Thursday, February 28, 2008

February 2008

Lazing about with nothing to show for it but this lousy post

You are SO lucky! I have been surfing the internet All Day Long but have been rendered impotent from posting anything until this moment. However, benevolent being that I am, concerned for your lack of (albeit boring) reading material, once un-imprisoned, I RUSH to update this forgotten wasteland. Thank you, thank you (catches the well aimed roses).

We had a MARVELOUS time on Cozumel, dahhhhlings. We loved the B&B; it wasn’t 5 star and anyone used to resort areas would probably not be happy with the lack of wireless, cat fight in the pre-dawn hours that sounded like it was coming from our patio, the drain on hot water when six bodies shower at once and the lack of blankets (I am still wondering about that one; maybe to keep the A/C use down?) but to us it was heaven. We had a fridge that was Read the rest of this entry »We had a fridge that was cleaner and worked better than our palapa fridge, a hot plate, cooking and eating stuff, blender and CAWFEE machine (and FILTERS!!!). It really doesn’t take much to impress us, but we really loved it there. Two wonderful king sized beds, a cute bathroom, AMAZING hardwood (which gave us ideas for our lower kitchen cabinets) and just such a cute layout. We had a fresh fish “restaurant” (someone’s home) next door with wonderfully fresh fish (we picked our meal).  Ok, I’ll stop gushing about the accommodations and instead gush about Carnaval.

I was so happy with our choice of Cozumel to introduce the kids to Carnaval. It was a wonderful family party with lights and color and dance and music and kids and babies and magic. Channel 10 from Cancun ran a float/bus with a live camera and feed; channel 35 from somewhere else did the same. There were parades each night and we mistakenly assumed that Fat Tuesday would be the comfy crowd we encountered the other nights but we were quite wrong; all of Quintana Roo must have shown up along the malecon but it was still a lovely celebration. Necklaces were thrown from the crowd, to the crowd, scrambled for by the kids and handed to bystanders by adults. As I headed crowd downstream, holding tight to Sissy’s hand on Tuesday night, a parade participant took one from his neck and placed it over my head.

We spent the days at the East beaches and never went snorkeling; the water and air was just too cold. I finally broke out my shorts for a few hours the day we left but honestly, it was just too cold for our thin blood, though the kids really enjoyed the beach (as evidenced by the photos). We’re seriously thinking about taking Aunty Chris over when they visit. Water should be much warmer then. We really didn’t see the touristy parts until the night we left and without Carnaval, saw the downtown and malecon the way the cruisers must see it and honestly, it looked like a different world.

It seems that a stomach virus is rolling through PaaMul as our Canadian neighbors are sick, Ellen fell ill today, and I am dreading the roll of illness through our family. We spent much of December sick (those airplanes wreaked havoc with our immune systems) and until Ellen fell ill I’d forgotten about illness. So it would appear that January was sick-free. Ellen is not a happy camper when sick and I generally lie about in bed with her, one arm trapped under her feverish body. She has now progressed to the point that I can turn on lights and take short breaks and she will now watch DVDs. You know your kid is sick when they won’t even watch DVDs/TV.

We still haven’t decided much about the kitchen. I had a contratista (contractor) come over and give us a quote for the cabinets; he suggested a concrete base (over the lovely tile) so that the wood would not come in contact with the floor (and water). He assured us that his (extra fee, natch) termite treatment would allow the (cheaper) pine to last a whole FOUR years. His quote was around $26K. Our local carpintero, who was able to put in our upper cabinets now must work under the control of the restaurant owner which increased his presupuesto another $5K to $14K. He estimates 10 years for untreated pine and since he isn’t nearly as slick as the first guy, I tend to believe him more.

I had our contratista for the work we had done on the palapa come out and give us prices for the rebase (concrete footing) for the gabinetes (kitchen cabinets), tiling the bathroom and tiling the roof of the recamera/bath. We’re still waiting for one more carpintero who comes amazingly recommended, I’d love to see some of his work but since we’d most likely be working with pine, I wonder if his talents might be wasted on our lowly job. At any rate, we’re on Mexican time. And after seeing the lovely doors and cabinet doors at Tamarindo, I’m rethinking the whole cabinet design. We do, however, have a door for the bathroom and the boys will no longer be forced to barricade the door with the towel rack. Jorge is coming tomorrow to install it and I’m sure the boys will be in heaven.

