First Full Day At Home

I had a good first evening at home and managed to not get caught up in any major projects. I did determine that I don’t have a single grounded outlet in the house, meaning no place to plug in the UPS that I use to protect my electronic equipment! Croft gave me some good advice about that. With Mexican electricity standards being so different from Canadian ones, the wiring here looks like nothing that I’m used to and so there was no way I was going to try to fix this myself. An expat on a forum said that the guy who changed my tap did a similar job for her so I decided to contact him in the morning.

My first shower here was good! The pressure was sufficient and with the water coming directly from the tinaco on the roof, it wasn’t icy cold. We are getting into the colder evening season and I am going to want hot water at some point, but for last night, I was very happy.

I went to bed around 10:30 after adding cardboard to one of my bedroom windows since a light from the mechanic’s shop was shining right into the room. My bed was comfy and I fell asleep right away, but I woke up several times during the night and was really irked to be woken at 6AM by both weak sunlight and a fucking rooster. Pardon my French, but I’m going to find him and make soup out of him!

The light is going to be an easy fix — black out material simply attached to the existing valance with clothespins. Not sure what to do about the rooster. I hate those things with a passion — they ruined so many nights of sleep in Maz and I can’t believe I’m dealing with one here!!!

Another disappointing thing is that the controller on my new bedroom fan makes a very loud buzzing sound. Google tells me that’s normal for cheap fan controllers and not necessarily a wiring issue. So the new fan is basically worthless to me, unless I can get used to that buzzing sound and turn it into white noise… 🙁

So all that said, I was up at my “normal” time this morning. Made coffee and had a croissant with jam at the breakfast bar. My bistro set stool is too high for the counter, but will serve me until I find an adjustable one. Oh, and I’d put a carton of almond milk in the fridge last night and it and everything else I put in was cold, but not frozen while everything in the freezer was frozen solid. I’m relieved and so pleased with my purchase! I am going to try to find myself a fridge thermometer to make sure everything really is hunky dory, though.

Next order of business was to check on the cactus I planted last night that I forgot to tell you about — V sent me off with an already rooted pitaya cutting. Hopefully, I’ll get fruit in the next two years!

Then, it was time to get to work. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I remembered that my plastic table is the right height for my computer chair. So this morning, I set up a temporary office in the kitchen! Really less than ideal, but it made no sense to take everything off the table to move it to the office, which is quite full.

Late morning, I popped the screen out of this window and in a feat of parkour made my way onto the roof to the gas tank by jumping from a crouched position on this ledge to a lower ledge and then to the roof. I was rather impressed with myself!

As I suspected, the valve was off. I turned it on, then hauled myself up onto the ledge, from which I was able to jump back onto the window ledge. Great exercise, but I’m not making a habit of it! Back down I went to the water heater. I had no trouble getting it lit once I got propane (imagine that!), but it’s not staying lit. It’s so rusty that I’m wondering if it needs to be changed… So that was rather frustrating, but at least now the problem is at ground level.

I also made contact with the maintenance guy and after a few voice calls, messages, and photos, we were close to being on the same page. He promised to come by in the next few days to wire me a three-prong, grounded, outlet.

An expat on my forum offered his services to do that and my first question to him was if he’s allowed to work here legally. Not surprisingly, the answer is no. One of my biggest pet peeves are expats who hire other expats “under the table” (the term he used) to do a service that a Mexican can do, even if, like him, they charge NOB prices and aren’t really in competition with Mexicans. These are usually the same people who bitch about immigrants stealing jobs back home. Even if this was my house and I had money to spend on it, I would make an effort to find a Mexican who understands NOB electrical norms before I’d hire an expat who is able to work here legally.

I worked at my first job of the day and then decided to go run some errands. I wanted Autozone for car wax because my sink is being too high maintenance (was told that a basic carnauba car wax would do the trick), HSBC for an ATM, and Parisina for fabric. As it turned out, Parisina is right by the HSBC. And look what’s across from it:

I was definitely deserving of a sushi lunch! 🙂

I put on a pretty dress and hat and then ambled across to Prolongación Paseo de Montejo, going first to Autozone. I was immediately asked if I needed help and I requested simple car wax with carnauba. They had a tub for $79, the best deal by far that I’d seen anywhere.

Parisina was after the bank. I wanted to price blackout material and also shelf liner. I had all my measurements for the shelves and what I wanted would have come close to $600! But then, I found some cloth-backed vinyl table cloths that would more than do the trick. Enough to do all my shelves was only $150! The patterns and colours were garish, even for my taste, but this was acceptable:

I’ll cut it down to size. I especially want it to the protect the surface of the big cabinet where I want to store my pots to keep it from being scratched, but also to put it on my bookcases to make sure the wood doesn’t get wet.

