This year I have kept the political commentary in a separate location. Similarly, thoughts and observations are in a separate file. This file will attempt to stay restricted to my current history.
Bandido I inherited this puppy and wrote so much about him
that I separated his life from mine. Click on the picture to
get to the dog's file.
Mari agreed to keep the dog for the day while I went across the border
for blood tests. She promised to be there early when I
arrived. I needed a menu of tests as I have consistently
complained of tiredness. I took my monthly INR test in 57 as I
like the consistency and I had no standing order from Susie available
for the American lab.
But, as I have learned -- never trust a woman to keep a
schedule. Mari was not home. She was at the Mexican government
office with her sister to get a birth certificate. No, I could
not take the puppy to her and no, she would not leave her sister.
But in the almost completed new house, the puppy had been kept in a
back bedroom while it was with them. Leave puppy there and she
would attend to him when she got home. Right.
Sure enough, right where she said it was, was a large section of
3-ply wood. And there was water in the room and a section of
unfinished concrete where puppy could do his jobs. I left puppy
eating and put the 3-ply in the doorway and left. Puppy climbed
the 3-ply (as I have come to find out, puppy is a good climber) and was
happily trotting along next to me. I got a bigger piece of 3-ply
and walked around it then placed it firmly against the doorway.
No. Puppy forced his nose between the wood and door frame and again was
happily trotting along next to me.
I got a 4x8 section of 3-ply , put it in the doorway and propped the
original up against it. No way out for the puppy. Nor any
way out for me. But the windows were not framed and I climbed out
the window. The ground was further down than I expected and I
landed on my left foot. I expected this but I instantly
discovered that my foot could not take my body weight without damage to
my ankle. I went down to my knee but my knee had the same
problem: it would break if I kept my weight on it. So I collapsed
onto my left side as I hit the ground. My thigh and shoulder took
the weight. I was OK and the puppy could not follow. A few
yips and I was gone.
By the time I got to the blood lab I could barely walk and was using
my walking stick to hold my weight. By the time I got to WalMart
I could barely stand up at all. I begrudged the woman who
obviously could move much faster than myself for taking the last
motorized shopping cart. It hurt. I should have gone straight to
bed but you know me. Maybe most men. By the time I got to
Mari's and picked up the dog I was in so much pain that I did not even
try to stand up. The dog was happy to leave. I was
surprised. I noticed Beto again was kicking the dog in the
mouth for biting. More training, less Beto.
By morning, even with the hotpad, I could not stand up. As you
know, most painkiller medicine contains aspirin or Ibuprofen --
precluded by my Warfarin. Tylenol my be good for women's cramps
but I have never met a man for whom it was any use at all. That
includes me. I tried a few Tylenol. I threw them up.
I could not walk up and down my steps. The dog went hungry that
day. Sunday, I crawled down the steps and fed the dog and then
crawled back up. My thigh hurt so much and would take no weight
at all. My shoulder hurt but I did not worry about that.
What I did worry about was internal bleeding. That is how the
Warfarin kills rats. It could do the same for me. But there
were no black and blue marks. Just pain. Monday I went to
the doctor who quickly examined me and assured me that it was just a
badly bruised muscle and I would walk again in a week. In a week,
I could walk but it hurt and the steps were a real problem. Now
my knee let its vote count: it could not take weight even if my thigh
could take weight. No complaints from my ankle.
So now it is the first week of February. As of Sunday most of
the pain is gone. My weak knee still votes occasionally but for
the most part, I am back to normal. Puppy is his usual
I shall have Ernesto wash and wax the RV this week when I go to San
Luis with the puppy. He needs his vaccinations to cross the
border. Interesting. In California for the dog to travel
outside, he needs to be cross-tied so that he cannot jump or fall
out. In California and Arizona, if he is inside, he has to have
good ventilation. I have found no laws regarding crossing the
border for him to be in or out. I think some guards could get
bitten by less amiable dogs.
I cannot even tell you which year. Somewhere around
1965. There were rumors that the Milwaukee Braves were moving to
Atlanta. The rumors were so pervasive that Hank Aaron, number 44,
the fielding, home hitting star of the team went on TV and denied the
move. Additionally, he stated that if he were wrong and the team
moved, he himself would stay in Milwaukee. Milwaukee is an ethnic
city. Strong cultural values. German, Polish, Italian,
family types. Russians. Integrity and family count for a
lot in Milwaukee. The Braves announced the very next day after
Hank Aaron's TV speech that they were moving to Atlanta and that
nothing was going to stop them. Hank stopped making speeches for a
while as he also moved to Atlanta. I stopped watching
I know: they were all gone too. Andy Pafco, Lew Burdettte, Warren
Spahn, Johnny Logan, Del Crandel, Red Shoendienst. I could name
them all. But they did not go on TV and lie to their loyal
fans. They just left with the team.
30 years later when my employer provided an afternoon off
work, a free bus ride, a free sweatshirt, and a free ticket
to the San Francisco Giants game, I continued at my desk working. Not
even a second thought. Not holding a grudge. There was just
no interest left in watching a dead game.
I hear a lot of old names attached to new cities. I hear a lot
of new names attached to old cities -- and new cities. There is still a
World Series. When, as a kid in the summer, there was a bus from
the Wauwatosa Athletic Center to a Braves game, I went every
chance. The bleachers right over left-center field.
Milwaukee County Stadium. The Knothole Club. 35
cents. Hot dogs and soda were extra. Sunburn. All of it.
And it all died that day -- it died the day that Henry Aaron could no
longer be my hero.
The new highway to Puerto Peñasco is open. It ends a couple of
kilometers north of town abutting the highway from El Golfo to San
Luis. I understand that this is a good highway. I hope so
because now it is a disaster for travel to San Luis. South of El
Doctor, major stretches are under reconstruction. The
reconstruction apparently will go from El Doctor right into El
Golfo. When this is completed, the dirt detours will be gone and
maybe also the dangerous S-curve on the cliff side.
The dirt detours are tolerable except when you get behind one of
18-wheelers. Then the dust is so high you cannot see and since
the truck driver is Mexican, he does not slow down on detours.
Mostly I do not either but then I am not creating a wall of dirt.
But north of El Doctor is a different problem. The highway
between San Luis and El Golfo was designed for cars and farm
implements. It was not intended for commercial trucking traffic
or the truckloads of dirt being hauled in both directions. I
understand the commercial traffic: a couple hundred miles have just
been excised from the trip from the EEUU to Puerto Peñasco and the new
highway is open road to them. I do not understand the truckloads
of dirt. I see these big semi-sized trucks carrying dirt.
Sometimes north and sometimes south. From where I sit, dirt is
dirt. Transporting it in both directions makes no sense to
me. But then I am not a Mexican -- yet.
There are some potholes on the old highway. A few are refilled
with asphalt. Not many. Some are refilled with sand.
Again, not many. The potholes may be deep enough to ruin your
wheel alignment. But the real problem is that these heavy trucks
have removed entire sections of asphalt. There are bands across
the road where there is no asphalt, only underlying gravel or
sand. Not just a couple of these. Many of these and they
vary from about 3 meters wide to about 30 meters. At the current
rate, there shall be no asphalt at all between Riito and El Doctor in a
few more months. And there will be broken axles and blown
tires. And no one seems to care. All of the attention is on
the new highway south of El Doctor and, if we are lucky, these repairs
will be completed in another year. It may become safer to shop in
Tucson than Yuma. Tourists leaving El Golfo are now using that
Bad and getting worse.
There are not so many drug pongas arriving in El Golfo now.
Most are ending their northward trek in Puerto Peñasco -- now that the
drugs can be driven along the new highway across the border.
Fishermen are learning new trades as there are fewer fish.
Corvina are running this week so when the wind is down, the fishermen
are out. But for the last year we have had too much wind. I
was given a corvina last night. This will feed me for a
week. Longer if I liked fish head soup -- which I do not.
My neighbor just opened a new restaurant: "El Cameron Feliz".
It is a good restaurant and it is getting a lot of business from the
RV park. And a couple of local police have started eating there
instead of at Magui's. Magui moves out of her building next month
and expanding her home to be the restaurant. In another month,
neither will have much business as the tourist season ends at Easter --Semana Sancta.
This will be a problem. I mean Semana Sancta will be a
problem. Holy Week is always the high point of tourism in El
Golfo. The businesses are already gearing up for it.
Between the bad highway and the notices to not visit Mexico put out by
the American government and the newspapers, I doubt there will be many
tourists. Either problem but not both problems together will keep
all but the most die-hard tourists away. Semana Sancta for El
Golfo is like Christmas for American merchants: it can be an all or
nothing for them. People from Phoenix or Tucson can come through
Puerto Peñasco but anyone from California or Yuma will find disaster in
front of them.
This pope has diarrhea of the mouth and seems to really be out of
touch. With all of his words, the only communication seems to rival my
buddy at the El Golfo Times. I shall concede that it took me 60
years to see the light and realize that the entire Jesus story is a
hoax but then so is the Muslim story, etc. But religion has its
place for people who need something more than common sense to have
moral values. I have no grudge with them except when they insist
upon invading the world with their prejudices. This pope seems to
be really good at this. He reinstates a bishop who denies the
holocaust -- within a month of the bishop reiterating his stance in a public forum and again after he is reinstated.
But going to Africa and telling people to not use condoms is
sick. Yes, I know the Catholic teaching that killing sperm
without it being given a chance to impregnate a woman is a sin.
This sin includes condoms, masturbation, early withdrawal , any device
keeping the sperm from an ovum, any chemical preventing the ovum from
accepting the sperm, and any chemical modulating the metabolism of the
woman to restrict the ova or prevent them from attaching to her if and
when it is fertilized. I guess male "wet" dreams do not count as
killing sperm. We all know what they call women who follow the
church teachings on what time of the month they should permit sex.
But enough. The problem is that this pope has gone to Africa
and denounced condoms. Condoms are the single device available to
reduce AIDS/HIV. This puts him in the unique position of denying
that the world has changed in 2000 years -- and then it was a better
world. It has changed in 40 years. While I was a college
student, you could be sent to jail for buying a condom (Wisconsin state
law). Now you can be sent to jail for not using a condom (if you
knowingly have an STD).
Africa is a place where the mores of the western world have been
accepted very slowly. The Christian man-of-one-wife is new to
them. Sex with only one person is not the norm and so the spread
of STD's has been a serious problem. How do you slow down the
spread of STD's? Use a condom. How do you condemn a
continent to painful death? Do not use a condom. And remember
where these STD's came from: they came from men not having freedom of
sex with women and using substitutes (sheep and monkeys). Does
this pope really believe that he can roll the clock back 2000
years. I think he would discover that the only difference between
then and now is mass communication and improved condoms. I doubt
seriously that sex habits changed for the worse since Jesus.
The really bad thing is that these teachings encourage the concept
that people who go against the law (God's or man's) deserve what they
get. Condemning a person to AIDs because they did not follow your
God's law is so perverted that I find it unbelievable that they have
not impeached this pope.
Last year or so I saw the Border Patrol checking card going south
into Mexico. That was one time and I presume they had a singular
purpose. As of Thursday (April 2) they seem to have installed
themselves permanently. At San Luis, the usual two-three lanes
going south with the orange plastic barricades forcing some separation
are gone. Now there is one lane with the orange barricades
forcing all traffic through into a row of Border Patrol agents peering
into each car. I did not see a dog but I figure from the news
clips that there was one.
I hope that the northbound San Luis Border Patrol apes do not talk
to the southbound people or I shall become a harassment target in both
directions. In any case the rush hour traffic jam south if they
keep the one-lane funnel will become a nightmare on the American side.
They talk about weighing cars going into Mexico. This is an
interesting concept. My gas tank hold 20 gallons. 4 quarts to a
gallon. 2 pints to a quart. one pound for each
pint. 160 pounds of gasoline. In other words, if I
just to to the USA and fill up the gas tank, I weight 160 pounds more
going south. But I buy things too. Enough to raise the
front so that people flash their headlights at me all the way
home. Add another 80 pounds for the milk. Another 100 for
groceries, etc. I weight 340 pounds more going south than I
did going north. This is like having two more people in the
Why do these things matter? If they are weighing cars going
south, then they must have a giant database of car weights. They
can list tare (curb weight empty) weights but then they have to
figure if the additional weight is "reasonable". Between the dog
and I, you can ad another 300 pounds. Another 50 for the junk
with which I normally travel. This puts me at about 700 pounds
above tare. This should shout alarms to anyone if the database
base weight is tare.
If they measure weight difference going south compared to coming
north, the 700 pounds is only 340. This should still be enough to
get someone's interest.
With gas and grocery price differences, I do not think I am the
exception. I go out Algodones and come back in San Luis.
This might set off alarms. I do not know and they are not
telling. I am no threat to anyone but I do not fit into anyone's set of
"standard" metrics so I can expect more and more inspections on the
American side. I think so can many other semi-resident tourists.
