Monday, April 24, 2006


Boy, it has been so difficult to keep any semblance of normal around here, and by extension, that means this journal. So, I’m going to try to hit the highlights and if nothing else, I’ve made the attempt. For the first couple weeks that Jamie and Sissy were gone, it was somewhat easier. It was really easy to keep expenses down and for some reason, it was calmer. I wonder if Sissy adds a LOT of inter-fighting between the kids. She always wants to hang with the boys and many times doesn’t want to play with Ellen (because she wants to tag along with the boys) so that causes the boys to complain that they don’t want her around and Ellen to complain that she WANTS Sissy around and Sissy to complain that she doesn’t want to be with Ellen and that the boys don’t want her around. Things that make you go, “Hmmmm”. In contrast, these past 3 weeks, the boys have played alone A LOT and allowed Ellen to be with them without complaint. Ellen plays alone A LOT and plays with me about the other 50% of the time.

We managed a trip to the municipal market though, and the kids had a blast. It was during Semana Santa (which is actually two weeks, not one, as you’d think from the name) and were surrounded by many vacationing Mexican families. The kids took advantage of the vacationing families on the beach and they made a number of friends. Ellen seems to do the best; she doesn’t care if/how much Spanish she speaks, she simply either ignores (is shy) or rattles on in English while the kid rattles on in Spanish. I do notice, however, that new words will pop up from time to time in her vocabulary.

The chores are an unmitigated disaster. The boys agree with all aspects of the chores and are regretful when they don’t do them, but simply cannot get the hang of actually doing them for more than a handful of days in a row. I wonder if I should simply be grateful that they’re regretful that they don’t contribute? I’m going to take a break from expecting anything from them (and freakishly, they have been doing the chores without issue since I started that) and see what that brings.

It has been getting hotter and hotter and more and more humid and the A/C is on each and every day and at night to sleep. It is pleasant enough in the morning that the kids will go out and play for a good portion of the morning (allowing me to work) before we hit the beach to cool off.
We’ve been really very frugal with the money, and have been averaging less than $40/day which keeps us from doing touristy stuff. So yesterday I splurged on diesel, we filled up the van (almost; I only got $40 worth, but it almost filled 35 gallons) and headed to Teacapan. We had spent last Easter in Teacapan and Jesse has been after me to go back there so he can enjoy ceviche and cold coconuts again (forget the fact that I got the same ceviche here at Soriana and they have been eating coconuts off the trees here; what little monkeys they make, shimmying up the trunks, grabbing a coconut and dropping it to the waiting partner in crime). Absolutely everyone who had spent the week in Mazatlan was headed out on the road back home, but once we passed the cutoff for the autopista (toll road) we had the road to ourselves and select 18wheeler trucks. It has been so long since I’ve driven that I was constantly moving myself back over to the edge of my lane; I wasn’t used to the incredibly narrow lanes of normal Mexican libres.

We found that while the ceviche/coconut stand was not open, the place we stayed last year was still hosting a number of vacationing families, so we decided to join them in the picnicking, ocean dipping and pool dipping. The last time we were here they were in the process of building a restaurant and pool area adjacent to the camping area and boy, have they done an INCREDIBLE job! There is a rectangular pool, two small round pools (on for kids; one a jacuzzi), palapa covered eating areas, an outdoor kitchen, bathrooms, outside showers, and it is right on the beach. Teacapan is a very small fishing town, no supers or anything, but many families come there to vacation. This place, with an RV area set on the side, almost as an afterthought, is some kind of timeshare or club; many families come down from Guadalajara or the interior to spend the weekend. We spent just a few hours there as I wanted to head back before nightfall as the 40km between the libre (MX15) and Teacapan is incredibly agricultural and many cattle use the road at night. On the way out, we passed an enormous family group hitch-hiking. Jamie would not be surprised to note that I stopped and we squeezed about 25 people into the van; there were 3 infants and two moms next to Ellen (in her carseat), an older man squeezed between the boys carseats, a old man in the front seat, and about 15-20 people crushed into the back. Kids, grandmas, everyone. The LOVED the ride and the kids now know what it means when mom says, “hey there’s a family hitchiking; should we pick them up?”.

The boys performed some maintenance surgery on their bears this morning and Ellen managed to find an animal of hers that required some kind of fix. The LOVE sewing and will sometimes rip things apart just to allow the pleasure of sewing it back up again. Course, this only works on their toys, never on items of clothing. They’re now outside torturing cockroaches so I’ll upload to Flickr and try to promise myself to do this again.

We are missing Jamie and Sissy more than I ever imagined.

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