Events of the day

MONDAY DAWNED chill, gray and ugly. And in the afternoon, it started to rain, which is blasphemy here in February. Climate change. We should do something!

People wonder about folks who retire to Mexico. They ask, “What do you do all day?” The first thing to remember is that chores take longer here than they do above the border. This was very true years ago, but it’s becoming less so now, due to the internet.

After whole-wheat biscuits covered with honey at 8 a.m., I sat before the H-P All-in-One and loaded the website for the state government, specifically the page dealing with car taxes. Dial in the serial numbers and print out the page you take to the bank to pay.

The fee for each of the cars, 926 pesos or about $50 U.S., was the same even though one is a 2009 model and the other is 2014. Twenty years ago, it was necessary to stand in a long line to pay at a government office. Now you take the printed form and go to the bank. Much easier. The bank also has the sticker for the car window.

But the bank visit was for the afternoon. The morning still required other activities like the exercise walk around the neighborhood plaza. Just as we were heading out afoot at 10, José Sosa drove up. He’s the guy who did lots of painting here a few weeks ago.

Now he’s painting my sister-in-law’s coffee shop downtown, and he wanted to borrow one of my ladders. You’d think a painter would have ladders. He has plenty of other gear, but not the ladder he needed, so off he went with my ladder.

I have lots of ladders.

After the second breakfast at 11 a.m., I entertained myself with YouTube videos, and my child bride knitted. Lunch happened at 2 p.m., as always. We had meat pies she made on Saturday plus minestrone I made last week. Mexico life is thrilling.

Then we killed 90 minutes watching a show on Netflix. At 4 we headed downtown in the two cars. She had to pass by a cousin’s house to pick up rent for our Mexico City condo. The cousin is footing that bill for a nephew attending a university in the capital.

I parked on the plaza and walked to the bank to pay the car taxes only to find the bank closed due to a national holiday I had neglected to notice. We have so many holidays, it’s tough to keep up. They usually entail a long weekend no matter the day on which the holiday falls. The holiday weekend is called a puente, a bridge.

It bridges from the weekend to the holiday, and you get more days off. We embrace reasons not to work.

The puente also caused my Social Security payment not to arrive at the bank. It’ll arrive mañana, I suppose. My car tax errand stymied, I headed to the coffee shop, sat at a sidewalk table, ordered a café Americano negro, pulled my Kindle from my man bag, and tugged a scarf tight around my neck. It was raining, cold and nasty.

There were wool gloves on my hands with the fingertips missing. My child bride knitted the gloves. You must have skin showing to flip pages on the Kindle.

crawdadI’m reading a book titled Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, her first novel. It’s very good and, at one point, gave me a chuckle. I knew something Delia did not because I am old, and she is younger. In referring to a school lunch served to one of the characters, she mentioned a “carton of milk.” This was 1952.

There were no cartons of milk in 1952, neither in schools nor delivered at dawn to your front door. Just bottles. Cartons came years later. I miss the bottles.

—-

Tomorrow we’re off to the nearby state capital for our weekly shopping trip, but we’ll have a passenger, our nephew, the kid once known as the Little Vaquero, whom we are taking to an ophthalmologist. He’s not a Little Vaquero anymore. He’ll be 17 next month.

His eyesight is extremely bad and has been for years. His glasses are old, and so are his contacts, which he prefers because he thinks he looks dorky in glasses. His mother’s approach to this situation is: mañana. She does nada. So we’re stepping in.

—-

As I left the coffee shop this afternoon and walked through a light rain to the Honda, I stopped at pastry shop to buy a brownie. It was not as good as my child bride makes — few things are — but it was darn tasty. These were the events of the day.

Now, at almost 7 p.m., it’s still raining and ugly. I blame Greta.

20 thoughts on “Events of the day

  1. I beg to differ about the cartons. I was born in 1943 and I remember the gable top cartons as early as 4th grade. We would finish the milk and then conceal our diced beets in the cartons so we could get dessert, usually a cookie or pudding, for eating our vegetables. This was in a wealthy school district south of Houston, Texas.

    Like

  2. I wish our car taxes were equal, Felipe! I paid $384 (for our 2018) and around $100 for the 2009. A few years they will be.