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jonna // Feb 2, 2008 at 2:08 pm
    OK, I gotta ask. Why make cabinets from pine? You know the termites are going to eat them it is just a matter of how long it will take. If you make the cabinets - walls and shelves - of concrete and only the doors from wood it would last a whole lot longer and probably be cheaper too.
  • 2 Joan // Feb 2, 2008 at 2:42 pm
    I think I’ve clicked on your web page 10 times today, just to look at that beautiful sunset, sigh. If only these clouds, rain and snow would disappear.
  • 3 jody // Feb 4, 2008 at 11:40 am
    Cozumel sounds heavenly. Would you stay at Tamarindo again? We usually stay at Playa Azul because of the beach, but Bill might like to try something different this next time.

Much ado about little buggers

A quickie update while I still have my brain. We’ve been keeping VERY busy ridding the trailer of pests. We have moved out for sleeping, into the recamera and have been cleaning every square inch, emptying the entire contents and bombing. Interspersed with looking high and low for boric acid and/or diatomaceous earth, we’ve been pretty busy. The good news is that the roaches are now dead when we find them.  The bad news is that our use of poison may have significantly altered our brain functions.

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dr Paul // Feb 8, 2008 at 12:16 pm
    “may have significantly altered our brain functions.”
    No, living in our family for so long, that train left a long time ago :o)
    love, dad
    PS> And I’m not sure it was a bad thing….
  • 2 jody // Feb 8, 2008 at 1:29 pm
    Glad they are history. Hate, hate, hate those little monsters. Blek.
    Mia cut her hair today. Gah! I have never had a child do that before. Must be a girl thing? She actually did a pretty good job….a little layering around the face, but kept the length in the back…I cried, Bill laughed.
  • 3 Natalie // Feb 10, 2008 at 3:37 pm
    Milo our cat had a nice bath after rolling around in the posion under your trailer. And is trying to lick himself dry??? Im wondering if he’ll get dumber than he already is. LOL

Cans of fire

I think I might have to experiment with posting every other day or something more frequently, because once you stop for a while it is SO HARD to start again. I’m overwhelmed with minutiae and boredom at the same time.  We emptied the trailer of each and every object possible. We pounded it with poison for a good week and when we stopped finding dead roaches we let it breathe. We’ve been airing it out for a good couple days and are waiting for our good neighbors, Deb and Ian, to bring us diatomaceous earth before we put everything back inside. Which means we are living in the land of clutter. I used almost all the storage/vacuum bags and even borrowed a couple plastic bins (after filling all of ours) which are stacked all over the palapa - both upstairs and down. The good news is that the trailer is really lightweight now. We have all been sleeping in the recamera of the palapa and it is incredibly sweet to either watch the morning sun steal over the jungle or watch the wooden beams and guano of the palapa turn golden in the morning light, depending on which window you choose.

I’ve begun removing tiles from our kitchen floor in preparation for cabinetry. We decided to go with concrete cabinets and wood doors. Of course, we still don’t have an abanil on site, but I’m pretty confident it will happen some time this week. Or next. Still waiting on the absent carpintero to install the bathroom door. Promised at least two weeks ago? Almost all our tile is expensive talavera (handmade) and it would kill me to cover it with concrete so I’m taking each tile up (so far, 2 damaged beyond repair, 1 usable and 6 without damage) and we’ll probably use them to re-tile the bottom of the cabinets.

Some flu-like illness has made its way to the Yucatan and at least one kid has been sick the entire month of February. I personally, was down at least 3 days with two days of up and down on either side of the three. Jesse has been dying to ride the waves in Tulum but we haven’t had a full day of non-sick kids to do it. Jamie and I have been dying to get to Merida and house shop, but again, no non-sick kids. I did, however, take out a goodly amount of concrete and block (and repair it afterwards) to make the trailer exit from the palapa quite a bit easier.

We’re looking very forward to my sister’s visit in March and figuring all the places we want to visit. We will start with Cozumel, hit Ek Balam, Coba (maybe), Akumal, Punta Allen and Valladolid and these kids better start getting better or they’ll be left at home.

Each night that we stay out too late shopping in town, we pass the cans of fire along the highway. The police are very vigilant about the speed limit just south of town (80kph), which is quite the anomaly in Mexico, and use cans of fire to alert the nighttime driver of their presence and their radar guns. Never ceases to amuse us.

There was SO much more in my head to post but this should clear the stoppage and I promise to post more frequently.