The dermatologist sprayed off some minor things this week and
excised one larger one. No surprises. The cardiologist told
me to expect another stress test/angiogram this summer. These
things really scare me. Last time I convinced the cardiologist --
a different one -- to not use anesthesia as I had to drive home
afterwards. I enjoyed watching the camera traveling around inside
me -- exactly what scares enough people that they move and therefore
the reason for the anesthesia. The frightening part is the hole
in my artery in my leg for the camera/cable. When they are
finished they insert a slow-dissolving plug. The intent is for
this plug is to hold in the blood until the artery heals over the cable
hole. The problem is that if my blood pressure surges, it can pop
the plug. If this happens I spend the remaining 2 minutes of my
life making peace with my maker since there is not enough time to
do anything else. Blood pressure surges? Walking, standing up,
going up or down stairs. The stairs are absolutely
forbidden. There are 4 steps up in my motor home. If I live
through entry, I can stay in the RV for a week. The first step is
the most dangerous. Then there is the dog. Oh. And lifting:
a gallon of milk exceeds the lifting limit.
And who will check on me and why should they? If I can make it
to my bed, it is all down hill from there. And of course, the
insurance will not pay for a 24-hour stay in the hospital to make sure
the plug stays in place for that long. Banks and insurance
companies, you have heard me go off on them before. They make
excessive profits, under-pay their people, and cry that at 25% on
credit card bills, that they are bankrupt and need my tax money
too? For this they threaten my life for refusal to pay for enough
care time to make sure the plug sets properly and does not just pop out
on its own volition. I hate insurance companies. I guess if
you have a wife, she can pray with you for those 2 minutes and call for
the coroner afterward.
For several weeks now the area around and south of the Salton Sea has had minor earthquakes. 3 on the scale being the highest recorded. But it is the number and the ongoing and the south that is of my concern. The earthquake map shows the latest and largest quakes near Guadeloupe Victoria -- known as 43 around here. This is 43 km from Mexicali as the crow flies (more or less). You can place us at about 100km on the same line. That is less than 40 miles from here. A few months ago I felt one of these minor quakes. A more serious quake would not surprise me.
Well, Easter week came and went. My birthday came and went. My puppy is now a dog and I understand the concept of "Man's Best Friend". The weather is moving from warm days and cools nights to hot.
My little AC units work their hearts out. I love it. I
have two 5,500 BTU air conditioners mounted in my front window.
Each draws 4 amps. I have them set a 4 degrees of each other so
that they only both run when one cannot keep the RV cool. What is
there to love? Elkhart is dead.
It never occurred to the RV manufacturers to make RVs efficient. There is little insulation in the walls or ceiling. I have the luxury of a double roof thanks to a hail storm a few years back. But the RV comes with two roof AC units and a current monitor to make sure they do not run at the same time -- or they will blow a 30-amp fuse. This means that they uses as much electricity as 8 of my little wall units. And what to I get for these two roof units? Almost as much cooling as my two wall units. The wall units will keep my feet cold they work so well. The roof units circulate air better but then a couple room fans do even better. The roof units will maintain a higher noise level and keep the RV vibrating and although their cooling units will not run simultaneously, their fans will. This produces a nice harmonic that drives me nuts. Elkhart? If they had any interest in conserving energy, they might still be in business. Oh, it is the price of gasoline? The absurd excess usage of electricity by the RV units has caused various states to pass laws for RV parks to add electric surcharges to their park membership contracts. And then there are the generators. You know the ones by Onan and that other company.
These Onan ("The Quiet Company") generators make so much noise that
many parks, public and private, have banned their usage. Oh, for
the last several years Onan and the other company have finally taken to
heart the noise issue and the current models come with sound
insulation. Too little sound insulation. Too late. I
have a 5.5kw Onan, new one, side wall insulation. Better than the
old one. Mostly the engine clogs up with dried gasoline for lack
of use because I have this 1kw Honda that runs everything except
heating and the microwave -- and it is so quiet that you have to be
next to it to know that it is running. And the Honda has an
inverter to guarantee 60 cycles and 120vac. The Onan cannot
maintain 60 cycles to saves its life and the voltage varies all over
the map. This does awful things to electronics and you are always
aware it is running because of the constant changing of power as it
attempts to maintain a constant RPM since without this 60 cycles is a
joke. But Elkhart could have required more of Onan. I mean
Honda is not magic. Little elves do not make them. Oh. Size
makes a difference? Sit a 1kw Honda next to a 1kw Coleman say
No. The RV industry is dead. It did not have to be dead.
But it died because it made poor quality products that ran so
inefficiently that they became the figurehead of profligate waste. My
RV makes a nice home -- but it will never ride the highways again --
even if gasoline went back down to 75 cents per gallon. Oh, the
price of gasoline was the straw that broke the industry's back.
Bad management and faith in a lunatic president (GWB) bankrupted the
entire economic backbone of the country. Banks, Industry.
GM. Chrysler. Ford may survive. Maybe. But only
those able to reduce costs to a third world level will survive. I
hope to be one of them. Right now I am borderline.
My Ranger had a flat tire this last week. Something on the El
Golfo highway detours tore a hole in the old one. $122 at
Discount Tire. Sam's Club does not stock the size. You
would think the would but the Ranger has a strange tire size.
When my RV was new, a tire for it cost about this much. Now a
mounted tire for the RV costs more than $500. Not going to
happen. I wonder if Costco stocks the Ranger size? I had
better check before it happens again.
Prices. It seems that prices for things that you need are
increasing rapidly. Prices for things that you want are going
down just as fast. Excuse me: I had to sneeze. I had better
turn off one of my AC units. I made the right decision on these
units. I went into Costco one day and saw a trail of these going
out the door. $90 each. I bought one. The next week
they were gone. The following week, they were back at $100.
I bought two. One as a spare. It is still under my bed
waiting for one of the originals to die. I saw equivalent units
at Costco this week: $130.
But things never stay the same. Marisol got divorced.
Complete. She got the kid. He got the house. He does
not like me and so I probably will have to move. When she told me
that she would divorce him, I expected that he would get the house but
she assured me that that would not happen. Now my tension level
has increased. I have not heard from him. I hear his new
wife is very thin. I suspect that she will not like me either.
I have a few choices but the easiest is to move back into the RV
park. Cost is about the same as here but I lose the (false?)
independence that I have here. The park cost is about $180 per
month with my current contract. Here the cost is about $200 for
electricity and water -- but there was $5,000 that I put in for the
fence and hookups and septic tank. Divide the number of months
into that and today you get another $200 per month. Lost if I
move out. If I am lucky, he will not be here much more than
Marisol. I may attempt to buy the house from him. Then I would
fix it up a bit and rent it out. I think I could make a profit at
that. Outside fixing is primarily painting and completing the
electric work. Inside, I would split the new bathroom into a bath
and a kitchen and add a water heater. I think about $2,000 would
do it all. If I could buy it for $15,000 with a favorable
contract, I would do it. Rent for $200 per week with a $50
cleaning fee would be about right. Provide sales information
including cheap Mexican liability insurance and it becomes a great
holiday home. Motel rooms are going at $60 per night.
Pretty brochures passed around town and discounts for CRA guests would
do for marketing. A nice picture page on this web site would not
If I move to the park, I have to chain the dog. That would
make us both unhappy. Nothing ever stays the same. She had
choices. I do not know it all but she had the choice to keep the
house. She told me that.
I have heard from them. Sort of. Marisol tells me that Beto
will continue to permit me to live on the lot. I have tried to
contact him but he is not available.
I really get tired of this Mexican Macho shit. And it is worse
than shit. It pervades the entire male Mexican personality.
I met a woman this month who had had all of her front teeth knocked
out by her husband. She had been in a coma in the hospital for
months. After running up a serious phone bill at a friend's
house, she returned to her abusive husband. He will hit her again.
The first question I always get asked by any Mexican about my dog: "Does he bite?" Why? All
of the Mexican men down to little boys teach all puppies and dogs to
bite them. And they do not understand when I tell them to stop
teaching my dog to bite. This week a Mexican young man with whom
I am acquainted walked up and without saying anything to or about the
dog started slapping him on the sides of his face. Back and forth until
the dog bites them. Then they hit the dog for doing so. All
Mexican males. Every time. On the third time telling this man to
stop, he did so but did not understand why I did not want my dog biting
If they are not teaching him to bite, they are teaching him to jump
on them. Beto arrived the other morning (at 4 a.m.) and the dog
started jumping on him. He encouraged it. I told the dog to
stop and asked Beto to tell the dog to stop. He would not and
assured me that it was just fine to have the dog jumping on him.
Right. Beto is over 6 feet tall. The dog comes to his
chest. Dido (the dog) is 21 inches when standing normally.
He weighs 50 pounds -- and is skinny. He is quite capable of
knocking down all children and many adults with this jumping. And
as an Alpha dog, it is his nature to do this. Only with
consistent training have I been able to keep his feet on the
ground. As I told my kids when they were small, it takes 10 times
of proper behavior to make up for 1 time improper. For each
Mexican that encourages my dog to jump on him, it takes me 10 or more
times of telling Dido not to. Do you know what a little kid
thinks of a dog that knocks them to the ground and stands on them
waiting for them to play? And it is not the kid I worry
about. I worry about the mother, father, and my dog.
Little girls are not immune to stupid behavior with the dog.
They also try to get the dog to jump -- but not on them. They try
to get the dog to jump out of the pickup. He can do this but it
hurts him: with his weight, his legs collapse. And hey flutter
their hands cutely at their sides as they turn from the dog.
Right, my dog will jump them every time for either action. The
hand fluttering will encourage him to jump. Turning your back on
him is like a sheep running away: it is his job to stop them - and he
will proudly do so.
The Mexican drivers are worse than the Elkhart/South Bend
drivers: they do not want you to pass them. On the open highway
they will accelerate to absurd speeds to keep you behind them. If
they are behind you, they will tailgate and then will pass cutting you
off so short that you hit the brakes -- brakes chattering from the
ABS. This may be necessary as they have no concept of measuring
oncoming traffic. If the oncoming traffic comes too close, they
will drive into your side.
Backing up is dangerous. Really dangerous! Why?
Because a Mexican driver going forward will not wait for you. If
he thinks it is possible to go behind you and live, he will. He
does not care if you hit him backing up as you will have to pay for his
damages and if you are a gringo he knows that you can pay a lot.
Probably pay much more than his pickup is worth. And a Mexican on
a motorcycle? You have not seen stupid until you have seen a
Mexican on an ATV.
I am really surprised that more children are not killed.
Really. There are no sidewalks. There are no zoning setback
requirements. This means that houses and fences are built right
to the street. Especially dangerous at corners since when driving
you must stop and look around the fence to see any oncoming traffic --
and the Mexicans are not as cautious as I am. And the kids always
play in the streets: there is no place else for the small child to
play. The bigger kids can go to the park but mostly they play in
But it really gets worse. The other day I approached the
Second Hand lot on the main road. It was a Sunday so there was a
continuous line of cars returning north to go back home from the
weekend. Not a close string but enough that crossing the street
between them was a problem. The pickup behind me was far enough
back and a family was trying to cross the road. Two adults and
several children. I stopped far enough to the left so that it
would be difficult to pass me. The family could be seen on the
right until they walked in front of me. Stopping like this is
fairly common practice since pedestrians have the right of way in
Mexico. Instead of stopping, the pickup behind me, a typical
Mexican male, sped up and went around me: he saw the opportunity to be
in front of someone. Macho. And the little boy who ran
ahead of the family was running right in front of him. The pickup
driver slammed on his brakes and stopped 6 feet beyond the boy.
The parents of the boy had yelled at him to stop and he did -- or he
would have been dead. And the driver was not a tourist going
home: he was a local and turned into town at the next stop sign.
I doubt that he even cared that he almost murdered someone.
The examples could go on forever. It is always a "I am better
than you" -- and it is not a game with the Mexicans -- it is a way of
life. Macho kills.
In my life I have bought and sold more houses than I am happy
about. A good real estate agent can handle many of the pot holes
in this maneuver. Everything centers around the selected title
company. The seller generally selects the title company.
Because the title company is so critical, I learned to add to any house
purchase agreement a one line caveat: "Right of refusal of the title
company". Why? Because some title companies simply do not
do their job. What is their job?
The title company job is to provide an insurance policy guaranteeing
that the home you are buying is clear of any debts, liens, or whatever
when you make your contract with your mortgage company. The title
company examines the history of the property to make sure that you and
your bank are the sole owners of the property. That is, there are
no outstanding liens on the property. Your bank requires this
guarantee for obvious reasons.
To make sure that the current transaction is properly performed and
recorded, you pay the title company a fee in addition to the insurance
policy. The purchase/sale of the property will include at
document enumerating costs, fees, loans, and money involved to close
This document is prepared by the title company at the direction of
the seller -- usually his agent. It is dated since the payoff of
previous notes must be precise, the ownership of impound funds
designated, new loans enumerated. All money transferred in either
direction are listed on this document.
Most people just accept their agent's word that the document is correct. This is a mistake.
