The year starts (like last year) with me parked in the CRA El Golfo RV Park. I shall stay here most of the year. I have committed Wireless Hot Spot Service for the next season.
I shall no longer apologize for these pages being a consolidation of my mental meandering. After all, it is my web page.
I have finally started my Wireless Hot Spot: the El Golfo Wireless Network.
Social Security – Private Accounts -- Short Changing our Future
Net Carbs -- More Lies From the Food Industry where High carbs translate into high profits
Semana Sancta (Easter Week) I visit Megan. She again shows me why she is the light of my life. She has been shit upon by the world for most of her life and although somewhat bitter about the shit, still survives with a sense of humor and love for her family.
Next week I visit Yécora again. I shall drive this time. I like the bus but I have too many things to do this time.
Terri Shiavo -- Of all of the governmental abominations
Corporation - Siemens
Benefits - Hewitt Corporation --
Siemens War on its Retirees
I am getting ready to move my dinosaur. It has been planted here so long I am not quite sure what to do but I am slowly getting ready for my trip back to the USA for the summer.
I have started using the Netscape Composer for editing my files. It is unbelievably cumbersome. and I have to go to the HTML edit mode to get it to do paragraphs properly. Why go to a trashy HTML editor? Is there any other kind. First Page only does HTML and does not allow you to edit WYSIWYG. If you Toggle the WYSIWYG display on, the darn program hops from frame to frame and you can get nothing done. Using Microsoft Word will get you files 20% too big with all sorts of embedded HTML errors. I mean if you send one of its files to the W3 compliance editor, you will have nightmares. Any suggestions?
Yes. I know no one cares. 6 months ago I found I was not making progress on my biography and so I called her to see if she would add some things about our life together. I know. I asked for it. The response depressed me for months. She went through the pages, complained about them, and said there was my version, her version, and the truth. It was worse than listening to President Bush. I shall not do that again. (neither one) Some people are just mean and they like to take their meanness out on anyone who will accept it. It has been 20 years since we were married. She was right: we should never have been married. For me to explain meanness for its own sake is worse than trying to find something beneficial about graffiti. Needless to say, she added nothing. She subtracted a lot of good will. After 20 years there are still sides and versions? To set the record straight, you figure it out. Do you believe a compulsive truth-teller or a compulsive liar? Right, they can both have it wrong but when push comes to shove, trying to validate lies is sort of hard on the ego.
They are nice people but they live up in the mountains and have their own life. They are their own family. They do not need an interloper. They are good friends. They just want more from me than I can give back and vice versa.
Since my Morgan Stanley broker 'lost' one third of my retirement account and my older daughter went deadbeat on me, money has been tight. One more year and Social Security (if Bush has not ruined it) will add enough to make my life comfortable. In the mean time I just rotate money through my various accounts trying to keep the interest minimal. I figure Social Security payments will pay off the debt within a year and then I can lead a normal life again. In the meantime, the Bush recovery keeps my retirement accounts a little ahead but not much. I have become a pessimist on the market and think that there is a recession around the corner if we cannot reverse the exportation of our jobs and reduce our usage of gasoline. And someone will have to pay for Bush's war on the world. If he wanted to stop with Iraq, then Bolton and radical, Christian judges would not be issues.
Road Use Taxes -- Are they insane?
This has hit the news big time. I guess they got tired of running head counts of the dead in Iraq. I guess they will leave the poor woman alone when things have run their course. This is simple. THe woman bought a bus ticket and three days (or so) ran away from her family, fiancé, wedding, and supposed personal problems. When she got tired of her joke, she called the local police with a bullshit story about kidnapping and sexual abuse. She was returned home and the nationwide, expensive, man hunt was called off. Personal problems? From all I have heard she is just a selfish little woman with no concern about the people around her. There may be more. There may be a lot more. You want personal problems? You should see what I did not put in this history. Job would cry. Have I asked for sympathy or help? Not really. Did I run away and lie about my problems? Foo.
Now they are trying to say that this poor misguided woman needs sympathy not anger. Thousands of people, some paid, some volunteered, worked their hearts out to find her for a week only to find that she had run away from her 'personal problems'. There are many more details available but the bottom line is that she caused a lot or distress, emotional and financial, and thinks that a few lies will get all forgiven. Even after she repays the costs of the search, she needs to be put into some sort of custody until she understands that the world is not there for her personal amusement, jokes, or problems. People really care about other people. People who do not care for other people, such as this runaway bride, need more than a little professional help. But then those who would provide it could probably be more beneficial elsewhere. The best that can happen here is to forget about this selfish woman and get on with our lives.
I had let the word out that I want to buy a lot here in El Golfo. I was all hooked up ready to leave when a friend told me about a couple of lots for sale. And below the expected price! So I am sticking around until I see how this works out. I hope so. It gives me a home in a place that I already love. I need to improve my Spanish and get a new vehicle. I need two new vehicles. I need one to commute to San Luis/Yuma and another for around town. But then my Tercel works just fine for both right now.
Click the picture to get a bigger view.
My new lot(s). I presume the truck on the left and the car by the house go. The house is on the east lot and you can see the outhouse on the west lot in the back. Trees in the middle and little trees on the front lot line. The big tree on the right is in the neighbors yard but overflows substantially onto my lot. A tall fence will force the tree to be trimmed up. On the left, the house next door is about 1 meter higher elevation than my lot. The fence there is in disrepair and the tire wall is collapsing. This is a problem for the new fence and the integrity of his house which is very close to the lot line. The worse that happens if this collapses is that I get a lot of sand on my lot and the fence is damaged. We need to see the choices here. I do not want to pay for a retaining wall to keep his house from falling down. The tire wall is on my side of the line now.
The lot is deep enough that I can put the RV in front of the house between the truck and the tree. This leaves the west lot totally empty. Or I can put the RV on the west lot but I must move the little trees (to small to see in the picture).
