A Three-Year Anniversary

(Post 92 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I cannot believe I have had my Bonita for three years now!

THEN:

NOW:

She is 14 or 15 and seems years younger as she is still very energetic and playful. I’m definitely getting more “good” years out of my senior than I expected!

She is still and always will be a timid and high-anxiety dog, but she knows this is her home and that I’m her mom and that she is (relatively) safe here. I think that’s better than anyone could have expected for her during that long decade at the refuge.

Three years ago, I awoke and went about my day not realising just how much my life was going to change after 6PM. This morning, B heard me moving around upstairs and made it clear that I needed to come downstairs right that second and play with her. Between that last morning without her and today’s, there were many mornings after she had a difficult night and greeted me terrified and stressed out. It’s been a journey to settle her into a routine, but we eventually found our stride.

I have to say that the pandemic keeping me home has really helped. And ironically enough, all this home time makes her less anxious when I do leave than it did when I was leaving her regularly! I often come home from running errands to her not waiting at the gate for me but instead mucking about in the garden digging and making a mess of herself! I’m always joking that she needed to “learn how to dog” and she’s getting there!

Bonita likes cheese, mud, just about any treat in stick form, and sneaking up behind me to give me a nip on the calf before running away laughing. She does not like loud noises, most men, cuddling (unless she initiates), or produce of any kind (have you ever seen a dog spit a banana halfway across a house? It’s hilarious!).

It was with trepidation that I embarked on this journey, and it has been well worth it. I finally understand the bond that people have with their dogs. It is indeed magical and seems to occur at a deep instinctual level. I adore her, I know that in her own way she loves me too, and I hope we have several more happy years.

Thank you, Bonita, for the joy you bring to my life! 🦊🥰

Do I Now Qualify as a Budding Real Estate Mogul?

(Post 91 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

Well, the deed has been done! Yesterday, I signed two contracts. One is for the actual transfer of the property over the next three years, which will get notarized, and the other sets out the terms of what is essentially a rent-to-own agreement. It was a lot of signatures! They provided an English copy that frankly was not that useful to me. Like with the rental contract, I had no trouble with the Spanish version and was once again grateful for all the leaps and bounds my Spanish proficiency has made in these nearly 7 years off and on in Mexico (and Spain!).

I have also paid the first property tax bill. So I am now the proud owner and property tax payer of properties in two countries! I own 5,000 square feet each of Canada and Mexico. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that! Or that this lot is as big as the one in Canada — funny how that lot size seems so small there but is sizeable here!

I’m feeling so grateful on this beautiful, quiet morning.

Now, to come up with a name for this property… I’m thinking Casa de los cedros (the house of cedars), but I’m not sure if the cedars will be staying or not in the long-term. Mexican visitors tell me they look very exotic, but I’ve had enough home offices overlooking cedars to last a lifetime. So I think I’d like to switch them out (as they naturally die out!) with something more tropical. 🙂

Kitchen Upgrade Bonanza

(Post 90 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

As promised, the pump for my water tanks returned at lunchtime today, and right at the start, too, just past 1PM! I was surprised to see three guys, my handyman Don Wilbert as well as his son and a helper. SURPRISE. They decided to knock out all my projects! Thank goodness I trust them because otherwise this would have been a bad surprise as I was working in real time with a proceeding in the U.S. and had to edit behind a court reporter while staying quite close to her. So I told the team to have at it and to come get me if they had any questions, but otherwise, they were on their own.

(The pump sounds SO much better now!)

Here’s a tour of the projects, with more detail below.

The first thing they did was unblock my very clogged sink. Oh my goodness what a mess that made. It was really blocked and the smells that were coming up, augh. But they finally got it done! I was a bit distraught after they left to discover my sink and new faucet stained with acid, especially since they normally work so cleanly and take care. I forgot to take before pictures, but you can see the mess in the video above.

I scoured with Barkeeper’s Friend and a green scrubbie, which shocked me by being useless.

Then I remembered I have this stuff, a penetrating cleaner. I let it work while I had dinner.

And then polished with this one, which makes the sink water repellent (water beads up when it hits it).

The end result was great for the sink, satisfactory for the faucet. In a few weeks, everything is going to be hard water damaged anyway and I won’t notice the remaining stains.

Next up, the old fans had to go. They had very cheap blades that were sagging. I did consider replacing the blades and having the fixtures cleaned, but they were just so disgusting and the one in the far part of the kitchen only worked intermittently.

The kitchen fans were rather a “forever” change, so why not just do it instead of expending the effort to clean up the old ones (which my cleaning lady asked for, so they will be recycled).

