We’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking about our situation this week. Really trying to come to some conclusion about what we want to do and where we want to do it. Because we only have enough time left to do so many things, to live in so many places. So now we have to stop this willy-nilly jumping into everything and try to choose things by analyzing them first. Even though the whole thing (life) is a crap shoot in the end.
Of course, this conclusion has been predicated by the house in north Cuernavaca, and thinking about buying it. We would have to borrow the money. But, we could borrow against investments that are currently earning a (guaranteed) 10% income. We pay less than 3% interest on the loan, which will likely be structured as open, interest only, so we can pay it down as we can. And we’re still up 7% on the money, Ok, we were up 10% before. You have a good memory.
But, we were also paying rent. And in this scenario, the loan amount and investment amounts are different – so it’s not quite apples and oranges, but close. If we buy the house in Cuernavaca, the interest payment is less than half of what our rent currently is. Financially, it makes sense (predicated on cheap money from Canada). There are other bills on top of that, of course. And we will need gardeners, plural. And we will need to redo the kitchen. And add a lap pool and hot tub. All in good time, of course.
Okay, back to “do we really want to leave CDMX after only one year?” We are committed here at this house until March 1, 2017 so if we bought before then, we’d have two houses but it would give us a chance to renovate house # 2 while we don’t live there. Ok, so why leave CDMX? Isn’t it what we had hoped?
Access to the city is great, access to Coyoacan, Xochimilco, San Angel – it’s all good. Superama, City Market, El Globo, they all deliver. They deliver in Cuernavaca too, though (but there’s no City Market yet). We have been exploring as often as we can on Saturdays and Sundays – to the center of Tlalpan, to Coyoacan centro (love that market). Frankly, heading to Roma or Condesa for dinner isn’t high on our list, which is enlightening. But the big thing about Mexico City? It’s cold here (highs of 18, 19 degrees and lows of 10 at the moment).
Those are Celsius degrees – for you Americans who (along with the country of Liberia in Africa, population 4.5 million) still use the imperial measurement system. And 18 – 19 degrees is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 10 is about 50F. Sucks, doesn’t it? My basil is growing extremely slowly. I guess this is the rainy season in CDMX. So, the weather is a large part of it.
Maybe it’s an odd weather year, and maybe I’ll forget how I feel now, come fall. But this season, so far, has lasted since March – almost four months. That’s 1/3 of a year with more to come. We do wonder if a good part of the chill we feel is because it’s cloudy so often. And I hate to say it, but I think that could just be smog 🙁
I don’t like cold. The winter cold is part of why we left San Miguel. I sound like a broken record, but we didn’t move over 3,000 miles to have the same temperatures in January and February as Vancouver Island. And okay, this isn’t freezing cold here in CDMX but it’s above my tolerable level for this time of year. And what will January/February bring? In Cuernavaca, it only went below 15 C (60F) for the coldest few weeks in January/February. I’m told the weather from August – December is lovely here in Mexico City. Well, from May – October it’s lovely up north, too. It’s the other months we are concerned with.
We clearly haven’t explored all the possibilities that living in Mexico City offers. Is it possible that with enough of them, it would make up for the cold? No. Or we’d still be living on Vancouver Island. We’ve also started to make our list of the perfect home – aside from the weather, it includes a view. And I don’t mean a view of our own terrace, I mean a long view.
So, we’re starting to think CDMX was a nice thought but we should have done it when we were 15 years younger and didn’t have any dogs – for about 45 days, once. That was after my old road manager, Caesar, died. Took that long to get another dog. And we’ve not been dog-free since.
We got Junior while Kato (who followed Caesar) was still alive. And Rosie will likely outlive Junior now, and we’ll feel like she’s lonely so we’ll get a second. And on it goes. We have realized we need to figure dogs into our choices. We’re done fooling ourselves. Geez, I should have used last week’s song this week. Missed opportunity.
