In Which I Do Something Really Stupid

The big project I was waiting for this week got postponed to next week and I have a schedule for it, so that was a lot of stress off my plate this week what with my having to make two trips to aduana in Progreso. I did get one of the jobs to be due mid-afternoon today, but I was able to work late last night to do it and then proofed and sent it before leaving for Progreso. I still have other work to do this afternoon, but no deadlines for today, so there was no time pressure. Thank goodness for that…

The drive to the pier took a bit longer as there was more traffic today, plus I had to stop for fuel. I pulled into the guard entrance, presented my license, and stated my business. The guard then threw me for a loop when he asked to see my proof of insurance for my truck. Not a problem, I keep all that in my folder that I always take in the truck with me. So I start to go through the folder to find my policy when I realise that I had taken a bunch of stuff out yesterday to sort it out and… didn’t put the pile back into the folder. First time ever in Mexico being asked for my proof of vehicle insurance and I didn’t have it…

I was told to pull over and wait for a supervisor.

By the time the supervisor came to me, only a few very short minutes later, I had a plan. He greeted me with, “You don’t have insurance on your truck?”

I corrected him. “I don’t have the proof that I have insurance.”

I then presented him with option one of my plan. Option two was to offer to leave him the truck and keys, get in a taxi, go home, get the paperwork on my credenza, and come back in a taxi.

Option one was to show him a contact in my phone for my insurance company, the policy number in the notes, and to suggest that we call them so they can confirm that I do have a policy that is valid until next week. He considered that for a few seconds and said that was good enough, but to never do that again! *sends a thank you to the customs gods*

I hate to leave copies of documents like that in the truck, but I will from now on since the truck is parked 99% of the time in my secure driveway.

I made it to customs at about 9:20 and the lady was obviously waiting for me as I barely had time to sit down. She gave me the expected paperwork, but the unexpected instruction to come back in late May/early June with my new card and photocopies of it. She said it’s not worth asking people to do that for the first year, but it is for the three-year card. So I have one more trip to the end of the pier to do.

Now that I know my truck is legal for the rest of my time here as a temporary resident, I can get to work on scheduling the repairs she needs (*sends prayers to the AC gods that I can get it working again*) and also renew my insurance policy for another year.

I can’t believe it’s not even 11:00 yet. The morning has felt so long since so much happened. But it all worked out and for that, I’m very grateful!

Renewing/Extending a Temporary Import Permit for a Vehicle in Mérida/Progreso

Now that my immigration status is squared away for the next three years, it was time to do the same for my truck with customs (Aduana). I could not find any current information on doing this in Mérida/Progreso. One thing I had really hoped was that I could do the renewal/extension at the Mérida airport, but information a couple of years old said you couldn’t then. I really didn’t have time to waste today so going to Progreso felt like the safest bet. Finding opening hours was difficult, but once I ascertained that I was looking for the hours of operation for SAT Aduana Progreso, I knew what to Google and came up with a page that had them opening at 9AM.

Going to Progreso was going to be a pain since there are detours around the Periférico bridge that goes over the Progreso highway. I didn’t want to give myself a ton of extra time as I’m on a super tight schedule this week, but I also wanted to get there and back as soon as I could. So I left around 8:20 and arrived at the very end of the pier at precisely 9AM!

The detour going north was no big deal — take the service road to the first roundabout and turn around to take the service road in the other direction. I knew the best way to get through Progreso and to the entrance to the pier. So with traffic being surprisingly light, I made record time. At the entrance to the pier I only had to give them my driver’s license for ID (they do not accept a passport).

When I went last year, the customs lady made two packets out of all the paperwork I had brought and gave me one for my records. So I replicated that packet exactly today and had three copies just in case. The packet had:

  1. A letter to Customs asking them to renew/extend my temporary car import permit to match the date on my new residency card. This letter also has a list of the attachments to my request and my contact information. The customs lady today was the same as last year and like last year she told me my letter was perfect. So if anyone wants a TIP renewal letter for customs, I have a template for sale for 5USD. Contact me for more details;
  2. A copy of the official permit page that originally had the windshield holograma stuck on it;
  3. A copy of my passport ID page;
  4. A copy of my letter from immigration granting me my visa renewal (for good measure, I added to that the letter confirming my appointment for fingerprints as proof that there is no way I could have met Aduana deadlines had they asked me to wait until I have my new card);
  5. Proof of residency (I brought internet, water, and power and they wanted the power bill).

There, I was asked to fill out a form as a cover letter, which just needed my name and address. The customs lady filled out the rest, including the purpose for the packet.

