A room of her own–painting, internet and water

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Although the electricity was on, the water had been cut due to non-payment. The owner collected my deposit and assured me that she would go on Monday and get that all straightened out. I also needed to go and find out about the internet hook-up that week.

So I headed to Telmex (the only internet company available) and climbed to the fourth floor (I wondered how disabled people would get up those stairs) to talk with someone. I didn’t want a phone line so I applied for Infinium Puro which was just the internet package. I was a little taken back that I could only get the 8 Mbps option because of the area the house was located in. Downtown had all the fiber optic options and the like, but in Los Girasoles (Sunflowers) where I had rented, only the basic service was available.

My brother assured me it would be enough to teach my classes, so I signed up for a 6-month contract. I gave the woman my Mexican driver’s license, but she wanted my IFE (voter’s registration card) which of course I don’t have. I gave her my permanent residency card and explained what it was. It seemed to be enough ID for her to work with. I filled out some paperwork and she said everything was good to go. I could pay the internet online or come to the office and pay, but not until the end of the month. It would be about $349 pesos monthly.

I asked about installation and told me she couldn’t be sure which day, but the installers would call me before arrival. Ok, well, I would just have to hope that it would be a time when I was available. The clerk was all a tither about my online teaching job. She had heard about the company on the TV but she was amazed that I lived here as everyone wants to move to the US. I’ve heard it all before but I tried to smile and nod. I really needed that internet set up.

The next step was to start cleaning and painting the little house. There was about a half a bucket of cream paint left from some remolding projects we did in La Yacata, so I hauled that over the little house in The Sunflowers. La Yacata and Los Girasoles are about 1 mile apart, the major difference being Los Girasoles is on the other side of the highway and thus all connected up to Moroleon’s water, sewer, electric and internet services.

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Painting proved more of a challenge that I first anticipated. It seemed the walls were made with yeso (plaster) and the paint just wouldn’t stick. I ended up using the half-bucket but didn’t even get the front room done. That was disappointing.  It ended up taking a full 2 weeks to get this itty bitty house painted since the paint would just slide right off.  I spent way more than I wanted to on paint.  I ended up buying a bucket of yellow and a second bucket of cream.  Very frustrating. That promised painting help from my husband never materialized.  My son (as a teenager) moaned and complained every single second we painted.  So I ended up doing most of it myself.

water-bucket

Then there still wasn’t any water. How was I supposed to clean without water? The English teacher across the street again saved the day. She brought be buckets and buckets of water from her house and even stayed to help me clean and paint. And boy did it ever need cleaned! We did what we could that day and left to teach our various afternoon classes.

Saturday morning I got a call from the Telmex installers. I told them I wasn’t at the house but could be there in 10 minutes. It actually took me 5, but who’s counting? They had the internet installed in the back room in less than 30 minutes. I hopped about and did the happy dance. Then the English teacher across the street called the owner to ask about the water. She said she’d call somebody to fix it. Apparently, her brother-in-law works for the water commission. He showed up not 15 minutes later and turned the water on, on his day off no less. I did another little happy dance.

My husband came later that afternoon and changed the front door lock for me. Another unanticipated miracle!  Since I had no idea who last rented the house and home many house keys they had made, it seemed like a good investment.  I felt like things were progressing nicely, if a bit slowly.

 

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Filed under Construction, Cultural Challenges, Electricity issues, Employment, Water issues

A room of her own–the quest

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So it’s been a few months now that I’ve been working at my online teaching job. I’ve been using the school computer room, which has both internet and electricity. However, with school events coming up, it’s become clear that I need to find a room of my own.

My first line of defense was to contact Super Prez. His family owns several buildings and sure enough, there was a room for rent behind one of their holistic stores. His wife stopped me on the road one afternoon to tell me to go and see Super Prez’s sister at the other holistic store for details. So I did. Only the sister didn’t know too much about it. She told me to go and ask la encargada (the woman in charge) who lived in one of the other rooms.

So I went, but she wasn’t in yet. I left my phone number but she didn’t call the next day. So I tried again the next evening. Much to my son’s surprise, his chemistry teacher answered the door. She also lived in one of the rooms and told me that the woman in charge would be there shortly. So we waited and she arrived.

