It Has Been a DAY

Just shy of 8:30 this morning, I heard the Pepsi truck driving down my street then a BOOM.

I ran out and, sure enough, it had struck my truck and punched a hole in one of my tires. Despite multiple neighbours coming out and yelling at the truck to stop, it got to the corner, then hit a hard turn onto 21 and raced to 60, skipping its usual stops. There’s no way they didn’t know they did something bad.

I went to the expat group I trust for advice — lots of long-timers here who live in the real world as well as Mexicans so I knew I’d get advice for how such things are handled by locals. I had one who did ask if a burst tire was worth a driver losing his job at Christmas, but she was drowned out by the advice to call 911 and request police. This was a hit and run, plain and simple, and the value of the damage was immaterial.

I felt like I lost all my Spanish when the 911 operator picked up, but he repeated everything back to me and understood me perfectly. He promised to send police but, as expected, police never turned up. Even if they had, to make an official-official claim, a denuncia, you have to go in person to an agency called the Fiscalía, which handles the actual investigations.

I then called my insurance company and was shocked that they had no one who spoke English who could help me since I have “Gringo insurance.” I knew I only had third-party liability, but I thought they might be able to liaise with Pepsi’s insurance. Nope, there was nothing they could do for me (the expected answer).

I then called Pepsi’s local office and the person who picked up the phone took my info and said someone would call me back.

They did call me back some time later and even found someone who speaks English at about the level I speak Spanish. So we had a Spanglish conversation. It was clear Pepsi was giving me the brush-off as they said they could not do anything since I did not have the truck license plate number. This was a regularly scheduled truck on a regular route so there’s no way they didn’t know which truck and which driver was involved. I got a name and number to call back the next time I saw the truck. *insert shrug emoji!*

Sometime after this, I got hold of my mechanic and he said he’d have a look. He was quite peeved on my behalf, saying the Pepsi driver has caused damage to others before and that, really, he’d deserve my filing a denuncia. He later confirmed that there was no other damage and that he will find me a cheap used tire. So that’s as far as I was willing to take things seeing as I’d lost half a day of work and a used tire won’t break the bank.

The day was not a write-off, however, as I got in some good practice for the day I have a life or death emergency. 🙂 I’m glad I finally have a support network here that can show me how things are done here, not how they “should” be done.

An Extremely Productive Day Off

My last full day off was October 13th. I’ve since had the odd half-day or been able to finish early enough to have a full-ish evening, but, really, I’ve been riding it hard. Last week in particular was nuts and today had to be a day off.

Of course, I woke up at the crack of dawn raring to go on my massive to-do list!

I started off by playing with Bonita, then put on laundry and weeded a jumbo garbage bag’s worth of plants from the yard. Then, coffee and catching up on emails with my dog snoring at my side.

Just as I was thinking of getting going again, B’s groomer texted to say she was nearby and could come cut her nails. Great timing! B was sooo relaxed during that. Her groomer says that she can’t believe the progress B is making at being less skittish.

My truck battery died over a week ago and I haven’t had time to deal with that. So after B’s spa treatment, I walked over to a nearby battery store to get a quote for the cheapest they have (since I only likely have two years of use left on the truck). They quoted me the same as Autozone and Sam’s Club had, so I messaged my mechanic to see if he can find me a good condition used battery.

Somewhere in all of this, I did some research about my iPad Mini 2’s battery drain issues (yes, there was a theme to my day off!). I ran some diagnostics and learned that the battery is fine and that the battery issues are software-related. To my surprise, while I was told to skip iOS 11, which I thought meant my iPad was now obsolete, iOS 12 was getting rave reviews for reviving many a tired iPad Mini 2! So I updated the iPad and spent some time exploring the new features.

Since I had diagnostic tools running, I performed a battery check on my phone and discovered that its battery was definitely toast! I was quite crushed as I really like that phone and don’t otherwise have any reason to want another. I looked at the used market here and ascertained that to go to a used iPhone 7 would be around 6,500 pesos. So that was surprisingly doable if I could find a used one I could trust. But I really didn’t want a new phone, so I decided to look into a new a battery. I’d priced a battery replacement for my iPad and it didn’t make sense (thousands of pesos). Well, to my immense surprise, I discovered that my model of iPhone is eligible for a 649-peso battery replacement service, but I only had until December 31st to qualify!!!!!!!

I made an appointment at 12:40 with the Apple repair place around the corner. Unfortunately, they could not get the new battery for at least a week and I’d have to leave the phone that long. I came home and decided to check with other service centres. The only one that could take me before December 31st was a very expensive Uber ride away. I decided to call the one at Gran Plaza, as that’s super easy to bus to, and scored a cancellation spot at 4PM today. I also had to go to HSBC to pay the rent so instead of going to the branch I normally walk to, I could go to the one in Gran Plaza.

