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Year 2014: It Hurts!

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2014 August

Next month I visit Megan after she has some work done on her foot.  The yard work has been hard.  My right knee hurt so much that I got very little done.  So I got to thinking.  I get so tired of hearing on the news that the USA is great and that Mexico is a third world country.

We know what absolute austerity brings..  we have seen in in Greece, Portugal, and a few other countries.  They go bankrupt when the people have no jobs.  You would think that the USA would know better.  After all we are so much smarter than the other countries.

Other than attempting to have the USA follow Greece, into bankruptcy, what have the Repubs contributed in the last 6 years?  A whole lot of bitching and lying and making sure that no progress into the future can be made.  I have said in other pages that the surest way to tell a no-thinking person is to ask if they listen to Fox News.  They will say that they are adament or they are independent.  They will say they listen to other news as well.  You know that this is a lie.  Fox is not news.  It is a giant Republian and anti-Democratic billboard.  Nothing more.  If they listen to Fox at all, run for your sanity . Non-thinking is literally contagious.  After all thinking requires effort and there is the momentum think.  A thing at rest tends to stay at rest.  a brain at rest remains that way.  It just absorbs the Fox lies..  But I digress.

Third world country?  Mexico?  Interesting.  They passed a 1% national sales tax (IVA for short) increase 6 years ago.  What did they get for it?  And remember the people of Mexico are very poor compared to their counterparts in the USA.  Cities, Counties, and states in the USA pass a 1% increase on a whim.  The IVA money went to public infrastructure.  This did a multitude of things.  The most obvious is that it put a lot of people to work.  This reduces crime.  It gives all of the mind benefits of contributing.  And it makes for good parenting:  fathers are happy when they can provide meals for their kids.  The Repubs would rather blame the Democrats for the number of people on food stamps than to provide jobs for them.

The money went for public parks.  This meant that workers bought into the community.  They helped improve the city park.  This was not a cleanup thing.  It is now.  Volunteers clean the parks every week.  But our park has a new ful size football (soccer to Gringos) field -- with backstops and bleacehers.  Playground equipment.  A running track.  A walking sidewalk.  An area for fish net repair.  Nice trees -- and a watering system.  And markings on the walk way indicating that the district people did this.  The community center repainted. The library improved.  All for this 1%.  But there is more.  Much more.

The schools in our state  swelter in the early fall and late spring.  Temperatures over 100 degrees.  All of the rooms now have air conditoners.  The central play area is covered with a giant ramada.  Red.  The police have new cars.  To reduce corruption, there arre classes for the police on community and social responsibility.  Many do not listen but you cannot change the mordita attitude overnight.  Look at Florida or Missouri.  150 years after the Civil War and people and police still kill blacks.  Here you do not get killed -- you just get told to pay $20 or get a ticket.  And the ticket is probably only $10 but it will cost you time.

The local government has new people and classes on tax collections.  Legal taxes that many have not been paying.  The list goes on for what the MExicans got for their 1% tax increase.  After 7 years you can see it.  Third world?  THe Repubs cannot fix a broken bridge.

Health care.  In the USa a real bargain.  You pay for insurance hundreds of dollars a month.  and the insurance company tells you which doctors.  Which medications.  Which surgeries.   You even pay for insurance to get your meds.

WIth Medicare Part D costing almost $30 per month my 7 meds would still cost me an additional $30 per month,  In Mexico I buy all 7 for approximately $15 per month.  A three month supply of my heart meds cost me $6.  The national insurances (IMS) costss about $360 per year.  A woman friend of mine had a couple of kidney stones removed.  Big ones.  Golf ball sized.  he has n insurance. She complained that the several days in the hospital and other care cost her $2,000.  That would have paid for the room in the USA (if you got a cheap hospital) but not the surgery or the doctors.

But it gets better.  Every town and city has a comunity health care center.  With doctor.  Any one. Can walk in and get free immunizations  and other shots.  I have had tetanus.  Flu.  Swine Flu.  I have had stitches removed.  They woould have put the stitches in had I been there.  Free. To anyone who comes in the door.  No questions asked about passports or sex or color or religion.  Just walk in the door.  Tell them what you need.  You get it.  If they do not provide it, you need to go elsewhere.  they just do the simple things.  The local blood lad charges me $9 for my INR blood test and faxes me the results.  In the USA they will not give you the results and the $10 dollars will not even cover the needle.  Least for the injection is $30 and then you pay for the test.

And this was just health care.  And you know that American insurance companies will send you to Mexico for baby delivery.if they can get away with it.  Some even send you to India.  There is a commuity materity hospital.   Free.  You pay for the baby but not the delivery.  I think it came to bout $100 for a woman friend of mine.  and birth control pills are free to any woman or girl that wants them.  But these are in short supply.  This is a poor country after all. -- but at least they try.

Education?  My family moved out of Texas to avoid their perverted school system.  Mexico?  all high schiil graduates are required to be bilingual.  Remember that series of pictures of the ape evolving into a human?  Banned in some southern states.  Evolution is taught as science.  If you want Creationism (or whatever the Chritians call their stuff these days) -- go to church.  The schools teach science.  The series of evolution pictures can be found in the second grade tetbook. ANd Mexico has noTexas with its perversions or Mississippi with its minimum knowledge.  The Mexican textbooks are standard across the country. Oh.  And the secondary schools provide notebooks and materials.  Some provide backpacks.  People know what their 1% paid for.  they can see it in the community center.  They can see it in the schools.  Uniforms.  I head that they are free but I may be wrong.  It is still a problem.  Things may be free buyt they may be hard to get.  It is a poor country.

I am white.  I see no predjudice.  I have trouble with the language.  But they help.  Mexicans think that all AMericans are rich so I must watch my money but they do not hold skin color against me.

Americans believe that the Mexican are lined up along the border just lookng for a chance to et to theg greener USA.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Yes, there are people crossing the border.  Usually they will be disappointed.  Many Mexicans who did cross the border are returning.  It is better here.  It is not heaven.  Is uspect people looking for heaven will never find it.  FOr me I have never had it so good.  People have given me their last food.  Their only bed.

The USA is the only non-third world country in the word not addressng the global warming problem.  The Repubs even stopped the ban on filament light bulbs.  80% of the electricty in a standard bulb goes to heat -- not ligh  BUt heat means more electricity and that means more money in the Repubs pockets. More imported oil  More nuclear plants.  etc.

It continues to baffle me that people still vote for representatives whose major objective is to reduce the standard of living for working people.  The USA could learn a lot from its neighbors.  But it won't.

The people love their country.  They love their families.  They wonder what is wrong with the USA.  It has so much and it wates so much good will.  Who has the third world country?  The USA will never be as rich as Mexico.  It just has more money.  the repubs are working very hard to change this.

2014 July

25 July 2014

This has been a hardworking month. A little yard work every day.  A little repair work every day.  A few, not many dog walks.  By the time I have finished the early morning before it gets hot work it is too hot to go to thebeach for Bingo.  Or maybe I have just enough energy to fall into bed for a nap and then it is too hot.  Too hot?  It got up to 114 yesterday.  And it will get hotter.