On each and every house sale I have made, there has been at least
one error on this document. An error that either my agent or the
title company should have at least questioned. Here is the
The title company accepts a fee for their work usually corresponding
to a percentage of the contract. They create this document and
expect everyone else to correct it. I have had three very
negative experiences. One was with my Boca house where the seller
pick an title insurance attorney rather than a name company. The
seller must provide the title insurance policy itself -- and pay for
it. But the title company charges may be distributed in whatever manner
the title compete wants. These show up on the
document. The one time I forgot to add my caveat, the Florida
Title Attorneys put all of their charges on my column and said it was
their option. This added over $2,000 to my costs. Most of
their charges were bogus. They charged for time and space in their
offices for a closing which happened elsewhere claiming that they had
reserved the people and space regardless of whether they had been used.
This is the nature of the level of deceit of the Title
Companies. One experience with Chicago Title resulted in my
having to go to the Federal Banking Commission and another federal
agency to get money agreed upon as mine, returned to me as Chicago
Title had informed the previous lien holder to refund the impound fund
to the previous owner. I got no assistance from Chicago Title in
correcting this error. They claimed that the document stood and
it was my job to enforce the correction of their procedural
error. The document listed the impound fund correctly as
mine. The normal situation for the buyer. The bank - under
orders -- replaced the impound amount to my name. I presume that
the original owner needed to prepay them but that at least was not my
problem. During the two years it took to correct this, the
original bank and Chicago Title were both unable to locate their files
on the transaction.
The third problem was with Minnesota Title. They simply did
not do their job. I was selling a home with a primary VA mortgage
to be assumed and a secondary mortgage which was to be paid off.
At the same time, I was buying a new home with a new mortgage. It
was the title company's job to obtain the payoff balances of the
existing mortgages so that I would bring to the closing a check for the
I arrived at the closing and it was about to not happen because
Minnesota did not bother to obtain these balances. I had brought
a check for the amounts that I knew. I also brought $14,000 in
cash to cover the unknown amounts. The amounts were unknown to me
but were supposedly known by the title company. Minnesota Title
basically admitted they did not do their job but put the ball in my
court to correct it. I did so.
At the table with everyone sitting there, including the Minnesota
Office Manager, I placed phone calls to the 4 loan companies involved
and obtain balances from them. Since Minnesota Title would not
accept these numbers coming from me, I had people at the loan companies
record the information while they waited for a call from Minnesota
Title (at the table) to obtain the figures -- which would also be sent
by messenger as confirmation.
Now Minnesota updated the document and determined the exact amount
that I needed. They refused to accept cash. I was very
angry at this point. I had done their job. It was after
hours. People at banks had divulged over the phone payoff amounts
that could have cost them their jobs. Minnesota would not
accept cash. With all of this they were about to refuse to
continue the closing. The office next door was a bank --in the same building
. I refused to walk the 100 feet to the bank to obtain a
cashier's check. For the amount of money they were being paid and
for which they did not earn, they could walk the 100 feet. And
the bank was about to close. The real estate agents refused to
touch the cash. The cash was on the table. A different
title company would have the contract the next day as I was going to be
out of town. Someone from Minnesota Title finally took the cash,
got the cashier's check, and we finished the closing.
To be fair, I purchased a townhouse where there were errors in the
recorded title and the title company took the effort to correct them
before closing. The one time that I was really happy to have
chosen the title company that I had - but I forget its name.
In other words, he bottle neck in buying and selling a house is the
title company. Each office is separately managed so a gross
condemnation of the Minnesota or Chicago Title companies may be
inappropriate. But I tell you that I shall never use either of
On the other hand, the reason I write this is that I just heard on
the news about a homeowner receiving a foreclosure notice from a bank
for a loan that was never paid off by a previous owner. Identifying
unpaid loans is the job ot the title company. This is what you
are paying them for. When the owners obtaining the foreclosure
notice went to their title company, their title company told them to
get a lawyer. The title company, title insurance document, stated
that they have been paid to legally defend the rights of the new
owner. This title company is Chicago Title. A friend of
mine in Florida had the same problem some years ago. He also had
used Chicago Title. He also had to get his own lawyer.
Many years ago, you can look up the dates, events
occurred that I considered important. The Berlin wall came
down. I made both of my young daughters watch that on TV.
Then there was the man standing down the tanks in Tiananmen Square in
China. Again, I had my children sitting in front of the TV. These were serious events. They heralded the
beginning of the end of secret tyranny. Not the end of
tyranny. That will always be with us. But the secret part
was in collapse. I heard that the primary reason that more people
were not jailed and murdered in China was the quantity of FAXes being
sent in and out.
The Iran issue is in the news. It is absurd to think that in such a
contested election that either party walked away with 63% of the
vote. But the world is listening. Either the dictator will
be a dictator in public or he will succumb to election results.
It is way past a fictitious recount. If there is a recount, it
had better be visible to the world because a fictitious recount will just
brand the dictator with more corruption.
In any case, we saw it start in Berlin. We saw it continue in
Beijing. We want it to continue in Iran. But we can only
hope. (At least the cowboy is not the president of our country
more.) But we have a serious problem in the United States. I
think John Naisbitt said it well in his 1982 book, "Megatrends".
The future belongs to the communicators. He claimed that people
would split into classes: those able to communicate and those who
Since the Sputnik went up in 1957, communication facilities have
exploded. TV showed the destruction of the wall and the man
standing down the tanks. We are currently overwhelmed with
Internet and cell phone text and pictures. Digital cameras the
size of an ice cube. It is not possible anywhere in the world for
anything to happen without some person able to take a picture of it and
probably get sound as well. This is what is happening in Iran.
But. And it is a big but. More and more of our students
are unable to communicate either verbally or on paper. If we do
not stop this dropout rate there is no hope for our country. The
United States is bankrupt. The only way to survive is with a
serious program of training people to work competitively in the
world. You can no longer retire in luxury from screwing mirrors
on the sides of cars. If you are able to retire it is because you
learned how to do the things that other people have learned to
do. You cannot blame your not learning on your teachers.
You can blame it on your parents but after you point the fingers you
must take the responsibility to get up and learn some skills.
Learning to talk would be a good start.
Things go down hill fast. When Beto showed up with his new
"wife" last month a 4 in the morning on a Sunday and told me that the
house and lot were his, I believed him. I have heard rumors that
he refused to sign the final papers. Marisol has texted me saying
to not worry, he will honor my living here. Since I have keys to
the gate but not the house, permitting him that morning was not a
problem although he broke the window screen hoping that the window was
not locked. He could have just removed the spring latch but he is
not that smart.
Marisol's friends moved out all of her belongings. Furniture,
everything. No call from either of them. Mari's sister
Andrea has been most helpful but does not talk to her sister that
much. They all say ot to worry. It has been a month and not an
official word about my situation from anyone.
But I ran into another stupid yesterday. This one cost
me. When Mari bought the house, it had a giant Air Conditioner
unit on the far wall. Typical Mexican: biggest possible
unit. For Mexicans, bigger is better is a life axiom. In
accordance with that principle, the circuit box installed for that unit
contained a 75 Amp double-sided circuit breaker. When we
installed the AC circuit to the RV, we removed the several cables from
the electric company service box and used only the cable to the AC
unit. This was because some of the cables just ended underground
and some were reversed polarity. The house was wired reversed --
randomly! So we ran a cable from the AC box into the house with
its polarity reversed leaving the house with the proper polarity --
The first time Beto was in the house and added his bathroom, he
discovered some polarity was reversed. Rather than fixing it, he
installed this maze of cables on the outside of the house back to the
AC box -- now ignoring any in-the-wall circuitry. Stupid.
Ugly. But is solved the problem.
But this last week, a friend of Mari's (as I found out) took the AC
unit out and covered the hole with a wooden panel. this would
have been OK (although I think illegal in the USA), but she also
removed the 75-amp double circuit beaker. And she also left all
of the house wiring and the cable to the plug for the AC unit
disconnected. The house had no power. This is not a problem
for the house since there is nothing inside to use power. The problem
is that my freezer is outside the house and is wired to Beto's
maze. Andrea's husband did that for me when I bought the
freezer. Mari volunteered the location rather than have it
sitting alongside the RV.
Last week. Today I noticed when I removed a gallon of milk
that it was cool and not frozen. After checking my outlet, etc. I went
back to the box and for the first time noticed that the AC unit was
missing. I opened the box and discovered the circuit breakers had
been replaced with a rock. I reconnected the house wiring to the
connector bracket -- sans circuit breakers.
There is no need for a circuit breaker here. There is a double 30-amp breaker at the service box. for the entire lot. When we installed the RV circuit, we added an additional 30-amp breaker for the RV -- on the house side of the service box breakers. Double protection.
I lost about $200 worth of food when it became warm in the
freezer. The entire removal of the AC unit was stupid. Had
anyone told me, I could have helped but nobody is talking to me -
except to tell me not to worry.
The 75-amp breakers, if you are electric-circuit challenged, are
useless. The house will burn down before they will trip. If
there is a problem, the 30-amp breakers at the service box will
break. 75-amps is good enough for many small American
homes. The entire home. One a given power line, the breaker
with the lowest rating will break first. So your house box will
have many 15, 20, and 30 amp breakers for the various locations in the
house. Above these will be the 75-amp double breaker to make sure
that there is not a total house overload. Putting the 75-amp
breaker downhill from the 30-amp breaker invalidates the 75-amp
breaker. Therefore someone has a 75-amp double breaker that may
make them feel good but serves no purpose except taking it cost me $200
worth of food.
Bank of America (BofA) ignored a check
sent to them to pay my monthly MasterCard balance. The same
billpay name and address I always use -- to the address I was
originally given. When the check was not credited, I went to the
BofA web page and had them extract with their billpay, an equal
amount from my checking account. When the check arrived, I should
have a large overpayment/credit. The check never arrived.
At the same time that I authorized the BofA extraction, I notified my
Washington Mutual (WaMu) account that BofA claimed to not have received
WaMu acknowledged that the check was not cashed. A week later,
I requested WaMu to refund the amount of the "lost" check to my
account. They called BofA and BofA (Crystal) lied to them.
denied the transfer from my WaMu account and claimed that they had
cashed the original check. Wait for the statement to arrive and
see that this was so. The BofA online statement says that they
credited with the online transfer. No mention of a check. And by the
way, a credit card statement does not say from where they got the
payment. If I had waited there would have been no improvement in
Multiple attempts to use the BofA web page mail have now ben refused
access. BofA has stolen my money and does not want to hear about
it except from my lawyer. They will at least have my $840 dollars
until I can get a lawyer or a government agency to investigate.
This may take months.
I have informed WaMu that they have been lied to and given them the
appropriate information but what is their motivation to jump BofA's
case? None. They informed me that the matter was closed and
that I was just out the second $842.01. Sorry. People
wonder why I hate banks? Banks are liars and
thieves. They will only be as honest os someone forces them.
But yesterday I bit the bullet: I called BofA customer
service. I got the same response that WaMu did: the check was
cashed to make the payment but no credit was given for the BofA billpay
although the withdrawal had been made and they had the money. I
asked for a supervisor. Customer Service hung up on me. I
was angry enough to call back and ask for a supervisor. This
woman was patient enough to listen to the entire story and pass me on
to someone else, Steven. Explaining to Steven and his
verification of BofA's actions took about an hour. Together we
called WaMu Customer Service. With the WaMu validation process
and music delays, this took another hour but we got to a WaMu customer
service person who insisted the matter was closed except that Steven
informed her that as a BofA Customer Service person, WaMu had take the
wrong action and that Crystal's information to WaMu was in error.
The Wamu agent verified that the check had not been cashed and put a
stop payment on it resulting, hopefully, in another week, the charge to
be added back to my WaMu balance. I hope.
This process from start to finish took about 3 hours. I was sitting at a Burger King in San Luis, Sonora but near
enough to the border that my tMobile sell phone worked as a local
call. I must thank Steven (BofA) for staying on the line so long
because without his presence the matter would not have been
resolved. When I entered, people on their way to work were
ordering breakfast. Before I left, children waiting for the
super-lunches were running around the tables. My dog had climbed
out and then back into the the truck three times. The temperature
was 105 by the time I got back to the dog.
You can expect occasional errors. That happens. Two things went very seriously wrong here. Not just random errors: Customer Service failures and belligerent attitudes.
The first is that BofA ignored the payment check and lied about
subsequently cashing it. The second was far worse. Washington
mutual could have pursued the matter diligently rather than being
stopped by simple errors. WaMu originally verified the check was
not cashed. Had they continued to verify the status they would
have known that the information from BofA was in error. My final
request to them was to send me a copy of the cashed check. If it had
been cashed, I had evidence to go back to BofA. If it had not
been cashed, I had evidence to WaMu that they had taken incorrect
actions. But WaMu would not even send me a copy of the check in dispute
-- and they admitted that it was a paper check and not an EFT transfer.
WaMu just presumed that their customer was in error causing a
$842.01 permanent loss to me -- even though I provided them with a
simple way to verify where the error had occurred. Banks are not
only dishonest but lazy, corrupt, and whatever else you want to say bad
about them. Never trust ANY bank.
