The Glamorous Life

It’s been a quiet week here in the Lakeside Area. Most of the weeks are quiet here. It’s kind of a bucolic place. That’s probably why so many people decide to retire here. However, it is Mexico. And it comes to celebrating just about anything, the locals don’t take a backseat to anyone.

Holy Week, Semana Santa, is coming up. Ajijic hosts a passion play every year. I hear it’s very good. You could check it out if you’re interested. Just in cases you don’t know what a passion play is, it’s a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering, death, and resurrection. It’s a very Catholic tradition. Mexico is a very Catholic country.

During Holy Week, the Lakeside Area is going to be packed with tapatios, pilgrims, and tourists, which is why I’ll be at home. There’ll be the passion play, and bands playing at the bars and los eventos, and the eruption of cohetes will fill the air.

Tapatío, in general terms, is a colloquial Mexican term for someone from Guadalajara. In more specific Lakeside terms, it’s someone from Guadalajara who comes down here to escape from the Big City for the weekend.

We used to do something similar when lived in the States. When we lived in Minneapolis, we’d go up to the North Shore. It’s still my favorite place on Earth. When we lived in Phoenix, we’d go up into the mountains to Prescott or Payson.

Urban living certainly has its advantages. Jobs. Entertainment. Shopping malls. Fine dining. Paved roads. It also has it disadvantages. Air pollution. Traffic jams. Crime. Mostly, all of the other fucking people that also live there. The population of Guadalajara is around seven million people. If you lived there, you’d want to get the hell out of there, too.

* * * *

We go to Guadalajara every couple of months to shop at Costco. Or the high end malls. It’s an adventure every time, mostly because of the traffic. Guadalajara was a little town that became a huge city with little to no civic planning. If you live there, you’ll eventually learn your way around. If you don’t, you hire a driver, or you have to depend on GPS to get from Point A to Point B. You are not going to just drive around and hope you find what you’re looking for.

We’ve lived in big cities before. We’re not daunted by traffic. And we have a system. Lea drives and I navigate. I’m a better navigator than she is. And Lea loves to drive. She’d probably love it more if she still had her sportscar. But the roads here make a vehicle like that impractical. And you can’t load a lots of stuff into a 370z.

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Our current vehicle is a Buick Encore. I’ll probably keep it for a couple more years, then get an Audi Q3. I’ll have to get rid of my American plated car and buy a Mexican plated car at that time. The Audi Q3 isn’t a sportscar, but it’ll still be a lots fun for Lea to drive. And it has a great stereo system, which is the only thing I care about when it comes to cars.

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I actually bought a car once because of the stereo. I didn’t even take it for a test drive. I played with the radio for a couple of minutes without ever leaving the sales lot. I told the salesman to write it up, I’d take it.

“Don’t you want to take it for a test drive?” he asked, a bit dumbfounded.

“No. I want to drive it to work. Today. My shift starts at 3:00. You have two hours. You better get busy or you’re going to miss a sale.”

* * * *

I still have no idea what I’m going to write about. Maybe this will end up being a general update on our glamorous retirement lives…

We haven’t had to deal with any major issues at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa lately. Jaime says he’s still looking for a replacement faucet for the kitchen, but the longer this goes on the more I think he’s decided he’s decided he can live with our temporary faucet, too.

It’s not a big deal. We love it here. The most annoying thing about living here revolves around our satellite TV service and the download speed for our Interweb service.

As I’ve said before, we don’t actually watch a lots of TV, but we almost always have the TV on for background noise. Silence might be golden to some people, but it drives me crazy. After thirty years as a psych nurse, I’m accustomed to noise. The absence of noise disturbs me greatly.

Wow. I can’t believe I just said that. I don’t think I had realized how much I hate silence until now.

We have Shaw Direct for our satellite TV. Shaw is a Canadian company. We had next to no problems with them at our last house. Here, our satellite feed seems to be somewhat sketchy at times. Again, not a huge deal. I’ve become very skilled at rebooting our PVR box.

If there’s one thing that seems to drive all ex-pats crazy, it’s a slow Interweb connection. Hey, we’re spoiled. We didn’t have this issue before we moved here. There aren’t a lots of options when it comes to this suddenly vital service. Basically, you can go with Telmex® or Telecable®. Compared to speed-of-light fiber optic cable, they both suck. And neither of them seem to care.

Telmex® is essentially the Mexican version of the American communications giant, AT&T, before it was broken up into a bunch of smaller companies. Telmex® is a telecommunication monster down here. It owns eighty percent of the telephone lines in the country.

