Señal Noventa

I’ve been struggling with this post for far too long. It’s times like this that make me wonder why I decided to start writing a blog. It happened like almost everything else that’s happened in my life. By accident. And to quote any number of porn stars, It sounded like fun at the time.

I’m not sure if I have writer’s block or if I’m just so lazy that I don’t feel like doing anything. It might be a combination of the two. I will freely admit that I’m probably the laziest person I know.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a writer. I usually love writing. I’m just being a grumpy old man right now. It’s one of the perks of getting old. Some people abuse that privilege. Like the lady in front of me at the gringo ATM the other day. She complained about the machine for five minutes before she tried using it. I almost cut in front of her because, you know, she wasn’t using it, and there was a line of people that were waiting our turns.

Instead, I decided to talk to mi amigo, Hector. He’s the security guard at the gringo ATM. He carries a shotgun to protect the gringos and their money. I always tip him when I use the ATM. He provides a valuable service, and he probably makes next to nothing doing it. And you never know, he might snap someday and decide he’s heard enough complaints from the pinche gringos, and he’ll shoot a few of them to shut them the fuck up already twice.

But he won’t shoot me because I was always nice to him.

* * * *

Two people that I know died last week. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been struggling with this post. You reach a point in life where every death hits you harder than it should. Because, you know, it could have been you, and Death has clearly been hanging out way too close to your neighborhood.

One of them was Belva Sublett. She was the realtor that showed us the house we’re currently residing in. Belva was also one of the property managers here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. She was a southern gal from Texas, I think. She was very sweet, and very, very helpful to us once we took up residence here. She was in the process of trying to get us a new refrigerator when she passed away.

Her death came as a big surprise to everyone that knew her. She seemed to be relatively healthy. For her age. I suppose I could add that qualifier. She was only 71. She wasn’t battling any illnesses or diseases as far as I know. It’s safe to say that her passing was unexpected, possibly even to her.

Vaya con Dios, Belva. You’ll be missed.

* * * *

The other person that recently got dead is Florentino. He was an ancient local guy that sold golf balls at the golf course I belong to.

I bought some balls from him a few times, but not because I needed them. I already have way more golf balls than I’ll reasonably be able to use before I die. I bought balls from Florentino because he was a sweet old man. He always greeted me with a warm smile, and he always wished me well. And, there was the offhand chance that he was an angel in disquise, and I was trying to win the golf gods over to my side.

Yeah, I know that sounds crazy. And no, my strategy didn’t work.

Florentino evidently knew a lots about golf because he always had advice for me whenever I bought balls from him. In my mind, he was kind of the Mexican version of Bagger Vance, though now that I think about it, even someone that doesn’t know anything about golf would probably know I suck at golf if they saw me play.

 Unfortunately, all of his insights were en español. I was never really sure what he was telling me to do. I would nod in agreement, and Florentino would smile and pat me on the shoulder. And that means, Hang in there. You can do it. In every language.

Vaya con Dios, Florentino. Maybe one of these days I’ll figure out what you were trying to say to me.

* * * *

Our refrigerator. If someone had told me that I was going to be writing this much about a goddamn refrigerator, I probably would’ve laughed. Now, mostly I just want to cry.

We’ve had our LG refrigerator repaired at least four times in nine months. I’m starting to lose count. Refrigerators are usually bulletproof. You plug them in and they last longer than you do. The last time the service technicians were here to fix the fridge, they were here for three hours. Their repairs lasted one week.

So, I called Belva. She called Jaime, our other property manager. The plan was to get rid of the LG lemon that was taking up space in the kitchen, and replace it with a new refrigerator that worked. And then Belva died. Our fucking refrigerator probably killed her.

So, Jaime called the LG Service Department. Again. They told him a technician had to make the decision to replace our refrigerator. Last Tuesday, the technician arrived. Jaime came over to talk to him. Their conversation was in Spanish, so I only understood about every tenth word. The technician said he didn’t have the authority to replace our refrigerator, only the office could do that.

Clearly, someone was lying. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen Jaime get angry. Jaime is a large man. I thought he was going to shove our refrigerator up the technician’s ass. Sideways.

The technician said he was here to fix the refrigerator, and he added that LG was never going to replace our refrigerator. They would rather keep sending technicians, so could he just get to work?

Jaime and I had a deep philosophical discussion while the technician fixed the fridge for the fifth time. Neither of us thought this guy was going to be any more successful than any of the other technicians that had allegedly fixed our fridge before. So, when it died the next time, Jaime wasn’t going to call LG. He would bite the bullet and replace it himself.

That was the plan. There’s only one thing that could screw it up. And that thing is maybe this technician was able to do something no one else has been able to do up to this point. He might have actually fixed our fridge! 

I’m good with that. I don’t want a new refrigerator. I only want a refrigerator that works. All the time. I’m not sure if I’m ready to accept the fact that it might actually be fixed for real. I’ve thought that several times before, and I was wrong every time. I still haven’t moved any of the food from our other fridge in the casita yet. I’m not sure how long I’m going to wait. I only know it’s not going to happen today.

I’ll keep you posted.

* * * *

Perhaps the greatest invention in automotive history is the radio. There are few things that match the feeling of driving down the highway when your favorite song comes on.

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See? I told you.

There are a lots of quirky things you have to adjust to when you move to Mexico, but one of the weirdest things are the radio stations. Most of them play Mexican music of some sort. And all of the DJ’s speak Spanish, which only stands to reason. I listen to them occasionally. It’s a nice change of pace, and I like almost every type of music.

My favorite Mexican FM radio station is 90.7 out of Guadalajara. Or as they call it, Señal Noventa. It plays gringo rock and roll. The music I grew up on.

I’ve spent way more time than I should trying to figure out what the hell is going on at this station. For starters, there’s only one disc jockey. It’s the same guy, every day, no matter what time of day. I’ve never heard him say his name. I call him:

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He speaks Spanish, of course, and he speaks it rapidly. Most of the things he says are Greek to me. Sometimes there’s a woman who makes some comments, which makes me think she’s his wife. She’s possibly saying things like, Hey, quit playing with your records and fix the kitchen sink like you promised. Or do I have to get your brother to come over. I should have married him when I had the chance!

Seeing how it’s only ever just the two of them, I’ve come to the conclusion that their radio station is home-based. 

The only time I ever listen to the radio is when I’m in the car, so I don’t spend that much time of the day hanging out with José. And his wife. But it makes me wish I understood spoken Spanish more better gooder.

I want to know what José’s wife is really saying to him.

American radio essentially plays current Top Forty hits, or classic Top Forty hits, so you tend to hear the same songs from the same bands all the time. José plays some classic American rock and roll Top Forty hits, too. But he loves to play the B-side songs you never hear on the radio. And he has the most awesome-est collection of music I’ve ever heard.

I have to admit, I still have some serious envy when it comes to his music collection.

José has the most eclectic taste in music of anyone I’ve ever listened to. And that includes me. He’ll queue up ten songs no one has heard in forty years, then he’ll play the same song three times in a row. Or he’ll play the English version of a song, then the Spanish, French and Japanese versions. A couple of weeks ago, every song he played before noon was by The Beatles or Paul McCartney and Wings. 

Monday through Friday, José plays whatever he wants as many times as he wants. American rock. Sarah Brightman. The theme song from Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers. Showtunes. You never know what you’ll hear. It’s actually very refreshing.

