Pupper Problems

The Puppers are now bigger than Puppy and that’s really an issue these days. Puppy still wants to be top dog but it’s getting harder and harder for him to keep the Puppers in line. The Puppers like to wrestle while we walk along, but Puppy takes it way to seriously and between the three of them, I am in serious danger of being knocked over on the uneven terrain in La Yacata.

A few months back, someone abandoned yet another dog in La Yacata. This guy is a little older and as friendly as can be. He just wants to be loved. He gets so excited to see us that his whole body wags. 

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A potential Buddy sighting has George Pupper and Puppy all riled up. Fred Pupper is just doing his own thing.

The attention we gave to the new guy, who we named Buddy, didn’t sit well with Puppy. He got jealous and started attacking poor Buddy whenever he tried to come down for a head pat, some dog food or go for a walk with the gang. It never got to the point where Buddy was seriously injured though since he immediately rolled over in submission. 

The Puppers didn’t feel as threatened by Buddy. In fact, they quite liked playing with him. Buddy decided to make his home base someplace near my father-in-law up the hill. So now, after breakfast, the Puppers head up and hang out up there, leaving Puppy all alone in front of the house.

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Puppy left behind by the Puppers on a visit to Buddy.

Puppy seems depressed when the Puppers are gone. It appears he blames Buddy for their desertion. Every time he sees Buddy cross that imaginary line into Puppy territory, he just goes ballistic. Then he’s furious when the Puppers return from their visit. 

The Puppers attitude, especially Fred Pupper, is “just we can’t all get along” to which Puppy growls. We aren’t quite sure how to proceed with this situation. My son has been trying to disciplinary tactics. If Puppy has gone after Buddy, there’s no dog treat for him. However, I think it just may be making Puppy resent Buddy even more.

The same no dog treat rule applies to the Puppers when they head up to hang out with Buddy. They are supposed to stay near the house. They appear contrite with those mournful eyes, but the minute they can back up the road they go.

My son has also tried bopping them on the nose, scolding them, and making them come inside the animal compound for a few hours (doggy time out) but there hasn’t been a noticeable improvement.

What’s a doggie daddy to do with his wayward sons? Seems like some drastic measures are in order.

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Read more animal adventures!

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Decepticons?

We’ve had our full solar capacity up and running for about a month now. Besides my son accidentally shorting out the fuse one day, everything was going well. Until the controller box melted. 

We hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary when suddenly there was a strong smell of plastic. My son called me downstairs and we sniffed and sniffed, following our noses to the battery setup we have in the garage. 

My son hopped up and turned off the power, but the smell was just as strong. Fortunately, my husband arrived home from work just minutes later and disconnected the panels from the setup.

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To our horror, the controller box warped and melted right before our eyes. Our imagination got the best of us, and we thought for sure some sort of Decepticon would spring from the wall fully formed. 

That didn’t happen. But we were in a pickle. We still had power from the fully charged batteries, but the energy from the panels wasn’t making it to the batteries to recharge them. So we needed a new controller box.

We tried to locate Shaggy, the guy who sold us our first panel, but as usual his business was closed and he didn’t answer his phone. So then we went to another guy that installs solar panels. He wasn’t really helpful. He said he didn’t carry the pieces but he could come out and look at the setup (for a fee). We didn’t need anyone to come and look at it. The melted box was obviously the issue.

We went to another lighting place. Lo and behold, the owner said they did have solar charge controller boxes in stock. However, he couldn’t find them on the shelves. He asked us whether our controller box was the correct voltage for our setup. 

Concerned that we may have added too much with the fourth panel, we decided to check the information on the panels again. Each panel is 8.17 amps and the controller that melted was 40 amps, so theoretically, it should have been fine with four panels. I think maybe we need to add one more battery to the setup, but my husband is poo-pooing that idea. 

By the time this guy “found” the controller he had in stock, my husband had already swung by Shaggy’s business again and was fortunate enough to find him there. Shaggy had a 30 amp controller box in stock. 

My husband bought the new controller box which Shaggy charged $1,200 pesos for. He said the box cost about $30 online which would have made the dollar to pesos conversion about 600 pesos. Talk about price gouging.controller

In the meantime, I ordered a 60 amp charge controller from Amazon for about $30 with shipping. It will be here in a few days. 

For me to work these few days while we wait for the new controller since it’s been delayed in customs, my husband installed the 30 amp controller box after disconnecting the fourth panel, since 30 amps would not be able to handle it. It’s working fine. No household appliances are morphing into Decepticons. And we learned a little more about solar energy setups.

