Friday, September 7, 2012

I'm easily amused

So our amazing mule, George, picked up some items I sent him in SD, brought them to Mexico, shipped them from FedEx and they're coming here.  I had our mail service send them on August 30th, he picked them up on Sept 4th and flew here.  I've been obsessively checking the status and all day it has shown that it was at FedEx in Toluca.  George was sure the package would get here by Monday but watching no movement since 11:19 this morning I had grave doubts, assuming it would be a long trip by truck.  HOWEVER, it appears FedEx operates by plane here!  I think I've been in-country too long as I (naturally?) assumed everything travels by truck.  However, it is nice to see that even FedEx adheres to the normal 2 pm to 4 pm siesta as evidenced by tonight's status:

Sep 7, 2012 5:07 PM En la estación de FedEx local CANCUN, MX
Sep 7, 2012 4:07 PM Excepción de entrega CANCUN MX Negocio cerrado - no se intentó
Sep 7, 2012 1:19 PM En estación de clasificación de destino CANCUN MX
Sep 7, 2012 11:19 AM El paquete llegó a las instalaciones de FedEx TOLUCA MX
Sep 7, 2012 11:19 AM Salió de la estación de FedEx TOLUCA MX
Sep 7, 2012 2:55 AM Salió de la estación de FedEx TOLUCA MX
Sep 6, 2012 9:49 PM El paquete llegó a las instalaciones de FedEx SAN LUIS POTOSI MX

Getting packages/mail here is like Christmas time.  We NEVER get mail - mail just doesn't work in this country - so we don't try.  When I import with Merkalink or get a mule to bring stuff down it is such an incredible treat.  So thanks to George and Ebay, I have a present for Ellen and some new running shoes for myself.  Oh, and maybe the mail also.  Not sure.  I've also been tracking 2 packages I Merkalinked in.  One took forever because I had to "convince" them to bring in used clothing and while I got the stuff off Ebay eons ago, it only arrived at Merkalink August 20th.  We spent about a week hashing out details of used clothing and then made the bank deposit (payment for services) and on 8/27 they finally began the import process.  I swear that package took longer to go through import than any package we've imported before.  Course, so did the other (new stuff) so maybe they got a slow guy that day.  IIRC, it took 3-4 days to go through importation but we finally have movement.  Estafeta shows that while it left Laredo, TX on 4 September, it took 3 days to get to San Luis Potosi from there and today hit SLP.  Pretty sure Estafeta does not fly.  Not sure when to expect it, but this is Sissy's birthday present, so of course it is late.  I have hopes to see the packages by the end of next week.  That would only be a month since they got to the importer.  And that is the FAST option here!  See why we prefer mules? 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Summer update

We're pretty much pure evil.  Sissy was NOT looking forward to her 2nd day of school but she was a real trouper, trying to find her way.  I've been working on her all summer trying to wrap her brain around going to school and finally she agreed to go.  She wasn't looking forward to it.  She was very worried about the lack of language and what would be expected of her.  She was also worried about being behind in math.  She was looking forward to the uniform though which totally surprised me.  She went along with my suggestion and pretty much went with the faith that eventually she would look back and recognize it was a good decision and would be glad (in the long run and, TBH, I wasn't sure HOW long of a run that would be) she did it.  I really expected it would be maybe early next year before she would be "okay" with going to school.  Go figure, but it has been 2 weeks and 1 fight (mine) wiht the art teacher and she seems very happy there.  She has made a couple of friends and has one who writes her homework down for her and one boy who is always looking out for her, making sure she has the right books, etc.  She is working in groups with other kids and being exposed to lots of new ideas and situations.  It is a huge change for her and were we not so isolated here with absolutely no kids other than siblings to interact with, she'd still be at home.  But so far it has been a positive change, even in her opinion.  She is taking a huge variety of classes; Geography, Biology, History, English, Spanish, Mathematics, Dance, Art History (and practice), Computer, Physical Education and I might have missed one or two in there.  For now she is doing the Art History homework in English but everything else in Spanish.