Just after I got off the phone, B’s groomer messaged again that she had the flea and tick meds I’d ordered and could she come drop them off? Again, great timing. Did that and then headed off to Gran Plaza where I did the bank stuff and then treated myself to a late lunch and a very expensive ice cream that I only get on days when I’ve put in a lot of steps.

It was only about 3:40 by the time I got to iShop but I asked to see the new Mac Mini, which I am ordering this week!!!, and the new MacBook Air, which is gorgeous (pink!!!) and has a muuuuch better keyboard. I also looked at and priced a couple of USB-C to USB-A hubs, just for FYI since my Mini will come with four USB-C ports.

The service tech was able to take me early and handing over the phone was more work than I remembered from the last time I had to do that. And because of that last time, I had an older but perfectly serviceable phone to put my chip into so that I could at least receive calls while my good phone was in the shop. You know, Apple gets a lot of flack for “bricking” devices early, but they made it possible for me today to revive my ancient iPad Mini and iPhone 6, never mind that they replaced the 5C for me after it self-destroyed. Credit should be given where it is due.

I thought to get groceries after but was zonked. So I just got on a bus and went home. There, I eventually ordered tacos, which were taking forever to arrive. I thought the Uber Eats map wasn’t working, so I went to Google, which shows traffic. Those red sections explain why the delivery guy appeared to not be moving!

It’s now 9:30 and just about time for bed, but… I just remembered I forgot to get my laundry off the line! Hey, at least I didn’t forget it in the washer!

B’s snoring beside me. She’s had a full day too!

The Move to Mexico Bible

One of my most trusted sources for info about moving and living in Mexico, Sonia Diaz, has put together a booked called The Move to Mexico BibleI haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but based on the information on Sonia’s website and discussions I’ve had with her, I am confident in recommending it to my readers interested in coming to Mexico. It covers everything from immigration to opening a bank account and takes into account the fact that Mexico is a large country and that what might be true in one region isn’t in another.

(Note that the above is an affiliate link through which a commissions are earned and passed on to a family in need. If you are shopping at the US Amazon site this weekend, accessing Amazon through that link will mean that all the purchases you make will help this family at no extra cost to you.)

Today Was “Exciting”

I was having another good day when I got an email that caused me to drop everything. It was from my neighbour Caroline advising me that I’d received a scary letter from the Canada Revenue Agency regarding my business account. It did sound really bad on paper, but I knew that if I could only just get hold of them, something I’ve been trying to do since I got the initial letter about this issue back to SK in spring of 2017, it would be very quick to resolve.

It is extremely difficult to reach a live person at CRA. It’s generally a game of phone tag. That is made even more difficult and frustrating when the agent only leaves you a toll-free number you can’t call from outside Canada and the US and you only have Mexican phone numbers. So I tend to just work at it when I’m in the mood to do so until the issue absolutely has to be dealt with, unless, of course, I know I’m in the wrong and that delays, even due to no fault of my own, will mean penalties and interest. In this case, I knew that the odds of having any penalties or interest were very close to nil so this just wasn’t a huge priority for me.

Well, today’s letter was the big one, the “If you don’t respond to us right now, we’re going to start seizing assets” warning. It was time to think outside the box because there wasn’t any time left to play phone tag. After a Google search, I tried a couple of direct CRA phone numbers until I found one where I was able, through a phone options maze and a bit of a wait, reach a call centre agent who was then able to transfer me to the agent who had sent the letter. And since that transfer would have looked like an internal call, the actually agent picked up!

Doesn’t this look like a proper professional setup to be calling a tax agency from about your business account?! It’s even got a landline!

I had a pleasant chat with a very pleasant man who took me at my word, was sympathetic to my difficulties in reaching someone (he admitted it’s a common complaint), sent me to a website to e-file some paperwork (shocked that that worked as CRA’s website frequently goes down), and that was that. All told, it was exactly 40 minutes from receiving Caroline’s email to my letting her know everything was sorted. I still can’t believe it took 18 months to get to this point. But with CRA stubbornly refusing to update its contact procedures to get with the times, it is what it is.

I do have to say CRA is more pleasant to deal with than the IRS. Today’s call to CRA and my last communications with the IRS make me even less eager to get in bed with Hacienda here, so I’m glad that, for now, I don’t have to. Dealing with two tax agencies is enough!

