed whacker this week and 3+ hours on it reminded me how old I am and how much Pedro did for me the past 7 years. And now I need to get out the tractor and spend a couple hours on it at least?

If you haven’t moved a significant distance lately you probably forgot the little nuisance things, like in MX we cooked with gas, here electric, then there are all the brands of things that are different, from beans to TP, allergy pills to kleenex and new stores to learn plus getting all the accounts set up for water, electric and on and on, but they all seem to be falling into place, so I guess we’ll survive. Down there people always say the US is more expensive, I guess some things are, but down there I paid over $12 for a case of diet Coke, here I buy generic diet or Zero for $9 for 2 cases? Cat food is half the price although I’m not feeding the crew of rednecks and pizza is about half price.

One problem I have though is the little packages of peanut butter crackers. You almost can’t find them in MX, they say “if it ain’t sweet, it ain’t fit to eat?” – so here I buy 8 packs of them and catch myself eating them all the time. I usually burn out a taste for something rather quickly, but not these, and not so far. Also, I’ve eaten more meat in the last 6 weeks than in 7 years in MX, here the cheap menu at MacD’s is easy as I’m heading back out to DWOP from Marble Falls or Burnet, yes, lifestyles and times change with age and income etc.

But then there’s the Internet which still isn’t up? – that’s familiar. Oh, then there was the little “welcome to Llano County” note I got from the tax assessor the other day. However, it’s not all that bad, $581 for the year vs nearly $6,000 for the Lakeway house. I told George the other day “I’ve come a long ways from the way we used to live – and most of it down”. But, we’re thankful to have a roof over our heads and food in the fridge even if we are in the cheap seats.

Max is playing again which tells me he’s adjusting. The floors are a vinyl “wood” plank and slick, so he’s learned to slip and slide when he plays which makes me laugh so I see a glimmer of daylight at the end of the tunnel. After his morning patrols he seems content to come back in the nap or maybe just lay on the back deck and not be roaming. He’s taken over the bottom cabinets in the pantry wall for his mid day nap. I built him a shelf here at the window in the office so he can keep watch out the back. In the morning we often see a rabbit out there, but no deer yet and I’m surprised, this is the deer hunting capitol of TX.

Well, the net is obviously back up, the problem with the router in MX is fixed and all is well, so now it’s time to get busy and make some progress.

Out of Mexico, or In Texas

Ok, so we’ve been here a bit over a week, I suppose I should comment on the subject and some comparisons between heaven in MX and here?

First a bit of a recap on the adventure of coming up from MX. Mom always said “the things you worry about never happen” – she was mostly right, but the rest of the story is that the things you assume will go correctly, don’t – and will bite you every time.

I was worried about trailer weight overall, could the Jeep pull it? – after all, as a friend recently noted, the Jeep, Max and I are all 7 years older than when we went down. Packing boxes and loading the trailer went on for weeks which made Max nervous, he knew something was happening as familiar things disappeared from the house.

I was worried about gas mileage, there are a couple of long stretches with no Pemex stations. And also how many pesos do I take just in case I have trouble, MX is still pretty much a cash economy, and a dozen other things about dragging a fully loaded trailer across MX.

I planned to drive out the gate at noon for a 6-7 hour drive to Matehuala for our first nights stop. I finally found Max hiding in the back of the dog house up by the casita and we drove out the gate for the last time. I had anticipated it would be very emotional, but I was so stressed I hardly thought about it.

Turned out the Jeep is a strong little guy, it pulled the trailer easily considering the weight and we had zero trouble, never missed a beat, the heat of the 3 days wasn’t bad and we actually got good gas mileage, so none of the things I worried about happened – but, the one thing I didn’t worry about came out early to bite me – and chewed on me all the way up here.

When we went to MX seven years ago Max was no problem at all, just crawled under my seat and went to sleep. This time was different, complaining at times, under the seats where he couldn’t get back out without me stopping, opening a back door and extracting him. Then there was the motel, he immediately jammed himself under one of the beds. And the next morning when it was time to leave, right back under the bed?

Our crossing at the border was the next disaster. It was my fault, on the MXN side I should have pulled Max out from under my seat, and put him in his carrier, but didn’t. When we got into US Customs they wanted me to put him in his carrier so they could inspect the car – he would not come out, I couldn’t push or pull him out and I still have bruises on my arm from trying. Finally I assured the guy he wouldn’t come out or attack and we got our inspection. They didn’t find the cutting of the plant I originally took to MX and am now bringing back up, it was one of Chris’s, so that worked out ok.

