August 26, 2009

Stupid bank. Really stupid.

I won't go on about the accountant who can't do things on time. He can be easily replaced. But Isla Mujeres only has one bank, an HSBC branch.
When I got my Mexican economic stimulus refund, the notice said I could take it to my local bank, specifically HSBC, to collect the 1312 pesos. In small print it said this notice expires July 31 but is valid for 180 days. It was delivered August 5.
I took it to the bank a couple weeks ago and they looked, sniffed, held it up to the air. Nope. It's expired. I said there's an 800 there for you to call. Well, only the manager has that phone privilege. She was impatient with the automated menu and suddenly said, "No, It has expired. You have to go to the tax office and get another piece of paper."
So yesterday morning found me in Cancun at the Hacienda. SAT. The Mexican IRS.
What's up? I told them as they mouthed the words "valid for another 180 days." Here's what they told me to do: Go to the HSBC branch next door to us. If you have any problems, come back.
Well, it took all to 30 seconds, got my refund and walked out to meet Carlos, my cabbie, who was checking out something similar for his retired father. Anyway. We're off!
Next to Dr. Yupit, the neurologist and internist, who took care of me at Galenia Hospital in June. Here's the labs. I'm still tired, can sleep all the time. My feet swell. A recent visitor is on gabapentin too and her hands and feet swell.
Well, he gave me something with that AND a pain killer that swells feet also to try. Two nights. I gave it to my favorite insomniac when I got home. But for the edema, he put me on a calcium channel blocker till my BP normalizes from the steriods. Six weeks, he reckons.
Took it before bed last night and all is well.
So Carlos and I were off. Called Mary Ann. She'd meet us in front of the internet cafe across from Ricardo's hospital and next to Chedraui. There she was! A skinny sight for sore eyes.
She's lost weight, who thought that was possible, during the six weeks her husband has been sick with H1N1 flu. He's lost weight, too, mostly from really healthy eating: Boiled chicken, carrots and chayote every day for breakfast. When he threatened to puke, they changed it. He got huevos Mexicanos yesterday. Two days before his release.
Yeah yeah. We expected him to be release yesterday. But it it is Mexico!
To fatten Mary Ann up, Carlos and I took her to El Cejas in Mercado 28. She had shrimp ceviche. The first this summer. Carlos and I had our usual. He and Mary Ann were the team that checked me into Galenia.
Walmart had 20 peso a kilo avacadoes (less than half the going rate) and Angus on sale. Costco had Ghirardeli brownie mix, mushroom ravioli and filled my presription.
Oh girls, I'm ready for your arrival on the first. Woohoo!

August 24, 2009

Tattoo artist all grown up

Luar stopped the other day and sat down. Zina, look at me. Do you remember me?
Do I know you, I responded. Yes! 15 years ago I offered to give you a tattoo. Uh, oh, uhmmm. Hey, did you weigh about 30 kilos less then? Si!
Luar! Luar Martinez was just starting out as a tattoo artist them on Isla, making house calls. At the time, I was at Hotel Caracol in downtown Isla Mujeres.
Luar, one of three anacronym sons of Raul, was passing through on his way back to Austin from Japan, where he was learning new color technigues.
His business in Austin, Ancient Ink, is quite successful.
My backside isn't ready. Look, these are Japanese colors made with thin reeds, he said pointing to new work on his sleeve. Wow! Intense.
But I'll just let the issue fester in my head. I like what my friend Kathryn has chosen. Daisies on her toes that she can shove into business pumps when showing houses at open houses. It's her own little secret. Well, I guess the client above has a secret, too. One that will give the crew on that first colonoscopy a real chuckle!

August 19, 2009

Crime stoppers

Gilligan woke on Monday to find the battery had been taken from his motorcycle, a dirt bike that only needs a battery to run the lights. Tail lights were taken too! Neatly clipped with wire cutters.
When my bicycle was stolen earlier this summer, Gilligan, acting on a tip from Head of Housekeeping, tracked it down, stole in back, and slapped the guys, proving that in the Caribbean, vigilante justice sometimes is the most effective.
Gilligan's 700 peso loss was still settling in as he fidgeted with a Smith and Wesson burglar alarm I had never opened since bringing it 6 years ago. It was squawking when I came back from picking up Kate and Brian and their oodles of medical goods from MediWish in Cleveland. Dr. Salas, vice president of the Isla Mujeres Red Cross board, was on his way.
He came, looked and talked about the safety nets here and where the stuff would be allotted. Some will go to the Centro de Salud as well. They talked about getting supplies for the 12 bed hospital planned in the neighborhood and the regattas which could float stuff shipped to them.
Kate works at the university hospital medical research center in the lab while completing her PhD. Brian has a PhD in dermatology, which means he'll likely be developing skin treatments.
Then Brian, Kate and Gilligan and I went in search of dinner. We wound up at La Bruja, with Gilligan taking his bike. While we sat there, Brian and Gilligan noticed guys looking over his bike and wondering how it got there, since they took the battery! Ha! Busted.
Now, to get it back. Bruha's son, who caught the same guys climbing onto their roof to scout, sat one guy down to talk. He said he didn't have it, his buddies did. Roberto Jr. basically told him that if the battery wasn't returned in 24 hours, there would be a lot of repercussions because Gilligan is crazy and will whip his body until he can't walk. Then break their windows for further punishment and get the battery. Yep, that's what was said.
Kate and Brian had great fun with this. Brian's dad, an Australian MP, taught him a few things that Gilligan knows to hurt people. They laughed about that and then we went to Miguel's for mojitos.
Well, 36 hours later now and the battery isn't back. Look out chamacos. You'll wish you were back in Chiapas.

