Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Think We Need To Go Back To School

With all the hub bub going on this month with U.S. debt and refinancing,  and raising the debt ceiling I think the U.S. needs to go back to school.   The U.S. government needs to take a few lessons from less popular countries such as Mexico.  It was announced this week that the U.S. has only 74 billion in cash reserves with a debt of 13.4 trillion.   Funny isn't, but again I guess Mexico doesn't like to brag like other countries.  Mexico has a cash reserve of 99 billion dollars and a debt of 212 billion.  Mexico could probably give the U.S. a few lessons in economics.

I'm not a doomsdayer and not against the U.S.  As an outsider now for 25 years, it doesn't take much to see that the number 1 status is not real.   The picture is much like one of your neighbors who has everything; fancy cars, big house, lots of toys, lots of vacations, designer clothes and they have the tendency to turn their noses up at you.  Only to find out later, they don't have a pot to piss in because they have spent their lives living on credit.   Then, once one of them loses their jobs they quietly move away only to find out later they had fallen into foreclosure, lost their fancy cars and now live on the edge.   A simpleton's analogy but one that makes sense to me.  

Here we live in a humble house, constantly battered by outsiders who look down their noses at us.  However, in the end, we live humbler lives, don't brag about how great we are and we have money in the bank and a roof over our heads that no one can take away because it is all paid for. 

Take a lesson.

Sunday - Time For Barbacoa

I got home Friday afternoon as planned.  After I arrived to the airport in Guadalajara, I called the bus company to see how I could avoid two hours of constant bus stops through the city and arrive to the bus stop on the outskirts of town.  The woman was very nice and explained to me exactly where I needed to go.  I proceeded to the taxi booth in the airport and told the guy what I wanted.  In two minutes I was in a cab and on my way. 

The bus stop was really a bunch of food stands covered with tacky awnings and after being there for about 10 minutes a heavy rain began to fall.  We all huddled together as people waited for buses going to various destinations.  After 30 minutes my bus arrived and I was on my way.  Remember I had boarded my plane at noon and now, at 3 p.m. I was on my way up the mountain road to Mazamitla.  The kid sitting next to me struck up a conversation (right!) and we talked all the way.   Good kid, studying at the university and on the way to visit his grandparents for the weekend. 

The bus pulled into Mazamitla at 5 p.m. sharp.  I think I have this down pat, I may have to return to D.F. for a meeting on the 12th.   Got to the Hacienda and had cocktails and relaxed the rest of the evening.  Yesterday was a downtime day.  I did absolutely nothing.  Slept and watched tv.  It has been raining a lot and the grass is growing. 

This afternoon I will do some weedeating.   My editing project awaits and I have a deadline to meet so that must get started also.

But, first things first.  Time to nourish my body and the best way is with some good ole barbacoa de borrego.  Thanks Barb for giving directions to the place.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ready To Head Back To Hacienda Contreras

I'm ready to head back home tomorrow.  I'm not happy with the week-long training session for consultants.  I doubt you're interested in the details but things change and so do I.  I have been offered some work in editing and have accepted the project and that is a good thing.  The consulting side has left me a bit turned off.  We used to have a great team of consultants.   That has pretty much gone downhill over the years.  Not that they don't have the knowledge or education, it's the image of what we do.  We educate, motivate and entertain people.  That's what I do, I have been very successful at it.  The work is there, and I am sure I will take it.   I just felt like most of the week was a waste of my time.  I come home with little or no new knowledge and information.  

I changed my flight from 9 p.m. Friday night to 12 p.m.  That will get me to Guadalajara by 13:15 and hopefully on the three o'clock bus up the mountain.  If I can figure it out, I will take a taxi to the periferico and catch the bus after it has left the city and all those stops it makes getting me to Mazamitla by 6 p.m.  just in time for happy hour.  

Mexico City is a fun place.  As I think I mentioned last week, it would be great to form a group of rvers from wherever they are this winter in Mexico, to fly to the Big Tamal and spend a week here.   Take tours of the pyramids, Zocalo, Museum of Archeology, Zona Rosa, dinners in wonderful restaurants, and much more.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sunday Was A Lot Of Fun

Yesterday we got up late, I mean around 6 a.m.   Just my internal clock.   We got on the road about 9 a.m. and headed for a real jewel of a restaurant.  They only open on Sunday and sell the best barbacoa de borrego in the world.  Sal and Barb took me there in June.  It was fantastic as you can tell by the pictures.

