Thursday, July 09, 2009

a day in the 'hood

I have been in Melaque now for almost three months. Some of you have been asking: So, how does a regular day go?

The first answer is: There are no regular days. But, yesterday may be a good example of what does (and does not) happen around here.

In Salem, Jiggs would usually wake me up around 4:30 in the morning. And the day would start.

He is a more lenient task master in Mexico. He lets me sleep until 7:30. But there is almost always something of interest on the beach (passerby, horse, dog) that requires a good barking.

I take him for a walk that can range from 10 minutes to two hours -- depending on how he is feeling. The combination of his recent surgeries and our high temperatures has kept each of his walks short this past week.

I then have a leisurely breakfast on the balcony, where I watch the sea and simply enjoy one of the great pleasures of living where I can see water.

There are then dishes to do and straightening. And then I read until I head off to my Spanish class.

Spanish class is one hour a day on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. There are two of us in the class -- along with our teacher, who was raised in Costa Rica.

The method is rather simple. Recently, our teacher has been giving us words, and he then requests us to make up sentences, changing the verb tense and the subject.

This Friday, we are meeting with his English class. We will be expected to carry on conversations in the languages we are attempting to learn. it should be an interesting experience.

One thing I knew, but I am rediscovering: I know a lot of Spanish vocabulary through my high school Latin. At least, I know the roots of the words. That has been very reassuring. My conversations with Marta, the maid, have been more successful, but they are still hit and miss -- on my part.

On Wednesday and Saturday, I try to get to the vegetable and fruit store -- their delivery days. I did not get there yesterday because my gate lock became the latest victim of living by the sea. It simply seized up.

I helped replace that, and took a nap. I have enjoyed my naps here. I have not had a full night's sleep since I arrived. The luxury of a nap in the hammock is a true joy.

And then I read. I have finished off all of my current batch of magazines. So, I am back to reading the books I brought along. And the reading is slow. There is something about watching the ocean that distracts me.

Around 7, I eat my lunch-supper meal. Lately that has been a ham sandwich or something light along with some fruit.

Yesterday, it was mainly water. My digestive system decided to go into purge mode, again. The track switch was set to Big D (maximum). I could set a watch by my semi-hourly trips to the bathroom.

That did not deter Jiggs from wanting his late night walk. Fortunately, for me, he was interested only in going to the corner and back. Had he decided to go further, he would have had his revenge for all those years I left him in the house and came home late.

One thing I miss at the house is the ability to read at night. The owner has taken the green step of lowering the light demand in the house. As a result, once the sun goes down, my books close.

The ideal place, of course, for reading would be a light on the balcony. But the light would attract the type of bugs that give the tropics a bad name for night activities. Even if I had a hot tub here. I could not use it for night time reading. I may as well choose to sit in the

And then I strart blogging around 10 or 11. And the cycle continues.

Wednesday night I discovered that Melaque is prone to brown outs. I was not certain I would get any of this saved between screen flashes.

But here it is. A rather normal Wednesday.

For those of you who think that sounds boring, you are not ready for retirement.

Frankly, I think there was too much activity. Those dishes, for instance -- cutting into my nap time.


Constantino said...

Invest in a little portable LED light that runs for weeks on a battery that can be clipped to a book or magazine. Since they are small it does not attract your bug friends.
I use mine while siting outside or laying in bed reading to get tired enough to drop off.

Paul said...

Sounds to me like you are getting the hang of it. Hammocks have a way of doing that for us Northerners.

Felipe said...

Lowering the light demand in the house? What in the world does that mean? You have insufficient light at night to read?!!

We don´t get brownouts in Pátzcuaro. FYI.

You haven´t had a full night´s sleep in the last three months?!!

MD in Texas said...

Sound boring????

Not one bit.

It is the very type of retirement we look forward to once the last kid is gone, in our own little piece of paradise on the other side of Mexico!

Calypso said...

Yes - what exactly is a green step of lowering the light demand?

We have brownouts here - especially during heavy rains and lightning. Power is dicey in many parts of Mexico (except Pátzcuaro I think).

Reads as if you are getting the hang of being retired - good news.

Billie said...

The brown outs are as bad for computers as spikes. ASAP get a battery backup that also protects from brownouts. The voice of experience.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

Slow down, I became exhausted just reading about your day. I don't know how you keep up the pace. Serdiously!

Gread idea on the LED light. Get the kind that has several settings. The high one (all on) is really bright. There are bigger ones that clip onto furniture. And many of them are rechargable. It's not retirement if you can't read.


Anonymous said...

If you run out of reading material, you can stop by Beer Bob's Book Exchange. It's on the first canal in Barra. Enjoy!

