Good day – two weeks (minus one day) since I last posted and I haven’t written a damn word. A few updates, nothing definitive though.
The appraisers came to the house last Wednesday. They said it should take about 10 business days from then for a bank answer. Which makes it about Oct 27th or 28th. Supposedly. Time is a fluid thing here, remember.
The US is not doing well again on the virus front. Above a rate of transmission of 1.0 means rapid spread (read states). Green is below 1.0 and means the virus spread is lessening. This is October 17 in the USA and not good. Note (Lou) that NM is right up there. Do be careful (everyone be careful but Lou and Jane and Lisa and Jake especially). Your president is a fucking moron. And don’t tell me “he’s not my president” because if you are American, he IS your president. That’s how democracy works, in case you’ve forgotten.
I think it’s 17 days until the election. We will be holding a live party to cover the election and bring you the news as it happens. Boomer B’s that is. Tune in here at 5:30pm Eastern on November 3: Boomer B Youtube Channel. We will be waiting for you.
It’s 218 days since we’ve been mostly isolating. I’m out to walk the dog twice every day in our cobblestone neighbourhood. And I have been actually out on errands twice in that time, both in the last month but more than two weeks ago. I viewed three possible rentals (for when the sale happens) in two trips. There was supposed to be a fourth but the owner threw all kinds of things at us at the last minute – ‘bring the dogs with you to the viewing’ for example. Yeah, like that’s going to happen.
We’ve settled on (we hope this all happens) a rental in centro, in a four-house privada that is very quiet if small and quirky. And has two separate garden spaces – and is even more separate than this house – they won’t even need to pass through the same air space to go for a walk. So that’s really good. The pool is very small and I doubt we will ever use it. The garden areas are small, but it’s all they need. There are patios upstairs from every bedroom that, because there is a bit of a hill inside the privada, look over the tops of the trees. So it’s a green view out the windows.
It’s nothing like this house. But we don’t own it and are not responsible for it and we can live with it for the next six months while we sort out dogs and relocating. We aren’t keen to get out and socialize at all, not until there is a vaccine. We could have 10 – 20 years left if we are lucky, and we’d like to stay alive for them.
I have a couple of friends who I see traveling (Facebook knows haha) – I hope no one gets sick (and makes others sick in the process). That’s all I have to say about that. Staying in and limiting our exposure to the virus is our choice. It’s a shame that those of us who choose to be more cautious will end up inside for longer because so many people are not as cautious. But it is a personal choice and thankfully, we have the choice to protect ourselves and it’s all we can control in this mad world.
I am certainly finding it productive to be isolated like this. And I am so looking forward to less responsibility. I will no longer have to run a house in Mexico. There is a lovely young housekeeper on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the rental, who has been with the family 10 years. She will pay the bills (included), she will take out the garbage, she will do the laundry.
I will not have to pay any more bills online. I will not have to pay four staff weekly. That’s about 20 time-consuming on-line payments that disappear every month. I will not have to watch the water and the automatic sprinklers and the water level in the cistern, tinaco or pool. That’s all done for us (gardener, same days as maid). No laundry, no garbage duty (remember Chris’ back – he can’t take out garbage or lift anything weighing 10lbs or more). I wonder what I can do with all the extra time. I know I am going to feel less stress.
There will be lots of uber eats in centro and there are tree-lined streets for walks with dogs. A big supermarket nearby which I don’t care for – I’ve only been in it once LOL but the produce sucked. Delivery from the upscale stores is actually much closer there though than this house so we can keep ordering online. We are relatively sure this sale will go through. You may have to pick me up off the floor if it doesn’t.
What are we doing with our stuff? Selling more than half of it, shipping some of it to a San Miguel warehouse where they will hold it and ship to Canada when we go. Giving some away. It’s liberating. Not doing it until we hear the “yes” from the bank, but the lists are ready.
