July 25, 2008

Here we go round again

Yesterday Esperando went to the Mexican consulate here in the Mile High City to get our valued inventory of household goods stamped properly so we will have a minimum of problems going through customs in Tijuana. This included 4 copies of: his passport; his FM3; our list of things (translated into Spanish); proof of residence in Denver; and proof of residence in Santa Rosalia. He didn't get everything exactly right so he had to come back and redo some things, and go back again. We are told the papers will be ready for us on Tuesday.

In the afternoon he got an email from our Man Friday (Señor Viernes) in Santa Rosalia telling us the shipment of stuff, the 63 boxes, had arrived. Much of the stuff had be taken out of the boxes and was loose, about a third of the boxes had been "disassembled." We were sent a photo by Señor Viernes that somewhat represents the loose stuff. Smart me, I had a list of what was in what box and could go through the list he sent of still intact boxes and figure out what had been taken out of its box, and I assumed, was gone forever. It was pretty staggering. But it turns out the custom broker is the one that had to take EVERYTHING out of its box, and itemize each item with a special code for customs before it could be cleared. Nothing is any longer in its original box, so I will have no clue where to look for things once I get to Casa Boleo. It will be a while before I know if anything is missing. It will be really annoying not to know exactly what box to go to get this or that thing. Life is getting pretty interesting.

Today Esperando and I made the bold move. We went and bought the double axle 6x12 trailer to haul our things down to Santa Rosalia. Normally I would have been opposed to this, but since we are convoying with another couple also pulling a trailer we won't be able to go very fast anyway. The other couple has no air conditioning in their car since they are Canadians and wouldn't need it Canada. I hope they don't die of heat driving down to Baja. Today the weather was 90F and 47% humidity in Baja. They are bringing a small dog with them. I hope the small dog doesn't die too. After purchasing and driving away the trailer, we went and picked up the new sofa set and two queen mattresses.

After the mishap with the other shipment, Esperando talked to the customs broker who will be muscling our stuff through customs (same guy as before.) This should save us alot of grief. He advised all our used household goods go in the trailer as we are allowed a one time deal to bring in used household stuff. This is the stuff that gets inspected at the border and makes it or doesn't. We have a new TV, a new wine refrigerator, and new sofa set we are hoping will pass for used since we took them out of the original wrappings and scuffed them a bit. If they don't make it, I don't know what happens to them or us. The customs broker will be kind enough to shuttle our case of whiskey back and forth two bottles at a time so we meet our quota there.

The stuff we plan to carry in the truck is new and we are allowed, $500 per person or pay duty (20%) on the excess, but if it is over by too much (we are not sure what that number is) then the duty apparently is outrageous. The truck will have our clothes, lots of pet food, cat litter, the Cuisinart, Esperando's new saw, electrical wiring stuff and ceiling fans for Casa Abeja. We are also hauling food (can you believe two giant jars of kim chee—Korean marinated cabbage—for our Korean visitors that must be refrigerated); pinto beans, coffee, and tea.

We spent the few hours after lunch wrapping the TV, refrigerator and parts of the sofa set with plastic to protect it. The TV is especially well wrapped, I hope they don't unwrap it in customs!! I just tried to take a nap but I am way too wired to sleep, so I write this with a tired but wired brain.

Still have to finish packing all the lots of little things and my clothes, although I made a start on the clothes yesterday. The storm clouds are gathering!

July 23, 2008

Pistol packing mama

Yesterday, with false information about Esperando's FM3 card status and the time frame for bringing in personal goods (6 months after card issue, which turns out NOW not to be true) we convinced ourselves that we HAD to send all our personal things and household goods for Casa Abeja during this little hiatus while Esperando is grounded. First we were going to have movers to do all this, that evolved into they move it we pack it—now we are buying a trailer in the next few days to haul it ourselves. I wonder what I did in some previous life spend this life packing boxes?Our trailer will be hauling our 12 boxes from Australia (those that were yawing in the basement); a few more local boxes; the stuff bought yesterday at Costco—TV, DVD, toaster, coffee pot, cuisinart, etc.; and couches, mattresses and a coffee table purchased yesterday at Sofa Mart.; bbq grill;vacuum; some framed prints and books; the list grows and grows!! No wonder I was so wiped out last night, even for a power shopper I was overwhelmed.