In any case both lots now have electricity and I think water. I shall need to buy a macerator for my sewage. This would permit me to close-up the outhouse and just run a hose to it from the RV. I could bury the 3 cm sewage hose and no one would know how what I had. Gray water is a problem but I think that that could also be dumped into the closed up out house also. This is ALL sand here with no clay at all. Soapy water would just pass through. I cannot dump it on the ground because there is enough grease and other things that I would soon draw flies or worse. The southern sky is clear so that my TV and Internet dishes would have no problems seeing their satellites.
I drive tomorrow to El Centro and the bank to get cash advances and prepare to change my life style again. Not really. I have been here primarily for the last year.. Now I shall have my own home and lot and be able to sit and watch the world. I walked down there today and took pictures and meandered around the neighborhood. The lot is fairly clear as local lots go. Some junk needs to be removed. Some trees moved. Etc. The house on the lot is nicer than I originally thought and looks quite livable. I hope it has a floor. The trailer sitting in the middle is also larger than I originally thought. With some work and money in about three years I could comfortably live here with no RV. If the trailer stays, I could have a guest house. A couple of room AC units from Sam's Club could get the Trailer and the house cooled. Heating would be a different matter. but then it does not really get cold here. I took a walking tour of this part of EL Golfo today. There are many really nice homes being built. Most of the nice homes are built on double lots like this one. I shall never build a really nice house on the land since I do not own it and capital improvements are not to my benefit. I do want a nice place to live.
This is a lease. That is the best a gringo can do here -- and my friend is making the lease very liberal. That means that I cannot sell it for a profit next year. The question is if I am willing to invest this much money in a life style. -- if I walk away I leave everything behind that I cannot take with me.
So much for pipe dreams. The Mexican owner did not have clear title to the lots and so I have wasted time, energy, and a couple of hundred dollars. His 'medical' problem is still in jail. And the summer heat has finally arrived in El Golfo. Other opportunities will show up within the next year and one of them will fit. In the meantime I have opportunity to get my finances back in order. Maybe I shall take the time to visit friends in Yécora.
I turned a little older today. I had a tooth extracted. It had decayed badly enough that the dentist discerned that the remaining tooth could not support a crown. He could cap just one of 3 roots so the tooth came out. SInce it is a back tooth, they cannot implant another tooth or give me a partial. Besides, I could not afford those entities. The dollar cost of the extraction. The pain has not gone away so I cannot discuss that. The real loss will be my having to make sure that I properly chew all food for a while. That will be a reminder for the rest of my life that I should have taken better care of my teeth sooner. I now carry a toothbrush everywhere and a little bag of plastic flossers. These also hold a special place on the back of my sofa and in m glove box. But this is at least 30 years too late. Any mature person I know when asked what they would have done differently when younger always states: "I would have taken better care of my teeth".
Well, I made it back to Yuma. The Tercel went into gear and blew up its engine. I looked back at the rear camera and all I saw was gray. I pulled over and there was steam -- not smoke -- everywhere. Antifreeze. I went to the CRA RV park east of Yuma and set up for a week. My hot water heater blew up. Not just the relief valve. It took the tank with it. Water dripping out the bottom of the RV. And it also took the water pump.
From Friday to Monday I just vegetated and formed my battle plan. I am committed to Yuma with its 110 degree weather for two weeks.
Tuesday, I called the Emergency Road Service and they towed the Tercel and me to the Toyota dealer. I called the insurance company and they are sending an adjuster. I have no idea if I shall get anything from this other than a total loss. I mean the insurance company must first accept this as a valid claim, then accept the car as a total loss, and then accept that my 15-year-old Tercel with the faded, oxidized paint, dent in the front fender, and holes cut into the front bumper for my hitch as worth as much as I think it is. My beloved little car. One of the most valuable gifts that I have received in my entire life (from my precious daughter Megan) and bought from my dear Pakistani woman friend, Amy, is now legacy.
I mean after my house deal fell through, I have no car, I have a major expense in replacing the water heater (and the car), I was sort of depressed. I just received an email from my grade-school friend, Tino. A classmate died this week. I have good health. I have my daughter. I have my friends. I have my life. It is a good day for me.
I have played on the Internet and tried to get resolution from my insurance company. They do not call. They say they FAXed me something. FAXes are not a maybe thing. I did not get any FAX.
I have searched all of the www.cars.com places and any Tercel is sold before I get there. San Diego, Yuma, Phoenix Metro. I found one in Tempe and shall drive there tomorrow. I hope it works out. I am sort of in trouble if it does not. From there I go to Verde Valley to get everything else working. THen try to use up my Coast Resorts points on the trip to San Jose and back to Mexico.
I have managed to buy a 1996 Tercel for $2700. Now I have to get it titled, registered, fixed for towing, and fix an oil leak. I presume that I need to spend about $800 more for all of this. So now I am in the 1000 Trails Park in Verde Valley.
Gale helped me install the towing hitch and the brake unit wiring. I installed the old plates from Texas. Arizona is a plate-keeping state: when you sell an Arizona car you keep the plates. I am in Arizona and hope that nobody cares about the Texas plates until I get the new ones. I have ordered the Texas papers and plates. I have also ordered some towing lamps and wiring and hope that I can get most of this done in two weeks. The new plates will take a month so that I had them shipped to California.
I also have to fix my leveler spring, RV water pump, my RV water heater, and my RO water pump.
So I wake up yesterday to hear gravel spraying. I go out the front door and see this humungous lawn mower wedged between my car and the big tree at the front corner of my site. Now, what this guy thinks he is doing I have no idea. He is boxed between the car, the tree, and the front corner of the RV. If he could get around the tree, he would run over my lawn rug and tire covers that are sitting in a pile and he would do this while running over the cable to my Direcway which is staked down just outside the RV front door -- if he could mange to not run over the satellite dish itself. As I look out, he quickly backs up and goes around to the other side of the tree to finish mowing the remainder of the grass in this site.
