It has been a busy month. I am going on a vacation tour the first 10 days of December. Copper Canyon. There is much to do before I leave. And Bingo needs to be cared for while I am gone.
I am disappointed in the man doing the lot work. He did not complete the necessary tasks and did not even complete started tasks. I have a new man who is working out well. But there is so much to be done. And much of it before I leave on vacation. I have discovered that paying for things in El Golf, 57, or even San Luis has cost me a fair amount. Some things must be purchased here but many can be bought elsewhere. The Mexicali Home Depot has prices much below those anywhere -- and that includes the Yuma Home Depot. I want to have my shed mostly complete before the trip.
Dentist. I have had 12 teeth extracted and the prostheses are almost ready. Next week -- and I need to pay for them then: $450. They want to complete them before my mouth totally heals from the extractions. I hope that this is not a problem. I like this dentist but I am always suspicious of any dentist these days. After this there is only one alternative: total false teeth.
Yesterday, the 21st, I bought supplies to plumb the new water tank and pump. I have also bought some new clothes for the trip. It will be cold and I have a couple of new warm shirts. Last night and today it is raining. We always need the rain. It means I shall turn on the gas space heater for the first time this year. Next week will be my last visit to Yuma before the trip. I am doing nothing special for Thanksgiving. When I go to town I may buy some food things for the poor. I gave a couple of women rides to El Golfo last night before the rain started. I need to help somebody as my way of giving thanks. And I need to feel good about myself: I am having Thanksgiving dinner in the park clubhouse.
Bingo. I have started taking Bingo into the stores where he is permitted. Banks. Hardware. Yesterday he got special attention in the bank. When we left, he was prancing back to the car. He prances when he is happy and proud. He was proud of how well he had behaved among the people and offices we went to.
We went to the Home Depot to return some roof paint. $30 for 0.9 Gallons (inflation again: a gallon is no longer a gallon). I had bought a 5 gallon (real gallons) tub of the very same paint at the Mexicali Home Depot for $45. I did not ask for their price guarantee which is posted everywhere. I did not want to waste my time listening to their excuses as to why they would not have made good on it. I just took my refund and ran to Lowe's to buy my pluming supplies.
In both stores, and especially Lowe's, Bingo drew a crowd. I was asked if he were a show dog or otherwise famous. Other than driving me nuts with his walking around me in circles, he was behaving himself very well. He is a beautiful animal and stands so proudly when he is at my side.
The Republicans have dragged the USA through the mud so badly over the last 12 years that it is not clear that we can ever return to representative government. I listen to the news and I want to cry for my homeland.
On the other hand, the more I live in Mexico, the more I like Mexicans. To a great degree they ignore their politics as sort of a necessary evil. An occasional good person in office steers the country back on course, sort of. Calderon was a great president. But the people are so gracious and caring. In 8 months of living here I have never heard anger or bad words from my neighbors in or out of their homes. I hear a lot of laughter and see a lot of smiles. I am not so sure of little boys -- macho is instilled at a very young age. But when I see the boys in Yuma with their punk hair cuts and them behaving like a herd of monkeys just released from the cage and maybe the Mexican boys are not so bad after all. Megan tells me that is monkey behavior has become the norm in the USA.
SodaStream. I have been drinking their soda for a couple of months now. I have invested in the larger CO2 cartridges. I am not sure that I am saving much money but sufficient that I shall ultimately equalize my initial investment. There are a couple of side benefits. The *ZERO* Aspartame has shown results. My ankles are no longer swollen. In fact my legs have reduced i diameter enough that I feel my shorts flopping against my thighs.. My belt is a couple notches tighter or the shorts fall down. I no longer have trash bags full of recycle bottles and cans.
The CRA park has asked me to resume care of their Wi-Fi. I am not sure that I want to do this and if I do it will be on a maintenance chore and not dealing with individuals except on a pay basis. I think that the park Wi-Fi should now be virtually free since the current caretakers have installed a professional system with relays and such. The park pays for the DSL line so the only reason to charge is for breakage and hassle reduction. Other members have set up their own DSL Wi-Fi in direct competition. Strange. I guess it permits them to effectively get their own Internet usage for free. Right now I am thinking of charging the two-week people one dollar for the password. Five dollars for setting up their computer. More if they need consulting. For the long term users, the annual $40 fee sounds good to me. The are the "lot" owners and the reason for the extensive relay system -- and they will complain the loudest for any problems.
A concept from the Bible that seems to have been lost. I know times are tough. They are tough for me too. But we seem to forget that the Bible was written to hand down good moral values. As a history book, it is a total failure. As a religious literal history it is worse than a failure. But as a book of moral values, it has much to offer. Forget about the "righteous" Lot offering his virgin daughters to the crowd to just stop bugging him. Forget about people celebrating the bears eating the babies. Be a cafeteria Christian. Just ignore the section with the harmful food and just choose the healthy foods. There are lots of them.
Tithing seems to be one of the very good values. You value what you pay for. This can make you selfish if you only buy things for yourself. But the issue here is our current world. There is too much pain. There is too much poverty. There is too much blame cast at those who are poor.
I know professional poor people. They are poor. They know they are poor. They accept that they are poor. The problem is that in accepting poverty, they have decided to live off of others. I know such a family here in Mexico. I had a college roommate Army veteran who begged on State Street to pay his rent. I once had a house mate who hustled pool halls to live more extravagantly. I wondered why no one broke his thumbs.
These are the very extreme exceptions. Most poor people do not like being poor. Many are poor because of bad personal decisions. Many are poor by bad luck. Many are poor because others mad bad decisions. In any case these people may not have a way out of their poverty. Age. Disability. Mental. Physical. A list. Romney can call people who need help: the 47%. The operative word here is "need".
Once while college age I was poor. I begged meals. I checked coin slots. I decided I did not want to be poor and worked my way out of it. But I could not have done it alone. I could list the people who helped me out of my hole. I remember them every day.
I live my dream. I have a beautiful home overlooking the sea. I have children visit me daily with their smiles and jokes and wanting a piece of candy. My health is good. I have good friends. My computer has a 29" monitor. Two years ago I cruised the Alaskan shores. I watched glaciers crash into the sea. I took a train to the Yukon. Last year I cruised from St. Petersberg to Moscow -- after stopping at Copenhagen and Finland. This year I shall take a tour into the heart of Mexico.
