Letters from Lorraine
January 18, 2022
Greetings from Mexico!
Bless your hearts. I’ve read about all the bad weather you’re getting up there.
Actually, it’s been a mite cold down here too — well, cold in the mornings (40), but usually by noon, it’s a consistent 72 until 7:00 in the evening. As a Vineyard friend said the other day, “I can live with that.” Yeah, me too!
The cold weather was high on my list of reasons for giving up my beloved Vineyard. My house in Vineyard Haven was toasty, but partially because of my low thyroid, I had begun to be reluctant to venture outside in the winter months. And my favorite pastime had been walking my dogs on the Land Bank trails. My world was closing in — I had become a weather-wimp, and I was completely responsible for it.
Today’s news: I have omicron — yikes!
I’m writing this letter from bed. A few days ago, I began to have a scratchy throat, stuffed-up nose, and dry cough. Today it is still with me, along with nausea, but in no way is it worse. Two of my neighbors have not felt 100% either, so we’re pretty sure we have omicron. The three of us are not worried because we’re vaccinated and boosted, and there are really good hospitals in SMA, just in case.
We’ve also decided, like many people I know of, not to get tested (it’s not that easy here), but to lay low and see how it goes. That is where I am today — in bed, laying low, writing to you. I will, though, mask up and walk my dogs again later today. And, of course, exercise in my solar-heated pool!
Still futzing with my casa!
I am having more work done on my house — I keep finding more ways to improve my new little Mexican home. There are gorgeous vaulted brick ceilings here in Mexico called bovedas. Every room in my house has them; my bathrooms, living room, kitchen, even my laundry room has a brick boveda. These ceilings are valuable and coveted.
When I painted the interior of my house, I was tempted to paint my bedroom boveda white. Well, three weeks ago I did — I mean, after all, it is my house. It was nerve-racking, but the ceiling turned out absolutely fabulous! After it was painted, I swore, No more, the rest will stay brick. Like I said, these ceilings are prized, and most people would never, ever paint them, but also, like I said, it’s my damn house!
Since I loved my white boveda so much, I decided my dressing/sitting room and stairwell ceilings needed a little sprucing up. But a white or cream boveda would not be so fabulous in those spaces. I looked around the room and the stairwell, and noticed that all of my pieces of art, including my new collection of antique sombreros, are trimmed or framed in gold. Eureka! Metallic gold bovedas it would be!
My painter was OK with the metallic gold (truthfully, he didn’t care one way or another). The hard part would be to find latex metallic gold paint down here. Well, we did, but it had to be ordered, so we did just that. In the meantime, I was able to get a liter of the paint to experiment with. I quickly realized the gold was entirely too yellow, so I mixed a little silver metallic into it to lighten it up.
A couple of weeks ago, it was time to paint the much-anticipated gold bovedas. Julian, my painter, and his helper, Witcho, first primed the ceilings with cream paint and filled the holes in the bricks. You can’t appreciate the number of holes in bricks until you paint them. And, wow, there are hundreds in a decent-size ceiling.
My job was to mix the gold and silver metallic paint. I had been messing around with the paint for weeks but was still unsure about the color. I had painted the walls in the sitting room and stairwell back in October. They went from a dingy white to a rich, interesting khaki/gold/green, so, therefore, the gold had to be a green gold. And there was no way I was going to have the walls repainted. Hell, no!
Oh no, I trashed my beautiful bovedas!
Julian and Witcho painted the primer on the ceilings and went home. Later that night, over the now-primed bovedas, I painted medium sized squares with the different variations of the metallic golds I had concocted. They were all horrible, so horrible I couldn’t sleep that night. Fuck me, I had ruined my beautiful brick bovedas! When Julian saw what I had done the next morning, he said, “Don’t worry, I can fix this with a little bit of black paint mixed in with the gold and silver”. What the hell, I said, Go for it, then left for town to meet some friends visiting from the Vineyard.
I was meeting my new friend Kathleen (I met her a few weeks before I left the Vineyard) and her good friend Lila. They were vacationing here for a week. I felt distracted and out of sorts, so much so that I had to tell them what was going on — I had had zero sleep and had possibly ruined my gorgeous bovedas. They were sympathetic, but I knew they didn’t quite understand what a potentially major fuckup this could be for me. How could they?
After a couple of hours of me trying to ignore my worries and faking congeniality with Kathleen and Lila, the painter called. He said the ceilings were beautiful and the gold was the perfect color! Throughout the painting of my house, Julian and I have always been on the same page color wise. We still laugh over the god-awful “lavender” I almost had his crew paint my workroom!
When I got home from visiting my friends in town, I raced upstairs immediately, and, holy moly, the bovedas were gorgeous! And, in some ways, they were even more fabulous than the white one. Bravo, Julian, you saved my ass and my bovedas!
Mexican workmen are hardworking and fun!
I have oodles of fun with the Mexican workmen. Between their broken English and my few words of Spanish and our comical charades, we manage to joke around. The gardener, Pedro, whom I inherited when I bought the house, is a hoot! He has a quick, sly sense of humor — I adore him.
My buddies Pearl and Ruby are doing fantastic!
Pearl has become the quintessential doting big sister to Ruby. Truthfully, I am slightly surprised at how well she puts up with Ruby’s antics morning, noon, and night. Pearl runs interference for me all the time — for instance, when I see Ruby quickly heading for me with a particular glint in her eyes, and if you have ever owned a puppy you know what I mean, I shout “Pearl, help me, help me!!” The funny thing is — she does!
And let me tell you, it doesn’t matter if you’re seven or seventy, a puppy in the house is a fun thing to watch. I won’t discuss the pee and poo problems with you, though. I just try to remain hopeful.
Pearl turned twelve in October and has now become more of a puppy than a grown-up dog. She loves her Los Frailes dog buddies Momo, Lily, and Tomasa, and Baby Ruby can’t get enough of all the smells on the street. And like a human baby, she wants to put everything in her mouth. Between Pearl eating the bad grass before I can stop her and Ruby’s indiscriminate street eating before I can stop her, there have been many sleepless nights in my little Mexican casa as I clean up “accidents” and soothe my two four-legged pals.
All’s been quiet on the Los Frailes, SMA front.
Sorry, I don’t have any exciting stories about a run to the border or saving the life of my friend’s dog this time; nevertheless, life is good here. Well, besides getting omicron, but WTF, I’m all vaxed up and better for having done it.
Buenos tardes, my friends. I miss you all!