Saturday, May 30, 2015

Getting Settled With All Our Stuff..

My small desk
It's been a week now since our container arrived and was unloaded into our front room. Carlos and I have been working like dogs to find places for all our things and place furniture where it should be. So far I have only found four things broken, a large depression glass vase, two pieces of pottery by a favorite potter and a large Spanish Pottery Caldero I hand carried back from Spain more than 20 years ago.
A favored piece of pottery didn't make it!

Our small breakfast table

While I worked on placing furniture through out the house and putting furniture together, Carlos worked on getting all his boxes of books up to his library. I unpacked kitchen ware and found places for it. As it was at least 100 degrees F all week, we sweated buckets as we worked.
I did run into a problem with one of our patio sets. It was new last year and we never put it together, so when I worked on it here I found that I am missing most of the hardware. Called home depot and they are sending it to our US address and I will get it mailed to me here. They were great to work with!

Need hardware to put two more chairs together and the arms on these!
The rest of the terraces and courtyard look so much more inviting with some tables, chairs, umbrellas and other furniture placed on them. Just the right places to sit with a cold drink!

The two guest rooms are more than ready for guests!

Finally both Carlos and I are working hard on getting his library set up and comfortable. All the books are waiting to be shelved. His guitars are there as well as his sheet music. His new couch arrived and the chairs and ottomans, tables, bar and lamp are in there and ready for his escape!

Books to shelve!

So that what we've been doing all week, working pretty hard. Tomorrow we go to the port of Progreso and have a leisurely lunch with some friends and take a long walk on the beach. Than on Monday, back to work.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Container is Here!

So finally our container of goods passed customs, with just a few rejects. Our car seats from the car we drove down, and of all things an old canoe and paddles. We made a quick decision and abandoned them as the duty was well over thousand dollars US and it would have added several days onto the wait, at one hundred dollars a day. Our customs broker was right on it and kept us up to date on all that was going on.
I prepared the first room to receive all the boxes and other stuff from a 40 foot shipping container by moving the only furniture to the far end of the room.

The truck with the container on the bed arrives at midnight. Because we live in the centro part of Merida truck traffic of this size is by permit only and we have 3 hours from midnight to unload. I'm sure my neighbors are not happy. But wait, we have a problem. Customs put a seal lock on the container that we must remove to open. No one told us this. The driver has no tools. We have no tools because they are packed IN the container. Our workers for unloading arrive and with a little bit of that Mexican creativity, they manage to remove the locking device with the assistance of a tire rod. 

Finally at about 1 am we start the unloading. And the room quickly fills up. As does the terraces and the courtyard. OMG did I really bring all this STUFF?

By 2:30 am we have the container fully empty, the house packed to the rafters and we are alone with our things. Now the fun really begins, what do we keep? What do we dispose of? And the proverbial were does it all go?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Before, During and After...

This week the painters were here everyday from early morning to early evening and they even came on Saturday for a 2/3 rds day. They worked hard in the heat. I went through liters and liters of water and my freezer couldn't keep up with the demand for ice. I think it looks great...

Before...being prepped

Done with new color!

Casita with old color

During the transformation to Azul

I love the new look!

Bright and beautiful, cheerful and makes my heart sing!

Edit: We added some white accents around the arches....

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What's Going On!

Most everyone knows that it has been hot in the Yucatan. I mean really, really hot. One day is was 109F...needless to say, the cats and I did not move much those days. 

In the meantime, Carlos was back in St Louis where it was cold. I think he complained as much about the cold and damp as I did about the heat and humidity. But he had to be there to get our household goods approved by the Mexican Embassy in Kansas City as well as load the container and get the items shipped off. I was so jealous that he was able to spend hours and hours of time with our precious grand kids! He took them to the park, the zoo, played with them and had lots of fun! Carlos even took Maia to choose some new outfits at the mall. Meanwhile I did fine here by myself.

Now after 5 weeks he's back and we are continuing on our 'repair' mode on the house. The front door is back at the carpenters as the repairs unrepaired themselves and it cracked in other places! We are having the facade of the house repaired and repainted. There was some water damage that sloughed off some of the stucco in several spots and the color had faded in the 4 years since it was painted. 