David and Valerie headed out over the weekend for their home on the coast of Jalisco.  We had a great time while they were here and the good part is that they will be coming back in August.  So we will all be together and I'm sure it will be a humdinger.  Here they are leaving Hacienda Contreras.

We also went to Mazamitla.  Lots of tourists, but the good kind.  People seem to take good care of the place and you don't see any trash.  We went to the church, the main plaza, checked on the bus schedule that I needed to get to Guadalajara.   We love this place.

Now I am in D.F.  for a couple of days.  Beautiful weather here too.  Cool days, sunshine and the afternoon rains.  I took a walk this afternoon during lunch down Insurgentes.  The streets were packed with office workers on their lunch breaks.  Eating, talking, having a coffee.  Very peaceful and eerily quiet.  No horn honking.  I'm stuck in a tower all day in meeting.  Fun, but I would rather be in Valle de Juarez.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Little Food For Thought

Wow, just reading a few headlines on Fox News this morning.  We have cable now and it works great.  Surprising the number of violent crimes in the U.S. over one weekend.  These aren't one on one murders, these are multiples in places that tourists go to; special events, rallies, and public places.  Something to think about next time somebody says it's dangerous across the border.

Five Dead in Shooting at Birthday Party at Texas Roller Rink

3 Dead, 1 Hurt in Arizona Motorcycle Rally Shooting

Fire Dept.: 12 Injured in Seattle-Area Shooting

Patient Kills McLean Psychiatrist

Man Dead, Woman And Daughter Wounded In North City Shooting

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Starry Starry Night

It's not my photo but it sure is close to what we saw last night.  After a nice nap and working with the riding mower yesterday, we got together with Dave and Val for a fire.  Sal and Barb have a clay chimney that sits on a small stand.  I've seen them before at home but never gave them much thought as they looked more decorative than practical.  I was wrong.  They put off a lot heat and light as well.  The smell of fire wood after thousands of years still draws us humans.  It gets very dark here at night and the stars shine bright.

We had a few drinks and and pretty much b.s.ed until around 9:30 and then we went to bed.  Dave and Val are heading out today for their home on the beach.   We will be moving to spot number one this afternoon and getting setup for a more permanent stay until Sal and Barb return around the middle of August.

Yesterday we all had lunch at La Cocinita again.   Better than ever.  The owner invited us to a shot of homemade mezcal to stimulate our appetites.  Wow, that stuff is good.   Crazy water if you drink too much, it can take you to the moon.

Hopefully tomorrow we can go hiking, weather permitting and getting my work done around here.  Monday afternoon I take the bus down the hill for my flight from Guadalajara to D.F. for a couple of days of meetings.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Kinda Like Green Acres

Another great day here at Hacienda Contreras.   Got up early as usual and went for my shower before going to the gym.   I think I wake up too early now.  With this weather all you want to do is sleep, lay there and look out the window at all the beautiful scenery and think about how we got here.  It's wierd.  I have been competing with my older siblings all of my life and even though they are much older than I am it was always in my head to retire like they did.  Wow, it is really here.  It is so much fun I can't describe it.  I wouldn't want to be a workcamper all year long, but a month here or there would be alright.  Helps to keep the budget in check and some jobs are real pieces of cake too.

Well, it was time for me to mount that big green tractor that was sitting in the barn.  The welder came the day before and fixed the piece that had come lose so there was really no reason for me not doing my job of cutting the grass.   I sang "Green Acres" all morning as I have no real experience at any of this but it sure is fun.  You learn something new everyday and that keeps it interesting and fun.   I was quite proud of myself by the time I had finished.  Of course I only did maybe a quarter of the place in 2 1/2 hours.