That was it! She told me to come back this Thursday for my “resolution,” which I expect to be like last year, a letter confirming that my renewal/extension is in the queue and how to check the progress of it over the next few months. I really don’t have time this week for a second visit to Aduana, but needs must!

Like last year, I did the whole process in Spanish, but unlike last year, the last thing the lady said to me was, “Please come back Thursday.” Yes, like that. In English. So reports that Aduana on the pier in Progreso do not speak English and are unhelpful are false. Arrive with your paperwork in order, make an effort with the local language, and I’m sure you’ll have as easy and pleasant an experience as I did.

The drive home wasn’t quite as simple. The detour at the Periférico bridge was messier and I ended up zig zagging through my maze of a neighbourhood rather than trying to get back to Calle 60. I arrived without any wrong turns — a huge victory!

Once I know that the renewal/extension is granted, I’ll renew my truck insurance for another year and get the quote for the muffler and AC work since I’ll know for sure that I’ll have my truck here for three more years. About this time in 2020, I’ll be contacting an attorney specialising in vehicle temporary import permits to determine the best and most convenient way to get Moya out of Mexico legally that doesn’t involve driving her all the way back to Canada. Bringing a vehicle in Mexico is a huge pain and I wish I’d had the budget last year to have things shipped here while I flew and bought a new vehicle in Mexico, but things were what they were. I’ll figure it out when the time comes because I always figure “it” out when the time comes!

Gifts from a Foreign Land

Today was my last morning and partial afternoon in Chelem! I really didn’t have much to do besides finish up my own laundry and run into the village to buy the owners a few 5-gallon jugs of water. And, of course, I played with Puppy for the last time…

The owners, V (wife) and F (husband) had flown into Cancún and texted at 10:45 to say they were in the taxi on their way, about as early as I expected them to have cleared customs and collected their luggage. So that put their ETA around 2:30 and that’s almost exactly when they showed up.

V and I did a a quick run through of house stuff as F got reacquainted with Puppy and she started to unpack. She had quite a few treasures for me! I have no idea why anyone would see anything bright pink and think of me… 🙂 Lovely housewarming gift!

She had several scarves and this light turquoise (it really is bluer in real life and darker than aqua) with roses fits in so well with my decor that I’m going to display it!

I’d asked for a jar of tikka masala sauce and was brought all this!

The jar and one packet are tikka masala. The other is butter chicken, which happens to be my second favourite!

We had a coffee (which I will likely regret) and then it was time for me to head home before it got dark. I was surprised that it was only about 3:50 when I gave Puppy his last cuddles before pointing Moya east.

The last thing I wanted to do was make any stops so I just went straight home, knowing that I could walk to pick up a beer or anything else I might need once I landed. Bliss!

I got in and had no trouble squaring Moya away in a parking bay, where I anticipate her staying for a bit…I unpacked what I had with me and then promptly went to check on my fridge. Everything that had been frozen before was still frozen, but what I’d added was only partially frozen! I was definitely on the right track! I put the freezer setting up even higher and I think everything will be okay now.

I then went around the corner to get water for tonight (will see about getting a five-gallon container delivered tomorrow) and a beer, then went a bit further afield to the Super Aki to get a BBQ lighter (for working on my water heater) and… ice cream. Oh, I’ve missed being able to bring home ice cream. 🙂 I’d brought my hosts back a giant Costco pizza yesterday and was not surprised to be sent home with part of it tonight, which was all the supper I needed.

The water heater isn’t getting propane regardless of the position at which I set its propane hose valve, which makes me think that there might be a “master” valve right at the tank on the roof. I’m going exploring tomorrow!

Tomorrow is going to be more hectic than planned since I got in two jobs I couldn’t refuse and my desk isn’t ready to go. I may just work out of my IKEA chair because it would be stupid to put the desk back together only to have to dismantle it again.

Now for a cold to lukewarm (crossing my fingers for the latter) shower and then to see if I can actually relax for a bit and leave for tomorrow all that needs to be done. But it’s only  6:30, even if it feels like 9:30!


I’m T minus about 24 hours to moving into my house and am reminded of pre-departure days when I was RVing.

1) I have no hot water because the guy didn’t show again (odd since he was so punctual about the bedroom fan);

2) My fridge is still freezing everything (although I think I’ve finally figured it out — I hope…);

3) My UPS (uninterrupted power supply) does not like the outlet I was going to plug it into in my office with a heavy duty power cord. By the way, this is why you should have such a thing — it protects my electronics from now just blackouts but also brownouts.

