Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Contentment: If I had a Million Dollars


I told a friend in Mérida recently that if suddenly I came into a million dollars I would not change a thing about my life here.

If I received a windfall, I would not get a different house. My house is a wonderful place and it's just right for me. It sits in the heart of the city, but walk inside and close the front door, and it is a refuge. It feels like another world. The thick walls keep out most of the street noise. The quiet, tall trees and birdsong of the back yard make it feel more like the countryside than the inner city. I like my neighborhood. I know of no other place like this and suspect I will live here for a good long time.

If I received a windfall, I would not splurge on new appliances, gadgets or furniture. I have all I need, and that's not much. I don't watch TV, so I'm not craving a bigger flatscreen. Every five or six years I buy a new laptop computer, usually only when the old one has begun to show signs of imminent demise. My budget cell phone allows me to make calls and send text messages and that's it. I am happier and have more money because I don't "need" the latest or fastest, so I'm in good shape there.

I eat well, wear decent clothing, have good health insurance, receive excellent medical care, and can afford an occasional splurge. I can do that because I've learned to concentrate my spending in just the few categories of items that provide the most satisfaction, and I live in a place where the cost of living is modest.

Not that I wouldn't spend some of the million.

If I had that money, I might visit Alaska more often, and travel to spend more time with far-away friends and relatives. I like being at home in Yucatán and really don't enjoy air travel much anymore, but I do miss Alaska and my longtime relationships. These are the main thing I find travel worthwhile for now.

My ten-year-old, high-mileage car, which I use mainly for trips and exploring, has become less reliable. It hasn't left me stranded yet, but I've had a couple of scares. If I had all that money, I might upgrade to a newer and more dependable vehicle so I could continue to explore remote areas of Yucatán without worrying about getting stuck on the side of the road.

Then, if I had that chunk of money, I'd give more to a few good causes I already support having to do with providing better educational opportunities for children.

I would also devote funds to planting trees on damaged and deforested land.

So, although I wouldn't move or go on a big spending spree, perhaps all that money would change my life a bit.

I'd spend on experiences and on making the most of my time.

And I'd invest in the future.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Business: Mérida Homes For Sale




Once again I've come across an opportunity for someone to own an interesting old Mérida home. Particularly for someone who loves the original antique pasta tile floor designs, this is a good opportunity.




There are two houses, actually. They sit side by side on a very quiet street in Santiago. The larger, older building has a traditional tall facade with wrought iron window details and beautiful antique pasta tile floors which will require only minor repair and polishing to look fantastic. The original wooden doors are intact and in good condition throughout. The house consists of five rooms: living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, and a large room across the back, which opens onto the patio. There is one bathroom.

The newer house next door, if incorporated into the larger home, provides space for additional bathrooms, closets and a garage, or could be partially demolished to provide additional patio space. It also is ideal for the addition of a second story for extra bedrooms or a rooftop terrace. At present it consists of a deep living room (pictured), two bedrooms, kitchen, bath and a small patio. It would be a simple project to install an automatic door in the facade and convert the large living room into a garage. Permits would not be difficult for this part of the project because the structure is modern and not covered by the same sorts of restrictions as older buildings. This house would also make a great studio or rental apartment. 

The combined lots measure 15 meters (49 feet) across the front, and vary in depth from 11.5 meters (38 feet) to 19.5 meters (64 feet). The back patio areas are small, but by combining the two houses, a designer will have many options to create interesting spaces and gardens.

The houses are located near the Merida English Language Library and Santiago Park, and are close to markets, restaurants, services and the Plaza Grande. The quiet street is residential with no bus or truck traffic. Many similar homes nearby are being restored.

Although the "bones" are in good shape, these houses need a complete renovation. 

All paperwork is in order. The houses have separate deeds (which could be combined upon purchase).

Email for information: marc_olson@hotmail.com

Asking price (both houses together): SOLD

Click on photos below to enlarge.