Sunday, August 9, 2020

Summer Heat, School Starts And . . .

This is a picture of our new soccer stadium.  It holds 51,000 people.  The official COVID death count for this morning is 52,006.  This should provide some perspective for people about numbers versus human lives.  

I've kept busy since my last post doing the usual; grass cutting, housekeeping and some laundry.  We desperately need new bed linens as the others have just worn out.  I ordered sheets from a Mexican textile company and we should receive them sometime midweek.

White as snow, I am ordering a float (I don't remember what it's called) to be in the sun 30 minutes a day.  What are they called? Beds?  cots?  Anyway, I could look it up but I'm being lazy.

The pool has been a real lifesaver this week.  Not only high temperatures but the humidity from the hurricane is slowly burning off so it makes late afternoons uncomfortable.  We're still very happy with the work that was done.

I saw the meter reading coming down the road on our security cameras on Tuesday.  I received our electric bill from the CFE yesterday via email.  We used our normal about for this part of the season although we were 29 KWH over permitted usage so it was a bit more.  Our limit is 900 KWH per two month billing period and this one came in at 929 KWH.  Still, overall, pretty darn cheap for power.  It would be interesting to see what you consume in a month during June and July.  Here's ours.  It includes the A/C, well pump, pool filter and all the electric in general.

That's $26 USD per month and we have had the A/C on every day from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

Juan starts online classes tomorrow in the mornings only.  Not sure how long this will last but as we are at home it will keep us occupied.  

Thursday, August 6, 2020

It's Been A Crazy Week

The last of our mole almendra (almond mole) we bought in February in San Miguel.  Thanks to the internet and technology we are able to order some more and have it shipped to the house.  It's really good.  Made with fresh pork and vegetable over rice with asparagus. 

For starters, I never reported back about my dentist's visit.  As I said, I went to IMSS which is no charge for cleanings, fillings, and emergency repairs.  It turns out, there was a mild infection under my permanent bridge.  The dentist gave me a prescription for antibiotics, pain killers and hydrogen peroxide (agua oxigenada).  The antibiotics were for five days and a mouth rinse with the peroxide three times a day.   I went back last Wednesday and she said all is well.  I asked about my dental appliances, of which I have many both removal and permanent, as I wondered if they needed changing out.  She's a smart cookie.  She said they all look fine and only get them replaced if you suffer any breaks or pain.  Dentists love to redo what's already been done, they don't make their money from x-rays and cleanings.

Tuesday I went to our U.S. mailbox in Monterrey.  I had ordered some vitamin C from Costco.  Costco Mexico doesn't sell 1000mg 500 capsule vitamin C.  No one else in Mexico does either.  GNC has 1000 mg but it costs four times as much.  No one has been able to tell me why vitamin C is so hard to come by in Mexico including Costco and why they don't carry it.  I parked and went in for my package and when I came out, the VW was dead as a doornail.  I looked up and unbeknownst to me, I had parked right in front of an LTH battery franchise.  Great!  Well not really.  They were closed for COVID.  You can see my car in the window's reflection.

The mailbox office is in the middle of Del Valle, the richest city in Mexico.  I was surrounded by BMWs and Mercedes so I knew no one would want to give me a jump (pasa de corriente).  There is a bank across the parking lot and I saw a guy with an ordinary car and shirt with a SEAT emblem.  He offered to give me a jump.  I drove to the next LTH about three miles down the avenue and got the new battery in less than 10 minutes.  They tried to sell me a supercharged battery with a million-year guarantee for 4260 pesos but I settled on what had been in the car for 2190 with a three-year guarantee.  BTW, if you ever see a car with the hood open, and someone with their hands held midway making fists, they are asking for a jump but probably don't have cables. 

I think the blue light is really cool.  What an inexpensive special effect!

The pool is now back in working order.  The water had turned green from the hurricane and heavy rains.  I had to add a clarifier.  If you are not familiar with how pools work, a clarifier is added to green pool water and filtered for 45 minutes.  After waiting 24 hours, all of the algae settle to the bottom and you vacuum it out.  This green water bypasses the filter and goes down the drain.  In our case, I use it to water the grass.  It has been exactly one week and we have not had to add any water, the water level has remained the same.  That means the replacement of pipes was in order and solved the problem.  

I cleaned out one of our sheds.  I found two pet carriers, a very nice cat basket with cushion, brand new, some medicines that are still good and cat and dog toys.   I am taking them tomorrow to a rescue center in town in hopes they will be a useful donation.   I also joined a pet-sitting FB page.  If I can't have a pet that doesn't mean I can't babysit one!   So I am offering short term pet-sitting here at home should someone have to take a short trip or for ex-pats drive to the border for something which would be convenient as they would pass by here going to Laredo or Reynosa. 

