Saturday, February 16, 2019

2007 Email Exchange - Tioga and George

I hope I'm doing the right thing by posting these emails but I believe it opens some dialogue about who George really was and what he meant to so many people.  If you disagree with me, please feel free to say so via the comments section. 

This particular email took place in 2007.  George was staying in Santa Rosalia, Baja California with a family.  Chito was or is the father and they lived on a small piece of land and George took them in as well as them taking him in.  Their house was a disaster in the making and George took it upon himself and readers to help the family improve their home.  Below is the dialogue between us, me sending George an email and his response. 

On 14 Jan 2007 at 15:14, CMB wrote:

Hi George,
Your blog keeps on going and you continue to do a wonderful job.  I check in every couple of days or so.  It seems like you and Mexico have really bonded, now you know why I have lived here for almost 18 years.
I just finished reading your "Readers Write" section and find many of the mails and comments interesting.  It demonstrates the true differences in culture between countries.  One of your readers wrote wondering why Alty wanted to buy the computer even though the reader was under the assumption that they didn't have the income to afford such luxury.  Your answer regarding Telmex was correct, Telmex does offer a 24 month program for paying for a computer, with the hope that the customer will sign up to be an internet user of theirs.
But I would like to comment on Chito's financial situation. Having lived here for quite some time, I have come to learn a lot about the culture.  The money that has been spent on renovating the house seems substancial.  However, all of the events were due to deferred maintenance.  Had the maintenance been done on a yearly basis, and upgrades made on a timely basis, the amount spend reduced to a period of twenty years or more would have meant a very small and affordable investment.  This is part of the Mexican culture, deferred maintenance along with the use of wire, tape, glue, etc.  If it works for the moment, then we are in good shape.  It isn't bad, it is just different.  We as Americans worry about these things to the point that it can become an obsession not to mention a huge expense at keeping things up to standard and aesthetically appealing instead of simply functional.
I would also like to remind readers that it is much easier and very common for most Mexicans to live on an income of 5000 pesos. Those that do, pay no income tax.  Like all "formal" workers, or those that work in companies, they receive "prestaciones" or benefits backed by the Mexican legal system.  These include, Seguro Social (social medicine), aguinaldo (Christmas bonus) which can sometimes be up to 3 months salary (fulltime teachers here in Nuevo Leon receive 5000 dollars as a Christmas bonus), utilidades or profit sharing, vales or food coupons, and some even receive vales de gasolina (gasoline coupons).  Salaries may seem low, but by adding all the benefits most Mexicans (over 65 percent of the population) do quite well on these small salaries. Also, property taxes are almost non-existent and that can account for the lack of infrastructure.  Believe me, I pay 190 dollars a year in property tax here in Mexico, the same house in Texas would be 7800 dollars.
So my point I guess is that Chito probably has a decent income, but his priorities are much different than those of your readers.
Take care and keep up the good job, mostly enjoying your life.
Chris Bauer
Monterrey, Mexico

George's response:

Dear Chris,

I sure appreciate your sharing your experience/perspective about Chito's finances.  I especially was fascinated by your view of "deferred maintenance."  This is one of the things that has frustrated me about fixing up things around here.

For example, just recently I have been working in the corner of the yard.  You may have read about that.  There are two lime trees there and a pomogranate tree as well.  Because all three of these trees have been allowed to grow wild, they grew over the fence.  The branches became so heavy, that they have destroyed the fence, which I am now in the process of rebuilding.  If the trees had been pruned properly, it would have taken about a couple of hours a year to keep them in shape.  But since no pruning has ever been done in many years, now the fence needs to be rebuilt.

The fruit production of these three trees is also affected. Because of no pruning, the trees do not have proper limbs.  Succer branches were allowed to dominate the tree, drawing away the life force of the tree away from fruit production.

I was amazed as I worked on cleaning up the fence area that had been covered by years of leaf droppings, that there are bits and pieces of electrical cable here and there holding the falling fence to the tree, or to itself, or to some kind of support board leaning against the falling fence.

I believe that both USA and Mexican cultures have a lot to learn from each other. USA people could well adopt the tranquil philosophy of my neighbors here in Santa Rosalia.  And the Mexican people here, would be well served to fix things, instead of patching up. 

I believe that patching up has its place.  When a guy does not have the proper tools nor money, and something breaks, patching up is a wonderful way to get things going again.  To apply the patching up idea to ALL repairs, means that the people here are consuming their homes and their cars day by day, instead of getting maximum use. 

I am guessing that if I had not come along into Chito's life, that in about 10-years Chito and his family would have lost their home to deterioration, fire, storm damage [or all of these combined].  God brought me here for a purpose.  I am really enjoying achieving that purpose while doing the stuff that I am doing around the property.  graphic

Bye for now,

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Day's Fly - Lots Going On!

The bulldozer parked in front of the house.  Yep, I met with the mayor two weeks ago and he promised to do something.  It's level for now.  It needs more gravel and there is another analysis for paving the road.  Each administration ends and a new one starts over.  That's life.  I appeared in a video with the mayor when I went to meet him.  I didn't even know it.  A school principal sent me a message showing the video.  That was a surprise.

The trees are already in bloom and the weather is, as we say in Spanish, Febrero Loco!  (crazy February).  

Today we are heading to McAllen just because we feel like getting away.  I have earned lots of hotel and air points over the last couple of years and I want to take advantage of them.  Hotels reservations are tricky though.  I booked a two-room suite at Drury Suites in McAllen which is well-located for all the things we want to do.   After I made the reservation with their great internet rate, I started seeing a promo discount for an additional 15%.   I called the hotel to see if they would give me the discount or I needed to cancel and rebook.  Rebook and cancel the original reservation.   I attempted to do it only to find out that the promo rate applies to the rack rate, not the internet rate.   The difference was only three dollars so I left it as is.  