I need a new rrefrigerator. The old one died and the inside frig cannot deal with the heat.  On the way to the Mexican Walmart, I noticed another broken tooth and went to the dentist instead.  I have another appointment Monday.  Today is Friday.  And another appointment at the Nissan dealer on Tuesday.  That will be a really long day as Tucson is very far from here.

2014 June

This has been an interesting month.  I bought  new car last month.  It has been such a serious relief after the Ranger.  I drove up to visit Megan in Patterson.  No more back ache.  Just tired after driving 700 miles.  I arrived several hours sooner than before.  No more drunken rabbit -- and I drove straight through San Diego and then Los Angeles using the Nissan navigation system.

I worry more and more about Megan..  Bingo enjoys vacation with Megan.  He loves the walks to the park.  This time there were about 8 golf balls  Bingo likes the Rogue better than the Ranger -- more floor space.  I have started eating more fruit.  Less meat.

30 June, 2014

I drove up to Yuma today.  Several necessary stops.  Social Security was first.  The Yuma office is seriously mis-managed.  An ornery guard greeted me inside the door and told me to go back outside to the end of the line.  What line?  Go outside.  What happens after the line?  You see someone and then leave.  I ask him to be friendly.  What is the line?  You go to the box and get a number and then sit in the designated chair to wait your turn to see an agent.  Better but not by much.

I went back out, waited my turn, got a number and went to the men's room.  Then back to check out Bingo and then back in to my chair.  I waited a half hour or more until an agent called my number.  We got my home address changed.  We discovered my online account had been erased -- they said there was no account.  I get to create a new one.  I suspect that this will fail.

I left three hours after I arrived.  Bingo got his walk in the park at about noon.  Then we did the rounds.  Bingo got a run through the dog park.  It was really hot.

Sam's Club for renewal since I canceled the other renewal due to my confusion on my Master Card.  I thought there was fraud, canceled the card and the Sam's charge.  and then I figured out that it was all my fault.  A new  card will arrive soon -- with a new number.

UPS had my garden cart, my latest Sodastream order and my Dash Mat.  Along with a large pile of mail -- three weeks worth.    My new Am Ex card arrived in the UPS mail.

I washed the car.  I went on down to WalMart.

The Fire Truck and The Animal Control Police

This was an experience.  I gathered some necessary supplies and checked out at the garden checkout.  A fireman was standing waiting for a lull in the line.  I thanked him for being a fireman.  I always thank fireman for what they do.  He informed the cashier that he was there a dog in a car outside.  I asked if it were a Rogue.  It was.  Bingo.  We walked out together.  A fire engine was parked next to my car.  Along with the Animal Control Police Van.  The officer told me to turn on the AC now.  As I put my supplies in the back.  I opened th door to see Bingo on his floor looking somewhat frightened with all of the excitement.  I was frightened also.  This is Arizona.  They could steal Bingo.  Charge me with a felony and take me to jail.  A fireman had a blanket on the windshield.

As the police man was chewing me out for abandoning my dog in the 120 degree heat, I turned on the engine and the AC. I let Bingo out of the car.  Bingo ran over to the nearest grass, bush, and tree area.  He was happy to get away from the excitement.

The culprit was standing there taking pictures.  The policeman yelled for Bingo to be on a leash.  It is the law.  He informed me that the woman would publish the pictures of Bingo and me as a very bad person.  Then she left.

He remained gruff but I was not to be arrested.  The firemen got back in their truck and left.  The officer told me that next time I should leave the dog with the AC running while I was inside.  Without a key fob you cannot drive the Rogue so this is a viable future option.

Opinion:  I Hate Busybodies

It seems that Americans have the concept that they must control everyone else.  The Repubs want to reduce voting to only Repubs.  The Christians want to make everyone a Christian -- of their same church that they do not themselves follow.  Etc.

Then there are the idiots who call Animal Control.  This time a woman.  She did not check to see if Bingo were in danger.  She just called the police.  This caused a fair expense to Yuma and frightened Bingo and frightened me.  She left feeling that she had done the world a favor when in fact her nosy attitude just caused a lot of ill will and dollars.  It reinforced her sick behavior.

Had Bingo shown signs of danger or had really been in trouble, sure.  But when I arrived, Bingo was lying in his favorite location looking frightened at all of the surrounding commotion.  Bingo will sit on the car seat and wait for me.  He has water.  He has a fan.  He has open windows.  He is in no danger.  I could have put up the window screen and I should have.  It might have prevented the idiot woman from seeing Bingo.  The outside temperature was 112.  The policeman said it was 120 in the car -- but he was measuring from the seat that Bingo had just vacated on the sunny side of the car.  Of  course it read hot.  If he had read from where Bingo was lying, it would have been less than the 112.

While the policeman was castigating me, Bingo was frightened.  He knew I was in trouble and he knew it was somehow his fault.  I do not know how deep a dog thinks/  He could have been afraid to lose his master or that his master might be hurt.  Maybe he would need to go to his old home. That would be terrifying.  When I told him to get out of the car, he was happy again.  I felt if the police officer could see Bingo acting normally, then the officer could better understand our relationship.

I really hate these busybodies who  enjoy hurting other people in the name of making the world safe from people who live different lives.  My deviant Sociology prof many years ago pointed out that these nosy people tended to be very conservative.  Arizona Republicans.

But this time, as the last time, the officer seemed to understand even though he remained gruff. No ticket.  No stealing my dog.  We left in peace.

Me Better Than Most

I have lived in the desert since 1973 with a few years missing in Florida and Texas.  San Jose is a desert -- it just does not know it yet.

I know about the heat.  I know the damage it can cause.  I have seen results that most have not.

M job at Chrysler exposed me to desert heat long before I ever saw the desert.  We built an oven in Detroit to simulate the heat.  We needed to do this to simulate the damage we were seeing from our desert proving grounds in Arizona.  Melted dash panel knobs.  Torn vinyl.  Burned skin.  Vinyl film-coated glass.  In the 1970's automobile carpets actually had aluminum foil backing because regular backing caught fire in Phoenix stop and go traffic  Our Detroit oven needed to reach 300 degrees to match the Phoenix sun.  We wondered how people could actually live in such a place.  If we did not see the damaged parts, we would have not believed our own engineers.  I know about the heat.

I hear about people laving their babies and animals in their cars.  Their stupidity is beyond understanding.  Why is what I did different?

The car is parked in the shade whenever possible.  Not much shade but enough to keep the car from baking.

There is a fan to force air circulation through the car.  Inside the car is not much hotter than outside.

The car is overcooled before parking so that the car starts at a lower temperature than normal.  With the other considerations the car rarely exceeds the outside temperature.

There are inside-outside thermometers to make sure that I do not misjudge what I have done.

There are inside window shields to keep the front area shaded and cool -- only while I am gone for a while and it is really hot.  Without the shields Bingo can watch the area waiting for my return.

The doors are unlocked in the event that there is an emergency and Bingo needs to be rescued.

2014 May

18 May, 2014 -- The King is Dead.  Long Live the King.

If you do not understand, Google it.  The Ford Ranger is history.  Now I have a Nissan Rogue.  For 6 years I have endured the nightmare of  a Ford Ranger.  The nightmare is over --  I traded it at the Nissan dealer for the new Rogue. I have gone from a light pickup with all the features of a U-Hail trailer to a state of the art Silicon Valley Teckie dream machine.  Maybe I do not need all of this but after 6 years of zero I deserve a little extra.  I explain the sequence in the Rogue description page.

