As I approach the end of the first full month of living in the house, I’m starting to understand the magnitude of what I’m getting into regarding upkeep of what is practically a mansion to someone who has lived in an RV for the better part of a decade!
But as I suspected, the more settled I get and keep on top of the daily chores, the more time appears to deal with the extra chores, like taking care of the garden. As a case in point, I found a couple of hours in the last few days to weed and also trim cacti (ouch). I love the view from one of my kitchen windows and it’s even better without tons of weeds!
The housekeeping is taking the time that it takes, but I’m on top of it. I do possibly have a house cleaner lined up to come in once a month just to do the floors and bathrooms in depth to start and am just waiting a month or so until I have the funds to pay a lawyer to draw up an employment contract before I hire her (or someone else if she’s no longer available at that time…).
I did the math and I can earn in less than two hours what it would cost me to hire someone for six hours, freeing up four hours to do something else. I doubt I’ll ever want a full service housekeeper (I’m fussy about having my things touched and not put back in the right place), but if I can work up to have six hours of help per week to do the bathrooms, floors, windows, and dusting of the public spaces, that would be fantastic.
I’ve also been doing some cooking. With the fridge not working right, I’m shopping almost daily, which is good for the budget and health since I’m having lots of fresh veggies and meat. I’ve been mostly buying my food at the Super Aki up the street because I don’t have time to shop-shop these days and they’re so convenient. I buy whatever meat and produce looks good that day.
Yesterday, to my delight, they not only had yellow onions, but they were on mega offer. I was sad that I couldn’t stock up (onions need to be stored in the fridge here if not eaten straight away). Mexicans tend to favour white and red onions, neither of which caramelises the way a yellow onion does (but which are nicer raw!), and I can only think of one other time that I’ve seen yellow onions since I got to the area (I don’t even remember seeing them in Maz). So I got a few of those, as it’s been cooler and less humid and I doubt they will spoil practically overnight.
At the butcher counter, I picked out the biggest boneless turkey breast they had, which cost a ridiculous $30 (2CAD) — I really need to compare the cost of turkey to chicken! 300 grams of ground pork was so inexpensive it was almost free ($17 or about 0.80CAD!). Between the two, I had at least six if not eight meals sorted!
I came in and put together a lovely stir fry with the turkey, onion, carrot, zucchini, and turkey, plus garlic I had on hand, adding commercial sweet chili sauce and soy sauce. The pork will go to making spaghetti sauce in a day or two.
Now, the fridge. It is sadly in need of repair. 🙁 I contact LG Mexico and they confirmed that what I’m seeing with the lights on the control panel is a code indicating a problem with the control panel. The guy who sold it to me said that he can try to repair it for a few pesos or pick it up and give me a partial refund, which, after three months, is incredibly fair of him.
I’ve come to the realisation that I approached the fridge purchase with the wrong attitude — sure, I don’t need a fancy new fridge, but if I lose groceries because of poor cooling and freezing, I’m out even more money. Moreover, while I have no certainty that I will be in this house more than two years, it would take some pretty extraordinary circumstances for me to commit to Mérida for less than four years. So since a fridge is going to be a long-term purchase, I’m going to be buying a brand new one rather than taking a chance on another used one or a repair of this one. The new one will probably be smaller than this one and I’m sad that I’ve missed out on all the November sales, but I’ll at least have some peace of mind that it most likely won’t go out on me as well as a proper warranty if it does.
I should be in a position to make a purchase Wednesday next week. I’m again looking for something fairly low frill and bargain brands like Mabe and Daewoo make nice units at affordable prices, less than $6,000 (about 400CAD) for a tad smaller than what I have now. Some even have a water dispenser, which I have to say would be really nice to have (there’s an attachment available to make this feature work with the 20 gallon water jugs)! I’ve only been shopping online and will be going to local stores to see if they have leftover stock or floor models from the November sales at even better prices.
I don’t know yet if I’ll accept a partial refund on the current fridge. I think I will first try to resell it for more than the offered refund, yes, with full disclosure. The freezer on it is very good and when you put the fridge on the coldest settings, it is is the same temperature as the freezer so it could actually work as an upright freezer. I’ve considered keeping it for that, but decided that I don’t need that much freezer space!
Once I’ve got a good fridge sorted, the next priority will be to do a really good pantry-building shop, then to find a washing machine. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a range by February. I’ve shopped hard for that already since I need one with cast iron grills as well as an oven with not only a broiler, but which also holds its heat. That leaves out anything by low-end brand Mabe, but the next Mexican brand up in terms of quality, Koblenz, appears to have what I want and for less than I’d pay for an international brand like Whirlpool. So that’s something to work hard towards. 🙂 The hot plate continues to serve me well enough, but it really doesn’t generate enough heat. Going to a proper stove will be such a treat!
I’m grateful to have had a really good month of work despite the US Thanksgiving. I was a bit concerned about December since it was such a slow month last year. The promise of another book editing contract eased my worries a bit until everything changed and I was reminded to trust the magic of beginnings. For what else could come with a new house in a new country but a new career?
I started with a new, non-transcription, client when I was in Europe, gradually taking on more tasks. In the spring, they asked me to take on a part-time admin assistant-type role that would have been a dream job. Unfortunately, it was an absolutely terrible time for me to consider taking the job — I had just returned to Canada, was heading back to Haven where I had no internet access and would need to focus on packing, and then I was taking about two weeks to move to Mexico! I was bummed when they said they couldn’t wait for me and had to hire someone else.
Well, that someone else, while great at the job, has even more aptitude for another part of the business and so she’s migrating there and her job is now available to me! We’ve worked out a deal on a retainer so I can feel comfortable dropping one of my transcription clients. I am super excited at the thought of spending half my time doing this sort of work and then spending the other half doing transcription jobs that I actually like and that are truly worth my time.
My big goal for 2018 was to be able to start taking weekends off and this new job will definitely contribute to that. The stars continue to align for me and and I feel so blessed!