But on Saturday mornings, José plays classic American Country/Western from the 50’s and 60’s. Hank Williams. Marty Robbins. Tammy Wynette. Sunday mornings, it’s Heavy Metal Sunday because everyone knows God loves Iron Maiden. And Dokken. And Motörhead.

Sometimes José will start a song, then seemingly forget what he was doing and start talking about God knows what over the song. Perhaps, fixing the kitchen sink before his pain-in-the-ass-know-it-all brother shows up and takes off his shirt and his wife will start drooling like a drunken sailor. Again.

He often starts a song, then switches to different song before the first song ends without any explanation. Maybe he has ADD? José clearly has a favorite playlist because he’ll throw that on occasionally while he’s busy doing other things, like trying to fix the fucking sink.

It’s the only time he ever plays the same songs in the same order.

* * * *

Retirement has become much more of a learning experience than I imagined it would be, thanks to Mexico. It’s been a good thing. I still mostly suck at golf, but I did shoot my best ever Rainy Season round yesterday. There’s a glimmer of hope.

I’ll never be fluent in Spanish, but I’m not totally mystified by the language anymore. And if you speak to me like you would to a three year old, I’ll probably understand most of what you’re saying.

If you ever come to visit, we’ll listen to José Jimenez on Señal Noventa. You’ll probably hear something that will give you flashbacks to when you were young. You’ll smile to yourself, and think,

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I could do this… 

The Bells

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ve probably noticed something. For a guy living in paradise with a supermodel wife, I tend to complain about a lots of stuff. Yeah, it’s weird, but there’s little doubt that I live the life of Riley.

Unless you’re a geezer like unto me and others in my generation, you might not have any idea what that phrase means. Basically, it means a carefree, peaceful, easy life. The phrase came into common usage around the time of World War I. And  it turns out that it probably refers to the life of a real person–Willy Reilly– who lived in Sligo, Ireland during the late 1800’s.

Yeah, who knew?

In hipster lingo this phrase most likely translates into Easy Peasy Mac and Cheesey. Possibly. I wouldn’t really know. I’m at the age where talking hip probably means you’re talking about your hip replacement.

In my defense, if I didn’t have anything to complain about, I probably wouldn’t have anything to write about. No one wants to hear about how much better your life is than theirs is all the time. And I don’t care how great your life is, mine beats yours every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Besides, complaining is a time honored pastime of retired people. It’s probably a force of habit. We did it all the time. We used to complain about our jobs, our annoying know-it-all bosses, and our fucking annoying idiot co-workers. So there’s that. Habits are hard to break.

Granted, I have less to complain about than probably anyone else I know, including my lovely supermodel wife. After all, she is married to me. I’ve stated that my sole purpose in life is to keep her happy. But I think my unstated purpose is to also drive her a little bit crazy from time to time.

There was that fan thing…

We don’t have air conditioning at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. We don’t really need it. But a couple of months ago Lea decided she wanted a fan for the bedroom because the hottest month of the year in the Lakeside Area is May. She thought if we waited until May to buy a fan, there wouldn’t be any fans for sale when we needed one. That’s kind of how things work down here.

Walmart had a veritable mountain of fans available in March. All I had to do was buy one fan that would help keep the bedroom cool at night. There was nothing all that complicated about my mission. I knew which fan Lea would buy if she had done the smart thing and gone to the store herself. I even put her fan in my shopping cart. 

And then I saw it.

An industrial strength, turbo-charged fan with a hemi engine. And that’s the fan I bought. It’s a thing of beauty as far as fans go. It has three speeds: Gale Force Wind, Category 2 Hurricane, and Blown Away. I had a feeling I had made a mistake when I was assembling it. It kind of sounded like unto a jet airplane taxiing down the runway when I turned on. 

Yep. Lea hated it.

Well, it wasn’t a total loss. I moved it out to the North Wing of the patio. From there, it directs a reasonably manageable stream of air toward the South Wing of the patio. Lea spends a lots of time out there. I thought it would help cool the patio down in the heat of the afternoon. The best result has been that Lea doesn’t hate it out there.

I bought a second fan for the bedroom, the one I had originally planned on buying, and it works perfectly. I really should pay more attention to that little voice in my head that tells me when I’m about to do something stupid…

* * * *

If you’re a Game of Thrones aficionado, you’ll understand the title of this post. If you’re not, go away. You have no business being here.

Speaking only for myself, I think HBO made a huge mistake when they filmed only six episodes for the final season. There’s just too much stuff to try to distill down that quickly.

It’s like trying to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and everyone’s birthdays over one weekend. It can be done, but it’s probably not pretty.

* * * *

“Here. Open this gift.”

“What holiday is it?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even care. Look at the wrapping paper.”

“But this isn’t for me. It has someone else’s name on it!”

“Oh well, now it’s yours. Shut up and open your goddamn present, or I’ll cut you open from belly button to brisket.”

* * * *

The Bells is the title of Episode 5 of the final season. It was the climactic battle in the war for the Iron Throne, the seat of power in Westeros that everyone with a claim to has staked their lives on.

When you play the game of thrones, you win, or you die. There is no middle ground.

Truer words were never spoken. The series has gone from dozens of main characters to a handful. Maybe less. Almost everyone, both good and bad, have been killed to death. Some of them more than once.

There’s one episode left, roughly eighty minutes of opportunity for the producers to kill off two or three of the remaining characters who have somehow avoided getting beheaded, stabbed, shot, executed, poisoned, assassinated, or burned to a crisp until now.

And there was plenty of that in the last episode.

There was only one small, tiny, insignificant detail. It wasn’t supposed to work out that way. It was a given that some people would have to got dead. Queen Daenerys Targaryen had assembled all of her remaining armies outside of King’s Landing, the seat of ultimate power in Westeros, to battle the armies of her remaining enemies, Queen Cercei Lannister and King Euron Greyjoy.

The Good Guys would storm the city. The Bad Guys would see that they had no hope of victory. They would surrender, lay down their arms, and ring the bells. And a whole lots of bloodshed could be avoided. That was the plan.

Queen Daenerys had always said that she wanted to change the world, to actually make it a better place. She wanted to end slavery, oppression, and tyranny. It’s the reason why everyone fell in love with her. That was her fucking mission statement!

But then a funny thing happened on her way to the top. She was betrayed multiple times, most recently by Cercei Lannister, the lying-ass bitch currently sitting on the Iron Throne. Cercei promised to send her armies north to fight against the Night King and his horde of zombie warriors.

She didn’t.

Ser Jorah Mormont, trusted counselor and body guard to Good Queen Daenerys, was indirectly killed to death by Evil Queen Cercei’s treachery when he fell during the Battle of Winterfell. To add insult to injury, Evil Queen Cercei publicly executed Good Queen Daenerys’ other trusted advisor, the sweet and beautiful Missandei of Naath. That happened right after Evil Queen Cercei and Even More Eviler King Euron killed Daenerys’ second dragon to death.

As if that wasn’t enough, Dani threatened to kill one of her few remaining advisors if he fucked up one more time. Then she had another of her advisors executed because he really fucked up one more time. And then her boyfriend told her that he loved her, but he couldn’t have sex with her anymore. Probably because he’s her nephew.

