The House of Diez Doors

¡Hola! Buenas tardes, y’all.

Now that we’ve finally completed the moving process, I can sit my ass down and try to write something. Until Mollie or Mika decide to help me edit this post. The kit-tens are getting so big! They’re still cute and adorable, except when they’re getting into mischief, and they’ve gotten pretty damn good at that. Mika has shown herself to be the leader when it comes to getting in trouble. That darn kit-ten!!

It’s like my crazy Polish grandmother used to say, “If I had two assholes, yous kids would climb in one to see what was up there!” Those old Pollacks, they had a way with words, not?

Mika and Mollie have been busy exploring their new home, and racing around the rooms playing kit-ten hockey. It’s a game I invented. All you need is two kit-tens and a ping pong ball. It’s seriously fun to watch. I’ll try to take a video one of these days, if I can stop laughing long enough to hold my camera steady.

Or maybe I’ll think of something I was going to do until I got distracted by another thing and forgot to do the first thing. Then I’ll have to quit writing and take care of that dangling thing immediately before I forget that I remembered that I needed to do something. Whatever it might be.

That has happened a lots the last few weeks. And it’s likely to continue for awhile.

And there was this, too: Where did I put the hammer?!? I have five hammers. I’ve used every fucking one of them putting this house together because I couldn’t find the one I was just using. I don’t know if that’s because I’m getting older and can’t rememberate stuff so good anymore, or because I have a very diffuse attention span. It might be both.

But another part of this equation is the sheer size of this place. I’ve posted a lots of pictures of our new house on my Facebook page. Many people have commented that our house looks like unto a resort. Yeah, it really does. But the photos fail to convey the scope of the space, and the layout. I’ve actually called my lovely supermodel wife on her cellphone when we were both in the house to ask her where she was.

I couldn’t find her, and I probably thought she had taken my hammer…

* * * *

We had no idea we’d be moving into the largest house we’ve ever had when we started our home search. Our last house was roughly 2200 square feet. This house is easily twice as large.  In Mexico, anything under a roof is considered indoor living space. Like, you know, a patio. If you use Mexican math, it’s probably closer to 5000 square feet.

I suppose the yard is bigger, too. But 90% of the lot is filled by the house. And the casita. And the swimming pool. Our backyard runs parallel to the first fairway at the Chula Vista Golf Course. It’s the other golf course in the Lakeside Area. The one I’m not a member of.

* * * *

I could say we have a great view of the golf course, but we don’t. There’s kind of a forest growing on the hillside below our house. And there’s a verdant garden growing along the fence line. You actually have to look pretty hard to see the golf course.

There are a couple of downsides to the Chula Vista course. It’s carved out of the side of the mountain, and the fairways run over hill, over dale. That in itself isn’t a deal breaker. There are no golf carts at Chula Vista. If I wanted to walk that much, I’d sell my car.

That’s not gonna happen.

On the bright side, I have found two golf balls in the backyard. I may never have to buy another golf ball…

* * * *

There aren’t many long-term rental houses available in the Lakeside Area this time of year. It’s Snowbird Season! We didn’t think we’d find a new place to live until May or June of next year. Then a kind of funny thing happened. Our friend, Cheryl, alerted us that this house was available. That wasn’t the funny part. Several of our friends had told us about available rental houses they knew of, and suggested we check them out. The funny part is Lea contacted  the property manager, Belva, immediately. Lea never does that. She has to think about stuff for awhile first.

We were the first people to contact Belva, and arranged to take a tour of the place. When we arrived for our walk through, she informed us that ten other couples had contacted her expressing interest in the property. But we had been first; we had dibs.

Belva had a fistful of keys in her hand. And she needed all of them. Two of the three exterior doors in the kitchen were on the same key. All of the other lockable doors, exterior and interior, were on separate keys. And you needed two different keys just to unlock the huge hobbit door that is the grand front entrance, that hardly anyone will ever use.

It’s an old house, probably twenty years older than our first Mexican house. It’s a classic Mexican style gringo mansion. The decor and furnishings were straight out of the 70’s. If The Brady Bunch (El Grupo de Brady en español) had been set in Mexico, this would’ve been their house. An elderly British couple had lived here until they got dead. Their son, Lord Mark, the Duke of San Antonio, inherited the place and has been renting it out as an income property.

This is The House of Ten Doors, not counting the two main gates. One gate leads to the grand main entrance. The really big gate secures the carport. There’s actually thirteen exterior doors here, but the title of this post is an adaptation of the title of the novel, The House of Dies Drear, and I hope at least one of my readers caught that. The number thirteen just wouldn’t work in my title, no matter which language I used. I suppose I could have used Gone With the Wind because the name of our casa is Tara, but that title didn’t make any sense. Not even to me.

“Well, what do you think? If you don’t want it, the next couple I show it to will take it.”  Belva said, after we saw the house. If she was bluffing, I couldn’t spot her tell.