I had labeled each box (oh yes, turned out to be over 90 plus art work, you name it) and created a two page spreadsheet which I had printed before leaving. The agent asked what I had – I said here, and handed him the spreadsheet. He looked at it and rolled his eyes. We opened the trailer and it was absolutely full, front to back, side to side and bottom to top. The guy looked for a minute and said “GO” – we went, to a motel and bed #2 that Max was able to get behind, not under – that became a game to see what I could stuff under there that he couldn’t get by.

Day 3 was Laredo to here and as usual, Max was uneasy, not a happy traveler this time at all, but ended up on my lap which was great – until we hit the 20 mile check point where they ask you if you’re a citizen (like that matters any more?) – and I rolled down the window and Max went under the passenger seat which I thought I had blocked – not. I decided that was enough of that and pulled over and extracted him, locked him in his carrier and stuffed more under the seat. I left him in there for about a hundred miles and then out, after he found he couldn’t get under the seats he retired to his carrier.

I had booked him into the Feline Hilton and took him there, we were both frazzled, so he spent 3 days there relaxing and recuperating while I started to haul boxes in the TX heat.

Of course now that we’re finally here, it’s totally different, Max is stressed, I’m stressed, let’s just say the place is a bit “rougher” than I had expected and so we’re trying to adjust. And once again Max bit me. A couple days ago I was working outside and putting a cat door in the back door out onto the deck and I let him out of the confines of the deck and small fenced yard about 9:30 in the morning – he disappeared? He’s really never done that before, he always comes when I call – I spent the rest of the day and evening calling etc. and seriously thought he was lost or something had happened, the surrounding area is just open scruff land and I’m sure there are coyotes out there and snakes and Max has never had to worry about stuff like that – I assumed the worst and that it was my fault, I was a total basket case.

Finally at midnight he came wandering in and seemed annoyed at me? – like hey, what did I do except worry myself sick? But, the next morning he was up early meowing around the place and seemed stressed out. The folks who are hosting the weather station gave me some “rescue” liquid which you rub on the inside of their ears, I have him a dose (and one for me also) and within minutes he was laying on my lap here at the PC – that’s great stuff.

Sorry, this is a longer story than expected, so “like” or “dislike”?
–          Love the roads up here, so smooth and wide and nice, you can enjoy driving in the country without fear of a tope, you have no idea what a blessing that is.
–          Not real fond of the weather up here, but then the weather in MX was beyond belief, here it was blazing hot, suddenly yesterday I had to get out the long pants?
–          Love the fast food up here.
–          Love the convenience and availability of stuff here, yesterday I was tired of living out of boxes, got on Amazon and bought 4 book shelves, they’ll be here Thurs.
–          Gas is cheap here and going down, filled up yesterday for $3.05 – by my calculation even with exchange rate, it’s about $3.70 a gallon down there.
–          Love the quiet up here, almost spooky?
–          Hate having to spend all the money to setup and fixup this house.
–          Hate it that Max is so stressed, he keeps wandering around meowing and looking up, I keep telling him “no upstairs, this is as good as it gets”.
–          Internet connectivity here is no bueno, another company is coming out in a week to see if they can do better.
–          Love the electric power, wow, I’ve got all I need and anytime I need it and at about $.11/KWH vs MX which was flaky and $.42 per KWH and going up?
–          Don’t like Dish TV here, I got used to Canuck TV, 10 channels of hockey and curling – it doesn’t get better than that.
–          No storage up here? This house has exactly 4 drawers in the entire house and they’re in the kitchen? – who can live like that?
–          The condition of the infrastructure of the house is not great, I used the Mbath toilet for 3 days and on the 4th day I headed for Lowes and a new convenience. I knew the kitchen was a writeoff, but turns out the bathroom has become first priority.

In summary, this was the most stressful, emotional, physically hard move I think I ever made. I believe it was even harder than leaving Lakeway and I’ve not really begun the great downsizing. But, yesterday I found Goodwill, the previous owners left me roughly 300+ hangers, so I sorted them, bagged them and hauled them and I’ve already pried 3 big mirrors off the walls, they are going to Goodwill manana. So it begins.

I Feel Really Dumb?

This will probably be the final edition from MX, at least until we return? And, I can tell you right now, by then I will have downsized my “stuff” by a huge amount, having 25 boxes marked “kitchen” when I hardly cook?

I’ve moved a bunch of times, sometimes halfway across the country etc. In fact, I used to move so often people wrote me in the address books in pencil so they could change it (remember actual “books” before all the electronic hooha we use now?).