I have already realized that there is enough property in the Cuernavaca house for as many dogs as we want. The royal we, of course. I’m kidding, sort of. I would love tons of dogs. But we’ll see. I don’t know if you remember, two years ago now (almost), my talking about an old hacienda in disrepair. We saw it the first time we came to Cuernavaca: Los Gallos. This potential Cuernavaca house reminds me of that place – at least the exterior – it’s quite jungle-like. It’s on a canyon, which is how the view is so good.
Who knows. Maybe we will be able to buy an option on the house. Maybe we will rent it with an option to buy. Maybe we will just buy it. Maybe we won’t do a damn thing. Clearly, my mind is made up, LOLOL. Occasionally, we consider returning to Vancouver Island. But I think we both hope that move is some years down the road. We are still looking for a place to buy up there and rent out – but we’ve got pretty serious criteria for that, being an investment (should it happen). Or maybe we’ll just go back to the Island. That’s how undecided we are. It’s not likely (back to Canada right now) but sometimes I just get totally unenthusiastic about it all.
The Trump candidacy has me thinking again about friends – a few of mine are having trouble with not-so-friendly disagreements manifesting on their pages in response to something they’ve posted. I personally don’t have that problem, because I unfriend and block people who I think are assholes. That said, I have several friends who believe you can be friends with people at the opposite end of the political spectrum as long as you don’t talk politics. Given that political issues are generally about values – I don’t see how that’s possible. In any event, I would have no intention of spending my time, which is the most valuable thing I have, with someone whose values are different. Why would I?
That’s another thing. Cuernavaca has people I already know and like. This all goes on the pros side. I guess I need a real list sometime soon. The only thing Cuernavaca doesn’t have is Mexico City but it’s 50 miles away and our dog sitter lives in Cuernavaca, so it’s easy to go for the weekend. Also, Cuernavaca doesn’t have a 20 minute ride to the airport, and it turns into three hours on the bus door to door. Or an hour and a half Uber for $100 (dollars not pesos). Still, if we do it, we should make a commitment to try and spend one weekend in the city at least every two months. If we do it… And thus the title of this post.
There truly is no time like the future and maybe I spend too much time there. Not all of it is daydreaming (like this), some of it is planning. I like to have a plan A, B & C at least. And seriously, I do spend time in the present, all the time I’m working and writing and editing and learning things. Or gardening. I should probably be thinking bigger futures than just the next five months and where we’re going to live. But I kind of want that settled so I need to work it through.
Firstly, the general region. Cuernavaca clearly wins on a points basis if we assign each element pro and con +1 and -1 rankings. Yes, rankings. LOL. Private joke. The only thing it’s missing is the quicker access to CDMX and the airport. And the access is tolerable. Even on public buses, going into town from Cuernavaca is a day trip at most, there and back. I’ve actually done it in six hours, when I had a set appointment at the consulate. The size (1 million+), the services and access to good grocery stores, organic markets, restaurants is all good. Weather is the best we’ve found in Mexico.
Secondly…Is that house the one? How do I know? I haven’t even seen it yet. Har-har. Seriously, all this searching for images online (I’ve found every single one), looking at Google Earth and Google Street View, checking out the neighborhood, mapping times and routes to Costco and Superama – it’s like a pre-check. We’ve *pretty much* figured out the layout and the orientation to the canyon, where the rooms are (with a few exceptions). So there shouldn’t be any big surprises. Parts of it are very impressive (to us) but now I’ve had a chance to get used to the whole idea, I’m looking for flaws. And that’s the best attitude to take to a house viewing.
And really, we are so torn. Especially after Brexit, makes Trump seem all the more possible. So, we really need to consider – would this house be a good place to hide away if things go to hell in the USA? It probably is. It’s a very private property (big walls and gate), in a security and dog patrolled colonia. We could grow things. I dunno. I’m all thought out and sure you’re sick of hearing me think out loud.
Let’s move on. One of my single female friends pointed out that it’s much easier for me to try new things because I am married and therefor have a built-in partner. And she’s right. it’s always easier with a partner. But it doesn’t have to be a husband – I have had many, many partners over the years who were strictly business partners. I’m probably too quick to get into business with a partner if anything – I have ended up doing the lions share of the work a couple of times. But mostly, it works out and two heads are usually far better than one. I like business, and I guess it’s the Irish in me that makes me such a trader. I don’t care for retail but I love trade.
