Monday, January 20, 2014

The Daily Grind...

If you Google 'daily grind', you'll get multiple sites for coffee shops and cafes. I chose to title this post as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the flexible and spontaneous routine of a retired person living the dream in the Yucatán. But, now that I think about it, we do begin our day with a cup or two of French press or, if we can't wait for the water to boil,  pop a capsule into the Nespresso machine and froth a bit of San Marcos semi for a latte. This actually takes place after we have walked and fed the dogs and cat. They come first. Always.

Next is a quick check of email and phone messages. I'm not sure why I check for phone messages because, to my knowledge, no one has left a voice message on our Amigo plan. That's a pay-as-you-go phone and data plan through Telcel. If there is anyone out there locally that has my cell number, would you please call and leave a message? Just be sure to call after midnight so that I will not automatically answer the phone. We'll consider this a test of my Amigo plan.

Once I've caught up on Facebook, checked my Blog roll for new posts, satisfied myself with news of the world,  and probably put on a load of wash, it's time for lunch. My God, where did the morning go? Are we going to snack, make some lunch, or run out to one of our favorite lunch spots? Whatever we decide, once we've eaten, it's time for a little more web surfing, reading, or a siesta. Every few days we will make a trip to the market, the grocery store or to Home Depot for a new dimmer switch to replace the one that has fried due to the fluctuating electrical grid that is Mexico. Once that is completed it is just about time for the late afternoon dog walk. My God, where did the afternoon go?

In between all this strenuous work we have managed to add soil to our little garden plots, plant a few new tropical specimens, keep our somewhat large pool sparkling clean, and make arrangements to ship our motor home back to the dealer in Florida from whom we purchased and who eagerly agreed to buy it back for a sum substantially less than what we paid. This last task involved a consultation with our favorite Yucatecan attorney, two visits to Hacienda (which turned out to be totally unnecessary), coordination with the shipping company and a United States custom broker, and multiple forms which had to be completed, scanned, and emailed. Oh, and money.

The upside to our visit to the Port of Progreso was that we had a mini-tour of this quaint gulf-side city as well as the vintage cottage, just steps from the beach, that is owned by our attorney. We also got to drive out to the very tip of the 8-kilometer bridge where we waited for almost two hours for the final inspection of the van before we said our farewell and gave thanks for our safe passage through Mexico.

It is a relief to have sent the motor home back to the US where, hopefully, someone else will make good use of it. After traveling through Mexico we decided that weekend excursions in a 20 foot van would simply not be that enjoyable. Also, motor homes are like large boats which require constant maintenance and, at least in the Centro, there is no covered parking that will accommodate this size vehicle. We accomplished our goal of moving to Mérida with our animals while avoiding the cramped confines of a car or the torture of shipping them by air cargo. After all, we were only kidding ourselves because we are both truly homebodies. An occasional travel adventure can be fun, but then it is always good to get back home where we can just putz around. Besides, even something as mundane as grocery shopping can be an adventure in Mérida.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Settling in to the Daily Routine...

We moved into our home, for good, at approximately 4:00 PM on Sunday, October 20th. We've owned our house four months shy of 3 years, and in that time our longest stay was 10 days. We've been here for 10 weeks now and we honestly don't know where the days go. We have a routine that has existed for almost twenty-five years which revolves around our animals. We awake around 7:00 AM  (much earlier when we were working stiffs), take the dogs for a 20 minute walk, return home, prepare their breakfast as well as the cat's, and have our own coffee and breakfast. Now that we are retired, instead of heading off to work, we generally check our email, our phones for any messages (not that we get very many), and our Face Book pages to keep up with what everyone in our small world has experienced in the past 24 hours -like viewing a photo of their breakfast, a picture of their children or a quote that has inspired them . It's comforting knowing that our friends actually eat!  Now that it's winter in the Yucatán, our daily morning swims have ceased because the pool water is a tad too cold. If we do something around the house that causes us to sweat profusely (which is mostly everything) a dip in the pool can be refreshing after first plunging in and vocalizing a loud #&%* (insert your favorite word here). We've never had a pool before, so we are meticulous about skimming, checking chlorine and pH levels, filtering, circulating, and backwashing. Actually, the filtration system is on a timer but we have to manually do the other things. This takes about an hour which includes standing back and admiring how clean and sparkling the water looks. Once a week we vacuum the bottom, being careful not to fall in while managing the 15-meter hose attached to the telescoping pole with a vacuum attachment on the end. This is not at all like our Dyson, which we regrettably left behind.

The little Klobenz we purchased at Liverpool (or was it Sears/Say-Arz?) manages, but really does not have the power to remove six months of el Centro dust that has infiltrated the sofa we purchased last April. The Yucatecan house cleaners are pretty good at beating the dust out, then brushing it away with a clean cloth.  Most seem to avoid anything electric which is understandable with the cost of electricity in Mexico.

So, after ten weeks in Mérida, are we comfortable, happy, and settling in? Definitely happy and comfortable enough for this stage of our transition.There are almost daily adventures for the most mundane chores, and although some trigger a bit of anxiety at times, we are learning our way around on our own and communicating well enough with our basic Spanish to accomplish our tasks. We try to study an hour each day and will likely begin private lessons soon.

Happy New Year / Feliz Año Nuevo

Update: We conquered an algae bloom in the pool, which followed a heavy rain and easing up a bit on the chlorine. Now I understand why the pool man kept it super-chlorinated. I don't like swimming in chlorine, but algae is worse.