So, you would assume I know how this works, I’ve rented trucks, towed trailers and cars, but wow, did I ever totally underestimate this move both physically and emotionally. A while back I walked through the house making notes on how many boxes I would need. I like to use standard size boxes to make things fit better. When I came down from TX I unloaded the trailer and flattened the boxes and put them back in the trailer for storage. Last year when I was in Austin I bought another 25 just to be sure I had plenty (one of the few things I got right). So, I have a lot of boxes, let the fun begin.

I estimated probably 35 boxes should do it with some odd stuff that doesn’t fit – I’m at 71 boxes with 4 more to final pack and that’s only because the trailer is loaded to the ceiling, end to end. And, I’ve donated, given away and sold a bunch of stuff – where did it all come from? Now, if I were moving 1,000 miles across the US I’d be very tempted to do it in two trips – well, make that 3, I took a car stuffed full up in July when I closed. But coming out of MX? – no way I make two trips, 700 miles of MXN highways is more than this old man can handle.

Oh, did I forget to mention that I’m not bringing hardly any of my MXN decor stuff, it’s in storage here at a local facility. And, I probably have this much and more in TX storage that will be my first priority to clear out when I get there. As I’ve packed stuff and looked at the lists (I label each box and put the contents on a spreadsheet for survival) I got to thinking about the guys on the American Pickers show. Some of the places they find must be advanced cases of guys like me.

But wow, how could I be so far off on my estimate? – I feel really dumb, like the Gov, when they estimate they’re always off by at least 50% to 100% plus or minus depending on what lie they want you to believe. And yes, like my last post, when you get this close to the end everything you need for daily existence is in a box somewhere. This morning I needed to call my insurance agent in Laredo – right the Vonage phone adapter and main office phone were in a box, fortunately still here under my desk, but it’s just amazing how complex our lives have become. My youngest Gson is at school and said he has two boxes? – two? – I told him to hold out as long as he can but sooner or later things will change.

I called a TX Wireless Internet provider a few days ago and said I’d be in there 4th, hook it up! – she said sorry, not until Monday the 8th? I’ll be offline, for several days, but what if the world needs me? And, I’ve not yet talked to Dish TV, suppose I should call them.

Later – ok, called them, major mistake, I finally hung up on the person, all I want is some TV – just SHOW ME THE TV!

Later still – called a different number and go hold of a guy I could deal with and pulled the trigger, install on the 4th. I will miss my ShawDirect Canuck TV however, I got 10 channels of hockey plus curling (it’s mandatroy on Canuck TV) plus Canadian football and many other goodies, but they did have a great Country music channel out of Halifax Nova Scotia, I did enjoyed that a bunch, oh well.

So, the sad saga drags on, being a short timer is awful, it’s like being a condemned man, I count each day to the end. But, Max and I have had a great run of 7 years in this little slice of paradise, we came for 6 months and stayed 7 years and short of robbing a bank or killing someone I’d do about anything to remain.

So, off to the next chapter of our Great Adventure and our new weather shack at

It’s Somewhere In A Box?

Have I mentioned how much I hate this move? – yeah, I though so. Well, for some reason I think this one is actually worse than leaving the house in Lakeway.

But, just moving itself is such a pain, as I mentioned “bare walls to bare walls” and when I leave a house the walls look new, you can’t find a nail hole and this time I had to repair some that were here when I moved in and were conveniently covered by my hangings – no mas, they’re gone. I should be so lucky in the new weather shack in Bdam.

But, it takes years to truly settle into a house, if it’s two story, the tool you need is always on the floor you aren’t. So, you buy two of everything and train yourself NOT to carry one into foreign territory. Then you also need two rolls of masking tape (I use it for everything) wire here, wire there, wire everywhere and on and on.

Then the brutal day comes when you must pack that stuff and even though you try to think ahead you always miss something because you packed it last week, today you need it and “it’s in a box somewhere”? I lived that way for at least 2-3 years after arriving here, I always needed something that was back in TX in a box in storage so I bought it here and now am hauling it back to TX where I’ll have two of whatever.

And, I’ll say it up front, I want to continue living the life of comfort and convenience I have for 7 years – and then one day just get in the car with Max and have everything happen automatically – funny how that doesn’t seem to be happening? So, today I ripped out the XM radio, antenna wiring, FM Modulator wiring etc. I listen to XM from morning when I wake until well into the evening, I hate a quiet house. So, I rigged a temporary installation that will take us though the day before we leave, or the day, and I can just coil up the wire and chuck it in a(nother) box.