We had Telmex® service at our last house. I guess it was okay most of the time, though we consistently had issues whenever we wanted to stream movies through our KODI box.

We have Telecable® at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. I wasn’t enamored with our service when we first moved in. So I tried calling the office, and that’s when I discovered there isn’t an office phone. You actually can’t call the office unless you have the cellphone number of one of the service reps, and I doubt they give their numbers out to anyone.

On their website Telecable® lists two levels of service available in the Lakeside Area: 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps. So I went down to the office to talk to one of their service representatives about upgrading my package. That’s when I met Carmen and Marisol. And I wasn’t quite so pissed off anymore. Okay, they’re young, and beautiful. And they have really big eyes. And nice smiles.

Carmen said yes, I could upgrade my package, except for one small detail. They only offer 5 Mbps in the Lakeside Area. I’d have to live in Guadalajara to qualify for the 10 Mbps service.

There is a fiber optic cable company that is getting started in Lakeside. ILOX started running lines in specific areas late last year. I have no idea when there service will be available here. Maybe I’ll wander into their office one of these days, except I doubt their service reps will be as attractive as Carmen and Marisol…

Given the limitations of available Interweb service, and the sudden sketchiness of our satellite service, we talked to one of our friends, Donald Stordahl. Donald has a streaming TV service here in the Lakeside Area. We rented one of his boxes for a month, and then I remembered I already had two streaming devices, and they were already paid for. I hooked them up and gave Donald his box back.

And everything was great until I blew up my Amazon Firestick. I had tried to download the latest update, and after that it wouldn’t work. I have no idea what went wrong, I only knew that I felt like I accidentally hit that red LAUNCH button, and there was nothing I could do to stop the missiles.

Seeing how I couldn’t repair my Firestick, I decided to buy another one, you know, eventually. But then Donald bought a used Firestick and asked me if I wanted it, seeing how I had just destroyed mine. He seems to be a pretty savvy businessman, from my perspective.

My previous Firestick had been jailbroken. The one I bought from Donald wasn’t, so I channeled my inner Millennial, and went online to learn how to do stuff.

There are a lots of online tutorials about tweaking your Firestick. I didn’t have much confidence in my ability to do this, given that I’d just destroyed my last Firestick by trying to update it. But all you have to do is follow the step-by-step instructions, and I’ll be damned, it worked!

I’ll tell ya what, I was pretty goddamn proud of myself for a couple of days there. I successfully downloaded and installed the most recent KODI app, and the Mobdro app. Then I got my lovely supermodel wife addicted to Game of Thrones, and the rest is history.

* * * *

The final season of Game of Thrones airs this Sunday. Like every other fan, Lea and I have been speculating about who’s going to win the Great Game and sit on the Iron Throne. I don’t care who it is, just as long as it isn’t Cercei Lannister. She needs to got dead, soon.

Will the Golden Company help her maintain her grip on the reins of power, or will they break a contract for the first time ever and go fight against the Night King and his army from Hell? And how many of my favorite characters are going to get killed to death…

How are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen going to defeat an army of animated dead warriors, White Walkers, and a zombie dragon? And what will they do when they discover that they’re related? Will Jon freak out when he finds out he’s been having sex with his aunt?

Who will kill The Mountain? What the hell is a Three-eyed Raven, and what sort of spooky superpowers does Bran Stark really have?

The good news is we’ll all find out soon. Unfortunately, that’s also the bad news.

This Week Today

Hola, feliz miércoles. 

I normally have Spanish lessons at this time of day, but Planet Janet has fallen ill, so there’s no class today. She has a stomach bug and should recover soon. We’ll resume muddling through Spanish next week. I’ll try to sprinkle in some español and create the illusion I know what I’m hablando sobre.

I should probably thank Donald Trump for proving my assertion that he has no idea what he’s doing. If there was any doubt, Helsinki took care of that. His fans still love him. That will probably never change

I think they all have Battered Idiot Syndrome.

* * * *

It’s been a busy week here. I should clarify that. We had a busy Monday. There really hasn’t been much of anything else going on in our lives since.

Monday was MRI Day. Lea’s orthopedic specialist thought there was a shadowy area on her x-ray. He ordered an MRI, which will give him the best view of what’s going on with her wrist.

I’ve done some additional Interweb research on wrist pain. It seems there’s something called a ganglion cyst that is a frequent cause of wrist pain, especially in women. The shadowy area on her x-ray might possibly be a cyst. The good news is it’s relatively easy to treat, if that’s truly what it is. We’ll probably know more on Friday after Lea sees the Ortho guy.

Lea had the clinic receptionist here call the imaging clinic in Guadalajara for an appointment. The imaging clinic said she didn’t need one. She could walk right in.