I got here not by my bootstraps but by the shoulders of those who cared. It is payback time.
I live on $3,000 per month. $350 for health insurance. $150 income taxes. $500 debt reduction. $500 home improvement: I just moved onto an empty lot. $500 living expenses. $1,000 gift. Not the Biblical 10%. One third of the gross. If I can live my wondrous life style and donate one third to the people who need it more, then why do you not give the 10%?
I figure that if everyone gave just 5%. A lousy nickel on the dollar. Just 5%. There would be no more poverty. The Republicans talk about the givers and the takers. I could argue semantics here about who are the takers but there is a middle group. A large middle group. These are the keepers. The people who take what they earn and keep it for themselves. They buy things for themselves. They look up to those who keep more and look down upon those who do not have as much.
There will always be those who have more. There will always be those who do not have as much. The problem is not how we split up the groups. The problem is the very heart of what it means to be part of this world. Every religion says to help the needy. This is the part of the cafeteria line that most just pass over. Every moral value system says to help the people who need help for one day it may be you that needs the help. I have seen some very wealthy people who were stranded in the desert because their very expensive car broke down. I carry bottles of water just for them.
"There but for the grace of God, go I" is not a bromide. It is a fact. If you are one of these keepers, get with it. There are some things from which money will not protect you. It is these things that a friend, ,maybe someone you called a "taker", who is able to help you. Some day you will need that help. Some day. Would it not be nice for you to know that you have earned the opportunity for someone to give you that help? Maybe you think that that some day will not come. As sure as I am writing this, that day will come -- for you. You will need that help. Will there be someone there who will give it to you?
While watching the sunset tonight many things went through my mind. So I need to unload some of them here.
I resent companies trading on their brand name. 5 years ago I bought a First-Up brand popup canopy. This year when I needed a second canopy and WalMart was out of the First-Up canopies, I spent the extra money and bought a Coleman canopy. Coleman: a name I have recognized since I was a teenager. Same canopy dimension: 10x10. Same center vent. Higher price. The Coleman canopy lasted two weeks before it collapsed into a puddle of broken hinge connectors. Across the lot the original 5-year-old First Up was undamaged. I had already reinforced one side of the Coleman when its hinge brackets popped off into the sand. This is the last Coleman product I shall ever buy.
Since the canopy is more or less permanent on my drive entry, it is possible to correct the problem. I have some construction rebar rods and some steel wire. Or at least I did. Now each side of the canopy across the hinge row has a rebar held in place by steel wires.
I have stopped posting to Facebook. Not that anyone could see my posting anyway. Facebook filters my postings. My friends know my email address. I had defriended several friends as I got tired of seeing pictures of dinner items and new (and old) babies where I would have liked to see more opinions and writings. If you want to write me, you know how -- all Facebook-originated messages are filtered and go into the email program trash basket unread. What is food for the goose is food for the gander as the saying goes.
My favorite censored entry: "In my copy of the Bible, the fifth commandment is not qualified." I wonder what idiot (I never use this word loosely) decided on which part of this line was objectionable. Maybe the censor thinks that murder is acceptable under some conditions. Maybe the censor just does not understand and is afraid that I am proposing something radical. But then maybe I am a closet radical. I shall never know.
I spent the winter in the park. This reduced much of the animosity but not all. I guess some people feel justified. I was asked to leave the clubhouse and go live with the Mexicans. "You like them better, anyway." The man was correct: I love the Mexican people and their culture. No group is perfect but the love of family and other people in Mexico just makes you feel good about the world.
But most of the people who came here to the CRA park for years no longer come here. Many reasons. News of violence (unfounded in this corner of the world). Economy. Deaths from old age. More American border security and longer lines. But mostly because the park is divided more than before. Although my comments anger some of the residents, the lot owners are here all year round. The lot owners represent an increase as a percentage of the park population -- they control much or the park. And they write letters to the home office with their complaints. Some complain about me. Not all of them -- but always some. Some park members move onto a lot for the summer. This is not a problem but whereas the park was previously full during the winter months, a third full is unusual but during the winter -- the lots are occupied. The activities in the clubhouse are dominated by lot owners. Etc. I am not complaining but the reason many are not returning is that they do not like the park politics. Mostly the people I like are among these not returning. I do not enter the clubhouse often as not only have I been uninvited but on one occasion the entire room booed at me.
The WiFi is now a professional setup with some expensive and good equipment. And especially good coverage on the resident lots. Since the park pays for the service, prices are very low. They still accuse me of excessive charging and reading emails. Sorry guys -- I (and not the park) paid for the service and I have no idea how to read anyone's email. I suspect the village sociopath (his initials are JM) still thinks that I can steal his Internet. He still spreads lies about me -- although I must give him credit for moving on to other problems and spending less time on trying to hurt me.
I do park the Ranger at the back gate every morning as I take Bingo for a walk.
Politics are simple. If you are a Republican, you are very rich or very stupid. If you watch or listen to Fox News, you are an idiot by the standard definition. I understand that Fox News and the Republicans have taken exception to a documentary covering the activities of Hillary Rodham Clinton being aired on the other networks. This falls into my standard belief that when you are accused of something that the accuser is more likely than yourself to be active in the wrongful activity. Fox lied so badly in the 2012 election that not only did its listeners believe that Romney was winning but since Romney was a Fox listener, he also believed it -- until the night the election results started to come in. And people are still listening to the lies and do not understand that the accusations about describing the history as a commercial for a potential candidate apply more to themselves than the real news channels.
So now the Republican candidates are going to be heard only on Fox -- they are boycotting the news channels. Does Fox really believe that they will have increased listeners if only they have their own candidates? The Republicans are more of a clichè than a political party.
Writing more about the Republican carnival is a waste of energy. Obama has taken on a heavy load and is not getting enough help. Maybe he is too academic and hopes people will listen to logic. Most Americans, it seems, are more willing to listen to pretty lies from Fox than think for themselves. Maybe if Obama were a stronger personality, LBJ comes to mind, he could get more done. Maybe it takes another Clinton to finish the job. Unless the Democrats step on their own feet, they will win future elections as the Republicans write themselves into a small corner with their anti-everything policies. The only groups that they have not antagonized are the Christian NRA followers and the oil companies. After a while maybe even the Americans with the Fox ear plugs can figure out that they are voting against their own self interest.
