Today Was a Really Long Day

Today, like Saturday and yesterday, I got up super early so I could get my day’s pressing work done in case I had to go to Mérida to pick up the truck. That didn’t happen yesterday. The mechanic texted me early yesterday afternoon to say that he was having trouble getting the part, but the right one should arrive at five. I called the rental car company to book for another day.

First thing today was one of Puppy’s special baths. He really likes those now! I’m really careful not to shock him with the water and he loves the rub down/massage with the shampoo. If he was a cat, he’d purr during the baths!

The rest of morning was “fun” since the internet was down. I called tech support and caught that there was a problem with the network somewhere between Chelem and Chuburna and they were working on finding the source. I missed about 90% of what the guy said, but caught the important bit that at least I wasn’t alone. Thankfully, TelCel had once again given me free bandwidth so I was able to use that to get done the non-transcription stuff I do in the mornings that needs internet access.

This morning’s message from the mechanic came in quite late. He said that he finally got the right part, but that it was going to be an extra $1,500 to do the job because it was a special order from Autozone. It would turn out that he would advise me that for any future work on Moya, he’s going straight there even if they are more expensive because they have the American parts catalogue. I wasn’t surprised by the extra funds (I always plan about 20% for contingencies), even if I was bummed by it. At least, by this point, a bunch of PayPal transfers had landed so I wasn’t having the cash flow issues I had over the weekend.

By the time he was able to confirm that he could have the truck ready today, it was too late to return the car on time, but I still raced into Mérida so that I could pay only an extra $150 for being an hour late rather than $550 for another day!

Before leaving, I put out half of Puppy’s supper ration. He doesn’t eat unless he’s hungry so I knew he likely wouldn’t touch it until dinner time. I could feed him the balance when I got home.

I made it to Mérida Centro in record time since traffic was very light. I remember walking along the Paseo de Montejo last year, watching cars at the roundabouts, and thinking, “Nope. Ain’t never driving here!” Yet, there I was today, driving downtown like I’d done it a million times before. I’d orientated myself before leaving, so I made it to the rental car company without needing navigation help and with no detours. The car was deemed okay and I was only charged the extra $150 despite the fuel gauge being a bit lower than it should have been. Very fair of them.

One of my favourite restaurants in Mérida, Pita, is right around the corner on the same block and I knew that it wasn’t going to be $150 for my favourite comfort food that was going to bankrupt me at this point. I went in and asked for a table right by the front door because I was hoping that the HP sauce lady would be able to come to me and this way, I could look out for her. That plan worked like a charm and she even gave me an extra $30 for my trouble — that’s a couple of beers! 🙂

Lunch was, of course, awesome. I don’t know if I just haven’t had falafel in so long that my sandwich tasted perfect because I forgot what good falafel tastes like or if they’ve improved their recipe, but dang! Comfort food is a real thing.

After that, I found a Scotiabank ATM and then it was time to finally figure out how to get a bus north from Centro. What I did was I walked south on 60, watching bus after bus that I could have taken drive by me, and essentially walked their route backwards until I found a place where a bus was letting people on. Get this — the bus was on a southbound street. It then basically did a spiral back to Calle 60. If I had not had complete confidence I was on the right bus due to having been here a bit, I would have asked to be let off because it took quite a while before we actually headed north.

I then got off at the wrong Calle 21. No idea how I did that, but I must not have been paying attention to my surroundings! Thankfully, that Calle 21 was less than 1KM from where I would have gotten off so it was a nice leg stretch and I enjoyed the cool breeze.

When I came in at about five, the mechanic said that he was halfway there and that there were probably two hours of work left, taking us to seven. I went into the house and puttered around for a bit, called my mother, and rewatched part of yesterday’s Star Trek episode to see what it will feel like to really relax on one of my couches (very nice!).

