(Post 99 of 263. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr. As I mentioned in the post announcing Bast’s passing from COVID, I thank everyone for your generous donations to the original Fundrazr campaign, which resulted in sponsored 263 posts. I will continue to honour the commitment to write those 263 posts, but I will not commit to more. The link above is to a new campaign to help Bast’s family.)
Mexico’s immigration system is moving into the 21st century, at least here in Mérida! You no longer have to get photos taken at a studio and bring them to INM, where they will ink fingerprint you and then send you on your way to return in a few weeks for your physical card. Oh, no. If, like me, you have a lawyer representing you, you show up for your fingerprinting appointment, move ahead of a long queue, and come out 15 minutes later with your shiny new card in hand! What a simple, stress-free process this ended up being!
Notice no expiry date!
I feel safe, secure, and rooted now in a way that I haven’t felt in a very, very long time. I’m happy here and life is good. Yucatán has moved from orange to yellow stoplight for the first time since late September, so we’re going to get a few freedoms back. It won’t be today, but I’ll be toasting my new residency status at a taquería very soon, the first time that I’ll eat at a restaurant in over a year.
I’m working on a post about what has been filling my days since October. It’s a career option more nomads need to know about as there is more work available than there are competent people to do it!
(Post 98 of 263. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr. As I mentioned in the post announcing Bast’s passing from COVID, I thank everyone for your generous donations to the original Fundrazr campaign, which resulted in sponsored 263 posts. I will continue to honour the commitment to write those 263 posts, but I will not commit to more. The link above is to a new campaign to help Bast’s family.)
After three years’ reprieve from visiting INM, my temporary residency was up at the end of this month. Time to get out of Dodge… or convert to permanent residency! This time, I decided to pay to have an attorney do the process for me. It was too important a step to mess up, the INM office has moved and is no longer convenient to get to, procedures have changed, and, frankly, my new hourly rate is too high not to pay someone else to do things like this for me now.
I met with my “fixer” last week to give him my passport and temp card and to sign a few forms. That was it! He emailed this afternoon to say my application was approved and now we just need to schedule my fingerprints and photo. INM now takes the photo for you, so that’s one less hassle as well!
Now, we need to deal with my truck. My fixer has a connection with SAT (tax office/customs) who will help us navigate the COVID force majeure exception procedures so that I can dispose of my truck here while still satisfying my legal responsibilities. I’ll be sad to see Moya go, but she’s rusted through at this point and has earned her retirement. My hope is that I’ll be able to donate her to my mechanic neighbour for parts. Once I’m through my office makeover, the next project will be to buy a small city car. As things are opening up again here, traffic is picking up again and waiting for an Uber is starting to take longer than running the errand. I’m still not comfortable getting on a bus. So a car is starting to reach the top of my wish list once the office is sorted.
It’s been a roller coaster of a first third of 2021. But the two biggest stressors are off the list at last and now, I can just keep moving forward.
(Post 97 of 263. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr. As I mentioned in the post announcing Bast’s passing from COVID, I thank everyone for your generous donations to the original Fundrazr campaign, which resulted in sponsored 263 posts. I will continue to honour the commitment to write those 263 posts, but I will not commit to more. The link above is to a new campaign to help Bast’s family.)
It has been one hell of a week. Thank goodness I had work to keep me busy.
I’ve been in a bit of a haze since Bast went in hospital, but one of the things I knew I had to work on was The Pool Project. We had a false start to summer, and then it was coming with a vengeance. I knew from “just looking” at pools in past years that once you hit May, good luck getting one — suppliers can’t keep up with the demand. ‘
I will eventually do a whole yard makeover with landscaping and a proper pool, so my goal for this summer (and at least the next) was to be able to cool off at low cost using an above-ground pool. I found above-ground pools big enough to swim laps in (just), but the more I took measurements, the more I was put off by them for the following reasons:
Limited installation locations. I have a pretty big property, but the exterior parts are all pretty small. I was very likely going to have to sacrifice the entire third and some of the second carport.
Surface. You can’t just install the pool over concrete. Depending on the model, the manufacturers recommend, a heavy tarp, carpet lining, foam mats, or even sand.
Shade. The areas where a large pool would fit do not have shade. Adding it would be an additional expense.
Privacy and noise. Right against the street by a mechanic is not my idea of relaxing.
This temporary project was creeping up to the 20,000 to 25,000 peso price range.
I started to become okay with the thought of a pool just to cool off, not to do exercise in. I could work up a sweat on my elliptical or treadmill and then go splash around! The problem was the smaller pools that would have fit in better locations and still be big enough for an adult weren’t meant for long-term use, more to put up for a weekend and then put away.
And then, I saw an ad on one of my social media feeds. Soriana was announcing a smaller version of the large pool I’d been eyeing! At 2×3 metres and 85cm tall, it would be little more than a glorified chlorinated bathtub, but it would fit perfectly on my rear patio, the ideal location as it has shade, is private, and I can keep Bonita out of it. The smaller footprint also promised less upkeep and cost to maintain.
I ordered the pool on March 27th and waited… and waited… and waited. I saw an ad for it pop up again and there were lots of angry customers in the comments looking for their pools, which Soriana said they were working hard to get out to all customers as, no surprise to me, there had been a lot of demand for it. Temps had cooled again, so I was fine to wait.
April 7th, four days after Bast died and two days before her birthday, the phone rang. It was Redpack, a courier company, asking for directions. I wasn’t expecting anything because the pool was still marked as being at the warehouse. The driver said the package was not from Soriana. So I thought that Amazon was surprising me hella early. Nope, it was my pool!
I went through the instruction manual to see what it recommended to put underneath since my rear patio has a faux flagstone finish and isn’t smooth. All the manual said was to not use sand. I found an article online strongly promoting foam mats (like the interlocking kind you see on gym floors), so I ordered a bunch of those from Amazon. They were not cheap!
I also got a list of supplies I needed to get started, so I went to Facebook Marketplace to find a seller who had everything at a good price. Supplies showed up the next morning.
I have spent just under 8,000 pesos for this project (about 400USD). I’m not hurting for money right now, but, again, this is a temporary solution. I think I’m getting a lot for money and leaving a nice chunk for my office makeover!
The mats showed up this morning, Saturday, three days after the pool, and I spent about two hours putting the pool together. I’d scheduled the time, so I was able to relax and enjoy the process. I’m super happy I didn’t hire anyone to put it together for me as it was easy enough on my own (well, the physical assembly, once I figured it out!) and I really needed a physical project in the sun putting together a puzzle. It was really good for morale.
Here’s my vlog of the process!
(I meant the breaststroke in this last video!)
Even with it just half-full tonight, I didn’t want to get out. It was absolutely wonderful to be in that cool water and moving without effort. Can you imagine when it is full?! This is really what I have been missing in this house. It’s going to be a learning curve to take care of it, but I was able to successfully take care of the big pool at the house at the beach the summer of 2017. I never had to call in reinforcements. So I think I will be OK with this one as long as I get into the routine of checking it every day and running the filter, etc. I will also have to hunt down the vacuum cleaner that goes with a model the small!
It is a bit of a shame that I’ve had three summers without a pool when it was really not expensive to get set up, but I think it’s those three summers that are going to make me appreciate this one all the more!
(Post 96 of 263. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)
The pandemic gave me everything and then took its pound of flesh. Bast, my best friend of nearly 25 years, died today of coronavirus. She would have been 54 on April 9th.
Post edited to change the Fundrazr link. The last Fundrazr sponsored 263 posts. I will continue to honour the commitment to write those 263 posts, but I will not be sponsoring any more. Thank you so much to everyone for your help.