I do not notice until I leave in the afternoon that the lawn mower man has spotted my windshield with a couple of chips. No wonder he took off so fast when I came out the door. It is the gravel hitting the windshield noise that woke me up. I drive over to the manager's office but it is 4:05 -- the office is empty. The building is empty.
So this morning I return to the office, wait for the new manager, Mr. Scott Wollsley, and file my complaint. He calls the lawn mower man. I am really disappointed. This man lies about the sequence -- claims I moved the car and he returned to mow the area. Fat chance: he already mowed anything that could be mowed -- and some gravel that did not need it. He also claims that there is no way that the mower could spray gravel that high.
They inspect my car and tell me they will get back. So this evening, instead of getting back, Mr. Wollsley has a messenger deliver a letter denying they will patch my windshield because my car has so many dings and scrapes that these chips are just insignificant additions to the current damage.
I am sorry that I cannot afford a beautiful, new car where the worst that could happen are windshield chips. I am not rich and I use my car for transportation, not public display of my affluence. I am sorry that Thousand Trails thinks that my integrity is reflected by the dents in my new car. I had thought better of Thousand Trails. Maybe that left when Sharon, the previous manager, left.
With all of the things that happen to me, sometimes I wonder if it matters that I try to be the man that Diogenes was looking for. Yeah. I, know, I shall never make it to that level of honesty. God and Jesus and anyone else who may be looking know where I fall down. But to be called a liar by park management really hurts. What is a new windshield to me? A lot of money I do not have. Did I break my windshield? The car I did not buy needed a new windshield and the owner replaced it. I notice things like broken windshields and I know how much they cost to patch or replace. The chips are right where I look through the window. One is starred -- it not be able to be fixed and the windshield will need to be replaced. I cannot file with my insurance for two reasons. The first is that they do not even know I have the car -- I am waiting until we have settled on the old Tercel and I have 30 days to inform them. The second is that if I report it as comprehensive, this is the second comprehensive claim in one year and the company will cancel my coverage. A high price to pay for a couple of chips.
If the chips had been there before the lawn mower, I would have seen them. Sometimes I really wonder why I try. I mean after the experience in El Golfo with so many people cheating me on wireless network service, why should I be surprised that Thousand Trails will not have the integrity to fix what they damaged while claiming that my integrity is lacking? People always extrapolate their failures onto people with claims against them. That is one lesson I have learned in this life: blame the other person for what you would do before he can blame you -- then he is on the defensive for things he did not and would not do.
My friend Gale dropped a bombshell on me: I do not believe in war. After driving several hundred miles thinking about this -- because he is incorrect here, I wrote another diatribe: War. Several hundred miles? I am now sitting in the CRA Cherry Valley park for a few days.
I am in San Jose (primarily) for my quarterly visit to my
doctors. I also get to visit Megan. I have seen several
doctors. My prostrate is fine. My thyroid is fine. My
cholesterol is too low -- we adjust medication for this. I see
the neurologist next week. I see the cardiologist (again) next
week. Then I see my primary care physician again and then I get
to go home. I miss my friends in Mexico. When I get
back, I shall immediately go to Hermosillo, Yécora, and maybe
Obregon. They tell me that they will sell a cow on my return.
I discovered that I have been doing it wrong for the last ten
years. From the San Francisco Bay area I have been taking highway
120 to Yosemite, going in the west entrance. I hated the trip
because it took several turns on multiple highways and towards the top
was very steep with a lot of switchbacks. Last year I went up
highway 41 going in the south entrance. The road is
straight-forward and there are only switchbacks just before you get to
the park: the rest of the way is straight and straight-forward.
I stayed at the Escapee park and now I have stayed at the Reynolds RV park. They are both nice arks and now it is unlikely that I shall go back to the Thousand Trails park on the old road. I am setting up a wireless hotspot at the Reynolds park next week.
Back in the USSR, boys. Back in the USSR. Close: back in
Morgan Hill Thousand Trails park. I have heard from the doctors.
-- at least the cardiologist. Surgery scheduled for Thursday:
angioplasty. Apparently my last heart attack may have
caused some permanent damage. They may be implanting a stent
-- hopefully a DES since I am diabetic. This eliminates any MRI's
in my future. Until this last week I was not aware that I had
ever had a heart attack.
I return to the Coarsegold RV park in two weeks to install Wi-Fi
repeaters. I complained to Ron Weil, my Direcway salesman, about
my system has corroded in less than one year. His surveyor tripod
is almost rusted through. The Direcway mounting bracket he
constructs is rusted over its entire surface except for some
plating. the dish arm itself is rough and the plastic membrane is
white and not clear. He claims it is my fault because of where I
have traveled and will not replace his (my) equipment. It is also
my fault that the performance is
way below what he told me as I never told him that I wanted to use
VoIP. As a matter of fact, he was told that the primary use of
the system would be where there was no telephone available. Well,
he did replace all of what had rusted and we sprayed the new equipment
with clear lacquer to make sure it does not happen again. Ron is
technically very astute and works exceedingly hard. Nobody is
perfect. Direcway will only continue to exist if it can handle
uplink speeds and accuracy better than it does.
Megan is coming down for the surgery. Everyone should have a loving daughter like Megan. I wish she had a happier outlook on life.
It is bedtime. You know the rest.
The angiogram went well -- no hidden heart problems. The doctor performed the operation with no anesthesia: not even the happy juice, just a little Novocain to insert the sheath. This permitted me to drive home on my own. I recovered in the RV for three days before going out. I sort of worry about having a plug in my femoral artery that dissolves over a six-week period. I have to see the neurologist again for the loss of feeling in my feet. I get such dizzy spells when I stand up that one of these days I shall fall on the ground. I stay on my Cardura so this is not the source. I stopped the Actos but I do not think that that is the problem. I see the doctors again at the end of September. I can check it out then if still a problem.