In most cases, I make the payments such as this with slightly
different amounts. For example, rounding up to the nearest
dollar. But the BofA online only permits the exact amount or
less. One penny less would have cost me the late fee that I was
trying to avoid.
A couple of months ago, I turned 65. This means Medicare and
my entire health insurance profile changes. Finally I can get rid
of the SIemens rip off scheme. They act sort of like a Medicare
supplement but not quite as good and charge more. The concept is,
now that you are 65 you can free Siemens of paying for you. But
now I need to find a supplement since Medicare only pays 80% after a
deductible and only at reduced pay schedules that some doctors do not
accept and nothing out of country. So you buy an after-Medicare
supplement. I checked around and found AARP has good rates on
good polices written by United Health Care. United is a typical
health care rip-off expert. No surprises here -- all health care
companies are rip-off artists. This is exactly why we need a
national health care program bypassing these companies. Everybody
want one. The government will not give us one because these same
companies financed their election campaign.
In any case, United Their form stripped the apartment
number from my submission because they claim to not mail to post office
boxes. Then they mailed things to the stripped address. Since my
mail service requires this number -- as they should, the mail service
takes extra steps to get the mail to the correct box. If I do not
correct this, they will charge me extra for it. I corrected this
error t United as rapidly as possible but not before they caused more
Because some of these places will not change addresses by email and
their online forms do not permit address changes, I emailed them with
the proper information and my FAX number. The FAX number to makes
sure we got this problem resolved as quickly as possible. My
Immediately upon accepting my policy, the United sold my address to
Walgreen's. They may have sold it elsewhere but Walgreen's
replied to the incorrect address before I even obtained a policy copy
from United. Fast. United should not have given my address,
correct or incorrect to anyone, let alone a national pharmacy.
But it got worse. They sold the FAX. Within two hours of
the email I started receiving FAXes for Medicare Supplement insurance -
from other companies selling United policies. now if the email
had been sent via normal channels, I could think that maybe someone
else intercepted it. But no, I used the United Health Care secure
form. They were the only ones to get that number that
month. They obviously sold the number instantly upon
receipt. Probably vengeance because I was not real polite
complaining about the sale of the improper address on the email request
to correct it.
Between the two sales, I decided to inform the Texas Insurance
Commission. It took almost 32 months but I got a reply from them:
case closed -- no violation proved. Why? Because the
insurance company denied selling the address nor the FAX number.
I could reopen the case if I could obtain the sale documents.
Right. Government at its best: the agency to protect me wastes my
tax money protecting the insurance company. All United had to do
was deny my claim and they go away scott free.
I wonder why anyone anywhere believes the insurance company
lies. I know why the insurance commission does: they know where
their bread is buttered. I know why the insurance companies lie:
they know where their bread is buttered. Why anyone is against a
national health care system competing with this house of lies is really
beyond me. Remember the insurance company has a 35% or higher overhead
(profits, computers, executive multi-million salaries, etc.).
Medicare has an 8% overhead. The government bureaucracy manages
to get 27% more of your premiums to the doctor than the insurance
company. How can you be against this?
But at the same price I previously paid SIemens I now have Medicare and supplement that covers everything (yeah, the lower pay schedules still apply) but if I have a heart attack on my way to Yécora, the insurance will pay for it.
I am preparing for a vacation trip to Yécora to visit my old friends
there. With my new dog and with no new money. Presents for
the kids. Taking the dog on the bus means a travel crate and
work. The dog deserves the vacation to the cooler climate.
Bits and Pieces. That's all there ever is but I thought I would try to consolidate bits today, July 7, 2009.
I think I do not ask much of my friends but what I ask is always too much. The same for family.
I, without written contract, paid to improve the lot: fence, septic
tank, full RV hookups, miscellaneous stuff. Altogether it cost me
about $6,000 to move from the CRA RV park two years ago to here.
had met the owner, Marisol, through my friend Marta, who became angry
at me when I picked Mari's lot over hers. The choice was easy: I
had no relationship with Marisol and I wanted my relationship with
to be independent of any financial arrangement. Marisol and I
became too close of friends and I have yet to learn that such
friendships always cost me. Say it, yes, But understand and
learn it, no. I guess hope is somewhere part of the equation.
But Marisol was married and the lot was therefore community
property. Shortly after we made the arrangements, she moved to
San Luis to return to her husband, Beto. She had left him while
he was a policeman with some ethics and morals problems. Her return
did not improve those issues and she later filed for divorce. The
settlement left him with this lot and house with a half-finished house
addition. His idea: a bathroom big enough to be a kitchen and a
bathroom -- but no kitchen. In every meeting with Beto, his first reaction is to
break something. Locks, window screens, whatever gets in his
way. It is no secret that he is no longer a policeman due to
ethics violations. He seems to think the divorce settlement was unfair
in favor of Marisol. Wherever I go, I run into this concept of "fair"
and it never is -- fair I mean.
What to me is not fair is that now the lot has an owner who claims
I can continue to live here but since there is no written contract, on
some drunk impulse, he may tell me to leave -- after destroying
of value to me. He is a big man and I think I can trust him as
far as I can throw him. Up to two days before he showed up to
tell me that he was the new lot owner, Marisol had consistently told me
that she was keeping the lot. I think I could have shown her a way to
keep the lot and own a house, different house - better house, in San
Luis. Her house in San Luis consists of walls. No
roof. No windows. No doors. No electric wiring.
No plumbing. Walls. And she lives in a trailer
that the homeless would pass on.
For now I shall stay here but I do not know. I can always move back to the park but having the dog live as he does would cause problems. The RV tires are 10 years old -- not drivable. Another couple of places have been offered but they have their strings and drawbacks also.
She not only did not tell me -- when she knew -- that she had let
Beto have the lot, she also informed me that she had no intention
of repaying the loans for things that I had bought her: tires,
freezer, etc. She wonders why I am upset with her. She
called me by name for the first time yesterday rather than with an
endearment. But to her "fair" des not include divulging
important things and repayment of loans.
My friend, Liz, has been at the front gate for as long I have been
coming to El Golfo. During the season, members ran the daytime
gate and she ran the bar -- but there is no more bar or
restaurant. She has ben fired. They have their
reasons. I have heard them. We have the "fair" issue
again. I think making life hard for Liz and firing her is
a serious mistake. I think the things she has been accused of may be
true but do not warrant dismissing an employee of ten or more
years. Mostly CRA wants to rid itself of ALL previous employees
because CRA believes they can find less expensive replacements.
It is this attitude of cheapness that has driven the membership away
from the El Golfo park. But the every member using their
membership to stay
in the park is an expense to CRA. They are happy to sell
memberships praising the El Golfo Park but not have the members use
the park itself. Every year they raise the fees and charges that
they consider negotiable. Every year they find ways to restrict
coupon usage to the point that the coupons have become useless --
The new manager, Raul, does not understand why the membership
distrusts him and the CRA organization. But he only talks, he
does not listen. He will never understand and will always blame
that on the members and his employees. He has offered me a deal to
support the Wi-Fi. I turned it down because of the lies the
membership already believes about me.
2011 August: It has been 2 years now. Raul is a great manager. I underestinated him.
These are the most vicious of lies and are disseminated solely to cause me serious harm.
We shall skip he CRA lies to me -- they just prove that the company itself is corrupt and that is irrelevant here.
Two trips to San Luis, Algodones, and Yuma for a new Mexican Visa,
cage (cloth) for the dog, medicines, etc. A visit to the bus terminal
to see if the dog could ride with me -- no, the dog needs a cage and
Beto had shown up, tried to break the gate padlock and returned with
key after damaging the lock but not getting in. I did not know it
he initially because he had shown up at night on a quad on the 4th of
July weekend and I thought I just had more tourist thieves. I
called Andrea and she informed that it was probably Beto. When he
returned in a pickup, he had a key. He should have used the key
the first time. I do not like his "break it first"
personality. I think it relates as much to his relationships as
things. He still has not introduced me to his new wife - but then
she did not look like she expected to be introduced. He
left his usual trail of beer bottles and cans. He expects the
world to clean up his messes. I placed the bottles and cans in
front of his gate. I notice that someone has already taken the
I asked the local bus driver at 11:30 if I could take my dog - up front -- tomorrow, to San Luis. No problem.
Calls to my friends in Yécora to verify that I was expected and that
the dog could ride up front from Hermosillo to Yécora. That left
the only ride left for the cage from San Luis to hermosillo.
Liz's husband, Ernesto, will wash the RV on Monday morning before I
I got up at 4:00 am and finished packing and cleaning. I have
been packing and cleaning and preparing for a week. The dirty
dishes in the sink stink but I am too tired to handle them.
By 6:00 am blood pressure is already below 100/50.
Ernesto shows up and cleans. Ernesto is a reliable, hard-working
At 10:00 I ran a few errands. I saw Liz at the gate to wish
her well as she will be gone by the time I get back.
I was informed that
"Mike" had angrily gone to her and Raul about my dog pooping in front
of his house and that Dido and I should not be allowed in the park
was not a member. I really hate these lies. I am a member
and my dog did not shit in front of his house. I could tell him
which dog dig but the owners of those dogs are his friends and he would
me. "Mike" is the same guy who reported that Liz had used some
equipment without permission. Some people are just evil.
You know, I am sure I would recognize "Mike" if I saw him. He
might even be friendly towards me. But he did not confront me
when the dog pooped. Obviously he was close enough to recognize
me at the time and could have yelled out. But, no, he held his
anger at me to people with whom he could spread his poison. He
did not tell Liz that she should not use park property and give her the
chance to correct the situation. No, he spread his poison to the
park manager/owner. If he really believes I am not a member
contrary to all claims to the contrary, he should notify the CRA home
office of my trespassing and his attempts to stop my visits.
I stopped in at Magui's and she repaid me the money for things I had
bought. I stopped at Jorge/Andrea's. A few dog bones for
their dogs, good-bye, etc. He volunteered Andrea to wash my
dishes. Great -- they
have keys but she will need nose clamps to enter the RV.
Ernesto drove me to the bus stop at 11:00. The local tortilla
grill owner told me the bus had already left. I told him I did
believe him. I had left my walking stick at home but for fear
I might really miss the bus, it stayed there and Ernesto left. At
11:40 (I was worried) the 11:30 bus arrived and we made our way to San
Luis. As the tortilla man closed for the day, he had thrown a lot
of meat to Dido.
It was so hot and so humid. The dog had a hard time with the
bus ride but he did not complain. We got to San Luis and the
impact of my upcoming journey struck me as I put on my backpack (60+ pounds) and dragged
the portable cooler with the dog supplies and walked the dog from the El
Golfo bus station to the Hermosillo bus station. The dog could not
walk on the pavement nor the concrete. He did slightly burn his
feet trying before I started hopping from shade to shade to grass -- where there
was some. Got him a drink from a local faucet and into the bus
station. 5 bus lines. 4 with trips to Hermosillo -- every
hour. Mexico has 3 classes of buses. First class is
slightly lower than airline first class but not by much. I like
third class. Sometimes they give me senior discount and they make more
stops. More stops is good as I can take the dog out for walks at
each station for about 20 minutes.
But. No bus line would take the dog. It took a while to
learn why. The first answer was that the bus transport cabinets
were full. Here is where my broken Spanish causes problems.
Down country there is no problem but here at the border as soon as my
Spanish is not perfect and the person I am talking to speaks only
Spanish, they presume that we cannot communicate. After a few
minutes of conversation with me pointing out that the cabinets for all of
the buses from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm could not possibly be full at all 4
lines, they admitted that the reason for not accepting the dog was the
heat. The dog would be dead by the time we arrived in Hermosillo. The
third class line had a bus leaving at 9:00 pm when it would be
cool enough to maybe transport the dog -- if the driver agreed. A
I panicked. I totally forgot that there was a bus back to El
at 4:00 from the El Golfo bus line. There were buses every hour
from that line to 57 which I could take and then hitchhike to El
Golfo. I have done that several times. I forgot the 4:00
bus went all the way home. I did not trust that I could get a
with my two large bags and the dog. No ride from 57 would leave
me at the desert roadside all night. Dangerous for many reasons
If the 9:00 driver turned me down, I would have nothing until the
morning 9:30 am bus back to El Golfo. The new buses running
through El Golfo from San Luis to Puerto Peñasco would make the dog
ride below and were therefore not available either.
I called Marisol. I really did not want to but she was to pick
up Betito in El Golfo that same day and maybe I could ride with
her. No. Her car had broken down and she could not go. She
would call to see who from El Golfo might be returning that same
night. Magui, Martita, Millie were in town (together) and I could
them but I would need to wait until 9:00 pm. No problem I would
Now it is about 2:00 in the afternoon. In Mexico bus
stations are always busy since that is their primary means of
transportation. Busier now as gringo holiday traffic was dying
down. Traffic may be down but the air conditioning for the
terminal is marginal and I had two large packs and a large dog.