Ellen has returned for a 2nd year at Ak Lu'um.  It is a strict Waldorf school from the veggies produced at school for their organic lunches to handwork as math.  She loves it there and it really touches her soul.  Unfortunately the school only goes up to secundaria so these will be here last 2 years there before she joins Sissy at Papalote.  Both girls took sailing lessons over the summer and had a great time and continue with horse riding.  I am hoping to convince them to continue with sailing or start swimming at a brand new pool in town (with transportation directly to/from school).  We'll see.  Pike spent the summer babysitting two boys from the US and I'm hoping to get him back on track academically in the next week but that has been an uphill battle recently.  He also refuses to do any interaction in town and is very isolated here at home.  I'm quite worried about him but outside forcing him, he's just more interested in staying in his cave playing Xbox all day.  Jesse has decided he really wants to experience another year of music school so instead of heading back to the US for college he's staying here with us (can't complain about that) for another year at El Playarte.  I've made our financial support (he is legally an adult) conditional on him taking online college classes, but like his brother, he is much more interested in Xbox than anything academic and I'm quite worried about both of them.

The dog has recently broken his hip (falling onto the tile from the 2nd floor) and now that he isn't in constant pain we're constantly battling with him to STAY and not walk anywhere.  This has proven to be quite a challenge.  Luckily we only have 4 more weeks of this.  I have a triathlon end September in Cozumel and another end November in Cozumel and I'm alternately freaked out I'm terribly under-trained and hoping for a good time.  I also found an interesting 10K in Tulum I'd like to do, mostly because of the great rates we'd get if we stayed at the host hotel.  Course with it being only a week before the triathlon, the $ outlay is concerning, but it is quite tempting.  Jamie and Jesse completely replaced our kitchen sink recently and only needed 1 day of abanil work for it to fit and then a couple days of fixing leaks but we now have a super deep sink and one without a failing bottom.  So, life keeps going on and so do we.  Not sure where we'll end up but we're doing fine so far on the Caribbean.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

summer fun

The project for this summer was to get Sissy out in the world, get employment for the boys and get Pike out in the world, interacting.  Since Jesse and Ellen are both in school and they're not the hermits their siblings are, they were left alone.  So for MONTHS I'd been promoting the idea of sailing (no takers) and windsurfing (no takers).  FINALLY the boys realized that windsurfing was not the same as parasailing (head-brick wall) and professed interest, but alas, it was too late.  The girls ended up going to the sailing class with first 2 of their horse-riding friends and yesterday, 3 of their friends.  Yesterday I decided to scope out a way to see the class (as Jamie had simply left the kids at the dock where they were taken by panga to a more remote area) and perhaps combine my swim workouts there if the area ended up being constructive to swimming.  (in the picture, sissy and ellen are in the boat on the right)

Yesterday, Jamie got the kids formally enrolled in the class (they just showed up for the first one and the instructor let them participate) and work was quite light so I headed off with him.  I really should have brought my swim suit because I'm still fantasizing about how great the swim there looks to be.  I really should not complain about my options here as I have a 150m bay outbound and 150m inbound route I can take or a 12ish m pool (all measured with Google Earth) but I hate the barracuda that follows me around incessantly and yesterday while watching the kids class we all saw a turtle and I'd much prefer tortuga to barracuda.  So there's that.  It also looks like there is windsurfing instruction going on during the sailing class (instead of 10am, which is not attractive to Jesse due to time, kinda like Middle of the Night to him) so he might be on board with that.  It is a little bit concerning to me that Jamie and I are both more athletic than our children, and especially our teenage sons.  Something in my mind has a big problem with that as well as concerns for their cardiovascular systems.

