Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Living Here: This Old House





My old house in the Mérida barrio of Santiago will soon be for sale. I'd never planned on selling this place, necessarily. It is by far the most comfortable house I've ever lived in. Some of my neighbors have become treasured friends, and this has become my home. I love living here, and never looked upon it as a financial investment. It was more like an investment in living comfortably and well; it was an investment in a future to be enjoyed. It has been all of that.

I thought perhaps I'd continue living here for the rest of my life. With that in mind, I noticed when I first looked at this place in the spring of 2003 that it had wide doorways, few steps, bedrooms on the ground floor, and many other features that would make it a comfortable place to grow old in.

However, interests, needs and neighborhoods change. And that is the story here.

I am ready for a smaller place in town with less to take care of, clean and maintain.  I'd like to stay in Santiago or at least the centro historico -- the inner city of Mérida -- but I am considering also a move to a nearby older suburban neighborhood where houses are on larger lots and where the streets have more trees and less traffic. In addition, I've got a lot more rooms here than I really use, and it's time to scale down and devote more of my energy to other interests.

So for the short term I have a big project: taking care of a long list of details, getting the garden under control, de-cluttering and doing repairs, painting, cleaning and polishing before putting my home of ten years officially on the market before the end of 2013.

Meanwhile, after several busy months of travel and decision-making, which kept me from doing much writing, I plan to get this blog rolling again, concentrating as always on the interesting and fascinating aspects of daily life here. There are plenty of interesting "We're redoing an old house in Mérida" blogs out there, and I'm not turning this blog into one of those. But it's possible for the next few months that some of that sort of thing will creep in here. I'll try to keep it to a minimum.



21 comments:

  1. I'm grateful to have been a guest in your house, and I can attest to the fact that it's The Classic House that everyone's looking for, and fewer and fewer are finding these days. Wishing you the best of luck! BTW, I never get tired of house topics on the blogs! Don't feel like you're boring us at all with any topic you choose to share, because you're most definitely not.

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    1. Thanks for the compliments and the promo, Lee. And I am sure that a few house-reno posts will slip in, for those who are interested. Meanwhile I have a huge backlog of topics from the past few months and will try to catch up on some of the interesting things I've seen while on a furlough from blogging.

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  2. It is a wonderful house, as the pictures attest. I'm sure your next one will be too.

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    1. Thanks, Debbie. I am not sure what the next phase will bring, exactly, but I am looking forward to making some changes and being creative. Simpler will be nice.

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  3. I was horrified when I started reading this, afraid you were going to announce that you were leaving Merida.

    I am happy to see that you're just changing your nest. This is a lovely nest, and I expect your next will be too.

    Nice to see you back. Travel posts, life-in-Mexico posts, house posts ... doesn't matter. Just keep writing, please.

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    1. Well, Lynette, you know how it goes. We never know what to expect, and to be happy we've got to make adjustments along the way. Mérida not only has met my expectations over the years, it has exceeded them. I am still very happy here, but want to spend less time taking care of property and more time on relationships, traveling and growing things (and there's not enough space for that last thing here in the city). A smaller place in Mérida is a good first step.

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  4. First of all, it was great to see you back. Even if it is just digital.

    When I moved to Mexico, I thought I wanted to live in a grand home that I re-conditioned. Instead, I have rented very small places. And they much better suit how I am living these days. Best of luck on finding your good fit.

    And put me down in the I-like-to-read-fixing-the-place-up blogs -- since I am never going to do it myself.

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    1. Thanks, Steve, it's good to be back in the blogging mode. And once again, I am sorry to missed you by a hair recently when we both were in Florida.

      I am on the search for the "good fit." There are lots of good options out there. It's interesting.

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  5. Echoing Lee's gratitude for having had a brief view of your home and all it's many comforts and venerable beauty. I will be curious to see if you maintain the exterior 'stealth' aspect as you prepare to pass it on, which I greatly appreciated, and would be sure to adopt in my own casa antigua...

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    1. Well, Stan, the facade dilemma was one I thought about for a good bit. I finally decided to have the face of the house redone by the city's facade restoration program, and they are supposed to start within the nest few weeks. There are two reasons: 1. most buyers want their place to look nice, and a moldy, cracked "stealth" facade, which you and I agree is a nice way to maintain a low profile, it not what typically sells a house. 2. The pediments and some of the decorative work are soft and in bad shape, and small pieces have fallen to the sidewalk. It's only a matter of time, if the facade is not repaired, before a large chunk comes down. It's a safety issue at this point.

      The upside is that in a few short years, given the Yucatecan climate, the facade will once again bear that old, faded, under-the-radar patina.

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  6. Marc,
    I look forward to reading more from you and a few fix up posts would be interesting. Especially since you have a photographer's eye for detail, and a keen sensibility.

    We're on the same page btw. Husband and I find that we're usually within a meter of each other! We have three rooms in danger of being turned into bodegas because we never use them? I love this house, I love the kitchen, the garden, and the terraza but I think a smaller house would be better. I am slowly sorting all the accumulated stuff, be glad you don't have pack rat tendencies!

    We've been in this neighborhood the entire time we've lived in Merida, and love it. We've been in this house almost 8 years and love it too, but lives and needs change. Good luck!

    regards,
    Theresa

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    1. I've got the unused-room-bodega problem here, too. Extra space tends to collect stuff. And, I live mostly in a fairly small part of the house, which includes the kitchen and dining area which opens to the patio. Most of the rest is not very necessary, but needs to be cleaned, dusted and taken care of. Time for a change...

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  7. Life is always about change. I've never lived in such a small space (1000 sq ft) and have more content then ever before. These stone houses need literally no maintenance! Of course, if I didn't have all the gardens and windows, I might not be so content. I'm glad I downsized 12 years ago!
    Having only one closet is the ultimate destination for a woman, ha.! Not possible to be a packrat.

    GLAD you're back..........

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  8. Check out colonia Miguel Aleman. It has wide, leafy avenues, little traffic, close to everything, nice park, its own market and some interesting mid-century architecture. It is kind of a hidden spot.

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  9. Looking forward tomyour stories and home adventure! Welcome back!

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  10. You know we've always loved your house, Marc. Now that we've bought our own, it will be fun to watch it being buffed up to its glory. Looking forward to a weekly rennin. ~eric.

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  11. I've written several "welcome back" responses, but none were ever very complete, to my way of thinking.
    Let me just say--good luck on your next adventure! I have missed your posts so much, so....

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  12. Marc,

    I'm glad to see you're back to posting. I missed your blog over the summer, but trust you were having edifying adventures.

    I've started my own blog, www.gringosuelto.wordpress.com. Check it out if you feel like it.

    Meanwhile, I personally always enjoy people's renovation posts. I renovated my own house here in Boston, and it's always interesting to see someone else's renovation. I particularly like to see what people are doing with masonry houses, where the process is decidedly different than with a wooden house.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where our sentiments around our large-ish garden somewhat mirror your sentiments around your house.

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  13. I'm glad that we will be hearing from you more frequently as I always enjoy your posts. I hope you fine a new home where you will be happy. Will you take your turtle with you?

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  14. Marc! It's so nice to see you posting again. I've missed you. Well, missed reading you. You know what I mean...lol.

    Echoing lynette, I thought you were going to say you were leaving Mérida. I'm glad to see that's not the case. We always look forward to seeing you when we come down.

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