What you say goodbye to – you leave behind. Wiser words were never spoken. This edict came from my buddy Rosie, circa 1987, and it’s one which I’ve used time and time again in my life to give myself a good shake. I said goodbye to San Miguel over a year ago, but I still haven’t left it behind. I realize that it’s still in my rear view mirror. Time to let it go. It takes up too much mental real estate. We thought, at one point, that we might return when we eventually retire. Never say never, and all that – but we realize that there are better places for us in Mexico.
Having a couple of friends in San Miguel made it easy to imagine going back. But our friends are scattered around the US, Canada and Mexico – they visit us wherever we are. What we need is a good airport close by and we’re set (well a few other things but easily found in DF). I need to start looking forward instead of backward. You can spend a lot of your life bemoaning what might have been. I need to look at what is. And what can be. I’m not ready to hang my life on the wall just yet.
So, that said, onward to DF and boots to the ground, pedal to the medal, shoulder to the grindstone. We’ve been chatting about what next and we’ll spend one year assessing the value of living there. In a year, we figure, there will be opportunities (or not) and we will know if we like it (or not). We would like to do a building there. Take an old, run down formerly single-family mansion house and turn it into four – six apartments. I don’t want to do more than that. Nothing bigger. And much more comfortable with four than six. Even more comfortable with two – like this one, for example could be two units. We think. We have been observing this market for some years and have strong faith in the real estate aspect of it (which face it, is the equity) – but we don’t know the process. I’d rather start smaller. Red tape in Mexico is a bitch. We need a good lawyer.
And let me be clear – we want to renovate, not build. Maybe we would build up one floor, as would be the case above, with the yellow building (and put parking areas on ground floor). Maybe. We have to pay attention to the advice outlined by this incredible architecture book, A Pattern Language (recommended by my astrologer friend and well worth reading if you have anything to do with rehabbing houses). When I bought that book, JR and I were trying to build a condo-hotel on the seawall in Galveston. But that’s another story.
There are creative opportunities in DF. Editing, writing, production. It’s time to get out and work it. I have the log lines for almost everything we’ve ever imagined as a story of some form (movie, book, tv) in one PDF file. I have a couple of thoughts about which to proceed with. I need to make a list of where I can pitch each story. I still really like a lot of them. I put the together for a producer I know from Chicago who was at the AFM this year (American Film Market) and has the DogStar books (and script) currently under option. Speaking of which, I need to put those books on Kindle, we have the print/literary rights back. Just as easy to type them in myself as get the books to anyone, I think. But I digress. When I put the PDF together, I was really impressed with the variety and the viability of the ideas. And often, when you let something like those ideas sit for a while, they age quite nicely. It would be a shame for them to just sit there. On that shelf. Like that nasty little elf. Don’t get me started.
I need to watch The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I’ve had an idea for a ghost story banging around in my head for a bit – and that title keeps coming to mind, which I’ve never seen. I do need to see it. Naturally, I’ve seen Ghost – interesting note on that. Everyone said “You’ll cry, you’ll cry!” I didn’t cry and while I enjoyed it thoroughly, I wasn’t sure what all the crying stuff was about. Until the last line. And then, Good God. Like McKee says, endings are 75% of a movie. I’ll remember the end of that movie until the day I die. The other ending I will remember forever is North Dallas Forty. Weird, huh? Maybe I’ll watch some old favorites: Harvey, for sure. Not ready for HCW or Ishtar, yet. I’m in a black & white movie mood. I have watched Casablanca toooo many times (sorry, Bob – different Bob). I have it! The Rainmaker. God I loved that movie. Yeah, yeah, it’s not B&W. But I forgot about that one (he was a bit of a Quixote, I guess, wasn’t he? And so were the Ishtar guys if it comes to it.) There’s my triple play.
Back to ranking and linking (from last week) for a minute. I’ve been watching. Not seeing any ranking in real life, which pleases me. Not seeing it much on Facebook either – so I’m going to keep an eye on it but not pay much more attention. I have noticed, however, the things that irritate me on Facebook are primarily PR bullshit and those posts can really get me going and put me in a ranking frame of mind. So, all the pages about San Miguel that are still on my Facebook – real estate sites, restaurants, organic tiendas – gone. They were just advertising anyway. It’s good. It’s time. Maybe I should try to sell the SanMiguelGringo.com URL – the San Miguel Gringo Facebook page has 2,400 followers. First $500 takes it (the blog comes down, the rest can stay as a base if you want it). Surely, there is some way to monetize 2,400 followers who opted in because they’re interested in San Miguel? There’s potential there – I just really lost my enthusiasm for it when I lost my enthusiasm for the town. I could even host it for $350 a year. And by the way, people steal that roof dog photo from me all the time. Kinda pisses me off (I took it in 2005).
We’re supposed to be totally settled in two years time – end of 2017 (says my astrology chart). And that would be good, I am sick of moving. Have to get rid of our current Canadian house though. To do it this spring, or spring 2017 is the question (I think we’ve answered that – but until we jump off the bridge or burn it, who knows). It’s just not generating the cash flow we need. And there are investments that will. And as mentioned in previous posts, we won’t live there again so there’s no point in keeping it. And we could use the money for a building in DF. Time will tell and all that.
The stocks in our TFSAs have closed up for Christmas – it was a rocky summer and fall in the markets. I’ll have to look at the year-end statement, but we did pretty well this year inside that account. Enough to pay a years rent down here, plus a bit more I think. There were a few freaky moments when a couple of things went the wrong way, but it’s all a learning process and I think I made about 35% on the money. But I know I can’t do that every year. And it’s a little scary. Everything is pretty much sitting in safe (enough) stocks right now. Apple, Facebook and some solar companies and one health fund I’m not crazy about that I’ll probably sell on the next upswing. So I guess I’ll let it sit through the end of the calendar year. If I had any need for it, I could take it all out by the 31st, then be eligible to replace it all in 2016. But I don’t see a good reason, unless I want a rest.
We had a great Christmas Eve and then a great boxing day weekend with friends (two sets). We drank champagne on the earlier occasion, and the dog fell in the pool chasing bottle rockets that he could never catch because they explode outside the walls of the grounds. On the weekend, we did a pinata for our friends’ two-year-old. He’s cute. Commercial cute. And we went to Xochicalco – which we’d been planning to do forever (pyramid ruins south of Cuernavaca). Quite impressive. My Moves App says I walked 5 miles that day. That kind of stuff makes me happy. And the flowers (and champagne) our guests brought.
So that’s it really, for now. Nothing exciting, nothing new. We do have flowers and small tiny mangos on the mango tree, that’s kind of neat to see. And it will be time to start packing soon. And then, I’ll just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and see where it leads me. It’s all that you can do. We hope to hear something about the Vancouver Island business soon. We might even drive the van back up (that’s the royal ‘we’ and it won’t involve me, or dogs) to have a vehicle there – we certainly don’t need it in Mexico City and it will probably be parked a lot down here. Technically, we’ve got three years to get it out of the country (unless they let us nationalize).
As I close this blog, it’s New Year’s Eve. I’m trying to think of something profound or New Year’s-ish to say and all I can think of is this song, which reminds me of my sister, Laura, the dead one (and her long-time first boyfriend, Mike). So many things would be so different, if only. Maybe cousin Tom is hanging out with Laura this new year’s eve. Here’s hoping everyone is together, wherever they are. And here’s hoping for a great 2016 for everyone. Remember, Canta, no Llores.