Tag: bats

Dentists, dust, cars, maids, Lent, etc.

WE WENT TO the dentist yesterday, both of us. Actually, it was two dentists. One for her, and another for me.

My child bride was to get, after three months of waiting for the posts to set in her jaw, her four new implants. She ended up getting three. There was some detail with the fourth, and she’ll be returning in about 10 days to get that last one.

While she was doing that for over three hours, I drove about 10 blocks away to a specialist who does root canals. That went well, if longer than usual, two hours in the chair, and then I returned to the other dentist to pick up my better half.

A friend in Arizona told me yesterday that he needs a root canal, and his dentist’s fee will be $2,500. That’s U.S. dollars. My root canal cost $3,200 pesos, which is about $172 in U.S. dollars. This cost difference is astounding.

We have no dental insurance, but we don’t need it. Unfortunately, my friend in Arizona does not have dental insurance either, and he does need it. Just one more example of how life in Mexico is superior to life above the Rio Bravo.

* * * *

THE SEASON OF DUST

shelves
Veranda shelves where dust and bat poop accumulate.

This morning, like most mornings, I swept the downstairs veranda and wiped off the shelves. All the shelves were dusty, and some harbored bat turds that had dropped from the roof tiles where bats doze during the day.

We’re heading into full-tilt dry season, which means lots of dust, inside and out. The dust inside drives my child bride nuts. We really should hire a maid, but we never do. The minor reason is that we don’t want another ongoing household expense. The major reason is that we don’t want anyone underfoot here.

In the years we’ve lived here, we’ve had two maids. I forget why we fired the first, but we fired the second because she was unreliable. For months after she departed, we noticed things had been stolen, mostly clothing and music CDs. If we ever hire another maid, we will not leave her here by herself, which is another reason not to hire a maid.

* * * *

CARS, CARS, CARS

Unlike so many Gringos who make the wise decision to move over the Rio Bravo, I did not bring a car with me. Delta Airlines provided my transportation.

I bought my first car in September 2000. It was a little Chevy Pop, something that was not sold in the United States. It was almost a clone of the Geo Metro, a very nice little ride. Four years later, we bought a 2004 Chevrolet Meriva, another car that’s not sold in the United States. It was made in Brazil and sold in other nations around the world as a Vauxhall, sometimes an Opel. It too was a very nice car.

A bit over four years later, we bought our 2009 Honda CR-V. Aside from some design flaws that only the driver notices, this is a very nice car, and it’s still serving us well.

About four years later, again, we bought my wife’s 2014 Nissan March, and yet again, it’s a car that is not sold in the United States. It is small and sweet.

The Honda is almost a decade old now. It’s been great. However, a large plastic part  where the front bumper should be — why do cars no longer have bumpers? — fell off recently in the state capital. No huge issue, and a mechanic reattached it for free.

Is this a harbinger of things to come? Will we be tooling down the autopista through avocado groves and narco hangouts toward the sands of the Pacific when something else falls off or simply stops functioning? It’s a concern.

I don’t know when I’ll buy it, but I have decided on its replacement: the Kia Soul.

soul

It’s smaller than the Honda CR-V, but it’s far roomier than it looks. We went by the dealership in the capital city recently to see if my tall, lanky, aging self could get into the Soul with no problem. It was a piece of cake.

The front seat is incredibly spacious. The back seat not so much, but we never sit in the back seat. The safety ratings are good, and so are customer reviews.

Inexplicably, when I tried to sit in the significantly larger Kia Sportage, I cracked my skull on the top of the door opening. Kia, a South Korean firm, has been making a big splash in Mexico the last couple of years.

When this change will take place is unknown. Currently, the Honda is working fine. I recently bought new floor mats and had it waxed for the first time. Soon, I’ll need four new tires, no small expense. But when a new car is purchased, I’ll become a Soul Man.

* * * *

BEEF AND WALKING

I wrote the above this morning before heading out on my daily exercise march around the neighborhood plaza. The butcher shop in the next block, run by another Felipe, was closed due to its being Friday during Lent.

Semana Santa is just a couple of weeks away, so he’ll soon be able to sell again on Fridays. That won’t affect me, however, because I rarely eat beef, being more of a chicken and salad man. It always amuses me that Catholics think God worries about what they eat.

And Jews think God wants guys to cut off the tip of their dingus.

I’m sure he has more important things on his mind, like how to get the Mohammedans to see the light and put down the scimitars.

Evening on the veranda

veranda

THIS EVENING I sat atop a rocker just after sunset, alone, inhaling the night air, something I did more often years ago before they invented Netflix and the internet.

This photo was shot 14 years ago, but it hasn’t changed to any appreciable degree.