Here we get technical. Dido is massive but not large. He
is not really large as dogs go. He is 22" at
the shoulder. But he is 36" from rump to middle of his head --
measurement I could get him to stand for (playing with his rump and his
head simultaneously makes him nervous at least). He has a bushy
a large, flat head. The tail reminds me of along broom -- not
for a tail but long for a broom. His head is sort of like a furry
rock. Not ugly like a pit bull (leave it alone), but above that
smile, and the small staring eyes, the head is big and hard. But
he is very heavy for his measurements and with all that fur, he
appears much larger than he is.
I moved the bags to the front wall under the window. I
bought a large bottle of water and a Pepsi light from the inside
restaurant. Both were warm. I needed
at least cool. No more from them. When Dido stands, he is a
beautiful dog. I get many compliments on my beautiful dog.
They always ask if he is a German Shepherd. I do not know how to
say "Border Collie" in Spanish. Maybe "Collie de la Frontera" but
that would make Mexicans think he was an American Dog. I also do
not know how to tell them that he comes from the mountains in
Scotland. Scotland draws a blank. North of England gets
understanding but not breed recognition.
But in length he is more like a dachshund than a collie. And Dido was
hot. I had brushed him out pretty that morning but after an hour or
so of being sprawled on that floor, he was really dirty. His fur
hid it well but is was clumping. I hate brushing out the clumps
as much as he does.
People walked around him. Parents accepted my statement that he
does not bite as they grabbed their children. Dido was so hot he
ignored all but the children who approached him. Sprawled out, he
takes more than 3 feet high and 4 feet long. He patiently waited
all afternoon - and not going to the bathroom since we had left
home. That dog has remarkable bladder control. Pooped on
somebody's front door? Not likely. He has very limited
places where he will urinate or poop. He learned these himself --
neither I nor Mari attempted to housebreak him. He has his own
idea of propriety. He no longer urinates next to my toilet.
By 6:00 pm, I did have the ride back to El Golfo verified. I
took my dog next door and bought some roast beef. This
restaurant I have been to before. You get tortillas, a dish full of
limes, radishes, and green onions, a guacamole dip, and a green salsa
dip. Red if you want it. The roast beef comes in strips
with nothing else. Lots of roast beef. Too much for one
meal with nothing but onions and radishes.
In any case, most of the beef went back in a cup in my pocket.
I bought some more water, a diet fruit drink and two cans of diet soda --
all very cold. We resumed our wait in the front row of seats
watching my two bags. Dido resumed his sprawl. The local
children got braver and then ignored him, He ignored candy treats
and junk. Someone spit in his water dish. Nobody attempted
to steal our stuff and it was far enough away that we were not
conspicuously the owners but there was no room near the seats for our
I saw many very beautiful young Mexican women. It was long
wait. And hot. And humid. I called Yécora and told
were not coming. I went back to the bus cashier and told her we
did not need to accept her offer to ask the 9:00 pm driver if it were
safe enough for the dog. She seemed insulted but I had nothing to
My admiration for my dog grows every day. A friend tells me
that dogs are con artists and feign affection to get what they
want. Maybe Dido does this. But Dido loves me as much as I love
him. He never complained for the 8 hours of waiting. He
knows how to tell me that he is unhappy. He just lay there.
A couple of times I took him outside. He will pee on car tires.
Not this time.
Kids called him by name. No response. I called him, he
looks up. If say "vamonos", he is ready to go. If I try to
leave, he tries to got too. At 9:00 we went outside to wait for
Magui's troop. Up the street she calls to him, he ignores calls
from other people. When she got close enough to recognize and I
released his leash, he ran to her. It is a good thing that
Martita's car is large. We used up enough for all of the Tercel but he
big car opened in the back in went the bags on top of Magui's
restaurant supplies and off we went. Except Dido does not like
back. He kept trying to get in front. The entire trip
home. If I dozed off, he broke for the front.
The reason I turned down the 9:00 pm maybe bus was that I had
decided that even if safe, Dido was not going to ride in a
hot, totally dark, enclosed cabin while inside a cloth cage. He had earned more than that.
Once in Martita's car, we made one more stop and I took the
opportunity to let him walk around enough to urinate. He must
have been really dry because very little came out. When we got
home, he urinated and pooped thoroughly.
We made it back home without further incident. I slept well all
night. Dido wanted to play fetch as soon as we got home and again in the morning when I showed my face.
My communication skills are abysmal. I can speak good
English. I shall never speak good Spanish. Oh. It is
good enough to get compliments but if it were really good, then there
would be no need for compliments. I make complements to
English-speaking Mexicans but these are for Mexicans who are truly
bi-lingual. No. My limits are in expressing emotions and good verb tenses.
"I love you" is never heard form my mouth in English. I know that my
daughters needed to hear it more. My feelings for my daughters
extended so far beyond "I love you", that saying so seemed
trivial. When I began to doubt that I could love anyone or
anything, I just stopped saying the words. In Spanish there as so may ways
to express different kinds of love that if I were to find opportunity,
I could say most of them. I doubt "Te Amo" would be said --
although I wish it. "Te quiero" is easy.
Dido knows how to say, "I love You". He will come up behind me
and touch his nose to my hand or my leg and then proudly walk in front.
He likes front. The touch is usually a surprise and it is
just a touch. I would like to see how he does this. His
coordination is quick and I suspect if I could even see it from behind
it would still be hard to recognize. Walking, running,
standing still, it is a touch and not a nudge. A nudge means
something else. A nudge means that he wants something, probably
what is in my hand.
But I love my dog. I truly love my dog. I feel pain in my
heart for his hip condition that he does not even know is a
problem. He cannot get into a car. On hearing "Subate", he will raise himself
with as much of his body as he can into the car with both hind feet still on the
ground. He needs help to get the hind feet lifted to the car
sill or the seat. He will accept any assistance to accomplish
this. Under the belly is best for him but even I have problems
with this since it touches his privates. Grabbing his feet and
lifting works but you might get scraped by his claws -- short but
sharp. He will even accept, without complaint, grabbing his fur and
lifting. And like I have said before, he is a heavy dog. You
might get a handful of fur. But he does not complain as long as
he gets in the car.
Dido will complain when the brushing gets too rough. The wire
brush does pull and that does hurt. The other brushes are
useless. He hates his teeth being brushed but they must be
brushed frequently because his childhood Parvo decalcified some of them. I
want to see if a dog dentist exists in Yuma.
But mostly he does not complain. He will look at me when he
has no idea why his being tormented with these adventures or I have
something else he does not want. But he never complains, he just
does what he is asked. And he will always follow me to get his head
and back petted. It is not his subservience that I love. That is
not love. It is not his obedience: he is not obedient. It
is that look on his face that does not have to be there that tells me
that he feels towards me the same as I feel towards him. It is the way
he will suddenly lurch at me and hug me at the strangest of times:
usually dangerous times.
I have been watching the "Meet Joe Black" movie. The father's
love for his two daughters I think I match. I would wish that if
anything should happen to me that my daughter's could see this movie to
understand how I feel about them. But then I do not think they
care any more and I have difficulty dealing with my emotions when such
anger and animosity are consistently returned. But the love is deep inside in
a way that cannot be said in my words or be removed. The movie says it all well.
But with my dog, I do not need words. I think that I
could never trust friends any more. Oh, I have couple: Tino, Gary, Tom,
Atis, Liz. They would do whatever it takes to help if I needed
help -- as I would for them. I think Tom understands everything and his communication
skills are way beyond my comprehension. But I do not know that I
could return love to another human being again. I am so grateful
for my dog as he has taught me that I am still capable of loving -- if
could ever get past the trust problem. I think I shall need
another dog before I that happens.
Now it is bedtime again and I need the sleep. But I need to eat. All I had today was one of those frozen cheese pizzas. Leftover. Cold. I ate a small piece last night for dinner -- hot.
Tomorrow, it starts again. Maybe next month I can get
insurance and permission to drive the
truck to Yécora. In the meantime, I hold my breath every time I
the RV until I get the dishes washed. I really need the
vacation. And on the 21st of this month, I get heart tests and
additional blood tests.
Another trip to the big city. First to San Luis to the
Vet. Bought some Tick medicine (spray concentrate) for
Dido. After our last trip to the bus station the poor dog is
infested with so many ticks that he had 4 in a row pumping blood like
mad on one ear. Two more larger ones on the top of his
head. Three. Other scattered around his body. Someone
said sea water kills them -- not a chance. The Hartz flea collar
has no effect. The Hartz Plus spray does not appear to effect
them. I am getting desperate. I distrust the Vet Hospital
in San Luis since the previous medicine almost killed my dog. The
vet on this visit suggested shaving my dog. I suggested that the
double-layer coat might have a problem with being shaved. He countered
saying he does Chow-Chows. I am not sure that this is a good
response. I bought his suggested medicine.
Then I went to the Telcel store on 26th street. This is the
main store for Telcel here. Talk about bad management. Last
week the level on my satellite disk failed and along with the wind, I
needed to re-aim the dish. Time to see about Telcel
Broadband. The line was not long: only 6 people in front of
me. 4 cashiers. After 2 hours of waiting -- with Dido in
the car -- the manager dismissed her friend in her office and went to
lunch. The line had moved 2 people. One had left. 3
more in front of me. I gave up. The man at the front desk
spoke no English so I told him in Spanish that this was the worst
business office that I had been to in my entire life. He just
smiled knowing that my next action was to leave and he did not like
Gringos anyway. I shall use the CRA network until I can re-align
I went to the San Luis Border Crossing, the line was too long so I
drove to Algodones. 10 minutes. I went to the CRA park for
the mail and then to Sam's Club. For those of you who do not
understand: 115° is hot. Dry heat? Give me a break.
90° is comfortable dry heat. 100° is acceptable dry heat. 110° is
hot. When dry, you can handle it but because of the Bush Global
Warming acceleration, July is now humid. 115° with 50% humidity
is hard for me. I stepped out of the car and almost collapsed on
the spot. My lungs burned. My face burned. I looked
for something to grab but then I recovered enough to walk to the office
and then to the gate and speak on the mic to get someone there. I
had called ahead but I think my courtesy of calling ahead serves no
purpose. In any case, not much mail. Two insurance letters
and an order from Whitney containing my tailgate lock.
I parked in the shade as I always do and put the dog out with his
new big, blue bowl. If there is a God and I get to meet Him
someday, I shall need to thank HIm for this wonderful animal. I
thank Him now but somehow I would like to do it face to face.
From Sam's we went to the RV parts store on Arizona for a couple of
keys (they had one) and a knob for my shower. I had given up on
ever seeing one of these.
Dido went in with me. We got a new toothbrush and paste (I
either lost the old ones or Dido hid them). Dido has been
complaining about the lack of social contact this week. He
complains by ignoring his calls to come and the whistle. Several
people admired him in the store and he left happy. The usual
assortment of anti-tick products -- none of which have worked for me.
I had an address for a vet to inspect Dido's teeth but I could not find it on my way to Walmart.
First to Walgreen's -- they no longer carry the compression stockings. I wish that they did.
Walmart. A long list today. Sam's was just for soda, juice,
and milk. We parked a ways out at the first tree island with
acceptable shade. Dido wanted to wait outside and did not want to
wait inside even with all 3 windows open. Again with the leash,
the big, blue bowl, and an "esperame".
I got most of what I needed. I forgot the rest as I had been
gone for a while and I worried about someone stealing my dog.
When I got to the car, a Walmart young man told me that my dog had had
no water and that he had given Dido his water. He also informed
me that it was against Walmart policy to permit unattended dogs in the
parking lot for fear that the heat would kill them. I thanked him
for his concern and after my repeating this and his repeating the hat
warning -- both a couple of times, he left.
He did his job and I understand the concern. I pretty much
agree with it. The pavement is so hot that Dido will even find a
way to get back in the car rather than waiting for me to assist
him. I wish he would do this all the time. I dislike people
who leave their pets in their cars in this heat. But two things
The first is that my car and my dog were in the shade with the dog
outside with his water bowl. It really is a large bowl as I got
tired of dealing with the smaller ones. You cannot tip this bowl
over without first lifting it off the ground. I had not only
filled it with water before I left him but I had added a couple
handfuls of ice cubes. I was not concerned about the heat for
Dido. He lives outside in this heat and he sleeps during the day
under the RV. Where he was in the Walmart parking lot is not much
different than his afternoons at home. If I thought he was in
danger from the heat, I would have taken more precautions and made the
The second is my love of my dog. My biggest concern leaving
him is that someone will steal him. He will tell me if he has a
problem with where he is or the temperature. If I ask him to wait
for me ("esperame") and he tries to come anyway, I figure out what
problem we have. While he is waiting, he will play with anyone
who will play with him, otherwise he lies down under the tailgate or
backend of the Ranger. No fuss. No noise. No anxiety,
just a hopeful look in his face that someone will admire him or that it
is I returning.