Several things here are in the top ten of an rv park list.  One of them is the great electricity.  It is right on the middle of the green on my 110 meter I have plugged into the bathroom outlet.  Stays there all the time and never moves.   Second is the wifi.   It is pretty good and except for the fact that it had been hit by a storm a couple of times and could use a good adjustment, it works great.  I need to get into town and have them come take a look at it and fine tune it.   The well water is delicious and ice cold.  Good for drinking and not heavy in minerals.  You really lather up fast with a little shampoo or soap.

The food in town is to die for.  Yesterday we ate at La Cocinita right as you enter town.  Lunch for two and we had it all, 80 pesos.   Juan ordered carne asada en su jugo which was delicious beef cooked in broth with beans, onions, tomatoes and chiles.   I had albondigas or meatballs in a heavy broth with vegetables.  But wait, first was a plate with sliced cheese, jocoque (sour cream with curd) and some refried beans served with homemade real yellow ground corn tortillas.  You can smell the leña from the adobe brick oven where they make them. 

I'm sure there are many paradise on this planet and we have found one.  If I can just shake this lazy attitude from all this wonderful weather I might get my work done.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moving Day!

Dave and Valerie came back yesterday, they had gone to their home in La Manzanilla for the weekend.  They had been watching the rv park until we arrived.  They have the spot closest to the barn and the gate.  We will be trading places this morning after we return from the gym.  That way, we can here the bell when someone comes to the gate, hopefully an rver.

This will give us the opportunity to get our awning open for the first time ever.   As I said when we left Monterrey, the awnings never get used because we are always in a windy place like the east coast of Tamaulipas or the great state of Texas.  Wind, wind, wind.

Yesterday I got a lot of trimming done.  The sun was out all day long giving us a reprive from the rains.  In fact, I got a little sunburn around my neck.   If I don't get out in the sun as a tourist lounging in a chair in my swimsuit, I'm going to look like a rednecked farm hand.  That's not a bad thing but I don't care for tanned forearms and white shoulders. 

After my labors yesterday we went into Valle to eat at Mundo Light.  It is a family restaurant and they have a grandson, Jesus, who is probably all of 12 years old who is also a waiter for the summer.  The kid is a trip.  Funny, carefree and just has a good time at what he does.  It is great to be in a place where people are just living their lives and enjoying the moment.  I know that no one is exempt from problems but here it seems to be a lot less.  Anyway, the restaurant gives you a ton of botana before you order.  The have chips and sauce, little tacitos de frijol or papa, slice potatoes cooked in a diabla sauce, guacamole, and more.  Then you order off the menu.  It is so much food we split a half order of fried shrimp, that was all.   No dinner last night, some cut carrots and celery and a bite of cheese.  

More to come.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day Trip To Sahuayo

We got up at our routine time of 4:45 a.m. and had some good coffee and the news and headed off to the gym.  It had rained around 5 a.m. and things were pretty wet.  Surprisingly there were about 10 people at the gym.  Great place to work out.  All the equipment you could imagine and in brand new condition.  It is 10 times better than my gym at home.   Didn't take but a few minutes to get back into the routine and after it felt great to get all that extra water out of my body.

Came back to the rv park and showered, had a half of a mantecada and some milk and then headed out for Sahuayo.  Sahuayo is about 40 minutes from here and we had no other choice.  It is the only town nearby with a branch to our bank in Monterrey.  Very small branch too I might add.  Banorte is really a northern Mexico bank although they do have branches spread out around the country.  We also made a payment for the SKY at the Banamex and I printed and deposited the check we got from the insurance company for the damage to the house last year, that was at Serfin.

We also stopped by the CFE to pay the light bill from home.  Things are so much easier now in Mexico than before.  In the past all of things would have been a hassle if they could have even been done.   Welcome to the modern world.

I had a list of things I wanted to pick up at the Soriana.  This is the store we stopped at on our way up the mountain last week.  I also had hoped to pick up some Chinese food from the place but in downtown Sahuayo we came across a very yummy looking torta restaurant.  Couldn't resist.  We bought a milanesa torta which is a thin piece of chicken-fried steak on a bolillo with tomato, avocado, onion and jalepeños.  We split the torta and it was as delicious as I had anticipated.