10 May, 2014 -- Nigeria 50 Years Later

Fifty years ago my sister, Jeanne, went to Nigeria for a summer school session at the university.  Nigeria was composed of 4 states.  Two saw education as a means to move their country forward.  Two wanted the status quo.  It is interesting to me that people who want nothing to change are willing to kill to keep it that way.  This seems to be a common thread,  Sometimes the killing is not of people.  Sometimes it is only the killing of innovation and ideas.  This is what the status quo is all about: fighting to keep from moving ahead.

So the status quo states killed the president of one of the progressive states and war broke out.  The fourth state was called Biafra.  The propaganda said that the Biafra state was in revolution.  And Biafra lost the battle and Nigeria has in fifty years made limited progress.

But progress is a hard thing to contain when your neighbors and the world are moving on.  There is now this radical religious group kidnapping girl students and selling them as sex slaves.  This after forcing them to do menial household labor in preparation for their new lives.  300 girls and the world just watches.

For three weeks the Nigerian president just sat on his duff while world diplomats cried for action.  This president has finally accepted military intelligence from other countries but as not accepted military help.

It is way past due. I am not one who wants American culture or guns everywhere.  I live in Mexico and see the pressure here.  The Mexican culture is a loving and caring and hard working culture.  I resent Americans wanting to change Mexico.  So I worry about American or other countries forcing Nigeria to do anything.  But when Nigeria refuses, publicly, to help its own citizens, something must be done.  I do not know what are the options.  But watching a small group of radical religious idiots control the country is unacceptable.

On another thread.  Several years ago a small boy and his mother escaped Cuba.  Their boat sank and the mother died while the boy made it to Miami.  Sending the boy back to Cuba after his mother gave her life for his freedom sounded a terrible thing to do.  But it had to be done.  It was done in the worst possible political maneuver.  But had it not been done, then every American child in a custody dispute could be kidnapped to a foreign country with no hope of being returned to the custodial parent.

The Nigerian situation is identical.  If the world permits these girls to be kidnapped, then girls all over the world are vulnerable to be kidnapped and also sold as sex slaves.  The Nigerian kidnapings are not just a sad thing.  They are a warning to mothers and fathers everywhere that just sitting on your duff will aid the enemy and crying about it with no action means that another 300 girls will disappear soon.

Call, write, show up in the office.  Anything.  Tell your elected congressmen and the President what you think about this stealing of young lives.  You want the definition of terrorist?  A man who steals your own daughter and knows you will spend the rest of our life not knowing is the terrorist.

2014 April

April 19, 2014    --    Semana Sancta    -- Holy Week

A busy week.  I have been talking with the Tucson and the El Centro Nissan dealers.  Both are anxious to see mt Ranger for trade in value.  I take a day to Puerto Peñasco to get the paint and damage repaired.  I need to return next week for the front bumper and polishing the new paint.  Poco a poco.  I am in as much as a hurry as the dealers but I need the car repaired first.  And they need to have a car that I want.  It appears that the Rogue AWD is a rare vehicle.

I have all but finished the shed.  I have installed the water plumbing and the pump -- at last.  I need to change the plumbing -- I made a valving mistake.  I need to pump air into the tank bladder.  This is a challenge since my air pump is 12v and the battery needs to be moved -- it is very heavy.  But I  can get it working  and change the valving next week.

The tourists have arrived.  Motos, pickups, and cars are going up and down my street every couple of minutes.  I shall not leave the house until Monday.  I do not want to endanger my car repairs.  And I certainly do not want to endanger Bingo.  I understand the firecrackers on many holidays.  But Easter week?

I have been watching the Dan Brown movies:  "The DaVinci Code" and "Angels and Demons".  Having read no only the book and the original historic document, I tend to believe them.  The historic text is dry but then it must be to prove its thesis.  The Dan Brown book is a novel and much easier to read than  "Holy Blood, Holy Grail".  But it is a novel.  The movie is even further but they all make the same point.  So I add a little to my religious opinions.

April 9, 2014

I have had better days.  I bought the sink this week.  I installed it.  sort of.  It was not quite level so I tapped the left side.  It crashed down onto the toilet and then the floor.  Te left corner broke off but it is still usable.  It also broke the back top corner of the toilet lid.  But they still both work -- just not as pretty.  The plumbing needs a connector that I do not have.  What else is new?  Next is to connect the water line to the toilet and sink.  Then glue all of the fittings of my maze.  Connect the city water.  Then the Roto Plas.  Then the pump and I am done with the plumbing.  Little by little.

Citizen Soldiers

I have copies of The Hobbit Trilogy -- Return of The King in DVD but I found the entire set for less than $20 in Blue-Ray.  I have been watching them in my usual piecemeal fashion.  A half hour hear.  A half hour there.  A nap.  Repeat of the last session.  Etc. The movie ending is interesting.  For most books and movies when they I  am let down.   On Heinlein stories I almost feel cheated.  But this movie ends perfectly.  But it leaves me thinking.  You see. he story starts with 4 innocent persons.  Hobbit. Creatures living in little agricultural communities where there is peace and happiness and families and lot of little Hobbits.  They travel thorough a series of ever increasingly dangerous situations until they are soldiers in wars and battles.  They have become somebody else.  Something else.  They win the wars and battles.  They ride their ponies back to their communities and rejoin the life there.  But the four sit at a table and know that they are different. They know something that none of the others can ever know without going through the same fires.  They sit at a table in the local tavern.  Not quite with the others.  The lead hobbit then leaves and rejoins some of the people with whom he mixed in his exploits and they glide off in a ship to never-never land.  The second hobbit returns from the departure back to his wife and family.  And so on.

This brings me to our real world.  I have lived through two wars.  Viet Nam and Iraq.  That is, I have sat through them and watched them from the side.  I have sen too many vets (veterans) standing at the curb asking for handouts.  I have heard too much o the news that the Veterans Administration (VA) has not done enough to help the soldiers.  The citizen soldiers.  That have returned as damaged goods.  They have returned physically damaged.  With every imaginable kind of damage.  and much unimaginable.  Parts Missing.  Arms.  Legs.  Eyes.  These are terrible and our government that sent them to war has the duty of repairing this damage to the best possible manner available regardless of the dollar expense.  These soldiers offered their lives to our government.  The very least we can do is repair this damage the best in the world.

But it gets worse.  We have retrained hundreds of thousands of our citizens into these war machines.  Killing machines.  The very best situation is like the Hobbits.   They know that they are different and sit apart from the others because they know something that the others can never imagine.  They know how to kill other people.  They know bonds of friendship closer than biological family.  They know what is the life of people in other places.  This is the best that they can have.

For some this knowledge makes them incompatible with their old lives.  For many in fact.  For these going back to where they came is not possible without the same medical care that their physically damaged patriots incurred.  They need to have time spent relearning their old home culture.  They need time relearning the values of a culture that everything they learned in the military is wrong.  There is no more enemy.  Killing is not an option.