I have never had a car so bad. The power steering is the latest to go out. The sun visors (cardboard) have broken off -- rusty hinges. The left door handle has broken off twice. The ignition key works most of the time -- mostly I need to leave the key in place as each time it is inserted I must spend several minutes getting it to work again. Sometimes the key quits working all by itself -- it just locks itself in place and will not turn without much toggling. Toggling. The electric window switches are worn out. I have figured out that if I hold the switch and rotate it myself, ignoring the normal rotation point that I can eventually get the window up. They still seem to go down OK.
I suspect my seat covers will last much longer than the car itself. I leave the driver-side window mostly down so I can reach inside to open the door. I doubt that many people would figure that when the door handle failed and the other door is locked that they want to take on the big dog waiting inside. Bingo is very friendly but he does not take to strangers invading his space. On the other hand, the inside of the car is always dirty from our constant blowing sand and occasional rain showers turning that sand into mud. Oh. The electric window switches and door locks only work when they are cool. On hot days I need a key to open the passenger door. I do have two keys.
It is August. The outside temperature during the day is from 105 to 110 degrees. I am not going outside much during the day. I let Bingo inside when he temperature is over 100. He needs more exercise but he handles this heat about as poorly as myself. These are normal summer temperatures and I cannot blame them on Global Warming. Global Warming is responsible for the demolition of our beach.
I really do like my neighbors -- except those downhill from me. They play the loudest music on the weekends and some other nights. They play it so loud that it actually rocks the RV itself -- not just the glass.
And there are so many kids. I need more lollipops than before. I can see my old home lot down the hill from here. I guess Beto is renting the house to some family with a couple of kids. I hope to never encounter him again.
I have bought a security camera system and have started to install it. But with this heat, there is no chance this month.
There is no vacation this year. I shall be paying for the last two year vacations for another two years. My IRA account is just not growing well. The problem is that all of the bonds are cashing with the threat of higher interest rates in the near future. My choices for long term investments have mixed results. And gold is down. I believe that it is the one thing that I can expect to go back up.
I hope to visit Megan next month but I need to get the lot closer to completion first.
I have stopped apologizing for my inadequacies as a father. I was not prepared to be a single parent, especially one with a hostile ex-spouse. But that was an entire lifetime ago. My daughters each have their own lives with their own sets of responsibilities and problems. Life has problems. The daughters are now as old as I was when I became a single parent.
My father was the meanest person I have ever met but he did what he thought a father should do. Maybe I followed his example more than I thought. But I was never mean and my children's happiness and care always came first. I was badly abused as a kid. I see remnants in echoes of the abuse that my dog, Bingo survived before I became his owner. I have learned much from my dog.
A dog is interesting. He spends his life trying to learn what behavior gets him the best rewards. I guess we all do this -- but for a Border Collie, this is Job One. He wants to please me as this gets him more of what he wants: love and appreciation. He reads me like a book -- in large print. He does not get too upset when I cannot understand him as well as he does me -- but the disappointment (and hope) is in his eyes.
There is a problem. He is always at my side. He guards it jealously. I need to work on this. If I leave him home, he sulks and will not meet me at the gate. If I take him with me, he will sit for hours as I do my chores. He has fresh water, the fan, and the windows are open. The sign in the front window tells the cops to call me before breaking anything. Yesterday morning he waited three hours while I was in the hospital for tests.
I expect that my mother shall die in the near future. Not that I wish this but she is getting older. She is still a Catholic and will have a funeral and be buried next to my father's ashes. In one respect I am not looking forward tot his event as it will be an inconvenience. The drive to Washington will be hard. I did it two years ago for our Alaska vacation. The drive was an endurance contest even with Megan at my side. And I had stopped at Megan's house in the middle. For this trip there will be no time to stop for Megan although we might make that part of the trip together. More likely she will fly. I have no interest in flying. I have no interest in spending time with my sisters. I shall attempt to attend the funeral out of respect for my mother and her family. The only consolation is that it will be the last time I shall need to see my sisters.
I buy school supplies and other things for the children here. Last school year when I started to pass out pencils from my car in front of the school, the director threatened to call the police because he thought Bingo was a threat. I gave him the pencils. I understand that this was a mistake -- he would sell the pencils. So this year I changed it.
When WalMart had their nasty school supply sale, I bought three boxes of spiral notebooks. That made up 72 notebooks. These went quickly the following week. I pass them out to the kids I know on my side of town. Nasty? The WalMart pretty displays go up. The colorful counters go up. The low sale prices are marked and the sale is on. The spiral notebooks go for 17 cents each. Normally $1.50 or a little less. But the following week, the same displays have the same products but the prices are marked higher. The spiral notebooks go for 67 cents or better. At this point, the Samples prices are best.
But I buy the boxes of pencils from Sam's or Costco. 72 pencils for $7. (I thought the boxes still contained 100) This year I bought two boxes. And a box of 60 pens for about the same price. On the first day of school I parked the car out front of the school. I took my pencils and Bingo to the school entrance gate and passed out the pencils. The director had no problem that I could see. Bingo had a blast -- hundreds of kids to pet and pay with him. Many of the children already know him and call him by name. Everyone likes to hear their own name. Dale Carnegie hit on that one. The pencils were gone in a few minutes. One box. The second box is for the afternoon school session.
I do have one problem. Mexican boys are taught to cheat -- with the support of their parents. The Mexican girls will accept a pencil, say their 'gracias" and go away happy. Preoccupied with the first day at school, but happy. The boys may or may not say 'gracias" but will loop around and try for another pencil as if they had just arrived. Part of the Mexican "Macho". I an tell the cheaters by their sneers. This is a bad thing for several reasons. It is not just that the boys are encouraged to be dishonest. This is bad enough. But the boys are encouraged to be dishonest in front of their peers: see who can cheat the Gringo. The very worst part is that it encourages the concept that it is acceptable to steal from the Rich American. I am accustomed to children asking me for gifts for their phantom brothers and sisters. But yesterday I had mothers asking for pencils for phantom children. Maybe even some of these children were real but have a strict policy: only children that I can see get gifts. And it gets worse.
