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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Geezer dreams

easy-rider-dennis-hooper-peter-fonda-jack-nicholson

OVER THE PAST month I’ve been embracing some very thrilling ideas.

Dreams that have reached the very edge of realization though the reality has yet to happen and likely will not.

We all have dreams, but what sets these dreams of mine apart is that they were given very serious consideration. One or both might still happen, but likely not.

Without further ado, here they are:

(1) Buy a motorcycle. I’m a biker from way back and even though I sold my last ride around 1990, the siren call remains. Over the past month, research has narrowed my future ride — if the dream were to get off the ground — down to this:

The 2016 Suzuki Boulevard C50, an 800-cc, cruiser-style machine. I think I would look very fine astride it.

Much of motorcycling is about style, of course, and I’ve even investigated that. Were I to buy the bike, I would also order appropriate accoutrements from this place.

They’ve told me they ship to Mexico. I told you that I was looking into this very seriously.

I already have a biker babe here in the house, the most important accoutrement of all.

Given the spectacular exchange rate these days, the motorcycle would cost about $8,000. The Harley Sportster I purchased in 1977 cost $5,000. That the comparable Suzuki is just $3,000 more almost 40 years later is surprising.

(2.) Buy a new car. This is slightly more likely to happen, but just slightly. My current ride is a 2009 Honda CR-V, which I purchased new. I’ve never liked it.

It’s about eight years old now, and has never given me a lick of real trouble. It’s a great car. Its sole defects are some design lunacies that only the driver would notice.

Of course, that is always me.

No matter. If I buy a new car, I’ve narrowed it down to the 2016 Chevrolet Trax.* It would be the fourth new car I’ve purchased since moving to Mexico, if you don’t count the 2014 Nissan March we bought for my child bride 18 months ago.

With the current resale value of the Honda factored in, the Chevrolet would set me back about $8,000, just like the motorcycle. How about that? I have $8,000.

I don’t need a new car, and I probably would perish on the bike, so neither of these dreams is likely to happen.

But you never know.

Magic happens in Mexico.

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* The two cars previous to the Honda were Chevrolets, a Pop (Geo Metro clone) and a Meriva, also available as a German Opel. I loved them both.

Easy living

hammock

I RECONNECTED  with an old friend recently in San Miguel de Allende. We hadn’t seen one another in 15 years.

Over breakfast he asked me about living in Mexico, what most I liked or disliked about it. After pondering a moment, the first thing out of my mouth was that living in Mexico is easier than living above the Rio Bravo. And cheaper, of course.

This came to my mind again three days ago due to an event that beautifully illustrates what I said.

Walking out to the Honda with the intention of going downtown for a nice café Americano negro and to run a few errands, I discovered the battery was stone dead.

It was the second battery in the seven-year-old car, but I had changed the first battery before it left me stranded.

That same morning I had driven the car to various places with no indication the battery had one foot in the grave. The car cranked immediately with no hesitation.

In the afternoon, however, I was surprised at the secondary effects. The doors opened, but the trunk door wouldn’t. The automatic gear shift would not budge from Park.

Here’s what happened next when the easy and inexpensive elements of Mexican life came into play:

My wife had already driven downtown in her Nissan March. I phoned her and explained the problem. She drove home, first stopping at a garage where a mechanic immediately dropped what he was doing and came with her.

I was not totally convinced at that point that the problem was a dead battery, due to the odd — to me — side effects.

The mechanic determined that it was a dead battery. We three returned to the Nissan, dropped him off at his garage, and continued to a battery store to buy a new one.

We returned to the garage, picked up the mechanic, and the three of us returned to the Hacienda where he installed the new battery. My wife headed to the gym in the Nissan.

The mechanic and I drove the Honda to his garage, where he charged me 50 pesos, about three bucks.

The entire drama lasted about 90 minutes.

Figs and knives

Fig

FIGS HEREABOUTS have been quite pricey of late, but that has not caused a price increase in this fig bread that I like to buy warm from a basket on the smaller downtown plaza. About $1.25 or 16 pesos.

There are two versions, the integral and the other one, called nata. I always get the integral because it’s a bit better on the healthy scale. I buy it, bag it, and walk to a sidewalk coffee shop on the big plaza, sit, slice and eat some. I never eat it all because it’s too much. But I’ve been known to share.

I slice it with that knife, which I tote in my pocket. I’ve carried that knife in my right pocket for many years. It is very sturdy and has but one blade, which is all you need. I bought the knife in a street market for about three bucks, and it’s served me very well. It has a snazzy, wood handle. Well made and heavy.

When we bought the property where the Hacienda now sits, back in 2002, there was a fig tree in residence. Alas, we had to remove it a couple of years later to construct a carport for the second car, the little Chevy, which we sold last year to buy the new Nissan March.

But that has nothing to do with either figs or knives, just to let you know what happened to the fig tree. A few months ago, my child bride came home with a tiny fig plant in a little pot. It’s now in a planter in the yard, growing sweetly. One day it will be a tree planted in the ground, full of figs.

So I sit at the sidewalk table with warm fig bread that I’ve cut with my snazzy knife, and I admire the brown-skinned beauties passing by, and I think, Jeez, I wish I had done this when I was far younger.