What they have seen and learned and experienced cannot be undone.  But there are so many tings that must be done to identify those who cannot cope and need help in relearning.  And here we are doing a dismal job.  Two things must be done.  First, and foremost, is to provide help in he re-integration of the citizen-soldiers into their communities.  The second is to educate the people who have not gone to war to accept that we now live in a divided culture.  Those who know and those who do not chow. We need to help each other to live in peace offering whatever assistance we are able to anyone.  Anyone at all.

In Mexico I give a peso to any cause I think can use it.  A peso is not much.  Firemen.  Ambulances.  Persons selling gum in the street (alcohol rehabs).  It is time for me to stop looking down on the vet at the curb and give him at least enough for lunch.

2014 March

March 28, Friday

A really busy day.  I left El Golfo a little after 7:00 heading for 57 for my monthly INR blood test.  Rat Poison (Warfarin) level in my blood.  I find out when I see the FAX at the RV park tomorrow.  I am in a hurry so I skip buying Pesos.  On the way out of town I pick up a woman hitch hiker heading for San Luis.

I stop at Mari's to leave off the old ramada frame.  She wants it for Semana Sancta (Easter Week).  She needs a cover but the frame should be good.  Then I leave off my rider at the San Luis jail.  36th street.  It is crowded.  It is big.

I cross the border quite early and head for the AZ DMV.  Yuma 24th Street and Pacific.  With just papers I get my AZ driver license.  Good for 5 years. $10.  The TX license is history (it has a hole punched in it).  The new one expires in 5 years.  The old one in a few weeks on my birthday.  I meet a young woman from the Ukraine.  She intends to learn Spanish.  She thinks I look 60.  "Thank You".  "Anu, damoi" means "Go home"  Nothing more.  "Anu" is just a sound and not a word.  I knew "damoi" meant go home but I always wondered about the "anu".  A very polite young woman. She had lived in Pensacola and now Yuma.  A military wife.

I stop at Circle K for a soda on my way to the next stop.

Sonora Nissan

I want to check out the new Nissans.  I need to replace the Ranger.  The crankcase is leaking oil.  I went to Costco.com online and asked for a Nissan dealer.  I got two: one in El Centro and the other in Tucson.  I wanted to make sure that the Yuma one was not on the list.  This gives me the chance to get the sale spiel on the Altima and the Rogue.  I favor the Rogue for its AWD (All Wheel Drive).  The cannot call it FWD any more because that is confused with Front Wheel Drive.  I wanted to test drive and hear about the features before I took a trip to get the short version from the Costco sales person at the Costco authorized dealership.

Only it did not happen.  I guess the days when the dealers salespeople hovered like hawks waiting for a victim looking for a new car are gone.  At least they are gone at Sonora Nissan.  I trapped a salesman on the lot.  I think it was the lot.  The entire poster collection was about certified used cars.  The man said he was with a customer as he peered across the rows of cars.  He told me to sit on one of the chairs and he would send me a sales person.  I saw several well-dressed employees walk by.  They ignored me.  After 20 minutes I gave up and went to my next stop.  I had told the first guy I needed a new Altima or Rogue.  I guess the word "need" carries no weight.  I can write Sonora Nissan off any future purchase.

Alexander Ford

So many stops today.  Up the street from the Nissan dealer to the Ford dealer.  A new electric power steering hose connector.  I wait and someone arrives -- maybe 5 minutes.  The new connector -- $50.  They will be "nice" enough to hold it for a week after it arrives tomorrow.  For that much money for a little piece of shit they should have offered to hold it a month and not had me to beg for a week.

Errand Shopping

Next to the UPS store to pick up the mail.  Manuel's package is here.  He will be happy.  A birthday present for his son.  My Sodastream syrup order is here.  That was fast.  I just ordered it a couple of days ago.  My Rock Auto Ranger door lock switch ($50) has not arrived.

Then 1st Yuma bank to move money from Bank of the West to my Yuma bank account.  No issue but I miss the dog.  I left him home since he does not like the trip and I thought I might need to drive for the AZ license.

Harbor Freight.

A couple of connectors for the winch cart and pulleys for the shed windows.  I thought I could get a refund from a coupon but I had already used a coupon for the winch purpose.  My mistake but I think the cashier thought I was trying to cheat them.  The lines were long.  I got a free little flashlight.

Social Security

I need to change my address and I cannot get to my online account.  The line here is literally out the door.  Mañana.  I guess more Republican austerity.

Home Depot

Gone are the days when the customer is always right.  The PVC aisle guy was nasty and rude.  He called me rude and I called him on it.  I needed a 3/4" to 1/2" inch reducer.  This is a small piece of PVC that slides into each of the two pipes.  The result is a straight line with a small circle separating the two.  Neat.  Cheap.  And Home Depot has none and never heard of them.  The goof off attempts to sell me a construct of pieces to accomplish what I need.  I tell him that I have one of what I want.  I want a second.  He insists that I do not know what I am talking about and that he has demonstrated to me what I need.  At about four times the price and with large connector pieces.  He gets his boss who understands what I want,says they do not carry them and offers to sell me the construct for the price of one of the pieces.  OK.

I pick up a couple of other things and leave.  I could have gotten more at Home Depot but since I now need to go to Lowe's and I know that they have what I need, I do not bother.  I do ask for sinks.  My mistake.  I mumble "everything but the kitchen sink" under my breath and in Spanish.  Another fellow responds with directions to the back of the store.  Kitchen sinks.  But I want a small sink to wash my hands in the shed.  I can find no such tings.  I do find some very expensive sinks with floor posts, etc.  I give up.

The same guy is at the back counter.  I ask him for a window sash cord cleat.  He has no idea what I am talking about.    He looks it up on his computer.  Nothing even close.  Except he has typed  "Window k".  Nothing in the computer after the word window starts with a "k".  SO the display shows anything related to "Window".  They really have dumbed down Americans.  I convince him that "cleat" starts with a "c" or at least I get him to replace the "k" with a "c".  The search still has too many things but no cleat.  He takes me to the hardware accessory panel and asks if it has what I want and shows me the cleats.  At least I had described well enough what I wanted.  I take my prices and head for checkout.  And people wonder why I prefer Lowe's.

Bed, Bath, and Beyond

I need a small waster basket for the shed toilet.  The smallest is a $6 wire mesh.  Too big but smaller than anything I had found the last WalMart expedition.  A nice helpful clerk.  B,B, and B are a bit expensive for my tastes.

Sam's Club

For the usual milk, sweets and ice.  I need a table for the shed.  I lost my shopping list so I forgot the step stool.  Mari has my candies from the last trip.  I bought $250 worth of stuff when all I wanted was milk.  Mari wanted cheese and toallitas (2). -- $50.  Another $50 for gas.  The only short line is behind the RV. The joke is on the others: the RV only wanted $10.  Strange but fast.  No Bingo.  No dog park.

WalMart

Without my list I shop blind.  I get some junk and call it a day.

Circle K

I stop for another soda.  Two of them for my trip back to the border.  On my way into the car, I punch a hold in the bottom of one of the drinks.,  Disaster.  There is no position that does not leak soda.  The empty drink plastic is on the far floor.  The far door is locked.  I cannot walk around to unlock it.  I put the leaking drink on its side on the driver floor mat -- I hope it holds.  I reach across the car, unlock the door, run around for the old bottle, return, slide the new bottle into the old.  I remove the floor mat -- it held.  A towel on the floor picks up a little of what did go through.  The leak fills the bottom bottle so I toss the remainder ice  into the old bottle and toss the new empty bottle.  It could have been worse.