One girl, the daughter of some friends, got special treatment from me. I went down to the corner with her inside the fence. I retrieved two of my remaining spiral notebooks along with a second pencil. I thought I had done this discretely. As I returned, a mother came out from the crowd and demanded an extra pencil and spiral notebooks for her kid. For people like this I do not speak Spanish.
I have the ability to make 72 children smile with their new pencil for their first day of school. Or I can make 35 children feel like they cheated the Rich American. I think I made it to about 65 children. A few I volunteered duplicates (yesterday and in private). A few managed to get past my one at a time policy.
Oh. I am am learning to seriously dislike Mexican boys. Yesterday a group were playing ball down at the corner. They do this almost every afternoon. I asked them whether they wanted a pencil or a sweet. They did not answer but just smiled. I repeated the question a few times and then threw them a handful of candy packets as I drove off. They understood my Spanish. I understood their greed. They presumed that I would break down and give them both the pencils and the candies. Now ten boys had to figure out who got the five candy packets.
My health is good. I have a pain in my groin that bothers me. A few trips to the surgeon tell me that it is not a hernia. I thought it was and was concerned. Now it just hurts and maybe it is just something I need to live with. But the pain is sudden and may last several minutes. sometimes I yelp. Sometimes it takes me a few minutes to move my leg into a position that hurts enough less that I can walk. Sometimes I must just sit down and wait. I always care for my knees. Glucosamine tablets really do help.
I have (or Marisol has) found a dentist in San Luis. I am trying to save my remaining teeth. My last dentist in 43 gave up on me -- or at least his receptionist refused to let me talk to him. The result was my other front tooth broke off and I now need the broken tooth root removed, a bridge, and three new crowns.
I still have my love-hate relationship with Velcro. Now that summer is here all of my items hanging on Velcro have fallen, one at a time, onto the floor. Or the kitchen sink. Or behind the sofa. I know where each belongs: there is a gooey strip there. I know when I have found the missing item hiding behind the sofa: I have goo on my hands. The only serious problems are those things that fall into the kitchen sink. I am not good about the timely washing of my dishes.
I vacationed last summer in Russia. I enjoyed the vacation. Megan and I saw many things. Many things of interest. Many, many churches. The tour group included a Spanish contingent. I liked these people. The Americans other than ourselves were on the rich side. This made them Republicans and rah-rah for Romney. I upset a few before I learned to stay with the Spaniards. The Spaniards could not understand, as could not the rest of the world, why anyone would support Romney. My kind of people. But. as we were leaving town in the taxi to the airport I noticed that we were taking a long way around. Megan pointed out that we were avoiding the poorer sections of Moscow. as had the tour buses, etc. the previous days -- although their circumvention was not as obvious.
I have come to believe that our tour was more censored than I thought while enjoying what we saw. so it does not surprise me that the Russian government have now started a war against its people. As did Hitler, the first to be assaulted are the homosexuals. I know. I am not politically correct. This may not be the best word in today's vernacular. I do not speak in letters so GLBT is not a word that I would use. SO if my word offends you, pretend it is the other word. after the Homosexuals, Hitler went on to other targets. Maybe so will the Russians. I hope that the Russian people have enough to say in today's world that their government will back down. But it will not do so before the Olympics. It cannot do so without losing face and face is important and not just to the Asians.
The best thing that could happen as I see it is for everyone attending and no one boycotting. and furthermore I hope that some known homosexuals win some very visible prizes. I do not want anyone who has worked for so many years to slack off and not give the games their best efforts. I do hope that the current politics are enough to give contestants added momentum towards winning -- especially the homosexuals.
I have commented on this before but it needs to be repeated. Americans are not nice people. They will not only not help others in need but will castigate them for needing. I do not need to quote the 47% statement or any of the other Republican mantras about givers and takers. I can just give more concrete examples.
I know about the Mexican macho thing. I really do hate it. But it disappears when help is needed.
Finally after about 8 years EL Golfo got a serious rainfall yesterday or maybe the day before -- I was in San Luis and Yuma which had their own problems. as I drove back into town there were a few places with standing water. This is very, very bad. Usually we get mud flows as the rain melts the desert hillsides into mud. So when there is standing water, you can count on a good layer of mud underneath. How deep is the mud? I have seen it waist deep. I have walked in it waist deep. When It got deeper, I tried to crawl on top with no success. I retreated. This water was atop mud only knee deep or a little more. Enough that no one, even the largest pickup, and some are very large, could drive through what I saw. Cars were picking their way along the sides. some having to return. I sat and watched for about 10 minutes until I saw a path where cars were going through. I sped up and made it through the same path. I saw my RV still standing and was happy for that. I stopped at a few friends homes to deliver milk and let the air out of my tires. Only down to 25 pounds as I had 540 pounds of cement bags and groceries in the back. More inside.
M friends told me that the road home was good and no damage at my home other than my new Coleman Canopy had destroyed itself and no one had take my laundry inside. They did tell me that the RV park was isolated. The park is at the lowest point of the town with two arroyos between it and the center of town. Arroyos are mud flows when it rains. And the mud overflows the banks. I got home OK. Jorge was working repairing the damage to my new fence foundation and I settled in.
But the day had not gone well. My El Centro doctor was a no-show. A 300 mile drive wasted. My second appointment was with my dentist. she quickly discovered that my tooth damage was much worse that previously expected. She promoted me to the next level dentist. I felt for her. she had come to the office just for my late in the day appointment. And now she would go back home not just losing her commission but knowing her limitations. I must commend her for understanding when she needed to give up and admit her limits. It took guts.
Three hours in the dental chair and the damage assessed and the original work completed. Next week I get another tooth pulled. Needless to say, it was a long day for Bingo also. and it was 110 degrees in Yuma when I let there. I took Marisol to dinner at the Chinese Restaurant (lots of rice and other soft foods). She repaid me by stealing some of my groceries the next day when I returned to town to complete my shopping. so when I got to the water in the road I was tired and felt sorry for my dog.
SO this morning I decided to take Bingo to the beach for a good walk. Bad mistake. I forgot about the mud at the park entrance. I made it most of the way. I made it through200 yards of knee-deep mud. I know it was that deep because the mud on the sides of the Ranger is higher than that.
