Leaves in your Pool – The Horror

Here in the charming area that I live in with my lovely Better Half, we are blessed with enough terreno to be able to have a variety of local vegetation including many a tree, on the property. I in turn am blessed with a forward-thinking Yucatecan who is not only good looking and smart, but also atypical in her appreciation for the flaky barked chaka, the honey bee attracting dzidzilche, the lush green jabin and spiny chukum and who early on in our relationship agreed with the idea of leaving the local trees on the property, rather than adopt the accepted local method of bulldozing and burning.

As the years have gone by, our selection of trees as well as the variety of smaller plants, has grown. From a ramon taken from a property behind one of our stores in the Felipe Carrillo Puerto part of town to coconut palms rescued from an earlier home that was bulldozed over to make way for a parking lot to towering yellow bamboo from Cuernavaca from Better Halfs grandmother to… the list goes on.

One of these later additions is a trio of mango trees, that popped up on their own as a result of our rather haphazard composting methods which involve taking the mornings fruit peelings, coffee grounds and egg shells and tossing them under the trees around the edge of the property where the lizards, birds and worms do their thing. Well, during one mango season, several of the mango pits (?) we had tossed actually became trees and this year, the trio, which has grown vigorously and has reached rooftop height, yielded a small basketful of delicious mangoes; not just one kind, but two varieties!

If you are about to stop reading in disgust at the cloying sweetness of this little story, I understand. But fear not, because I am about to introduce to you the antagonist in today’s rant, er story.

Next door neighbors, wouldn’t you know. Let’s call them the AN’s. Not because they are Vietnamese but because they are Anal Neighbors. AN’s for short. These are the folks who need to have every. single. thing. in it’s right and proper place in it’s right and proper position and… well, you get the picture. Each morning at 7 AM their mozo serenades the area with the whine of a vacuum cleaner on ‘high’ with which all four luxury vehicles are vacuumed. This happens 6 days a week and it is a wonder that there is any carpet fiber left in that automotive carpet.

Relations, initially cordial enough, over the 10 foot dividing wall (built by yours truly on our land) between the two properties had already been strained in the past when one of the huge palma real (Royal Palm) fronds crashed down on said wall, knocking out a (rather chintzy) lamp on the neighbors side of the wall on our property and causing great grief to Mrs AN.

“How could you not see this was going to happen!?” she angrily yelled at our gardener  as it is infinitely easier to yell at someone’s employee than at your neighbor who might answer back. “I TOLD you these fronds were going to fall!” Our gardener shrugged.

The tree you see, is on our side of the wall. Better Half, feeling motivated to smooth over any misunderstanding offered to cut down the offending oxygen producing tree but Mrs. AN quickly countered with “It’s not about THAT” to make it clear that she LOVES trees and wouldn’t have a tree sacrificed on HER account.

This week, one morning when Better Half was waiting for the coffee to percolate, she noticed it was rather clear along the side of the wall where the AN’s have their swimming pool. Sure enough, the ANs had (apparently) commissioned their vacuuming mozo/gardener/aspiring horticulturist to clear some branches that were hanging in the vicinity of their swimming pool and this machete-wielding Mayan with the sensibilities of a Donald Trump hacked away at the trees on our property leaving stumps where two of the three mangoes stood, along with several other tree casualties.

After the initial shock and resulting fury, there followed a neighborly chat/visit where things were patched up somewhat and the end of the story will probably mean the demise of said mangoes in the interest of neighborly relations. To which Mrs. AN will loudly emit protesting sounds while secretly happy that no leaf will contaminate her pristine pool and garden tableau.

The whole incident also had me reflecting on the bigger concept of trees vs man and got me to wondering how annoying can it really be to have some leaves in your swimming pool? Is it really that much of a tragedy to have a leaf brush up against you while swimming that you would have to chop down anything in the vicinity? Are you expecting the Home and Gardens photographer to show up without telling you first? What?

And when clearing or widening streets and putting in sidewalks: where does it say that a road cannot go around a tree, or a sidewalk skirt it; why is it necessary to sacrifice a large, healthy tree for the sake of a ‘straight’ road. Cars have steering wheels do they not? People can walk around a tree can’t they?

This little tale is also a reminder that it’s healthy – and in your interest – to love thy neighbor, or at least tolerate them; as my Better Half points out, if you have a problem or some sort of emergency, it is much more likely that your neighbor will be around to help you well before any friends or family can get to you. A point which she also stressed to the AN’s and which hopefully sank in so that they will feel free to come over and discuss any future tree trimming with us before asking their employee to undertake said trimming on their behalf.