The thing that really makes my hair stand on end is that we don't actually own the house yet, that happens in late August if all of the cards (Mexican bureacracy) fall into place right. And then beyond that we still have to remodel the house before we can move in (give that another 6 months minimum). The advantage of the trailer is that we will now have a portable storage unit where we can store everything until we can move in. I see it now—the next two weeks will evolve into a frenzy of packing and snarling at each other—and lists! You should see how long the lists are! Before we were planning on hauling all this down there so soon, I had actually thought I had a lot of time on my hands. Shows I shouldn't go thinking these random pleasant thoughts. I still have to figure out what clothes to take and get those suitcases packed too. My brain just goes fuzzy when I try to figure that one out. If anyone of you try to call and I am snappy blame it on the pistol packing mama syndrome and forgive me.

Today I get my nightguard from the dentist. I am told I will be there 1 to 1-1/2 hours while he fits it to my mouth. Apparently multiple fittings are involved and for the first week I just wear it after dinner, then progress to wearing it at night once the fittings are more finalized. I must say that its not any wonder I am grinding my teeth.

Tomorrow night our housesitter is coming over for dinner. If I was better organized I would have everything she needs to worry about written down, but I don't feel like doing that yet.

July 20, 2008

Just call my name, I'll be there

Yesterday I decided to buy a new cell phone. I had my Nokia for 4 years and the battery was starting to lose its charge pretty quickly. When we took it into the AT&T shop they said they hadn't seen one of those that still worked in a long time. They also told me my new phone would be faster, better, smarter. It almost made ME feel like a dinosaur.

Since I couldn't spring for a I-phone I ended up buying an LG Shine. It is just about as cute and has lots of great features such as voice recognition, so I can just tell the phone to call a number instead of dialing it. The AT&T guys downloaded all the info from my previous phone so I didn't have to re-enter my old contact numbers, or even my greeting! It also has a camera and will give you weather for other places. I hate to say this, but I feel like I have made a giant leap into the 21st century.

Somehow I always become extremely annoyed at these AT&T cell stores. Maybe they are the same at any wireless store. First of all you have to wait around for someone to help you, then once you close the deal it seems to take forever before you can walk out the store with your purchase. We always go to AT&T because they have good international service. When Esperando bought me the Nokia, it was because we had moved to a new home and didn't have a landline yet. So he went out and got me a phone, but because he was the one purchasing it, the account was set up in his name. At the time we had no idea what that really meant. What it meant was if I wanted to change anything with the account, he had to call to do it as I had no authority to make a change. When he was out of town his calling them wasn't very convenient, and didn't even happen if he was out of the country. We thought we finally got that straightened out, but then it was to no avail when I would try to do something (like have international roaming added). I really got mad at the girl helping me back then.

In any event when we went in this time, I said I wanted the account in my name. They said ok, but did I REALLY want to do that? So much trouble: a new credit check, reestablishing a payment method, extra money to set up the account, etc., etc.) I could be added on as a permanent authorized member of the account since Esperando was with me to verify who I was. The girl assured us that all my problems would be resolved and I would never have issues with them again. Just call her and she'll be there (the staff changes constantly).

This morning when I came downstairs I used my cell phone to call the slumbering Esperando (on the house phone, right by his bed). After all who else could I call at 5:30 am? He wanted to know why the house phone was identifying the caller as HIM? Curses foiled again! The phone company has outwitted me. It may be MY new phone but to anyone getting my call, the caller is identified with Esperando's name. I am so annoyed by those wireless people that I have developed phone rage!!

July 18, 2008

Round up twice the usual number of suspects

This last week was my birthday. It was just as unusual this year as it has been the previous two years.

Last birthday no one was here but me, and our new kitten escaped just as I was finally filled with enough Chardonay to be fully relaxed and to cope with being by my lone self on my special day. I found the him in my unfriendly neighbor's garage under his car. He had positioned himself regally on the concrete and was quite out of reach. I stumbled around with my neighbor's broom trying to excise the cat somehow with a minimum of noise so as to not draw their attention. Well, its a pretty involved story.

Then the previous year in the early morning, the dog and I found a baby swallow that had fallen from its nest, and worked to keep it warm and full enough until we could get it to a bird shelter that opened at noon. I went to the internet to find out what to feed it (crushed dog kibble with a little warm water administered through an eye dropper). It's neck was so transparent you could see the food go all the way down!