August 17, 2009

How time flies! Wii!

I've been on the mend from my May-June multiple sclerosis attack, with a twist, to the left, to the right. I have a Wii with Balance Board.
In 18 days of use, my balance and strength have improved considerably. I can as a seal on an iceberg, catch fish! Ha! A talent that will serve me well in Isla Mujeres.
My balance began to improve by taking soccer balls to the head and bouncing them. Sometimes when you miss, the shoes and pandas get thrown at you. You bounce those, and you lose points.
There is slalom skiing, which I love. Jumping - I have yet to make a successful jump. And many more such balane games.
In this heat, it is a blessing. But keeping the pool free of algae and at a proper pH has been a challenge for Gilligan.
This weekend, Gilligan leaves my compoud for other residence. I am recovered and I have him to thank.
People in town keep asking him how we get along. He has a history of being volatile. I can be. How does that work?
We have know each other for 16 years. I know all his bad traits and now that he has kicked his major vice, there is a new attitude.
So two friends helped each other in need. And I for one am stronger and healthier for it.
He worked on the pool, washed doggie dog today and after some protest, she is happier for it. It has been a good thing!

August 6, 2009

Odds and Ends, all of them

Sometimes life just hands you odds and ends! Lora has recovered from her accident, in that she will be ready to take a bath today if someone does it. Someone being Gilligan, aka Atom Ant.
Someone is 45 years and two days old today. I cooked as did he for his birthday party. Then I was too beat to go. About 35 people showed up at Spiral Island and Rishi was able to seat them all. Some on the roof, some inside, some around the edges.
Since the party location was changed at the last minute, Atom Ant delivered the food to Rishi's, came home for a shower and me, who would not go and fell asleep on the loveseat! Anyway, they had a great time.
Some more great time was had yesterday and he continued work on an amber carving pendant for Johanna, who left this morning, but we'll have to send it out, maybe with one of my September guests. A dolphin inside is becoming a seat turtle due to a bad fin.
Yes, Gilligan is on his feet now and will be moving in two weeks. He'll still do work around here, but he has a place he can make his jewelry at and sleep. And the September rentals were more than I hoped for, but a great way to kick off fall!
With prices to and from Cancun being around $300RT on Continental, American and probably better on Jet Blue, I am thinking of going to Sacramento to see Deb after another spinal surgery, but at those prices, I hope to be greeting guests!
Right now, there is gardening to be done, a constant job harvesting seeds, seeding new ones, pulling up dead perennials, picking mint aka yerba buena for Miguel. Maybe some chiles. The last couple papayas.
And I have to get the stuff ready to FedEx my accountant in the States before the extension deadline passes. It's always a lot of something! Odds and ends, all of them!

August 3, 2009

Stupid's accident

Lora, fondly called Stupid, is resting comfortably but does not want me to her to take her picture all doped up and ragged.
We began late this morning and she had not run for several days. Heading out at 7am, she evaded a few rough dogs by hiding inside the cart on the way into town. But she had fun going past the airport and for the first time noticed there were dogs on the other side of the cement fence and found their ways in and out. Sometimes when we went late at night, those dogs would be out and scare her into running back to the safety of the inside of the golf cart.
She went on leash into 7-Eleven, where we met Barbara from Texas, a blog reader who recognized us because of Lora.
So, after hitting the ATM and buying a cell card, we were heading home. I let Lora off leash to explore a favorite weedy area where the Bienvenidos a Isla Mujeres signs are. And she kept going.
She wouldn't respond to commands. A dark dog looking like a mean bulldog was with a man who looked to be a vagrant. Together Lora and fast friend tried assaulting cabs. Then they clashed, fighting each other, right into a taxi. It hit both of then, throwing them up on the hood. The cabbie shook them off and kept going.
Looking half dead, she crawled into the golf cart and laid down. The vagrant said something about her leg.
We got home and I texted Delfino, the vet. He was tending to a dog and a cat nearby who ate rat poison intended for rats in their home.
I gave her some water, which she threw up. Then she went into her pet carrier for a while. Later, she moved to her soft bed.
Delfino looked her over, found no broken limbs and gave her an anti inflammatory shot and me a bottle of similar syrup to give her twice a day.
She is resting comfortably and living up to Delfino's warning that the drugs would make her very hungry. She's a lucky dog. But who knows if she's still stupid.