13 thoughts on “Leaves in your Pool – The Horror

  1. I draw a conclusion that you either A) Don’t have a pool, or B) have a pool that someone else maintains!

    Trees do not drop one leaf! They drops lots of leaves, and leaves, and other herbage wreak havoc on your carefully maintained pool chemical equilibrium. euwwwk, your pool could get green! or worse yet cloudy!!

    there is a very funny, to me, scene in the movie ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’, where the 2 male characters dive into the motel swimming pool, and they go through a layer, a quite thick layer of leaves, and then in the underwater cut they swim through even more leaves on the bottom.

    Guess its a gringo thing! Like barking dogs, and trash in the backyard, and damn why are we so picky and pretentious!


    ps I’d be hopping mad about the mango tree. Sure she can ‘trim’ anything hanging over her side, she should have consulted you first, but to cause enough damage to kill the tree?????

  2. Well, my neighbor has 100 yrs old tamale tree hang over my swimming pool. We got to get permission to cut damm tree. They use the land as parking lot so it doesn’t make any trouble their side also they do not have Empathy about my side we screened all over the our pool side but we got to clean everyday. One day I wll kill that tress. Organic ways. Walter said no but I will not tell him what did I do to that tree. We sill see. No more begging. Three is over my side so I willdotaking care of my sides. Lol suk

  3. Your conclusion, Debi, drawn as it was, is incorrect. I DO have a pool and I have, for many years, cleaned it myself thank you very much. I do not think it a great challenge to jump into my refreshing cenote-style pool which is surrounded by many overhanging trees which keeps the water very cold and maintains my ‘natural’ look. It also causes a lot of leaves to fall into the pool. And branches.

    My point was… so what? I think the great good of a tree – any tree – outweighs our stupid cosmetic concerns.

    Yeah there was some drama with the mango tree but a sit down and a bottle of wine cleared the air and hopefully restored some sanity to the relationship.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Are you sure it is a tamale tree, Suk? 🙂 Just remember that it is a 100 year old tree and those are hard to find these days. Besides, the tree was there before you were, right? Relax and get pool man to come more often! Swimming with leaves is not going to kill you!

  5. AN is a more charitable and civilized descriptive label than some that come to mind when I recall oddly similar experiences I have had in the past. I enjoyed the story, and admire the level-headed good humor with which you (and the BH) ultimately resolve such trials…

  6. Thank you Stan; it was difficult but as we continue to be neighbors, we need to get along somehow.

  7. Y are right & walter is right. He said do not touch that tree. My pool man does good job & good thing I am not there I do not see it.

  8. I, too, commend you both on remaining neighborly with your neighbor. I know people who have brought their USA “complaining” down here, and end up being, well, anything but neighborly.

    But I’d like to tell you–as a person who bought a house with a mature mango tree–you do NOT want one! No, I’m not going to chop it down, but if any of my trees fall during the next hurricane, I will not mourn that mango. The mangos way up high end up dropping, dangerously, before they are ripe. Then the animals come in and eat them at night. I don’t even want to hire anyone to pick them, because I’m afraid the guys will fall. What I do is endure the Mango Season. And it’s not just the mangos–the leaves drop in their own season. THEY are very messy trees!! And I don’t even have a pool. AND I sure don’t want to be out in the yard when a mango falls on my head.

    There are clean palms out there. Unfortunately, I don’t have the correct names available at the moment–but one has a yellow and green striped leaf, and appears to leave little debris. There is an example next to the Mexican Consulate’s building. I’ve seen few of these here, but there are at least two.

  9. Gracias Alinde!

    I think you underestimate the guys who professionally pick mangos! They won’t fall, don’t worry! And here nature gives us this wonderful tree with fruit to enjoy and leaves for composting and shade and oxygen and so much more and we don’t appreciate it enough, IMHO!!

    Are they Manila or Ataulfo mangos? Either one, I will come and pick them myself!! Yum.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! And I hope we do NOT get a hurricane this year!


  10. IF I thought it would be worth your while, I’d most certainly invite you over to pick my (probably Manila) mangos. But in 11 years, I don’t believe I’ve had more than two edible ones from this tree! I really doubt that mangos can be harvested here, at least in their ripened state, without using an insecticide spray.

    And I liked your recent comment on another blog. Most certainly true–smiles beget smiles. I have not noticed ANY significant decline of friendliness here in Mérida.

  11. I can only read in envy, wishing I had a pool, full of leaves or otherwise. I remember in the old Hotel Luz en Yucatan (previous owner), the owner had all kinds of vines dripping into the pool. Being in it was a wonderful feeling, swimming in a natural setting.

  12. An update, re Mango trees: if you’d like to see the tree at it’s WORST, take a look now! There are tiny seeds all over my patio, which track into the house and make me wonder if the “garrapatas” (tics) have returned. In fact, these seeds are more annoying than the falling half-eaten mangos! So, a word of warning to Mango lovers.

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