August 31, 2010

Hearing aids quest

Welcome to the lobby of Sonorum, an audiology group in Cancun, with a home office in Merida. At the reception desk is Edna Mabel (yes, it's a Mexican name, biblical she thinks) Barragas, and the audiologist is Adrian Diaz, whose brother and sister-in-law live in Columbus, OH! He has a niece at Ohio State and himself has attended a Cleveland Browns game.
Enough introductions. I was at Sonorum to get my Widex Senso Diva hearing aides fitted and calibrated. The putty to create molds had arrived; a bucketful from Merida. It's cost to Sonorum is $500US plus $300 import tax. It's from Germany...hearing aids from Denmark. So, the putty goes into a syringe and into the ears to make a mold.
I had researched the hearing aids before I bid on them at eBay. When the Cleveland Clinic told me I needed two behind the ear (BTE) digital hearing aids, I quickly learned I could not afford them. About $5,000. But on eBay, I found them gently used being sold by the mother of a special needs child in Connecticut for $500. His teacher was switching to some sort of Blue Tooth system that required a different set. His mother considered anything she got on eBay to be a gift.
Adrian Diaz said I was the one who got a gift. "The Mercedes Benz of hearing aids," he said.
"And since your loss is significant and not profound, I can continue to calibrate to any increases in loss over years."
I chose to have him make hard acrylic ear pieces, not soft silicon, for ease of cleaning and keeping up in humidity. I got 12 batteries for 120 pesos.
Since I live on Isla Mujeres, Adrian rushed the job and told me to come back in four hours, when he was done with the molds and then he would calibrate, using Dr. Conrado's chart as a starter, but also retesting me with the devices in place and hooked up to a Widex factory computer.
And that was it! I wore them all the way home and enjoyed hearing Dr Salas call to me from the other side of the UltraMar, hearing Punta pretending to be a bird in a cage as I got close to the front door.
Total cost to me for good hearing: $500 to eBay merchant; 800 pesos to Dr. Conrado; to Adrian Diaz: 375 pesos an ear for molds; 800 pesos for Widex factory about $750US. Cost of hearing Punta imitate a crying bird? Priceless.

August 29, 2010

Punta's View: By the sea

Mommie took me to see her friend Jimbo de Isla yesterday afternoon. He lives by the sea.
Whoa! I get dizzy looking down. Oh, but it's a dizzy I kind of like! So, I did a little exploring.
Now, this is scary. But look at me; don't you think I am brave for a dog who leads a sheltered life?
I saw a dog inside the swimming pool, too. But he would not get out to play. I guess it must be hot in there or something. So he didn't get out. I'll meet him if we go back! Mom says he is a reflection. Wow! Cool. A reflection in the mirror taught me to bark!

By the

August 28, 2010

Hot are the Beach Days!

A fellow islander accused me of being negative yesterday when I posted on Facebook that it was HOT HOT HOT. I'm not sure when saying the truth became a negative. It's summer in the Caribbean. So I grabbed Anna, my renter, to show her a new beach.
She loved it by the Lima Rock House. We snorkeled for hours until we got too much sun, then went home and siestaed. Then we paid a visit to the man she must know as a resident. Miguel! As in Miguel's Moonlite. Anna had coconut shrimp and I, chicken Maya style.
A couple pomegranate margaritas later, we were hot AND happy!
I'm thinking Anna must not have smiled that big at her retirement party a month ago! Yes, we are HOT HOT HOT in the Caribbean.