Well, I got here. Not without damage and violating a whole bunch of doctor's orders. I had to use a road detour here in Mexico. The Mexicans do not have the same ideas on road construction that we do in the USA. FOr example they are repaving the highway to El Golfo one kilometer each year. This is done in the middle of summer when there are fewer tourists. It is a two lane road. In the USA you would expect them to pave alternate sides of the road and have a flagger helping traffic flow.
In Mexico they tear out the offending road and rebuild it. Detour? ALong side of the main highway they level a sand lane to drive on. The sand lane is treacherous for several reasons. First it is one lane wide and there is no flagger. Passing another vehicle here is at best interesting. Secondly, the road is always several meters above the surrounding land. THis means that you go down to the sand layer to start and back up when it is finished.
Have you ever seen a Mexican handicapped sidewalk access? They have the right idea but the implementation is seriously wrong. The ramp should be at lest twice as long as they make it such that the slope is often 45 degrees. Far too steep for a wheel chair -- even if the ramp is wide enough for a wheel chair. The detour is the same. The entry/exit ramp area is too small, too steep, and too soft. Many of the Mexican drivers ignore the detour, where possible, making their own entry/exit paths or driving around the road grading equipment.
In this case, I took the entire detour hoping that the final reentry would be less steep than the various tracks back to the new surface. I made it with a little effort. The Tercel did not. I do not know the details of how and why but about 10 km later a Land Rover was flashing it lights behind me in the left lane. At the same time I saw in my mirror a piece of rubber fly up and out. I stopped. THere is no shoulder. You do not pull over. He pulled up next to me in the desert. After all, he had a Land ROver and could do this. I got out and inspected the damage: both front tires were gone and I had been towing the Tercel on its wheels. The left front was the worst as in throwing rubber it had taken out the rear window of the RV, the main wiring harness, the fender firewall and the turn signal -- I had just bought that last month.
The other driver was upset because he had a chip in his windshield from the flaying gravel. He claimed that I was liable under Mexican law for this damage. He was helpful in that he towed the Tercel off the highway. I unloaded the Tercel into the RV. This is a lot of unloading. I mean: two boxes of diapers, the DIrecway satellite dish, the bicycle and hitch rack, spare tire, and many smaller items. Anything left in the car would soon be gone. This exercise in 110 degree heat totally exhausted me and I was a wreck when I pulled in the RV park. The doctor said to not life anything over 10 pounds for 6 weeks. I do not think anything I dragged from the Tercel the 200 feet -- in the sand -- to the RV weighed less than that.
I was dehydrated. Friends of mine in the park drove the 60 km back to the Tercel and replacing the bad wheels with the two spares -- yes, I really had two -- towed it to the park. Nothing had been vandalized. It took two days to recover from the heat exhaustion. My perspiration really smelled awful. I had to wash all of my clothes and all of my bedding before I could even stand to be in the RV.
Monday I spent the day riding buses (and getting free rides) to Yuma where I spent several hours in the Wells Fargo bank office and then the new Wal-Mart. Well Fargo is not really a place you want to be except that the office was nice an cool and they let me sit there while making my calls.
The bank tried to charge me a fee for cashing a check drawn on their own bank. The reason I went there was because that was the bank the check was drawn on. This is a NOW - a Negotiated Order of Withdrawal -- there is no fee for this. Although they argued my knowledge of banking laws is obsolete -- it might be -- they were nice enough to not charge the fee although they insisted it was their right to do so. I have found their charges to be excessive when obtaining credit card advances. I have heard about their other excessive charging. But the office was cool and I needed to make the calls.
My Mexican insurance legal office agreed that I was not liable for the windshield chip of the Land ROver guy. So much for his threats of having the Tercel and the RV impounded.
My American insurance (liability only) would cover me on a rental car. Since I do not have collision or comprehensive, this means that if I rent a car, the insurance will pay for the damage to the other guy if the fault is mine. I shall risk damage costs to the rented car if I cannot afford the rental insurance.
My friends expecting me in Yécora will not be seeing me for a while -- that will save me some money -- the cost of the trip is always the lowest expense of going there. I shall donate the box of diapers to the Christmas fund in a few months.
Megan knows what happened. My stock broker knows what happened and that I ma need some money in the near future although I hope not.
The RV park holding my chrome-plated jacks is unhappy that they have to hold these things longer. I do not blame them but I am sort of out of options -- my friends do not want to drive them across the border for fear of having to pay duty on them. I have offered to ride with them and hand-carry the things across the border myself. I do not know if they will take me up on that.
One of my friends is coordinating with the local mechanic to see if he can get a new wiring harness for the car -- necessary to see if the car still runs. If it still runs, we shall piecemeal the remainder until I can drive it again, otherwise, it dies and goes to the junkyard.
I go swimming each night now in the pool. This is to get rid of the perspiration smell (I do shower first to remove easy perspiration and last to get rid of the chlorine) and to get me some exercise. This does not burn a whole lot of calories but starts to tone muscles that have done nothing except watch keyboard keys go up and down for too long. The neurologist says to lose the weight or lose the nerves. The weight has to go. The cardiologist wants the protein to go. This means a low-carb, low-protein diet. Does that leave just fat to eat?
I called the Healthnet Nurse number about the smell. She was less than helpful. She repeated the need for a low-protein diet and said I should carry water with me in the desert. It is quite possible to dehydrate with water in the desert. I mean in the RV I have two cases of bottles of water, two cases of diet soda, one case of V-8 vegetable juice, one case of that zero-calorie fruit-flavored water, one case of mango juice and 3 gallons of milk. Or at least I had. More than half of that is gone in three days -- and I was in town one of those days. I need to drink more liquid? I don't think so.