I left the Ranger and walked the rest of the way into the park. Another 100 yards to the turn and then I saw the disaster. Had I made it to the turn, I would have not made it into the park. I walked to the gate: another 250 yards. All mud. Much of it to my knees. Bingo had decided to like the mud and was happily prancing around when it was only up to his knees. Teodoro was standing at the gate fence to meet me. Inside the park main entrance was no better. The other side of the entrance road fence showed that they had been totally flooded. It sort of looked nice without the weeds and the desert unevenness. I mentioned to Teodoro that maybe when Carlos arrived he could pull me out of the mud. Bingo and I made it to the park higher ground picnic areas where I reseted and overlooked the beach. Mike as was his custom had been walking his Great Dane. Today off leash. Why not? There was no place for it to go and I think such a big dog needs more exercise than his leash walk. They went back hoe before Bingo and I made it to the tables. I reseted and after Bingo stopped exploring lay down next to me.
When I heard the back hoe tractor I knew that Carlos had arrived. I walked with Bingo to the inside front area to meet Carlos. Before I got there I met one of the other park members. A lot owner. The park has only one tenant in the summer but the lot owners come and go. For several it is their primary home. But this American immediately yelled at me for Bingo not being on his leash -- even in the empty park. Almost empty. I mentioned I was stranded with no ability to get my leash. As I stated that I knew he did not care. He also stated he did not care. Get the leash. A proto-typical American. I am a lowly park member. He is an upper-class lot owner. He would not have commented upon Mike having his dog loose. Just Bingo and I. I told bingo to ignore the bad man. I hope the man files a formal complaint.
Oh and that man had his very old and very fat Labrador on a leash. a strong leash as the dog was pulling the man forward and only because the man is massive was not dragging him. A proto-typical American. Big> Fat. Ugly in at least demeanor. With an ill-mannered dog matching his disposition.
I met Carlos. Bingo would not enter the back hoe tractor and so ran along side until we got back to my car. Carlos volunteered and did not need to be asked. In fact when I suggested to do this at his convenience he pointed now was good. Great for me. I was already mud-covered. Sweat-covered. Tired. and more than a little dismayed at the American. Dismayed is not the right word but it will do. I rode the tractor back to my car. Carlos pulled me to the side of the road where it was dry enough to drive and he returned to his work in the park with my gratitude. I could have been stuck all day. No one would rob what was left of my groceries. I am in Mexican territory -- they will honor the situation.
So now I am at the side of the entrance road and do not know what to do. I can get to the corner but from there to the park is a two-day wait. I can go to the corner, turn around and drive back to the arroyo corner which I had traversed before I got stuck in the after-arroyo mud. If I did this, I could be stuck here for another day as I knew that I could not traverse the arroyo again. Not without the serious head start I had had going toward the park. As I stood looking at my alternatives, three men approached me. Three Mexican men. They came from the shops at the corner. They had donned their white fishing boots. Two of them walked around in the mud looking for the best path to the other side of the arroyo. This is at a "Y" in the road. Straight south goes to the RV entrance road from which I had just returned. The left branch of the south "Y" goes to the lighthouse park. North goes back across the arroyo to the paved road. Due to the mud where the pavement started was not obvious. also whether there was a cliff of soft mud at the start of the pavement was unknown. The two walker discovered a soft entrance to the pavement and a path to get there.
I retreated a bit and drove across the "Y" branch to the lighthouse at the direction of the third man. This put me dangerously close to his tienda. One wrong bounce I would destroy much of his merchandise. My power steering gave out this week (After all, it is a Ford Ranger) so that following the best route in itself would be a good maneuver. But I made it and made it to the highest point of dry land. The two walkers had found me a path. I retreated about 150 feet back the dry side of the lighthouse "Y'. I raced forward past my walker friends and to the pavement and waved my gracias at them a I started for home.
When Carole and I moved from Dallas, neighbors watched the two of us spend two days loading the moving truck. No one helped. When asked, they just ignored me or walked away from their fence. I am accustomed to Americans not helping. Oh. I am sure they send money. Not enough money. TO the poor, non-saved, Christians somewhere in the world. Did they roll up their sleeves and spend an evening a month at the Second-Chance food distribution? I doubt it.
But today 4 Mexicans dropped what they were doing and helped me -- without my asking for their help. The American yelled at me for my dog not being on a leash. This is what I have come to expect from Americans. This is what I have come to expect from my Mexican neighbors. And when the American yells at me to leave and go live with the Mexicans because I like them better, he does not understand that he is correct. I do like the Mexicans better. And I do live with them as a guest In their country: Mexico.
I thought maybe I could get to the RV park today. Not a chance. The road was worse than yesterday. There are cleanup crews cleaning the streets in town. At least the few that are paved. They need to be clean by Monday when school resumes. The humidity today as really bad. I hope my clothes will dry.
I drove the the end of the pavement where the roadway to the RV park starts. The arroyo and the "Y". One leg to the park (and a few other places) and a leg to the lighthouse hill. Now when I went yesterday, it was early in the morning. No one had really tried to get through the arroyo. Almost no one. a few had and I could see their tracks. But that was very wet mud. So wet that it puddled covering the worst of the depths.
I made a few mistakes here. The first is that I thought my driving skills superior to that of others and if someone had made it then I could too. My mistake. I went for a puddle instead of the dry side where there was just a mud tire track.
The second mistake was that I could see to the park entrance corner and it got a bit better at the corner. The third mistake was that I had been here before. I knew from experience that the closer to the park you got the worse it became. If I made it to the corner, the worst was in front of me. It was still true now: it was to my knees walking. Bingo was more brown than black. Since I was doing this, Bingo decided to not fear the dirt and managed to look like he was having fun.
As I mentioned, Carlos had pulled me to dry land and three Mexicans guided me back out. Today there was a path. I could go east a block, follow the arroyo road on its south edge. Turn at the "Y" onto the RV park road and follow it to the corner. What happens after the corner I did not even see. I turned back. The tracks into the arroyo made it obvious that others with less skill and less brains than myself had made many attempts to do what I could not. The mud was drying now but that just makes it more treacherous. The tracks, if you want to call them that, were as much as 4 feet deep. And there were many of them. I hope my Mexican friends got paid for the help that they gave. If I see one and recognize him, he will get some of my money. The cars leaving those tracks did not exit on their own. I know of no pickup truck here in town that could have navigated that arroyo. Bottomless mud. Once you stop. and you will stop. You have no place to go but to be dragged out. which direction of the drag is determined by how far you got. From what I could tell a few made it halfway. To get that far you needed "AWD" and a very high cab. Any car would have sunk to its roof.
