The Want For Speed

(Post 95 of 263. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr! My best friend Bast is currently in hospital fighting for her life. Her children are the only ones currently standing as their parents are all down with COVID. They are on leave from their jobs. There’s no income. I don’t even know if Medicaid will cover Bast’s treatment. 😱)

I continue to remain amazed by how good my internet service is here in Mérida. I know I probably need extensive therapy from all my issues I have from my 20-year war against Canadian telcos and that I need to stop reminding folks of what thieving government-enabled monsters they are, but there you have it.

I had a bit of a strange occurrence a few weeks ago: my TV literally exploded — part of the back blew out of it and there was smoke!  It was a three years less a week from the time I bought it and happened on the day that LG was starting their annual sale on their last-year models. Coincidence? I most certainly think not, especially when I contacted them to see if my personal info was at risk if I sold it for parts and they said, “Oh, no, we have the TVs built so that when this happens” — THEY PLAN FOR YOUR TV EXPLODING — “it deletes your personal info.” (I managed to sell the busted TV for $600 to a guy who had the same model whose kid had thrown something at the TV and broken the screen. He was hoping that my screen would still be good and he could Frankenstein’s monster himself a usable TV out of the two…)

Like last time, TV shopping was overwhelming, but I ended up ordering myself a 43″ Samsung entry-level UHD TV after a week of watching stuff on my iPad Mini and noticing that I wasn’t being as diligent as I normally am about getting on the exercise equipment (I’ve clearly programmed myself that TV time=exercise time!). Other brands were having sales on their last year’s model and after what turned out to not be enough research, I found a really good deal on a the series 6 Samsung at Liverpool of all places. Liverpool always jacks up their prices much higher than anyone else, so it’s hard to know what a deal is with them, but with the median full price on this TV being $13,000 and no one else having it for less than $9,000, Liverpool’s $8,400 was a solid deal. Delivery service was middling — took ages and they kept on changing the date — but the guy who delivered it physically set it up for me (got legs on it, plugged it in, made sure I knew what adapter I need if I want to use my Wii with it, etc.).

The new TV and I got off to a rocky start — it was hard to set up and didn’t work well with my Apple TV. I was enjoying the larger size (up from 32″) and the better sound quality, but the picture was muddy and dim. It took a lot of playing with settings and an excruciatingly long chat session with a Samsung rep to figure it out. One of the things that came out of the troubleshooting was that a 4K TV and 4K Apple TV really need an ethernet, not wifi, connection.

So that was the kick in the pants I needed to see if I could increase my internet speed. I got on a Messenger chat with Izzi yesterday that started off quite amusingly. You start the chat with a bot, who takes you through a menu. None of the menu options were for “I’m a client and I want to know what my upgrade options are.” So I wrote “Can’t I speak to someone?!

Next thing I knew, I got a reply from a real person!

From there, the transaction went really smoothly. I currently pay $840 a month for 50Mbps (with a boost to just over 60 for having automatic debit), a bunch of channels, and my landline that can call over 90 countries.

The rep suggested I go for their current maxed out plan of 100Mbps (actually 125), a ton of extra premium channels, and my landline… for only $40 more a month (2USD/2.50CAD). They would waive the technician fee and he would run cable and install a router/switch device all at no extra cost. Wow, just wow. And I should add that I’ve only had a total of maybe three or four hours of outage at the most during the 3.5 years I’ve been with Izzi!

The tech was scheduled between 9 and noon today. Izzi confirmed multiple times this morning that my tech was incoming. He arrived sometime after 9 and was here to almost 2PM! There was a problem with the existing wiring and he ended up changing it all out!

Finally, I was getting consistent speeds at my TV and my computer via ethernet and on my phone and iPad via wifi. (There’s just the wifi extender to configure to give me coverage upstairs.)

The improved upload speeds are going to help so much as well!

I have to say that I barely use my cable. One of the reasons is the crappy remote that made it very difficult to navigate between channels. The new cable box came with a proper remote.