By this time my eyelids were drooping and it was time for a nap.  We grabbed what we needed and headed back to Valle de Jaurez.  Exiting Sahuayo we needed to fill up on gas.  We haven't had to use much because everything is so close around here.  You guessed right, in that little town they accept Visa.  No hassle, no problems, we were in and out in no time.

There are lots of places nearby that we want to investigate.  We are making a list.  One big problem with hiking is that the rains are so unpredictable and they come and go so quickly.  The forecast says for the next 10 days a 60% chance of rain, and they mean it.

Well, off to get the welder that never showed up and it is almost happy hour.  This is too much fun, even with the chores we do it beats being at home, not that I don't like home but this presents some adventure for us.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Laid Back Sunday At Hacienda Contreras

The church in the main plaza of Valle de Juarez

Quiet Sunday afternoon here.  We watched a movie with Adam Sandler last night about a stand up comedian who has a rare disease and thinks he is going to die but in the end survives.  Great movie, but we thought it would never end.  It lasted over 2.5 hours.   We finished the last 20 minutes this morning after waking up.

We went into the barn to watch a little news from Monterrey.   There is a big screen tv there and it is connected to SKY cable.  Drank a couple of cups of coffee and then decided to get cleaned up and do a little work.  First off was a load of clothes which were then hung on the line to dry.  After, I cleaned the two bathrooms and showers.  Not a big chore but that is done for a couple of days.

I came back to the rv to find two very delicious tacos made with eggs and a green chorizo we bought in Mazamitla, it is made with green chilis  but has a taste like bachwurst.  Man they were good, served on flour tortillas with some beans and big glass of cold milk.

I took nap for about 2 hours.  I need to get back on my routine tomorrow.  We have been staying up too late and no matter what I am always up around 5:00 in the morning.  I forgot to say that we stopped by the gym in Valle de Juarez yesterday to see what was up.  Much nicer than my gym at home and only 250 pesos per month.  It is owned by a woman who seemed pretty friendly.  

This is a small town and even though there are tourists people tend to watch us.  It makes me feel uncomfortable and hopefully they will get used to seeing me around over the next couple weeks.   Not a problem, but something we have to deal with from time to time as foreigners.   People are curious creatures and I do the same thing. 

Reading Tioga and George's blog this morning I found his comment not only interesting but very true:

Things change. We never know when they will change, or what the changes will be. However, I do know one thing for sure. It is a lucky thing that we do not know what will happen in advance. Living in blissful ignorance is a true blessing.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

This Is Just Like . . . . Down On The Farm!

Cows on the left, cows on the right, hay being hauled on trucks down the main road, this is just like down on the farm. 

I got up this morning bright and early.  Today was my work day and it was time to get down to my list of chores.  David, the other couple here, mowed the grass last week with the riding mower.  Barb asked that we not weed wack around the trees and shrubs so we wouldn't do any damage to the trunks or bark.  Sorry, that's like not trimming the hairs in your nose and ears, Yikes!

I made a cuff out of PVC pipe I found in the barn.  I slip it around the bottom of each tree or shrub and then cut around it.  Not a difficult task but took me some time.  The results were well worth it.  The grass is growing fast and I am sure I will be cutting it within days.  

We drove over to Mazamitla yesterday to buy a pair of rubber boots to slosh around on the ranch while I work. I also got a haircut for 35 pesos. Great job!  We picked up some cheese too. A lot of foreigners say Mexican cheese is a little bland.  Wow, we picked up some really stinky stuff that is delicious.  You know the expression, "there's something rotton in Denmark".  It's their cheese.  We walked around, went into the tourist office and got some brochures and then headed home for a nap.

Here are some pics we took in Valle de Juarez.  I should have posted these yesterday but didn't get around to it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Valle de Juarez - Hacienda Contreras

What can I say about our trip?  It was incredible.  Sal and Barb gave us great directions and the highways were in the best of shape, most having been recently paved.  We spent the night at the Hotel La Palma and slept really well.  Although it is on the main drag into town it was quiet all night just like the owner said.  Got up around 8:30 after a long sleep to recover from the previous night.  We had a light breakfast of oatmeal and bananas, packed up and split.  First stop was the gas station just outside Yurecuaro where as no surprise to us, they accept debit and credit cards.   A new OXXO was opening but no coffee yet.   I always like a fresh cup for the road.