I must admit, I inadvertently imagine living in Canada again and it puts a big smile on my face. Yes, of course, I will miss things in Mexico. Most notably, the weather. As I realized four or five years ago, it’s the single reason I’m here. When asked why they are here, people (especially newbies) say things like “The Mexican people are lovely!” And yes, some of them are. Our neighbour, for example. Friends for life. Our driver, our all-round guy on Friday mornings – I will never lose touch with them. But it’s the same as everywhere else – there are some horrible people here too. So that’s not any different than anywhere else. Although I’ve never had $7,000.00 (dollars) stolen from me via cloned ATM card in any other country – and to add insult to injury – had the bank said “too bad”. They can do that here. There is no recourse for anyone or anything. (This was three years ago, not recent, when we were installing our 21 solar panels – it’s the only reason there was ever that kind of money in our account.)
And real estate? Holy crap. A total shit show. I can’t tell you how many things are different than up north – no protection for either party, weird rules, and months to close anything. And we’re dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars. And then you have to try and get the money out of the country pronto. It was a lot easier in San Miguel where things are more gringo-ized and the fundsd are held in escrow in NY and all prices are in USD. Did I tell you Canada will not take pesos from Mexico in large wire transactions? Fintrac (Financial tracking) rules make it prohibitive.
The food? You tell me. I’m not taking Latin Fusion. I’m talking Mexican corner restaurant food. Keep it. That’s probably why I’ve lost more than 20 lbs in eight years. Dreaming of poutine and Chinese food. You think I really wanted to make shrimp in lobster sauce some time back? I did not. I wanted to eat it, so I had to make it. But first I had to buy fermented black beans in Canada and bring them down. It’s almost anticlimactic by the time it happens. In Canada, I just pick up the phone 🙂
It’s not that I’ll never have another taco – it just won’t be my ‘go-to’ food. What else do people like? Usually, a big thing is the cost of living. But I see no difference really between here and Canada once we add in health insurance and buying food that isn’t Mexican. The food is actually more expensive down here than it is in Canada, if you buy Canadian or US products.
We use Mexican cheeses in Mexican dishes (like Tortilla Soup, which I adore btw) – but I need cheddar to make Mac & Cheese, sorry. Can’t get curds for love or money so poutine is done with Mozarella when we do it, and that’s a sin. Here’s something I bet you would never imagine – the meat here has very little fat. Very little. I guess that’s good but I love fat and it’s the only reason I make a roast beef (that and Yorkshire). And it’s flavourful. It’s healthier with less fat though, I’ll give them that. I think they cut all the fat off and use it to fry in pork rinds (not sure about the beef fat). When we did a tortiere, I had to buy fat (cheap) and had to ask them to cut me some, it’s not a stock item. As a cooking person, I find this odd.
Ok, enough. I’ll be leaving soon enough. You cannot imagine what this feels like after almost two years of trying to sell this house (and a year of trying to fit my round peg in a square hole after I realized this was not where I wanted to be, coincidentally, after the $7,000 was stolen and the bank said fuck you to us. (In the end, we hired a lawyer, took over a year and we got half back minus his fees after four appearances before an arbitrator). The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth that will never go away.
And then there were the gringos here and their cries of: “How stupid are you?” “It’s amost Christmas, everyone knows that everyone steals at Christmas”, or “They’re so poor here, you should have been on more alert”. Fuck all of you with your victim shaming. Turned me off this town in retrospect. No wonder.
When we called the store where the ATM is (big supermarket), they said, “Oh, that happens at least once a day, nothing we can do.” That is the REAL problem in Mexico. Everyone shrugs their shoulders and says, “Nothing I can do.” Water under the bridge, though.
The flowers are cheap and good. But they were far better in Costa Rica. Ditto the produce. Which is hit and miss in Mexico. They save the younger stuff for export and sell you the old stuff that goes bad in three or four days.
I can start to think of where we can go for holidays again, once there is a vaccine. It may be two years by the time we get home and get to travel, but I can start to scheme. Morocco. The South China Sea (maybe, depends on Hong Kong’s status at the time, I think). Portugal. I’d like to do Portugal – in an Air BnB that is a lighthouse. And, we’re talking about buying a lot on Vancouver Island to build a container home instead of just buying a house over there. Two containers. Maybe three (if three, then a cantilevered second floor). But that may be too big. If the bank says yes and this house is indeed sold, I’ll start a new bucket list.