So it was a very different Daenerys that we saw Sunday night. She was more than a little emotionally unbalanced as she went into what she called The Last War. She climbed onto the back of her one remaining dragon.

And. It. Was. On.

I’ve had mixed emotions over just about every episode this season, but this one was probably the worst for me. And just about every other fan on the planet.

Daenerys single-dragonedly destroyed an entire fleet of ships and most of the sailors aboard them. She destroyed the main gates of the King’s Landing, killing most of the army defending those gates, then barbecued all of the defenders on the walls and ramparts. So much for the pivotal role the highly vaunted Golden Company would play in this story. That was probably the most disappointing part of this episode.

Once the gates had been breached, the rest of the city’s defenders surrendered. The bells started ringing…

And, Daenerys didn’t care. She and her dragon systematically destroyed the city block by block, then she destroyed the castle. Neither did most of her invading armies. They slaughtered everyone they saw. Soldier, civilian, man, woman and child.

Hundreds of thousands of innocent people died in the process.

There is some good news in this. For once, Jon Snow didn’t need to be rescued during a battle he commanded. And some very non-innocent people finally got killed to death. Euron Greyjoy, Qyburn, and The Mountain all got the deaths they needed. Cersei probably got dead, too, but maybe not. Lea thinks she somehow survived having ten tons of brick fall on her, so we’ll see. But her death was certainly not the death she deserved.

But now the big question is this: Did Daenerys simply vent a considerable amount of repressed anger and rage at her enemies when she went combustible, or did she go one step beyond batshit crazy when she ignited an entire city on the back of her fire-breathing dragon?

The producers have certainly been pushing her character in that direction, which is really disappointing. How can you trust someone who says, Trust me. I won’t kick you in balls. And then kicks you in the balls. Really hard.

If that’s the case, someone will have to kill Evil Queen Daenerys to death to ensure that she doesn’t become the one thing she started out meaning to destroy. And she would potentially be worse than any of the tyrants she threw down when she was struggling to reach the pinnacle of power. A psychobitch with PMS, and the last living dragon. And someone will probably have to kill that goddamn dragon, too.

Eighty minutes. It’s not a terribly long time. How much can happen? In this case, next Sunday night, everything is on the line. A lots of right things have to happen, and they seemingly have to happen in rapid succession. The producers only have one chance to get it right. So, you know, no pressure.

And they all lived happily ever after…

Yeah, definitely not going to happen.

Some of them lived, and it wasn’t the most ludicrous ending we’ve ever seen.

Speaking only for myself, and eighteen million other people, that seems to be the best we can hope for right now…

It’s Always Something/Siempre es Algo

Greetings from Mexico! Hope you’re all doing well, wherever you might be.

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen my pictures of the Chinese Mountains behind our house burning at night. Las montañas de chino are still afire, despite the best efforts of the volunteers, and the fire fighters, and the helicopter that’s been ferrying big buckets of water from the lake to douse the flames.

It’s one of the hazards of living in this part of Mexico at this time of the year. It’s incredibly dry here right now, and there are fires everywhere. But you don’t need to expend any energy worrying about our safety. There’s no way the fires could ever endanger us, even if that were their only purpose, which it isn’t. So take a deep breath. We’re going to be okay. Relax, people. But it was nice to see so many people were concerned for us.

* * * *

It occurred to me the other day that the only people who come here to visit us are somehow related to Lea. Gwen is Lea’s oldest daughter, and she’s definitely related to her mother. She’s been here twice. Our only other visitor has been Todd, Lea’s boyfriend. He’s been here four times. He just put his house in Idaho on the market so he can sell it and move down here.

And it slowly dawned on me that I don’t have any friends who miss me enough to want to visit me.

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And that includes my celebrity crush lesbian girlfriend who doesn’t even know that I exist. Well, maybe she does now. I sent her a message on the Twitter® last week.

* * * *

Wildfires have become an annual summer event in many places, maybe even where you live. Arizona used to go up in flames every year that we lived there. Parts of Southern California burn down every year. Lea’s boyfriend, Todd, says he has the same problem where he lives in Idaho. A couple of years ago, Sand Point had a worse air quality rating than Beijing, China.

Thanks to Donald Trump, we all know the solution to this problem is preventative forest raking, which Mexico apparently doesn’t do either. The government could start trucking the abuelitas sweeping the streets up into the mountains and give them rakes…  Mischief managed. Probably.

The ironic thing is this fire started out as someone’s campfire. You’d think people would know better than to light a fire in a forest when it hasn’t rained since November, but you can never underestimate the power of stupidity.

Stupidity is probably mankind’s greatest common denominator. We all do stupid stuff. Some of us are quite good at it. It has actually come to define us. To err is human. And most human errors are caused by? Yep. Stupididity.

* * * *

Another thing you might know if you follow me on Facebook is I had the best golf week of my life. I shot three consecutive sub-one hundred score rounds. And I shot a 91 on Sunday, my new personal best score. It’s something I wasn’t sure I’d ever see a couple of months ago. In fact, I was seriously contemplating giving up golf for another decade.

One of my friends actually said I was getting good! I wouldn’t go that far because golf has a tendency to humble you. Did you see/hear that, golf gods? But golf has been a lots more fun to play all of a sudden.

I’ve written about my struggle with golf multiple times. You could read all about them if you don’t have anything better to do, but to summarize, I probably spent a lots of time whining about how much I suck at golf, even though I’m a good golfer.

Normally, the incongruency of that statement would make even me scratch my head. But last week made me think that I might have been right about me, and the only explanations I have are attitude and threshold.

The attitude part is easy to explain. All you have to do is believe you can do it. That’s what I used to tell my patients. And that’s what my caddy, Francisco Flores Bernini, kept telling me. You have to be positive. You have to think you can make every shot. Once I started doing that, I consistently started shooting better shots. I still have plenty of bad shots, but I balance them with some pretty great shots. And those are a lots of fun.

Threshold is a bit more complicated. It’s something that I learned about in nursing school. It’s the magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested. In other words, it’s the point or level at which something begins or changes.

It took me about two and a half years of frustration, a new set of golf clubs, a new golf bag, one pair of magic golf shoes, three new hats, a few generic golf lessons and a lots of practice at swearing in Spanish. And last week it all became worthwhile.

Now all I have to do to keep it up and keep getting more better gooder. I’m actually looking forward to it.

* * * *

I feel physically ill today.

Game of Thrones is fucking killing me, much in the same way that it has killed off just about every decent character in the series so far. And there are two more episodes to go!!

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All of us that have become addicted to the show need to stop seeing the characters we’ve come to love getting killed to death, and we need to start seeing the evil motherfuckers start getting the deaths they so richly deserve. And we need to start seeing it now!

I have no idea how HBO is going to wrap the series up, but I know it’s not going to end like this: And they all lived happily ever after. That’s the one possible ending that everyone agrees doesn’t have a chance in hell of happening.

Hey, it’s not a Hallmark Christmas movie…

There are seemingly a lots of people that have become upset with direction the series has taken of late, but it doesn’t appear that has stopped any of them from watching. They’ve just been complaining about everything they don’t like on social media. It’s like unto watching a slow motion replay/review in football and noticing a penalty the referees missed. It’s not going to change the outcome.

It looks like a lots of people are going to need counseling once GoT ends. Maybe I retired too soon…  Nope. I’m good.