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Putting Up Doors

My sister-in-law T is building her house in La Yacata right across the street from us. My husband is doing all the construction work in his spare time. The roof is on, the floors are roughed in, the plumbing is done and the countertop is formed. He’s been working on it as his sister has had money for materials for about a year now. It will probably be another year until it is ready to be lived in.

One early morning, a motorcycle zoomed up our room waking the dogs, which woke us. We headed to the windows to investigate since it was WAY too soon for anybody to be up and about. 

Two youngish guys on a moto had stopped in front of my sister-in-law’s house and gotten off. My husband yelled down at them. They said they were going to pee. 

My husband wasn’t having any of that. Not on the newly cemented floors! He raced down the stairs to the front door in his chonis (underwear), hair standing up all over the place. He grabbed the machete he keeps on his motorcycle handlebars and charged out into the street.

The guys startled, jumped back on the moto, and sped down the road, my husband in hot pursuit brandishing the machete. I don’t believe they’ll be back.

So with this little incident to chuckle about, he convinced his sister that she needed to buy the front door and window next. We were really happy with our railing for the front porch but that guy was too busy. So she asked the wife of a guy who does ironwork who comes to her place for tortillas.

She took a picture of a door and window design that she really liked and asked the woman if they could replicate it. They could. The husband came out to La Yacata to get measurements and provide an estimate. It was within the budget, so the windows and front zaguán (garage door) was ordered.

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Doors and windows in progress.

My sister-in-law paid half of the total balance so materials could be bought and the date for delivery and installation was set. Only they didn’t come that day. In fact, the guy showed up asking for more money because he needed more materials.

So my husband went to see what the hold up was. The doors weren’t finished. The workers had been drunk all weekend. The head guy assured my husband that they would be installed on Wednesday. 

Nope. Another visit to the ferretería (metal worker’s shop) and another date. No one showed up that day either. A fourth date was set. Not quite finished. So on the fifth installation date, over two weeks after the initial date, the guys showed up in a truck and finally got ‘er done. 

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Installed finally!

My husband wasn’t happy with their work. There were holes at the joins, the lock wasn’t the type lock requested, the peak out window was much larger than the design warranted, and there was no handle to pull open the door on the outside. 

So a little extra work will have to go into these items, but at least they are in place and no strays will come along to pee on the floor anymore.

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View out the front window.

 

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Mirador by James A. Jennings

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Sarah and Nate Hunter become embroiled in more than they bargained for when they volunteer to help restore a crumbling church in Mirador, Chiapas. Unbeknownst to them, el Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) has big plans to use Nate’s internet savvy in order to make public their War Against Oblivion. Then the unthinkable happens. 

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I have to say that Mirador by James A. Jennings was a great read. The Zapatistas (EZLN) have been in the news lately as they continue this struggle against oblivion begun in 1994. The pivotal events in the story occur just months before the Zapatista battle cry ¡YA BASTA! was heard on January 1, the day NAFTA was signed into effect. 

The characters were well-developed and believable. The locations were described in exquisite detail. The political situation was explained in the introduction and then again in a historical note at the end, bringing the events up to the present. 

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What this book really needed, however, was a Mexican consultant for the Spanish phrases included in the book. These lacked the proper cadence and rhythm found in Mexican Spanish that just can’t be duplicated by a non-native speaker. 

For example, although “Mi hijo” is grammatically correct, no one says that, mijo. It was to the point that I was reading the Spanish text as if a gringo were speaking, not a Mexican. There were also grammar errors. When speaking of the native people of the area, the correct term is “los indígenas” not “las indígenas” even though the word ends in the feminine “a.” Another incident was that a young man would NEVER use the informal “” tense when speaking to a woman he revered as a grandmother which occurred in the book. There were sentences that were totally incomprehensible in Spanish, as if the author tried to translate directly from English. “Ser grave” should have been “Se serio” and so on. 

While I understand that the book was meant for English speakers, these glaring oversights detracted from my enjoyment of the story to some extent. Although to be authentic, most of the characters would have been speaking in one of the nearly 70 indigenous languages found in Mexico. 

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On the other hand, I took immense pleasure imagining life among the Zapatistas, something I probably will never experience. I was delighted to learn just a little more about el lek’il kuxlejal which roughly translates as buen vivir (living well) that is at the heart of the indigenous resistance movement in Mexico. 

I believe you will enjoy Mirador by James A. Jennings as much as I did!

I received an ARC from the publisher to review this book.

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