It gets dark around 6:40 now, so I got a chance to test all the light switches. Every one of of them worked, but I had a bit of a hard time finding the ones in the kitchen (one was on the wall beside the deep armoire and the other one was evident, but I needed to pull a fan chain first). When the lights came on, I was momentarily blinded! Well, I wanted a bright kitchen and I got it!

The evening was very pleasant and the neighbourhood was quieter than the beach most nights (!). Oh, I could hear some music and there was a guy who passed several times on a pedal cart who honked a lot (need to figure out what he sells because I’ve heard him during the day), but, really, if today was an average evening, I’m going to be very happy in Mérida. I can’t believe that I’m at the two-week countdown!

It was getting really late, probably around eight, by the time the guys were ready for a test drive, but they didn’t get far and told me adjustments needed to be made. By this point, I was starting to think I’d have to implement plan B, home by taxi and back by bus tomorrow, kicking myself for not having kept the car. However, I knew that I was essentially lighting a fire under their butt. If the work carried over to tomorrow, then I’d be in the same place because it’s obvious that the work day starts late.

Still trying to keep busy, I grabbed a pair of scissors I’d remembered to bring to the house (why, I can’t remember now, although I know I had a specific use for them…). I got to work cutting away the awful disgusting faux leather covering the coffee table and was rewarded with this!

It’s very solid. A couple of coats of glossy paint (and maybe even a little wood filler if I can find some) and it will be a perfectly respectable coffee table! Not bad for 10 bucks!

The guys were finally done at nine-ish. The mechanic gave me a heads up that some “odd noises” were to be expected as new parts are broken in, but to let him know if anything is concerning me because his work is guaranteed. He also gave me the bad news that my muffler needs work, but he doesn’t feel that is super pressing besides Moya being a bit louder at acceleration than she should be. If I’m going to keep her for another three years, I need to have the issue dealt with though. So that’s on the list for November. After that, he says I can have him look at the AC. Glad someone has my priorities straight for me!

He showed me the parts he pulled and while they didn’t look terrible, I could see the wear on them. He showed me how the only difference between those parts and the four kits he tried before getting one that worked was the location of the screw holes! Ford!!!

We settled up and then it was time to take her out. Well.. her clutch has been a bit “loose” since I bought her and now it’s “stiff,” sp you would think I’d never driven a stick before. It took three tries, with her conking out each time, before I was able to pull away from the curb! Had quite a laugh about that. By the time I made it onto Calle 60 and dealt with stopping and starting at a red light, I was fine even if it still felt like I was driving a new-to-me vehicle.

Croft commented on Facebook about my driving home in the dark. One of the first things I asked about when I got here in May was if it’s safe to drive back to the beach from Mérida after dark. I asked Mexicans and Canadians with different levels of tolerance to being in Mexico. The answer was an absolute yes. So I wasn’t concerned about that tonight, but I was concerned about my vision. Well, I had zero issues. I barely had any traffic coming towards me (what blinds me) and most of the way was well lit. Plus, I know where all the topes are!

Getting off the highway at my exit, I conceded that I was hearing some noises that I didn’t like and that something felt “off” when I was shifting. I couldn’t articulate any of it in English at this point, so I decided to wait until my next trip into Mérida to better determine what I was feeling and experiencing, then translate it into Spanish, rather than bother the mechanic tonight (I mean, what is he going to do?). Anyway, I got in without incident and I’m actually not concerned about not making it back to Mérida. I don’t think there’s anything majorly wrong, but maybe more adjustments need to be made.

Puppy was so happy to see me! He had zero interest in the other half of his supper and just wanted hugs, cuddles, and to play. I did my best to wear him out before making myself a quick snack of an English muffin with cheese (all I needed for my own late supper thanks to a filling lunch!). It’s now 11:45 and I’m seeing double and while I know there is more I meant to write, that’s all I’ve got in me for today. I bet I’m going to find a lot of typos tomorrow!

Today Was a Long Day

I worked super late last night and only got about six hours of sleep before being back at it super early so that I could complete today’s most pressing work before going to Mérida, if it came to that.