Out of Town

I stop at Little Ceaser for a couple of fast pizzas and head for the border.  The line is really long.  An hour later I get to the gate.  The Mexicans have given up on their two-light entry at least at rush hour.  The line would have taken two hours had they not.  At least I get a green light and the lane inspector did not signal me for an inspection.

I arrive at Mari's and wait for her to arrive -- 15 minutes.  I unload the toallitas and put the cheese in the fridge.  I clean up the spilled soda and -- oh -- I forgot -- I ate part of the first pizza while waiting in line at the border.  I set out the second pizza just as Mari arrives.  She gets Betito and they eat a couple of pieces. I ask for my candies.

It is so frustrating.  I had left a giant 5 pound bag of jelly beans.  Easter special at Sam's on the previous trip.  They were on her counter as I left.  I should have taken them but I was in a hurry.  The other box of candies I had left in the trailer.  I had dumped a box of lollipops into a box of gummy packs for the neighbor kids -- and forgot them in the car on the previous trip.  I had left them in Mari's trailer.  Now all of the lollipops were gone as was my giant bag of jelly beans.  Mexicans live by s strange set of rules.

Because I left the box in the trailer where I had expected to spend the night, kids playing in the trailer ate most of the candies.  The lollipops were all gone.  Most of the gummy packs gone.  $20 down to about $5 before Mari rescued the box.  She claimed no lollipops and she would have sen the wrappers.  She showed me a standard-sized bag of Star burst jelly beans and claimed it was what I had left.  Obviously not true.  Was she lying?  I think so but I gave up when she refused to change what she claimed.  I find many Mexicans are expert liars.  She has lied too many times before and always at my dollar expense.  Another $10 lost and I leave with only enough gummies for a couple of days back in El Golfo.

And having lost my shopping list, not enough pieces for the Roto Plas -- water pump connections.  Next week I go to El Centro.  Apparently there are no more wall-mount sinks sold in the USA.  Maybe toe Mexicali Home Depot.  and I stop at the Mexicali Costco.  I shall need more pesos.

Mari wants a back cushion (I have an extra) as her Ranger gives her back pains too.  She want a table.  I have an extra but I am angry with her and she will not get it.  She want to borrow it for Semana Sancta but I know it would either not be returned or would be damaged.

Bingo is happy to see me as I arrive home -- after deflating my tires at the El Golfo fruteria.  I put away the frozen stuff and go to bed.

March 25,  Tuesday

I made it to Megan's at the end of February.  My life still centers around the shed.  The major purchases for the lot are over.  Now it is just nickel-diming me to poverty.

Not really poverty.  My IRA has grown $40,000 since September.  I have little to sell and a few things I would like to buy but for right now no action is possible.  Since I took the account away from UBS and managed it myself, I have been increasing the value even with my "pension" withdrawals.  Between Morgan-Stanley and UBS, it went from $750,000 to $420,000 in less than 10 years with very little withdrawals.  They made poor investments with high commissions.  It took a couple of years to sell off most of the dogs for better values.  There are still some dogs that it turns out are not possible to sell (old GM bonds).  IN general I have bought a few electronic companies that I thought were good (Apple)  and some dividend stocks and a couple good mutual funds.  Mutuals are tricky.  They run in waves.  It is the buy low, sell high thing.  A mutual that has two years as a top performer should be sold to another up and coming.  Dividend producers in necessities are good.  

But the Ranger.  It must go.  The engine is leaking oil.  Spark plugs are now recessed with plastic tubes to insulate the air above them.  One of the tubes contained oil.  No oil being burned just a leak but the location of the leak means either a very expensive repair or give the Ranger up.  I have been looking for an AWD car with room inside and not too expensive.  There are no such things.  The 1960 Corvair cost $2,000.  The 1970 Plymouth Sport Fury with everything cost $5,000.  The 2008 Ranger cost $17,000 -- discounted.  The Nissan Rogue that I am looking at costs about $26,000.  The Altima about $3,000 more.  I like the Altima but it is too expensive and would get stuck in the sand and is sort of a luxury car.  I would feel like hauling my stuff would be abusive -- at least to its image.  I hope to get enough for the Ranger for a large down payment.  I shall take as much from my IRA as I can.  I shall borrow from my credits cards what I can and I shall get a car loan for the rest.

There are a few problems here.  There is no cash in the IRA.  I need to sell something -- and I have nothing that I want to unload.  The credit card loans are good for a year and no more.  That means selling an IRA item in the near future.  It is the car loan that is the problem.  They do not want the car in Mexico without their permission and they give permission on calendar dates and not living.

There is another problem here.  The IRS says that I must make a minimum withdrawal from the IRA this year.  That is computed as a percent of the IRA value based upon my age.  I  need to buy something and payoff something to meet their demands.  I have been playing credit card loan games for the last several years.  I made about $2,000 profit last year alone.  No more.  I can still play the games but the IRS must be fed.

The weather has turned.  No more cool and warm alternating.  Summer has arrived.  The wind is from the south (indicative of summer climate).  I must check out my existing AC and maybe invest in a new unit.  I need the new unit but with the new car, it is not a good thing for me right now.

The RV park is still there.  Some faces are friendly.  Many are not.  Bingo has not had a beach walk in 6 months.  Between my back, my kidneys, my knees, and whatever other ailment may hit me for a couple of weeks, I had not been feeling up to a beach walk.  If Bingo is lucky, he gets a walk around the block next to the park.  Today we did walk down to the water and back.  That made him happy.  He likes to show off that he is not afraid of the water by running in and out of a few waves.

I am very proud of Bingo.  He behaves very well in stores and in company.  He is almost obedient and takes hand signals well.  He learns fast.

I worry about Megan but I see her and hear from her less and less.  My fault.  I need to change my address from Texas to Arizona.  Too much mail delay from Texas.  Too high of insurance premiums.  I think the elimination of the Texas address and the increase in taxes will come out about the same.  The new car registration is another matter.  From $60 to I guess about $$1,000.  And I shall need annual emissions testing.  I need to do something in the next couple of weeks.  My Texas driver license expires on my birthday.  This means either a trip to El Paso for renewal or an AZ license.  

2014 February

February 8.  Saturday

I twisted my knee this week.  It hurts.  It hurts so much that I may delay my visit to Megan until March.

My shed is almost finished.  I need to add the door and the doggie door and get the paint completed (Carlos has done most of it).

Marisol has given me a screen door.  I bought a toilet.  I had wanted to postpone that but there have already been too many times I have been in the shed and had to go to the bathroom.  The toilet cot $100. at Sam's Club.  The cost in Mexico for an equivalent was about $200.  I smuggled the new toilet in by hiding it inside the Ranger.  I have made two trips recently chaufering RVs from Yuma.  The latest on the 5th.

My last visit to the dentist has my new teeth ready.  Now I just have to remember to eat with them.  They are plastic and not as sharp as my original teeth nor my caps -- chewing is more work and I have to relearn chewing with my back teeth.  My new back teeth.