I was trying to think of the first business I started and I can’t remember. I guess it would be the antique resales – we’d buy at auctions in Ontario and had great space at Harbourfront Market on Sundays. That was back when Toronto was mine – it hasn’t felt like that for a while. But I haven’t lived there for 24 years. Then Coconut Catering. That really went nowhere but at least we had business cards and learned a lot of new recipes. Then there was breeding Shar Peis (that idea lasted about 4 hours until the brooding bitch we bought bit my sister).
And then Rocky Mountain Popping Corn (on the cob). I had high hopes for that one and put two years into it. We got to do a lot of great shows – from San Francisco to Chicago to New York to Boston. (Oh would I kill to have a copy of that photo of me in the Chicago Tribune as The Human Bag of Popcorn. Auntie Ann made my costume.) We were sold in Marshall Fields stores coast to coast. But I was young and made some mistakes and I didn’t know distribution, which turns out to be a really key element. Duh. Can’t say I regret it but I clearly should have done things differently.
After that, Eternal Companions Sundial Memorial Urn. Take them with you when you move. That one had real legs and I was granted a US patent (which I wrote and hired a lawyer to edit and submit). I’m very proud of that one. We could have gone all the way with those – but hit a wall. We were rocking and selling lots of them online when Hillenbrand Inc (revenue $884 million in 2014) came after us. They own Batesville Caskets and had an above ground model (ours was in-ground, with the sundial supporting the buried stainless cylinder). We referenced their provisional patent (part of the research) as previous art in our patent finding and were granted our patent (which actually only gives one the right to protect one’s design in court). Our design was substantially different but it was incumbent on us to go to court in the US and prove that.
If we’d gone to court and fought their lawyers, we may have won. It would have taken years and one law firm wanted $50,000 as a deposit. A deposit. How do you fight Hillenbrand when you are a little Canadian company with no money to speak of? They threatened our resellers and suddenly we had no customers and no cash flow. They really threatened us. My then-partner owns US businesses and didn’t want to risk it. They had 17 patent lawyers on staff.
Seriously – you think the funerary industry in the USA is any different than the mafia? Think again. My one regret here was my hubris. I could have filed a Canadian patent instead of a US patent, it would have been cheaper and easier to do and I’d still be in business today (in Canada only). But I was after a bigger prize. And ended up being a little fly who got swatted off the wall. Oh well. I still have an urn and a popcorn jar to show for it (and a US patent with a hologram on it and everything).
Then, The Gift Ship (We sail the seven seas to bring you the best in…something or other) – our online store. Launched July 4, 1998. We were a little ahead of our time. It was a huge endeavor. Took two of us a full three months to build it. We had a huge importer/giftware manufacturer as our supplier and it all lined up well. Probably would have worked if we’d waited another five years. I was convinced in those days that what I would do had something to do with the internet. I sure spend a lot of time on it. In fact, I was thinking recently that I should put up a page offering to write peoples’ obituaries for them, in advance. So they don’t end up with shitty ones. But I digress.
And there were books in there, and scripts, and freelance writing and editing. Lots of estate sales and eBay (that hardly counts, it was more of a hobby). We almost bought a bed and breakfast in Todos Santos. Then, the seminar business was a good one – for a decade I produced screenwriting seminars in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Mexico City. That worked very well for me some years, indeed. But everything has its day and its season. And since then, I haven’t really latched on to anything. I’ve had decent freelance jobs but nothing I can sink my teeth into. Maybe the time is nigh. Believe it and it will come true and all that. Trying to figure out what to do next. Does it ever stop? Actually, I guess it does but let’s not go there.
So, I’ve stalled this long enough (publishing this post) that it’s now tomorrow I go over the mountain to Cuernavaca and check out the potential new house (project). I must be objective – and I actually think for once that I might manage that. I’m not sure it’s the right way to go but something’s tugging at me to check it out. My first question will be, Could I die here? And we’ll go from there. Hardy-har-har. Orale!