August 23, 2010

A Day Without Morons

Back on the UltraMar Monday to pursue hearing aids, we took the front inside seats with a different view. Carlos was on the other side, ready to deliver me to the Pabellion - I'm not going to debate the spelling - and I was ready for a new experience. It was that.
The stupid secretary wasn't there. Instead, there was Eliz, deftly handling phones and a waiting room full of patients. She was a delight through my visit and took time to understand me and spoke so that I would not misunderstand her. She works for Dr. Conrado Antonio Menendez Peraza, an ear, nose and throat specialist, not an audiologist as I first thought.
And he retested my hearing much like the doctor AND audiologists at the Cleveland Clinic did two years ago. He didn't have to do a test to see if the bone "hears" different than the ear drum. The Cleveland Clinic determined my hearing loss was the same at both points.
I misplaced the Cleveland Clinic results, but drew him the bell curve as I remembered it and wrote that it was a 25 percent hearing loss. He said I was pretty darn close, but that my loss was closer to 30 percent now.
He called the hearing aid guy, I guess he's the audiologist, an Adrian, and gave me directions to get there. He also called Carlos in because it isn't the easiest place to find. Eliz quickly wrote up the taxpayer receipt for the 800 peso visit. On leaving, I mentioned how efficient Eliz was, so different from the other secretary when he wasn't in. Yessss.....he said.
Adrian, the hearing center guy, speaks English but was clearly relieved that I speak Spanish. He just ran out of material making earpieces for kids going back to school, but we set up an appointment for Monday. I am to call Wednesday to make sure the molding putty is in.
After that, some light shopping. Fifty dollars worth of groceries at Soriana - peaches in my basket - and a ceiling fan at Home Depot. Yes, another appliance has failed. The great room's fan had a ball bearing replaced last year, but the grinding noise was back with a bad vibration. The island just eats things up!
So, as luck would have it, there was a Hunter Douglas sale at Home Depot. I got the "Georgia" model for $1400MP. It replaces a very similar fan/light that was a 3000 peso item 5 years ago. It was a great day in Cancun. A day without morons.

August 19, 2010

Except for Morons

One of the rules of Spanish: You can’t go wrong with pronouncing B and V the same way, as b or beh. One takes for granted that the spelling out, like worldwide ham radio operators, US police, military and reporters do, will take care of any transaction.
Beh Viktor, you say for a v. Beh Viktor. B becomes beh Bogata or maybe beh botano.
On Monday, I was at the audiologist’s office. He wasn’t there. I should have called.
I walked in as the secretary, with too much make-up, was filing...her acrylics. She is one of those pitiful creatures whose Mexican boss won’t share his schedule with the help. She is also very concerned about her manicure. But she was cock sure when I made the appointment that she didn’t need a number to call me if there was a change, so she didn't take it. And I was stoopid and didn’t call to confirm before leaving the island.
So my trusted traveling companion, who had other business in Cancun, went up with me just to make sure everything would be OK, on the urging of Carlos, our driver.
The secretary was incredulous. “It would be here if I made it and I would have called,” she said looking at her blank screen. “You would not take my number,” I said calmly. “But it would be here, under you name…what is y our name again?” she went on like this in Spanish.
Vishnevsky. Beh Viktor…eh, eseh ache ( Spanish Language Rule…H is never pronounced), eneh. But could find it in her data base. I never existed.
So, on to making an appointment for the 23rd. “Tu nombre?“ Your name…
Vishnevsky. Beh Viktor….at which point she types B. All this at the time reminding me of a Mexican neighbor on Isla Mujeres who contracted with a local to paint a “Welcome!” sign for a shop and wound up with “Vienbenidos!” Just transpose the b and the v. That would be correct.
Again. Beh Viktoria - invoking a popular beer might help. Again, she types B. We go on like this for a while and get to the second v in my last name. Veh, Vikoria, I say, introducing an exaggerated vee sound. She types B. Finally, we were set with a little help from m my friend, a charmer.
In relaying this to Carmen, head of housekeeping, the following morning, after listening to embellishments on her stupidity from my very handsome right hand man/friend, she then suggested I try another word in the future. Perhaps beh bruto,.. O beh burro.
Si, pero por beh Victor….the V letter…?
“Dice beh virgin…ah, ella probalimente no sabe virgen…” She probably doesn’t know virgin! “Vigilencia.”
The word for security patrols. Yep. We’ll try that in the future with the morons

August 16, 2010

Back to the laboratory, ladies!

They had the best time, the two biomedical sciences Phd besties. Kate, dancing here with Sergio at Fayne's. and then glowing...
And Andrea, a roomie at Geneva College before the two went to grad school and entered the biomedical sciences PhD program at Case Western Reserve University. Even Sergio the Chilean wondered if Andrea was a Latina. Nope, the product of a longstanding biracial marriage. Isn't she lovely?
Both beauties and I boarded the UltraMar Saturday morning for the trip home, met on the other side by my driver, Carlos, who dropped me off at Sam's Club on the way to the airport Saturday. He picked me up an hour later. "Beautiful ladies, he said. Beautiful. Also from Ohio? Oh..."