I am really frustrated with politics.  Both Mexican and American.

Mexican Politics

The drug lords did not like President Calderon.  why should they?  He tried to eliminate them.  Many were killed.  The Army and the Federal Police captured many and blockaded the drug traffic routes.  But now Calderon is gone -- his 6-year term expired.  The new president is one of the drug lords.  As in the USA, you can now buy an election.  It has been one year.  Mordida is back.  Corruption is back.  Twelve years of good presidents -- all gone.  History. There are rumors that the new president killed his wife so that he could marry his new girl friend.  I suspect the Catholic Church would prefer divorce.  The next 5 years will make things worse.  The new president is selling country resources.  The last president that did that made Pancho Villa and the Emeliano Zapata famous.  But revolution does not happen these days.

American Politics

More of the same.  The Repubs are doing their best to ruin the country.  The lies are amazing.  More amazing is that the people believe them.  The "Kill Santa Claus" program is working well for them.  Program?  When a Repub is President, run up the national debt and say it is not important.  Then when a Democratic President arrives, cry and scream that the debt must be reduced and it must be reduced by killing social programs such as Social Security and Medicare and School lunches.  The Dems created these Santa Claus programs and the Repubs try to make them regret it.

Global Warming

Now we call it "Climate Change".  The idiots who see colder weather shout that there is no global warming and that it is just another Democratic red herring.  In reality you can see the horrible changes every day.  Every country in the world is trying to stop the heat -- every country except the USA.  The oil companies fund the Repubs.  The Repubs repay them by denying the problem and actually making it worse.  They have reversed the ban on incandescent light bulbs.  They fight mileage requirements on new cars.  We see more earthquakes.  We see storm patterns moving.  10 years of drought in the west.  9 of the hottest years on record.  Winter storms have moved east and south.  The North Pole is barren and being fought over by Russia for mineral rights.  And the Repub "scientists" say that all is well and is a "normal" cycle.

My Ranger

I need the new Power Steering.  The old one leaks enough that I leave puddles.  The left door handle has broken the second time.  The ignition switch works until I remove the key.  Re-inserting the key causes problems and erratic behavior until the key settles back in.  The left door lock switch will not unlock the doors.  The left window switch only works in temperatures below 60.  The least of problems is that the dome light burned out.  I have ordered another new one.  The last new one did not work.  Both sun visors rusted (!) and broke off.  The insides are cardboard. The first car I have ever owned that is designed to fall apart after 5 years.  And this is in addition to all the design (lack of design) flaws.

Michelin stopped making tires for my Ranger and the BFGoodrich tires get no traction.  I moved them to the front to save my life from rear end break a ways.  I got new brakes in front.  101,000 miles.  Normal for me.

Bingo

He continues to impress me.  I now get asked if he is a show dog.  I now understand why the Mexican border guards asked for his ownership papers: they feared I was smuggling a famous dog.

He enjoys the attention in the stores.  The bank people are impressed.  At Lowe's he sometimes even goes without his leash.  He knows that he is on parade.  He prances at my side when he knows that he is doing a good job.  He prances like a Tennessee Walking Horse.

CRA

I visit there daily.  People that were my friends now look the other way.  I wonder what I did to them now.  I have given up playing victim.  If they want to dislike me, they have a problem.  I am a very likable person.

Mexican Safety

Some idiot has replaced the city street lights with a row of street lights along the highway into town.  New poles.  New lamps. New wiring.  New.  But crime is up now that the city is dark.

But there is a worse problem across the country.  The improved organ registry has not been installed.  Children are being kidnapped and killed for their body parts.  This has become enough of a problem that mothers are walking their kids to and from school every day.  Not just El Golfo (I have not heard of such kidnappings here) but San Luis has the problem and I understand that it has become serious across the country.

Residency

I have my new visa: FM-2.  I was fined $100 for letting my old one expire.  Not my fault.  Two more years and I can become a Mexican citizen.  Then I can vote and have national health insurance.  For that I  need to speak Spanish.  Mostly I need help with my verb tenses and understanding people who talk with their mouth closed.

2014 January

January 4.  Saturday

Into the new year. Last year ended with a bang.  I took a train ride through Copper Canyon for vacation.  The pile up of events during the  year overwhelmed me and I needed to take a break.

Last week I saw my GP doctor and said I was in great health.  Now I ache in so many places that I just keep repeating "It hurts".  This week it is some general aches and pains: shoulder, hips, lower back.  But mostly it is my right foot.  I am wearing one of those stockings that squash my lower leg.  This keeps the leg pain down but does not help the foot.

I went to the CRA Christmas dinner but walked out before the meal.  I could give some excuses as the negative looks were there but this time I decided that dinner in that place on Christmas was not a good thing.  I wanted to enjoy my Christmas dinner and not just survive it.  I gave out a few presents to kids and disappeared.  I went to Jorge and Andrea's and had  a turkey dinner.

The Indians and Pakistanis turn everything into a "curry".  The Mexicans turn everything into something that it did not start out to be.  I bought a nice hen turkey.  Hen's are more moist and tender.  My Mexican friends went one step further: they boiled it in one of those roasting bags.

I have been living on the lot since last February.  It is livable but there is so much work.  Carlos from the park did the remaining necessary heavy work.  He took care of the dog while I was on my vacation.  My primary objective now is to finish my shed.  The shed construction is complete but there is so much more.  Today I completed the major work on creating a 2' wide shelf across the back.   The shed is 12' wide by 8' deep.  The back and back side walls are block built before by the neighbors.  I only needed t o add the roof, front side, and front.  But this is a lot of work.  And Mexican wood is heavy.  Much heavier than American wood.  Mexican wood still comes from natural trees.  American wood comes from tree farms and is mostly that white pine mushy stuff.  And a Mexican 2x4 is 1 3/4 x 3 1/2 x 8 '.  It is not 4: short.  It is not round corners and it is not shaved an extra 1/8".  This is lumber like I grew up with as a child.  Heavy.  Yes.  But really.  Really. Strong.  Even the 1/2" plywood is so heavy that I have trouble lifting sheet.  And the prices are lower than in the USA.  And my 2x4's are straight.  Now I need an 18" shelf along the remainder of the back side.  This will hold the water pump.  There is the ceiling fan,.  I need a door -- a screen door.  a doggy door.  Hinges to make fold out windows from the plywood walls. Paint.  Inside and out.  The back wall too.  Bring back my refrigerator.  Then I need more bricks to pave more of the upper lot.

Then lower the rear of the RV.  Fix the roof leaks.  Buy a new sofa.  Shampoo the carpet.  Duplicate the front ramada so that it meets the fence.  Install a garage door opener for the front gate.  Level the upper lot moving the extra to the lower lot.  Move dirt from the street back to the lower lot with my new winch and a cart that I have yet to build.  Maybe a cut off barrel would be best.  The list does not really end.  Landscaping.  I need some trees.  I need a front hedgerow.  Oleander bushes I think.

All of these lead to constant aches and pains and several days between projects or I am just too tired.

