A keystone is something on which everything else depends. I first heard of the concept when it comes to homemaking on a forum I used to belong to. I used to have a hard time keeping a tidy home until I found out my keystones. Now, as long as I can deal with those, the rest comes together.

It was much of the same with setting up my new house. I was having a hard time moving forward until I could get the kitchen set up and I couldn’t do that with the existing sink and faucet. Both were disgustingly crusty and the tap was loose. I bought a new faucet a full month ago, but was only able to get it changed today. That meant that that was it for grunt work in the kitchen and that I could properly clean it and start setting up.

As a point of reference, here’s what the old faucet looked like:

The plumber got the new tap in in record time, but things looked worse when he left:

I would have like to have removed the old tap myself to have plenty of time to clean all the crusty bits under it, but one of the shut off valves was seized so I wasn’t able to do that. It’s really wasn’t pretty!

Well, I got in there with a scraper, steel wool, Bar Keeper’s Friend, and a green scrubby and greatly improved things. It’s still not perfect, but I left paper towels soaked in vinegar over them and that should further loosen things. But even so, I made a real improvement. Behold a sink I would actually want to use!

I then cleaned the counters really well and set up the microwave.

It’s really not a great place for it, but it’s the only three-pronged outlet in the room and was specially wired for it, so I’ll have to live with it there. I went out to Oxxo at one point to get water and to pay my power bill and ended up coming back with a decent ham and cheese croissant that I was able to heat up in the microwave. It worked well!

I can’t believe how much I look forward to spending time at that sink thanks to those windows!

I still don’t have all the storage I went for the kitchen, so for the time being, I set up my plastic table. Eventually, I want a stainless steel island, but I’m glad I waited because I don’t think I would have bought the correct size.

I’ve been pricing stoves and I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy a brand new one. I’m always nervous when it comes to gas appliances and would have to hire a professional to install a used stove anyway. So I figured I might as well check the sales and buy from a store that will install for me. I’ve actually seen stoves that meet my strict criteria for less than $5,000 so this could easily be a November purchase for me. In the meantime, it won’t kill me to keep cooking on my hot plate.

I’m glad I turned the fridge on the other day because I’m able to do some tests. I put a bottle of water in it this morning and within less than an hour, it was forming ice! I’ve lowered it a tad and hope that my water will be liquid when I return on Saturday!

Once the plumber was gone, I put another coat of paint on my dressing table (spoiler: it looks amazing) and then did the kitchen cleanup. I then had to head out to run a few errands. I needed to pay the rent, the internet and water bills, and get some food. Rent needed to be paid at HSBC, internet at the Izzi store, and the water bill could be paid at a Comercial Mexicana. So it made sense to go to Gran Plaza as it had all three businesses I needed, plus a food court.

Gran Plaza is always a bit of a nightmare to get to, but I’m starting to learn my way around.

If you go the way Google suggests, you get caught in this spiral where you inch your way to towards Gran Plaza, but have to make a lot of turns and really go out of your way. I figured that if I took Calle 9, I could shoot straight over to Prolongación Paseo de Montejo and then easily get to Gran Plaza with no detours. Worked like a charm!

I did the bank first and learned that I can only take out $7,000 per day when my rent is $9,000. Thankfully, I had other cash! I just had to give the teller my landlord’s name and account number to do a direct deposit. Easy peasy.

I will pay my CFE (power) bill at the bank next time as well because Oxxo charged me $6 to pay it there. I know that’s not much, but fees add up! My power bill for the house being empty was just under $50 (yes, about 3.40CAD!). I can’t wait to see how much it will jump when I’m living there. I’m billed every two months for power.

Next, I went to the Izzi store and just had to give them my account number to pay with cash.