Maybe it will be dry enough by Monday for Carlos to get the tractor out there and level the roadway. Ultimately the city will get there but the park needs to get in and out before the city gets there. No RV gets through for almost a week. A ten ton RV does not stand a chance but most RV drivers think the can do anything and someone will get seriously stuck if they attempt to cross too soon.
I have so much mud inside the Ranger that I do not know how I am going to get it clean. I hosed it down this morning. You can see that it should be red now. I bought a new 5 gallons of water just in case more rains come and I cannot leave the house. My road is unchanged. My RV suffered no damage. They sky goes from clear blue to ominous every few hours. The hot desert air north of us is dragging the cooler water-laden ocean air to fill the void caused by the serious updraft of the hot air. We may not get more rain but someone up there will.
I have done a lot in the last couple of months. Medical. I have seen several doctors. An ear doctor regarding my falling down. He was a crackpot (Dr. Arab). He claimed that my loss of balance was from a slow responding brain due to scarring from a series of micro-strokes. I would have sooner believed brain fleas flying around inside my head. A neurologist found that it was due to continuous low blood pressure. I have always complained about this but since my pressure goes up when I go north across the border, the doctors never believed me. Now I have no more blood pressure medicines. My Cardura lowers my pressure but I need it for prostrate control. I saw a new urologist who says that my high PSA (700) count is not unusual for my age. Test again in December. Hooray.
My new bone doctor (Behr -- like the paint) says that my knees are a problem. Live with them as long as I can and then we shall talk about alternatives. That shall not be too far in the future. My new foot doctor gave me a cortisone shot in a cyst on my left foot. The shot seems to help but I think that it would be better to remove the cyst.
My GP has kept up with it all. I need new diabetes test strips. Medicare has changed the rules. Not less but different. My INR (rat poison) numbers have remained on target. In other words my health is good except that I have trouble walking. My knees also tell me about the weather changes -- and we are having some changes. I understand that there is a hurricane on the other side of the Baja. It almost rained this morning here and I suspect some places got some heavy rains.
Bingo is doing well. He is my constant companion. He would rather be with me than outside playing. but then it was up to 120 the other day. Today was only 96. anything less than 100 is good but the humidity was a killer today.
The lot is progressing. I now have a workable home. There is more to do but I have run out of money and it is complete enough to be a home rather than just a work in progress.
So I shall take a diversion here.
Global warming is real. Denying global warming is an act of idiocy. We all share this world and the sooner the idiots get on board to the problem, the sooner, maybe, the problem can be addressed in the USA. The rest of the world is already at work.
The El Golfo beach is being destroyed by global warming although it would be easier to explain Fermat's last theorem in the available space. Here are a few pictures of our beach taken 5 hours apart.
If the tides get worse, there will be no beach. As it is, the beach is moving more and more into the sea. In the meantime, when the tide is low, Bingo gets great morning walks.
I know. I have not kept up. I have added a few opinions and a few comments on the lot but otherwise nothing. So what is happening?
I have twisted a knee a few times. But right now the knees are fine. I have trouble eating pills. I found some joint juice at Costco that I like -- and it really seems to help.
I am constantly impressed by my dog, Bingo. The only problem is that he no longer likes the day trips (and mostly overnight) to the other side. As soon as we head out of town he dives -- literally -- to the floor. The floor on my side. So far I have been able to grab his collar on hiss way down and hold onto him until I can get stopped. If I let him out, he wants to run for a half hour before he will get back inside. The 100 degree days have started so I worry about leaving him home -- and overnight stays at Mari's are out of the question.
The local water is really bad. The pressure on the new lot goes to zero during the day. The smell means that it is really not potable. I need a better filter. Right now I have just the sediment filter. I need to add my large filter and make sure I have an anti-bacteria insert. That is a project for the upcoming week. This week is busy.
I just finished with Mother's Day. In Mexico it is May 10. I took Mari to lunch and bought a few extra gallons of milk and a set of glasses for Andrea. She will have to wait until this next week because Mari saw the glasses and wanted them I want to have a time delay before she discovers that they were destined for her sister. There is only so much -- and Mari got flowers beside lunch.
Tuesday I have 3 doctor appointments. On for my knees. One for an MRI and one for the neurologist. I am trying to deal with my history of losing my balance and falling down. The ear doctor, Dr. Arab, is a quack. He concocted a story about micro-strokes causing the blood in my brain to not move fast enough. Or maybe too fast, his story made little sense. Maybe he got a kickback from the original MRI. In any case my GP finally has taken me seriously about low blood pressure. He made the Lisinopril optional to try to keep my blood pressure around 120. After a month with no blood pressure medicine, my normal pressure is up to about 110/60 on average. If I miss my other meds, the pressure goes over 120. I am sure it will be higher when I cross the border. It always is.
I ran out of lollipops. I felt like a jerk driving past my kids for two weeks with no candies. I must not let that happen again.
My next door neighbors are very nice. A fisherman with two of his own boats and his own trailer. He seems to work hard. His wife, Irene (e-RAIN-a) used to work at the shrimp lab as did most of the women I know. She has two daughters, Odalis and Yerasmin. The two boats have their names so I can get it straight. Mostly. Irene said Odalis wanted to learn English but after a couple of weeks I gave up. Odalis does not take it seriously. In two weeks we could not even get through the alphabet. And I think she needs glasses.
I am now bringing too much into Mexico. Marta wants 50 chairs. We have 8 so far. Several want baby wipes. Some want diapers. Always a demand for milk. Mari always wants a list but I forget most of the list. I charge the store price for things I get on order. I think I had better start adding a small overhead so that one the day I get charged duty I do not need to add the duty (18-20%) to the store price.
I am attempting to buy more food items here. Yesterday I got a head of lettuce for 5 pesos. 45 cents. and the stem was creamy white and the outside leaves were the big floppy ones you rarely see. I forget how much the onion and tomatoes cost since I tossed in about 6 spiral notebooks. They cost 60 cents a piece. The exact same ones that cost $1.20 at WalMart. I gave a woman a ride into town this week. She says she sells natural fruit juices on the main road but I have never seen here. But when I do that is where I shall buy fruit juices. Gas prices are going up in Mexico but down in the USA. It is now cheaper to buy gas in the USA than here.