On a happier note, my master bathroom has come together nicely, even if I’m ruing my GREY hand towel!

The blue towel and purple mat I bought for my house in Maz were perfect for the room and I added a purple garbage bin I’d bought for my office corner in Chelem.

I love how bright this house is…

I’m quite happy with the bathroom the way it is. All of the things I wanted to store in the vanity fit in it and the bit of larger overflow fits in a cabinet in the master closet-room. I have some pretty wooden boxes I’m going to dig out for holding my jewellery and I’d like to put up some art, but like the master bedroom, I’m happy with the space I’ve made with very little.

Ditto with the living room:

I really need to replace or recover those hideous cushions, but the fabric I bought for the house in Maz continues to serve me well. The IKEA chair is awaiting a makeover of its own…

The kitchen is coming along really nicely, although I have so many things to wash! Since I can trust the freezer, I put all my frozen things in it and I put things that can freeze, like cheese, in the fridge. I left everything else — condiments that don’t necessarily need refrigeration — in a cooler with ice to deal with tomorrow.

The thing with the fridge is there are two controls, one in the fridge, one in the freezer. The one in the freezer determines how much cold air is sent to the fridge. When I first saw that my fridge was freezing everything, my instinct was to set the fridge control to the lowest setting. As it turns out, the setting is for how warm the fridge is. I should have left it on the highest setting and only played with the freezer dial, which I’ve set to “normal.” Now, to see the state of the water bottle in the fridge when I get in tomorrow…

My office is a disaster and I have to go back to work Wednesday afternoon (client is too important to say no to), so I’m not sure what I’m going to do with that at this point. It really seems a waste to put the desk back together without fixing its issues, but I’m not sure I’ll have time for that on Wednesday morning. Never mind where am I going to plug in everything?

I’m a bit annoyed that I had all this time to sort out issues and am caught at the last minute, but it is what it is. Live and learn! At least, all the heavy duty cleaning is done and my bedroom and living room are made up so that I can collapse tomorrow evening! I’ve still got my kettle and toaster here in Chelem, but the kitchen is clean and ready to receive them so I can make breakfast Wednesday morning. I just hope I can put the milk back in the fridge!

My last night in Chelem is going to be an easy one — pizza, beer, Star Trek, and The Big Bang Theory. 🙂 It’ll be nice to just chill after so many very full days of working extremely hard to get everything ready. I’m impressed by how on top of everything I’ve been and that, really, there’s not much to do tomorrow except play with Puppy and wait for my hosts to get home so I can go home!

Already Feeling Like Home

Today was the first day at my house that ended with my wishing I could stay instead of being eager to return the Chelem.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I somehow managed yesterday to do everything I needed to do to be able to have another easy morning. I remembered to top up Moya’s engine oil, which would end up solving the issue with the concerning “tick-tock” noise she was making. She still needs muffler work, but I was much happier with her performance today.

The movers texted me around 9:30 to say they were inbound and we were well on our way to Mérida by 10:05. I’d asked for us to leave the beach “around 10:00” so I was suitably impressed.

They drove more slowly than I did so I had most of my truck unpacked by the time they showed up. They got the desk roughly into the position I want it. Ideally, I would have had them wait until I screwed it back together so we could move it against the wall, but so many pieces are bowing that I need to repair them before doing that and it’ll be easier to work with individual sections.

They then moved the dressing table upstairs, where it fit perfectly where I wanted it… But you’ll have to keep reading to see where. 😉

I approve of this sort of junk mail that I found in my mailbox (sushi restaurant that delivers!).

The movers had just left and I’d done all my heavy lifting for the day when a guy peddling ice cream just happened to go by my house. A cone of lime sorbet was a great morale booster! What amusing (and perfect!) timing!

Before sorting out my dressing table, I wanted to unpack the treasure chest my hosts gave me. I was going to wait until it was all clean and put away, but I can’t! Click on the picture to embiggen!

My hosts are from former Czechoslovakia and these pre-WWII dishes come from there. They have a delicate rose pattern.

These dishes have obviously been well used, to the point that I will feel comfortable using them on a nearly daily basis (at least whenever I bother to make a “proper” dinner!). They have travelled a very, very, very long way and have been in storage for some time. I am incredibly touched to receive them and will give them a good home.

I got sent on another treasure hunt when I returned to Chelem to find the yellow cup that goes with the yellow plate:

The colourful plates at the bottom right belong to another set and I was told I can have them as well. I was only missing plates for my everyday dishes, so what a bonus!