1st Mate said...

You and Jiggs are definitely getting into the rhythm of Mexico. Don't worry about the sleep, it will come. You might try melatonin. There must be a good battery-powered reading light, maybe in Manzanillo.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

Good advice on the UPS. I thought you said once that you were bringing one south with you. The biggest advantage, in my book, is the automatic voltage regulation that is usually built into them. Brownouts become less of a concern, and they clip when voltage rises really high, which it does sometimes.


Babs said...

Glad your rhythm is becoming the "beach" life rhythm.
You can always buy a lamp or two at Costco or whatever in Manzanillo......
Glad you're settling in and enjoying it all.
Don't forget to buy a voltage regulator too like Billie said....muy importante.

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

how funny! no reading at night? go for the LED advice and clip that right on the book. your day sounds terrific!

Chrissy y Keith said...

Being an Alaskan girl, a headlamp is the answer to lots of things. Even handy on your midnight stolls, looking under the hood of car, searching for the critter in the back of the pantry while keeping you hands free to kill the nocternal beast. See problem solved. Now time for your nap.

glorv1 said...

Sounds like your schedule is full and that is a good thing. Take care of that stomach problem. You mean you can't use the lights at night? What kind of thing is that? Why! Oh well.....whatever rocks the boat. :) Take care and regards to the big Jiggs.

Steve Cotton said...

Constantino -- I have not yet found a clip-on light that gives enough light to allow me to read. I think there is an age joke in there somewhere. Last year I brought a headlamp down, but it was not bright enough. I tried a brighter one with enough light to substitute for a landing light on a 737. The package had a warning to not look directly at the light or risk permanent eye damage. Even in the cool evenings of Oregon, it attracted bugs. But I am starting to think a combination of that light and OFF might be the abnswer. I just need to find one down here. Probably, at a camping supply store, I would think.

Paul -- The hammock is great -- for napping. I cannot read in it, for some reason.

Felipe -- Sleep has long been an issue for me. Up until about two years ago, I could get away with 4 to 5 hours of sleep each night. Not any more. Now, I could use eight, but my body simply will not allow me to sleep in the late evening. Add in the heat factor, and sleep is very evasive. For instance, the bedrom was 89 last night. If I get a good nap, I am fine. And that is what I intend to start doing. When people try to schedule events in the afternoon, I tell them I cannot be there.

As for the lights. The owner has limited the wattage to allow enough light for navigation. And that is fine for most of the house. But I could use a light at a chair to read. I think I have a fix in mind. (See above.)

MD -- I am starting to enjoy this new life. Don't put off starting your own retirement for too long.

Calypso -- The owner has wisely installed those "squiggly" lights where she can and has reduiced the wattage in areas that only require navigation. She is being a wise steward of electrical power. (I thought of you when I typed the original posting.) She has a reading light near her bed. I need one somewhere near a chair -- or a hot tub.

Billie -- One of the first things I purchased to bring down was a UPS. It kicked in twice last night.

Larry -- I am going to shop for a headlamp. I may need the high setting. Of course, I may end up signaling commercial aircraft to land on the beach.

Anonymous -- And we have a book exchange a mere five blocks from my house.

1st Mate -- I have been using melatonin for over a decade.

Babs -- My UPS takes care of the brownout issue. But I need to find a headlamp at one of the camping supply stores in Manzanillo. I suspect it will cost a bit more than the one I bought at Fry's.

Linda Lou -- Thanks. No piddly book light for me. We are going for industrial impact here.

hrissy -- I am actually a step ahead of you. Unfortinately, I didn't bring my big one with me. Perhaps a trip to Manzanillo this weekend.

Steve Cotton said...

Gloria -- The lights are sufficient for navigating through the house, but not for reading. But, as you can see, I think I have solution. I just need to get to Manzanillo -- or Puerto Vallarta.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

If you're going to PV check in at Soriana. Up here in Mazatlan they have a large selection of rechargable LED lights of various lumen. Some are like flashlights, some standalone and some clip onto furniture. Many have at least three light settings.


Nancy said...

I can't imagine living somewhere where you can't have the lights on or off as you choose. That would drive me batty! And what if you had friends or family over? Or a party? Or were sick? I can't believe it, truly seems over the top to me.

I just can't believe you have to sit in that fancy house on the beach with a headlamp on to read.

Anonymous said...

Nancy must not be able to imagine living in the rural west of the US the first half of the last century.

Steve Cotton said...

Nancy -- You gave me a great idea for another post. The owner read in bed; she did not need lights elsewhere for that purpose. The headlamp is not an inconvenience, but I may also look for a reading lamp for the living room or the balcony.