Category Archives: Economics

Notarizing Online

Although I didn’t receive one of those stimulus checks this year since I’m married to an ITIN holder, I did get a small tax refund for my 2019 taxes. Unfortunately, depositing the check into my U.S. based Capital One 360 account was an exercise in futility. Although Capital One has a banking app where theoretically I could deposit the check, it won’t work on a Mexican phone. 

So I asked my friend in Tennessee who had the check to deposit it into her account. Her bank told her they would need my fingerprint to do that. Not gonna happen. I decided that I needed to give her the Power of Attorney over my assets, such as they are. 

To do that, I’d need to have a Power of Attorney document notarized by a U.S. notary. I was going to do that when we went to renew my son’s passport in May, but then COVID happened and that trip didn’t materialize. The consulate in San Miguel de Allende still isn’t up to full service potential yet anyway. So I look at other options.

Believe or not, I learned about online notaries from a Facebook discussion thread. I didn’t end up using the notary recommended because they never answered my message, but I did find One Notary. I wrote and asked and they said yes, I could create a Tennessee Power of Attorney through their service. 

I found the document through eforms.com and downloaded that. It was $45 for the document. Then I set up an appointment with a notary at One Notary. 

Six hours before my morning appointment, I could go through the verification process. The first set of questions was easy peasy. Then I needed to take a picture of my U.S. ID (which in this case was my PA driver’s license I was able to renew on my visit last year) with my smart phone. Well, I actually enlisted my son and his new phone for this part. The verification process wanted me to enter a valid U.S. phone number, which I didn’t have. Fortunately, it also gave me the option to have the secret code emailed to me, which I could then access via phone. So I had it sent to my gmail account and my son opened the document, entered the secret code, and took the pictures. 

The app decided it still wasn’t sure I was who I said I was, so asked me a few more questions. I failed the verification since I couldn’t remember the house number of the apartment building I lived in for 6 months nearly 30 years ago. I couldn’t go through the verification process again for 24 hours, so I had to reschedule the appointment. 

The next attempt went pretty much the same. I had taken the time using Google Street view (and some assistance from my son) to find the apartment building across from the Revolutionary War cemetery in Greencastle and the other address I wasn’t sure of, the house next to the church in Lincoln. But I still failed. I rescheduled the appointment.

They say the third time’s the charm, right? Well, I got verified and made the payment of $25 for the notary service. Then I waited for the notary to arrive for our 10:00 am appointment. And I waited, and I waited. Finally at 10:30 am, I sent two messages, one to One Notary support and another to One Notary customer service. There is no chat option on the page. 

I received an email telling me that of course the notary was not signed in at 10:00 am because my appointment was for 10:30 am. I double checked the time and time zones to be sure. No, my appointment was at 10:00 am in both locations (Texas and Mexico). The person then snarkily informed me that he/she could see that the notary was now in a session with me–although that wasn’t true.

A few minutes later, I was promoted to join a notary session. The woman who appeared was not the woman I had made the appointment with, but I didn’t care. She downloaded my document and started doing what she needed to do. While she was doing that, she and I both received emails that said I would be taken care of by yet a different notary. I asked the woman not to transfer me and to finish what we had started, so we did. It took about 10 minutes. I signed the document with my mouse, initialed where I needed to put my initials and voila, finished!

I downloaded the document, which still had one blank page for my friend in Tennessee to accept the Power of Attorney. I then sent the document to her via email. She printed the document and had set up an appointment to have the acceptance notarized. My luck seemed to transfer to her. The first two appointments with the notary in Tennessee were canceled by the notary. But again, the third time’s the charm. Then, my newly empowered friend took my tax refund check and POA document to the bank. My check was promptly deposited without a hassle. The amount nearly covered the notary and document service. YEAH!

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Filed under Economics, Getting Legal

August Updates

The topic of COVID-19 has me a bit overwhelmed. So I’ve been avoiding it, well, like the plague. However, to try and unravel the current situation in Guanajuato, I thought I’d take up the gauntlet today. 

Unless you’ve been sheltering under the proverbial bushel basket, you should know Mexico has moved up in the death race. Mexico now has the third-highest death rate from Covid-19, right after Brazil and the U.S. 

To celebrate this grand event, the state of Guanajuato has moved into orange. This means, places like movie theaters, churches, and gyms can reopen, with precautions, of course. The church has disinfecting mist spray entrances, requires face masks, and is limiting occupancy to 125 people to allow for social distancing. The gyms are taking temperatures at the front door. 

These reopenings are going full steam ahead despite the Pan American Health Organization predicting a new peak in new cases in August. In fact, July 31 saw a new high of 8,458 cases that was topped August 1 with 9,556 cases. The accumulated case tally in Mexico is the sixth-highest in the world. 

Mexico City, of course, has the most active cases, followed by Mexico State. Guanajuato is in the third position, followed by Veracruz, Coahuila, San Luis Potosí, and Nuevo León tied for fourth. As if these statistics weren’t alarming enough, it’s important to take into consideration that these numbers are completely inaccurate. There is no widespread testing taking place, so it’s really anyone’s guess on the true count. 

