Every Friday, the architects’ office sends us 30 or so photos taken that week at Casa Nana. They have done this since November, when construction began and they send a snapshot of a worker digging the cistern. Now the walls are all built up, and every week there’s something new. There was good progress even this week, despite all the rain. The weekly delivery kind of knocks us off our game all weekend. It gets us thinking about the Mérida project, and it’s hard to focus on much else.
Sundays used to mean catching up with the news, watching old movies on TV. Now, I keep getting sidetracked with new videos that I can and cannot share with Mom and Dad. We flick through our Flickr albums that document our construction. I have over 800 photos now and they haven’t even finished the stucco yet. I guess that means we’ll have maybe 1,500 photos by the time it’s done. But the Friday fotos always have us enthralled for at least 72 hours. We keep noticing new things. The cactus tree is gone! But they promise it’s safe and they’ll return it once they stop digging around it. Look how the light hits that wall! I can see we’ll need tall plants over there.
It goes beyond Casa Nana. I’m preparing for two new paperback releases from Hamaca Press this month. Wearing my Tejon Rojo t-shirt, I converse with an author in Mérida about a final round of edits. Seeing her on Skype is neat, and seeing the ceiling fan behind her, and the stenciled concrete walls beyond that, is an added treat. I imagine the heat and humidity she must be enduring, but she assures me the weather is beautiful today. Later, after reading about it on Facebook, I toy with a restaurant home-delivery website that might come in handy. I briefly fantasize that I could really order servicio a domicilio from Gianni’s Fish and Chips. Later, I use Google Street View to figure out the exact location of a new real estate listing, supposedly engineered to eliminate sweating walls. It has a crawlspace below the floors and gaps in the wall to keep the interior dry. I wonder what our architects would make of that? The listing says the house is a block from Parque Santiago. On the Google interface I push that little hombre amarillo around the map. Ahah! I found it. Later, Paul and I flip through our construction photos again. The pool looks small, but then we notice there are seven workers digging inside it. One boulder in particular looks like it’s going to be a doozy. I wonder if a door frame looks centered. (Of course it is.) Paul wonders if the fish pond is big enough. Sometimes the photos raise more questions than answers. A photo of drainage pipes has us beginning to ponder the kitchen. Why is the pipe angled that way? Isn’t the sink over there? I unroll the project renderings and locate the sink. Oh well, it’s in God’s hands and the contractors, and it’s time to think about finishings. Past time, actually, but it’s something we should wrap our heads around. I try to find a photo of the countertop we selected. It’s going to blend with the backsplash, so it’s a big decision that we’ve already made. Is it too late to change my mind about the sink? Yes, we agree. Just move ahead. Even yesterday, when we went out for dinner, Paul had me snapping pictures of the restaurant’s light fixtures because they’d look really cool in Mérida.
Paul read Casa del Gato Azul and sees we’re not the only ones with this dilemma. We have a whole ‘nother life planned, waiting in the wings, and we don’t really know how anything will turn out. Paul wonders if it’s harder to cope with his job now because he knows there’s an escape hatch in the works. He works midnight to 8 a.m. supervising a halfway house of mentally ill people, and lately new residents also have drug and violence issues. Some have a criminal history, all living in a small Victorian house with eight bedrooms, where they’re supposed to be learning life skills and prepare for independent living. Drug activity and prostitution on the street are incompatible with the house’s mission. He’s dying to leave, but he’s caregiver for his mother and he tries to provide guidance for his disabled younger brother. My parents are alive and well, and in their mid-80s. We’re not going without them. This weekend we also had lots of discussion about what we’ll do once we’re in Mérida. I’ll freelance, and Paul might have some retail concepts in mind. He’s had an idea for a not-for-profit venture as well. Watching the pool being dug pushes us, in a good way, toward a decision. Buying a house and building a home in Mérida was a good thing, even though we had only a vague idea of what we were doing and why. Even the political scene in both the U.S. and Canada bear that out, and we hope the real estate market continues a recovery.
This is how the idle future expat spends Sundays. A few blocks away there’s a neighborhood parade, with floats, contests and such. But here we are, on this gorgeous Sunday, wiling away our time online. Now, of course, I’m adding to my blog. I felt badly that Sunday was so unproductive, and started on this topic just so I could say I did something creative or productive with the day. Paul started vetting the blog, adding new thoughts and ideas. The goal was to get it to 1,000 words. Now it’s Monday morning, and as I wait for Paul to get home from work, I’m polishing all 1,066 words. My former blog, which followed the local art scene, has been practically abandoned. Later, I’ll check to see if anyone read Post No. 322 yet and reply to any comments. (It’s not so much about hits, but about engagement, the Internet gurus say these days!)
Mentally, we are already living in Mérida. Except now that it’s Monday, we’re both forced back to reality. Our present reality, that is. Paul will arrive from work just as I’m ready to leave for my job. Then it’s another five days until another batch of photos again, setting us happily into orbit.