Lea and I had a quick discussion. The place was old. It wasn’t move-in ready. The interior needed to be painted. We’d have to install a water filtration system. And there might be other surprises. It’s an old house…

As renters, that was money we’d be spending on a property that we were never going to purchase.

It had everything we were looking for, plus several things that weren’t on our list. Like, a casita, an attached exterior room that defies conventional description which could easily be converted into a workshop where I could play with my power tools, and it had a solar heated swimming pool.

* * * *

Okay. The Unconventional Room. It’s attached to the back of the north wing of the house, behind the kitchen. You can’t access the room from the inside, you have to go outside to get to it. Seeing how the only entrance to the Unconventional Room is an exterior door, it can be locked.

There were bunk beds in the room when we took our initial tour. Okay, it was a kid’s bedroom suite with a full bath. A bedroom with an attached bath that could be locked. It looked like a seclusion room to me. That’s what I called it until I converted it into my workshop.

* * * *

Back to the discussion Lea and I were having.

The house was huge, certainly much larger than anything we needed. Three bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms. Plus the casita. And the pool. And, well, everything! And it had so many goddamn doors! We were going to have to be on double secret alert for the rest of our lives to make sure we didn’t accidentally lose the kit-tens. But it wasn’t any more expensive than our first house. Plus, it came with a maid, and a gardener, and a pool guy, all of which were included in the rent.

A bird in the hand…  Yeah, we took it. Brady Bunch decor and all. It’s probably the only two times in her life that my lovely supermodel wife has made two decisions in less than ten minutes.

* * * *

By the way, Monica is our maid. She’s the best maid we’ve ever had. Miguel is our gardener/pool guy. They are both great at what they do, and we’re fortunate to have them.

* * * *

Our painter, Francisco Flores Bernini, had all of the interior rooms prepped and painted in less than two weeks, except the kitchen. Lea’s boyfriend and my golf wife painted that room. Thank you for that incredible gift, Todd and Phyllis.

Lord Mark had upgraded the kitchen appliances and had moved the old stove and refrigerator into the casita. In the process, the gas line to the stove in the casita had developed a leak. It took Moses the repairman three visits to fix it.

We moved fifty loads of the smaller household items in our SUV from our old house to our new house over a two week time period, with more help from Todd and Phyllis. The moving crew took five hours to transport the rest of our furniture here.

I spent something like unto fifteen hours setting up my home theater system. It sounds so good!! It was built for this house. It took two days to install the water filtration system. It took the satellite dish guys three visits to get our two TV’s up and running.

The locksmith we hired had to make two trips here to rekey four locks on the kitchen doors and the main entrance to one key. It took us about a week to find the key to unlock the third patio door.

* * * *

That mountain of keys! We threw them in a pile on the dining room table, and every time we needed a key we had to dig through the fucking keys until we found the one key we wanted.

Several years ago I had bought a whole bunch of oversized decorative keys. They look like the skeleton keys the head jailer might carry around in an old prison. I hung a decorative key by every exterior door, and the corresponding key to each door.

Mischief managed.

And then there were the light switches. There are a whole lots of those, too. We had to replace at least fifteen light bulbs, but now we know what what most of the switches operate, and the coolest light switch ever is in the hallway running along the bedrooms. It’s a sensor. The lights turn on and off automatically as you enter and exit the hallway. There are two switches we’ll probably never figure out. For all I know, they might turn on the lights at the neighbor’s house. Or, possibly your house.

* * * *

All in all, it took only nine days for Lea and I to put the new place together. We finished today.

Casa Tara, the House of Ten Doors, looks cool. It also feels cool. Literally. It’s like living in a cavern. The high ceilings and the brick and mortar walls make the interior feel as though it’s air conditioned, which will be very nice in the summer. But it’s actually kind of cold inside this time of year.

There are three gas fireplaces; one in the living room, one in the den, and one in the master bedroom. None of them are functional. Yeah, we need to fix that.  ¡Pronto!

There are hundreds of small jobs still left to do. I’ve completed several of them while I’ve been writing this. It’s one reason why it’s taken me so long to finish. It’s also one reason why I need a workshop.

Pretty soon I can start to get back to playing golf three times a week and doing as little as possible of anything else. I was getting really good at personal energy conservation.

Speaking of golf, Phyllis and I are playing in a tournament tomorrow. I need to visualize my one, true, authentic swing. Maybe I’ll be able to do it once or twice when the spotlight is on me…

* * * *

We’ll be taking reservations at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa soon as the Casita/Guest House is ready. Please call ahead to check availability before showing up at the front gate. Ring the doorbell if you arrive unannounced. It’s a big place. We might not see you otherwise.

The House We Used To Live In

As some of you are possibly aware, one week ago my lovely supermodel wife and I found out we have to find a new place to live.

Yeah, that kind of sucketh greatly.