After that, I went up to the food court to buy what ended up being a ginormous “salbute de pavo,” (link goes to a picture) which is a fried masa base topped with shredded seasoned turkey, tomato, pickled onion, lettuce, and avocado. I couldn’t believe the portion for just $21! I have a feeling the stand where I get them won’t be there much longer, which is a real shame since their food is always consistently good. 🙁

Final stop of the day was Comercial Mexicana for a few groceries, a new mop for the cleaner, and to pay my Japay (“high pay” — water) bill. Unfortunately, their machine could not scan the bill, which was delivered to me super crumpled and dirty. So I have to find the actual Japay office to pay there.  The bagger explained to me that it’s near Chedraui, but I really didn’t have time for an extra stop as I had to get back for the cleaner. So I think I’m going to be a couple of days late paying that bill. 🙁 I could not believe how high it was — $249! That is the standing rate for two months with no water used at all. I have a sinking feeling that my water bill is going to be a bigger deal than my power bill…

I don’t think I’m going back to the house until Saturday, which is desk moving day! I’ve advised my clients that I’m basically off from Friday night to next Thursday morning, so I’ll be able to pretty much set up my office. The movers are also going to bring my dressing table upstairs. I measured and it should fit absolutely perfectly where I want to put it!

Also Saturday, my landlady is sending me help to light my water heater (I officially have a water heater curse). While he’s there, the guy is going to check to see how much gas I have, so that could be another bill coming up soon.

There was a bit of miscommunication with the cleaners in Chelem and they are having to come on Monday to prepare the house for the owners’ return, not Tuesday. So I think that I’ll bring the rest of my things on Saturday and keep in Chelem only a few clothes and my computer equipment so that I don’t have to rush Monday morning. That will really just leave me Sunday here in Chelem. I’ll still have to sleep here on Monday night because of Puppy, but I can spend Monday at home getting set up and be there for good by midday/early afternoon Tuesday, as planned.

I can’t wait for the dressing table to make it up to the bathroom so that I can start setting up that room. I need to figure out a fixed home non-travelling lifestyle earring storage solution, so I think I’ll spend part of this evening on Pinterest. 🙂

14 thoughts on “Keystones

  1. Hi!
    I’ve been concerned about your truck. Is it behaving it’s self now?
    Lots of luck with getting settled.
    Elaine in Saltair BC

    • Hi!

      Unfortunately, the muffler needs work — the mechanic admitted that a bit broke off when he was working on the transmission because the muffler was so rusted — so in a way he broke something to fix something, but I knew that I was dealing with major rust down there and don’t blame him. The muffler woes can wait until November. The transmission/clutch are doing well, though! I feel perfectly secure tooling around even if she’s a little loud at startup and in low gear. Thanks for asking!

  2. It’s fun watching it all come together.

    Is the cord on the microwave such that you could turn it sideways? That would give you more counter by the sink.

  3. The original keystone was the pie shaped stone that goes at the top of an arch that holds all the other bricks in place. So, yeah, the one thing that anchors everything else works.

    • Do you mean put it with its back against the other window? I thought of that, but there’s an awkward little bump-out so it doesn’t fit quite right.

      I think I have enough room on that side of the sink since there’s the built-in drain board. I’m more worried about being able to get things in and out easily. I may explorer setting it at a diagonal.

    • Mérida just dropped into a lower rate now that average summer temperatures are over a certain threshold so rates might end up being very affordable. I still don’t want to use AC on any sort of regular basis, but on the odd sticky night at 35+, it might be nice to have that option.

  4. “I’m more worried about being able to get things in and out easily. I may explorer setting it at a diagonal.”

    If you happen across a turntable, would that help?

    Virtual hugs,


  5. My first thought was to place the microwave at an angle. You might also want to eventually pick up a small stand for it to be a bit higher up.

    Last winter the new ATM maximum withdrawal rate was 7000 pesos. It used to be 10,000.

    • It definitely won’t fit at an angle, but I had the same thought as you about putting it up higher!

      With Scotiabank, I can withdraw up to 1,000 CAD a day, but can only withdraw 7,000 pesos at a time. So I do two transactions if I need that much cash. But with HSBC, my limit for the whole day was 7,000 pesos. I couldn’t even pay for something with my debit card after.

    • Am considering that as well. 🙂 I actually have a cord that is specially marketed for microwave ovens — a leftover from my Lethbridge winter.

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