Finances

I spent a lot of money last year.  The lot was bought in 2012 but for the lot and the Russian Cruise I borrowed $12,000.  I have repaid $6,000.  I have borrowed $2,000 more.  Down $8,000 total -- to be repaid by August.  I also took out $30,000 from my IRA.  That is $2,500 per month.  Social Security paid off the $6,000 and paid my insurance and taxes.  I know that more than $1,000 per month was spent on the lot.  Probably closer to $1,500 since my normal expenses are not that high.  A couple thousand for dental work.

So this year I need to go on a budget.  It is not that I have been spending too much.  It is because the national economy is growing so slowly that my IRA is not growing at all.  Needless to say that the strangle hold the Republicans have put on job creation has damaged us all.  But that is the reason for the problem of no growth. My problem is dealing with the no-growth.  This year I shall use the Social Security check for monthly expenses.  I hope that there will be enough growth by August to repay the $8,000.  I need some growth to complete the yard work.  All of the major purchases were made at the end of last year.  No more $1,000 months but there may be a couple of $500 months.  January will have insurance and other annual bills.

But the no-growth problem is more complicated than just blaming the idiots.  I had in my portfolio a large quantity of bonds.  These bonds would mature normally over the next 10 to 15 years.  All of them pay over 6% and most at 7.5%.  This is not a great return but is ample.  But due to the Fed Bank loaning money to the banks at 0%, companies are able to issue new bonds at 2% to 4%.  They are using the money from the new bonds to pay off the old bonds.  Many of my bonds are now gone.  I used money from the bonds recapture for my income last year.  This causes me two problems.  There will be few bonds repurchased this year and so there will be little cash in my account.   My account will be more volatile due to a high percent of the account being in stocks rather than bonds.  I refuse to buy the new low interest bonds as I believe that I can maintain a 6% growth in the wise purchase of stocks and mutual funds.  If the market (i.e. the economy) picks up, the 6% should be a minimal figure and I expect it to be closer to 10%.  But if the market plunges, I am in trouble.  And more Republican games threatening the world economy could ruin my life.

They are making it more and more clear that they front an oligarchy rather than a social democracy.  We are already tipping to that point: the rich are very much richer and the poor are many more poor.  And they are still cutting corporate taxes and rich people taxes and adding more to the lower income burden.  Fewer food stamps.  Less Medicaid.  Less medical care for women.  The Repub quote I heard today was astounding.  a Fox talking man telling a woman to know her place and to keep her mouth closed.  We are not dealing with a dumbing down of America.  Dumbing is present tense.  America has been dumbed down to the point where people actually believe Fox News is a front for God rather than their real front supporting oligarchy.

I could complain about Fox and the Repubs forever but this paragraph is about my personal finances.  I reaped the gold last year.  This year we eat the crumbs and hope for the best.

Mexican Macho

I have complained about it before but I keep getting reminders.  I learned from some friends years ago here that you do not reprimand a child no matter what they are doing.  That is the job of the mother.  OK.  So I am visiting a woman friend, mother of a 5 year old.  She is talking with her sister, mother of a 7 year old.  Boys.  These boys are tearing up the living room.  The younger has been trowing his cloth doll around.  When it hits the TV, the mother demands the doll.  The boy stops throwing for now but ignores the mother.  After a few minutes, the throwing resumes but toned down a little.  The older boy has decided to hurt my dog.  I and my dog are guests in the woman's home. Permitting any dog in her house is a real privilege that I do not take lightly.  Bingo is attempting to play with the boys but he does not understand their game.  And their game is to hurt him.  The older boy is poking at Bingo's eyes and head.  Bingo escapes into a corner between the sofa and the TV condole.  The boy moves the play desk across the entrance thereby trapping Bingo.  Bingo escapes by crawling half on and half of the sofa.  He sits with his paw raised meaning that he want to leave.  The boy attacks Bingo again and again Bingo retreats into the secure cornet.  But now the boy goes over the top and Bingo jumps up on the sofa and lies down.  This catches the boy off guard since no dog is permitted on the furniture.  I know from Bingo's demeanor that the next step is for him to growl or snap at the boy.  I have never seen Bingo in such a position.  I know he would not bite the boy but he was ready to threaten.  I motion to leave and we are out the door.

I returned a few days later and explained why we left.  I was surprised to find the mother displeased with me for permitting Bingo on her sofa.  She could care less about what her boy and her sister's boy did to my dog.  They were just being boys.  Neither woman saw any problem with their son's behavior.

My daughters are correct.  I am a dinosaur.  I am not of the section that believes that children should be seen and not heard.  Which is a step up from children needing to be invisible.  I do not need them to be quiet.  I do not even need to control them.  I do however need them to show so low level of decency.  Hurting animals.  Intentionally molesting animals.  This is out of bounds to me.  I know in the Mexican household that I have no right t say anything but I was astounded that the mothers condoned their children's behavior.  Bingo will not go back there.  Maybe that is what they wanted.  Maybe she was just afraid to ask.  More I think that she was encouraging the "macho" in her boy by permitting her boy to out misbehave the other boy.

Bingo will not go back but I shall not be there as often as I might.

Fireworks

Christmas and New Year's are big fireworks nights for the Mexicans.  There have been so many and ongoing for almost two weeks that poor Bingo spends most of his time at my side or by the bed or under the steering wheel.  He has learned to knock (scratch) at the RV door.

Mexican Christmas

Mexicans celebrate Christmas at Midnight.  Christmas dinner is Christmas eve.  NocheBuena. It made dinner easier for me.  One night with my friends.  The second starting in the park and then to my friends.

My next door neighbor gave me some chocolates when I took presents to her family.  Otherwise I got no presents. I was disappointed.  I know that there is poverty here but I expected something.  And they are not all that poor.  In a poor society, gift giving becomes less a tradition while the celebration itself becomes more important.

Christianity

The more I have left religion behind, the sadder I become for those that still believe.  Leaving behind the old mythologies that we laughed about, the current mythology, Christianity, seems to not hold a candle to the past.  The first books of the Bible were written to support the priest class.  You can see this from the nature of the editing.  The Christian testament has done the same thing.  The Council of Nicea carved Jesus into a God and made sure that the new Bible fit pieces together much like a jig saw puzzle.

The problem is that after 2,000 years too much real science and history has debunked the myths.  The three "Magi", for example.  Look at a map.  It is not a great distance from what is now northern Iraq to Bethlehem. A good camel ride.  Northern Iraq?  Home of the Kurds.  2,000 years ago the Kurds as a group were referred to as "Magi".   Orient?  Northern Iraq borders Turkey.  At the time the main travel route from Asia passed through Greece, Iraq, and Turkey.  Anyone in Israel considered anyone from the north as from the Orient.

But these are trivial details.  At this point the mythology has eaten its tail.  The priests may have created the religion in their council but the successors have bought the story hook, line, and sinker.  Even the purveyors of the faith believe what they are selling.  Some of the ministers may not be rich but some of them are.  Two groups known for their wealth are the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church.

since I have dropped the religious cloak, I have become happier with my life.  I can live each day doing the best that I can.  If I make a mistake, I can try to correct it the next day or just say "too bad".  But I do not have the burden of trying to live someone else's set of rules.  I like my rules.  I am a good person.  Believing in mythologies does not make me a better person.