* * * *

Back when I was a nurse, I don’t think I ever admitted anyone because of a TV show. It’s probably the only reason. Crazy people get admitted to the hospital for pretty much any and every reason imaginable, and several that aren’t. That isn’t a lie. You could ask around if you know any psych nurses.

I remember a delusional young guy who the police had picked up and brought to the hospital because he was harassing Natalie Portman. He had somehow obtained her phone number and email address and was contacting her a thousand times a day, telling her how much he loved her.

Hmm…  I wonder how long it will take the Mexican police to show up here and take me to the nearest psychiatric hospital?

I’ve had people ask me What’s the strangest thing you saw as a psych nurse? Honestly, I don’t know anymore. It probably depended on the week. After awhile, insanity becomes hard to quantify. Like stupididity. It’s one of the reasons why I rarely write about being a psych nurse anymore.

That’s how my blog started. It’s probably some of the best stuff I’ve written. Over time, my blog evolved into some kind of diary about what I do now that I’m retired. And the answer to that appears to be not much.

* * * *

A couple of things happened to me after I married my lovely supermodel wife. First, I inherited two daughters. Second, I became a home owner. Homes and yards require a lots of upkeep and maintenance. Like, raking, among other things. We redecorated the entire interior of our house. Several times.

New paint. Wallpaper. Stuff like unto that. When we finished, I said something stupid, like, Well, we’re all done with that! Lea looked me in the eye and said, “When you’re a home owner, there’s no such thing as done.” The redhead does not lie.

In other words, It’s always something. In Spanish, Siempre es algo. I don’t want to brag too much, but I’m kind of proud of my bisexual language abilities. And that saying appears to be just as true in Mexico as it was back in the States. It might even be more true here.

We don’t own a home in Mexico, but we have become the Stewards of Casa Tara, a position we’d love to keep for a very long time. At least until we die. After that, I don’t think it’ll be as important anymore.

I’ve written about most of the the improvements we made to our home when we moved in. I’ve written about most of the challenges we’ve faced since we moved in. I do have a couple of updates, just in cases you were wondering.

We have a new kitchen faucet. Again. If you’ve been keeping count, this is our fifth faucet in six months. The Terminator Faucet 2.0 was installed last week. Tacho, our general handyman guy, was impressed with it, so that’s a good sign. Lea likes it, and that’s the most important thing.

Our patio has been free of bats for about a month. No bats, no batshit. Just to keep it that way, I bought a bunch of nightlights and plugged them in on the patio. They don’t emit a lots of light, but they’re seemingly more than bright enough to keep the bats away. Mischief managed. Hopefully.

We’re still waiting for our custom curtain rods for the master bedroom. Jaime, our property manager, went down to the ironworks shop with us last week to speak to the Moron Twins in Spanish on our behalf. One of the twins said that ours was the third complaint they’d received that day about the poor quality of their work.

That’s not a huge surprise to me. They seemed to understand exactly what we wanted. Unlike us, Jaime speaks excellent Spanish. Lea even gave them another diagram and measurements of what she wanted. They seemed agreeable to try to correct the situation. At least, they said they would.

And, nothing happened.

I’m ready to move on. Lea isn’t, and Jaime is on her side. He wants these guys to do the right thing. I think there’s some pride involved in this. He doesn’t like the idea of Mexican con artists ripping anyone off. He doesn’t want any bad apples giving people the wrong idea about what Mexico is really like.

You know, like me. I purposely misrepresent some aspects of life in Mexico because I don’t want any more people moving here.

At any rate, we’re essentially in a holding pattern with this process until something yet to be determined reaches threshold…

* * * *

My KODI box died some time last week. I tried to fire it up on Sunday, and nothing happened. Well, it’s Mexico. I waited an hour and tried again. Then I tried repeatedly for another hour. It stayed dead. I unplugged it and threw it out this morning.

The best thing about the KODI box was it was hardwired to our piece of shit modem, giving it an almost acceptable download speed. I had piggybacked my Amazon Firestick to it, and given the sketchiness of our WiFi service here, both devices worked miraculously well, most of the time. 

Our WiFi goes down here almost everyday for a few hours for no apparent reason, and none of our electronic devices work. That includes all of the telephones in the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. The only reason that I haven’t gone totally ballistic about this is our WiFi eventually reboots, also for no apparent reason.

I had to reconfigure the power supply to my Firestick. On the bright side, it still works, but it’s totally dependent on our WiFi strength, which, as you probably know by now, sucks. As a result, our Firestick doesn’t work at all during times of peak usage. Like, Sunday night, when Game of Thrones airs. However, it still works quite well during non-peak hours, so there’s that.

There are two possible solutions to my problem. One is a WiFi booster. Lea actually ordered one a week ago from an electronics company here in Mexico. It was invented by a Mexican guy to solve what appears to be a pervasive Mexican problem. That device might work, if we actually receive it. Their website says it might take as long as thirty days for it to be shipped. My guess is they have to make it first…

The second solution would be to buy another KODI box. A replacement would cost about a hundred bucks, and I could get one in about a week because it’s already been built.

Lea wants me to wait for her WiFi booster, mostly because she’s already paid for it. If we ever get it, and it works, it should theoretically solve all of my problems. I’ve been trying to convince myself that I can wait. I don’t really watch TV most of the time. All I really need is background noise, so in the Big Picture, it doesn’t really matter what that is.

The only problem is I’ve already decided that I want another KODI box. There are very few things that I actually want anymore. I’ve already got almost all of them, except for more speakers for my home theater system. And the only reason I haven’t bought more of them is I’m not ready for my lovely supermodel wife to kill me in my sleep.

Another holding pattern until something else reaches threshold…

And finally, my $40,000 flashlight died. Yeah, you read that right. A forty thousand dollar flashlight. It came with my Chevy Blazer, so I figure that’s how much I paid for it. It was a Maglite, and they’re really good flashlights.

Little Known Fact About Me: I have a weakness for flashlights. I had more than a dozen of them at one time because you never know when you’ll need a flashlight. I put them everywhere around the house, you know, just in cases. Lea finally told me I had enough flashlights, and I’ve mostly quit buying them.

Flashlights, much like homes, require a fair amount of maintenance. Batteries need to be replaced regularly, and I hadn’t done any maintenance on my $40,000 flashlight since we moved to Mexico. I kept it in my car because if anything goes wrong when I’m driving at night I want to be able to see whatever it is that I’m not going to know how to fix. There’s a reason why I became a nurse and not a mechanic, and you  almost have to be a rocket surgeon to fix a fucking car nowadays.

Because I had been lax in my duties, the batteries in my Maglite had corroded and were welded inside the battery tube. And I couldn’t get them out. I even tried drilling them out before I gave up and decided the only thing to do was replace my $40,000 flashlight with another one that wouldn’t cost anywhere near that much.

I found a lots of Maglite flashlights on the Amazon Mexico website. I bought a replacement for around 700 pesos ($35.00 US), and it was delivered to our house in three days.

I call my new Maglite Lightsaber. It kind of looks like one, and it emits a beam of light that can illuminate the backyards of the houses on the other side of the golf course that runs parallel to our backyard. That sucker is bright.

I’m keeping it on the patio. If one of those fucking giant Mexican bats ever tries to attack me, I’ll be ready for it. I’ll blind it with an atomic blast of light, then I’ll hit over the head. Go ahead and laugh, but you could seriously kill someone with a Maglite flashlight if you needed to.