This year I made it clear to Esperando that his presence WAS required on my birthday, come hell or high water. Esperando's plane landed at 11:3o pm from Mexico (it was my third trip to the airport in 24 hours--Uncle from Ontario, Mother from San Francisco, Esperando from Loreto.) As we drove back from the airport the magic hour arrived-- midnight. Now it was officially my birthday! He woke me up at 5 am and said, "Happy birthday, I need to go to the emergency room," since he couldn't pee. Wow, what an eye opener!! By the time the hospital was done with him at the end of the day, he was pretty washed out. Fortunately my mother, uncle and sister were here to keep me company as Esperando, poor guy, melted away into the bedroom shortly after birthday cake. What could possibly top this one next year? I shudder to think.

Today Esperando is mostly fully recovered, and all my other guests have gone back to their respective homes. Tonight we are grilling buffalo steaks and enjoying the great bottle of Jaffurs Syrah 2006 from Santa Barbara County that my sister gave me as a birthday gift. I highly recommend it. Esperando has been sidelined until we leave for Baja, a big plus for me even though he will be working from home.

July 10, 2008


Today I go to the dentist and see the results of all the impressions they took of my mouth to show me how screwed up my bite is. They took molds top and bottom, two wax bite impressions and lots of photos. It will be interesting to see what it all adds up to. I've already agreed to get the $900 nightguard not covered by insurance. I saw an interesting photo on the web of someone who had gnashed their teeth down to the gums. Ick!! I've also switched pillows to a feather pillow which allows me to keep my hands away from my jawline while I'm sleeping.

All my birds have flown the coop! Esperando is back in Mexico, Mother has gone to San Francisco, my sister has gone off to play with her husband's lawschool friends from times past, and I am inside enjoying the peace and quiet for a bit. It is hot outside. The dog and I took the small walk this morning, he still enjoyed it alot, especially the dog treats he gets periodically while we practice sit-stays. Lots of nice wildflowers blooming and buzzing with bumblebees and honey bees. I am also collecting some of my best rose petals for a small sack of good wishes to be tossed on the bride and groom at my nephew's wedding in September.

Esperando and I are now starting to make the list of stuff we personally will take to Mexico, which includes a little flowover of things for the guesthouse that I had overlooked (such as hairdryers). Still alot of stuff to finish before we go: take my car in for servicing; get the electrician to come out and fix the outdoor outlets none of which seem to work; take truck to get camper top installed; get animals' health certificates; get mammagram; get dental appliance; get hotel reservation for the as yet undetermined hotel we will spend the night in near Ensenada--yadayadayada. Phew!!

The worst part is the overwhelming desire to buy yet more clothes, like this is my last opportunity before I get cut off from catalogs, malls and easy mail delivery. But the best was going with my sister to the Neiman Marcus presale to look for a mother of the groom dress for her, and finding this wonderful pink and lime green paisley shirt for me by Robert Graham.

Well this didn't get this published last night, so I am adding a bit more this morning. The dog and I saw a muskrat swimming in the creek this morning, rather I saw it swimming, the dog just put his nose in the air and smelled it without ever seeing it. It was only 6 feet away from us standing on the bridge. Then I when we got home I found a dead baby cottontail in the front yard. So sad!! Who says we lead a dull life?

July 3, 2008

It's almost the 4th of July!

Really bummed after my visit to the dentist. My jaw is out of alignment, he gave me a home treatment routine and said I may need to buy a $900 dental appliance that insurance won't cover. Ouch! Following his treatment routine, today I am painfree. I guess he may know what he's doing after all.

Esperando has gone off to practice airplane flying. I'm so happy he gets to go play since he hasn't had the opportunity for fly for more than a year. If all goes well we may end up purchasing an airplane to have in Baja. Ah so many loose ends. Last night we started making the list of what we still need to buy to take with us to Mexico. Its kind of scarey looking in that it gets longer and longer. My sister and mother are here to play again, my sister will leave on Sunday and my mother will go to San Francisco for a visit with my brother on . Time is getting shorter and shorter before we will leave too.

Tomorrow we are having a progressive 4th of July party with our neighbors. Cocktails at the house next door, salad at our house, then bbq, potato salad, and dessert at the neighbor's on the other side.