WD 40 (Cuarenta)

The view from our balcony

I am sitting on our balcony, sipping the first morning coffee with Eva.

Flor is walking on the beach with her menagerie of dogs (who start humping each other as soon as she stops) has stopped to talk to Dave. The sound of the ocean waves and of conversation drift up to us from the beach. I watch the ocean gently lap the sand, and dogs humping. Another day on the beach is unfolding.

Contemplating the day ahead, I plan to: do some writing; cut some branches from the Palm next to us; and attempt to balance a ceiling fan (yet another new thing for me to learn). I am happy that we have internet. This mode of education has helped me, in the main, learn a little about plumbing, electricity, the use of vinegar in cleaning windows and laundry, and now how to balance a ceiling fan. As for learning how to live in a Yucatán fishing village on the Gulf of Mexico, I am only able to learn through experience. Kind of like learning about what it means to fall in love or to have a bad back.

I suppose some my chores today will also be completing the “WD 40 run” as I call it.

An alumnerio (person who works with aluminum) told me to maintain our sliding patio doors by spraying WD 40 around the frame of the doors.  That will help the wheels and other metallic things keep moving. Our house is about 2 years old and the wheels on the doors on the bottom level are frozen with rust.  He seemed to think that by using WD 40 (or simply stated “cuarenta”) that we would be able to maintain a working relationship with our doors for maybe four or five years.  Or at least that is what I think he said.  I have been slowly learning Spanish over the past 40 years, much more rapidly over the past two years (but that story is for another time). So yet another use for the almighty cuarenta.  The liquid duct tape of the Gulf of Mexico.

Takes about a day to complete, still we put WD 40 put on everything, the stove, the fridge, faucets, door hinges, locks, almost all things metal within the house.  All except the bannister for our staircase (I suspect Eva may start to oil the banister on the day that she would like to get rid of me). Do an oil run at least once a month and it seems to be working, most of our metal objects are relatively rust free.

Got to run Eva seems to have been stung by a wasp (avispa, in spanish). I am required to provide a bit of first aid.  Maybe a little spray of cuarenta will make it better.

As I am gaining intimacy with WD 40, I wrote a short ode to Cuarenta, but sadly forgot to include the ode with this post.  As I am just learning, I hope that I can have patience with myself as my learning grows.

An ode to WD 40…

Without a Doubt Forty
It is the Cuarenta of my soul.
There is no replacement
Without it I am not whole.

Cuartenta is what I need.
It stops any bleed.
Without a Doubt Cuarenta
Is all that I need.

When there is no Forty
I am a lost soul.
Without my Cuarenta
I am just a rusty hole.

Mexico: Week Two; Year Three

Arrived October 25, spent the night in Mérida, October 26 drive around and pick up groceries before driving to our little casita on the beach in Chelem.

Arrive and discover that we have electricity (hurrah). All things that use current are working as they normally would, in a place with lots of moisture, salty air, sometimes high winds, lots of oxidation, and the occasional power outage.

The beach is a little shorter, is that how you say it? Or maybe something like there is less sand on the beach, or we are more ocean front this year and less beach front? Anyway, the erosion of the beach is creating some concern. Something to look into, of course there is always something for us to look into. Especially with learning a new language and learning how to live On the Beach. I am hoping that Eva will take a lead in researching what actions might help to decrease beach erosion and if the Yucatán government is also acting on beach maintenance.

Replaced the leaky faucet in our kitchen sink (took 3 or 4 days). Connectors on the new faucet are smaller than the tap for our water lines. Much of the time was spent searching for adaptors to make the connection. On my search for the faucets I realized that I did not remember much of my spanish, sigh. Yet a lot of it came back to me very quickly and I was able to find the necessary parts. The people from the Yucatán are the most helpful and friendliest people in the world. That is as long as you have patience and realize that shouting does not make someone (who does not speak english) immediately learn and begin to speak in english. Besides the more I speak spanish the more I learn the more I gain comfort in speaking. (I suspect that I currently have to knowledge and skills of a fairly smart three year old, hopefully I will get up the level of a five year old by the time we return to Canada)

Best day for me so far, is Thursday November 3. I understood my friends from Mérida who spoke spanish to me on the telephone and I correctly completed the actions that they asked to complete. I felt amazingly smart! We then re-completed, in spanish, the INM forms to obtain our “residente temporal” cards. Took our applications to the INM and we passed (hurrah) everything was correct all that remained was for us to make the payment to obtain the cards and now we wait to receive them, hopefully in about 5 – 10 days.

Many lessons for me to learn while we are in Mexico. The biggest one and one that I am attempting to practice everyday. Is to live fearlessly! More on that in an essay, coming soon to this blog.