It’s one of the things I learned in Dental X-ray Combat Training.

To Serve and Protect

In my last post I mentioned that we haven’t had any major issues to deal with here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. And the next day the temporary faucet in our kitchen exploded and flooded the floor.

Thank God for tile floors.

Tacho, our general handyman guy, came over Saturday morning and installed a new temporary faucet. According to Jaime Mendoza, our property manager, our new permanent faucet is supposed to be installed on Wednesday.

We’ll see how that goes. It’s Holy Week, and not a lot gets done here this time of year.

Easter in Mexico is vastly different than Easter in the United States. In Mexico, Easter is when everyone goes to the beach. Except for the people that come here. Something like unto twenty thousand people will start flocking into the Lakeside Area today, and will be here through the weekend.

Unlike the United States, you can’t find an Easter basket in any of the stores here. I’ve looked. Only Halloween surpasses Easter in terms of candy sales in the US. But in Mexico, there are no jelly bean eggs, no chocolate bunnies. There will be no manic hunts for brightly colored Easter eggs by sugar-charged children on Sunday morning.

Just sun, bikinis, sand, and beer, and possibly beach volleyball. From my point of view, it beats the heck out of hard boiled eggs.

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Happy Easter Bunnies!!!!

I’ve never celebrated Mexican Easter before, but given my affection for bikini clad females, I’m starting to think I might be missing out on something.

Easter is the most Christian holiday there is, but American Easter traditions have next to nothing to do with Christianity. The Egg Thing and the Bunny Thing are rooted in Pagan traditions, not Christian. It’d be cool if they came from Scotland, but I can’t find any evidence to support that.

* * * *

The other major issue we’re facing here involves curtain rods for the master bedroom. We chose a local ironworks shop to make them for us. The old guy who runs it is an artist. We’ve purchased some of his stuff before, and were very pleased with our acquisitions.

However, when we took Lea’s measurements and designs to the shop, the old guy had one of his arms in a cast, and it appeared the business was being run by a couple of kids that I have named the Moron Twins. There’s a reason for that.

One of the kids looked at Lea’s designs, and he seemed to understand what we wanted. Lea suggested that he come to the house and make his own measurements, which he did. Last Friday, he delivered our three custom curtain rods, and none of them were the correct size. In addition, he had added finials that looked like mutant insect antennae. Lea hated them.

The kid said someone would come to our house the next day, Saturday, to install them. Yeah, that didn’t happen. We went back to the shop on Monday with a new set of measurements and designs. Lea handled most of the transaction in Spanish, which was impressive. Once again, the kid seemed to understand exactly what Lea wanted. He even showed her that he had the finials Lea wanted in his shop.

We thought we had sorted that problem out. Later that afternoon, the other moron twin arrived at our house to install the curtain rods we didn’t want installed. 

As of right now, we still have the incorrect curtain rods stored on the far end of the patio. We have no idea when, or even if, we’ll receive our new curtain rods. I’m planning on asking Jaime to go down to the ironworks shop to advocate for us when he delivers our new kitchen faucet, possibly later today. More likely next week…

* * * *

We watched the first episode of the final season of Game of Thrones Sunday night. My long list of horrible people who need to got dead has shortened considerably because most of them have been killed to death already. Those who remain are Ser Gregor Clegane, Cercei Lannister, Euron Greyjoy, Qyburn, and the Night King.

It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out. And how many of my favorite characters will get killed to death in the process. Then I’ll be depressed until Hallmark starts playing Christmas movies again. But long before then my lovely supermodel wife will have to tell me to grow up or she’ll really give me something to cry about. I haven’t seen Captain Marvel yet, or The Avengers: Endgame. So I still have something to live for.

* * * *

For those of you who are wondering how my golf game is going, it still mostly sucks. I attribute part of that to seasonal allergies, high pollen counts, and dust. The Rainy Season won’t begin for a couple of months, so those conditions are likely to increase in intensity until then. The rains start around the middle of June, followed by the invasions of the Flying Buffalo Ants and the Flying Scorpion Spiders.

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Eek! Hideous monster bugs!!

If you’re freaked out by giant, poisonous insects, you’ll hate it here, so you should probably just stay at home and not even think about visiting here. And you sure as hell won’t want to move here.

But I did beat Cheryl last Sunday.

I golf at least every Sunday with my golf wife, Phyllis, and Tom and Cheryl. Cheryl is a very good golfer. She was the reigning Woman’s Champion at the country club we’re all members of.

It’s been a goal of mine to beat Madame Champion at least once before I get dead, but I’m not sure this one actually counts. Cheryl messed up her hip on the third hole. By the time we hit the back nine, she was way off her game.

I ended up beating her by one stroke, the same margin of victory Tiger Woods had at the Masters®. Now that I’ve kinda beat Cheryl, I need to beat her when she’s having a good day. Then it’ll be real.

* * * *

Our purebred Mexican street kit-tens, Mika and Mollie, are about eight months old now. They rule our house, and they know it.

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They’re no longer little, which is kind of sad. They were so darlingpreshadorbs! They were a laugh riot with their antics. They’re still entertaining, but in different ways now.

They’ve developed very distinct personalities. Mika is a fearless tomboy, always looking for some mischief to get into. She’s our Arya Stark kit-ten. Mollie is a Sansa Stark kit-ten. She’s more of a lady, unless you drop an ice cube. And she’s more of a lover, especially at night. She always snuggles with us when she comes to bed and hugs us goodnight. It’s one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen.

They are easily the two most finicky felines on the planet. I had to buy two more litter boxes because the two they already had just weren’t enough.

Lea used to go to every pet shop in the Lakeside Area, plus the Petco® in Guadalajara just to find the canned food they liked, until they stopped eating it altogether. They don’t like people food. Whoever heard of a cat that won’t eat chicken? Or pork chops? They only eat kibble, and they eat plenty of that. Hence, the need for more litter boxes.

I remember the day we brought them home and first time they pooped in the litter box. I was so proud of them! Yeah, I’ve pretty much gotten over that by now.

Little did we know when adopted our rescue kit-tens that they would become service animals, but they are. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

They’re kind of like unto psych nurses, except people actually like service animals.

Probably the most familiar service animals are guide dogs for the blind. Evidence suggests they’ve been around since the Roman Empire. Around the 1990’s, people started training service dogs to help with a wide range of disabilities. Various species of dogs were trained to assist children and adults with autism, people with diabetes, veterans and others suffering from PTSD, and a plethora of other disorders.

Unlike every other service animal on the planet, our kit-tens didn’t require any special training because they evidently already know everything. There’s some dispute about just how much service they actually provide, but that hasn’t stopped them from poking their noses into everything we do.

No matter what we’re doing in the bathroom, the kit-tens have to be there. To be truthful, I’m not sure they’re all that interested in what we’re doing. It’s more of their fascination with running water. They think it’s the coolest thing, ever.

Mika and Mollie help me floss every day. Okay, all they do is play with the dangling end of my dental floss. Whenever I shave, Mika practically climbs on my shoulders for a closer look. Neither Lea nor I can take a shower without the supervision of our service kit-tens. I’m no longer sure how we survived without them.

Lea can’t cook a meal without the kit-tens’ assistance. They climb inside of the cabinets to help her find pots and pans. They help her with recipes by sitting on her cookbook when she’s trying to read it. And they play with the water in the sink.