    You are right. There are a LOT of puentes in Mexico. (Usually they fell on days I needed to get something done, and couldn’t due to closures.) Another “charm” of Mexico, I guess.

    Saludos a tu señora guapa, Felipe!

    Like

    1. Mike: Your time will come! It always amuses me to see people saying it’s not really cheaper to live down here anymore. Yeah, right.

      Saludos to you and yours too, señor. Enjoy the day. It’s still dark and wet here. Rained much of the night. In February!

      Like

  3. Yep. Did the first five grades in a small town in central Texas, the next two in Southern Colorado, and the balance of the twelve back in Texas. Milk cartons were in all the lunchrooms. Also had lots of government subsidized peanut butter and cheese. Food was about the same everywhere and varied only as to the talents of the cooks which was sometimes excellent.

    Like

    1. Ricardo: Okay, so you too. I’m beginning to doubt the memories I’m seeing here because milk bottles, not cartons, were the only thing around in my formative days. I never saw a carton before the mid-1950s. It was bottles all the way. I loved them. Memories are not as sharp as we age. I wonder who’s failing here, me or you and Sue. Hmmmm.

      Like

    2. Ricardo, P.S.: Wikipedia says: “From the 1960s onward in the United States, with improvements in shipping and storage materials, glass bottles have almost completely been replaced with (cartons).”

      From the 1960s on, well, that does not really help because it did not happen overnight. It began in the 1950s.

      Like

    3. My first-grade year was the fall of 1949. Milk cartons were in. At least in the lunchroom. Never saw one otherwise. Of course, we milked two cows every day and had whole milk and all the cream and butter we could consume. That lasted until I entered the 8th grade, and we began a slightly more urban life. Never lived anywhere milk was delivered to anyplace except the store where we could buy it.

      I never much liked milking those cows.

      Like

  4. I enjoyed reading “Where the Crawdads Sing.” We had cartons in my elementary school in the 1970s. I do recall bottles delivered to the house though in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Now they have bags that need to be poked with a straw to be drunk.

    Like

    1. Laurie: Of course, they were cartons in the 1970s. That’s way late because you’re way young. Kinda surprised that bottles were still being delivered to homes in the late 1960s and early ’70s, however. As for that milk in bags, I have read about that existing in the U.S. I have never seen it. Sounds weird.

      Like

      1. In Honduras, the best milk in the country, produced by the agricultural college, was distributed in liter-size bags. The small individual-size bags in U.S. schools are easy to handle. The liter bags took me sometime to get used to. I cut the tops and emptied them into a plastic jug. Actually, bags are a boon for distributors who can pack them more efficiently than cartons or bottles. We had all manner of things distributed in bags in Central America, such as ketchup, mustard, etc.

        Like

  5. We had bottles delivered at least until the mid ‘60s with those little tokens that fit in the top. Different colours for milk, cream and other stuff I can’t recall. We also had doctors who did house calls back then. Life was simple and functional back then. We had a Dutch gardener who wore wooden shoes and a night watchman of sorts who was about 70 and checked most of the houses in the neighbourhood. Virtually all my close relatives lived within walking distance. Now they’re spread out throughout the world. Things change. The house my father bought for $43,000 in ‘58 sold for $1.7 million in ‘98, got demolished and replaced with a concrete monstrosity and sold again in 2016 for around $15 million. Things change.

    Like

    1. Brent: We still have doctors who make house calls down here, or I have heard so. Never seen one do it though. Never tried to get one to do it.

      That house your father bought in 1958 made a hell of an appreciation in 40 years. Jeez. My first wife and I almost bought a home in New Orleans in the late 1960s for $16,000. God knows what it’s worth these days. It’s in a very chichi neighborhood now.

      Like

  6. My father who was an electrical engineer built a nice ‘50s-style house to have his family, and then the big sprawling money pit up the street came up for sale two years later. My mom wanted it. I think it was a good decision looking back on it. Most of the appreciation happened after Dad sold it. That’s the way it goes. It’s just a bit sad that no homes in these neighbourhoods will ever be affordable to people with jobs. Chinese money-laundering made sure of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I imagine that retirees in Mexico do roughly what retirees NOB do: wake up in the morning with nothing to do and go to bed at night with only half of it done.

    Like

Comments are closed.