Cool, huh?

So we went to the Imaging Clinic in Guadalajara early Monday morning and arrived about 7:30 AM. Lea drove. I was the Navigator. She says I’m a better navigator than she is, which is probably true. But I think she also likes driving far more than she likes navigating. I don’t mind doing either, and you get to do a lots more sightseeing as a navigator. There’s a lots of sights to see in Guadalajara.

The first thing the imaging clinic staff asked us when we arrived was, “Tienes una cita?” Do you have an appointment?

Yeah, not so cool.

There’s nothing like a language barrier to remind you that you’re living in a foreign country. Between the little Spanish we spoke and the little English the staff understood, we explained that we tried to make an appointment, but we were told to just come in.

The staff was apologetic, and very accommodating. The first available time they had was 1:00 PM. We had several hours to kill, so we asked if we could go spend a bunch of money and come back at 1:00. There’s no word in Spanish for shopping. There are a few ways to say spend money, or buy stuff. But you can’t technically go shopping in Mexico.

There are a lots of stores in Guadalajara, so we went to the Walmart Superstore. The Golf Express Store. And Costco. By a spooky twist of fate, all of those places were within ten miles of the Imaging Clinic, and each other.

Driving in Guadalajara is pretty much like unto driving in any other very large urban area. There’s a lots of traffic and traffic jams, and plenty of crazy drivers. But thanks to the technological wonders of smartphones and Google® Maps, you can get almost anywhere fairly easily, even if you’ve never been there before.

We went to the Walmart Superstore first because it was only place that was open at that time, and bought a few items to kill some time until the golf store opened at 10:00. Well, that’s when it was supposed to open.

Golf is becoming more popular in Mexico, but it’s nowhere near as popular as futbol. The only golf store that popped up on my Interweb search is in a nondescript strip mall in an equally nondescript neighborhood in Guadalajara. Then we waited for half an hour until the owner arrived at 10:30.

It’s Mexico. Time isn’t as important here as it is in the States.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I might need some new clubs. Well, they had a lots of new clubs at Golf Express. Very new, fairly expensive golf clubs. This created a dilemma for me because I have relatively inexpensive golf clubs, and I could’ve bought three sets of used clubs for the one club I eventually decided I probably couldn’t live without.

It’s a Callaway Rogue Hybrid Fairway Wood. I don’t know if it will be the answer to my golfing needs, but it’s so pretty! And then I decided I couldn’t put my brand new, very pretty and expensive club into the old, beat up, cheap-ass golf bag I had purchased at Goodwill several years ago in Arizona. So I bought a new bag for my new golf club.

On the bright side, I won’t look like a homeless golfer anymore.

After stocking up at Costco, we headed back to the clinic. And I got to do some sightseeing. From my point of view, the most impressive things to see in Guadalajara are las señoritas bonitas. 

I doubt I’m the only guy here that thinks some of the latinas are stunningly beautiful. They are obras de arte. God clearly paid a lots of attention to what He was doing when He designed them. He measured everything carefully, and made sure He had all of the necessary ingredients, unlike when He made me and used whatever He had laying around.

These very special creations look like unto angels, and dress like unto porn stars. It’s a very eye catching, head spinning combination.

At any rate, we were sitting at a table outside of Costco after we finished buying stuff. Lea was drinking a soda. I was packing all of the stuff we had purchased into our insulated shopping bags. When I finished, I saw two chicas bonitas walking through the parking lot toward the store.

They were young, of course. And thin, very pretty and shapely. Their long raven hair was flowing behind them in the breeze. They were talking to each other and smiling. They were both wearing skintight outfits that looked like they had come out of a can of spray paint. Form fitting tops, skinny jeans, high heels. One of the angelic chicas was wearing a lightweight, sky blue sweater that appeared to be struggling to contain the talents she had hidden underneath.

If there had been any music playing, I would’ve thought Costco was filming a music video.

I’m not sure why they started running, if you can call the short-strided scurry that women do when they’re wearing heels, but every guy who saw them stopped what he was doing to watch in a kind of awe, and silently offered a prayer of thanks, even if they didn’t believe in God.

I nudged Lea and pointed the girls out to her. She said, “Oh my. Those are real.” as she watched the chicas scurry toward us, bouncing all the way.

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They were real all right. Real fun.

I might need to go see a chiropractor, preferably in Guadalajara.

The last time we took a day trip there, we went to the Andares Mall. After Lea had made all of her purchases we had lunch at a charming restaurant near the mall called Vincent’s. If you’re ever in Guadalajara, it’s worth checking out. The steak tacos were to die for.