We really love the place we’re in. It had everything we were looking for when we decided to move here, and it’s three doors down from Phyllis’ house. Phyllis is my wife’s best friend, and she’s also my golf wife. In terms of location, it was perfect.

We’ll be hard pressed to find a better landlady than Planet Janet, but ultimately this is merely an inconvenience to us. I could tell you the story of how all of this got happened, but it’s a real messy personal disaster for Janet.

You don’t need to know all of the details.

Have you ever seen the movie Young Doctors in Love? It’s a spoof of TV soap operas, like, General Hospital. I’ve seen it a couple of times, and because I worked in the medical field, I thought it was beyond hilarious. You might want to check it out if you don’t have anything else to do.

One of the characters is an elderly Mafia don whose family is in a war with a rival family. He ends up in the hospital, and his oldest son disguises himself as a woman so he can visit his father without, you know, ending up getting killed to death in the process. One of the young doctors starts falling in love with her. Him. Whatever.

The young Mafia don-in-training isn’t exactly ladylike. In fact, he/she swears like two drunken Marines, and one of the catchlines he/she says is, “For various fuckin’ reasons…”

That’s why we have to move. Let’s just leave it at that.

It’s not all bad news. We have at least fifteen months to find another home. We’re meeting with a realtor this morning. Several of our friends are keeping their eyes open for us. And we’re following up on any rental leads in the local publications and social media.

I’m sure we’ll find another suitable abode eventually. I’ll keep you posted.

* * * *

Tenemos gatitas! Pequeños leones de la casa feroz!!

For those of you who aren’t bilateral like I am, that’s Spanish for, We have kit-tens! Ferocious little house lions!!

Mika and Mollie. They’re still adorable. They’ve taken control of the house. And us. The little terrorists, with talons of death. Bare feet are irresistible to kit-tens, and they attack out of nowhere. We’ve learned quickly to watch our steps with kit-tens underfoot. My lower legs look like unto I’ve been skipping through a field of barbwire.

They’re growing so fast! They’re about twice the size they were when we brought them home. They’re running and climbing over everything. It’s been very entertaining, and sometimes exhausting, having them around.

Our veterinarian, Dr. Betty, has seen the kit-tens a couple of times for vaccinations. She has fallen in love with them, too. Her partner, Dr. Gaby, doesn’t think our kit-tens are part Himalayan. She thinks they’re part Siamese. Seminese/Semilayan. It’s all good.

* * * *

The Minnesota Vikings lost again. They got beat by the  Los Angeles Rams, who just might be the best team in the NFL this year. The good news was the Vikings made a game of it, and had a couple of chances to at least tie the game before they ultimately lost. The bad news is the Vikings play the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend and they are the defending world champions.

Yeah. The Vikings are probably going to lose that game, too.

* * * *

Virtual Update: My social media BFF’s have been busy. Grecia is pregnant with her first child. Serena is getting back into shape after her second child. Danessa is getting married next year. Mark’s girlfriend broke up with him and he’s devastated.

I still get random requests from young women who are interested in a serious relationship with my money, but I’m less likely to even acknowledge them anymore.

I guess an old dog really can learn new tricks…

* * * *

We just got back from looking at our second potential new home. It was a nice place. Five bedrooms, four bathrooms. The only thing we didn’t like about it was it lacks any scenic views, but that’s a huge drawback.

The first place we looked at was a cute little place in our current development, but it was way too small for our needs. In one of the most generous offers I’ve ever heard, Phyllis said she’d move into it, and we could rent her house.

It’s hard to render me speechless, but that did.

When it comes to our new home, neither Lea nor I are willing to compromise when it comes to what we want. Neither of us wants to settle for something because we’ll probably end up hating the place, and then we’ll end up moving. Again.

I am not a big fan of moving. Lea isn’t either. It’s one of the many things we have in common.

Well, why don’t you just buy your own place then, you might ask. It’s a valid question. The biggest drawback is the lack of reasonable mortgage financing in Mexico. Some financing is available, but it’s not like the US.

We could probably buy our own place, but it would easily wipe out half of our retirement savings, and neither of us is wild about that. Housing and real estate is one area where it’s cheaper in Mexico doesn’t apply.

Someone figured out a long time ago that all of the gringos here would pay serious cash for beautiful houses to live in. A nice house here would cost us roughly the same as it would in Phoenix.

I’m finding it hard to stay focused on writing. Between the kit-tens jumping on my lap to help me type and checking for housing updates every thirty seconds, I’ve been having more than a little difficulty completing two consecutive sentences.

I’m sure there have been times when I have procrastinated about starting a project. Or finishing something I’ve started. Like this blog.

And even though we have something like unto fifteen months to find another house, neither of us wants this process to take that long. We basically want to find a place in the next fifteen minutes. The reality is that our best chance of finding our next place won’t happen until April or May of next year.

Hey, it is what it is. Patience is a virtue. Breathe in. Breathe out.

That’s what I used to tell my patients.

Looks like I’m back in business.