I have afternoon tea just about every day. Imagine me doing so with these pretty cups and saucers complete with creamer and sugar bowl!

Dishes unpacked, I added the new pulls to my dressing table drawers and brought them upstairs. So now’s the moment you’ve all (?) been waiting for:

It fits absolutely perfectly between the sink and the toilet paper holder and the door has plenty of clearance! This is just what the bland grey room needed. The spot at the top is a hole that I wasn’t able to patch — I’ll just put a tray or a pretty box over it. This dressing table will hold washcloths, first aid supplies, toiletries, jewellery, etc.

The insides of the drawers were pretty gross, so I painted them as well. The glossy paint makes for a plasticky finish, perfect for a bathroom:

My dressing gown made itself at home on a hook by the sink:

(There’s a proper towel holder on the other side for a hand towel.)

The unintentional turquoise theme continued in the kitchen (even the dish soap matches, LOL):

I’m coming in with a lot of purple, orange, and pink accessories, so the turquoise really is going to be almost a neutral.

I really love this part of the kitchen, with its windows:

To be honest, I’m not sure yet how I feel about my current storage solutions (everything feels so far from where I’m actually going to cook), but I know that setting up a kitchen takes time and that I’ll figure it out as I go along. I can tell that I’m going to be very happy to spend a lot of time in this room.

The only hiccup is that my fridge is running way too cold! I am kicking myself for waiting this long to test it out. When I came in, the cans of Coke in the fridge were frozen solid! I found a badly scanned user manual on the LG Mexico website and hope that I’ve sorted it out. I’ll know Monday. Absolute worst case scenario, I have a good freezer for the time being that can supply me with ice for my coolers for the cold stuff that shouldn’t freeze, which would give me time to sell this fridge and buy another. But I’m hopeful that the setting changes I made will fix things. I’m going to wait until Tuesday to bring any food over in case I need to make more adjustments on Monday.

The guy for the water heater never showed up and after waiting quite a bit of time for my landlady to follow-up about that (she’s out of town), I decided to go on with my plan to go check out a nearby used furniture place for a dresser. I found the store without any trouble, but they didn’t have anything suitable. I am going to go back there since they had a ton of used clothes and I need a more city-appropriate wardrobe.

I then went to a nearby shopping plaza to pay my JAPAY (water) bill. Had a bit of a hard time finding the office and was glad to finally find a security guard who could point me in the right direction. He radioed to a colleague to look out for me and that colleague sent me down the correct corridor.

After that, I decided to grab some Chinese takeaway at the food court. Chinese food in Mexico tends to be pretty ho-hum — a nice change, but nothing spectacular. This stuff, though, OMG. I like the grilled teriyaki chicken at Panda Express and their chicken was exactly the same! Like other Chinese restaurants here, they use the wrong noodles for the chow mein, but the veggies and seasoning in it were spot on. My meal came with this steamed bun thing filled with meat, nuts, and spices that tasted like nothing I’d ever eaten in my life — so good! This shopping Plaza is by another Chedraui, a Soriana, a Walmart, an Office Depot, and more, and is an easy 4.5KM walk. So I’m sure I’ll find an excuse to go back there. 🙂

I came back and sorted out my closet as best as I could with what I had and then did some more work in the kitchen before collapsing in the armchair in my office for a break. I had my computer with me and it needed charging, which is when I realised that all but one outlet in the room look like this:

I need three prongs to plug in my UPS. The water heater guy is an electrician so I’ll ask him for a quote to fix an outlet by the desk. Absolute worst case, I can run a heavy duty extension cord (which I have) from the three-prong outlet in the built-in bookcase. Amazing the obvious things one misses!

It was past four by the time I’d convinced myself that, really, I had to head north. I was absolutely beat and the last thing I wanted to do was make an extra stop, but then I would have had to go out tomorrow to get food for the cleaners. So I took the “back roads” to Chedraui and got what I needed.

I then made a stop for fuel, which is no effort in Mexico since gas is pumped for you.

As I was coming into Chelem, I realised just how much I wanted a cold beer when I landed and that I was willing to make a final stop at a Six store to get one! I did so and then pushed on to home, where a certain puppy was very happy to see me. Maybe he just wanted his supper. 🙂

Tomorrow is my last full day in Chelem. It’s going to be a busy outdoor chores-centric one. I’m going to try to get an early start since we’re bringing the clocks back and so sunrise (and cool weather) is coming an hour earlier. I’m not looking forward to it being pitch dark out at 5:30. 🙁

Well, time for my own dinner — pizza. 🙂