As I was saying to CW, FM if it’s not sold. LOL. I should hold this post until I know. And then just hit publish. Ok, hang on, we’re going on a journey for 12 days 🙂
Ok, Monday, October 20. I’m going to try to explain the title, Why we move. Although to be fair, I can onlyspeak to why I move, LOL. We’ve been here four years. Probably what I need to stop doing is buying houses – if we were renting we would have been gone 18 months ago. Of course, I had no idea it was so difficult to sell in non-gringo land in Mexico. I want to leave Cuernvaca for several reasons, some of them being Mexico-related. Some being local.
There are too many American idiots here – and I don’t speak Spanish so it’s them or nothing. I choose nothing. One in particular, a fat old bat who resents everyone. And defends America, claims she’s a democrat but hasn’t bothered to vote in 30 years, including the last election in 2016. I’m done socializing with people like that. I’ve heard her talk about all of her “good” friends behind their backs, even the dead ones. I don’t need friends like her.
But that’s a little specific and she’s not why we’re moving, LOL (she was kicked off the island a long time ago). I get bored with most people and places. Because they aren’t what they appear to be in the beginning. I guess that means I should really up my intuition game, I’m picking the wrong spots. Or maybe there are just a lot of idiots everywhere? Or is this just that “there’s no place like home” meme playing out in reality?
I’ve certainly appreciated what we have in Canada. Peace, order and good government. We trust our government. We have good, universal health care (listen to the Americans criticize our system all you want LOL). We have social programs. We have less racism (there is some but we’re working on it). We don’t deny our shortcomings. We have social programs, we try to take care of our less fortunate. We have a “WE” … we are a collective country, not an individual country. MY rights do not infringe on YOUR rights (like they do in the USA). Oh, here I am again, right back to Fuck America.
Within Canada, we move because we like challenge, we like to fix up our houses but once they are fixed up, what do we do then? We get bored. We need a new house to make better. The move to Mexico adventure was a 5 – 10 year plan and we’ve only lived two places (San Miguel and Cuernavaca). Mexico City for six months hardly counts. It’s been eight years and we’re done. Mexico was fun for a couple of years but the corruption, the lack of infrastructure, the crime and violence, the corruption, the filth – we’re done. That’s all. I wouldn’t take it back but I might have left in 2016 if I’d been smart. Once my eyes were open, I saw a lot of stuff that I wish I hadn’t. Still, in retrospect, I’m glad we did half of it at least (2012 – 2016).
Wednesday October (FM) 21 – one week until we should have an answer on the house sale. Causing more internal stress than I realize. I woke up to monkey chatter today, beat it back. CW’s back hurts again and that feels like more than I can take sometimes. I would give anything to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. Just about anything, I think. I am really having a bit of a melt down but need to get my shit together. I don’t have time for a melt down. None.
It never lasts. I’m always ok by the time I have a shower and the sun comes up. But sometimes between about 4am and 7am, it is very dark inside my head.
I think at the moment, I have too much to do – my head is full of things – will the house sell, then move inside Cuernavaca, then get our asses back to Canada, Covid is surging, Chris’ back hurs, Boomer B’s is taping but we have no support staff, I still have to finish up the current ghost book, I committed to one more out of Vancouver (a favour) and have another possible book to take to print on Amazon – a memoir by an old friend but they will all have to get in line.
It’s too much for me right now. My head is full. My dad is 88 and I wonder if I need to think about going to Canada, but I’d have to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks first and I don’t have the time or money for that (the best I can do there is $5,000 including hotel and airfare but then I’d have to rent a car on top of that). And I don’t have $5,000 to spend right now, I just don’t.
I think the smart thing is not to make decisions or commitments this week. Just keep packing the office and assorted cupboards and drawers and wait for an answer. If it’s no, I will freak out and start again. If it’s yes, I’ll keep going. I’m so very tired. So tired. I wonder if I can rest after PJ’s first walk, coming up in about 10 minutes, I sure hope so.
