Monday, October 13, 2014

Thinking About Winter Plans

I survived last week's marathon.  What a tough job and one that can be unrewarding at times.   I pretty much have made the decision that this will be my third and last year doing the SAT/ACT.  I will start looking now to prepare for the following year or for next summer.   Too bad I'm not Canadian, they make a ton of money workcamping in provincial parks.  I could get lucky at the convention this week and land a part-time position with National Geographic.  We are supposed to have a get together there.
I worked with over 1200 students in a week's time.   It was fun but challenging.  Making my way to San Antonio was fun pulling the trailer behind me.   The rental needs a complete paint job inside and I never realized, after so many years in Mexico, what it costs to paint a house.   That is a good business where you can charge over $2000 per 1000 sq ft of house for the interior.   That said, you could make over $75,000 a year.   I had over seven estimates in three days.  The ranged from $2200 to the final negociated price of $1500.   The last bid includes everything; repair of walls, cracks, woodwork, doors, texture where needed and the primers and paint.   Others didn't include some of the above and several were painters I met as I walked the aisles of Home Depot.   The last guy has a crew and he started out at $2000.  When I told him I would have to lower the estimate and only paint certain rooms he came right back at the $1500.  The others, young guys, wouldn't budge.  One even came covered in paint in his 2012 Mercedes Benz.  That was in very bad taste.
Over those three days I purchased supplies, helped the neighbor who is doing the cleaning, got the locks changed among other things.   My neighbor across the street helped me bring home a new closet door.   Get this, the door comes drilled with all the holes for the door know, strike plate and lock (no hinges) and the minimum charge to hang a door is $130.  
Apart from all the bullshit rules in Texas regarding renters, driving, can and can't dos my life is short for the U.S.  I continue to distance myself from there more and more as times goes on.   I am also working on a refinance in hopes it will be more attractive to buyers.   Liability is the biggest issue in the U.S.   I went to change the hydro into my name and they wanted a deposit of $210.  For what?  For me to use their power and pay for it?   Water has a deposit of $75.   Ludicrous. 
I happily returned to my Mexico Sunday morning.  I stopped at one of the two largest HEB supermarkets.   On Military and I-35 in southside San Antonio the HEB has 160,000 sq ft.   It was incredible.   I met a guy working there whose father just bought a farm in Zacatecas.  The guy I talked to just returned from a visit and he said if people want to know what dangerous is, try the West, East and South sides of San Antonio.  He is moving there in two years to work with his dad after he retires from HEB. 
Did you also know that Mexico has closed some aduana checkpoints also known as Km 26?  Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo are now closed with only INM agents.  No more second red light stands or SAT officials, only at the bridge and immigration offices.   "Eliminating a second layer of inspection at the border that President Enrique Peña Nieto said had become unnecessary and cumbersome".
Also, our bank in San Antonio issued it's first chipped credit card.  The U.S. is way behind the rest of the world in processing credit and debit purchases not having card readers which are expected to slowly appear in 2015.  Also being mentioned are "tokens" and a streamlined IRS system.  Wow, Mexico has had all three for the last five years.   The current credit card system in the U.S. is over 40 years old and requires a new infrastructure.  And people wonder why their credit cards and accounts are being compromised in mass at Target, Home Depot, and JP Morgan.
If you've read this far, I forgot about the title of this blog post.  We are seriously thinking about taking the new road to Mazatlan for six weeks this winter.   An easy two-day drive and lots of relaxation.   We may not stay on the Isla but only because I need to go to the gym everyday.
One of my many brothers is a poet.  He has published many books of poems he has written over the years about his time in Vietnam.   Sunday he published a video of his time there and includes readings of his poems.   I will post it tomorrow.

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