Ah, then the little challenges of moving. The tires on my trailer only have 3,000 miles on them, but they’re 7 years old and I’m going to be asking them to do a fair amount of work in hot MXN/TXN August. Now, when I was in TX last Sept I considered buying new ones, but blew it off and figured I’d get them down here about now. Oops, getting trailer tires in MX is much like finding an honest politician (or lawyer) – they don’t exist. So, I went into a panic and finally someone suggested a guy closeby who builds trailers. I talked to  him this morning and he can get “trailer” tires, NOT “car” tires which don’t have the load ratings I need.

I paid him and he’ll get them in Guad manana, mount them for me and even come over and check and pack my wheel bearings, so a huge load off my mind. I was probably overreacting, but I guess I’m getting cautious in my old age?

Max was spooked at first, he’s not used to seeing me actually “working” for any length of time and then there was the clutter of boxes etc. all over the house, again, uncommon for Casa Abuelo. But, he’s getting used to it and I’ve got some “Rescue Formula” given to me by the folks who are hosting the weather station in our absence. You rub it on the inside of their ears and it mellows them right out – I’m going to do my ears also, I’ll need it, did I mention how much I hate this move?

The Chaos Continues Unabated?

Well, it does, I’m upset, which upsets Max and the poor guy just retreats to his chimney in hopes of finding some peace. I’d go with him but it’s too small for two. I told someone the other day that I was hoping to achieve a 3 step “recovery” process starting with “chaos” which is me wandering aimlessly around the house shaking my head trying to find the lose end of this knotted ball of string I call my life so I can start unraveling it and getting it in order. You never realize how good the Lord has been to you until you have to box it up and put it ALL in a small trailer – and I’ve been more than fortunate it would seem. I’m reminded of that scene in Fiddler On The Roof when they’re leaving their homes carrying only a few suitcases etc. and that was all they owned – now it takes at least a trailer and unlike moving across town or to another town nearby where you can make several trips, moving internationally means you mostly have one shot and that’s it, although I did bring a car load in July which is stored in George’s warehouse.

My owners came back from 8 years in Taiwan last month and a shipment of their furniture arrived last Saturday via a cargo container like you see on huge ships? Well, this one was half full and pretty much totally filled the casita. I asked Paul “where are you going to put all this, the house is already full and well furnished?” He said they’d move things from this house to their other house etc. and then they headed off to Seattle to received a container for their condo up there? – but, he’s smart, he can afford to just point and have someone else haul etc. – me? – well, I do it all, point, pack, haul and in 3 weeks will be the driver of choice and boy, am I looking forward to that, yesterday it was 74 here, 104 at the new Bdam house and the AC on the Jeep has been making ugly noises and trying to fail for 5 years now.

So after chaos comes “semi-organized chaos” which means I’m actually accomplishing something, boxes are being packed and shelves are being unloaded, the walls were stripped over the last two weeks and patched and matched as previously noted. Yesterday for the first time I actually felt like it might all happen – but that was a fleeting thought in a weak moment of optimism, this morning?

I had some standard size boxes from the original move and bought 25 more last Sept when in Austin. Using those makes it easier to maximize trailer space. But then you have to consider weight, not too much to the front and definitely not too much to the back of the trailer. This is definitely part of the “great adventure” as I wander around the house looking at what is still to be packed and loaded, what is heavy and in the middle of the trailer on the bottom level and what is lighter and can go on the second or third level. That still leaves space above to throw lose stuff, sombreros, pinatas, you know, all the stuff you really need in TX.

And, of course the rest of life goes on with a broken tooth and a more than complicated crown process? – and two trips to the bank to get some investments transferred to where I can get to them if needed. With the new Infernal Revenue “Service” FATCA law etc, international banking is in chaos and that I can’t fix, only try to circumnavigate. And on and on, but with the Lord’s help I guess it will all happen, but then again, He’s the one who basically got me into this fix.

The owner up in TX said this has been a hard move for them, they’re going to Maine? – well, at least it will be cooler there. I’m writing this today only to force myself into a bit slower day to give my back a rest. If you’ve ever lived in a two story house you know the drill, pile stuff at the top of the stairs and every time you go down you carry something, anything, but it all has to go, one box, one thing at a time.

Well, so much for now except to say the weather station transfer to the new folks casa is going well and we may do most of the step over next week so I can take mine down from the roof here, pack it and warn it that the temp sensors are going to get a serious workout soon. So it goes from Tortillaville.