Well, no rest for the wicked. I did want to reply to a comment left on last week’s post by a friend from San Miguel about moving and making this the last time – LOL. Some people don’t move. She’s been in the same house in San Miguel for certainly north of 10 years. I’d go stark raving mad, especially in a town that size. In any event, I found a story I’d saved from Harpers in 1992: An Urge for Going; Why I don’t live where I used to live, by Richard Ford. It would cost me a year’s subscription ($35 USD) to get to the Harper archives and the whole story, so I’m just going to quote from the story 🙂
“What are my excellent reasons? No different from the usual, I imagine. I’ve just put more of mine into motion. My wife got a better job, I got a better job, I needed to leave a bad job. I began to hate the suburbs and longed for the country, I began to hate New York and longed for The Berkshires, I got frightened of becoming Californian and longed for the Middle West, I longed to live again in the place I was born, then later I couldn’t stand to live in the place I was born. I missed the East Coast. I missed my pals. I got sick of their company.”
And later in the story: “Other people’s permanences are certainly our faces all the time; their lengthy lengths-of-stay at one address, their many-layered sense of place, their store of lorish, insider blab. Their commitment. Yet I don’t for a minute concede their establishment to be any more established than mine, or their self-worth richer, or their savvy regarding risk management and reality any more meticulous. They don’t know any more than I do. In fact, given where they’ve been and haven’t been, they probably know less.”
And finally: “Today, when people ask me, people who banked their fires and their equity, “Don’t you wish you’d hung on to that house on Jefferson? You’d have it half paid for by now. You’d be rich!” my answer is, “Holy Jesus, no! Don’t you realize I’d have had to live in that house all this time? Life’s too short” It’s an odd thing to ask a man like me.”
Ain’t that the truth. A friend asked a few years ago if we weren’t sorry we’d sold the loft in Vancouver. I thought for all of 10 seconds. My answer: No, not sorry. We sold it for 50% more than we paid, after one year. We moved to Vancouver Island and paid cash for the next house. We spent winters in southern climates as a result. We have lived in (and renovated) three houses on the Island since then, bought and sold a franchise business and have had our Mexican adventure. We bought and renovated and sold (I hope) two houses in Mexico. So no. Despite wanting to go back to Vancouver for a year or two now (and then settling on the island again after that) – I am still thrilled we sold that loft. I would have had to live there for the past 17 years. And I would have done none of the above. Plus, I was tired of Vancouver. And now I long for it. Richard Ford gets me.
Mother fuckers. More bank paperwork crap – I’ve never seen a country this backward – and rigid – when it comes to paperwork. They are saying 2 – 3 weeks now to get an answer from the bank – mid fucking November not the end of October as told to us as deadline number two. So this is the third estimate of when we get an answer and it’s taking TWO MONTHS to get a yes or a no from the bank AFTER the clients were preapproved. Two f-cking months on a conditional offer (offer was made mid-September). NEVER AGAIN.
And if it’s a no, it comes off the market until next spring and maybe we can go home from here in that case. And what the hell, we’ll be half packed. This will really infuriate me. So I’d better not think about it. This has been a screwed up year, that’s for sure. I will be very happy to say goodbye to 2020, I suspect.
Ok, the bitches are hosting a live show on November 3 to cover the election. With former journalists and all ’round trump haters. Hope you’ll all join us – if you do, be sure to say hi in the comments section! You can find details at our website www.boomerbitches.com and at our facebook page, which isn’t allowed to swear so it’s Boomer B#tches. We would love you to join us.
Now it’s Thursday, I had a fine night, woke up non-stressed and didn’t even stress during the day today when I almost lost a domain I’ve had more than 20 years. But I got it back. It’s that kind of week but I don’t care. Everything is fine.