Back across the border and on our way home. I stop the the
Grullita Weldon's for two things. The first is to ask the cashier
to marry me. She turned me down saying it is too hot for a
wedding and a trip to El Golfo. The second is for a plat of
eggs. I also buy a cold Diet Coke and a head of lettuce. I
point out Dido to my woman friend. He is sitting on the front
seat awaiting my return and watching me talking with my friend. I
tell her that he is a wonderful dog. There is a bucket of KFC
grilled chicken on the seat next to him. Since I informed him
that the bucket is mine, he will not bother it unless he gets angry at
me for taking too long. We get back to El Golfo with me exhausted
but delivering the mail and some things to Jorge/Andrea before getting
home -- and feeding Dido. And telling him what a good dog he
is. I turn off the freezer.
I empty the freezer, install the milk, and replace all the items
inside making sure that the items I think may have been spoiled by the
previous outage are on top. Now the freezer is clean and I hope
no longer has the smell. I think the smell came from the melted
fish as the ice on the bottom had the appropriate color and the fish
seems to be drier than I would have expected from freezer burn. I
needed to do this reload for the obvious reasons and the fact that when
refrozen all of the items had formed into hard shapes interlocked in
such manner as to make them impossible to remove. Today I am just
tired but I do have a few errands to run in town. And I need to
spray the dog for ticks and tonight give him a bath with the new
anti-tick (Walmart) shampoo. And people think I am bored?
Another attempt at a vacation to Yécora. Foiled by Ford Credit.
I really hate corporate idiots. If they did not want me to take their
Ranger to Mexico rather than wasting so many hours of my time, they
could have just said no.
Finally. A week late they send the letter. I
leave. A week is long enough to visit someone. Living
single on a lot with a dog and moving to a house full of people with
their own dogs is serious work. Obedience is not a trait of my
dog. He has valid ideas on "fair" and by his terms he has been a
very good dog and does not understand needing to be
chained. The visit may not last a week.
Dido is not well house-broken. The house here has brick walls
and the main entry and hall are dirt. The result is that Dido
will pee on the hall walls because he equates them with outdoors.
I cannot blame him but now he is banned from the house.
The parents work everyday leaving me with an uncle who watches TV
all day and 4 or 5 kids. I bought food for the kids yesterday and
made the mistake of buying extra for today. The adults ate it
when they got home. I cannot afford to feed everyone for a
week. I will be lucky to have enough to feed me for the
week. I need a trip to the bank to buy gas for the trip home.
It is after Labor Day. We saw few tourists here in El Golfo --
the economy up north is much worse than we see. We can count the
hidden things.. A trip to El Golfo is a cheap vacation.
Really cheap. And the price of gas is about $2 per gallon.
The food is cheap. You can camp on the beach for free or in a
camp site for peanuts. The weather is what everyone claims but no
one has. There have been no clouds for a month and then before
that was a year ago. Buy your Mexican liability for $58 dollars
per year in Temecula. And no one came.
The cities are hurting so city services are being reduced. Raising
taxes takes an election and a vote and who would vote to raise their
taxes this year? Repairs to sewers, school bus maintenance, new
vehicles, are all deferred. And we know what happens when you
defer maintenance: the cost later is much higher. You remember
the oil change ad: "Pay me now or pay me later?" The implied
threat is that if you pay later you may be paying for much more than
Counties and states have similar problems. Raising traffic
fines and issuing more citations is certainly a way to make your
citizens hate you and fear the cops and will increase and not decrease
The federal government just borrows more money from China -- but it
is deferring services. And that is government. These are
things that are hard to see. Schools. That is a whole issue for
Personal debt is in chaos. With the new credit laws, money is
really much more expensive. Banks have increased their fees to
extortive amounts. Two years ago I borrowed on a credit card on a
promotional rate of 4% and a $75 fee. I checked this month when I
got a 3% special offer. It had to be paid back in 5 months rather
than a year, The transaction fee was $400. I did not borrow
the money. In fact people who can are just not spending
money. Their credit card debt is at an all time low. But
people who need the things and money are increasing their debt
astronomically. I hear every few hours on the radio an ad on how
to not repay the banks what you owe them. Similar ads for not
paying your federal taxes -- and the IRS has published notices that it
is more tolerant on non-payment.
Health insurance rates went up in double digit percentages this
year. I am paying the same with Medicare and a supplement as I
was paying in total last year before Medicare. With the home loan
foreclosures being at such high levels for several years, the COLA for
Social Security will go down. House price is a big part of the
"market basket" computation. But real income has shrunk.
Real costs have seriously increased. And Social Security will find
another way to cheat the people who faithfully paid into it for 50
My IRA is a third of what it was 10 years ago and I take out less
than 5% per year. That means that I live on one third of what I
lived on ten years ago. And my insurance has doubled and I have
new car payments.
But I am better off than most. I need not worry about
working. And I could not if I wanted to. My health is good
but not great. My lot owner is now the ex-husband of my previous
lot owner -- and he is one of the most dishonest people I know. I
was planning to move but I figure I shall wait until I have an incident
with the new owner. It is not to his advantage to evict me or
even make me want to leave.
I fainted last week in a strip mall parking lot. I do not know
how long I was unconscious but people were walking around me when I
woke up. It could not have been long or I would have been run
over. I have blood pressure problems. When I get up my
pressure drops so low that I get dizzy. To the point of needing
to hold onto something for a few minutes. If it were immediate I
would just hold on to the side of the car but it usually happens about
a half minute after I have started walking -- too late. I reduced
and then stopped taking blood pressure medications but two medications
that I do take lower my pressure -- and those I cannot stop
taking. The problem occurs any time I am down for a while or any
time I have been driving -- regardless of the distance or time.
Mostly I have the problem north of the border. I do not have a
reason for this as I think my pressure increases north of the border due
to the increased anxiety level.
I usually write about politics on my politics page but I have
abandoned it. The case is simple: you are a criminal if you shout
fire in a theater because you cause people to do things which will harm
themselves and others. For exactly this reason, any Republican is a
criminal. Their leaders are causing their members to do things
which are harmful to themselves and everyone else.
I ran into a man in El Centro last month who claimed to be an
independent. I think he registers as an independent solely to
reduce his junk main and to keep from having to make a real
commitment. Hmm. That may be sufficient reason for me to
change from independent to Democrat. I need to think about
this. This man's argument against single payer or public option
is that he refuses to pay for someone else's health care -- even when
the cost to him of real health care would be a small percentage of what
he is paying now. The Republican effort to ruin our public school
system has worked when there are people like this. Let us say
that this man is in good health and has no medical claims other than
routine physicals, etc. for a few years. At today's rates, the
current insurance cost him $6,000 per year. For 5 years that
would be $30,000. Oh. His employer pays for most of
it? Get real. His employer is self insured: paying only
administrative costs, benefit costs, and excessive cost coverage.
With health care rather than health insurance, this is $500 per month
the employer could be paying the man. $30,000 in 5 years would be
a nice retirement package. If the man has a family in similar
good health, we are talking about $60,000 in 5 years. If we are
talking about the years from 25 to 30, this is enough for a total
retirement package. But he would rather pay this than have real
Why? He does not want to pay for someone else. This argument
is so stupid that only someone with a moronic education would believe
it. What does he think insurance is? A private company
health insurance policy, real or employer self-insured has just paid
for all of the policy holders who did need medical care. That is
what insurance is: it is the averaging of costs across its
population. If he did not need medical care then the money went
either to someone else's care costs or someone else's pocketbook.
Easy. This stupid person by being in god health has just made
someone else rich and paid for everyone else's care. Maybe this
guy did have problems. Maybe he had serious expenses that
exceeded the $60,000 family allowance. In this case, someone else
paid for him. I hope he objects just as strongly to this as the
other way around but I doubt it. Oh. Insurance is a crap
shoot? He is willing to pay the policy price hoping he does not
need the care? Right. And 35% of what he paid out
went into someone's pocket. At least in Las Vegas (with the new
rules) the house overhead is only 8%. The same as for Medicare.
There is no valid argument against single-payer health care as would
be the case in an extended Medicare system. If every other
industrial country in the world can provide health care for its
citizens then the USA, the land of the free, is itself an
oxymoron. Or just plain moron.
I have a separate page for my dog. I got him at the start of
the year. I have lots of stories about him. I am amazed
every day by his skills and caring. My friend Tom informs me that
a dog is the ultimate con artist. This may be. My friend
George informs me that there are other animals more intelligent than a
dog but none are as socialized as a dog. After 9 months with my
dog, Dido, none of this matters.
Dido will touch me with his nose or slightly brush me with his fur
as he runs past. He does this just to let me know that he is
there for me. His communication skills exceed mine. With
sight head or body movements, he can convey information seriously
beyond what words could say but he would use words if he were able.
His need to learn is similar to a very small child. He will
drop the ball into the ocean and watch the waves and wind move
it. He enjoys this. He saw kids playing football/soccer and
no his favorite pastime is to kick his ball around the yard.
When he returns the ball by kicking, he wants me to kick it back.
If he returns it to my feet, he wants me to kick it back. If he
returns it to my hand, he wants me to throw it. If he stops with
the ball in front of me, he is tired of the game. If he runs into
the ocean with the ball, he is cooling off and wants short rest.
If he returns and stays in the water he want me to throw the ball into
the deeper water. If he returns and waits on the shore, he want
me to throw or kick the ball -- determined by his posture. He
has a very good defensive stance. His favorite action is to run around
the lot with and odd-shaped bottle attached to a rope. He
intentionally snags the bottle as he goes past things. He then figures out how
to move to unsnag the bottle. If all else fails, he grabs the
bottle and pulls it away dragging the rope. He is an Alpha dog
type which means he wants to compete with me. I do not give him
the chance since his winning would make him my master. We do not
play tug of war. He always goes down the stairs first if there
are only a few steps. If there are more steps and if by standing
still, his eyes are higher than mine, I make him go down first. I
ignore his stare when he gets on top of the pickup because that would
acknowledge his being higher and to an Alpha dog, the one on top is the
The other day at Walmart he figured out how to get out of the closed
pickup. He uses his toes very well. I learned that he can
open a plastic water bottle (and drink from it) with them some time
ago. Now he can slide the rear window open and jump out the back.
Why am I saying all of this? Because as children was all
behave in the same manner: we have a need to learn. I saw it in
my daughters and I see it in my dog. If my dog can need to learn
and my children need to learn then if someone has no need to learn then
someone killed it. By bankrupting our public schools both
economically and morally, the Republicans have dumbed our society down
to a level where the idiot who did not want to pay for someone else. By
opposing health care reform this is exactly what he is doing.
Don't quibble. When I went there, there was only one. I
went to the west campus. The following year there were officially
two but only after 1963. Here is my problem. Now Wauwatosa
is no longer in the top 3 of the Milwaukee metro area. Too
bad. It was then. I have listened to people talk about how
bad was our education. I have commented upon my reading the WOrld
Book in the 5th and 6th grades because I was bored. I have
bragged about my refusal to do homework. I was a B- student.
If I had gone to a different school, it is unlikely that no matter
how bored I got that I would have been permitted to read the World
Book. It is 55 years later and I can still remember many items
that I read in those years.
If I had gone to a different school, would I have been permitted to
not have homework or been in a position that if I refused that my
education suffered? I got a good education at Wauwatosa.
No. I got an exceptional education at Wauwatosa. And many people
took great advantage of that same opportunity. Some took advantage of the school and
refused the opportunity. You could go both ways. The science
department had the latest science texts -- some published in paper
covers as they had not been officially released to public publishers
and still had National Science Foundation hard paper covers.
I had a second year algebra teacher that I publicly
ridiculed. But I learned algebra and became a math major at the
university. I knew that the state animal was the white tailed
deer (they changed it later). I knew ow many amendments there
were to the American Constitution (they had passed one the day
before).. When I got to the university, I protested the VietNam
war but I also sat on the platform with Barry Goldwater. I was
involved with federal, state, and local politics when I got to the
university. Would I have had the interest, skills, or motivation
if I had gone to a lesser high school? I do not think so.
Others can talk about their high school and their education. They
may have had a lesser or better high school than myself. They may
have valid criticisms. But I have learned from my dog that I had
an exceptional opportunity to learn given to me by my parent's choice
of home location and a school which encouraged (sometimes backhandedly)
individual motivation and improvement.
Want a point-blank demonstration of this? In 5th grade we
moved to Wauwatosa from Ypsilanti. The Ypsi schools were at least
one grade full ahead of the Wauwatosa schools by 5th grade. Proof
of this is elsewhere. But in my class, I was not the top
student. Bobby Bartelt was. We competed for best scores in
everything from arithmetic to spelling. Everyone knew that we
were the top two. Everyone. Not bad for the new guy.
But Bobby moved by 6th grade. The Milwaukee/Wauwatosa city limit
boundaries would make a gerrymander cry out in despair.
Bobby's new house sat on a corner that placed him inside Milwaukee
although all of his neighbors were in Wauwatosa. He went to the
Milwaukee high School on Sherman. I ran into him at the
University as I was leaving my Calculus class. He told me that he
would never take an advanced math class: they were beyond his
abilities. In 7 years, his desire and ability to learn had been
crippled by a line on a map. I am sure that Bobby did well.
He was a good guy. But someone stole from him his need to learn.