Right in the middle of all of the repairs we had to make a trip to Chetumal on the Belize border to have my temporary import certificate on the car extended. We tried to have that done in Progreso but those folks there were really hard to work with. The people are Chetumal were great to work with! Interesting that there more than 50 Mennonites there also getting their visas extended. There are many farming communities of Mennonites and Amish both here in Mexico as well as in Belize. 

Now the car sticker is good until November, we had a good ride there and back and now we are home dealing with workers and waiting for all of our furniture to arrive in a week or it left Panama City Florida on the container ship Compeche and hopefully all goes well in customs when it arrives and we receive it in a week or ten days!
And now the electricians are here...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Me vs the Bats!

In the Yucatan bats can be both a hindrance and a blessing. According to Yucatan Wildlife there are more than 50 varieties of bats in the Yucatan. Many of them were leaving the evidence of their existence on my freshly painted walls. Now bats are worthwhile to have here as they can help with mosquito control. Mosquitoes can spread Dengue fever as well as the new Chikungunya mosquito born disease. So what was needed to do was to control the bat poop on my walls in the least harmful to the bats way. So what to do?
My property manager told us that the bat ultrasonic devices was being used by many homes in the Yucatan. However all the research that I did on Amazon as well as other places said that they did not work at all and don't waste your money on them. Bat nets were recommended but would not only have been expensive as I would need many, but unsightly too. I didn't want to hang mesh bags of mothballs around. I only wanted the bats to stop pooping on the walls of the paseo and casita. 
So I next called one of the universities and talked to a bat expert. He told me that Mylar or metallic ribbon hung from the ceilings of the walkways should repel the bats from flying through the arches, and leaving behind...well you know....poop or as he called it guano. 
To me that sounded simple ...and cheap enough. So I went into my Christmas decorations and pulled about some metallic streamers as well as stopped at a party supply store and purchased some metallic whirligig streamers (about US 5.00). Carlos and I borrowed a ladder and up they went. I think they look rather festive!

I removed all the bat poop with those white magic sponges which did a great job even though I had to scrub and went through at least 4 of them.
The best thing of all....not one bit of new bat guano on the walls since these have been put up! 
No more BAT POOP!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Our first Volunteer Effort In Merida

Yesterday Carlos and I experienced our first volunteer day here in Merida. We offered to help at the Artist Studio tour which is a fund raising activity for the Merida English Library, which is more than a library. It also serves as a community center for many, many activities from story hours to happy hours to lectures and music. Our assignment was to volunteer at one of the artists studio during the tour. We would help with crowd control if needed as well as check for wristbands and answer questions. We meet our assigned artist about  days before the event at a 'training' session at the library. At the same time we were able to meet the other volunteers as well as the 19 other artist that were participating.
Our assigned artist, Paul Lorenz, was a charming American somewhere in his 40's (best guess) originally from Chicago, currently living in Puducah, KY and Merida, Yucatan. Trained as an architect his art work is fascinating and compelling. Both Carlos and I felt we had won the assignment lottery and really was looking forward to helping with whatever we could on the day of the tour.
The poster was on the door
 On the day of the tour we arrived at Paul's home and studio just before 10am. The tours would continue until 3pm so we all would have a longish day. Paul had hung the post on the door at the street so the touring folks would know that they had arrived at artist studio #15. He greeted all and chatted about his life and painting as well as answered any question that were asked.
Paul, in the white shirt talking about his art

Carlos waiting for the next group
We did get chances to rest between groups but all in all it seemed to be a very successful day, Carlos and I not only meet a wonderful artist and his family, but had a chance to meet others to. And the art! Oh man if I had more money there were a few that would be hanging on my wall right now!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Our Sunday Walk

Both Carlos and I like to walk. Whether a vigorous walk or a casual stroll we like them all. Today we decided to explore some parts of Merida I have never been to. We walked down our street Calle 45 and than hooked a left onto Calle 82. We stopped to admire Ochenta Y Dos, a bed and breakfast that is under construction (you can find them on Facebook) than continued our way down to Calle 59 which is one of the main bus street in Merida. From there we entered Centennial Park which is frequented by extended family groups all enjoying their Sunday.

Attached to the park is the small zoo. Although it is a little old fashioned with large fenced areas rather than the natural type we now see in the US, the animals as well as their environment seemed clean. 


Once we exited the zoo area on the other side of the park we could barely get through the crowd of families with their excited children!

From there it was back down Calle 59, across Santiago Park and to home. Just another beautiful day to take a walk in Merida!
Santiago Park