Ok, Friday now. Another f-cked up day but I’m okay. They are all the same. I am SO glad Canada won’t let Americans in (who are not essential) – and it looks like JT plans to keep the ban in place until they finally get control. Not that we are safe big second wave in Canada. But there are only FOUR states today whose rate of transmission is below 1:1. That means all of the states in red have an increasing number of infections:
But Canada has now had almost 209,000 cases (Just over 30,000 are active today, Friday, October 23, day 224, FM). Deaths are just under 10,000. That is FAR too many Canadians dead. BC alone had 270 new cases yesterday — that is the equivalent of all the deaths in BC since this started.
We have done a lot better than Ontario (3,000+ deaths, ) and Quebec (6,000+ deaths) but it’s still too many. Those two provinces, btw, have asshole leaders, one Conservative, one Bloc Quebecois which tells you a lot. Together, they account for 168,000 out of 200,000 historical infections. There are currently about 30,000 active cases in Canada right now. Vancouver Island is probably the safest place to be. But of course, I’m not there.
So, who knows when the bank will get back to us. The agent says one or two weeks but that’s the agent. They’re paid to keep us calm, LOL but I don’t care anymore. I’m ready to go when it happens and I won’t put away any small kitchen appliances or art until we have confirmation.
I have no time, yet here I am writing to you. I actually have 20 minutes now between dog walks and can’t get into anything that requires headspace as I will be required to immediately leave.
I’m optimistic about the house. Upset about the virus taking hold again in Canada. Once it’s turned around, I’ll breath easy again. This is a tough time for everyone who is trying to be responsible and stay inside very small bubbles. I’m grateful for our Booomer B’s Zoom meetings on Tuesdays – I have a few beers with the bitches and we meet new people. And hopefully entertain you. Ok, 2nd dog walk time. More when I get another 10 or 15 somewhere. It’s all good, idle hands are indeed the devil’s worshop in my house haha.
We lost another good one – Jerry Jeff Walker died overnight Friday/Saturday. Texas singer songwriter. He had a birthday bash in Austin every March and we went to four or five of them. Out to the Broken Spoke Friday night, The Paramount Saturday and Luckenbach Sunday. Great times, I have some fantastic memories. I also saw him at The Lone Star Cafe in NY, the one with the lizard on top. Saw Rick Danko there too. They had some marvelous music. Also Albert Cray.
It was my home away from home in NY at 13th St & 5th Ave. But I digress.
The gang’s thinning out. Guy’s been gone over four years. Susanna since 2012. I always thought I might go to one more birthday bash. I look back on that stretch of my life with great fondness. I knew he was getting older, and although he beat throat cancer in 2018, I gather it came back. Shit. Rest in Peace, Jerry Jeff Walker God. So much of what you sang was true for me and goddamn you had the best birthday parties. I still have the stetson I bought with the money I took from a NY lawyer playing poker on the floor of the back bar of the Driskill Hotel during one of those birthday weekends. I may just have to wear it this week. It’s black. Here it is the day I bought it, on our way to The Paramount concert.
Was I ever really that young? That’s 24 years ago. I still have the hat, still have the coat and just got rid of that skirt. That’s amazing. I think.
So, safe travels to Jerry Jeff. You lived your life well and you were happy and old when you died. You left a big hole.
God damn I don’t like it when people die. But I’d better get used to it. I’m no spring chicken. Once you turn 65, people start dying. Well, actually, people started dying on me when I was 16. So I’m used to it.
I’m going to leave you for this week. I can’t think of much but the old days in Austin – I came across this song Jerry Jeff recorded less than a year ago. It’s sure not the JJW of his younger days but it was really comforting to me to listen to. He’s clearly a man who accepted what was happening to him and had a good life. You can’t hope for a lot more.
He gave me some fine words of advice as a young rabble-rouser and as he left this world, he gave me some good advice for someone in their third act. Another gift from him.
Goddamn, Jerry Jeff, I will miss knowing you are out there. You inspired a lot of us. I think this is my new favourite Jerry Jeff. And if you listen when it’s done – Jaded Lover comes on – those were the days, JJW. And so are these.
Stay safe, stay informed, stay kind.