We passed many rvs but they were circus folk, you know, carnies.  I could smell cabbage, they all have small hands you know (Austin Powers).  We were driving down the highway and all of a sudder there was a camel's head coming at me along with two tigers.  Wow, that was pretty cool!

Getting close to Valle de Juarez we stopped at the entrance to Sahuayo there is a huge Soriana.   We picked up a few things even though we had most of what we needed from home; skim milk, coffee, our favorite laundry detergent, etc.   They have a good chinese restaurant there in the Soriana.   Off we went until we got to the rv park.  We woke up David and Valerie from a nap I hope they didn't mind.  We talked for a while and then set up.  We are going to move their rv so we can take the front spot but we decided to wait until next week.  They are taking off for the weekend.  

Later in the afternoon while we were taking a nap, I heard a knock at the door and David was standing there dressed in his  Hawaiian shirt requesting our presence at happy hour.  I was out of bed in two seconds.   We had a great evening, putting some steaks on the grill and having dinner together.   You learn something new everyday.  They have a wonderful gizmo for aerating wine giving it a wonderful flavor.  It's on our "to buy" list.

The rain is what it is.  60% for the next 10 days.   It comes and goes.  It rained this morning and has stopped giving us a chance to go up to the house to get cleaned up.  Great rv park, wonderful bathrooms just like home with instant hot water, good electricity, sites, etc.

I don't think it will take much to get you guys to come back down to Mexico.  We will enjoy our stay here and I will be reporting when I can, hopefully daily.  We will start looking around for our trip back up north because we have found this trip to be completely worry free.  Just like the old days.   Viva Mexico!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Almost to Valle de Juarez

We left early yesterday morning as scheduled, at least from the driveway.   The trailer hasn´t been out in months and it was a real pain fitting it through the gates.   All good rvs need an initiation and the Funfinder was no exception.   As I was on my fourth attempt and almost sure this was it, I heard that famous Mexican whistle but I hit the breaks too late.  I tore off the rear awning arm but just the bottom screws not doing any other damage.  Same thing happened to the other Funfinder.   Those --- damn awnings.  We have never used our awnings, everywhere we go it has always been too windy.

Off we go through Monterrey to Lincoln Ave and over to Hwy 40.   We arrived to Ramos Arizpe and headed down Hwy 57 without a hitch.  By this time my bruised ego was recovering quite well.  We found our way to our destination of Realejo de Guadalcázar in SLP.  The town of Guadalcázar is a straight shot off the 57 and it is a nice place.  The first plaza you arrive to is a great place for overnighting.  A museum, an old church from the 18th century and lots of places to try the local food.  We opted to head up the mountain to Realejo.  The road is almost identical to Real de Catorce but without the washboard, paved all the way.  We got to the top and what a change, green, quiet, just a few people and the temperature was nice and cool.  Not a whole lot to see or do but a free place to stay that is safe and secure.  We parked in front of the school and asked a neighbor if it was okay.  No problem.  We hiked a bit in the rocks nearby, took some pictures and then fixed dinner.  After a movie on the laptop (Austin Power's Goldmember) I was fast asleep. 

Then at 1 a.m. it thundered, lighting was just one count away and the trailer would shake when the thunder broke.  It poured for almost three hours.  Needless to say, I couldn´t sleep worrying about how we would get off the mountain the next day.   I wasn´t far off on my thinking.  The fog didn´t break until 11 a.m. and we headed down the hill and to the Hwy 57.

Drove all afternoon hoping we would make it to the rv park in Valle de Juarez.   I gave up at 5:30 and we found another great boondocking spot in Yurecuaro, Mich.   We asked at a local hotel and the owner said we could stay as long as we like.  Hotel La Palma is a small hotel with a balneareo.  We are parked in the parking lot and he even hooked us up to electricity.  We will give him 100 pesos in the morning.  The town is bigger than we thought and there are several nice places to eat.  Had the hotel had the restaurant open, we would have eaten there.