Oddly enough, the only time our kit-tens don’t like water is when I give them baths. I have the scars to prove it. I’ve thought about tossing them into the swimming pool the next time I want to bathe them, but I’m pretty sure Lea would kill me if I did, so I probably won’t try that.

It’s not just us, Mika and Mollie supervise everyone that comes inside of our house. They help our maid, Monica, sweep the floors. Okay, mostly they attack her broom and scatter everything she’s already swept up. When Tacho installed our new temporary faucet, the kit-tens sat on his chest to make sure he didn’t make any mistakes.

I assume that they would be equally helpful if anyone ever broke into our home. I’m not sure they’d actually attack anyone, unless they were barefoot. They would certainly come running to rub against the shins of any burglar, and he might trip while he was sneaking off with our stuff. But their most effective defense would be if a potential thief had an allergic reaction to cats.

I’ve thought about getting them official service animal vests, but I’m not sure I’d survive putting them on our ferocious, not-so-little kit-tens. We’ve started trimming their needle sharp talons of death about every two weeks, out of sheer necessity.

Neither of them are especially fond of being held, so I can only imagine their reactions to being dressed in cute service outfits. I’d probably end up looking like I had tried juggling chainsaws.

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Yeah, not the best idea I’ve ever had…

Well, that’s about it from here for this week. We hope you have a wonderful and peaceful Easter weekend. And that you find the perfect summer bikini.

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

¡Hola amigos! ¿Cómo están?

I know I haven’t written anything lately, so I’d like to thank my faithful readers for stepping up and demanding that I get back to work. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I don’t know how I’d respond if it ever did.

I’ve been busy. My lovely supermodel wife’s boyfriend has been here for the last couple of weeks, so we’ve been kind of occupied with him. I say kind of because we haven’t seen him as much this time around. Todd has decided he’s going to move here, so he’s been busy sorting out the details of his eventual relocation.

We hooked him up with our beautiful and talented Immigration Attorney, Julia Vargas. They’ve had several meetings to discuss what his best plan of action should be. And they’ve gone out on several non-business dates. They’re spending the weekend together at the beach.

I hope it works out for them. They’re both good people.

* * * *

Several of my latest posts have been of a political nature, which implies that I’m a global thinker, or at the least, far more global in my thinking than I actually am.

I’m a guy. Guys, by nature, tend to be shallow, superficial, and think only about themselves. Clearly, I need to get back to basics. I’m going to try to keep this post generally within the confines of our yard. More specifically, it’s about the joys of home maintenance.

I’m fairly competent at doing minor repairs around the house. I can replace light fixtures and faucets. I can fix leaking pipes. I’m really good at building shelves. I also know when I can’t fix something, and when it comes to home maintenance, that’s probably the most important thing to know.

To be fair, we had home maintenance issues at our last house. We’ve been very fortunate that both of our landlords have been very responsive to our wants and needs, whenever I couldn’t manage them myself, and that’s not always the case here. Or anywhere else for that matter.

* * * *

I have a theory about life. If there’s nothing going wrong in your life, God will bless you with car trouble, just to keep you humble. I call it Mark’s General Theory of Life and Stuff.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About And Stuff: It’s an unofficial nursing term. Way back when I was in nursing school, some of my much younger female classmates used it to describe the symptomatology of their patients.

“My patient was vomiting fecal material, and stuff…”  Which begs the question, If your patient was essentially vomiting shit, what else can there be? You’d think anything that had been in front of it would be, you know, gone already. Well, that’s the first thought I had…

Believe it or not, that’s actually a true story.

* * * *

Back to my theory on Life, Car Trouble, and Humility. That was before I retired and started playing golf.

I don’t need any help from God staying humble anymore. Golf has all of the bases covered as far as that is concerned. My fairway game has improved. I’m consistently getting on the green in three strokes.

My drives are mostly beautiful. A guy I golfed with the other day commented that I must have a low handicap after watching one of my gorgeous tee shots.

“Wait til we get closer to the green.” I replied.

To paraphrase my nursing school buddy, Don Nelson, I can’t sink fuckin’ putts.

If you’re on the green in three, and you three putt, that’s always a six. It’s my new favorite score. I’ve become so good at it that one of my golf buddies said this after we finished the seventh hole last Sunday.

“Give me a Mark.”

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Jesus H. Tiger Fuckin’ Mickelson!

According to people who are reasonably good golfers, there’s only one way to improve your golf score. And that is to keep playing. I’ll be on the course tomorrow. I’ll let you know if there’s any improvement.

* * * *

Okay. Back to my theory on Life, Car Trouble, and Humility. Again. The proof of this is we haven’t had any car trouble since we moved to Mexico, other than having to buy new tires. Twice. I attribute that to the roads here in the Lakeside Area more than anything else.

However, we have been blessed of late with a few issues at our new home that have been keeping us on our toes. The two biggest problems are in the kitchen.

The first is the refrigerator, which has mostly been nothing but trouble ever since we moved into our new home. I’ve written about this previously, if you’re really bored and want to check out  any of my other posts…

Our landlord, Lord Mark, Duke of San Antonio Tlayacapan, upgraded all of the kitchen appliances before we moved in, and moved the old appliances out to the casita. They’re old, and a faded almond color; clearly outdated in terms of modern decor. We were thrilled to see them replaced.

The new refrigerator is a shiny, stainless steel LG. We had an LG refrigerator at our house in Surprise, and we loved it. The first thing our shiny, new Mexican LG failed to perform consistently at was the water dispenser on the door. Both Lea and I drink a lots of water, so we’ve developed a great affinity for this handy gadget.

The water line in our refrigerator kept freezing up. It was easily fixed. Remove the frozen filter, let it thaw. Grab one of Lea’s hair dryers, melt the ice in the water line. Put it all back together, and violá! It worked like a charm.

There was only one problem. It kept freezing up.

The refrigerator is under warranty. Jaime Mendoza, our property manager here at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa, eventually convinced the LG Service Department in Guadalajara to send a technician to the Lakeside Area to fix it. Lakeside is about forty miles south of Guad. That took about a month. And all was well, until the ice maker died.

* * * *

I don’t use the ice maker much, but Lea does. She loves drinking really cold water. We’ve discovered she isn’t the only one. Our kit-tens, Mika and Mollie, do too. And Mollie is absolutely fascinated by ice cubes.

Another thing we’ve discovered is our rapidly growing kit-tens are really good at knocking things over, like, lamps. And ceramic chickens. And terra cotta armadildoes. And glasses of ice water. I started using a plastic water bottle because they can be resealed. And if the kit-tens knock that over, no clean up is required.

I think the only breakable things they haven’t already broken are the things we put on top of the book cases in the living room. And the only reason they haven’t broken those things is they haven’t figured out how to get up there yet.

* * * *

Jaime had to enter into another series of negotiations with the LG Service Department on our behalf, but before he was able to convince them that they needed to repair the ice maker on their warrantied product, the refrigerator stopped refrigerating, and then the freezer stopped freezing.

We moved everything that had been in the shiny, new refrigerator/freezer out to the ugly old refrigerator/freezer in the casita. Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with the way that old piece of junk works.

There was one bright spot with the bright and shiny LG. The water dispenser still worked.