And about prices. The definition of inflation is the devaluation of the currency. With the USA printed millions of dollars, the value of a single dollar is less -- prices go up. And they are going up. And not just a little. And even Obama is talking about cutting Social Security! If I did not have my own savings, my Social Security check would buy less than I could afford -- even here in Mexico. They cheat us on COLA by using a market basket that does not reflect our expenses already. and they want to change to formula to include cheaper substitutes when we can no longer afford to use our check to buy what we bought last month. That is a double whammy on top of an already bad formula.
My savings. Since I took control of my account back from Jim Loney at UBS, the account has been growing at about 10%. Once I got the account back up to my self-defined minimum, $500,000, I take out what I need but keeping the level at the $500,000. I am living on $50,000 per year. Of that $3,000 goes to taxes. $5,000 to insurance. $12,000 goes to gifts. $8,400 to repay debts: Russia trip and lot purchase. I keep my expenses at about $1,200 per month. Most of this is food, gasoline, and lot costs. Lot costs have been high. I expected the lot improvements to come to about $5,000. Next year the debts are repaid and I expect my income to go down. Making a 10% annual gain on an IRA is not easy. Judicious selling of the UBS purchases and new investments takes a good deal of thinking. Selling the UBS stuff is not hard: Loney bought some real junk. Many mutual funds (I told him never mutual funds!!) that had commissions even on the sale. But most are gone. Bonds are cashing in due to the minuscule bank interest rates. New bonds are issued at rates so low that I refuse to buy them. Choosing stocks that have a 10% gain is not easy. Sadly I bet against the American economy. It makes me feel like a traitor buying stocks that will improve as the economy does not. With the Republicans having a strangle hold on our economy it is unlikely to improve over the next decade. Even if enough people understand how much they are being lied to, getting the USA back on track may be an impossible challenge. Even Henry Ford understood that you must pay workers enough to buy your product or you have no customers. The Repubs seem to think that making a few people very rich is valuable. It is for the rich. It is a disaster for anyone who works for a living. And it certainly hurts those on a fixed income (us retired people).
Advice: Do your own finances. My experience with UBS and Merrill Lynch is that the advisers are, at best, just con artists. Many smiles, some free lunches, and the value of the account just keeps going down. -- even in a bull market. My Dean Witter agent was just incompetent and he admitted it.
My view of the sea is breathtaking. The sand street out front is a disaster and will not improve in the next 5 to 10 years. The Mexicans do not understand that spinning their tires on the sand only makes the road worse for the next guy. There seems to be a block in the Mexican mind set: they do not like anything hard. They make a mess of the hard sand on the beach just for fun. They make messes of the streets because -- I do not know because. They just do. My tires are at 20 pounds. My Ford Ranger (I really hate this car) is falling apart. The sun visors have broken. The left outside door handle has broken - twice. The ignition key sometimes refuses to turn and mostly does not permit the key to be inserted. I have to coerce both of these. I hate this car.
I need to install my window AC units in the next couple of days.
In addition to my doctor visits on Tuesday, Megan is passing through on Thursday. She will spend the night. This makes for a very busy week since the entire Tuesday is shot with the doctor visits. Returning to the USA just with one day rest will be hard. And necessary since I need to leave Bingo at home on Tuesday. Maybe also Thursday. I hate to leave him overnight. I need to get him better water. I fear that the city water is not potable. Salt I can handle.. Germs die when the water is boiled. But the odor tells me that the water is organically polluted.
My little Igloo Ice Cube Maker is on its last legs. With today's lack of quality product, I guess a year is too much to expect. It makes ice cubes just fine. The problem is that its sensor to indicate full has deteriorated. It now pack the basket to overflowing causing the increased pressure to actuate the switch. One of these days, it will just force so many cubes into the backside that it will start dumping them on the floor or break itself.
I have always been a very conservative, traditional person. I just finished watching a detective TV show with a Halloween theme. It reminded me of days when my children were young. Those were strange days. Maybe stranger today. I hope not. People poisoned candies. Hid needles and razor blades in fruits. We had a flasher in the neighborhood. The city advised that children stay home. The local mall stores passed out candies. But each year I had costumes for my daughters and no crackpots were going to destroy one of my favorite traditions: Halloween. Trick or Treat. Meeting the neighbors. Seeing other children enjoying running to and fro. Sometimes we bought parts but we always assembled the costumes ourselves. Another tradition. When we got home, we spread out the candies, discarding the suspicious items and trusting for the best on the others. My kids think I am sort of a jerk but they enjoyed the best I could give them. Traditions. Travels. Care. Home-cooked meals. The things that they did not like, I need not write about here.
I wrote a page for just this: border patrol.. And for the first time in a long time I was able to give people rides between El Golfo and Sn Luis. 14 altogether. All looked like tourists going to meet family or someone. Long rides except for the last 6. They just needed a lift from the highway to town (2km) but most were kids and each had one of those rolling bags. Bags that are not fun to roll in the sand. Sadly they all had to ride in the back since Bingo was not happy about the trip and I did not want to force him to give up his place on the floor. It is the weekend and he shall get no walks on the beach until Tuesday.
It is Saturday morning. I ache all over. The tension of dealing with the border has me really in pain. I shall need the days at home just to recover. I have some new toys that I need to install -- and much yard work. Internet: Costco has a security set that I must order. I saw some guy sitting on the wall above his block fence. Maybe the hole in the lower back fence is not from their dog.
Now that I have moved onto my new lot, I thought I would add a few local pictures. The picture is of my dog, Bingo, just after a swim. Not really a swim: he hates to swim. But he loves to run and jump in the water. Want to make my dog's day? Take him to the beach. He loves to run in the sand. He can get a quarter mile away with unbelievable speed. It is his one real chance to just be free. And he does not run in a straight line: he makes his loops and in and out of the water. And it is not a gallop like a horse. Mostly it is a very fast trot or maybe a slow gallop. When he gets to the water, it is mostly running mixed with jumping.
