The fact that we’re keeping our Mérida house project a secret from our friends isn’t always easy. We’ve decide not to spill the beans until the house is actually done. We’re building a house in the Centro with guest rooms with them in mind, and they have no idea. People ask me, “what’s new?” and I have to lower my head a little and say solemnly, “Oh nothing much.” I should get an Emmy for this level of acting performance.
Aside from this project, which consumes all our private conversation and at least three hours a day of Web surfing, there’s nothing much indeed.
We have one friend who just moved to Brooklyn from Connecticut and he enjoys sharing all the newness of it all on Instagram. He’s at Fire Island with his boyfriend and his dog, and the dog is wearing sunglasses, and adorable images are shared online. A plate of food on the deck? A drag queen on the pier? Selfies at the beach? All Instagrammed with a 70s-haze filter. Instagram creativity brings out my competitive streak, and I could kick his sepia-filtered a•• with scenes from our worksite. The columns, the beams, the little ponds. Warm up the colors, heighten the contrast and fuzz the edges and you have classic Instagrams. If you want an interesting Instagram feed, find the designers and architects of Yucatán. Victor Cruz has a particularly deft skill at capturing street scenes and design details. It kills me that I’m coming off much duller than I actually am on Instagram. Photos of my morning glories kissed by the morning dew, or our awesome clematis climbing our lamp post while being devoured by bees, will have to do for now.
Another friend, a few years ago, got a condo in Palm Beach. It’s in a building where, at 53 or so, my friend is probably the “kid.” I once mentioned, just as a hypothetical, that maybe one day we’d buy a property in Mexico. He didn’t miss a beat. “NO!” he responded, as if correcting a naughty dog. He has this way about him sometimes. “No, come to Florida. You’ll like it there.” So now when I finally get to tell him, it will be like I was disobeying orders. “I said FLORIDA!” I can imagine him saying. But we have a guest room for him, anyway, and for our Brooklyn friend as well. We’ll even designate a smoking terrace for them.
We do have neighbors who, as soon as their youngest child enters college next year, will be primed for a move to Mexico. The encountered those House Hunters International episodes just when we did and it hit them the same way it hit us. We discussed Mérida with them before we actually bought in and decided to keep the project secret. So the topic still comes up now and again. They prefer the beach, but the Dad has a colleague who just bought a house in the Centro, so now he’s interested in the city. We might remain neighbors down in Mexico, which would be so cool! And we can’t tell them a thing! Uurrrghh! Maybe we’ll surprise them one day at Hennessy’s. “Guess where we live now!” “No!” “Yes!” Well, it could go down like that, I guess.
It’s not a total secret. My Mom and Dad know, and they’re coming down to see everything in January. My colleagues at work know, which is fine, since they don’t mix with my personal friends. They enjoy seeing my photos, and wish their husbands or wives would agree to try this out, or wonder how badly they would miss their kids or grandchildren. My boss knows that my parachute is colored red, white and green. The features editor at work has picked out her guest room already. A magazine editor I used to work for picked the room next door. The house won’t be done until December and already it’s filled with people!