More or less SEP’s plan for back to school

Mexico made the decision a few days ago to not return to classes. Instead, school will be available online, on the television, and through radio broadcasts. As prudent as this seems, there are some economic repercussions. On the 15th of this month, teacher contracts expire. If they will not be teaching for the foreseeable future, will they get paid? Then there are the small businesses that earn their pesos providing school uniforms and school supplies. What will happen to their livelihood? The future seems bleak for these sectors. 

Moroleon, you survived looting, flooding, the devaluation of the peso in 1995, Chinese clothing imports and you will make it through the pandemic.

Coronavirus aside, Guanajuato has also been declared a safer area with the capture of Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel leader “El Marro” this week. Apparently it took all of 15 minutes to make the arrest. Personally, I have some doubts about the whole situation. Perhaps El Marro felt it was safer in police custody for the moment. The cartel-related violence in our town hasn’t diminished with his arrest, that’s for sure. Last week a man was killed at the barbershop, another in the market, and a third in a moto-repair shop. 

So how is this affecting our daily lives? More of the same really. We dash to town as early as possible and pick up our supplies, then hunker down in La Yacata for the rest of the day. More and more groups have also been gathering in our little corner of the world, since gatherings are still prohibited in town. In fact, this weekend, there were so many people sitting around on buckets, that my son felt the need to put on his mask to bring the horses in from the pasture. 

Fortunately, we have plenty to do to keep us busy. I am still writing and teaching to make ends meet. My son continues with his online prepa courses. Our animals entertain us when they can. Plus we have plenty of good movies to watch and unlimited books via kindle. Overall, we are in a much better position than those that tried to avoid the plague in the middle ages. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Filed under Economics, Education, Health, Politics, Safety and Security, Small Business in Mexico

Mid-month Updates

2020 has been a rough start, but nothing we can’t handle. So here’s the latest from the Flores ranchito.

Vehicles

January 1 my new-to-me motorcycle decided it wasn’t going to start. It was something electrical, but what it is specifically had him baffled for two weeks. It turns out, the previous owner had done some electrical “upgrades” that crossed some wires. Taking those out and replacing the box where all the wires meet seems to have done the job. It still needs a new front light and gas gauge, but it runs yet again.

January means paying for the “contribución materia vehicular impuesto” or vehicle tax. In comparison to last month, this month was a walk in a park. All we had to do was take our tarjetas de circulacion to the Institute de Seguridad Social del Estado de Guanajuato (ISSEG) pharmacy. Each moto costs $135 pesos this year and the truck was $487. It goes up every year.

Inflation

Speaking of things going up, the garafon (jug) of water from Santorini now costs $36 pesos, 2 pesos more than December and 6 pesos more than last January. Those refillable water stations that are springing up all over town are looking more and more attractive at 12 pesos a refill. However, I just don’t know how filtered the water is and where the water comes from in the first place. Is it hooked up to the town water supply? Because that water runs through miles of hot copper pipes isn’t drinkable at all! 

The internet also went up with no notification whatsoever. That meant we had to make two trips to town to pay the bill since our payment didn’t cover the increase the first time around. Our Blue Satellite internet fee is now $399 pesos. The satellite internet is under a 2-year contract, so theoretically it shouldn’t go up until the end of that period, but who knows? 

Stores in town are charging for plastic bags now as well. It’s nominal, at the most $1 peso per bag, but I wasn’t prepared my first day shopping of the new year and hadn’t brought my own. I’ll know better for next time. Some places, like Mexico City, have prohibited the use of single use bags, which is a good thing overall.

Gas has gone up. Soda will now cost 1.26 per liter. Alcohol prices will go up an estimated 4.5% excluding beer, aguamiel and pulque. It will cost more to ride the bus and leave Mexico by plane. But it’s just how things work–the hike in the daily minimum salary to $123.22 pesos ($6.50 USD) has to be balanced out somehow. 

I’m not an economist but speaking from experience, it’s awfully hard to manage on $123.22 pesos per day.

Animals

The last baby goat of this batch was born the first week of January. The moms of the kids born in December have gone into heat, at least if Stinky Chivo’s romancing is any indication. So we expect another crop of goats in June or so. 

We still have too many animals. Terry and George are still not friends. My husband didn’t prepare as well as he normally does regarding food during the long, dry season, so that’s been a weekly expense. 

Health Care

As it is now a new year, I needed to go and make an appointment at the hospital to see my doctor in May. I’m not sure how things will go when it’s time for my appointment since INSABI took over for both IMSS and Seguro Popular on January 1. There have been reports of formerly covered individuals needing to pay from everything from gauze to surgeries once covered by the national healthcare policies. 

If it comes down to it, I’ll be able to piece together something by getting my own lab work done at a private lab and having the doctors next to the pharmacy write me a prescription if I need a dosage change. Otherwise, I can buy my medication over the counter at Farmacias Similares. It will add to expenses, and we’ll have to cut other things out, but I’ll make it.   

So I’m feeling a bit frazzled and it’s only mid-January. I’ll need to take some time out and set up a more restricted budget for this year. How are things where you live?

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Filed under Animal Husbandry, Driving Hazards, Economics, Health