The next weeks are pretty busy.   I have my trip to Ecuador and also a possible trip to the Dominican Republic.   I'm waiting to see if they accept my proposal.   I haven't been there for years.  We both worked there for three years off and on.  A great country, good food, and wonderful people.  There are enough miles to go to Europe this summer but not sure when or where.  We are planning a weekend getaway but that's still in the works and a surprise party for some friends of ours who will be moving to the U.S. for a six-year work project.  Their kids are not very excited about leaving their school and friends but they will adjust and also come back bilingual.  

The weather this weekend in Monterrey - 38C.  Then next week it will get cold again.  

Saturday, February 9, 2019

With Little Bit - It Was Kismet

He left just like he came.   With just a sigh.   The little guy slipped away peacefully.   We had a great run.  Almost 19 years.

I know you’ve heard the story about how he came into our lives but it’s worth repeating.   That cold rainy day, driving down the road to the quinta.  The windows were damp with fog, the windshield wipers doing their regular whine on a rhythm that was not in beat with the music on the radio or with the potholes in the road.

There was this thing in the road, I could see it but I wasn’t sure what it was.   The closer I got the clearer my destiny came to me.   He was there, just a little bit, about three weeks old, decimated, shivering in the cold rain eating a desiccated frog skin.   I drove by as I said to myself, “we promised, no more rescues”.   Well, he wouldn’t be the last either but we just didn’t know it then.

I drove on and attempted to shake it off as if it was just some other lonely creature who would either find its way or be lost like everything else that Mother Nature gives us and we shrug it off as just the way life is.   I couldn’t help but look back in the rearview mirror and there he was, that little bit, looking up at me as if to say, “hey, what about me?”.   I hit the brakes, jumped out and picked him up.  He sat on my lap on the way to the house and I looked at his pathetic body and wondered what I could do for him.

That was in September of 2000.   He was my shadow.   Everywhere I went, he followed.  I had always wanted a lap cat and that’s exactly what he had become.   He was ornery, difficult at times, a rough houser with the others and pretty much a copy of me.  A real shyster.  He loved everyone and I think everyone loved him, even those that were allergic to cats.  He had that natural attraction.   He was one of my best friends.   He loved to travel and would always hide in my suitcase when he knew I was going away for work.   I’d even call him by saying, “hey Little Bit, let’s go out to the trailer”, and there he would be on my heels.  On work trips, I would call home and I could see him on the Facebook phone and watch his face light up at the sound of my voice.

What made him so special though, was when he knew we would pull into the driveway, no matter if he was in the house or not, he would come out running either from the backyard or his pet door to greet us.

Well, my baby’s gone now but he gave us so much that we could never find that in any other pleasure.  I said my goodbyes days ago and whispered in his ear that we’d see each other soon.   I told him that Tasha, Gum, Gingi, Maggie, Candy, Friend, Summers, and all the others that came into and left our lives would be waiting.   I told him he needed to be a good boy when he got there and treat everyone well.

Adios muchacho.  I’m gonna miss the heck out of my little shadow.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Some Old Emails From George

I'm not sure how others are taking the news but I have been really affected by George's death.  Wow, looking back at my emails I first had contact with George in December of 2005.   I had asked him about the Olympian heater he had installed and he answered right away.   I really don't even know and haven't checked, when George first started his blog.   For me though, I used to sit in the spare bedroom where I had the computer desktop and would be up early to read his blog posts. 

Now I am looking back at our blog.   We talk a lot about keeping a captain's log book in the rv.  But I realized, every time there is a question about a trip, a place, or an event, I can usually find it on the blog using the search function.   I remember though, at one time, George downloaded his blog.   I think I should do that.  After all, I started it in April of 2008.  We did a lot of boondocking in a lot of great places back then.

Here is the mail.  I have a couple others to share that I first received from George, one of great interest involving his decision to repair Chito's house.

Thursday, December 8, 2005 11:30 AM

Dear Chris,

Yes, things are going really great for me here in the Pueblo of Santa Rosalia.  I am very lucky to be here.

You enjoyed the story of the old mining house?  Great house.  In my imagination, I dream of restoring it.

Here is a story that I wrote about my Olympian Wave6 catalytic heater.  After you finish reading this story, write back with any other questions, OK?

Bye for now,

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

RIP Tioga George

George made this video in 2008.  It pretty much sums up what he did and why he did it.  A real tribute to a guy some of you met.  I never had the chance.  Pretty cool dude and I read every post he ever made.

Monday, February 4, 2019

George, Where In The Heck Are You?

As most of you know, Tioga and George hasn't posted now for over 10 days.   This isn't normal although he has probably done it a couple of times in the past.

We just hope he's doing fine and decided to take a break.  I'm not sure how to reach out to him.   You can send messages but they won't be posted without his approval.  Let's hope he's just taking a break.

Little Bit keeps hanging on.  I just sent Barbara in SMA a mail saying that he has good days and bad ones as well.  Today is a good day, eating, wagging his tail and scratching a tree outside in the yard.

It's a waiting game and as long as he's getting around on his own, he's a keeper.   He jumps up on my lap, on the bed at night to sleep all night, a short run now and then.   On a bad day, he sleeps on the sofa in the palapa taking in the sun.   I go out every so often and check on him.  

Today is a holiday, Día de la Constitución,  so we are at home being lazy.  We need to celebrate it, we may lose it pretty soon.