Sunday, February 19, 2006

The little things

We tried, we really tried, to take care of upcoming utility bills when we were down there in January. Water, for instance. Louisa went to the office of the Sistema de Agua Potable (sort of potable...) and paid 1000 pesos "anticipado"--should be good for a year. Unfortunately, as Tom, our good friend and now our rep in Gto discovered yesterday when he checked mail, it was paid into the wrong account. Tecolote 39, si. But wrong name. So Tom's going to try to sort it out Monday. The bill was due last week, but--hopefully--at least we won't have the water cut off. Maybe we'll even get our money credited to the correct account!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Plans afoot

Just received plans from David. Here's the top floor, showing our ideas for the courtyard/terrace (cross-hatched), which at present is a bedroom and a separate closet divided by a wall. The wall goes, the roof goes, and we're left with this area, about 11 ft x 22 ft, that's calling for a planter box (on the right), fountain (top left), how about a glider (right of center) and stairs heading up to the roof. The whole open to sky and stars.

What else is going on here? The plan is that the ground floor will be available as an independent guest suite, so you come up here (the stairs on the left) and turn left into what will be our cocina and breakfast room, with enlarged window overlooking the lovely brick-colored dome of San Francisco (photo). From there, you can go into what we think will be an office (top left in plan) with a half-bath.

Or you can turn right, into our sala. Very airy and light--windows on three sides, including two non-opening clear double-glazed picture windows onto the terraza. A fireplace or gas heater in one corner. A place to hole up in on cold winter evenings.

Now all we've got to do is get it built!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Beautiful plumage?

Most gringos go to Mexico for a vacation. These gringos are back in California for theirs.

It sure was an intense two weeks down in Guanjuato, dealing with all the stuff that has to be done when buying a house, only more so, because this is Mexico.

Take the title. We paid our 30% deposit, and in return received the keys to, and occupancy of, the house. But the title--today--is in the name of a dead guy, the father of ten kids, nine of whom have formally ceded their share of the house to Rosa, but that's still working its way through the courts. Once she is the sole legal owner, the title is transferred to us, on payment of the remaining 70%. We trust it will happen just as the notario (an attorney who specializes in real estate deals) promises--but there again, we must, that's how things work down there. Early April we get the escritura, title, he says. Fingers crossed.

We started making a list of everything we'd achieved in two weeks--meetings, plans, arrangements for services, working with our neighbors on a mutually-acceptable security barrier between our adjacent roofs, paying the property tax for the year, getting the last of the family's stuff out of the house, getting DSL service even (Louisa did the heavy-lifting here, i.e. going to the phone, water and 'luz' --electricity--companies and figuring out the systems--I married well).

Now we're waiting for David to send us working drawings based on our sketches and discussions for the remodeling. We're particularly excited about the proposed courtyard open to the sky. It's small--only about 240 square feet, but we think it will make the place so liveable, our substitute for a garden. Complete with a planter box for bougainvillea and who knows what, maybe a wall-fountain. Will we be able to attract hummingbirds if we plant the right attractors, and provide sugar-water? Hope so.