But I am here. I am with friends. Some woman I do not know stopped at the Yuma bus stop yesterday and gave me a ride across the border and into San Luis itself. While walking the 1 km from the El Golfo bus stop to the RV park, another woman -- this time a friend -- gave me a ride to the park even though it was not on her way. This is one serious difference between the USA and Mexico. This is why El Golfo is home.
I am slowly setting up camp. Nico has my car and is trying to
see if it is repairable. I have my Internet up but I have a lot
of parts to buy and work to do to get the thing to cover the entire
park this year.
I have been corresponding with my cousin, Diane Fisher (nee
Rupley). It brings back such memories of life at Grandma Rupley's
I have scheduled all of my doctor appointments other than with my primary care doctor. I leave on the 25th by bus and rented car to San Jose and return a week later.
I went up to San Jose for the week. I got a ride to Yuma,
rented a car, and drove to Berkeley for the week. On the return I
stopped at Coarsegold to help Jesse with his Wi-Fi. THen on to
YUma to return the car Sunday morning.
This is where the adventure begins. I called every taxi
company in the Yuma yellow pages: no one would take me to the border
that morning. The Thrifty Car Rent guy gave me a ride to the new
Wal-Mart. A Mexicana taxi gave me a ride to the border. I
missed the El Golfo bus by ten minutes. 7 more hours to the
second bus. I took the next available bus to the last turn on the
same highway and hitchhiked. Ten minutes later I was in the bed
of a pickup on my way to El Golfo. The guy drove me right up to
my front door and would not take a tip. This is the difference
between a gringo and a Mexicano. In the USA I would be afraid to
hitch on a back road to nowhere. Here I can get a ride and have
money refused. I have had Mexicanos/as give me rides from the
Wal-mart not just to the border but across it to boot.
But my RV smelled: my refrigerator died and I need a new one:
ammonia leak -- not really fixable. My extended warrantee will
now pay for itself.
The gringos moved into the
park while I was gone and are demanding the hotspot be started. I
shall have it up this week. It will take another few weeks to get
it all together for real.
I did it again. Last week when I went to Sam's Club, I bought
some Star-Kist tuna.
The hotspot is up and working. I am using a WEP code to keep
people honest. That will last another couple of weeks before I
get the pay-me up and running.
I went into town yesterday. My Cardura is working -- I had to
hold going to the bathroom for over an hour -- and I did not
leak. I had to go every hour for the rest of the day but the
medicine did its job. High point of your day. Huh? I also
had to go the other way and somehow managed to pick up something
serious from a toilet seat. By the time I got home last night and
showered off I knew I was in trouble: as soon as the water hit my
behind, I felt like I had sat on a hot plate -- and the water is
cold. With some antiseptic and a couple of days, things should be
better. Sitting down is a problem today.
Back east, Carl's Jr. is called Hardees. I think the menus are
similar. In any case Carl's Jr. has what they call a $6
burger. This has become so successful that Burger King is
advertising a similar product. I never used to go to Carl's Jr.
but now it is by far my preferred fast food restaurant. For $6
and change, you have your choice of about 8 combinations of this
burger, fries, and a soda. I get the Guacamole Bacon
burger. You can change the fries for a salad at no extra
cost. If you go to the Carl's Jr. in Morgan Hill, you pay an
extra dollar. I do not know where that store gets off but
sometimes I forget to eat while in San Jose. I consider the $6
burger combo my restaurant treat for my monthly trip to town.
But yesterday I had to go to town and I had no car and very limited
time. I took the bus from the border to the new Walmart.
Walmart should be ashamed of themselves for contracting with
McDonald’s. I think of Walmart as a quality store.
McDonald’s is sort of the Fry's electronics of the fast food world
(this is a serious insult to McDonald’s).
So feeling hungry, I looked up at the menu. I have had many
Big Macs in the past. They are sort of squashed little sandwiches
with two small patties of hamburger lost in a three -piece bun (with
sesame seeds). This picture showed a burger twice as tall as it
was wide. I asked the server if the burger actually looked like
that. She did not know. I looked for a big burger
thing somewhat like the Carl's Jr. $6 burger. No luck.
The last couple of times I asked the McDonald’s server similar
questions I got a don't know response. Those times I went
elsewhere. This time McDonald’s was the only store in town.
I told her that the picture was a lie and ordered two fish filet
sandwiches. One as a meal and one by itself. This came to
almost $8 -- 20% more money than the Carl's Jr. burger combination.
The girl gave me an empty glass and told me my meal was around the
corner. I had looked when I had come in and knew there was
nothing around the corner except the soda machine. I asked
her to repeat this and she did -- word for word. Maybe I should
have asked in Spanish but she did not look Mexican.
I went around the corner, found another worker and asked where I
could find my lunch since the girl told me it was around the corner and
it obviously was not there. I filled my soda glass and started
for a table. The woman called to me with my lunch from out in
front. The tables were all jammed together so that I had to move
them around to get to an empty table. So much for the logistics.
I opened the bag and took out my lunch. In years past, the
fish filet was the best thing on the McDonald’s menu. Not any
more. The filet is now half the size of the old one. The
cheese slice which was rarely big enough to cover half the filet was
now even smaller -- but it did cover half the filet. The filet
was about 2 inches square. I put both filets in the same bun as
the bun, although small, was big enough to accomodate both little
pieces of fish. After eating this (and the extra bun) I was still
hungry. Historically, after a few visits to Taco Bell when I left
stopped going there. Today I really thought that maybe, just
McDonald’s was seeing the competition improving the menu and maybe they
would too. I always give people too much credit for intelligence
and honesty. Sorry. But McDonalds has been added to my
I am not pleased with the Yuma bus system (www.ycat.org) . They do not run
on Sundays. I do not like this but I guess they figure I do not
need to go anywhere on Sunday. The taxi's don't run on Sunday
mornings. Why should the buses?
