In the Twilight

In the twilight of the summer, things began to change. My husband’s mother, Rosemary, died at 94. A life well-lived – and a good death, but she leaves a very large hole in all of our lives.  We were back in Canada for most of a week for the funeral and will go back mid-October to clean out the house. She was able to die in her own home, where she lived 60 years.  She had the “one last summer” she asked for in the spring. But such a vibrant soul and active mind – I don’t care if she was 94, she’s still too soon gone. I shall miss her greatly, she was an inspiration to us all. And my husband was very close to her, so I know he will miss her presence every day.


After the service, he went directly to Vancouver from Toronto and I came back to first CDMX for an overnight, picked up the dogs, then headed to Cuernavaca where the renovations continue. And continue. They seem never-ending by this point. But that’s how it always goes. I’m still stunned at the view. The yard is a piece of work. We’re turning it into a pool – the property doesn’t have one – which is extremely odd for this town, as it has more pools per capita than Beverly Hills. So odds are much more likely that a house does have a pool than it doesn’t. It’s almost good that it doesn’t, we can decide what to do (lap pool, as we swim lengths with a purpose, me at 6am, believe it or not). Anyway, we factored it into the purchase price before making an offer – you can’t live in Cuernavaca without a pool.

When CW gets back, we’ll spend three days in CDMX and then I go to Vancouver and he comes back to Cuernavaca with the dogs. And then I come back three days later. Short trip – some business to tie up and dinner with Dad and Sylvia, who are visiting from Ontario. I’ll come back to Cuernavaca the next day (after I get back to Mexico) and hopefully we can be in one place, together, for about 10 days. And then a week that’s up in the air, then 10 days to two weeks in Ontario cleaning out the house.

That folks, takes us up to the first week of November (at least). We missed El Grito and will miss Day of the Dead. But that’s those apples. Or whatever that expression is. Hopefully, the kitchen is done by then. It’s a mess right now. But looks better already with the wall opened up. I hope this vision works. It’s industrial. I don’t have a really high ceiling . It’s higher in other rooms due to an architectural twist I’ll explain one day (with photos). It’s complicated but it floods light into the house and that’s okay with me.

But it is kind of overwhelming. And then the old white dog (11 years) started throwing up white foam at 2am and continued to do so til  about 6am – although he seems better now. Withholding food and giving him small amounts of water frequently. Since he targeted me to complain and ask for some water recently – I’m figuring he’s getting better. He’s sleeping now.

We still have the CDMX house until February if no one else rents it, which is a drag but we’ll use it on weekends and on nights before and after Canadian flights, given the schedules. And when people fly in – it’s less than an hour to the airport from there and makes a good way station. I hope someone rents it though, it’s a financial drain but we said we’d stay a year so there you go. That was an experiment that failed – but we had to to try it to know. The house itself is nice enough but the dogs didn’t like it at all (too many stairs and no grass). I could see the potential it had but it was also 2 km to the security gate so it wasn’t possible to walk anywhere (except around the block with the dogs).

We need more of a walking neighborhood as we are walkers. Plus, the old dog can’t do stairs easily anymore. And the guys at the security gate are a pain in the ass, it’s like cracking Fort Knox to get an Uber in the gate to pick us up. Being extrajeno plates, we can’t drive any weekday before 11am, never on a Wednesday or Saturday all day. It’s too much for us. And it’s cold in the southern part of Mexico City. Too cold. So chalk it up to trial and error and as it stands now – we have a Mexico City house through February if anyone wants to visit. But I doubt we’ll be there more than a day or two a month.

Ok, I’m back. Took a bit of a break. I’ve been to Vancouver and back, had dinner with Dad and Sylvia and the rest of the family (sister, daughter, nietos). It was great fun. Dad and Sylvia will come to Mexico at the end of February and we’re really looking forward to it. A bit of a whirlwind trip but did get some work done. Had a good meeting regarding investments and the memoir project I’m editing. We plan to meet for a week in Mexico (in either November or February and maybe both) and blitz part III.

I’m back in Cuernavaca for a few days while CW is in Vancouver. White dog is fine, just that one night of foam. Something he ate, I guess. They are both a lot livlier here in Cuernavaca, but especially the old one. He wanders and meanders in the yard, rolls on his back, runs after the ball. The difference is actually quite stark. And lovely to see. The house is still in much disarray but I believe the kitchen floor tiles will be finished this week. The fridge and cooler are here – so they can go in right away. We are awaiting the dishwasher and sinks and worktables delivery, as well as the stainless shelves and commercial overhead fan with lights. This week we hope. The range will probably be early next week. Maybe the kitchen could be almost there by the time we leave (17th of Oct). we head back to CDMX, leaving the dogs here with the sitter. With one more trip back to CDMX with the dogs in between. If that’s confusing and busy sounding to you, imagine how I feel 🙂

And then, that’s it. We’ll move into the casita and move our stuff from CDMX on November 10 (what there is – pots & pans, glasses, clothes, one chair). We will still have both places until February (or until the one in CDMX is rented, whichever comes first, as our lease runs through February). Hopefully by the 10th, we’ll be in the house. Construction continues, at least until the end of the month. And one fireplace (the main, showcase piece) will be installed in early November (it’s on order). I need green fireplace glass (shattered stuff) to surround the flame but can’t find it down here. We’re working with white rocks for the moment, but I’m on the hunt.


