We'll be flying back to the States in less than 2 weeks. Our winter here is almost over. I really should write "season", because winter, as I know it, doesn't really exist here. It has been cooler here these past couple of months than we've had in the past, but I've had to wear a long sleeve shirt only a few times in the early morning. And the only reason I wear shoes other than sandals is because I've found that my sneakers are easier to take long walks in. Seems my sandals just attract little gravels (that feel like boulders) and I'm constantly shaking them out. I look like a cat that's stepped in rain or snow and is letting the world know she's unhappy. Enough of that... let's move on to the house.
Since this was our first season here in our "new" house, I've looked around to see what changes we have made. The biggest things have been fairly subtle. Tearing out the concrete and brick planter, along with about 30'-40' of concrete and laying new sewer line took a couple of weeks, but now you'd hardly know it happened. Same with upgrading the electric. We now have 2 circuit breaker boxes and several more plug-in outlets.
The house has a full bath next to the bedroom and a half-bath/laundry room off the main room. Fernando, a man Bill met last year, works with aluminum. He custom made new windows (1 each) for those rooms...
This is the one in the shower....
As it turned out, neither window was exactly plumb, so Fernando had to make them fit. You might think that the shower is big. It sure is! It measures around 5'2" X 6'. I guess a really hefty person could take a shower comfortably there!
I think in a past blog I showed photos of the mirrors Fernando fabricated for this bathroom They added a lot of light as well.
One big thing we bought that lives in this bathroom...
It's sitting on a floor drain, so if we leave it on this summer, it doesn't need someone to drain the pan. See how big it is? Well... except for a few of the biggest things, we carried almost everything home from the stores on the bus. Bill carried this dehumidifier from Home Depot to the bus stop (about 3 city blocks). It was quite a feat just getting it home.
We bought some other things for the bathroom... a bathroom scales as well as lots of new bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths.
On to the bedroom...
The Air Conditioner was the biggest expense.... costing $500 US dollars... installed.
The old AC still works... sort of.... but it groans and clunks all night long, and we figure it's going to crash soon. So far, we've only needed the AC from our arrival (early October) through mid-December. We only use it at night in the bedroom... but those nights can be pretty miserable without one.
Bill also took down the old, dead ceiling fan and installed a new one he bought at Home Depot.
We bought a few sets of sheets and 2 new pillows. The existing mattress does not need replaced yet.
The biggest room is just off the bedroom... a combination Living Room/Dining Room/Kitchen. I posted photos of the beautiful dining room table with 6 chairs we bought early on. It's made of a very heavy wood... barcino. We wanted a book/curio shelf to match and had one made through a furniture store in La Penita. After it was delivered, we felt it needed more....
The center tall part is the original purchase. We went back and had the lower shelves (on either side of the tall part) made to match. They, too, are made of that heavy wood. Eventually we'll have our special treasures displayed here... right now there are some photos, a couple of Catrina sculptures and my cameras and binoculars. The whole bottom sections are filled with games for the neighborhood kids.
I have already posted photos of the wall hanging and throw pillows we bought to make the place "ours".
We spend a fair amount of time using our computers... so a printer was needed... and...
Bill installed this light over my chair and computer area.
That conduit you see at the left is the common way to run electric here as the walls are concrete.
I think I posted a similar photo before... but..
This was where the refrigerator used to be. It took up way too much space and made it impossible to use the counter on either side. We moved the fridge to another area and bought this utility shelving for the microwave and other uses. The kitchen was fairly well furnished, but we added a coffeepot, more silverware, plastic keeper bins and other small items. When our daughter visited in January she brought an oven thermometer and a kitchen timer... neither of which I could find here.
We are starting to personalize our home and one thing I wanted was some of the dishes from the tile shop in Puerto Vallarta...
Here are some of the dishes we bought to place on the top of the kitchen cupboard.
Eventually we'll repaint the walls so the background is nicer. Bill took down 2 (useless) lights that were located up there. The plate holders aren't very sturdy... I'll replace these by next year.... and buy enough to hold a few more dishes.
Aren't they colorful!
The porch is where we spend the most time. It's like the dining room, family room, all-purpose hang-out. There is often a breeze.. it's shady... and we have a great view of what's going on along the street. Bill built a bookshelf, using bricks and some plywood and it holds everything from books to jars of dog biscuits (for the dogs next door)
Could you resist these big, brown eyes?
Bill had a permanent brick stand made for the Weber Grill... we bought a hammock and some additional cushions for the couch. He installed a new ceiling fan out there as well. With the big table and about a dozen chairs we can enjoy quite a crowd right on the porch.
A view across the porch...
See my Fish Mobile? It's not a wind-chime, but just a colorful ornament to enjoy!
Bill found a locksmith in Bucerias and took the innards of each lock down to him. He changed all the pins and now instead of each door having it's own key, All the "house" locks use the same key... All the security gates have the same key.... and the utility room and bodega (shed) have the same key. WoooHooo... only 3 different keys for about a dozen or more doors!
Speaking of the bodega... Bill bought shelving and organized that area. He's got tools hanging neatly on the wall, tools in their place on a shelf... and a few new tools to make his life easier.
I've left the best for last!
The fountain and the flowers!
You can barely see the fountain here (on the wall at the right)... and the flowers don't show up so well either, but that planter along the wall is filled with everything from hibiscus to bird-of-paradise, to at least a dozen species I don't even know the names of. We're planting to attract birds and butterflies. In fact... about 2' out from the wall, a whole row of Lantana was put in just today. You can just see kind of a shadow where they are. And about 2' to the left of those is another row... hydrangea, roses, gardenias and some more hibiscus. By this fall, when we return, these should be fantastic!
Where we took out that flower planter and concrete to put in the new sewer line is now filled with at least 8 different colors of bougainvillea. There's also some Mexican petunias, some herbs, a few tomato plants and other things along this wall. That yellow flower you see about in the middle is growing on our neighbor's side of the wall... between us, we'll have gorgeous bowers of colorful flowers in time.
In the back yard we've put in 3 new Traveler's Palms, an African Poplar, a Moringa Tree and a few dozen more flowering plants and shrubs.
We bought everything paying in pesos... and we never kept exact records of what we spent. The total for the major items was around $3,000 US dollars. We probably spent another $1,500 on the stuff like bed linens, kitchen wares, and miscellaneous things. Mas o menos....
Before the last photo, I'll add that we will have a gardener take care of the yard and flowers while we're gone. Santos and his wife and son already come a few times each week to water, weed or whatever needs done. We don't plan to rent the place to others at this time, so it will be good to have someone around to see that all is still okay.
And... here's the tile we ordered from the World of Tile in Puerto Vallarta...
This is the photo they sent us when it was finished... We have since picked it up, but will wait until this coming October to have it set into the wall in front of our house.
Everyone calls this the "McBride House", as that was the former owner. We have renamed it "Hummingbird House".... hopefully it can live up to its new name.
That's All For Today!