I have read the book. But I have been watching the
movie. People in the movie laugh at the relationship of the man
with his gorilla. Indeed it is their laughter that defines the
relationship since the movie does not have sufficient time to do
better. I love my dog. I wish I had loved my wife so
much. My dog loves me. I have had dogs before. I have
had really smart dogs before. I have had really loyal dogs
before. Maybe I have changed. Dido is not obedient.
His obedience is a matter of convenience -- his to himself. He
will not come when called. He escapes the lot every chance he
gets. Two reasons: he wants to know what changed since his last
escape and he wants to find a little girl or boy to play with.
But the gorilla in the movie needs to be released to his own kind in
the jungle. He does this after showing extreme love and loyalty
to his human master. Being petted is not a high priority with
Dido. I sometimes think he only permits it to please me at times
it is convenient for him. He also exploits his opportunities in
the RV when he knows I am sleeping. Today he found my Zip-Lock
bag with trash in it., He had spread the egg shells all over the
floor as he scoured the trash for something to eat. Bits
and pieces of egg shell all over the rug. I told him he was a bad
dog. He already knew this and refused to look at me. No
false shame. No hanging his head. Just looked the other
way. An Alpha dog does not accept blame. I used the vacuum
cleaner to clean up the mess. He hates the vacuum cleaner.
Usually I clean while he is outside but I was angry. When I got
it all cleaned up, he came over and sniffed the vacuum. Maybe
this monster was not such a bad thing after all. He did not run
for the door. He did not hide under the chair. He lay where he
was until I was finished. His inspection showed that the floor was clean. I went
back to my movie. He saw how he had hurt me. Hurt? He
had done something that made me angry and sad and required work to
restore. He apologized and then asked t go outside.
Apologized? He stood in front of me with his head down and waited
to be petted or yelled at. He was petted all over. Then he went
outside. He has a short memory for the bad parts. When I
went outside, he was waiting with his favorite ball. Holding a
grudge against an animal (or your child) is about as stupid as the man
who did not want to pay for someone else's health care.
I hope Dido learns better obedience but I would not trade obedience
his gentle touches or the pride he showed when he escaped the pickup
and walked into the Walmart before me. Walked? He can casually
(and proudly strut) faster than many dogs can run. You have to
see it. Megan is correct: I have the dog that was designed for
me. If you want a cute and cuddly little barking machine, you do
not want a Border Collie. If you want a subservient dog with
which you can compete and always win, you do not want a Border
Collie. If you cannot accept an honest competition and then lose,
do not compete with a Border Collie. These wins he remembers.
I need to apologize to several people here. All women.
My wife and several girl friends would gently touch me when they were
near. As, as I have have just mentioned, does my dog. When
I am tense or nervous, touching me will get an angry response. It
is exactly those times for which I must apologize. When my friend
touched me at these times, it was to show support and to let me know
that they were there for me. This I rejected and for all of those
times my wife or girl friend was rejected, I apologize.
I do not understand and never will. I accept the dog telling
me that he cares enough to let me know he is there. Sometimes I know
that the dog has the wrong home. He is locked in the lot all
day. He watches the other dogs run loose. He watches the
people walk, run, or drive by. He barks at them out of
frustration: he wants to be with them. He wants them to stop and play
with him -- even through the fence. He does not bark at strangers
except in the middle of the night. He really needs more social
contact than just living with me. Today on the drive to the
beach, I felt bad because he could only yip quietly as we passed other
dogs he recognized. I told him I was sorry and he hugged
me. If you have not been on roads like we have here, you have no
idea how dangerous this is. My rear tires have 15 pounds in
them. The roads are all sand and sudden stops will get you
stuck. There are 2 tracks down the middle of each road and
intersections are really dangerous. Some video games are easier
than the drive to the beach. A sudden attack by a 50 pound dog
putting his paws on each shoulder and licking your face is
serious distraction. Liz was right: my dog loves me and knows
that I love him too.
I fainted a couple of times and the cardiologist gave me a heart
monitor to be worn for one day. I had gone to El Centro two
consecutive days and had gotten sick so when I needed the monitor, I
did not return to El Golfo. Instead I went to the Pio Pico
Thousand Trails RV park halfway between Tecate and Chula Vista.
Interesting day. We set up camp at the most distant campsite
where there is a BLM road entry into the mountains. We were a
couple of miles north of the border. We took a nice walk during
the day to get us both some exercise.
As soon as it got dark, Dido started barking at invisible people:
people hiding in the trees. Illegals. Dido would bark, the
Border Patrol would show up and things went silent for a little
while. I got no sleep until I brought Dido into the tent.
I've said it before: Dido is not a big dog but he is massive and takes
a large amount of space. But it worked out: no more barking but a lot
of under the breath growling. But every 20 minutes or half hour
the helicopter with bright lights and the little Green/White trucks
would show up, go through the gate and up the road. I got to
sleep sometime after midnight. By morning all was calm
again. We took a short walk up the BLM road and then packed camp.
I returned the monitor and we shopped then went home. A couple
weeks later I saw the doctor and was told that my heart was normal
except it missed beats mostly during the night. No
surprise. I told her that as soon as I had fainted I figured it
was a stress reaction and had canceled my move to the other lot.
Dido had a tumor removed. We spent a good amount of time seeing the vet and his recovering his wound.
Dido's stitches come out this week. I bought a propane
catalytic heater for the RV. Trying to keep the electric bill
down this winter. Expenses are high. Social Security is
frozen for the next couple of years because they use the same COLA
market basket for seniors as they do the general population. That
is, house payments are a large portion and they went down and not
up. Everything else went up so the seniors lose. At least
Medicare did not go up.
The weather right now is great. Mid 80's during the day. 60's
at night. Maybe we might get some rain. I keep hoping.
I joined Facebook a while back. I have encountered a few, very
few, high school friends. I find the Holy grail book quite
interesting. It is the foundation non-fiction book from which
"The DaVinci Code" fiction book was written. I put on my status
page an inquiry to see if anyone else had some input about this
book. The basis of the book is that the "Sangreal" is really
"Sang Real" and not "San Grail". That is Holy Blood and not Holy
Grail (Chalice). And that the blood in question is the blood line
Much to my surprise, rather than getting comments on the book, I got
someone's testimony that Jesus is God, one of the Holy Trinity. I
am sorry but after living this many years and seeing so much of true
and false and religious beliefs, I must admit an undying belief
that there is a God that created our universe. I also believe
that various person's of moral goodness or lack thereof have set
themselves up as prophets. Jesus being one of the better ones of
these. We will not go into the latter day false prophets.
The problem of Jesus is that his followers kidnapped his teachings
and have convinced their followers that he was more than a
prophet. I have come to distrust anyone who claims to be a
Christian. I have no problem with people who do not talk about
it. A badge on the sleeve will drive me to higher ground.
GWB claimed to be a Christian and attempted to change the USA
into a theocracy. But he never attended church services during or
after his presidency.
My friend Connie Kearns back in Madison used to say: "Hypocrisy is
the only sin". That rings more and more true as I get
older. Go, Connie!
I want to take Dido for a mountain vacation as soon as he is better. That may include a visit to Megan.
I live on a corner lot facing more or less East on the North end of the lot. The lot to the North of me is owned by Gringos who previously visited maybe three of four times a year. The lot in front of me is almost empty. There is a block fence but no house. Kiddy corner from me and across from them is empty. The lot to the West of me has a small trailer back from the road. The lot across and back from me has a fence and a house that is visited also a couple of times a year. In other words anywhere is open except the north side of my RV.
But my north-side neighbors who visit their house randomly but with
increasing frequency have a young boy and an older boy and they bring
one or two more. They play baseball right next to my RV in the
road between us. Hardball. And they regularly hit the side
of my RV with the ball. They could play anywhere else and not endanger
anything. 100 yards to the front. Nothing. 100 yards to the
back. Nothing breakable. Around the corner on the side of their
lot. Nothing. Around the corner in front of me. Nothing if
they go past the front of the RV.
In other words, they use the RV for a backstop. They have
ignored any number of polite requests to stop doing this.
This time I kept the ball and tossed it to the dog. They stole
the outdoor thermometer sensor from my car as they left for up
north. I can buy another one. But I hate these
people. I have always been nice to them. Always. But
no more. I hate vandals and thieves. I hate parents who raise irresponsible children.
The dog got breast cancer and this has caused a lot of emotion (Dog)
and trips to San Luis. This cancer was rapid and on a male dog
and a good chance will be fatal. This is what frightens me.
Most men just smile and go on their way when they hear announcements
for female health and breast cancer examinations. I have
learned what most women already know: Breast cancer is really dangerous.
It is fatal if not treated and it grows rapidly. It is not only a
cosmetic and psychological problem of a woman losing her breast.
The real problem is that if not treated almost immediately the woman
(or man) can die. My dog may still die but we caught it so early
and started chemo so early that there is hope.
Three times. The first tumor was removed. Dido neatly
removed all of his stitches leaving an open wound. Resewn with
drain tubes. A second tumor, bigger. Removed. The biopsy
says no more cancer. But this wound is now very long and very
sensitive. If we can keep Dido from tearing himself apart, in two
weeks the whole tumor thing is history. He has learned to leave
it alone although it is so very sensitive that he has trouble lying
down without having to put pressure on the stitches.
Yesterday I went back to the Bet because Dido had pulled out his
drain tube and needed some more stitches. That prevented anything
else from happening yesterday since if I let him out of my sight, Dido
would cause more damage. I received another reprimand from the
vet and was so depressed I bought some donuts for the trip home.
So, today I figured that if both of us spent the day together we
would be so frustrated by nightfall that we would have a lousy
Thanksgiving week. We went to El Centro and I bought some things
at Costco that are not available at Sam's Club. Mostly I wanted
the day traveling so that we would be close enough to keep him from
scratching his wound but not confined to the house. I bought a
set of solar-powered flashlights as a gift for the vet. I discovered
that he has a lot of business from snowbirds.
While leaving Costco, I tripped over one of those concrete logs in the parking lot
that stop the car front wheels. I do think the damage is not
permanent -- but my right knee which took the major blow hurts.
Not like a pressure thing but like a thousand little pins stabbing me
all at once. I guess I am lucky as my head landed such that it
scratched my glasses all up and they never left my face and my nose is
dirty. The dog threw up on the front seat but otherwise we had a
good day. When we got home he wanted to play -- I wanted some
super aspirins but then my rat poison pills preclude aspiring. I
hope about 6 Tylenol will help. I know 2 won't.
I must visit people tomorrow. Too much time spent alone
this week. Thanksgiving on Thursday. It is amazing that the
holidays are this close and not even a hint of SAD this year. I
think the dog has a lot to do with that.
Propane Catalytic Heater
I bought one of these to save on my electric bill. I also
bought a 2 gallon (?) tank. at Costco. First off the gauge on the
tank reads empty or full. Running out of gas at 3 in the morning
leaves me cold. With electric I have a thermostat and and on/off
switch. The propane heater has one switch: Off, Ignite,
Low, High. It costs 100 pesos to fill ($7.50). If I fill it
once a week, that is $30 per month and the electric bill would be more
than $100. But. I left the unit on last night, all night.
The RV kept toasty warm but in the morning my nose was so dried out
that I spent the day in agony. We shall not do that again.
I hope that the high position will heat the RV in the morning and I
shall sleep cold.
The El Golfo highway comes into the town center from the north
meeting at a 4-way stop. West of the town (more or less) is the
beach. All of this area is occupied or is wet. East of the
highway (where I am rises) away from the beach. There is a big
sand/dirt hill east of town for most of the length of town. Right
by me the hill curves to the west. This means that in front of me
there is a row of lots and to the north of me there is a row of lots.
But beyond these lots is hill. As it curves west, it slopes down to
nothing. As usual, the lots on the top of the hill are prime real
estate. Lots beyond the hill have no chance of seeing the water
and so are not so valuable. The hill sort of circumscribes the
So two things happen here. The fishermen are out of
work. There are no shrimp and there are no fish. Licenses
are being resold to the state. Hundreds of men looking for work
and knowing that some day any property here will be valuable. So,
north of my hill from the highway to a ways beyond, lots have been
staked out and occupied. Mexico still has some adverse possession
laws. So people have moved on to the lots and do not leave them
vacant. At some point some legal decisions will be made and some
people will be able to stay on their staked out lots. Most will
be sent packing. This is not prime real estate since these lots
are adjacent to the town dump. But someday some of these people
will be proud landowners. They tried this south of town and the
real owners called in the Federales and the Army. But those newly
staked out lots not claimed by original owners have new owners.
Since the road in front of me ends at my corner (more or less), I
have a prime lot although it is at the bottom of the hill and not the
top. Very little traffic and the most of that from quads or
pickups venturing up the hill.
But the invasion people have built their shanties from the north
side of the hill to the dump and I think actually into it. This
might be wise since it is unlikely that someone currently owns the dump
property and someday none of it will be dump. There is no
electricity to the invasion area -- nor is there water but that will
change if the invaders are permitted to stay.