Cut the grass and trimmed so that is all done for the weekend.  I'm off to the town office to see why they haven't cut the grass along the road although I reported it over three weeks ago.  Then to buy pool supplies, chlorine and acid, and a quick trip to Allende to see if the worker has cleared the lot.  We may have a buyer but they want to see it cleared.  

Monday, August 3, 2020

Mexico Goes Back To School (With Caveats)

The big announcement was made today during Presidente Dingus' daily two-hour sermon.  It was a big show with the secretary of education, and the president among others.  His sermon started off with his Monday's business of the day.  

1)  Quien Es Quien in gasoline prices.  The webpage is really a well-laid out website that allows consumers to check "daily" prices of all goods sold in Mexico; food, clothing, hardware, and of course, gasoline.  Not sure why Mr. Sheffield presents this every Monday.  Gas prices have yet to go down and after the oil glut at the beginning of COVID, they have only risen.  Mexicans are not quite yet consumer-oriented and still accustomed to Pemex stations in the sense that the price was always the same so no one pays much attention.

2)  PD always presents a video about the advances of his airport that is actually a military base and how much money he is saving by paying off the contracts from our new airport that was to be built in Texcoco.  We lost billions of dollars on this project but he refuses to not let bygones be bygones.  Because no one would let him into politics, (snakes usually are but this snake had belonged to every party that has ever existed in Mexico, hmm, so I guess he should be called a chameleon) he continues to seek revenge against anything that he considers neo-liberal.  He now has to build a 52 km highway so that people can get from the airport and back from Mexico City, an estimated two-hour one-way trip.

3)  Another video representing his Tren Maya where he claims environmental studies have been conducted and that there will be no ill effects from its construction.  Well, leave it up to government ground feeders to say those things give the green light.  So now, the indigenous people that he is giving fruit tree seedlings to, can peddle their wares without any taxes, along the railroad tracks at each stop and work their way out of poverty.  If you know the Chepe from Chihuahua to the west coast, no indigenous person has ever gotten out of poverty by selling things alongside the train.

So back to school.  It will virtual for all 16 grades or levels.  Three television stations have committed to broadcasting 24/7 class information, class subject related videos, and lectures for older students.  In addition, the radio will broadcast for those that have no internet, no television, and will receive physical materials such as worksheets and books and they will listen and work.  For schools in cities or rural areas with internet, schools will use Moodle or Zoom type programs for real-time classes.  The majority of the population will receive classes with a teacher via internet.  In rural areas, there are teachers who will continue with televised (tele-secundarias) classes and radio.  

The best part is that somehow, the president's cabinet was able to convince him not to have students return to classes.

His new lema (slogan), " I will wear a mask once there is no corruption in Mexico".  He may not live to tell the tale.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Looks Like It May Be Over

Every time I think it's over it happens again.  We follow the forecast and each day it's cloudy, overcast, and very humid.  Forecasts aren't always right and when you see the sun come out you heave a sigh of relief.  False hope.  I did that and it rained for three hours last night non-stop.  I had put clarifier in the water to settle the green and then vacuum it out.  It didn't work with more rain.  Today, it's more of the same but tomorrow we have only a 20% chance of rain.  Good.  I can get the pool cleaned up and cut the grass.  You've gotta love COVID, I can't escape my duties.  Kevin said today, "Now I know why I don't own a home".  My thoughts exactly.

We've had the opportunity in the last couple of days to have Fact Time or phone calls from several Canadian Rvers.  It's always fun to catch up and it really brings your spirits up.  With the bad weather, it has been hard to get out and do my power walks although I have kept up with the weights.  

I made a batch of oatmeal cookies yesterday.   The new oven works great.  I had concerns about the temperature settings but I also place an oven thermometer in the oven as a matching monitor.  It's working just fine.   The cookies, by the way, turned out great.  I divided them up and put half into the freezer.  

COVID continues to take its toll.  As of yesterday, there were 44,876 deaths.  The estimate for August 1st, just three days away, is 47,500.  The focus, however, is not on health but selling that damn presidential plane.   Presidente Dingus will never get rid of the needle in his side.  He is just the same as the northern fella and is constantly telling lies and spreading misinformation.  The main reason we can't flatten the curve.  I wish he gave his daily sermons in English so people to the north could see just what an idiot we have as a president.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Hurricane A Comin' - Pool Finished Just In Time

I may have been wrong.  It looks like Hanna is going to pass by us on it's turn to the north.  It's very humid right now even though we are still in the mid-80s F.  They say around 5 p.m. we should start seeing some action.  It was just two weeks ago we upgraded our home insurance and doubled the value.  Everything included it was $105 USD for the year.  That's really nothing for the coverage and peace of mind. 