So tomorrow I am estimating about 2.5 hours to finish our trip arriving before noon.   I hope Sal and Barb are reading this but I will follow up with an email.  This has been great so far.   We haven't passed any checkpoints or seen any accidents.  Trouble free and easy just like it used to be.  Let's hope this continues.  We will be at Hacienda Contreras until around August 20 hoping to spend some time with Sal and Barb. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's Really Happening!

I know for you seasoned travelers and snowbirds this is nothing.  But for us, wow, the trip of a life time.  Everything is packed and ready to go.  All systems check out, the refrigerator works like a charm, the 12V system is loaded and the inverters working well.  The electric blanket presented a problem but was a user error on my part. 

I still need to load a bit of water but I don't want to overload the tank.  It sits up front and has no support frame.  Most owners of this model have added supports and we will probably have someone come out to the park to do that once we are there.

Connected, sitting in the driveway my biggest fear is getting it out of the driveway.  We got it in, but getting it out looks so much more difficult.  You'll know tomorrow night.  We will be posting late in the afternoon from Guadalcázar if we have a signal. 

The rain is coming and it is good news for me.  I prefer to drive in the rain, more relaxing, cooler, and going through Monterrey the transito are less likely to be working.   

Hasta Mañana!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Just A Couple More Days!

Down to the wire now.  I spent this week tying up loose ends.  I got the batteries connected and set up.  I cut a piece of wood to use as a base in the battery tray on the hitch.  It just looked like too much bouncing and they could drop at an angle, not all the way through but out of position.  We are using bungee cords to tie down the batteries until we get to Valle de Juarez where we will have a box made.

I bought a new Guia Roji.  Ours was a 2006 edition and we never really used it.  I'm not a map guy, we just follow the signs.   We only have problems in the U.S., funny isn't it?  Probably the reverse for many people.  Sal and Barb gave us a good route to take so we can avoid Guadalajara.  It looks pretty much like the one on Google Earth although I haven't done a comparison yet.  I also purchased some 3M hooks for hanging pictures on the walls.  It needs to be a bit more homey.  I also was in a bit of a panic mode as I couldn't find one of our inverters.   It was hidden in one of the ottomans we bought during the Christmas holiday. 

Paid all the bills current and the rest we can pay at the bank in Valle de Juarez or via internet.  Wow, things have changed a lot over the years.   We used to have to leave money for people to pay things while we were gone.  Now it is easier than ever.  I got the yard work done so that will last for a week or two and the neighbor's worker can take over one day a week cutting the grass and keeping the pool clean. 

The forecast for Monday is rain.  Who cares.  I figure we will take off around 6 a.m. to get through Monterrey without traffic and before most of the transito wake up.  There are lots of public works projects going on now since the hurricane last year so there are many detours on the truck routes.  I will have to stop a transito and ask just to make sure.  All the laundry is done, the house is clean and I am covering the beds with plastic sheets to keep the dust off while we're gone.  I know, it sounds like we are leaving for a couple of years and it is only 6 or 7 weeks but for us it is the longest trip ever.

I had to stop and think for a minute this afternoon why we had all the contents of the trailer in boxes in the shed and then I remembered that when we imported the trailer we had to empty it for inspection.  That's how long it has been since we were on the road.

BTW, we now have a name for the trailer.   "La Muñeca".

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Long Day of Tests

What a day!  I survived not eating anything last night, not drinking anything but water.  The hard part was waking up and not having coffee.  I've done this now twice in the last month.  A bit of a drag but you really appreciate your routine after it is all over.

I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 in the morning.   I walked into the lobby, registered and went down into the dungeon of the building.  No one around and I was afraid I would walk into the morgue.   Then the radiologist appeared with a robe and asked for my name.  He took me to x-ray and began taking my vital signs, personal data and then stood me up against the wall for the battery.   He took three shots of my chest cavity and sent me down the hall where then nurse was waiting with her syringe.   She squeezed out a bit of red stuff and asked if I could give more.  I told her I'm very stingy with my body fluids.  Off I went with small dot bandage for the nearest cafeteria.  I had two hours to waste so I went for a long walk and stopped at a 7 Eleven.  That's right, the best coffee in town.   This particular store is setup like a small cafe with tables and chairs.  Lots of doctors and nurses coming in and out buying their morning coffee.   I had a coffee and a banana muffin and read the paper for awhile.   I headed back to the hospital for the wait.