It’s a good thing we live in Mexican time

Some time ago (don’t remember, but more than a week, could be two) I ordered a part from the brand new Ford dealership in town. I put 1/2 down (140 pesos) for a new car door lock. They expected it in 10 days and were going to call me when it got in. I went back a little while ago and the person in control was at lunch. Again, they’ll call. I think we’ll go back today and see if it is gathering dust somewhere.

The day that the brand spanking new City Club opened, I got a free eye exam and ordered two boxes of contacts. That was probably the first week of January. I put 1/2 down (250 pesos) and was to have been called when they arrived. We go to City Club at least once a week, so I recently stopped in (it had been over a month since I ordered) and checked on the status; they still hadn’t arrived and the optician was alarmed it had been so long. Eh, we’re in Mexico, right? She was going to get right on it and call me Monday (that was a week ago the day before yesterday). I think we’ll stop by soon and see how it’s going.

My dentist created a new tooth for me from composite and ordered a post to begin the crown work. This was at least a couple weeks ago. I really expected him to contact me by now but maybe he just got sick. I’ve also been meaning to email him but just haven’t gotten around to it. Maybe today.
Our Costco membership expires on Friday and according to the last person we spoke to (Costco Cancun) we could only receive our 2% rebate on the exact day of expiration. Not such a huge deal and I’m sure it can be circumvented (if, in fact, it is correct) but we’ll head there today to get tires for the van and see what we can do about the membership. We don’t use it much down here anymore
(with all the stores in Playa) but we do in the US.

We are waiting for a quote from one contratista for our cement cabinets in the kitchen. Don Manuel (who did our recamera and other cement work last year) came by yesterday, but since he didn’t show up on Monday, I had started the job of tile removal and didn’t want to turn it over to him. He also gave us a kind of high quote so I’ll let him think about it before I negotiate with him. We’ll probably get going on Thursday (unless he continues to show up a couple days after he’s supposed to) or next Monday. Of course, if the guy I think will come in really high comes in at a reasonable rate, we might have him do it. I know Manuel is hungrier though and the other guy has lots of work lined up, so I’m leaning towards Manuel anyway. Jamie wondered yesterday if we couldn’t do the work ourselves (considering all the concrete work I’ve been doing anyway).

Around the first week of January I ordered some medical transcription materials. The company had some trouble communicating the invoice to the importer (Merkalink) and after much negotiation and emails and calls, the package was cleared yesterday. It is in San Luis Potosi as I type and you can follow the journey here.
And that is Mexico on Mexican time.

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dr Paul // Feb 20, 2008 at 5:15 pm
    We first ran into Mexican Time in San Felipe, while we waited for the Christmas Parade to begin. The publicized time of 5.30p passed and no one, except us, had a concern. The folks in the crowd chatted, the kids played, the vendors vended, etc. By 7.30p and no parade we had pretty much got into it. What difference did it make if the parade started at 5.30 or 7.30 - enjoy today as it comes to you. Kathleen’s email signature pretty much says it well:
    Look to this day!
    For it is life, the very life of life.
    In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence;
    The bliss of growth,
    The glory of action,
    The splendor of achievement.
    For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision.
    But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
    And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
    Look well, therefore, to this day.
    * ~ Sanskrit Proverb *
    love, papa
  • 2 jody // Feb 21, 2008 at 7:36 am
    It used to take me about 24 hours to adjust to Mexico time, but now when we go (which the last time has been way, way too long)I get into it on the plane after my first drink.
    I love your moon pics….it was overcast and foggy here, so we missed the eclipse. We’ll catch it in 2010!
  • 3 michelle // Feb 21, 2008 at 10:56 pm
    AMAZING photos. we grabbed a quick glance at it as we ran outside to look, but then ran right back in as it was -8 outside. it was still a beauty!
  • 4 Kerry // Feb 27, 2008 at 8:44 am
    OHHH!!! Your eclipse photos are great Kathy!!! My girl did a science fair project on the moon and when we get back from the fair this evening I’ll have to show her. Just gorgeous!
    You can see her project on my blog btw - click on the pics and you can blow them up to read it.
  • 5 Christina // Feb 28, 2008 at 12:01 am
    Loved the eclipse pics too. How did you do it? Love to all, C
  • 6 jody // Mar 5, 2008 at 11:19 am
    I was listening to some Buffett this morning and was reminded of your post about Mexico time.
    OOhhhh Mexico, baby!!!!
    Way down here
    You need a reason to move
    Feel a fool
    Running your stateside games
    Lose your load
    Leave your mind behind
    Baby, james
    Oooh, mexico
    It sounds so simple
    I just got to go
    The sun’s so hot
    I forgot to go home
    I guess i’ll have to go now
    Americanos’ got the sleepy eyes
    But his body’s still shakin’ like a live wire
    Senorita with her eyes on fire
    Don’t you know
    Ohh Mexico
    It sounds so sweet
    With the sun sinking low
    The moons so bright
    Likes to light up the night
    Make everything alright.