Leaving Toronto

The following is the note that I had prepared on October 25. The date that we boarded the Westjet direct flight from Toronto to Mérida. Sadly it has taken me until today to post this part of the journey. Much has happened between October 25 and today. I will write about that soon. “Ojalá”(Spanish for hopefully)

Getting ready to leave Toronto and I have mixed feelings. I love seeing A-Z, Sarah and Badr. Still it is a little crowded in the apartment and my lower back is killing me slowly, likely from not exercising and sharing a smallish foamy on the floor with Eva. Still have a 5 hour flight to look forward to, then overnight in Mérida at our friends Werner and Betty then off to our place on the beach. I wonder how big the beach out front will be? How electricity will be? And how it will go applying for our “residente temporal “? Also how much I will remember of my Spanish and Maya.

Ah well always an adventure and change coming and going. I guess that is what is keeps me young or just anxious.

On Our Way to Chelem via Toronto

Man I can see that I have been prolific in my blogging. What only a year later and another post. Better slow down, don’t want to peak or burn myself out too early!

So it is October 12 and “we” are packed. Well, I am packed, sort of. I have completed some “dry run” packing. In the hopes of limiting the number of bags needed and the weight of my carry on luggage. Still can’t be completely sure because it takes (as Rumpole of the Bailey would say) “my little nest of vipers” a while to decide what we need to take and if she will be able to fit it all. There have been times in the past when I have taken on a few extras. Still this year seems to be going well. Only 2 checked bags each (and I managed to make the usual oversized extra bag regular sized, hurrah) and the usual two carry on bags each. No arguments, although I am a little concerned about the size of one of the carry on’s. Ah well we shall see what happens at the airport tomorrow. And when we leave Toronto October 25.

This is our first time flying through Toronto to Merida, as a multi-city flight.

Get to spend two weeks with our granddaughter. Ava-Zara, and also with our daughter and her husband. It will be great to spend some time with all of them for two weeks. Packed into their one bathroom apartment. Being a family that enjoys packing ourselves into small cars and going for long road trips, this should be fun. I am looking forward to it, not sure about the rest of the gang.

I think that I am starting to get used to living in two countries. Not nearly the same level of anxiety that I have had in the past. Maybe I am starting to relax and get a little used to retirement. Or maybe I am getting used to how different living in Mexico is from living in Canada.

I have decided to live or attempt to live my life worry free. If such a thing can be obtained in this currently highly polarized world. Ah well, need to send off my messages to friends and acquaintances in Chelem, and Merida. Find out what people would like us to bring from Canada and start the ball rolling for getting services back up to speed. Stay tuned for further conversations on living in a fishing village in the Yucatan. Next one will be about the basics. I am looking forward to getting our “residente temporal” when we arrive.

On our way to Chelem via Cancun

So we got up at 4:30 a.m. to make sure we were all packed and to be able to get to the airport at around 6:00 because I wanted to have lots of time to rearrange articles if one of our suitcases was overweight. I suspect that this is an aging thing on my part, or maybe a lazy thing, probably both. (Turns out that was a good idea).

We managed to pack, into the Suzuki, our total of 9 “items” :1 large cardboard box; 2 very large suitcases; 2 medium sized suitcases; 1 jam packed backpack; 1 jam packed briefcase; 1 jam packed purse; and 1 jam packed (with glass and shoes) carry-on bag. I am happy that this is our last use of the Westjet airline moving company. Although I am quickly discovering that my idea of finished can be quite different than my wife’s idea of finished. So, my bliss may be short-lived.

Things at the airport seemed to start smoothly, one overweight suitcase, easily remedied by moving things from the overweight case to the underweight case. No problems, everything a-ok, until the security point.

The security point was interesting. First I went through, someone came up and swabbed my hands and my belly button (well actually my belt buckle (this is something new to me), then they had to go through my backpack because it was so jam packed and they had to swab my camera. I was clean and passed.

Eva was another story. First they swabbed her, then they had her stand in the upright underwear showing x-ray tube. Then they had to feel her up. (Apparently underwire bra’s cause many many problems with security). Next were her bags, the fancy, shamncy, glass (with jelly fish art) looked like rocks in the x-ray machine so they had to take things apart to show to the x-ray person.

Freshly swabbed, checked, rubbed and cleaned we were ready for the flight to Cancun.

Flight was uneventful, smooth, and quick.

Arrived in Cancun early and even got to the gate early and through the first customs quickly, bags came quickly, looked like we were about to breeze through. All the bags made it through the giant x-ray machine, we had them piled on the cart and were off to press the button for green light / red light. Then the glass filled bag slipped off and made a glass hitting the ground sound. I think my mistake was in saying “oh that is the crystal” because all of a sudden the x-ray operator got up and said go over there, under this barrier to go to this new line, still before we were sent to the inspection station, they ask me to push the green light/red light button, red of course. So, now off to have all 9 articles opened and checked thoroughly. We passed inspection, taped the cardboard box closed and off to get the rental car.