Blackout curtain material is meant to be a liner, so it comes only in beige and white. The width of the fabric was awkward for my size of windows so I’m going to instead price premade blinds similar to the ones I have in Miranda that I saw at Costco.

I also saw at Parisina something that convinced me not to paint my desk. Need to speak to my mother about that as she is an expert for working with this material…

I then went across the street to the sushi joint. I’ve made my peace with the fact that Mexicans have no idea what sushi is supposed to be like and to embrace the weirdness of Mexican-style sushi, cream cheese and citrusy soy sauce included. They had a roll with octopus, the first time I’ve seen such a thing, so I obviously went with that! Even with the cream cheese, it was delicious, the octopus so sweet and tender. Lunch was a proper treat and, best of all, prices were very reasonable and they deliver to my house — they’re the folks who left a flyer in my mailbox! Next time, I’m trying their salmon and mango roll!

While I was eating, the electrician messaged me to ask if he could come by between 7 and 8PM tonight! Yes, of course!

Next stop was Superama, a bit of an upscale grocery store, to do a bit of my “gringo” shopping. I knew I wasn’t going to cook tonight because I still had work to do, but it would be nice not to have to get anything tomorrow to make a curry. So I bought chicken, basmati rice (very $$$ compared to Mexican rice, but a must!), and some veggies, among a few other things, including very expensive NOB style butter that I’d been on the lookout for (Lurpak brand). At the till, I was asked if I wanted a complementary magazine about beer. Um, yes, please! 🙂

I thought of taking an Uber home (cheaper and more reliable than taxis here), but it was my first time and I could not request a car for some reason. I knew I could be halfway home by the time a cab got to me, so I rearranged my shopping and headed home. I don’t think I could have made it a block further. 🙂

When I got in, a mere three hours after I left (city living rocks!), I put the shopping away and then headed out to Oxxo in Moya to pick up two 20L jugs of water. I know I can get water delivery here, but it’s going to take time to set up and I wasn’t going to keep buying 1.5L bottles at $10 each!

The cashier and I exchanged pleasantries and then I said what I wanted and that I didn’t have empty bottles. A five-second pregnant pause followed. She said, “I have to charge you for the bottles.” I replied, “Of course.” Another pause. “It’s $46 for the bottles and then another $54 for the water because refills are $27 each.” Again, I told her that was fine. “So that will be $100 in total.” I reassured her yet again that that was okay and she finally rang me up! Then, her colleague kindly carried the jugs to the truck. As I hauled them in the house, my muscles asked me to please not carry anything heavy for the next few days. 🙂

I then had to get typing as I was really down to the wire. I got up at one point to turn on the porch and street lights and decided that I was done flicking light switches aimlessly. So I took five minutes to go through the house and label all my light switches!

As it turned out, the porch and street light are at the bottom left!

I had 30 minutes of work left to do when the electrician showed up at about 8:00. He quickly confirmed my diagnosis that the house has zero grounding whatsoever! He said that Mexico lax standards be damned, I should suggest to the landlady that she rewire the whole house. Yeah… But since I’m renting and don’t need things done perfectly and only need one properly grounded outlet, he’s going to ground just the one by my desk. That means a return trip tomorrow since he didn’t have the materials he needed to do that.

He’d brought his girlfriend, an American gal from Eugene, OR. She and I got gabbing as he worked. We had a laugh when we realised the other speaks English (she correctly surmised by my accent that I’m a French speaker and figured I didn’t speak English!). We got to talking about the street food scene in Eugene (a city I really liked!) and some places that I remember enjoying that are still open.

I paid in advance for some materials and they left, promising to get in touch tomorrow about when he can come back. Then, I got back to work and finished with two minutes to spare before my deadline! I threw together a very quick dinner of wontons with spicy chile sauce, followed by some chocolate ice cream, promising myself that tomorrow, I will chop some veggies. 🙂

It has been an insanely full day! I’m hoping that now that I have an idea of the normal noises around here, I might be better able to ignore them. I’m also resigned to going back to my sleep mask until I get the curtain thing resolved.

Tomorrow, I’m going going to get to work on the dishes even if it means heating water on my hot plate, which will take forever, and line shelves so that I can properly set up the kitchen. I want to have a curry dinner (well, probably a Mexican-timed lunch) on my new china. 🙂