Friday, February 3, 2012

Feathering the nest

Now that our neighborhood is looking more neighborly with beautiful walkways and plants, George and I decided it’s time to do something about our good-sized side garden which has stood dusty and forlorn for way too long.

Originally, we’d come up with an elaborate – and expensive – plan that would include a plunge pool to help us in our never-ending battle to combat the heat during our six-month long summer. But our purchase of Poco Loco put an end to that plan, because who needs a dinky pool when there’s access to the best and biggest pool around – the Sea of Cortez.

So now our plans are more modest, but we’re excited nonetheless, because this will give us more space for entertaining and relaxing and much more storage space in the form of a large storage shed or bodega, as it’s called here in Mexico. Finally we’ll have space to store our electric scooters and bikes, as well as all the other odds and ends that are now crammed into every nook and cranny of our casa. Maybe we’ll finally get organized! Then again, considering our penchant for disorganization, maybe not…

Already the floor of the bodega is in place and work on the flagstone paving has begun. We’re also planning on a decorative wall fountain and lots and lots of plants and at least one leafy shade tree. And finally, too, we’ll be able to use the Weber grill that’s been gathering dust outside, which is a real bonus as our upstairs grill seems to have only one heat setting – incinerate!

The only fly in the ointment is the half-finished home that towers over our side yard. To say it’s an eyesore is to say the least, so we’re trying to come up with some creative ways (other than hiring a bulldozer) to camouflage our unsightly neighbor. The simplest plan is to plant climbing vines and that’s where we’ll start.

However, the half-finished homes that comprise a large part of Agua Viva look like they’ll be an ongoing problem for years to come for all of us who finished our homes. What do you do when people walk away from their investment, leaving partially finished homes to deteriorate and devalue completed homes? Our hope is that some of those people will just deed the property over to the home owner association so we can deal with the mess they left behind. Otherwise, legal action is our only remedy. And for those who think they’re safe from legal repercussions because they live in the U.S. or Canada, think again! You can lose your property here in Mexico whether you live here or not.

But the problem with these derelict homes is much greater than just being an eyesore. Many of them are a safety hazard. Too often there is rusting rebar protruding from the concrete of these homes, which poses a threat to anyone walking by. We know of one home owner who fell face down on exposed rebar alongside a derelict home, leaving her with a terrible black eye and the knowledge that she could easily have lost her eye. Talk about a literal eyesore!

So, as much as we’ve accomplished in making our community more livable and pleasant, we’ve got a long way to go.

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