The current, or at least previous, tenants of the dump do not
appreciate the new invaders and they make a lot of noise about
it. Coyotes go to the hill and complain about the loss of their
lands. Coyotes and people do not share well and sometimes lives
are taken on both sides. But the neighborhood dogs, that is my
neighborhood dogs, do not like coyotes. The complaining coyotes
are growing in number. The local summer puppies are growing into
dogs. I suspect in the near future we shall have a re-enactment
of the "West Side Story" gang fight -- except that even the Mexicans
would reject the sound track. So far the coyotes have mostly
remained on the other side of the hill but that is a temporary
situation. Oh. And you gringos have seen coyotes along the
highway or in the zoo? Scrawny little things sort of like red
foxes except for color? No. Our local coyotes might more be
mistaken for wolves than foxes.
My landlord showed up last night with a pleasant disposition and
reiterated his intent to leave me here indefinitely. He checked
out his house, found a small leak in the bathroom ceiling and promised
increased police patrols in the neighborhood. The police and
everyone except the hill riders have basically ignored my corner but
that is changing. The lot across the street has a block fence and
I think the house will start by Christmas. They are moving a
trailer onto the lot today and their own private street light on
Saturday. Kiddy corner is being restaked which means that the
people moving the stakes are new owners and I can expect a fence to
start soon. The baseball people have shown more interest lately
and the guy in the lot next to them has been in and out for the first
times this year. With the fisherman and his family behind me, the
only open lot is to the south. The invasion lots start on the
north side of the hill and so I expect more pedestrian traffic coming
by. It also means more lights and less darkness at night. I
like it dark at night but my world is changing. It will stop
being private if the town completes the roads east and north of
me. That will happen but I would rather it happened later than
sooner. I see no advantage to anyone of completing the road over
the hill since every rain would wash out the road again.
Completing the road north only gives better access to the invasion and
the only reason they would want it completed is to give access to older
neighborhoods. I think this is not a good thing: leave the hill
as it stands.
Oh. The restaking? The concept of "cheap" takes on a new
meaning in Mexico. When I moved onto this lot and installed the
fence, I had the lot surveyed to guarantee the new fence
location. The survey moved the fence location from 3 to 6 feet on
each side and squared the lot. Only one corner had been correctly
placed. After I installed my fence, all of my neighbors corrected
their fences by eye to match the lines drawn by my fence. I forget but
the survey cost was between $50 and $70 and the guy came out with GPS
equipment and everything. Because his lines were so different
from the original I asked it be resurveyed: same results. But the
new people across the way and the new restakers just use line of sight
to measure their lots. The guy across the street is pretty smart
so he may have moved his lines and then had it surveyed. Probably
did. But I know my Mexican neighbors did not.
It is now the day before Christmas. Dido is home from the hospital.
I am so happy but the vet hospital was absolutely ruining Dido's
health. Good care, god food, exercise, medicine, and a lot of
love and I think he will return to normal health.
I cannot say the same about me. When Dido went to the
hospital, so did I. My kidneys were killing me. A urinary
tract infection had gotten that far upstream. But a day in the
hospital and some more antibiotic and pain killing pills and I was in
better shape. Only better because two months ago I fell on my
right knee and twisted it. this hurt. Two weeks later I
fell again with that knee taking the brunt. That got better but
the original pain -- or maybe the combination, has me so sore that I
cannot walk. I can limp for a while but normal walking is
out. I cannot take aspirin or Advil. Only Tylenol does not
conflict with my rat poison pills. I shall not return to the
hospital or a doctor until the start of the year. I will spend
the time with my dog. They we shall see about getting me fixed.
I can hardly stand up I am so weak. Once up I go from thing to
thing to lean on with occasional yelps of pain as I twist my leg the
wrong direction. It hurts when straight. It hurts when
twisted. It hurts when I am lying in bed. It just hurts.
This year I went cheap on presents. A few cheap things for a
few close friends. Shampoo, etc. I bought a half dozen of the
Walmart throw blankets. Red and Green for Christmas. They are
great for sitting on the sofa and keeping your legs warm. One
will also cover a small child.
So, I bought enough supplies for 20 kids. A bag of
apples. Two packages of socks. Small candy canes. I
mean the really small ones. A bag of chocolates. Some
balls, and a bag of balloons. Left over tennis balls, pencils,
lollipops, and snack crackers make up the rest. I placed these in
a gallon size ZipLock with a sheet of Christmas tissue paper. 20
of these. I blew it. One the block around me covering both
sides of the street, there are 30 kids. Maybe more. I
am amazed. I mean the block is 2 by 4 lots. 8 lots in the
block. 20 potential houses. In front of me and on each
side, the lot is vacant.: minus 5. The lot exactly opposite me is
vacant with two of its corners vacant. minus 3 more. There are 5
more vacant. This means that in 8 lots, there are 30 kids under
12 years old. I did not prepare for that many. Oh.. I also
have 6 packs of baby wipes. These are in addition to the
30. I passed out 15 gift packs before I realized I was in
trouble. I shall take my remaining 5 gift packs and fill them
with leftover candies, balloons, and pencils and then pass these out
one to each family.
It used to depress me that I got so few gifts -- if any -- at
Christmas. Now not getting gifts makes me free to enjoy giving
little things to children. Santa Claus has the right idea.
a few cookies and milk and on his way, leaving joy and happiness
behind. This is by far the greatest possible gift of al: knowing
that you have left smiles in your wake.
I heard an interesting anecdote on the radio the other day. I
thought it was really funny. One year a famous department store
set up an 800 number for children to call Santa Claus and ask for their
bundles. But the papers misprinted the telephone number.
The number that was printed was a super-secret number to the
predecessor to NORAD to indicate impending national disaster from a
missile attack. This attack center was deluged by tiny voices
asking for Santa Claus. Upon learning the error, the military
voice answering the phones gave out the current location of Santa Claus
on his world voyage. This became the first time "NORAD" published
Santa's route. Annually televising a fake RADAR screen was easier
than handling thousands of telephone calls. The radio claimed
that this is a true story.
Who would have guessed? I thought the previous would be my
last entry this year. But I twisted my right knee so badly that I
could not stand up and the pain was so bad I could not sleep. So,
off to Yuma. I thought about visiting the local doctor but he
would have sent me to San Luis for X-rays. The trip to Yuma was
not really fun but interesting. The San Luis line was short s I
waited in it. for 45 minutes. Short but slow. And I
really needed a bathroom. So I left the line and drove to
Algodones. I guess I am easily impressed and surprised.
I talked with Megan about my knee. She agreed that it was not
time for a replacement and I asked about my mother's knee. I have
never felt good about he artificial knee joint and I know other women
who find the steel knew preferable to their original. What is
happening? Megan tells me that until recently artificial knees
were designed for men regardless of who got the knee. She told me
that the women had problems because they put different pressures on the
joint than men. I guess I am like the men who designed these
knees: if it is strong enough for a man, why would it hurt a
woman? I spent the next hours in lines waiting watching women and
men walk past my car. I think it was a good sample since the
waiting lines at the border are primarily of people. I had never
thought about it before. I watched some young women and girls
selling things from the roadside in addition to the seniors walking
between the stores and the exit line. We know that women walk
differently than men but this is the first time I ever watched
it. The difference is obvious. Men walk straight.
That is, they move their legs in a straight line. Forward,
backward, even sideways. The joint moves in a linear path.
Any twisting seems to be from the waist up. Not so with
women. Every joint in their body takes part of the twisting --
and there is more twisting. A man might move his head to the side
to speak to his partner. The woman twists her entire body to meet
the man's face. He feet might even swivel on the ball of her
foot. Her neck will stretch sideways and up. She will match
the man's step which means a longer reach. She may have
proportionally longer legs but probably not equal to the man's and
therefore, her steps are proportionally larger than the man's.
Interesting differences that no one but a homosexual, a sex fiend, or a
bio-engineer is going to notice. Like other things, it is not the
physical strength of the artificial knee but its ability to easily move
and support in the various directions that a woman requires that makes
this design so complicated. My daughter Megan, the
bioengineer. Me, the class dummy.
I stopped at the toll booth on Highway 2. 12 Pesos. No
big deal. But for some reason, periodically there is a group of
Federales checking cars coming from Mexicali into San Luis. These
are the really fierce police that you hear about. Many wear ski
masks to protect their identities because if the criminal element could
identify them, their families would die terrible deaths. The
black uniforms are recognized around the world: this is a Mexican
Federal Police Officer and he can pretty much do with you what he
wants. Unlike the army officers, carrying rifles that were
obsolete before Viet Nam, these guys carry weapons that you know are
the latest technology. Laser sites, rubber handles, all
black. I remember living in Detroit in the late 1960's. The
city police had mobile armories. Police cars with the entire rear
outfitted with special weapons. Armored plating all around.
Bullet proof glass al around. and you knew one when you saw not
because it was labeled "TMU" for Tactical Mobile Unit. You knew
because it looked a little too fat and sat too low to the ground and
the driver did not get out to chat with the other police
officers. These were intended to provide respect t o any police
in an incident requiring one of these to arrive. Now we have SWAT
but then it was TMU's.
Well, when you see a Federale police car, the TMU image comes to
mind instantly. These are the 'A' Body Detroit cars and they are
fat and they are black and they are squat and the officers in the
immediate vicinity carry their weapons and their attitude at the
ready. If you want to approach these guys, think twice. It
is better that you wait for them to approach you if you really want the
contact. So today there is one of these road checks at the toll
booth. I always wonder what they are looking for that the
military checkpoints have not found. But these is always someone
having their car checked when you ee these guys. This time a car
had its doors open and the officers were checking it out.
But then disaster struck. I was gong the other way. I
needed a bathroom and I was waiting in the toll line. And several
of the Federales were frantically waving to me. Then I saw the
smiles. They remembered me from another checkpoint further south
and they wanted to see my dog. My dog. Dido. He makes
friends with everyone. I had to point to the seat indicating that
he was not here and then it was my turn for the toll. The Mexican
Federale Police have one of the toughest jobs in the world. They
travel around the country looking for trouble. When they find it,
people die. Sometimes it is one of them that dies.
As much as I love this country and its general lack of respect for
its own laws, there is always the knowledge that what you are not
seeing is very dangerous. All of these friendly little towns with
the smiling, innocent little faces and living in ever-improving houses,
hide a drug industry that will kill you just because you know who they
are. When a police officer here stops you, he may be wanting
money or just to wish you well. I never heard of an American
police officer asking you if you needed help and were enjoying your
visit to his city.
All of my encounters with the Federales, have been
extraordinary. They are polite, friendly and smiling and it gets
better when they meet the dog. I guess I worry about this
sometimes. Once when I talked with one of them who just happened
to have lived in Madison, Wisconsin, every one in El Golfo knew about
it within a half hour. I was seen in active conversation and
pointing in different directions.
Once a month or so I get an offer to buy my dog. To me this is
more of a testimony for his personality than any bragging that I could
But I made it to the hospital having stopped 12 times along side the
road between El Golfo and Yuma. On the American side I find
bathrooms but arrived at the hospital with dampened jeans. I
parked in front this time not too far from a convention of the little
carts that carry you to the door.
I was treated and sent f my way with the name and number of a bone
doctor to call. A prescription for Vicotin. Codeine with a
Tylenol base. The local drug store wanted $58. I
passed. This is generic. The ingredients are not rare or
esoteric. Vicotin should be on the Walmart $4 list. I can
live with a lot of pain before I give anyone $58 for a week's worth of
pills. I drove back home.
For two days now I limp around my RV. Tomorrow I call the
doctor and see what he can do for me. I was really surprised that
the emergency room could do no better than to refer me to a
doctor. The doctors I had called had a two-week to a month
waiting line. I hope this guy can see me at the beginning of next
week. I could have called on Monday and maybe seen him by
Thursday but I am so tired that there is not a chance that I was going
to make this trip again this week and with New Year's on Friday, there
is little chance of a good visit this year.
But one thing surprised me at the hospital. It was a real
shock. I was seen by a Doctor Romero. He could have been
Latin. I thought so. Maybe Italian. Maybe
Spanish. I did not think about it much until he started pulling
on my leg. I mean he grabbed my upper leg with one hand and my
calf with the other and pulled sideways across the joint. Instant
pain. I screamed for him to stop. Several times I screamed
and he did not stop. I looked down at my leg to see what he was
doing and at this point he stopped stretching it and just held it
taughtly in place. I asked him to please stop and he did.
What was the shock?
I had been screaming in pain and yelling for him to stop in
Spanish. It took me a minute to realize that I had dropped my
English and another minute to realize that either Doctor Romero did not
understand Spanish or he did not understand pain. I switched back
to English and he let go. I thought everyone in that hospital was
at least a little bilingual. I mean "Por Favor, Alto! Tengo
mucho duele!" would have been enough for someone who did not know
Spanish to have stopped pulling.
But then that is why I prefer the California doctors. I have
not found the arrogance in California that I find in arizona. It
is just that the nearest hospital on the California side with the
facilities of the Yuma hospital is another 4 hour drive to San
Diego. To,oorw is another day. The day after is another
year. Except for a few months of pain in my knee, this has been a
great year. And I have my dog Dido to share it with.