But the buses really frosted me on Wednesday. Before I left I
printed out their routes and schedules from the web page -- they have
it set up as a PDF. This means that when you print it, the times
come out in 6 point print. You cannot tell the PDF print program
to use two pages. The end result is unreadable even with my
strongest reading glasses. PDF is really stupid and I wish they
would abolish it. But that is another matter.
So I get the Yellow bus in San Luis. It would be nice if they
had more than one bus stop in town. But the driver stopped and
picked me up as I came running. Running for a 62-year-old man
with a fifty pound pack is not really easy. Well, at least not
for this 62-year-old man.
We get to the new Wal-Mart. I really wanted to go to the Sam's
Club -- and this bus goes there -- but I could not trust that I had
enough time to get to Sam's Club and still make the 4 o'clock San Luis
bus back home. And my printed Yuma Bus schedule is not readable
to find out. Just as we arrived at the new Walmart and I went to
get off the bus, the driver pulls out a pretty, hardboard schedule and
gives it to the young woman in front of me. She does not really
want it but takes it when she sees people are behind her waiting to get
off. This schedule is just what I want. I ask the bus
driver for one. No such luck. He only gives them to young
women. I see the woman give the schedule to someone else as they
walk away. I am too far behind to ask if they will give it to
me. I suspect they trashed it later. I was surprised.:
sexist bus driver?
But the trip back really made me angry. I got back on the
Yellow bus in front of the Walmart in the early afternoon and arrived
back in San Luis about 3:15. Just in time for an easy walk to the
4 o'clock bus to El Golfo. I forgot about asking this guy for a
schedule. He just made me angrier than I was already: When
I got on I asked if I had to pay the full $3.00 rather than get a
senior discount. No senior discounts. This happened the
last time I rode -- this is why I asked rather than just dump the $1.50
in the box -- no Senior discounts regardless of what the web page
says. I know better than to ask for one in the morning -- they
only give senior discounts in the afternoon. This is really
stupid as it means people like me pay full fare to get to Yuma but
should pay half fare home. But when I do not even get the
discount when the schedule says I should, I am angry.
Worse. A woman and an old man get on after me. The
driver graciously gives them each Senior discount. Now the man is
obviously as old or older than myself. The woman looks like his
daughter. Definitely younger than me. But they get
Senior discount. Now I expect to be nice to pretty girls.
Most men are. This woman and the woman in the morning would not
have been at the top of my pretty-girl list but then maybe I am fussy.
I do resent being discriminated against without knowing why. I
went back home angry: no printed schedule for the old gringo. No
Senior discount for the old gringo. It was nice to get home where
even this old gringo is offered a ride back to the house from the bus
stop. It is always nice to get home. The more times I go to
Yuma, the more I like it at home.
I have my car back. It is fixed -- sort of:
I paid $70 for the bent wheel and tire. The cost of the bent
wheel is a write-off. I paid $120 for a new wiring harness and
another $120 for a new computer (and the installation of such).
OK. So there is a list -- and the problems need to be
fixed. But I drove it to Yuma yesterday and got a bunch of things
done. So I ordered a new wheel, bought a new tire (the slow flat
was not fixable) and bought a new battery.
I also talked to my doctor's office, my daughter, Sara, Jesse, and I
forget what else. I need another trip to buy more things. I
think that I can get everything fixed within my original estimate of
Pat's wife has more health problems and Pat is devastated. I
can have no idea the pain he is going through and wish him the best.
I keep seeing these ribbon stickers for cars. They come in all colors. Mostly they are the same size and shape. They have the buyer's favorite slogan printed on them. Such a waste. Or maybe it is just me. Do you know what a yellow one means? A pink one? A black one? I presume the Red/White/Blue one is a President Bush for God sticker.
It is now the middle of November. Some of the car things are
fixed. Some are not. The irregular running of the engine
makes me not trust it. This week I replaced the air and gas
filters and spark plugs. Maybe they will help. The car
sticker says it needs plugs with two electrodes. I went to Pep
Boys: they produced Bosch with single electrodes. I said
no. They brought out Bosch with double electrodes at $4
each. Sorry, but buying Champion spark plugs with a German name
does not make them better. I went to Auto Shack. Trying to
get help was impossible. I finally asked one of the stockers
where I could find a Kragen. I forgot I was in Arizona but she
knew what I meant, there was a Checker just up the block.
The Checker had NGK's with double electrodes. Still $4 each
but now I had a quality product. I mentioned that Pep Boys had
tried to sell me Bosch (Checkers has Bosch). He told me that he
would never put a Bosch in a Toyota. My stock in CHecker just
went up. Just personal prejudice? I don't think
so. Once upon a time I bought BOsch for my Datsun
200SX. I tossed them after 1000 miles. And I had
double checked they were the Bosch-specified plugs.
It is time to prepare for my trip to San Jose. I leave next
week for Thanksgiving. Oh.
Please do not think I am heartless but I am tired of hearing on the
news how overwhelming are these storms. I grew up in Michigan and
Wisconsin. Yes. I know there are more dangerous
places. When I was a kid, my father drove us through Flint after
two tornados had gone through it the same summer. I still see the
plumbing hanging in the air with the house gone. I remember
seeing the 2x4 impaling a large tree and wondering how that could
possibly happen. I can remember driving through Milwaukee dodging
tornados. A tornado drove a swath across the lake from our Grand
Rapids house. In Dallas, on our house sale day, I dodged 18
tornados between Farmer's Branch and Plano. Enough.
Oh. One more. One evening I sat down with my family for
dinner. Carole was bringing over the last plate and sitting
down. I heard the sound. If you have heard it, you know
what I mean. If you have not heard it, the common description of
freight train is close enough. But then again most people have
not gotten a good listen to a freight train. The fear went
through me. This is Phoenix up on the Paradise Valley side.