Of course my triumph over bureaucracy meant I needed celebratory tacos for dinner. I Whatsapped an order and the situation got quite comical. It’s raining, so deliveries were super slow and the dispatcher was freaking out about it and updating me every few minutes even though I kept telling her that I understood and could wait. My meal eventually showed up and was still piping hot and fresh. I texted to let her know and she thanked me for being such a good customer. I just love my little local taquería — it’s exactly the kind of place I hoped I’d have nearby. It’s not fancy, but the food is good, the staff is friendly, and it’s nice to be able to text a food order on a cold and rainy night and have the restaurant care about the order getting to you in a timely fashion. It’s just another layer of “home.”

It’s Been a Good Couple of Days

My neighbour’s %!#$@%! rooster has been quiet the last couple of mornings so I’ve had several nights of uninterrupted blissful sleep where I wake up smiling and cosy and content and rested after a solid seven to eight hours of sleep. Lovely. And, yes, I’m still sleeping in my hammock!

Work has been steady and not too onerous. Yesterday, I took a break mid-afternoon and walked to a garage sale in my neighbourhood as the lady had some lamps for sale. Lamps here are super expensive and I’ve been procrastinating on buying more, moving the one that came with the house from room to room as needed. So I was super happy to come home with these beauties! They were $350 each, but I got the pair for $600!

The one in good shape will be a task lamp in my office. The one with rust and spots will go up to my craft area. The finish on them is actually pretty cheap, not stainless steel, and they come completely apart, so I may experiment with spray painting them as there continues to not be enough colour in this house! 🙂

Today, a really important purchase arrived, the next big step to getting back to a truly functional workstation, something I haven’t had since I left for Europe in 2016. I’ve been making do with cobbled together workstations and barely adequate tools while really missing my nearly perfect office in Miranda.

Well, I’m settled for a bit, have space, and business is booming. A 13″ MacBook Air just isn’t cutting it anymore. I’m tired of the tiny display and the processor is too slow to run the Office for Mac suite. So I’m getting a new computer and since the new Mac Mini is better than the current iMac on the market and about 1,500USD (half the price!) cheaper, it’s a no-brainer to go that route even though I’d never considered a Mini before. Since a Mini is a “headless” computer, it needs a monitor. So why not start with that and use it with my laptop until I can afford the Mini?

After some shopping (options are limited here in Mexico), I found for half my budget (!) a monitor by a reputable manufacturer (Samsung) in the size (24″) and finish (matte) I wanted, plus with an HDMI port as I have the adapter to make the monitor work with my MacBook Air. The monitor arrived today and what a difference!

I can’t get over how light monitors are today compared to the ones of old. I actually wondered if the box was empty when it arrived! I have some work to do to get the monitor work as I expected it to (I think I have to play with the resolution), but I can already tell I’m not going to regret this purchase. 24″ is a great size. My last desktop Mac had a 24″ display and I remembered it as being more than enough, hence why I didn’t go for a 27″. I’m certain I made the right choice.

It’ll be really tight, but I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to buy my Mini before the year-end for tax advantage purposes, which is awesome. I otherwise didn’t see myself getting a new computer until the spring!

I enjoyed my new monitor for a few hours and then headed out to pick up yet another garage sale site item. I was going to drive over with Bonita, but my truck battery was dead! I don’t know if I have a drain somewhere or if the battery just simply needs to be replaced. Considering my battery is more than six years old, I’m going with the latter! Unfortunately, I’m parked on the street, so using my new trickle charger is out of the question. I’ll probably skip getting a boost and just have someone deliver and install me a new battery.

So poor Bonita didn’t get her truck ride and I had to hurry to order an Uber as I had an appointment to pick up the item and I knew the lady had to leave shortly thereafter. Traffic was heavy, but we arrived just a couple of minutes late. The item in question was a Corning Visions-brand pot, another of the items on my “when I get a bigger kitchen” wishlist!

This cookware is awesome as it does stovetop (gas and electric), oven and broiler, microwave, and can even go in the freezer! It was hard to gauge the size of the pot from the picture and I was delighted as it was a medium-sized one. The price was a bargain!

I was only 3.6KM from home, the pot was quite light (and I had a bag for it), and the rain had let up, so walking home was very appealing, especially since it was a very walkable route. I’d be in by about 6PM in time to give B her supper. So off I went, enjoying the cool air. Well, I was 1KM from home when the sky decided to open up again! I got in very soaked (thankfully, my purse is water resistant!). I dried off, changed, gave B her supper, and then made myself a curry with one of my last packets I brought back from Canada, a really lovely treat.

So that’s all the domestic excitement over here. Life in Mexico continues to be wonderfully mundane. 🙂