She obviously didn’t want to show me the room although she had been told about me. I explained that I wasn’t looking to live there, but to work. She wanted to know what hours I would work and didn’t seem happy with the 10 pm answer I gave. (I’m actually only working until 9 pm most evenings, but really is that any of her business?) She continued to have the just stepped in dog doo-doo look on her face, but agreed to show me the room. The four rooms for rent shared a common patio and the bathroom. I wasn’t happy with that. I thought at least the room would have a bathroom. The woman in charge didn’t seem to like the look of my son. I don’t know what she thought he’d do, peek in windows or leave the toilet seat up?

She seemed relieved when I didn’t bother to ask the cost and thanked her for her time. The room itself was ok, but without a separate bathroom and with her continued hostility, I didn’t think either my son or I would be comfortable there.

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Then one of my co-workers mentioned that there was a room/office for rent right across from her and next to the same holistic store that I had visited to talk to SuperPrez’s sister. Sure enough, there was.

The sign said that no children or pets were allowed. No problem there. My son is hardly a child anymore. And the rent would be adjusted according to the amount of space one would be using. Seemed ok, but then I remembered that it’s half a block from the center of town. It would seem ideal except for the part where the bandas (musical groups) play until the early morning hours and I need quiet for my online classes. You would think a half block would be more than enough however as we can hear the bandas quite clearly all the way to La Yacata—well, the volume would be horrid that close.

So then we drove past a place with a sign out front that seemed lovely. I oohed and awwed about it until my son said it looked like that old lady movie I liked to watch. Then I nearly peed myself laughing. The old lady movie he referred to was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and yep, it looked much like that from what we could see from the front gate.

So I screwed up my courage and rang the bell. An old lady with purplish-red hair eventually made it to the front door. I asked about the apartment for rent and she said the only one available was 3 bedrooms. I didn’t bother to ask the price–downtown, three bedrooms, in a hacienda type building meant out of my budget. Sigh.

So then the other English teacher at my school said that the house across from her was for rent. She took it upon herself to get the number and call for information and set up an appointment for me to see it. I was beside myself with excitement.

The teacher vouched for my character, otherwise I probably wouldn’t even have gotten the appointment.  It’s quite a feat to find a place to rent in our area.  Quite stressful actually.

The owner lived in Yuriria and couldn’t make the first appointment time. I was downcast. I had to wait another 24 hours to see it and yes indeedy, it needed work. My son didn’t go with me to the appointment. He had teenage things to do. It was painted this horrible green–literally every inch of the wall, some of the floor, the doors and even part of the curtains.  The ceiling had holes in it, the toliet leaked, the boiler looked like it had blown up, and some of the electric sockets smoked when you plugged it in.

Despite all that, I rented it. It was the same price as the first room where I would have had to share a bathroom with 4 other women. Calling it a house is a bit of a stretch as it is a little bigger than a bread box, but I don’t need too much space.

I was determined to make it work!

 

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Filed under Electricity issues, Employment, Teaching, Water issues

Chokis

chokis

Last night, someone finally killed our dog Chokis. He’d had several attempts on his life these past few weeks. We’d almost come to believe he was invincible.
One day we came home and he rushed up to us to show us the wound on his head where a bullet had grazed him. His hard head protected him but he was puzzled by the injury. Then last week, I was sure he was dying. He didn’t jump up when I opened the door with his dog cookies but lay there thumping his tail in pleasure and bleeding. It looked like he had a confrontation with another dog and sustained injuries. Well, he was now a teenage dog and these things will happen when there is a lady love involved. Slowly, he recovered and was up and about again. But last night was the clincher.
He had ingested poison. If you’ve never witnessed death by poison, let me assure you that it is horrible. (See 101 Perritos ) We had a puppy accidently poisoned once and so knew the symptoms, but it didn’t make it any easier to watch. Chokis rammed the door and gate several times trying to outrun the demons pursuing him. When he couldn’t get in (we were afraid to let him in) he turned and defended his family from the phantoms with the last of his agonizing strength. He finally lay down at his post, even in death putting his body between us and perceived danger.