In between work spurts, I dealt with an interesting email issue I’ve been having. I want to get an online account for Izzi, my ISP, but haven’t been able to because I never got their confirmation of my email address email. A couple of days ago, I tried again and this time went to Track Delivery in my cPanel and discovered that Izzi’s emails were marked at being a 9/10 spam score! Legit emails are generally a negative number and I have my spam tolerance set to 4. I added Izzi to my whitelist and again tried to get the confirmation email. This time, it was marked as delivered, but did not come to my inbox.

I contacted my webhost and they got back to me to say that due to some bug they haven’t identified, my Izzi emails were being redirected to another email account under my domain (ie. still belonging to me!). I went into it and there were the emails! Thankfully, clicking on the confirmation email from a different email account wasn’t an issue and I finally made it into my online account. There, I could see if I owed anything (No. As it turned out, the $600 I’d paid was for the first month, not an installation charge!) and if I input my debit card info, I can just pay my bill from the app with one tap. That sure sounds like less work than going to Oxxo or to the Izzi store. I’m having PayPal issues related to my Mexican card that are in the process of being sorted out and once they are, life here is just going to keep getting easier thanks to HSBC (and my landlady!).

By 1:30, I had not heard from the mechanic and I was kicking myself for having forgotten to get his number. The rental car was due back by 3:00, so I made the decision to go into town and see what was what.

Traffic coming into Mérida was appalling and I realised that I was a lot more patient since I wasn’t boiling. The truck AC is definitely getting looked at.

My mechanic (“Rod”) texted me as I was two blocks from home saying that he’d been sent the wrong part and the truck wouldn’t be ready until Monday. 🙁 I read the text at a red light, but waited to get home to reply. Just as I was doing so, Rod showed up, saying he’d been pulling away, but noticed that a car was parking right in front of my driveway and figured it was me. He gave me more details. I went through a similar thing with Miranda’s axle repair in that Ford has just very slightly changed some parts (augh) on newer models of some vehicles and the newer parts, of course, don’t fit the older vehicles. Rod said that he was super frustrated because he had taken everything off last night and gotten up early to put the new parts in, only to find that they didn’t fit right. By the time he figured out what was going on, it was too late to get the correct parts delivered as the part shop closed at noon. He tried a few other places before giving up. He says he can surely get the parts tomorrow and then have them in by noon Monday.

That meant that I need the car for another two days. *sighs* I called the rental company and they said there was no problem with keeping the car two more days. So that’s another $1,000 that I need to magic up out of somewhere. Thank goodness I can eat so cheaply here!

BTW, I am surprised by how much I love having a landline! Cell service in my house isn’t great (expected) and it’s noisy outside. I love that I can sit in a comfy chair in a well ventilated room and have a very clear conversation. I just need to figure out how to dial Mexican numbers, though (Canada and US are straightforward). Sometimes, the phone wants 10 digits, sometimes 7, and sometimes it wants 11. Must be related to the type of number I’m calling (landline, cell phone, “long distance”).

I had an appointment in Progreso between 4:00 and 5:00 (more on that below), so I decided to do some unpacking as best as I could with the storage solutions I have on hand. This way I’d feel like I’d made some progress and the trip hadn’t been for nothing. I also brought a small load from Chelem. It’s actually getting difficult now to find an actual load of stuff that I know for sure I won’t miss in the next couple of weeks.

I started in my master closet room, amused that it has a window I could open and fan I could turn on for ventilation! I hung up what needed to be hung up and sorted a few things to eventually get put into a dresser.

I then moved to the office and put away some of my books. It’s not home until I have my Harry Potter books on display. 🙂

The rest of the books will go upstairs with a bookcase (that I could not get up there on my own) as I think I will like the landing as a reading nook with my Poang chair.

I then started on the kitchen. One of the first things I found were my plastic wine glasses, so they went into the armoire in the living room with a rack for them. I think that now that I don’t have a house on wheels, maybe it’s time to get some proper ones? Then again, plastic is safer on tiles and these are pink!