Thank goodness for that because some of my new channels are ones I’m currently paying for through my Apple TV, including Paramount! I have to do a whole inventory of all my channels now since a lot of the premium ones, like WB, HGTV, History, and National Geographic are now available in English through Izzi! I was primarily using the cable for local news, the odd SyFy channel show (what a delightfully random channel that was to have!), and a cooking show, but now I think I’ll be using it more.

Most expats I know are still using VPNs and illegal IP TV devices to get content without even evaluating what’s available here. The only thing I can’t easily get here is Canadian content. I think sports might be another thing that folks can’t get everything they want here. Otherwise, I can’t think of much I’ve wanted to watch in the last four years or that I’ve heard folks talk about that I haven’t been able to easily access here legally. I even get most of the British shows I enjoy. Heck, it’s even happened that I was able to access movies here that are being showed in cinemas. I couldn’t imagine getting through this lockdown without all this content waiting for me at the end of a very long workday.

La vie en rose

(Post 94 of 263. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr! My best friend Bast is currently in hospital fighting for her life. Her children are the only ones currently standing as their parents are all down with COVID. They are on leave from their jobs. There’s no income. I don’t even know if Medicaid will cover Bast’s treatment. 😱)

Well, the most pressing maintenance item that I kept talking about that no one believed was ever going to happen happened!

BEFORE

AFTER

I didn’t realise until this project just how badly iPhone cameras pick up colours. The darker pink is NOT a bright, in-your-face, garish, fluorescent pink outside of really bright sunlight. It is a deep rose colour, very pretty and sophisticated. The paler pink is just about on the coral scale, with a hint of orange. The brown offsets both colours beautifully. I am delighted with my choices and how good the house looks in real life. It really feels like home, not a rental, now, and my yard no longer looks like something you’d find at a jail! Of course, now the cement flooring looks awful, so cleaning that up is going to be a priority. As will be bringing in more greenery to offset some of that pink!

I’ve just spent a lot on the house in a short amount of time (the painting alone was equal to a mortgage payment). April is going to have big payments to INM and my lawyers. So that’s it for significant projects until sometime in May. Pool is up next and then I’m starting on my office!

Kitchen Refresh

(Post 93 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr! The family is struggling right now with being sick with coronavirus and I’m trying not to freak out.)

There has been so much going on with the house in the last few weeks! I finally finished my kitchen refresh, so I thought I’d give a tour.

There is a spoiler (or two) in this video for my next post!

A Three-Year Anniversary

(Post 92 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I cannot believe I have had my Bonita for three years now!

THEN:

NOW:

She is 14 or 15 and seems years younger as she is still very energetic and playful. I’m definitely getting more “good” years out of my senior than I expected!

She is still and always will be a timid and high-anxiety dog, but she knows this is her home and that I’m her mom and that she is (relatively) safe here. I think that’s better than anyone could have expected for her during that long decade at the refuge.

Three years ago, I awoke and went about my day not realising just how much my life was going to change after 6PM. This morning, B heard me moving around upstairs and made it clear that I needed to come downstairs right that second and play with her. Between that last morning without her and today’s, there were many mornings after she had a difficult night and greeted me terrified and stressed out. It’s been a journey to settle her into a routine, but we eventually found our stride.

I have to say that the pandemic keeping me home has really helped. And ironically enough, all this home time makes her less anxious when I do leave than it did when I was leaving her regularly! I often come home from running errands to her not waiting at the gate for me but instead mucking about in the garden digging and making a mess of herself! I’m always joking that she needed to “learn how to dog” and she’s getting there!

Bonita likes cheese, mud, just about any treat in stick form, and sneaking up behind me to give me a nip on the calf before running away laughing. She does not like loud noises, most men, cuddling (unless she initiates), or produce of any kind (have you ever seen a dog spit a banana halfway across a house? It’s hilarious!).

It was with trepidation that I embarked on this journey, and it has been well worth it. I finally understand the bond that people have with their dogs. It is indeed magical and seems to occur at a deep instinctual level. I adore her, I know that in her own way she loves me too, and I hope we have several more happy years.

Thank you, Bonita, for the joy you bring to my life! 🦊🥰