Bare Walls to Bare Walls

I hate the time in the whole moving process when you have to take down the carefully choreographed wall decorations that have been your statement in the house for years. And now one day you have to come in and start stripping the walls of their character to reveal the bare, bleak world you moved into only years before. Often things tell some of our history, they define our taste (or lack of it?) and they make cozy places for resident spiders to build their homes. We have some sizable flat spiders we call “picture spiders” because they like to live behind pictures, always a nice surprise when you take one off the wall?

Then comes the patching and matching, and in my case I have a wide variety of textures to match and a very wide variety of colors to attempt to match. Some are easy, some approach impossible and everything in between. I mean, I have all the original paint, I was the one who mixed and applied it – but now, every patched nail/screw hole stands out like a huge sign saying “STEVE HUNG SOMETHING HERE” – or “GIANT WALL PATCH HERE”?

And so even though there are almost 4 weeks, the house becomes denuded of it’s character. I once told the owners “you gave it good bones and good structure – I gave it character”. I had expected them to come in with 40 gallons of yellow and cover over all my “character” but then that’s ok, the Lord let Max and I share it for a time and we loved the heck out of it, almost beyond measure – but when the owners were here the other day they said they liked what I’ve done and will keep it and actually expand it out into the pool and terraza areas, so it’s nice to know a bit of us remains in Mexico. But, as I walk through my little world I see things that I wanted to do, but never got done, so we leave unfullfilled in some respects.

I think that is the curse my Mother gave to me, she was an artist and quite accomplished, but while she didn’t give me the talent, the capability to sit and paint a picture, she gave me the temperament of an artist in ways. My Father was more an engineer, a builder and from him I derive the need and the ability to build, to fix, to make things better. From Mom I find the creative need to do whatever I can, but the big difference is that engineers and builders work in groups to complete their projects, then walk away happy. The artist is a loner, groups don’t paint pictures, only a singular person. They are never completely happy with their creation and no one is worthy of judging their work, only they can. There is always one more little thing that needs to be done – yet never gets done, so that resides in me, I’m never completely happy with my work, my creations.

I didn’t bring much “decor” from Texas, it’s still in storage up there, so I picked pre-Columbian as the theme for the house for several reasons, it seemed appropriate being in MX, it gave a different look to the place that you don’t see all that often, nothing like plaques with snakes and guys with tongues sticking out to say “home sweet home”? – and basically it was readily available in Tonala – and #1, it was cheap!

Now, do I take it back NOB? – no, I still have more “decor” in storage than the new place can support, although, I will take a few pieces from here just for conversation. So, do I sell the stuff, give it away or store it? Well, while most if mundane, there are a few pieces of metal art and sculpture that I would like to retain, so yes, I’m considering yet another storage area here, the very reason I’m going back to TX to eliminate – who says older is wiser?

And, of course I’m leaving bare walls (although nicely repaired if I do say so myself – and I do) and moving to bare walls – what a way to live? Tomorrow is August 4th, in a month, Sept 1st, Max and I will drive out the front gate for the last time and head for the next chapter in our adventure in Texas. I thought leaving the house in Lakeway would kill me, but it didn’t, sometimes I think leaving this place will kill me, but it won’t. I originally came here for 6 months and stayed 7 years, fully 10% of my entire life, so who knows what the next chapter will bring for Max and me?

Hola Out There? Weeeee’re Back!

Greetings from the great beyond? (well, “beyond” Laredo which ain’t all that great or wherever?)  If you’re reading this, several things have happened, first as you can see we’re in a totally new format which is totally bland by our MXN standards – so we’ll take care of that soon with some colors sure to offend your sensibilities. Next, OBF is now active again – obviously. I’ll try to move old entries over, we’ll see how well that works and how much time it takes.

Mainly, the trip to TX was successful, Max and I are the owners of a DWOP (double wide on the prairie) at Buchanan Dam, TX. I’m now officially “trailer trash” and scrambling to close out this house, pack, clean and move at the end of August (some like it hot?).

More later, but wanted to let y’all know we’re fine and all is well except for my emotional state? – who in their right mind would move from a gorgeous estate that is lovely, lush and 78 degrees to a DWOP that is in a 4 year drought and 100 degrees? – never mind, don’t answer that, time for shrink-analysis later. But, I did get a riding mower and a walk behind weed whacker as part of the deal? (well, it’s 1.3 acres, something will eventually grow out there – I hope).

PS: A lovely couple (who might be distant relations) who live only 3 blocks away have agreed to host and I’ll continue to run it remotely from TX, so there will continue to be “weather” at Lake Chapala, JAL, MX.