Seated at a table near us were several chicas bonitas. Again, they were all young and ridiculously gorgeous. They were all wearing stylish yoga outfits, like they had just finished working out at the gym. A couple of them had ordered something to eat, but the rest of them were drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. There are very few professions where exercising enough to stay fit, yet drinking and smoking are combined. In fact, I can only think of one.

“I wonder what those girls do for a living?” Lea asked, as if she was eerily thinking along the same train of thought my mind was on. When you’ve been married as long as we have, that kind of thing happens a lots. So I told her.

“They’re strippers. Go ask them if they have any business cards.”

She wouldn’t do that, of course. She doesn’t mind that I enjoy seeing the sights. She even points out a great set of knockers to me on the rare occasion that I don’t see them first, but she has her limits.

As a rule, I tend to not write about anything that requires a lots of research on my part. However, if I were ever planning on writing about the Gentlemen’s Clubs in Guadalajara, I’d be willing to make an exception.

I really think we should go to to Guadalajara more often, like, every day. But I haven’t been able to come up with a reason that Lea will agree to yet.

* * * *

If not for occasions like those above, and updates from my virtual friends, I’d probably be bored into a coma most of the time by now. I’ve been retired for roughly twenty months. After six months, most everything becomes routine. Thankfully, my virtual friends have lives vastly more interesting than mine.

At least two of my virtual friends announced that they are pregnant. One of them is asking for prayers for a daughter. She has two boys already and doesn’t think she could survive having three sons.

Three or four of my virtual friends are on vacation. They’re traveling the world and having a great time.

Several of my virtual friends just started new jobs, and they’re so excited! In six months they’ll be struggling to remember that at one time they really wanted this job. Probably. That’s what usually happened to me.

One of my virtual friends also writes a blog. She’s much more successful than I will ever be at blogging. She has hundreds of people who read what she writes. She just finished her first book, and she just got it published!!

Yeah, I pretty much hate her fucking guts right now.

My virtual friend has become kind of a marketing machine. She sells advertising on her blog site. She always features an image of herself for her posts, and lately she’s started asking this, Do you want to buy this look?

She’s young–early thirties–thin and pretty, of course. All of her outfits look darlingpreshadorbs! She doesn’t look like an angelic pornstar, she just looks like an angel. Everyone seems to agree on that.

There’s one more thing about her. She’s a virgin. She writes about not ever having had sex all the time. I’m thinking a few of the guys who read her blog do so for that reason only. However, she’s also an English major, so she actually knows how to write good. That’s probably why she has hundreds of real fans.

I’ve contemplated adopting her tactics, but there are a couple of mitigating factors. She’s basically everything I’m not. I can’t remember a time when the old, short, fat, bald and myopic look was ever in vogue. I’ve never had anyone ever tell me that I look like an angel. And it’s been a very long time since I was a virgin.

* * * *

I haven’t had any friend requests from kooky young Christian women who want to have a deeply passionate with a benign grandfather figure in over a month. I think the guy living in his parents’ basement in Iowa has decided to move on to easier scam victims. I’m kind of relieved, and kind of disappointed.

They were kind of entertaining. But they were also very predictable.

I’m going to guess they’ll return some day. They’re probably all at conference trying to think up new gimmicks and taglines.

* * * *

There’s a Go-Go tournament at the country club tomorrow. And according to some posts on social media, the world is supposed to end on Friday. If it’s on the Interweb it has to be true, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s next Friday. Either way, I’ll get to use my new golf club at least once before The End.

You know what? I’m going to ask for prayers on the tees for the par three holes. I haven’t had a decent tee shot on either of them since I almost got a hole in one.

I don’t think I can take another six…

Gots To Go Shoppin’

If you’re wondering what Stevie Ray Vaughan has to do with a story about shopping, you can thank my former colleague, but still my good friend and mentor, Sondra Roberts.

She misheard the lyrics to Cold Shot.

And that’s a cold shot, baby became Gots to go shoppin’.

Yeah, I don’t know how that could happen either. I mean, Stevie Ray doesn’t look like someone overly preoccupied with his wardrobe to me. Nor does he strike me as the sort of rockstar guy that would write a song about shopping. But, thanks to Sondra, that’s how I hear this song whenever it comes on the radio.

I listen to a classic rock station out of Guadalajara when I’m in my car. 90.7 FM. They play SRV on occasion. And I love how they introduce the Beatles. Juan, Pablo, Jorge y Gringo!

Not really. I made that up.