It took Jaime about a week to convince the LG Service Department to send another repair technician to come look at the almost totally malfunctioning major appliance in our kitchen, but first we had to do The Twelve Hour Test.

Lea’s response was, “We’ve already done a one hundred and twenty hour test! This is bullshit!!”

My response to her was, “Honey, do you want your refrigerator fixed or not?”

So, yes. We performed the requisite testing. It was simple to do. Turn the cold settings up to maximum warp, put one glass of water in the refrigerator, and another in the freezer. And, twelve hours later, nothing had happened. The water in the refrigerator didn’t get cold, and the water in the freezer was still water.

Once LG was informed of the test results, they agreed to send out another technician. That was on Thursday. The LG repairman is supposed to be here next Tuesday. If we’re very fortunate, our refrigerator problems might be sorted out by the end of the month.

* * * *

The other kitchen issue is the faucet. We had asked Jaime to upgrade both the sink and the faucet, and he was willing to do that. The kitchen sink is stainless steel, but over several decades of hard use, it’s no longer stainless. The faucet was a mishmash of parts that didn’t match, and it leaked.

Jaime manages more than one property for Lord Mark, so it sometimes takes a while for him to get back to this property. Lea and I eventually decided to go look at new sinks on our own. That’s when we discovered that modern kitchen sinks are much smaller than our vintage sink.

Installing a new sink would have entailed completely redoing the countertop, and we didn’t think that was something Lord Mark would be willing to do.

No problem, we’re flexible. We informed Jaime we were willing to work at rehabbing the vintage sink, but we still wanted a new faucet. He sent us pictures of faucets he liked. Lea found one that she loved, and we had that installed a couple of weeks ago.

It was a weird-looking contraption, like unto the Terminator of Faucets. And the spray nozzle could really project jets of water.

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I think it performed flawlessly for about a week before it fell apart. It was easy enough to put back together because even I could do it. Unfortunately, a few days later it came apart at a different junction, and a few days after that it fell apart at the first junction I had already repaired. That was enough for Lea.

“Tell Jaime I want a new faucet. Now.” she said. Jaime is generally very easy to work with, but just so I knew he’d understand the urgency of the matter, when I told him we needed another new faucet, I added, “You don’t want me to put my wife on the phone.”

He’s a smart guy. He said he’d get another faucet.

The new faucet also has a warranty. We’ll see how long it takes to get that issue settled. In the meantime, Jaime had his crew install a temporary faucet, which works perfectly. So, that problem is sort of settled for the time being.

Fortunately, there are a few hundred excellent restaurants here. Another fortunate thing is it probably doesn’t cost any more for us to eat out than it does to cook at home. I’ll continue to post restaurant pictures on my Facebook page.

* * * *

The only reason I named our new house the Chula Vista Resort and Spa is because it has a swimming pool. I’m not sure I’ll ever use it, but Lea probably will once the temperature starts to climb. Whether we use it or not, it looks cool. And it doesn’t cost us anything to maintain it. That was included as part of our rent.

Well, it looked cool. Until the water turned green.

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I know next to nothing about pool maintenance. The first time I touched any of our pool equipment at our house in Surprise, I broke something. It was also the last time that I touched any of it. After that, I hired a pool service to manage everything related to the pool.

Our gardener is also responsible for maintaining the pool, so all I had to do was talk to Miguel, and he took care of everything else. However, I was curious why the water turned green. Miguel said the water here sucks; it’s too acidic, and that’s why the pool turned green.

We’re really glad we decided to install a water filtration system for the house now.

It took Miguel three days to shock the pool and vacuum all the crap out of it. The pool looked pristine for several days before the greening process started up again. He’s been testing the pool water daily and adding a series of chemicals to balance the pH levels. It looks beautiful today. I’m not worried about the pool. Miguel knows what he’s doing. If I try to help him, I’ll probably have to buy a new pump and filter system. Again.

* * * *

There’s one more thing that we’ve had to contend with, and that’s the water heater for the South Wing of Casa Tara. We have two small propane water heaters. We’ve never had any problems with the heater for the North Wing. It’s an older model with a pilot light, and that sucker can seriously heat up some water.

The other heater is a newer model. It’s an on-demand heater. The only time it runs is when you turn on the hot water in either of the bathrooms in the main house. I’ve had the opportunity to learn that the ignitor is battery operated, and if you know anything about batteries, you know that they have to be replaced eventually.

I discovered this when my lovely supermodel wife tried taking a shower with cold water.

If there’s one thing I know about propane heaters it’s this: If you fuck up playing with gas, you’ll probably blow up half of the neighborhood. I know how to relight the pilot if it goes out, but this sonuvabitch didn’t have a pilot light, and I didn’t know about the battery powered ignitor. Yet.

So I called my buddy, Elvis. He used to be a security guard at the golf course, but now he works for the gas company. It was Elvis who showed me where the battery compartment was. We put new batteries in, and voilá! Mischief managed. Or so I thought.

It seems the battery compartment is somewhat of a temperamental bitch. I’ve had to go outside and fiddle with the damn thing several times since we replaced the batteries. I happened to be in the shower the last time the hot water died, so Lea went out and whispered something to the effect of, Do this one more time and I’ll replace more than your goddamn batteries!

We haven’t had a problem since.

Maybe she should try that with the refrigerator…

The House of Diez Doors

¡Hola! Buenas tardes, y’all.

Now that we’ve finally completed the moving process, I can sit my ass down and try to write something. Until Mollie or Mika decide to help me edit this post. The kit-tens are getting so big! They’re still cute and adorable, except when they’re getting into mischief, and they’ve gotten pretty damn good at that. Mika has shown herself to be the leader when it comes to getting in trouble. That darn kit-ten!!

It’s like my crazy Polish grandmother used to say, “If I had two assholes, yous kids would climb in one to see what was up there!” Those old Pollacks, they had a way with words, not?

Mika and Mollie have been busy exploring their new home, and racing around the rooms playing kit-ten hockey. It’s a game I invented. All you need is two kit-tens and a ping pong ball. It’s seriously fun to watch. I’ll try to take a video one of these days, if I can stop laughing long enough to hold my camera steady.

Or maybe I’ll think of something I was going to do until I got distracted by another thing and forgot to do the first thing. Then I’ll have to quit writing and take care of that dangling thing immediately before I forget that I remembered that I needed to do something. Whatever it might be.

That has happened a lots the last few weeks. And it’s likely to continue for awhile.

And there was this, too: Where did I put the hammer?!? I have five hammers. I’ve used every fucking one of them putting this house together because I couldn’t find the one I was just using. I don’t know if that’s because I’m getting older and can’t rememberate stuff so good anymore, or because I have a very diffuse attention span. It might be both.

But another part of this equation is the sheer size of this place. I’ve posted a lots of pictures of our new house on my Facebook page. Many people have commented that our house looks like unto a resort. Yeah, it really does. But the photos fail to convey the scope of the space, and the layout. I’ve actually called my lovely supermodel wife on her cellphone when we were both in the house to ask her where she was.

I couldn’t find her, and I probably thought she had taken my hammer…

* * * *

We had no idea we’d be moving into the largest house we’ve ever had when we started our home search. Our last house was roughly 2200 square feet. This house is easily twice as large.  In Mexico, anything under a roof is considered indoor living space. Like, you know, a patio. If you use Mexican math, it’s probably closer to 5000 square feet.

