What's in a name?

Searching for a name for the house has been a long time effort.

When we bought the lot, I joked to our real estate agent, Isaac, that we would name it Casa Basura, or Trash House. At the time it was a vacant lot with a low wall which invited the tossing of neighborhood trash into it.

One night I dreamt we named it Casa de la Piña Negra, or House of the Black Pineapple. Angie struck that down before I even finished saying it.

Casa Tamarindo seemed like an obvious choice, due to the giant tamarind tree in front of the house. There are, however, numerous Casas Tamarindo in Mérida and beyond. Add in that our tamarind tree is gone due to the hurricane/tropical storm that moved through a couple of months ago and it really doesn't fit anymore anyways.

I tried looking up cool Mayan names. Like Jaguar's Paw or something equally overdramatic, but nothing was really working.

Random name generators, no help.

Also, shouldn't the name be meaningful to us?

Months slipped by and still no name was coming to mind. Are we going to have a finished house and no name for it? Just going to be one of those houses named for the street it's on? Casa 44, how exciting.

But there was no forcing it, it just needed to come naturally.

When we made our visit at the end of January of this year, I made Angie come with me on a special trip. I had seen a work of art online and it mesmerized me. I needed to see it in person.

We walked to SoHo Galleries on Calle 60 and went inside. There hanging on a wall in all of its massive glory it called like a beacon.

La Codicia De Las Flores by Ihovany Abreu
I loved it, Angie loved it.

The colors, the subtle patterns and streaking flowers and the piercing eyes.

The painting was by Cuban artist Ihovany Abreu whose work can be seen here.

I wanted to buy it so badly, but also knew I shouldn't. I had no place to store it until the house was built and spending money on it probably wasn't the best idea either. Right? Someone tell me I'm right, please.

I stood, looking at it for a long time. Nobody from the gallery approached me, which I understand. I definitely look like some person who just wandered over from the hostel and just needed a break from the sun. I wouldn't talk to me either. Had they come and talked to me I would have had to buy it. Or maybe it was already sold and they hadn't marked it, yet.

We left and when we got back to the house I looked it up online and wondered about it more. Should I just buy it?

Eventually, after we were home, it did change on the website. Someone had bought it. Lucky bastard.

I'd missed my chance and it bothered me for a long time after.

Home and I started thinking about house names again and I don't know how it all came together or when. I know I was thinking about Angie's mom who had passed away the previous year and considering naming the house after one of our mothers, or my grandmother (who was like a second mother to me growing up.)

Well, when the project is finished, there will be three distinct buildings on the property. Maybe each of the buildings could be named after one of them.

But none of them have particularly lovely names, no offense to them. My grandma doesn't care for her name and I don't think Angie's mom loved hers, either.

And then I thought, why not just name it Casa de las Tres Madres, or just Casa Tres Madres, House of the Three Mothers?

And then, I thought, we should see if we could commission Ihovany Abreu to paint three paintings in the style of that painting I loved of our mothers. Our moms when they were younger, of course, as I'm sure they'd prefer.

But, how much is that going to cost? Would he even do such a thing? Is this just the worst idea I'd ever had since probably the last idea I'd had?

It wasn't long ago when I wasn't sure if buying one painting was a poor use of my money at this time. Now I'm thinking of buying three?

So, I kept it to myself.

I kept thinking about names. Nothing seemed to stick, and I kept coming back to my Tres Madres.

I didn't tell Angie because a part of me wanted to just do it and then surprise her with the finished paintings installed in the house. The other option would be she'd hate it and I'd be embarrassed for putting that much effort and money into such a silly idea.

Finally, I figured, I should just bring it up to her. It would be nearly impossible to surprise her, because I couldn't get a photo of her mom without her help or her sisters' help. That alone would spoil the surprise. Also, would be terrible if I surprised her and she hated it.

Angie did not hate the idea. Not even a little.

She decided she would take on the responsibility of contacting Ihovany Abreu. Angie is much better at messaging with strangers than I am. Maybe I lack a certain warmth? Or I'm too damn wordy and annoying? I dunno, but it's a problem and I'm too damn old to fix it now.

A few back and forths and he agreed!

Back to the name and I told Angie Casa de las Tres Madres, or Casa de Tres Madres, or Casa Tres Madres. I dunno if it matters. My Spanish is improving but I'm never sure if one of those translates poorly. Angie sais Casa Tres Madres and she wasn't going to stand for those other long names.

I emailed our architects to explain our name selection. Do they need to know? Nah. Do they care? Doubt it. But just in case they want to know these things.

It actually proved helpful. Fabián suggested Casa Tres Madres sounded the best. To which Angie said "Of course."

That's the settling of that milestone. Check it off the list.