Norte numero 32

It is absolutely FREEZING here today and yesterday. We’re starting to scrounge for socks and shoes but Jamie cavorts around in shorts and short sleeved shirts while the rest of us are robbing the birds for their feathers and stuffing the down into our sweatshirts for extra warmth.

We headed to Tulum last Sunday and decided we would do this (or some type of trip) every Sunday now. We had such a good time and forgot how simple and beautiful it is to get out of the “drudge” of living in a palapa on the Caribbean. Seriously, though, we are generally working on palapa stuff or killing cockroaches (thanks to Deb and Ian, we are now armed with both Boric Acid and Diatomaceous Earth) or reading to the kids or washing the 37th load of dishes or the 179th load of laundry and before we know it the day is gone. We haven’t even been exercising for the past week; no Yoga and no walks as we’ve been directing the abaniles in our concrete kitchen cabinet job. Jesse has been jonsing for a Tulum trip, the only beach the boys have been able to boogieboard, and every Sunday something conspired to delay the trip another week.

So it was wonderful to finally hit the road and head south and see all the changes the past couple months have brought to the carretera and surrounding area. I have had an itch to explore the Sian K’an for longer than Jesse has been jonsing for Tulum and as we somehow managed to get an early start, I decided we’d kill some burning sun time by exploring the Biosphere. The kids were too antsy to explore but agreed to come back the next week so I can get my Sian K’an fix so we headed back to Tulum and had an amazingly enjoyable day; so much so that we decided to make it a weekly event.
After getting a couple bids on the kitchen cabinet project, I decided to give Manuel the opportunity as he seems to have less of it than the resident contractor, David. Unfortunately, Manuel never showed and David met his price, so we had David start the cabinet job and are so happy we did. They did a wonderful job and we couldn’t be happier both with the job, the time they took and the ability to now put stuff away instead of dumping it into Rubbermaid tubs.

Since that job seemed to go so swimmingly, we decided to finish the top of the recamera and put a proper finish to the floor. We purchased some tile during our last trip to Home Depot and figured out a design. Yesterday, Daniel (the cement worker) laid all the tile and today he began the floor finish work. I had headed to Comex (the paint store) to get the opinion of the professionals as to what (if any) color to add to the cement, what color of cement (grey or white) to use and whether or not the polvo (calica) would add a color element. Thus armed, I headed back with materials and after Daniel finished tiling today he began the mixture of color, cement (blanco, natch) and polvo to make the floor finish.

I had previously arranged to take some kids to an Art Class given by the Casa de Cultura, so I left Jamie in charge and headed out. I returned to utter chaos. The abaniles were completely unable to make the color turn out; they started with red/chocolate and made the transition to dirty pink; neither of which have a chance to complement the tile. They needed to wet down the existing concrete and as such Jamie, Jesse, Pike and the neighbor boys ran around ala Dick van Dyke, moving couches, bookcases, the fridge, stove, laundry, etc. as water cascaded all over the inner area of the palapa AND the inside of the recamera.   Dirt and polvo covered every surface of anything in the palapa (and since the trailer has been emptyied to combat cockroaches, that means EVERYTHING), cement splashed everywhere from the comedor to the new kitchen cabinets. It was a mess of epic proportions. All I could do was laugh and make dinner and hope that tomorrow brings us a solution for the floor upstairs. I’m sure they’ll figure something out but I hope it doesn’t involve large quantities of cemento blanco as that stuff is about twice the price of the cemento gris.

I’m going to be REALLY ready for Sunday this week!

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jody // Feb 29, 2008 at 7:45 am
    Oh man! I love it that you laughed and made dinner.
    Life there sounds really wonderful, even with the cement mess!
  • 2 michelle // Mar 7, 2008 at 12:45 am
  • 3 Aunt Kathy // Mar 7, 2008 at 12:00 pm
    If you want cinnamon stars, POST! How many do you want for you and the family?
    Aunt Kathy

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