Phoenix does not have tornados. The sound must be something
else. In shock I head for the front door and tell the family to
get ready to flee, hide, or something. I went to the front door
on the porch and looked out.
There it was. A real tornado coming north up our street about
two blocks down. If it kept coming, we were fodder. I was
about to run back into the house when it suddenly took a sharp turn to
the east and ran down the blocks between the houses. Fences
flew. AC units flew (in Phoenix AC units are roof-mounted).
Roofs flew. But the tornado was heading east and was not a threat
to us. We sat down for dinner with Carole and the kids not
knowing the terror that had passed through my system. In fact, I
suspect they never did learn that terror. Carole grew up in Iowa
so I know she knows what a tornado is.
A couple ours later the Channel 3 newscaster was up in our neighborhood repeating the Chamber of Commerce mantra: Phoenix does not have tornados -- this must have been a micro-burst or just strong winds. I wanted to throw rocks.
Where is this going? On TV I hear Oh Jesus. Oh
God. Oh shit. When people see a tornado. I have hit
on this attitude of why didn't they tell us that happens every time we
have a disaster. Get used to it people! These things happen
and they are real and they are disasters. They are not negative
miracles. God is not punishing us one wind storm at a time.
He has better aim than these have shown if this were the case.
So get used to it. Storms will continue to come. They
will hurt a lot of people. They will cause a lot of damage.
I do not want to hear any more of this I did not know crap. There
are no surprises. A tornado is a serious storm. Things are
flying at 100 miles per hour. A falling 2x4 will hurt you.
What do you think a 75 mph 2x4 is going to do? Scratch your
paint? A hurricane spawns tornados. Spawns. Andrew
generated 75 tornados when it hit the beach. The wind was 150
mph. Remember your physics? Twice the speed of that 2x4
means 4 times the energy. A 75 mph tornado will drive that 2x4
through a tree. The 150 mph hurricane just takes the tree.
Maybe you did not need to hear all of this,. Maybe I just had to
say it. Maybe it is my problem but I really feel that the general
population has no idea how much energy is in one of these storms.
I am sure that my oceanographer sister can tell you how many Joules are
in a tornado or hurricane. But there would be so many zeros at
the end that the number would be meaningless. Still again, maybe
someday she will tell me and I shall remember the number and wonder how
the number relates to anything that I can imagine. Mostly I just
get this instant fight-or-flight emotion that is really more of
flight-or-hide than fight.
Fear shows you care. I feel fear every time I hear that sound because I know it is not a sound -- it is the earth moving and if I am not careful it will take me with it.
OK. Someone rocked my world again. Here is the beat-around-the-bush version. Somewhere in here I explained how I got out of the draft. I was 20 at the time. 40 years ago. Many things have changed. The one line that got the doctor to mark me 'unqualified' was that I could not pull the trigger. I mean I said flat out if it came down to someone shooting me or me shooting him, I would not be able to shoot. I meant it. I understood what it would take to make me pull the trigger the first time I saw Tina Borso run out to greet me at the farm. I knew that I would do anything for my family. But this was before that.
Then there is the mouse trap problem. My definition of humane
is not the same as other peoples definition. I mean a standard
trap kills the mouse instantly. Or at least that is its
intent. It breaks the neck of the mouse. Done gone.
But now they have new 'humane' mouse traps. Super
fly-paper. THe mouse goes on the paper and cannot get off.
Then you throw the thing out. The mouse starves to death or dies
of thirst or heat exhaustion or some other very miserable death.
I found the poor thing somewhat after it died. I wanted to cry
for its pain. I walk around bugs on the sidewalk. I am not
crazy: I kill bugs in my house. I do not kill them
otherwise unless they are an immediate threat.
I went to school at the University of Wisconsin. At the west end of campus. Way west then. Not so much now. Is the WARF building, known when I was in school as the rat building. Why? WARF stands for the 'Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation'. It is the initial part of Warfarin. Warfarin? The primary ingredient in many rat poisons. D-Con? Warfarin!
To connect the thoughts: Warfarin is a severe blood thinner.
The rat eats the Warfarin and then bleeds to death internally. I
do not know but this does not humane to me. But the rat is dead
and he can be picked up and thrown away.
OK. So what has this all to do with rocking my boat? Two
months ago I ended a whole barrage of medical tests: catscan,
angiogram, nerve conductivity test, sonograms, etc. What did they
find? numb feet and nothing else. I mean almost a clean
bill of health -- other than I need to lose 100 pounds.
Last week. Thanksgiving week. I had a colonoscopy.
I first saw my primary care physician's office to pick up a blood test
paper. They refused it -- they could have answered my FAX and I would
not have wasted the trip to their office. But they took my weight
and blood pressure and pulse. The first two were the same as
normal. The problem was that there was no pulse. They tried
several times and then took an EKG. No spikes -- just a regular
pattern of drivel. The next day I went for the colonoscopy. It
was almost normal -- just too much air in my colon when they finished
and it hurt. I spent additional time in recovery. They took
my pulse and the an EKG and then another. This cause a panic and
a call to my cardiologist. Drivel instead of spike, spike, spike,
is not acceptable to these people. The same afternoon I saw my
primary care physician (PCP) for real. He had no interest in the
list of problems that I brought to him and wasted my $15. I can
really learn to hate doctors. I mean the cardiologist the next
day would deal with the heart. What about my cholesterol?
What about my skin cancer? What about my water retention
problem? What about my memory loss problems? What about the
list I came in to see him about last time? Make another
appointment we cannot deal with them today. They could not deal
with them last time either. Now I have a heart problem and they
are sill not interested.
The next morning I saw my cardiologist. He took an EKG and
finally someone discussed it with me. He did. The
cardiologist did. He showed me what the top line was:
drivel. They have a name for it: auricular fibrillation.