I started to put a few things onto one of the bookcases in the kitchen.

Top shelf has the acrylic tumblers I picked up at Costco some weeks ago. Next to them are four really pretty mugs that I picked up for next to nothing (less than I would expect to pay for used mugs at a thrift store NOB!) at Chedraui one day, and then two cereal bowls. Below that is some ovenware and below that my Pyrex bowls. My trusty food processor and tortilla press won’t live up there forever, but are at least out of the way.

I didn’t do much with the deep armoire, just shoving into the bottom baking things and other bits that I won’t need often. I put my mandoline and a strainer in the huge drawer that I’m thrilled to have even if the rest of the cabinet feels like wasted space to me.

Once the faucet change is sorted and I can properly clean the counters, I’ll move the microwave to where it belongs and will keep my pots and pans where the microwave currently sits. Poco a poco and all that. 🙂

It’s really exciting to see a home emerging from this big echoey house. I really want to get my desk over there, but have given up on my movers and can’t afford anyone else at this point. So I will take it apart entirely to make it moveable on my own. I was really hoping to avoid that since the particle board is so fragile, but I’ll glue some of the parts together to make the desk more solid and it should last me a while longer.

I left around 4:00 and headed straight for Progreso. A couple of days ago, a woman posted that she was coming back from England and a few people jokingly asked for stuff, including one who wanted HP sauce. A man in Progreso said that he had a bottle for her, but she’d have to come get it. Neither had a car. It was clear the woman really wanted her sauce! I offered to pick it up and bring it to Mérida for her.

(In a funny case of things getting paid forward, I jokingly asked the English woman for Jaffa cakes and… I have an economy sized package of 36 incoming next week! Some people are so nice!)

Well, I am never going to Progreso again if I can avoid it. Its streets are an absolute disgrace and I had to drive through a dozen actual lakes in my rental car to get to the guy’s house. It was terrifying and I waited at many of the lakes for someone else in a low to the ground car to make it across safely before I went through. I remember from my last trips there that the lakes were no less terrifying in my truck! I was just trying to do a nice thing for someone and never expected my little side trip to be such an ordeal. 🙁

I finally made it back to almost terra firma (I had one huge lake left) and popped into Bodega to get some fried chicken for dinner, helped a grateful guy pick the best sliced cheese for his burgers (Lala — made with real milk!), and exhaustedly headed home to be greeted by a dog who was very sad at having had me go out two days in a row. We had a good play session and then we both had our dinners. I asked him at one point to please bring back the sandal he stole from me a few days ago and… he obliged, dropping it at my patio door while I was having dinner! I had such a laugh about that. He apparently buried it as it was covered in sand. I gave it a good rinse and hope it will still be usable when it dries.

Then, I went to work. If I could squeeze two hours of work out of myself tonight, then I could have a super lazy morning tomorrow and then spend the afternoon proofreading from the couch. I still have an hour to go and I have to give up since it’s a translation job that needs more brain cells than I have left. Zzzz.

Well, it IS Friday the 13th…

Well, the thing that I was dreading for ages and really hoping would wait to happen until I moved to Mérida finally happened: my truck’s clutch went out. I’m sure it’s been giving me signals for a bit, but I didn’t realise anything was wrong until I hit my first red light in Mérida today and had a hell of a time coaxing Moya through the intersection after the light turned green. She was revving hard, but had no power at all.

By the time I made it to the house, there was a burnt smell so I knew something Bad was happening and to not move her another inch. But I had other matters to deal with upon arrival — the electrician was again waiting for me. I can’t believe I’ve met a Mexican more punctual than me. 😀 He got my new ceiling fan in very quickly, leaving quite a mess for me to sweep up when I get a broom. Yes, he would have done it himself, but, again, I haven’t bought a broom yet. I had to reassure him that I would not say that he left the room a mess without taking the blame!