It was fairly quiet, and there was a slight breeze which excited a couple of the wind chimes, so I had musical accompaniment, a fine thing especially when it’s soft.

It was the hour of bats, but I saw none. Maybe I had sat too late, or maybe it’s just not that time of year. I lose track, as I lose track of lots of things.

It’s a good place to sit at all hours, but especially evenings or nights. If there are bats heading out for their nocturnal meal, that’s just gravy for me or a dessert of sorts.

I should do this more often. That’s what I said to myself.

I hope I remember.

Bats and teeth

THERE ARE TWO items on today’s agenda.

The first is bats. They have returned to the Hacienda in a goodly but uncertain number, something they do every year about this time.

Must have something to do with the rain’s arrival.

There are a couple of ways to know they’ve returned. One is to be on the veranda downstairs at dusk. It’s their takeoff time. The other sure clue is the pile of bat crap every morning on the floor of their corner of the veranda.

It’s a sizable display.

The first method is fun. The second … not so much. The bat crap must be swept with care and tossed into the yard trash.

I assume that it’s Mexican free-tails that we have. I assume this for two reasons. One is their name. Mexican. And the other is that we are firmly in the middle of their range.

Over the years I’ve had some exciting moments with these bats. One morning, we sat on the veranda with coffee and bagels, and I noticed a bat trapped in the nylon strings of a wind chime.

I donned leather gloves and liberated him. Another time, while cleaning on the veranda, I was surprised to find a couple of the little, brown buggers sleeping peacefully inside a sombrero hanging on the wall.

More recently, just about two years ago, we encountered one hanging from a light fixture in our Downtown Casita. I captured and liberated him too.

I’ve become quite the batman.

I couldn’t understand at first how he got into the casita, but finally I noticed the chimney was a direct route.

I have put wire screen over the top of the chimney. We rent the Downtown Casita to vacationers, and I doubt they would want to awake one morning and see a bat hanging from the bedroom light fixture. That’s where the bat was, in the bedroom.

I like bats, and you should too. They’re an essential element of the ecosystem. They gobble lots of mosquitoes.

* * * *

Pirate smile

Let’s move now to the second item on today’s agenda. Teeth. About a month ago I wrote about my first step in getting a tooth implant (A dental case).

After having the problem tooth pulled, the dentist inserted a metal post in my jawbone and covered it with a temporary tooth. It looked quite snazzy.

The next step was a three-month wait till the bone connects with the post. Then the permanent tooth will be applied.

Three weeks later, the temporary tooth fell off. I phoned the dentist down in the capital city, and he said come right over. I did, and he quickly reattached it.

Two weeks more passed. It fell off again. That was yesterday. I still have almost two months more before the permanent tooth can be attached.

A bulb lit over my head.

I phoned the dentist again and asked: Is this thing totally cosmetic, just for looks? Yep, he replied.

See you two months, I countered.

I always wanted to look like a pirate with a snaggletoothed smile. Now I do, and it’s a look I’ll sport till August. The gap is not directly in front, but it’s not hidden way back either. It’s midway, quite apparent when I give a good grin.

One of the joys of retirement is that you can look however the devil you want. I look like a pirate.

Or a Mexican bricklayer.

Energy of autumn

FALL MAKES  me want to do something. It puts a spring into my step.

In just the last few days, the presence of autumn has become more obvious. Leaves fallen from the peach tree litter the Jesus Patio, and the summertime dawn temperature of 60 has plummeted to 58.

So, this morning, with that spring in my step, I cast procrastination aside and decided to do something. First, I did what I do every Saturday morning, and that’s water the potted plants in the veranda.*

Dave Brubeck played Take Five  through the living room window.

fallEnergy up, I cleaned the glass-top table and web chairs on the Jesus Patio. I brushed dust and bat crap from the shelves along the veranda walls. And I swept the floor.

I cleaned the psychedelic ceramic birdbath and changed the water. I swept the Honda carport but not the Nissan’s.

I stuck my head into the bakery workshop and said hi to my child bride, baking in a cloud of flour. It smelled good in there.

I walked upstairs and oiled the squeaky parts of the gym set.

Fall has always been my favorite season. When I lived in Dixie, it was as far as you could get from the next summer swelter. There is also a certain sadness — a tristeza — involved, but a sweet sort.

In spite of that, fall holds optimism for me. It inspires hope, and that’s always a good thing. It’s fall, not spring, that reminds me of love.

* * * *

* I am reading my third excellent book in a row about India by William Dalrymple. There are lots of verandas in India, and I like the word. Plus, it applies to what we have here at the Hacienda. So veranda will replace the old “downstairs terraza.” The upstairs terraza will remain a terraza because it is not a veranda. It’s mostly uncovered.