I sat in the lobby for an hour watching the local news and then headed up the elevator.   They were there waiting to greet me.   Very nice place with a VIP room complete with a comfortable lounge, coffee, juices and television.   After about 30 minutes a doctor came and asked to follow her.  She took me to her office where she asked me about 3 guzillion questions, family history, mental state, shoe size, etc.   She looked in my ears, eyes, nose and throat.   Then she took me for an EKG and signing of a waiver that said I wouldn't hold them liable if I had a heart attack on the treadmill. 

Back to their waiting room.  I could see lots of unhealthy people.  The eating craze has crossed the border and the pant and dress sizes have more than doubled.  Yikes!  Then my doctor called me to his office.  His first words were, "you're stronger and younger looking and I've got more of a stomach".   I know, I pay him to say those things.  We chatted for a while and he told me about his life, having a new little one and his wife who is also a doctor being diagnosed with breast cancer.  Too much for me at that time of the morning.

He said, "lets do it" and we went for the treadmill.   Off came the shirt, on went the little suction cups and the monitor.  He has a complex system of computers and gizmos and I hope they do something.  13 minutes I walked, jogged and ran. 

Bottom line, my heart muscle is in good shape and he says for an old fart my age I'm way ahead of the pack.  Keep exercising.  My blood pressure hasn't improved except for the use of the medication he prescribed me.  He says to get used to it, learn to live with hypertension as it is hereditary.  I am doing all the right things so I am good to go.  Liver is good, sugar is good, cholesterol is good.   Final results come on Saturday.

Looks like I will be blogging for another year.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Final Countdown!

We weathered the rains from the hurricane.  Nuevo Leon received more than its share of the water but I need to make a correction.  The southern part of our state remains in drought conditions and farmers are losing cattle by the hundreds.  The storm just didn't reach that area.  The hardest hit is Galeana where we have boondocked in the past at the famous Laguna  de Labradores (check the link, there is no longer any water left in the lake)  and the Pozo de Gavilan.   They have dug wells as deep as 200 meters with not even a drop of water.  The local universities here in Monterrey have had collections of bottled water with some bottlers providing free water and tanker truck companies donating their transport services.

Everything here has turned green in a matter of days and the grass really needs a good cutting.  I hope to get that done before we leave although we will have someone maintaining the place while we are gone.

Now the countdown has begun and we seem to have everything under control.  We won't really be gone that long but I want to leave the house in good order so that when we return at the end of August there isn't much to do.  

I will start stocking the rv with things we have had in storage mostly kitchen stuff.   I need to get clean linens on the bed and pull out the electric blanket hoping it will run fine off the inverter we have.  I guess I should give it a try first.   Groceries and things like that are not important as we are only traveling a couple of days and we can go shopping once we arrive at Hacienda Contreras.  We have enjoyed the weather so much this week here in Santiago with all the rain that we are really looking forward to our stay. 

This morning we are going into Monterrey to an electronics store called Steren.  If you live in Mexico you have heard the commercials.  They sell just about everything electronic and much bigger and well-stocked than an expensive Radio Shack.  We will be looking for  the digital 12 volt meter reader and after that picking up the new Guia Roji.  I've decided to hold off on the battery box.  It would be better to wait until we get to where we are going so that someone from town can do the work.  I can't drag the rv through the streets of Monterrey and leave it parked.  No one around here is interested in doing such a small job.  So, I will strap them in place and if the weather should get bad we can take them off and stow them until we arrive to our destination.

I will be keeping the SUV this week.  I want to have a scan done on the transmission.  It has always been a little stiff putting it in reverse and better safe than sorry.  While we had an oil change, a bulging hose running from the radiator to the water pump was detected so I picked that up yesterday along with a new air filter and antifreeze.   Good thing we had the engine checked.

I also have my cardiologist appointment on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to noon.  They are giving me a break at 9 a.m. to get a coffee and something light to eat.  A bit nervous as we have had three siblings with bypass and one with a stint.  Out of ten kids that's not a good record and the younger ones I doubt have had any checkups.