Once he was gone, it was time to deal with the truck. Unfortunately, the mechanic next door was closed. My landlady, the couple across the street with a very nice car, my electrician, and several people on Google recommend him, so that was a shame as I could have at least had a consult. I posted to my Ranger forum and got several replies that I probably just needed to change the gearbox oil.

I headed off to the nearest HSBC to withdraw cash and there just happened to be an Autozone right there. I decided to buy the oil when they said I could return it as long as it wasn’t opened. It was quite strange — they had none in stock (determined after an extensive search) and called another store to check if they had some. I clearly heard the clerk say, “The client will come get it,” when a guy came in from back holding four bottles, as though he’d magicked them out of thin air. I’m still confused about what happened!

On the way home, I stopped at a little lunch counter to buy a decent for $15 chicken and veggie torta. Really, at that kind of a price it’s not worth making my own lunches!

When I got in, the mechanic was there! He dropped everything to come check out Moya and confirm that I was at a worst case scenario. He priced a new clutch and quoted me $5,800 all-in, unless there’s more to the job (which neither of us believes there should be, but this is me we’re talking about and I tend to underestimate how big things are going to end up being). Now, a clutch would not be worth repairing in Canada for about 1,500CAD (what my Kal Tire guy quoted me). For less than 500CAD, though, I had some really hard thinking to do.

The most pressing thing was that I had to get home to Chelem to feed Puppy tonight. The second most pressing thing was that I have tons of work to do by noon tomorrow. So I didn’t have time to be sorting out public transportation to get to Chelem and back — it would take me hours to get home and an untold amount of time to get back to Mérida because I can’t get a bus from the house. A taxi round trip would be about $1,000.

I flirted with the idea of just renting a car for the next couple of weeks and then doing without the truck for a few months, but knew that I’d end up paying for a rental close to if not more than the cost of the repair.

I asked if I could get to Chelem with the truck and then just drop it at the mechanic I met here. My neighbour said yes, but it would be risky and I’d really have to time myself to avoid rush hour and also ideally burn through red lights. That seemed absolutely moronic to me when I had a mechanic right there who said he could do the work for me and have the truck ready for me by tomorrow. So I told him to go ahead, but that $6,000 is the absolute most I could pay right now so to stop if things were worse than we thought.

$6,000 is every peso I’ve got left in the budget for house expenses prior to move in, including possibly a cheap stove and washing machine, paint, moving the desk, and buying all those little things you realise you don’t have until you need them (like a broom). It’s a crushing blow, but at least I have the money to pay for the repair.

It’s like New Orleans all over again and, like in New Orleans, I knew I was racing time to get a rental car for 24 hours, the obvious solution to my transportation needs.

I wasted a bit of time trying to get quotes and a reservation online. I’m slowly learning that solutions are still rarely found online in Mexico — you get much better results in person or on the phone. After a bit of Googling revealed that there was a string of rental offices all in a row on Calle 60 right in Centro, I packed up, locked up, and walked the two blocks to get a bus to downtown that would take me to two blocks of where all the car rental places are.

The first couple of places I checked, including a National, only had premium cars starting at $750 per day. The third place I went to quoted me $500, including insurance, for a small manual car, which was better than anything I’d seen online. We went over the contract, I paid, and then we went into the parking lot to look at the car, a Nissan Tsuru (sorry, forgot to grab a picture). It looks a bit retro and like Moya is no frills with manual windows and locks, but it does have AC (which Moya did have when I got her and which would now be worth fixing!). I took pictures of all the existing damage, the odometre, and the gas gauge. The guy moved the car into position for me to be able to take it out easily and that was that. Super easy. But can you imagine being alone here with no support network and no language skills?! I can because I shopped for a rental car in Bulgaria!

It was then a very long drive north straight up Calle 60. The car is so no frills there isn’t even a tachometer so I had to drive her by ear. I had no trouble. I stopped in at Costco because Puppy’s kibble levels were low and I wasn’t sure how many more days we could go on his existing bag. My favourite Japanese dumplings were on a mega sale, so I treated myself to a bag, and then went to the lunch counter to get a slice of pizza to go. I think it’s a bit scary that one of the cashiers now knows me by name! I’ve been curious about the mango smoothies on the menu and decided that today was the day to try one (spoiler: yum!).

