10 January 2013

Home Sweet Home

This page is dedicated to our darling daughter-in-law, "La Tanya," who wants to know what our house looks like: 

The yellow cement box is our home here in Monterrey. We call it our "double-wide" because it is set up exactly like a double-wide trailer, with the main difference being that the location of this house cannot be changed unless you are Mexican and have a hammer and a chisel. In that case, in a mere month the entire edifice can be erased from the face of the earth. 

Another difference that you will note right away is the fact that we live in a cage. Every opening in the house and patio is covered with impenetrable bars which serve to keep bad guys out and good guys (hopefully us) in. There is a large patio area next to the street, which in most houses serves as an entertainment room. All parties are held in the patios at the front of the houses, which may occasionally double as garages. This clever arrangement allows the Mexican Mariachi music to be enjoyed by all the neighbors on the street, all night long, so that no one feels left out of the party! 

We must mention the special parking place that is reserved for us. You might notice the yellow stripes on the road. These notify drivers that there is a speed bump ahead--a serious speed bump. The word for speed bump in Spanish is "tope." We believe that it is derived from the English "top" and "pay" because if you hit the bump too fast, the top of your head will hit the ceiling of the car and you will pay with a headache for the rest of the day. There is always a car parked immediately in front of us and also immediately behind. John is now an expert at parallel parking over the "tope." 

As you enter the front door (see male figure indicating door above), you step into the living room. The floor is indestructible cast stone blocks that are the most amazing camouflage pattern you have ever seen. If we drop something on the floor, it disappears like magic. It took us three days to find a wandering puzzle piece even after searching on hands and knees. No one would ever know if this floor was clean or not! 

The back half of our "living" area is the dining room. This shows the layout from the front door. Those of you studying interior design might duly note that the yellow color theme on the outside of  the house has been carefully carried into the interior of the living space creating continuity and maybe even harmony--you will have to tell us.  The door behind the dining area is our study--at least until March when the temperatures rise to unmentionable heights.

The other side of the house includes the master bedroom and bath, the kitchen, another bath and bedroom. The main feature in this bedroom is the air conditioner/heater mounted on the wall above the bed. This is the little piece of magic that makes living in Monterrey possible year round.

In the master bath the towel racks are perfectly placed for our 6 foot 3 inch landlord, but life is sweet-- the shower is double the size of the one we had in Mexico City.

 Our kitchen is actually smaller than those in most double-wide trailers, but we are finding ways to make it work. One way is to have only one adult in the kitchen at a time. Passing someone else in the kitchen is a very intimate experience. Our darling little oven has two temperatures: 450 and 325. If we are cooking something on the top of the range, then the oven temperatures drop by about 100 degrees. It made cooking Thanksgiving dinner just a bit of a challenge.

The blue contraption on the left is the source of all safe drinking water. The photo on the right shows our tower of modern conveniences. It is a tower because there is only one outlet in the kitchen--and yes, it is behind the microwave. It looks a lot like an octopus due to the many protruding wires--we are very careful about how many appliances we turn on at once. 

We have an automatic dishwasher for which Linda is very grateful.  He is committed to a very high standard of excellence and always provides service with a smile.   

Our state of the art washroom is outside the kitchen door along a narrow passageway. You will note that the common washer and dryer have been included with the house. The landlord has also thoughtfully included a non-electric washboard sink in which one can scrub clothes during the power outages. This can be used with the clever invention called a clothes line. Ours is above the washer and dryer and is environmentally friendly. It uses only people and wind power and quickly dries almost anything.

And finally, the most important part of the house. We call this the "What Matters Most" wall:


  1. Looks very livable. We learned from the Senior couple on Teneriffe that the young elders rented us an apartment in December when they thought we were coming. We are not happy about that as we hoped to pick out our own. I hope it is at least this nice.

  2. thank you for the house pics. Now I have a visual of where you are!!!

  3. So fun to see where and how you live. Interesting your landlord is so tall. Have a great day!

  4. My mother used to call it a "one bum kitchen".

  5. Now that is the perfect description of what we have--Michael is the winner again!