A Fireside Chat?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Life on the road in an RV or Sardines on the move!

Cath just stepped on several of my toes. She said that she was trying to miss them. . .imagine if she had been aiming!

After six weeks, Gertie the motor home is getting small. Initially, opening a cupboard and getting cracked in the head with a coffee cup was mildly funny in a Keystone Cop sort of way. But tonight after six weeks in this mini house on wheels my sense of humor is being stretched to its raving point.

I was walking back with my laundry late this afternoon when I noticed a man standing on a ladder cleaning the bug bodies from the windshield of his motor home. I thought to myself that that was probably a good idea and that maybe I should do the same but alas: about the only thing that I don’t have on board is a ladder. And that’s not just an excuse; I would really love to chisel away one body in particular . . . the one whose eyes are now peering at me from the windshield, a grim reminder of what can happen if you fly into oncoming traffic. Maybe I should just leave it there as a warning to other insects on a road trip: FLY HIGH.

Another guy that I noticed today was a man standing by a huge rig playing with a satellite dish. I’m not sure why he was bothering because in this park all you have to do is plug in the cord for your cable and voila: TV! Anyway he was there when I went to the laundry room to start my wash and he was still fiddling with it two hours later when I returned. All the while I had been sitting in the air conditioned lounge adjacent to the laundry room watching Oprah on the big screen!

After Oprah the news came on. By that time I was folding towels and didn’t pay a lot of attention to the first report which was about two people found dead in an RV. My first thought was that they were probably fatally injured after opening a cupboard while not wearing a helmet.

Well I should go change the bandages on my toes now. I do so with a certain joyful delirium over our good fortune as we head back to sandal country!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Like driving into a mural

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We have temporarily left the land of Hola, Buenos Dias, Tarde & Noches for the country of: “Yall Come back now . . . ya hear?” And at last night’s camp ground, after giving up my search for a dumpster I was told: “Yall just did not wok fer nuf; it’s just down the hill a piece an to your royt. Ya kin see it poking out just a bitty piece down the road cher”. I looked; and there it was “yonder under the Mimosa”.

Soon we should be dismissed with a toothy “yall have a nice day now . . . ya hear?” But it doesn’t matter so much what is said, or in which language, the sincerity behind the delivery of the message has a way of transcending all the obstacles that lie in the path of comprehension.

Along the way we have had some minor problems: we were lost a couple of times and we had a broken wire leading to the signals on our toad (towed HHR) and with every incident we have been fortunate to find help and advice from people who took the time to see us though the dilemma of the day. It has been said, and we have been warned that travel can be dangerous, and we don’t underestimate the need to be vigilant, but I do believe in the goodness of human nature and just as the last time we took this long drive, we have been helped along the way by the kindness of strangers.

We have just checked into a Mount Vernon Illinois camp park and it has laundry facilities and cable TV and the big bonus is that it is cooler. Cath is having a shower and I’m next. After that I don’t know if I should do the laundry or watch TV . . . it’s wonderful to have such choices after nearly a week on the road!

For your viewing pleasure (I hope) I am going to add a few pictures taken on the road leaving Mexico. I apologize for the blur but it is almost impossible to take a shake free picture while driving down the road!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Packed and Almost Ready to Roll

I noticed, moments ago, that it was twelve forty in the morning. I was standing in the shower at that time and glanced at my watch when I felt the familiar bump of the watch band while lathering up. I hope the watch is waterproof; it’s special; it says congratulations on the back and it is dated June 10th, 1992: the day that I graduated from University. It was a gift from my Mom & Dad and I have barely had it off my arm since then.

I have never worn a watch in the shower before but I’m chalking it up to the last straw in a week of set backs as we tried to get ready for the big trip north. We had planned to be gone a week ago but Gertie (the motor home) didn’t pass muster and to save you the long and boring details suffice to say that a thousand dollars later we still have no cabin lights unless we are plugged into shore power. However we do have three new batteries, an oil change for both car and motor home, radiator flush and new antifreeze plus a bath and wax for Gertie.

After several days Sal (our mechanic) called to say that she was ready to be picked up. He and his family had washed and waxed every inch of her and detailed the engine; it probably wasn’t this clean when it left the factory. The makeover only lasted about twenty four hours before Cath had a close encounter with the gate to the colonos. The bad news is that we will be looking to replace the strut for the awning when we get home. The good news? . . . now the gate guys run to open the gate wider when they see us approaching!

I was ready to start packing when we went to town for a few last minute things and decided to go out for lunch. We are always so careful and even as we were sitting at our table trying to decipher the menu and tamp down the grass around our feet, we were thinking that it might be best to order nothing more than a bottled drink and leave. It wasn’t that things didn’t appear clean. On the contrary, it was sparkling, but we did wonder about the source of the water and whether it was treated (gringonized) before vegetables etc. were washed. But we looked at the guy’s seven kids and decided that he needed the business and so we stayed.

Long story short: I have met the amoeba and it is an ugly beast. Cath had a day of crampiness and nausea but I ate the salad. For three days I got absolutely nothing done and so I went to see the Doctor today and I now have pills and some pea green liquid to drink three times a day. I can walk upright now and it is possible to pass a bathroom without any inclination to pay a visit.