* * * *

A little status update for those of you that have been worrying about my back. It’s better. It’s not as good as it once was, but it was almost totally messed up for about a month, so it’ll hopefully continue to improve.

Anyone want a brown leather captain’s chair? Low mileage…

I’m evidently adjusting to a life of leisure, and that’s a good thing. This is what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life.

I still find it hard to believe that we’re living in Mexico. We loved living in Minneapolis, except for freezing to death in the winter, which lasted forever. It was colder than a mammoth’s ass.

My darling daughter, Abigail, had a friend that lived in Florida. Abi called her friend one winter’s day, and told her friend it was forty below.

“Below what?” her friend asked.

“Below zero…”

“Oh! I didn’t know it could go below zero!”

Yeah, that actually happened.

So when Lea was offered a job in Arizona, we moved to Phoenix because it was warm. And I hated the summer. It was hotter than Christmas. On the sun!

The average annual temperature in the Lakeside area is 75°. It’s pretty hard to beat. No need for air conditioning, no need for a furnace. We do have a gas fireplace to take the morning chill out of the house.

* * * *

We went shopping in Guadalajara today, me and my two retirement wives. It’s something the ex-pats living in the Lakeside area do about once a month or so.

Guad, as the ex-pats call it, is about forty miles northwest of Lakeside. It’s the second largest city in Mexico, and it has all the Big Box Stores that Americans can’t live without, like, Costco® and Home Depot®. And Starbucks®.

We went to Costco® today. There are some advantages to buying in bulk, like, fewer trips to Guadalajara. But shopping in Mexico is vastly different than it is in the States. Mexico is a cash based economy. Most places don’t accept credit/debit cards. The Big Box Stores in Guadalajara do. Probably another reason why the ex-pats love to shop them.

Granted, it’s better to pay cash than charge any item you buy, but I haven’t carried any sizable amount of cash for a couple decades. I’ll adjust, but it’s still very different.

If there’s one thing I miss about America, aside from family and friends and speaking English, it’s the convenience of the shopping experience, especially online shopping. I love Amazon.com. Amazon exists in Mexico, but I haven’t figured out how to send them $16,000 pesos electronically yet. By the way, that’s about $800 USD. Your money goes a lots farther in Mexico.

* * * *

As a married guy, shopping was one of my least favorite things to do when I first got married, and that was because of the difference between the way Lea and I shopped.

I viewed shopping as a rescue mission. You locate your target, you secure it, and you get the hell out with as little bloodshed as possible.

I would go grocery shopping at 2:00 AM because there was no one else in the store. I could fly down the aisles, fill up my cart and be checked out in twenty to thirty minutes.

Lea, on the other hand, viewed shopping as an all day joy-filled retail adventure. It wasn’t about the kill, it was the chase. Except grocery shopping, she hated grocery shopping, too.

But shopping for anything else, was heaven to her. To me, it was hell.

I can’t remember what the occasion was, but my lovely supermodel wife needed a new dress. She described it to me as we were driving to the mall, and I found her dress in five minutes.

“Okay, let’s buy this thing and get the hell out of here!”I said.

“Um, no. Now we have to compare prices. And I’m going to need shoes. And maybe a little clutch purse. And probably a necklace. And earrings…”

I wanted to die.

We went to, like, twenty stores. Lea couldn’t find another dress that she liked as much as the one I found in five minutes, so five hours later we went back and bought the dress. Then we went to three or four shoe stores, and the only good thing about that was she was able to find the shoes and all the accessories she was looking for at the same shoe store.

* * * *

I can’t blame anyone but myself for our furniture shopping experience. Lea said she had something she wanted to talk to me about, and she’d been thinking about it for awhile.

If you’re a recently married guy, or you’re about to get married, if your significant other says something like that to you, pay attention!

Unfortunately, I decided to go to my Nothing Box and think about tits, or food, or something. But I was pulled out of my reverie by this line, “So, what do you think?”

I didn’t want my lovely supermodel wife to know that I hadn’t been listening, so I said, “Yeah, sure. Whatever you think.”

“Okay! Let’s go!!”

“Um, where are we going? I decided to ask.

“To buy new living room furniture!”

Yeah. That actually happened, too.

We sold that furniture when we moved to Mexico. I can’t remember how much we paid for it, but I know the people we sold it to got the deal of the century.

* * * *

We’re going shopping at the Ajijic Farmer’s Market tomorrow. I love the Farmer’s Market. There are several open air markets down here. They’re all pretty cool.

I don’t hate shopping as much as I once did. Mostly because my lovely supermodel wife has changed her shopping habits. She has become as mercenary as me.

We’ll be in and out tomorrow in twenty minutes. Cash only.