16 January

I am really tired of driving.  Today is the third day I need to go to the border.  I know.  I could have stayed with Mari but I never knew there would be a next day.  I needed to get my FM-2 updated.  This is critical: the FM-2 is my Mexican visa and without it I do not live in Mexico.  I needed to clean house with the dentist.  He has promised to make the prostheses work.  I really hope he can.  He has ordered a new lower -- overnight.

My electric bill is astronomical -- I think it is the security cameras.  I have turned them off and wait for the next bill.

I discovered high-protein drinks with low carbs and low calories.  ( bought one carton of several brands.  But Sam's Club cheats.  In the middle of the otherwise good products they inserted "Boost".  This is really bad stuff. 33g of carbs per little bottle.  I might as well be drinking honey.  The Boost product label is deceptive to make it look like the others.  It will not even list the calorie count!  It just says 60 calories from fat.  But you get down to the nutrients and discover 33g of carbs and you know that is should be in the candy section and not the health food section.  No wonder I felt dizzy after drinking a bottle.  And no wonder Sam's Club was giving $5.00 off at the register.  One more reason to distrust WalMart.

It has been difficult for me to get my protein lately so the low-carb, high protein drinks seem like a good idea.  But Boost is not good for anyone.  No one needs a high-protein, high-carb drink unless there is no more real food on the planet.

I called Kathie a couple of days ago and wished her a happy birthday.  Now she can get Medicare.  I suspect she will get one of those rip-off Advantage programs and give up the real Medicare advantage to an insurance company.

I have bought paint for my shed and the back wall.  Gray floor paint.  White wall paint.  White semi-gloss paint for the shelfs.  10 gallons total.  It will not be enough.  The shelves and walls need two coats,as will the floor and even the outside shed and wall.  Before the painting I need more shelf and to cut out the shed window panels.  Then sanding my cuts.  When this is all finished then I need to add the doggie door and the real door.  Then the fan and the water pump.  And the toilet.  It seems that Sam's Club has the least expensive good toilet.  Then I can retrieve my refrigerator from Jorge.

The idiots have ruined my front road.  They spin their wheels all of the way to the top and around the corner.   This makes the road worse than the beach.  It is not just a macho thing with their high-powered pickups.  I think that they are too stupid and selfish to realize that their play is damaging to their neighbors.  o my tires are no longer at 20-22.  They are now at 16-18 and I need to make two passes to enter my gate.  The first to align myself square and then backup and then forward into the lot.  The only advantage is that there are fewer of the pickups using the road.  The downside is the ones that do are the worst offenders.

I love my life in Mexico.  I love the Mexican culture.  But the macho is a result of low education and the need for humans to find someone higher and lower than themselves on some arbitrary scale.

Today when I go across I shall get a garden cart and some 2x2's for my shelves.  Lowe's.  I thought WalMart had garden carts but I was wrong.

22 January

It happened last month and it continues to bother me so I am writing about it.  Not all of the stupid politicians are American Republicans.  Mexico has its share.  Last month they installed a series of street lights from the center of town north to the main highway turnoff to Puerto Peñasco.  It is a beautiful sight.  As you approach town on the highway,  you see sort of a red carpet into town.  Not red and not a carpet but it is imposing.  I hate it.  I like it dark a night and from my hilltop I see this bright row of lights where I previously could see the noon reflecting off of the sea.  But that is just personal opinion: I like dark nights.

But someone decided that this beautiful string of highway lights was more important that the town street lighting.  I was at first happy to see that the street lamp in front of my home was off.  But then I noticed that all of the street lamps were off.  Dark night.  I like this.  Personally.  And it is sort of nice to see the string of lights but in the other directions I get to see the sea at night.  And the night lights of the town.  and the personal security lights of some of the outlying lot owners.

So now this politician has his wish: a beautiful (in his opinion, not mine), arch of lamps guiding the tourist into our fair town.  Not so many tourists these days.  There is a social cost.  A cost to the residents.  The people paying the salary of this politician.  The crime rate has risen.  Enough that my friends are complaining about it.  My security cameras are obvious.  I go outside when someone arrives at my fence so people know my cameras work. But the operation cost of the cameras is high.  An maybe the cameras will not be enough.

The reason for the town street lights is obvious: they reduce night crimes and make people safer.  We gave this security up for the delight of a politician.

2014 December

2014 November

2014 October

2014 September

Notes:

Home Depot and the Unicorn

I hope someday, somewhere someone discovers a real unicorn or a real mermaid or some other creature that we know does not exist.  It may help people to understand that just because they have not seen something that that something is impossible or that it does not exist.  I get so tired of hearing a merchant employee tell me that what I want is impossible simply because that employee has never encountered what I need.  I am a dinosaur.  I know that.  I have seen the evolution of many technologies in many different fields.  I do not expect that everyone will have an item that may be out of existence for the last 20 years.  But I do expect common courtesy in dealing with the unknown item.

For example I went to a merchant in Mexicali last month and asked for a hardware item.  He did not know what I was asking for.  Not a surprise.  I used the English word that I remembered and his primary language was Spanish.  I described the item and he took me to the proper display and informed me of the current Spanish and English words for the item.  I thanked him.  I picked out what I wanted and we went to the cashier.  This is what I expect of a merchant.  I rarely get it in the USA.

Today I attempted to buy a PVC part at the Yuma Home Depot.  The employee called me a liar in front of another customer and claimed that I was rude.  This over a PVC item that I wanted and he did not have.  When he said that there was no such part, I let him know that I already had one and I needed another.  This is when he called me a liar: I could not have a part that did not exist.  He then claimed I was rude but I am not sure why.  Maybe because he did not like the word liar.  I called him rude and interrupted his conversation with another customer that he had initiated to rid himself of me.  In any case he called upon a more senior person close by to help him and he stood to watch.  The senior person understood what I needed.  He said that they did not stock the part but would provide me with the construct of multiple parts to accomplish what I needed -- at 4 times the price.  When I complained about the price, he arranged for a cashier to charge me only for the single more expensive piece.  He did it right but he was too late.

I know that I am a dinosaur.  I would like to return to the day when a store operated under the premise that the customer is always right.  That will not happen.  You see, I am right here.  I do have such a part.  I went on to Lowe's and bought another just like it.  This is not the point.  The point is that the rude and stupid employee just cost  The Home Depot a customer.

I could have written it off as just one stupid employee but this was followed by another incident.  Not rude.  Just stupid.  When I asked for another item in a different department, the employee was unable to identify what I wanted.  He worked in the window accessory area.  I asked for a "Window Sash Cleat".  I would expect anyone working with drapes or other window coverings with draw cords to know what this is.  He did not.  He did not understand my description.  He went to his computer and could not spell "cleat".  I had to tell hi exactly,letter by letter, the term for which to search.  It was not in the Home Depot item inventory data base.  He took me to the hardware accessory counter and showed me the cleats.  He was not rude.  He was helpful.  But why would The Home Depot put a person who had no idea of standard curtain components at the curtain help desk?  It may not be this clerks fault that he is uninformed but it is the fault of the merchant.

It seems that America has become so prosperous that merchants have no desire to please customers.  The attitude seems to be: "What you see is what we sell.  Take it or leave the store quickly.".  This attitude is everywhere.  In some stores it is better and in some it is worse but the attitude prevails.

Summary

Written:  2014          Updated: January 4, 2014         Back To Top