Fan shopping was a bit overwhelming. I figured out I wanted a rustic style and to keep the three bulbs. That narrowed the choices down considerably. I had a coup de foudre with a Hampton Bay model at Home Depot but wanted to support a local business. No local fan store had anything close to what I wanted and the Home Depot ones were surprisingly inexpensive (1,700 pesos each).

With them, I ordered an extension for the one going into main part of the kitchen as the ceiling is much higher and the old fan had one. I ordered a “chocolate” one and the sans-desseins at Home Depot sent me a grey one. Augh! Well, the guys looked over everything today and said that the extension I bought wouldn’t have worked anyway and we would have to recycle the old one because there was no way I’d find a chocolate extension locally. They were actually surprised that I found a dark brown fan!

So imagine my surprise when I went to the kitchen to check in a few hours later and found that the extension was now chocolate. Amazing how fast some paints can dry!

I also had to decide what side of the blades to have facing down, light or dark brown. I decided the dark brown would look better against the yellow.

The colour match is perfection. Well done them!

The fans look better than I dreamed they would! I thought the lampshades would be too yellow and dim the lights, but nope!

The next project was the new range hood. The old one was held by two screws and plugged in behind the stove, so I expected a simple project. When I said that to Don Wilbert, I got maniacal laugh and shake of the head. He was worried about the cord catching fire, so the only way he was installing the range hood is if I let him bring cabling up above to add an outlet. He’s the expert, so I let him do his thing. I’m not a huge fan of the look, but I agree it was the right call. I’ll be glad to have the wiring up there when I install a fancy extractor range hood in the future.

I bought the absolute cheapest range hood in the size of the old one. It was available for about 1,800 pesos at every store I could think to check, but they all wanted a ridiculous 500 pesos for delivery — maybe acceptable for a mom & pop place, not for a big chain. I ended up ordering it on Amazon for 2,000 delivered.

It fits perfectly to cover the wall damage from removing the old one.

The light doesn’t look like much, but beautifully illuminates all six burners. The fan has three speeds and should at least catch some grease even if it’s not venting outside.

The final project was the outlet below the sink counter for the microwave! I cannot wait to get shelving in there and move it in!

So all that’s left for the kitchen is a thorough clean from today’s activities, the shelving under the sink, and maybe another stainless steel table as an island. I’ve definitely gone over my kitchen refresh budget, with the carpentry still outstanding, but I think it was all money well spent and still cheaper than a full kitchen redo!

Next up, the master suite!

New Kitchen Faucet

(Post 89 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

My handyman surprised me today, like showed up unannounced because he happened to be nearby. I have a huge list for him but he’s in high demand, so we’re taking it one small project at a time. Today was my new kitchen faucet!!!

(Last week, I was able on my own to add two pump dispensers, one for detergent and one for white vinegar, to use in my rinse water. Oh, the luxury!)

He also left with my water pump that fills my rooftop tinaco. It is in bad shape and needs new ball bearings and other maintenance, but is still salvageable. He promises to have it back in tomorrow. So I should be fine for water until then as long as I don’t shower or do laundry. When he comes back tomorrow, he will be doing some work on the kitchen sink drain as it is clogged. That will be the end of plumbing-related upgrades in the kitchen for now.

We also talked about future electrical projects and prep I need to do ahead of them. One of the projects is to move an outlet below the sink for the microwave. He thinks that is a good idea and will be a cleaner job than I expected as he will be routing the cables outside rather than through the counter itself. So now, I get the fun task of designing my undersink shelving and sending that project off to a carpenter!

Last night, the previous owners’ son came by with his fiancée to say goodbye to his childhood home. It was a very emotional visit. I wish we had had more time for him to share more stories, but I did get some answers! And I got his blessing as well. He’s as happy as his parents are that I’m the new custodian of this very special house. That handoff made things more real for me than the contract signing next week will.

My head is still spinning with how fast this happened. But when things are meant to be, this is how it is!

Feeling Grape

(Post 88 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I managed to get in one coat of paint under the sink area today! I had bought this paint for a furniture refinishing project I gave up on. The paint was very expensive and I had barely used any of it, so I’m thrilled that I was able to put it to good use! This wasn’t on purpose, but I very nearly colour-matched the baskets under the steel island!

It’s been brought to my attention that some folks don’t realise that the house I bought is the one I’ve been renting all this time! So now’s a good time as any to refer you back to my pre-move-in post from September of 2017 that has a full house tour!