The lights go out

high
Down thataway on the edge of our plaza.

IT WAS 10:30 this morning when my child bride came back from the butcher shop just down the street and told me the electricity would be cut soon and wouldn’t be back on till 2 p.m.

Somebody had told the butcher, and the butcher told her.

Whenever a native tells you something is going to happen at a specific hour, feel free to roll your eyeballs. It could happen at any time.

But turning the electricity off came quickly, about 10 minutes after she returned. Blap! Everything was off. Were it not daytime, we would have been in darkness. As it happened, we were in dimness.

On the rare occasions this happened in Houston, for maintenance, the light company would leave a note on all the houses in the neighborhood the previous day. In Mexico, however, they prefer to surprise you.

Were it not for the butcher, we would have been surprised.

I poked my head out the front gate. There were light-company trucks all over the place. The job at hand was to pull a new cable from down on the left to up on the right, about two long blocks, to the neighborhood plaza.

Electric service in our hardscrabble barrio is pretty reliable. Not as reliable as it was in Houston, but pretty darn reliable, and for a tiny fraction of the price. We pay the peso equivalent of about 12 bucks a month.

The power was restored by 2:20 p.m. Just 20 minutes later than promised.

pole
And just outside the Hacienda’s gate.

Getting up quite early

color
Our cool morning world today.

I’M AN EARLY riser. I also like cool weather, which is one reason I live on a mountaintop and not on the edge of a beach. I sweated enough all those years in New Orleans and Houston.

This morning, I was up at 5:15. I was wearing a tank top — still am as I write this — and after checking the dismal news on both sides of the border on my H-P desktop, I slipped on my terraza sandals and went outside.

The thermometer on the wall told me it was 66 degrees. It was overcast, apparently due to a big storm in the Pacific. I liked the look of things. And the sound. There wasn’t much sound aside from the chickens next door.

Things looked good, so I got my camera and took the shot. See that tallest tree there in the yard? That’s the damnable peach, which trashes the grass every summer. That baby is coming down early next year, to my child bride’s dismay.

We’ll be installing a nice stone patio in the whole area. No trash trees allowed.

Maybe we’ll get some rain today due to the storm. That would be good and cooling. But I hope it doesn’t start before 10 a.m. because that’s when Abel the Deadpan Yardman comes to cut the grass.

But now it’s time to head downstairs for croissantitos and marmalade.

downs

Odds & Ends south of the border

LIFE CONSISTS of details strung together, some good, some bad.

We live next door to a hot-springs motel that was constructed over a decade ago in what was an empty lot where a lonely cow lived. The motel has not provided us with as many interesting moments as we had imagined.

The traffic there is fairly constant. It’s a nice, well-maintained place.

Recently, the owner installed an automatic gate opener in the exit lane. It makes a whirring sound every time it’s activated as satiated customers depart.

We hear the whirring in the Hacienda, and we call it the Sound of Satisfaction.

* * * *

Credit card fraud, etc.

We’ll be going downtown early this morning to the bank. If you get there at 8:30, the wait isn’t bad before you can talk with one of the officers.

We have a number of issues to resolve. My child bride’s debit card is about to expire. The electricity bill for the Hacienda was not paid automatically from our checking account last time, as it’s done for years. And I need a new credit card because we had to cancel one last week due to hefty fraudulent charges.

odds&endsI only use credit cards online, never out in the real world. How do crooks put charges on it? This is not the first time it’s happened, but this week’s bogus charges are considerably higher than ever before. Good thing I keep a sharp eye on card movements.

Due to such perils, I consider four a minimum number of cards. All of my credit cards are issued by our Mexican bank. I had American credit cards when I moved south, but they’ve fallen by the wayside.

Anyway, if you live in Mexico you should have Mexican credit cards.

If you don’t care if your name is engraved on the card, and I don’t, you can pick up another credit card immediately at the bank. Ditto for the debit cards.

Our bank is BBVA Bancomer, the best bank in Mexico.

The worst bank is HSBC.

* * * *

Sonogram of my insides

More has happened on the health front. Recently, I got a colonoscopy, which I wrote about here, Getting a hose up my butt, and then a few days later I wrote a companion piece, An inkling of death.

The gastroenterologist who put the hose up my butt, due to some blood work he found suspicious, recommended I get a sonogram of my liver. I did that yesterday, and the doctor said everything looked okay.

The doctors keep trying to kill me, but I defy them.

The sonogram, done by a doctor not a technician in a high-tech lab in the state capital, cost the peso equivalent of $27.

Beats the devil out of ObamaCare.

* * * *

Nasty little birds

New ImageI’m battling birds. Some years, but not all, I have to fight off swallows around this time who want to build their wretched mud/spit nests on the roof beams along the edge of the Hacienda’s exterior.

They stick muddy spit up there, and I scrape it off from below with a hoe. They try it again. I scrape again, and so on. This has been going on for a week. Some years they bypass us entirely. Most years, actually.

But they are stubborn this year. Some people say it’s bad luck to remove their nests, but I don’t care. They’re nasty.

* * * *

Cheese and chairs

Within two blocks of the lab in the state capital, we found a cheese shop, so we bought some superlative cheese off a huge wheel. We also found a specialty workshop that we’ll be using. It’s a guy who renovates old office chairs.

At this moment, I’m sitting in an elegant office chair that I bought about three months ago at Office Depot. It was a replacement for the previous elegant office chair I had used for many years.

Alas, the old one is in bad shape, even sporting tape on one arm.

How fortunate to have found a shop that renovates old office chairs. When we return next week to pick up the official results of my sonogram, I’ll be dropping off the old office chair. Perhaps it has many more years ahead of it, supporting my butt because I prefer the older one.

Mexicans do everything.

We’ll likely cross the street for more cheese too. It was wonderful cheese.

 

The waiting game

datura
Last night’s view out the bedroom window.

WHAT ARE WE waiting for? The rainy season when everything gets cooler around here till about October or so.

It rained early last month. Quite a bit, and some people — maybe even me for a brief spell — thought the rainy season had made a very premature debut. But it was not the rainy season. It was an aberration.

It stopped, and now we’re in a normal place for the first week of June: dry.

But last month’s early nuttiness caused the grass to grow, and it inspired the golden datura. I had to hire Abel the Deadpan Yardman to cut the grass, which took off like a rocket ship but then went back to sleep. We have two datura trees, which I whack back to high stumps every winter.

Last night just before the two of us, a couple of fans blowing in the room, reclined for a night of slumber, I took this photo. It’s not a very good photo, but it shows that the datura have recovered for 2018. They’re right there outside the window, sending in sweet smells.