This link is an AVI movie of the beach from my camera. Appearances are really deceiving. The noise is from the wind with a single bark from Bingo. I am panning from south to north. South is another 50 miles or more of open beach. North you can see some picnic and camping ramadas. North of the ramadas about a mile is the town. But what is deceiving is the distance from the camera to the water: about a quarter mile. It is a good walk for me just to get to the water. While I am walking to the water, Bingo is running circles around me, a few laps to the water, frolicking in and out of the water and sometimes playing with my walking stick. He tries to take it away from me.
The ramadas to the north start maybe two hundred yards away, Across the water you can see Baja California. The very north end of the Baja. On most days you see the haze. Notice that the sun is shining and that there are zero clouds. I lived in Florida, "The Sunshine State". The entire four years in Florida never saw one day like this: zero clouds in any direction, all day long. And the humidity today is 20%. No more sweat-soaked neckties. But then for me there are no neckties.
My New Home: Calle Estado de Mexico y Avenida Cinco
I have worked on this since last July. It is finally within sight. You can see my progress.
It is 7:00 am. I am sitting in my Fleetwood Flair in the El Golfo CRA RV park. Last year was interesting. The cruise to Russia with Megan was a dream of a lifetime. Ten years ago at Christmas time I came within hours of being dead and my collapse in an emergency room was all that had kept me alive. Someone asked last night if they should feel happy or sad for me. I was missing the New Year's party thrown in the park clubhouse. They should feel happy for me.
I walked Bingo at 6:00 am. The town party was still going on: I could hear the music from the RV park, a KM away. I could have gone to either party but I am not a party person. Bingo had a hard night: his fear of firecrackers makes New Year's and the 4th of July nightmare events.
I have left Beto and his lot in history. A few legal loose ends need to be tied up. Some deed papers for my new lot. A receipt to recover the fence from the police. Jorge and Andrea get the fence. I have two of the best lots in town. Five blocks east of the central town and four blocks north. a the very apogee of the hill that parallels the town. I have an unbelievable view of not only the entire town but for miles out to sea.
The lot needs much preparation before I can leave the CRA RV park. A tractor to level the lot. Watering to compact the soil. A fence to protect me and give Bingo his territory. Electricity. A shed for my utilities. A ramada for the car. Brisks for a drive entry and an porch for the RV. A septic tank. More than I want to think about now.
10 years ago I almost died from heart failure -- and not given much hope for many more years to live. Now I am alive and living a really great life. In another month or so I shall be living on my new lot and Bingo shall have the time of his life chasing cars around the lot. 10 years from now my property will be prime vacation real estate in northern Mexico. I am not much for valuing things but if I live or another ten years (highly unlikely), I shall have watched the ocean for many hours deep in pleasant dreams. I shall have spent much time with my friends. There is something soothing about the ocean. Walking on the beach in the morning calms your soul for the entire day.
I know that I shall not be able to leave my daughter a million dollars. I had hoped to. But I shall leave her a heritage that I hope that she can enjoy for all of her life.
I drive to San Luis with Andrea, Jorge, and Jorgito. And Bingo. It is crowded in the Ranger. Jorge and Bingo are in the back. Bingo is being really good.
I stop at Immigration to pick up my FM-2. They do not have it. We go to Justice Court to get permission to pick up the fence from the police. The man is on vacation and then needs to travel to El Golfo for pictures of the stored fence and the empty lot. No luck at Justice today. We go to the Notary to sign and pick up the lot papers. We need to return at 4:00 to pick up the completed folder. I go to Yuma for a bit of shopping and a dog walk. We return to the Chinese restaurant (with Marisol) and I cross to the Notary to pick up the packet while Marisol orders the worst possible dinner. Yuck. They like it. I wish they had waited for me to return. One of three success and the most important. I own now the proud owner of a double lot in central El Golfo.
The drive back to El Golfo was uneventful I left them off, returned to the RV, took Bingo for a short but well-deserved walk, and went to bed. Windy and cold.
I wake up. Bingo needs another walk. 4:30. I slept all night -- I must be really tired. I hate that Ranger. I ache all over. In any other car -- even the RV -- I wake up relaxed. With the Ranger I wake up sore. Mostly my upper back and shoulders. Driving the Ranger is like honchoing a jack rabbit on stilts.
Another day but we shall mostly rest today. I have started a separate file describing my new home from dirt lot to my new home where I can hopefully live for a very long time.
There are life events which give a person a second chance at life. Then the person feels a new lease on life and for a while looks at his world in a new light. This has become a cliché. I have been left for dead three or four times. I have woken up in a hospital bed. I have woke up lying in the highway median. A Greyhound station bench. I have lived where the culture was depressed and I had to leave before I lost it.
I waste much time every day doing nothing useful. But the one thing I have is that every day I wake up knowing that I have another day to be overwhelmed by life. I listen for the cheery laughing of a small child. I just feel good about having woken up. I get another chance to make the world a little better place. When I go to bed at night I can feel at least a little success. If nothing else maybe I have made my dog forget a little bit of his early days when he was beaten half to death. Everyone should just take the chance to be happy for the time they have. Each morning is a promise. A challenge. A chance to create smiles.
Progress on the lot. Until I become a Mexican, my friends will own the lot and I am a "renter". I have a contract with them for this. Hopefully, an unbreakable contract. In any case, progress. And I hope to move onto the lot by the end of the month. Bingo is getting nervous with all of the changes.and the change to being an indoor dog.
Living in the RV park is not really bad. Other than the one sociopath who lives to make problems for me, many of the other members are even friendly now. The women's league makes a point of snubbing me. More people tell me that they cannot handle the clique and will not return. This makes me sad because when I say that there is a clique, people jump my case. When members who do not return say there is a clique, it is like the tree falling in the woods: no one hears a sound. The sad part is that I love El Golfo and I really like the RV park. The hard feelings toward me (except for the sociopath) are their problem and not mine. I wish that the people would return and make their feelings known -- it might clear the air.
When I move, I shall miss the regular association with the park employees. They are great friends. My new neighborhood has some nice people (I think most Mexicans are nice). I previously lived in the northeast corner of town. The RV park is on the southwest corner. This means that I get to meet a new set of people. A new set of school kids. A new group to give pencils, soap, and lollipops.
Tonight we have a wind storm. Bingo is even more nervous because of the outside noises and the RV rocking. It does not help when the wind chime bangs against the wall.