I suppose the yard is bigger, too. But 90% of the lot is filled by the house. And the casita. And the swimming pool. Our backyard runs parallel to the first fairway at the Chula Vista Golf Course. It’s the other golf course in the Lakeside Area. The one I’m not a member of.

* * * *

I could say we have a great view of the golf course, but we don’t. There’s kind of a forest growing on the hillside below our house. And there’s a verdant garden growing along the fence line. You actually have to look pretty hard to see the golf course.

There are a couple of downsides to the Chula Vista course. It’s carved out of the side of the mountain, and the fairways run over hill, over dale. That in itself isn’t a deal breaker. There are no golf carts at Chula Vista. If I wanted to walk that much, I’d sell my car.

That’s not gonna happen.

On the bright side, I have found two golf balls in the backyard. I may never have to buy another golf ball…

* * * *

There aren’t many long-term rental houses available in the Lakeside Area this time of year. It’s Snowbird Season! We didn’t think we’d find a new place to live until May or June of next year. Then a kind of funny thing happened. Our friend, Cheryl, alerted us that this house was available. That wasn’t the funny part. Several of our friends had told us about available rental houses they knew of, and suggested we check them out. The funny part is Lea contacted  the property manager, Belva, immediately. Lea never does that. She has to think about stuff for awhile first.

We were the first people to contact Belva, and arranged to take a tour of the place. When we arrived for our walk through, she informed us that ten other couples had contacted her expressing interest in the property. But we had been first; we had dibs.

Belva had a fistful of keys in her hand. And she needed all of them. Two of the three exterior doors in the kitchen were on the same key. All of the other lockable doors, exterior and interior, were on separate keys. And you needed two different keys just to unlock the huge hobbit door that is the grand front entrance, that hardly anyone will ever use.

It’s an old house, probably twenty years older than our first Mexican house. It’s a classic Mexican style gringo mansion. The decor and furnishings were straight out of the 70’s. If The Brady Bunch (El Grupo de Brady en español) had been set in Mexico, this would’ve been their house. An elderly British couple had lived here until they got dead. Their son, Lord Mark, the Duke of San Antonio, inherited the place and has been renting it out as an income property.

This is The House of Ten Doors, not counting the two main gates. One gate leads to the grand main entrance. The really big gate secures the carport. There’s actually thirteen exterior doors here, but the title of this post is an adaptation of the title of the novel, The House of Dies Drear, and I hope at least one of my readers caught that. The number thirteen just wouldn’t work in my title, no matter which language I used. I suppose I could have used Gone With the Wind because the name of our casa is Tara, but that title didn’t make any sense. Not even to me.

“Well, what do you think? If you don’t want it, the next couple I show it to will take it.”  Belva said, after we saw the house. If she was bluffing, I couldn’t spot her tell.

Lea and I had a quick discussion. The place was old. It wasn’t move-in ready. The interior needed to be painted. We’d have to install a water filtration system. And there might be other surprises. It’s an old house…

As renters, that was money we’d be spending on a property that we were never going to purchase.

It had everything we were looking for, plus several things that weren’t on our list. Like, a casita, an attached exterior room that defies conventional description which could easily be converted into a workshop where I could play with my power tools, and it had a solar heated swimming pool.

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Okay. The Unconventional Room. It’s attached to the back of the north wing of the house, behind the kitchen. You can’t access the room from the inside, you have to go outside to get to it. Seeing how the only entrance to the Unconventional Room is an exterior door, it can be locked.

There were bunk beds in the room when we took our initial tour. Okay, it was a kid’s bedroom suite with a full bath. A bedroom with an attached bath that could be locked. It looked like a seclusion room to me. That’s what I called it until I converted it into my workshop.

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Back to the discussion Lea and I were having.

The house was huge, certainly much larger than anything we needed. Three bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms. Plus the casita. And the pool. And, well, everything! And it had so many goddamn doors! We were going to have to be on double secret alert for the rest of our lives to make sure we didn’t accidentally lose the kit-tens. But it wasn’t any more expensive than our first house. Plus, it came with a maid, and a gardener, and a pool guy, all of which were included in the rent.

A bird in the hand…  Yeah, we took it. Brady Bunch decor and all. It’s probably the only two times in her life that my lovely supermodel wife has made two decisions in less than ten minutes.

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By the way, Monica is our maid. She’s the best maid we’ve ever had. Miguel is our gardener/pool guy. They are both great at what they do, and we’re fortunate to have them.

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Our painter, Francisco Flores Bernini, had all of the interior rooms prepped and painted in less than two weeks, except the kitchen. Lea’s boyfriend and my golf wife painted that room. Thank you for that incredible gift, Todd and Phyllis.

Lord Mark had upgraded the kitchen appliances and had moved the old stove and refrigerator into the casita. In the process, the gas line to the stove in the casita had developed a leak. It took Moses the repairman three visits to fix it.

We moved fifty loads of the smaller household items in our SUV from our old house to our new house over a two week time period, with more help from Todd and Phyllis. The moving crew took five hours to transport the rest of our furniture here.

I spent something like unto fifteen hours setting up my home theater system. It sounds so good!! It was built for this house. It took two days to install the water filtration system. It took the satellite dish guys three visits to get our two TV’s up and running.

The locksmith we hired had to make two trips here to rekey four locks on the kitchen doors and the main entrance to one key. It took us about a week to find the key to unlock the third patio door.

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That mountain of keys! We threw them in a pile on the dining room table, and every time we needed a key we had to dig through the fucking keys until we found the one key we wanted.

Several years ago I had bought a whole bunch of oversized decorative keys. They look like the skeleton keys the head jailer might carry around in an old prison. I hung a decorative key by every exterior door, and the corresponding key to each door.

Mischief managed.

And then there were the light switches. There are a whole lots of those, too. We had to replace at least fifteen light bulbs, but now we know what what most of the switches operate, and the coolest light switch ever is in the hallway running along the bedrooms. It’s a sensor. The lights turn on and off automatically as you enter and exit the hallway. There are two switches we’ll probably never figure out. For all I know, they might turn on the lights at the neighbor’s house. Or, possibly your house.

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All in all, it took only nine days for Lea and I to put the new place together. We finished today.

Casa Tara, the House of Ten Doors, looks cool. It also feels cool. Literally. It’s like living in a cavern. The high ceilings and the brick and mortar walls make the interior feel as though it’s air conditioned, which will be very nice in the summer. But it’s actually kind of cold inside this time of year.

There are three gas fireplaces; one in the living room, one in the den, and one in the master bedroom. None of them are functional. Yeah, we need to fix that.  ¡Pronto!

There are hundreds of small jobs still left to do. I’ve completed several of them while I’ve been writing this. It’s one reason why it’s taken me so long to finish. It’s also one reason why I need a workshop.

Pretty soon I can start to get back to playing golf three times a week and doing as little as possible of anything else. I was getting really good at personal energy conservation.

Speaking of golf, Phyllis and I are playing in a tournament tomorrow. I need to visualize my one, true, authentic swing. Maybe I’ll be able to do it once or twice when the spotlight is on me…

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We’ll be taking reservations at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa soon as the Casita/Guest House is ready. Please call ahead to check availability before showing up at the front gate. Ring the doorbell if you arrive unannounced. It’s a big place. We might not see you otherwise.