Carpe Diem. Seize the friggin day! When we left the doctor’s office we grabbed a couple of piñatas for the kids and headed home to start piling everything in Gertie and to get the car hooked up to be towed. Everything was going well until we blew the fuse on our brake buddy (I hope Sal is up early tomorrow). And then right on time the thunder started and three of four dogs started following me around, drooling on my legs, vibrating etc. I should have paid more attention, been more sympathetic but I was pushing for a close to the day so that I could get some sleep before we leave.

When I finally went in to turn down the bed before my shower someone had peed right smack in the middle of my bed. So now I am waiting for the laundry to dry so that I can re-make the bed that I changed earlier this morning. I did ask, in not too humble a tone WHO DID THIS? Lizzie looked the guiltiest but Cayden is often nonchalant about these indiscretions, so I will never know and in the end who cares?

We are finally one fuse away from heading down the road and perhaps all of the incidents of the past week will wipe the slate of retribution clean before we start out. It just seems that no matter how much order we try to bring to a plan there is always reprisal whereas flying by the seat of one’s pants seems to go without penalty!

As many of you know we are coming home to help my Mom get moved into her new apartment and to attend my Dad’s memorial service. It is going to be a tight schedule but we are hoping that we might see everyone at Tim’s for at least a short visit.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Small Patio Big Mess

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Building the Boveda Ceiling is an art form

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Work on the Studio Extension

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Swallow's Nests

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I've Grown Accustom to this Place . . .

I was walking with Cayden this morning and at some point I realized: HEY! I’m living in Mexico!

I suppose that seems incomprehensible to some that I should suddenly have this epiphany nine months after we made the big move but though the thought comes infrequently and unexpectedly it always comes at me like a curveball, hitting me upside the head when I least expect it. This morning’s “ball to brain” came from the many, many radios playing all over the neighborhood.

It wasn’t that long ago that I would have noticed and made note whether the music was Mexican or 1980’s Gringo as soon as I stepped out the door; sooner if the volume was high enough on our friend and gardener Ricardo’s radio. Although in the case of Ricardo I wouldn’t have had to listen . . . Ricardo always listens to Gringo songs. Maybe it is to improve his English which is already quite good and leaps and bounds ahead of my Spanish.

But this morning as we walked along I was thinking of the dozens of swallows that keep trying to nest up under the eaves of our house. Is that what they call it here? Eaves? I don’t know -- but anyway we have had to go around most mornings and knock down the mud ball foundations that the swallows keep building because we are having an extension built (yes renovating already) onto the studio and the place that the swallows have chosen to raise their off spring is currently a human construction zone.

This morning as I walked along, enjoying the sun on my shoulders, listening to the birds sing and the “rain birds” (Scarabaedae?) screech a warning of impending rain I suddenly noticed that all around me there were radios blaring Mexican music. I have grown so accustomed to the sounds of Mariachi that it no longer sounds foreign and I do believe that once you begin to take something for granted you are home.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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Swine Flu

I guess the last man standing get’s all the groceries. Yesterday we helped two more of our friends get ready to head north by taking all of their groceries!

In the last few weeks we have inherited all sorts of delicacies from one Gringo pantry or another. I’m liking this end of the season bounty. We have some asiago, camembert and blue cheese, and many varied and exotic salad dressings. We have Bailey’s with a hint of crème caramel (reportedly good on ice cream) and crèma de macadamia con café (we need more ice cream). We’ve got containers of crescent rolls, peanuts, rice chips, more mayo . . . pie shells, bananas, raspberries, chicken and frozen vegetables.

So maybe we can skip the market this week which would be disappointing. I love the energy of the market. The noise, the music, the colour and even the elbow to elbow shopping experience conducted in both broken English and attempted Spanish is enjoyable. For Cath and me the coup d'état of market day in Mexico is the stuff that leads to yodeling and chest pounding when we have successfully managed to infiltrate a sea of humanity, grab some fruits and vegetables and live to talk about it!

But now in view of the fact that much of the population is hiding behind blue masks and avoiding contact with one another maybe we ought to exercise a little caution until the swine flu scare is over.

I’ve been listening to CNN the last couple of days and the bulletins that they keep releasing makes it seem like Swine Flu will turn out to be the forerunner to Armageddon and eventually we will all be shaking our heads from the grave saying: “I guess I should have stayed home with my mask on”.

Maybe it is just me but I am considering yesterday’s numbers of one hundred and forty nine dead in Mexico and trying to decide what that figure means to my household. The reporting is nothing less then sensational and misleading when you run the numbers. And, oh, by the way: those cases are overwhelmingly in Mexico City and as of yesterday the cause of death for the one hundred and forty nine souls was not confirmed. These are two facts often omitted from the CNN reports.

At last count the metropolitan area of Mexico City exceeded nineteen and a half million people while the city itself is estimated to have more than 8.8 million permanent residents. Anyone who knows me realizes that math is not my strong point but I do believe that when you consider the statistics and combine them with several hundred miles of separation, the odds of us avoiding Swine Flu are in our favor.

For friends and family who are worrying about Cath and me I can only say: don’t. We are healthy and doing what has been advised by cooler heads: keeping our hands washed, and avoiding crowds and if it becomes necessary we will purchase masks. So far there are no reported cases Lakeside but should that change we can just stay home and ride it out. After all the larder is full to capacity!
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Friday, April 17, 2009


This is MY Giraffe and I don't want it Packed!


Soon to be Our Home on Wheels