It was then a very long drive back to Chelem. I really don’t know where in my schedule I’m going to find the time to go back tomorrow, but needs must. Needless to say, it’s going to be another late night (currently 6:00 and I need to do at least four hours of typing). I also need to move some money around and plan to stop at both a Scotiabank and an HSBC tomorrow.

I’ve never been particularly superstitious, so I’m enjoying the coincidence of my clutch dying on a Friday the 13th. But read back over my post — that sucked and my moving in budget being trashed sucked even more, but look at how lucky I got in other ways — I have a conveniently located mechanic I can trust, he could take the truck straight away, I have the funds for the repair, and Puppy got his supper on time tonight. The glass is rarely as empty as we think it is.

Off the Map

I headed to the house today after the cleaner arrived. I’d packed the third bookcase, more bedding and clothes, and some additional kitchen things. Just before I left, my landlady texted to ask when an electrician could come by today and I said between 10:30 and 1:00 since I had an appointment at 2:00 outside of town. The cleaner was a bit late so by the time I got to my house at about 10:40, the electrician was waiting for me!

It took all of five minutes for him to diagnose that there is a problem with the wiring and that this wasn’t going to be a simple controller installation. I had a hard time understanding him since he spoke so fast and with a different accent than I’m used to, so I was shocked by how much I understood of a phone conversation he had. He listed a bunch of materials he was going to need for the job because he’s going to have to tap into the bathroom fan wiring. We made tentative plans for me to return to the house on Friday. If that’s the case, then I won’t go this weekend.

He left and I lugged in what I’d brought with me, then the fun part of my day began.

You see, I had quite an epiphany the other night. You know how sometimes a solution can be staring you right in the face? I don’t have a bed yet, brand new beds are expensive, and I still need a washing machine and a stove as well to be really comfortable in the house. If could postpone just one of those purchases right now, I could get the other two.

Well, I actually dabbled with the idea of buying a hammock in lieu of a bed, thinking I’d be more comfortable in one temperature-wise. That is what the locals have been sleeping in here for ages. But then remembered that I froze overnight in Mérida last winter and we’re already getting cold nights in Chelem so a proper bed would be comfortable for a part of the year at least. I was also leery of the learning curve to sleeping in a hammock since I’m such a poor sleeper. I definitely want to get a hammock at some point as I know I’ll be happy to have one next summer, but that was not the solution to my bed issue at this time.

Since there are two twin beds downstairs, I resigned myself to sleeping down there for a bit, even though I’m desperate to set up my master suite and settle into my proper routine here.

Which is where my epiphany comes in: move one of the beds upstairs for now. How obvious is that?! The beds are just about brand new and very comfy, with a pillowtop! I don’t wiggle around a lot in bed, so a twin is fine for now. By the time I’m going to need to bring the bed back down for a guest, I’ll be in a position to buy myself one.

So I took one of the beds downstairs apart and lugged the pieces upstairs. The mattress did not have handles, so that was the hardest part. I then dressed the bed with my spare set of sheets, one of the blankets I bought in Maz, an extra pillow I brought from Canada, and picked out one of the many small tables available in the house to use as a night table. Finally, two screws on a wall by the window gave me the perfect place to hang one of my paintings.

I will unfortunately likely need better window coverings as I don’t think the room is going to be dark enough so I have to investigate what’s going to be the easiest way to achieve that. Still, bedroom done! Real progress! 🙂

I took a break after that to see if the coffee table I bought a few days ago would work where I needed it to. It’s perfect — exactly the right height and size. Shame that it is covered in a very gross bright red faux leather.

However, as I suspected, it has a solid wood frame. I’m going to remove the faux leather and I’m pretty confident that after a couple coats of paint, the exposed frame will look really nice!