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The list of who did NOT poison him is much shorter than the possible assassins. (See Hate Thy Neighbor and Good Fences make good neighbors unless your neighbor steals it)

The borega guy mentioned once he wasn’t happy with Chokis as he found him inside his animal corral. There was an opening for the borega guy’s own dogs to go in and out freely and Chokis just followed them in one day. Well, the borega guy’s own dogs were killed a few months ago. So maybe he didn’t do it.
Then there is the cow barn guy. He lets his chickens run free and at times, there are fewer chickens that return than went out. He blamed Chokis. I will admit, Chokis does like to chase chickens. For that reason, we banished him outside the gate. Not that he eats them, mind you. He just chases them and well, sometimes they just die, of fright most likely. He doesn’t eat them. I don’t think he likes the feathers.
Then there is the chicken feather guy. He is always a likely suspect. A few months ago, my husband’s brother B’s 2 dogs were poisoned and his house broken into. At the time he didn’t have anything worth stealing in there, but of course, the would-be thief didn’t know that. B is pretty sure that the chicken feather guy did it.
Or it could have been the horse guy. He recently returned from El Norte (US) and is back to his old tricks. He likes to prowl about in the early mornings and “forage” for construction materials or food for his malnourished horses. Chokis’ barking kept him away from our street, but his presence did not go unnoticed.
Chokis will be missed. He was a bit exuberant but his love for us was never in question. He accompanied my son with the goats. He provided an escort for me wherever I went in La Yacata. He slept in front of the door and kept away strangers. He waited under the mesquite tree for us every single afternoon.

The last picture of Chokis.  He loved my son's archery set!

The last picture of Chokis. He loved my son’s archery set!

It’s hard not to become depressed when death is such a constant companion here. The trick is to focus on the brilliance that is life and acknowledge but not bow to the shadows such brilliance creates. For today, though, we will mourn Chokis. The remembrance of his faithfulness will live on in our hearts.

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Mexican Chicanery

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On Sunday, my husband comes rushing over from his brother’s house to plug in his phone to charge in the truck. He said that the owner of the house he had been building in La Yacata kept calling him from el Norte (the US). Sure enough, a few minutes later the phone rang again. Seems the guy was on his way back to Moroleon. Well, bully for him.

A few hours later, my husband comes running back over to ask if I would loan him 3,000 pesos to send to this guy. So, as a dutiful wife, I look through my savings and sure enough, I have just 3,000 pesos that I’ve been saving for a washing machine. I ask why the guy doesn’t just call his wife if he needs money. My husband didn’t know. Now just a dang gone minute–this seems a bit fishy.

So here’s the story. The guy calls my husband to say that he’s on his way home but that he doesn’t want to travel with all the cash he’s bringing. He asks if he could deposit the money in my husband’s bank account. Additionally, he asks my husband what tools he still needs and says that he’ll bring him something. There must have been some interaction where the guy goes to the bank, gets my husband’s information and “deposits” the money. Of course, it being Sunday, there isn’t any way to verify this. My husband assures him that the $6,000 USD he “deposited” will be more than enough to finish the house in La Yacata.

Then the guy calls back later. He said he just crossed the border with $2000 USD. He legalized his truck and trailer, which cost him $1700 USD for the truck and another $200 USD for the trailer. Now he’s got a problem because he doesn’t have enough money for gas to get to Moroleon. So here’s where he asks my husband to send $3000 pesos.

So I told my husband, if I gave him the money to send, we wouldn’t have anything to eat this week. Plus there is the fee for sending the money which usually is like $500 pesos. My husband asks the guy if $2,500 pesos would be enough. The guy says that if he sends the money through XOXO, there isn’t any fee. He assures my husband that he will repay the money tonight if he arrives in Moroleon tonight, or tomorrow morning at the at the latest. He was in Tamaulipas and the trip to Moroleon is about 7 hours barring disasters. So my husband asks what name the money transfer should be in and the guy hangs up. A few minutes later, he gets a message that reiterates that if he sends the money through XOXO, there is no fee.

I suggested that he go and see the wife before he sent any money. My husband assured me that it was this guy, he sounded just like him anyway. He got all defensive and I finally pocketed the money again. I would not give him the money unless he talked to the wife. He said he’d see the wife but that I should give him the money so that he can “luego, luego” (quickly) send the money while he was out and about. I said no. My husband left the house in a huff.

I had to go and work, so I was not privy to the continued goings on. My husband, who is of the mentality that vatos (guys) help each other out, managed to borrow the money from Azul the vet and his brother B. He went ahead and sent it at XOXO. THEN he went to talk to the wife who said that her husband wasn’t due to come home until Christmas. It had all been a setup.

So this morning, my husband, who is unemployed yet again, needs to come up with $3000 pesos to repay what he sent to some crook. He says he’s going to sell some goats–he’ll need to sell four or so to cover the debt. And this is how things are done in Mexico.

See also Western Union Fraud Education Program

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