August 12, 2010


Just hours after drinking detergent water being saved for cleaning the patio after my laundry was done, Punta recovered enough to nod out in her favorite sleeping place: Her bed in my wardrobe closet, at eye level to me when I am in bed. Consentida - Spanish for being spoiled due to pampering.

August 11, 2010

No pleasure doing business, Elektra

See here were are, 24 hours later from our visit to to the Elektra store on Isla Mujeres, where they staff did their best not to sell us anything. After we bought something said they had in Cancun, and paid cash because they said a debit card purchase wouldn't clear quickly and we might therefore lose the only appropriate air contioner their store in Cancun had, well, we don't have the best right one for Zina's Guest House!

The dimensions as listed on the computer screen weren't correct. A better model was available, but they would not credit the cash purchase here toward it! Ricardo had extra money on him to make up the difference.
He had gone in the rain, a three hour downpour, no cabs available in the two hours after the consummated purchase, albeit not quite what we were looking for.
Now he is at Macaab, buying things to make this unit actually stay in the hole in the wall that is a bit too big for the unit that wasn't as big as we were told it was.
Whatever happens, it's not his fault. Elektra, I do have a good long term memory! I am not advising my friends on Isla Mujeres to shop with you! And hey, the SuperXpress gives a better exchange rate, by a peso, per dollar. And they take $50 bills as well.
Grad students went there to buy a snack and trade a bill for it, betting their change in pesos at the best conversion rate on the island.

August 7, 2010

Hello Clevelanders!

Kate is the CWRU medical research grad student I spent my Cleveland Clinic appointment week with on a trade. So, now she is here at Zina's Guest House with her friend and fellow researcher, Andrea.

We had hearty breakfasts at the Rooster Cafe before they headed to Playa Norte and I went home to nurse my interferon side effects. They carried three months supply from Biogen Idec. And it is a godsend! Thank you, dynamic duo! They also lugged children's books in Spanish to give to PEACE and now know where the office is.
They came back with healthy glows and we ate rostiseria chicken late in the afternoon. I received delivery of my dining room table and chairs and now we are in siesta before hitting Fayne's for music after 10pm. Woohoo!

August 3, 2010

I have seen the future

I grew up here, in the red brick house on right, at "wonderful carefree Lake Mohawk." That's what the radio commercials called gated community of lots surrounding the 508 acre lake they built on farmland that had several springs augmented by building a dam on a creek that ran through the properties. My parents were among the first 200 to buy in the '60s and built their dream home: a split level, 3 bedroom brick, 1 and a half bath home, with a garage and a balcony overlooking the lake. My bedroom windows were on the corner facing a terraced garden on the hill.
Mom sold it in the late '90s and moved into an apartment building where I lived in Euclid. The house had become too much for her and Viktor, her companion in later years. The buyer didn't take the best care of it. The next owner defaulted. It was resold by the sheriff for $150,000. And bought by a man who preserved the original structure and built on top of it.
I was stunned when I saw it in June. I mean...well, what can I say! It looks like the the developing shoreline of some island in the Mexican Caribbean. I sill can't get over it. And it has happened all around the lake. It is hard to see the lake for the new villas being built around it.

August 1, 2010

Long cool woman in white slacks

The long cool woman in the white slacks drew admiring stares from all of us at Fayne's this weekend. She and every man she danced with could win Dancing with the Stars in a heartbeat. The Band Without a Name enjoyed every beat.
Jimmy from Massachusetts enjoyed the evening after treating me to dinner at Olivia's. A skewer of shishlick accompanies a salad for an extra 40 peso. A yummy way to go!
Sunday's main event was delivery of living room furniture from TeleBodega in Cancun. Punta was very glad there was more after the love seat came through the door.
In the evening, Anna from Euless, Texas and two granddaughters checked in. It was an eventful weekend!