We have dubbed this month the Month Of Birthday and have been celebrating Jamie's 50th all month.  It started basically because I'm senile.  Jesse came to me one day in June and asked if Jamie's birthday was coming up and I mumbled "yes" while paying attention to something else, but honestly, I can't blame it on that as we had MULTIPLE discussions about what we were going to do and get, etc. and it wasn't until the actual NON-BIRTHDAY that Jamie let us in on the fact that we were a month early.  So I figured we'd just turn it into a month of birthday (as he turns 50 this year) to celebrate this milestone.  We have had root-beer floats after hard bike rides, a week of "Dad does no dishes" and other stuff.  I think by the time his birthday rolls around he's going to be a little bit too used to the glory and glamor so we'll have to figure out something there.

I think I have Sissy convinced to go to school in the fall.  She knows some of the kids in her proposed class (1st of secundaria) and will have Jim, the teacher Jesse liked so much, for English and History.  she is doing well with homeschooling and she really enjoys it but she interacts with No Children and she needs interaction.  I'm not convinced that SCHOOL is the answer but she is so timid and afraid to try anything new I think she really needs a nudge to start trying new stuff.  I'm worried she will continue to self-limit due to not being completely comfortable and hope having friends already attending there will help her along.  Ellen LOVES her school and just yesterday said she missed it already.  It really speaks to her soul and they are die hard Waldorf there.

I need to see if I can find backups for the old hopalog and see if I can restore it but for now I hope to start updating here.  Pictures to come.

Monday, February 20, 2012

the weekend in pictures

Sunday means I take the dog for a walk.

then a stop at the cenote.

And Monday means the maid came and we played Settlers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

hot water

We have 2 tanks to heat water. We have hot water in the recamera (back) shower, the kitchen sink, the front bathroom sink and front bathroom. Both bathrooms run off their own 7L tank. When the tank runs out, it is cold shower time until the tank has been refilled (couple day process). We keep thinking about a large-capacity nonportable tank but have never really gotten around to it. Maybe someday.

When I was working with Sissy on her schoolwork yesterday it really hit me that I am really going to miss that next year and maybe I shouldn't be encouraging school. I know she really misses having a friend and interaction with other kids but man, I'm going to miss doing grammar and literature, etc. with her, and I know her English education at school will definitely be lacking.

I really need to get Pike back on track for the PSAT. He visited Ellen's school the other day and said it was a school he would have loved to have gone to. Sissy hated it and Jesse calls it the "hippy school." Guess Pike and Ellen are a lot more alike than just looks. The two look like twins in their baby pictures.

We're all battling some form of gripe and I didn't even run, bike or swim yesterday. I hardly worked. I did, however, totally clean up the front upstairs and now we just need to go through books and toys of the girls. I'd like to make that a screen room of some type up there.

Monday, February 13, 2012

the best part of waking up...

I got really tired of paying for Hopalog and decided to pop over to Blogger for a while. I'll have to add up my costs for and see what I'm paying on a yearly basis to decide whether I want to go back or not.Link

I really, Really, REALLY fell off the blogging bandwagon. It just doesn't seem like there is enough time in the day, but since I started this whole thing as a chronicle for the kids, it also doesn't seem right to just stop. But then again, it is just mundane stuff, even though it is in a different country, it is just the same with more or less red tape/hassle than the US, depending on what you're doing. So it is difficult to figure out what to post. But I know the grandparents would appreciate it.

One of the last things i think about at night is a cup of coffee in the morning. I have no idea why. I guess maybe I'm seriously addicted, but I really do just like the taste of a cup of black joe. So I sang him the little jingle. Jesse is off to school this morning but the other 3 are in bed. Ellen is still sick enough to stay home (and she loves school, so that's saying a lot) and the maid comes today! So 2 things to look forward to, maid and coffee. That's pretty much enough for me. We got a norte come in the last couple days and it was cold enough that Jamie magnanimously decided we could do without AC last night. That's HUGE for him and it was lovely for me. I hate that damn AC but do enjoy the work it does sometimes.