You can die from this. You can die quickly from this. He
wanted me to go immediately on Warfarin as medication. I have too
many memories of walking past the rat building to take this lying
down. We have to talk about this. Rats die from eating this
stuff and you want me to eat it?
They call it Coumadin when it is used as medicine. The idea is
that it thins the blood so thin that the electric current in the upper
part of the heart can shock the lower part of the heart more
easily. My problem is understanding what went wrong in one month
and why this is the proper solution. Dr. Cipoletti already has me
paranoid about seeing a doctor. They have no interest in treating
what is wrong or what is bothering you. Their primary interest is
getting to their next patient in 10 minutes while appearing to be
concerned about your health. They would be more convincing if
they actually read what their medical assistants wrote down as to what
I wrote yesterday indicating that I had seen the cardiologist (they
left a phone message saying they would not renew my prescriptions if I
had not). I mean, let me die for lack of medication if I gave up
my list of concerns in favor of their hot topic for the week. My
list of three-month-old problems is of no concern? Maybe if they
had been handled properly I would not have the heart problem.
Maybe I would just have known about it in a better environment rather
than be shunted around for almost a week without any explanation.
So I FAXed the doctors office as I said. I told them what the
doctor had said. What medications he ADDED, and when my next
appointment with him was. I also asked for an appointment with my
PCP. I know that they ignored the FAX because I got a generic
phone mail message saying the PCP wanted me to make another
appointment. I am losing faith in the guy and Samaritan Health
Care very rapidly.
But the problem has gotten worse. How do I know? I have
this exercise heart monitor. This is not genuine medical
equipment with certifiable, documentable, accuracy but it does give me
a reading of what is happening. I had been watching this all week
and I thought things might be getting better. Today they went
I mean the first time the monitor read 00, I panicked. But then I say the little heartbeat ICON was blinking and figured out that there had been a sudden change in the rate and it got confused. But today, it has done worse things. It has done the '00' thing many times. During the week this would last only about 10 seconds and then go back to a reasonable number. Today it would last for 30 seconds. I missed something. Then it went a couple of times to 240. This is definitely not good. This is pacemaker time. Then it went to 25-30 several times. Now I have to wonder if my monitor is good. But then my general theory of how things work is that the easiest explanation is probably the correct one. The easiest is that my heart beat is doing these things. My stress level this last week has obviously been very high.
So. I called the cardiologist and asked for the woman I thought had explained it all to me. I go the name wrong. I talked to a nurse. The nurse talked with the doctor and called me back: run, do not walk, to the nearest emergency room. I turned them down. They gave me an alternative: the next time my heart beat went out of whack , then ruin to the ER. Not going to happen here in Mexico. They told me to double up on the medicine that they added last week..
So what happens next? I do not know but you had better believe that I will show up if at all possible to the doctor's office on the 19th. A week from Monday. I may make it sooner. I am really scared now. I know. I cannot be too scared. I am not in the ER. I hope the headache is stress and not something else.
I am too ashamed to be
called a Christian.
I returned from a terrible couple of weeks in San Jose. I
drove up there with no problems. The headaches got worse.
The weakness got so bad that it took all of my effort to stand up and
then I would have to sit down and rest before going on. I went
shopping at Wal-Mart and found it was all I could do just to walk to
the next chair. Yes, they have sit-down chairs in Wal-Mart.
I had already set up the camp at TTN-Morgan Hill. The new tent
set up OK. The new mattress inflated OK. It took all I had
but I had gotten it set up.
But when I got up in the morning, there was no choice. I
packed my bad and headed for town. I called the insurance company
and told them that I needed help and whether I should see my PCP or the
emergency room. I chose the PCP and he sent me tot he emergency
room. I spent the day in the ICU with congestive heart
failure. They put me on a strong diuretic and the rat poison
blood thinner (Coumadin). THen they sent me to the cardiovascular
ward to dry out. This lasted about 5 days.
When I got out, I spent the night in the tent and heard about more
rain coming. It had rained the entire time I was in the
hospital. I packed up and headed back home to El Golfo. I
have been here three days now and have to return on the 1st so I can be
there on the third.
I feel OK but a bit tired. The congestion is gone: 20 pounds
of fluid gone. I can see my ankles again. No more
salt. No more anything. I need more exercise. The
problem now is that although I feel OK and I think I can think OK, I am
tongue-tied when it comes to trying to talk with someone. It is
like my speech is delayed. I hope this is not permanent as the
people I know just look at me funny.
People have bought me a ticket for the New Year's Party. I
missed CHristmas dinner. I look forward to this one. I know
I shall not make it to midnight but I shall enjoy the dinner.
The Wi-Fi is workng poorly but people are happy that it works at all.
I have discovered that the general population has no idea of how money works today. Last year the law changed. Up until last year, your paper check constituted a funds transfer from your checking account to someone else's account. Maybe to them personally if they went to your bank and withdrew the money in person.
That changed last year. All funds are now transferred by EFT: Electronic Funds Transfer. Your paper check is just a request for an EFT. In reality this has been the case for some time. The difference is that the paper check is now photographed and destroyed with no attempt to move it between banks. Many years ago you got the check back in the mail. That is very expensive and has been eliminated but until last year they still transferred checks between banks. Now that is gone. Now only the picture is transmitted.
Nothing has really changed except that the electronic transfer is now recognized as official rather than the paper being official. You do not see any difference. Oh. There is one difference. When you go to Wal-Mart, they run your check through a machine just like you do a credit card. The machine looks just like the old verification machines. In fact it is the same machine. Only now the machine verifies by taking the money out of your account right now. If Wal-Mart does not give the check back to you, they can destroy it -- the transaction happened when the check machine read the check. You do not want to know all of the ways that they check for identity theft in these cases -- it will make you paranoid. One of these days paper checks will go away. You want that -- you will be safer -- you big brother is taking care of you.