[Image of probabilities of 34-kt winds]

The pool was finished on Thursday afternoon and we began filling it last night.  It still has a way to go but if there is no storm we can enjoy the water tomorrow.  

I think the blue light at night is pretty cool!  I was looking for a "pool" LED light bulb.  The bulb by itself is $150 USD.  Forget that.  I bought a 95 peso blue LED bulb like we had before.  It will last for a few years.  When they opened up the light housing it was dry and dusty so I'm not concerned.  The pool business is a real money maker.  Our highest estimate for grouting the pool, repair and painting the lip, new deck covering (KoolDeck) was $3500 USD.  We got Manny, Moe and Jack and they did it for less than $1000 USD.  Tile is tile and grout is grout.  The KoolDeck does take expertise and the guy who did it is very experienced but doesn't have the smarts to form his own business.  We got him from a worksite where our kitchen remodeler was working.  Our homeowner's policy covers accidents so it was all good.

Monday, July 20, 2020

The Best Laid Plans

COVID deaths continue to climb in Mexico.  By tomorrow, Monday morning, we should hit 40,000.  So sad this has had to happen, mostly started by our president who didn't believe it was real, Mexicans who said it was a government hoax, and indigenous groups saying they have a special DNA.  The worst is yet to come.  Rules are rules and as you know, most people in Mexico just can't seem to wrap their heads around this.  Most of the problem is education.  What is a virus?  Few could tell you.

Our Secretary of Health has now changed the charts so they no longer show an upward curve but instead a downward spiral 

I don't think even he can read this graph so how could the average person understand it?  That's what they want.

A woman is being sought in SMA.  Frustrated that people weren't wearing masks, she went to the Centro and started coughing on people.  It didn't take long that her picture appeared on Facebook and the locals are calling the gringos privileged and that the government won't do anything to her.  She hasn't had her day yet but both the gringos and locals are infuriated with her.

We've had temps as high as 106F this past week until Thursday night.  Since then we have had late afternoon storms rolling in and they are fierce.  High winds, rain in sheets, and lots of lightning.  The rain is welcome but it has put the new pool deck on hold.  It's still plenty warm, in the low 90s, and there is so much humidity the A/C comes on at happy hour.

I made a great homemade pizza Friday night.  We have been enjoying the new kitchen and trying new recipes.  I made homemade sauce, pizza dough and cooked it in my mother's 80-year-old cast-iron skillet on top of the stove.  To perfection.  Tonight, homemade chile and The Wizard of Oz!

Ready for another week it looks like I may be needing a dental remodel.  Crowns are wearing out and I am having an issue with a permanent bridge.  I went to the IMSS clinic on Friday but because of COVID the dentist only works in the morning.  She only does cleanings, fillings, and emergency work but I want to get her opinion.  This bridge has been with me for some time but it has gold underlay and should last for a while.  I know the problem is in the anchor tooth but I want to save the bridge if possible.  Not likely as most want to cut it out and make some money.  I can understand that.  I'm just concerned about dental work during the virus.  We lost a dentist last month here in town to COVID.  

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Pool Is Almost Ready - And I Only Have 12 More Payments

It was a real mess for over two weeks but it will be worth it.  First pass was opening the deck and replacing all the pipes.  That was tested and then closed up so that they can pour the new deck.  

Then the tile guys came, removed all the old grout between the tiles and then replaced it. That was a two-day project.  After that was cleaned they started working on the lip.  Now everything is cleaned up and we can begin filling the pool tomorrow.  The deck will have to wait until we find someone to do it the right way.

Today the thermometer hit 42C or 106F.  The grass is behaving well although it's getting thirsty.  That will just have to do as it's watering the grass or fill the pool.  I checked a couple of water companies and they charge way to much to fill it up.  

I finished my IMSS insurance policy the other day.  I took my copies, he stamped them, gave a payment slip with which I took to the bank.  Paid the 12,250 pesos and then back to the clinic for the final approval.  

While there, I asked about my IMSS pension.  I have only 12 payments left to increase my benefit.  I make a payment this week so it will be down to 11.  I was reluctant to do this, in the beginning, thinking this would take forever.  But like everything else, time flies and so did this.  Next year at this time I will be applying for my second pension.  Yahoo!