OMG the MAID is here! The maid is here! the maid is here. I honestly think, with a husband who is in charge of the palapa but doesn't think cleaning is part of his job description, she has saved the marriage. Well, close.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

jonsing for the good shit

We’ve been supremely busy doing nothing. I have been working, Jamie does laundry and cooks, the kids play and mess the place up and steadfastly refuse to do anything we want. On Saturday I headed into town to get blood work done and since it was sunny (again!) decided to try to take some pictures. I headed to my favorite buildings and plazas and found the reason that we’ve seen so many plazas with bleachers and stages setup. There is an International Folkloric Festival in town and when I strolled past the Plaza de Armas I found very very many groups had gathered and were performing impromptu dances and music. It was so lovely to sit and watch and enjoy without being harassed about how BORING it was and could we LEAVE yet and WHEN could we leave yet and WHY were we here and could we LEAVE and that someone was thirsty or had to pee. So I enjoyed, though guiltily, as I knew Jamie had the kids at the trailer. But I also knew they were using the computer and relatively zoned out. So I enjoyed a bit more and wished I could come and go as I pleased just to enjoy.

The next day I was successful in dragging all their sorry asses to town to find out about the festival and see if we’d have another appearance of folklorists. Unfortunately, the performances were to be much later that night but we did happen upon a clown group performing at one of the tiny plazas. The kids weren’t able to follow the whole thing but they did find the clowns pretty funny, especially when Pike and Jesse were called up on stage. Pike left early, frustrated by his lack of Spanish, but Jesse was in LOVE with the limelight. He bowed to all four corners at each applause (bringing more), he played along with the entire skit (with help from Pike who would run up and relay my translation when things got too difficult) and even kissed a boy! I’m almost certain the boy (and many members of the audience) did not believe that Jesse is a boy. He got a clown nose, flashlight thingy and balloon penguin for his efforts. He was so “high” after the performance and it was quite obvious that he fell head over heels for the limelight.

Yesterday, I dragged the entire family into town (AGAIN!) and we watched a couple performances of the festival. The Michoacan contingent performed beautiful dances and ended with 2 or 3 hilarious “danza de los viejos” old men dances. The kids LOVED the dances and were really glad they came. Unfortunately Jesse got a bad headache as we were waiting for the main performance of the night, but I was able to go “backstage” and take many photos of the beautiful dancers and their costumes. After looking at the photos and trying to “fix” them due to the limitations of my point and shoot camera, I’m SO jonsing for a DSLR. I’ve been looking at the Nikon D50 and Canon Rebel and Pentax *st…Way back when I had a Pentax SLR and loved it. Going digital would be even better. But the prices… I just don’t think I can find it in the budget.

I got my blood tests back and my white cell count is coming back, so apparently the first test wasn’t a fluke. Guess I was really sick. I’m feeling much much better these days and would say I’m almost back to snuff.

Oh, I’ve uploaded a video from the festival at YouTube, I’ll see if I can’t post it here (you’ll need flash or quicktime or somesuchcrap). Ok, you’ll have to click this link to see it. I can’t get it to embed.

For those following along; our computer is back in Guadalajara. On Friday I noticed that UPS’s website indicated the address was wrong. I called them and corrected it (IBM had left off vital information) and they said they’d relay the information to wherever it was (San Luis Potosi?) and to call back Monday morning for a status. Monday morning found that they needed more time to find the package and requested I call back that evening. Apparently the package had been outsourced to a private courier as Zacatecas is considered “remote” to UPS. When I called this morning I was told that the package had been returned to IBM in Guadalajara because the private courier didn’t get the correct address in time. After talking to (and admonishing) IBM (who screwed up the addy in the first place) I was told the computer would be sent overnight from Guad and would be here by 10am TOMORROW! So, I’m crossing my fingers and toes. We need to get out of the country soon as all our permits are expiring, but I’d honestly suffer any delay if it meant I could attend more of the folkloric festival.