When we arrived at the hotel in Cancun, I noticed an urgent email and urgent text message from our friend Lizette for me to call Gino (Lizette’s husband and also our friend). So, I am about to remember my spanish immediately. I call Gino and I think that I understand that we had someone try to break into our house and he wanted to know when we would be arriving. It is quite funny how we talk to people when they do not understand the language. I had a difficult time so he slowed his speech down … considerably … and STARTED … TALKING … MUCH … LOUDER. Still I understood him, eventually, I think. Anyway, he had checked inside the house and thought nothing was missing and would have someone stay at our house overnight to make sure no robbers got into our house that night. We will see how the house looks and what needs to be done tomorrow. I hope everything still works and we do not arrive to a house full of mold, and no furniture.

Retirement Nuggets (Month 9)

Okay I have been “retired” since November last year. And I have not written anything on my blog.  What is up with that!!!? Guess my life is just so boring, that I am going to have to make some things up and when it is not so boring embellish.

Some things that I have noticed about aging and retirement:

  • My wife and I are now spending at lot (I mean really, really a lot) of time together. we are no longer planning what we will do together on the weekend. You know, the weekends where we do some of the things that she likes to do, then do some of the things that I like to do and jam those things into 48 (sometimes 64) hours of madness and fun, fun, fun.  Now we are together all day every day, except for the times that we nearly strangle each other, those times we usually just spend apart somewhere. We tend to spend more time in each others pocket now, playing “what do you want to do today?”, every day, every morning. Unless, of course, it is one of those “let’s not strangle each other” mornings.
  • My eyesight is getting worse. I first noticed my fading eyesight, when I forgot my “reading” glasses and went to my drawing class (by the way, best class I have ever taken … ever).  Anyway, we were tasked with drawing different objects, to get a feel for texture in drawing.  My instructor came over and told me not to make so many sharp lines on my drawing of a roughly textured sea shell (apparently those ridges that I was “seeing” where actually barnacles and not sharp ridges).  When we exhibited our drawings, many people were interested in my hedgehog interpretive drawing of the shell.  First time I have ever thought “wow, how can everyone see something completely different than me?”
  • Money, none coming in, lots going out. All those stories about compound interest and with little money over many years making yourself rich beyond your wildest dreams. They lied.
  • Career change, from worrying about where the next job is coming from to worrying about how much money we have and how long will we live.
  • Time.  We fill our time, we always have something we want to do.  All the things that I promised I would be doing when I retire take up a lot of time. My wife also had plans for when she retired.  Her plans are not exactly the same as my plans. Those are the days we decide one of us has got to be strangled (I lie I think those are the days I decide one of us has got to go). Remember, only 20 minutes. Seize the morning! Okay this is a big one, we fill our time, we fill each others time, we fill other peoples time.  This is the time to be cute. I mean cute like a baby, any kind of baby. This is hard as an older person because we generally stink, can be grumpy, and move slowly, it is only going to get worse.
  • Invasion.  I worked out of a home office, my wife went to work. She is now at home ALL THE TIME.
  • My wife has higher standards of tidiness and cleanliness than I do and she lets me know about it.  Now that she is at home she notices more things more often.
  • Sense of humour (yes u need to be a part of humour). There is a reason that we got married and have stayed together for as long as we have.

 

A new start

We have been “retired” and on the beach since November 11, 2014. I am just now stealing (creating) the space to be able to write something. Eva and I have been living in each others pockets for the last 4 months, and are still learning how to dance with each other again, and discovering new things about each other. It is not an easy thing to do, not super hard either, frustrating at times, great fun at times. For me, the thing is to know that each day will be different.

Random Thoughts

I have meet some very interesting and very thoughtful people here. The ability to create a wonderful place to work and to be in relationship does exist. Sadly the opposite also exists.

Things that I want to remember about leadership and learning.

I am discovering what it means to have a beginners mind.  For me it is about discovering sand and salt air and wind.  I did not know that we might have to use WD 40 oil to help the toilet mechanism flush that toilet.  How do you ask for a battery to fit in the remote control to play music?  The language in the Yucatan is made up of words that include Maya.  I found out just the other day that to ask if this is the end of the line or queue it is called a cola, not a linea. How do I use wordpress

On the Beach

I plan to share my experiences and things that I have learned here in the Yucatan.  Hopefully it will be entertaining.

We have been in Mexico since November 11. From the 11th until now we have continued to purchase things for the house. We still do not have internet at the house. Not sure what the problem is. As I am learning it can be many things including my inability to speak spanish.