It was getting close to 1:00 by this point and I had to drive out all the way to the bowels of Kanasin, a community just outside the southeastern limits of the periférico:

That arrow at the bottom points to the last thing Google would navigate me to. My actual destination was off the map!

You see, I’d spotted an item on the garage sale site a couple of nights ago that I really wanted and which was still available. I learned quickly that there is more often than not no point in showing interest in an item if you can’t get in your car straight away to go pick it up. People don’t hold things if they can have cash right now because things go really fast. But this was such a lovely piece that I took a chance. The seller agreed to hold it for me until this afternoon, but checked several times that I was sure I was going to buy it because she had other buyers lined up.

The transaction started to make me a little nervous when, after I got through her text speak and appalling spelling and spent some time on Google Maps, I realised she was out of town. I was going to be quite pissed off if I drove all the way out to her and she’d sold the item out from under me. But I woke up to a text from her saying to call her on another number to let her know when I was leaving Mérida this afternoon, so that made me more confident.

The easiest and fastest way to get to her house was to drive back north to the periférico as if I was going to Progreso and then drive all the way around. The periférico is a really good idea, but don’t think it’s anything like a city bypass in Canada and the US. Exits and entrances are rather a mess and poorly indicated — you often have to drive quite a distance on the service roads to get on and off — and there are frequently bad accidents. Definitely not my favourite part of Mérida to drive, but for a situation like today, it was preferable to the shorter route directly across town as I would have spent twice as long baking in my truck!

The lady I was meeting up with told me to call her from a Willy’s supermarket by her house so that she could direct me. But as it turned out, she was in a planned community with well numbered houses and streets, so I found her on my own with no issues! The neighbourhood was quite creepy, with only one road in and then a bunch of identical streets radiating from it.

I was 40 minutes early and the woman having said she really couldn’t be there before 2:00, I drove back to civilisation to have lunch. It was lunchtime, so I had no trouble finding a cocina economica doing rapid business. I ordered “milanesa empanizada,” which is a thin breaded pork cutlet (like schnitzel).

This is what “Mexican food” really looks like, which I think may be a shock to some people.

I had a bowl of very thin black bean soup, spaghetti with tomato sauce, shredded carrots and cabbage (no dressing), cucumbers and tomatoes, rice, and the breaded pork. Not pictured are the tortillas, lime, and chiles I had to ask for that came with everyone else’s meal! The meal was not particularly memorable; tasty and generously portioned, but nothing special. However, at $35 (about 2.30CAD) I could easily justify having something like this several times a week for lunch instead of cooking. Of course, similar meals are a bit more expensive in the big city, but not much more. I had a half portion. The couple next to me had a full portion and ate off the same plate, making very interesting tacos out of their pork and spaghetti!

I thought I’d be rushed for lunch, but the seller texted to say she was running late, so we moved the appointment to 2:30. That would mean I wouldn’t have time to return to the house to drop off my purchase, but as it would turn out, it was bigger than expected and too much to carry on my own.

She finally showed up around 2:40 and helped me load this vanity into my truck:

It’s real a shame that the pink paint job is terrible because I could have totally lived with the colour! But as it is, it will drive me nuts, so it has to be redone. Since this was my housewarming gift from Contessa, it really does need to be painted a glossy teal-y blue-greeny colour anyway. 🙂

I’m really hoping it will fit in my master bath, but it’s a bit longer than I expected so it may not. The idea was to use it to store bath products, jewellery, first aid supplies, etc., and to get a nice basket for the “hole” in the middle to store towels. If it doesn’t work in the bathroom, it will fit nicely in my bedroom and still be able to hold many of those things. Thank you again, Contessa, for the gift as this piece is really a “want” more than a hard need right now and I would have talked myself out of it!

Well, it’s now 5:30 and much as that cold beer in the fridge is calling my name, I really need to go make a serious dent in my work queue. Tomorrow is going to be a monster otherwise!