The cleanup of the grounds will begin this week – the building of the tropical wall the following week. The tropical wall is in the competent hands of Cesar – the design of the pool has started, and that’s being handled by Socrates. Hopefully, the design is approved and we’re ready to start building the pool by November 1 (that’s the deadline). Because the plants are key, it will take two months to have all the plants in, settled and acting as natural pool filters. Should be beautiful. I think. And I haven’t even seen one drawing yet. But I have a vision. Not sure at all that it will look like this but I sure hope the tropical wall does.

Socrates has gone off to work on the pool design while he supervises another build in Tulum. (I love it that Cesar and Socrates are taking care of the outdoors.) In any event, I cannot wait for this pool. Not one chemical. Totally filtered by aquatic plants. The plant pond will be a separate section but the water flows to teh plant pond from the pool – first stopping in a holding tank because it’s hopefully 29 – 30C and that’s too hot for the plants. It cools off, then the water feeds into the pond with the plants. Once the water has been filtered by the plants, it’s carried to the roof of the casita where it is heated by the solar panels, then returned to the pool.

They’ve been a popular form of pool in Europe for some time but have really only been introduced the North American markets quite recently. We’re planning a double-width lap pool with an infinity edge that has a view of the canyon. It will either work really well or it won’t. Same as the kitchen actually, which is starting to take shape. The tiles are almost down on the floor. We bought a lovely porcelain tile that looks perfectly like cement – in 2′ x 4′ tiles so they are large (and heavy). They’ll also be the surface of the bar. If they can finish the tiles today, we can move the fridge and cooler (at least), into the kitchen next week. Which is important, because I need to leave frozen dog food with the sitter and the little bar fridge we’re using in our dorm room is ridiculous. But given the state the kitchen is in (and much of the house) – it’s where we need to be.

Actually, I exaggerate, the photo above was two weeks ago. It’s coming along nicely. Here are a couple more chronological photos. I’m pretty sure the fridge will move in next week.

The bar is coming along. The fridge, sink, and more worktables will go across the brick wall.

The bar is more than eight feet long – we knocked a hole in the wall to the dining room to open up the kitchen. The main cooking zone will be on the bar side and set up to be free standing. It should be an interesting kitchen.

I love this tile. It looks like concrete but it’s fine porcelain (haha, which we didn’t realize when we bought it). Lots of power outlets – now I really can’t wait for it to be done.

The delivery of absolutely everything is delayed, of course. That’s how it goes – no biggie, right? The custom sink and tables for the kitchen, dishwasher, bar stools, table stools are all in process. As is the range. The small galvenized table for the kitchen eating zone has arrived, at least. We must be grateful for small things.

I’m seeing orchids blooming on the trees – lots of other flowering things that I did not know flowered. This climate quite reminds us of central Costa Rica – it’s pretty incredible. It makes up for the house construction. Even now, in the rainy season, it will hit the low 20s in the day (low 70’s F) and mid teens at night (15C, approx 65F). And it rains at night. Rarely before 5pm and often while we sleep. Big rains. I’ve always liked the rainy season here. And everything is so green.


So that’s it. Knee deep in renovations, heading back to Canada for two weeks but home in time for Day of the Dead after all. Even if we aren’t home in time to really build a shrine (only here they day before). Oh, maybe a mini one, the day of the dead tubs are already here (we move tubs everytime we go back and forth). Lots to still figure out. We need to move our storage unit from Vancouver Island down here – that’s a hassle. And expensive. But if we’re going to be here 10 years, our stuff should be here. In any event, I think I can honestly say things appear to be moving along. By the time we return on the 13th (going to the city tomorrow), it should be even more noticable.

I know I usually close out with a song. But I like this a lot better. Many of you will have seen it before but I think it’s worth sharing. I appreciate people who speak their minds – so many are afraid of hurting their careers or offending clients. But this is what I have to say to America, as a Canadian living in Mexico: The world is watching and they think this election is an IQ test. Don’t flunk it.




    We are in Mexico City for a week and I would have liked to meet you as I have been reading your blog for quite some time now! But it sounds like you hhave too much on your plate so we next time.

    Your blog is so down to earth and I have fun reading it.

    We live in Baja California Sul, come on over if you ever want to be adventurous!

    Blanca and Les

    1. Post author

      Oh, such a sweet idea! Another time for sure and will absolutely look you up if we get over there. Thanks for the message!