Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's best not to ask

We took the golf cart in for an oil change and new filter - more than 3 weeks ago. We also asked the mechanic to fix the brakes, as we could barely stop when going forward down a hill, and could not stop at all when backing out of a sloped driveway. The cart came back, all happy with new oil - a purring motor. The brakes were tight but still much better than they had been.

And we've been paying for it since.

First something happened with the accelerator - we'd be driving along at normal speed and then suddenly the cart would speed up and start back-firing. Miguel would have to keep letting his foot off the gas in order to slow down - resulting in a very jerky ride. On, Off, On, Off - our bodies lurching forward each time. It came to a head the evening we were going out for rounds. We got to the corner on the block next to us, and the brake pedal hit the floor. No brakes, nothing, not even the little bit we'd had before we got them 'repaired'. We went back home and Miguel headed out alone on his moped. Loco was thinking that it was a short tour, he's used to going from one end of the island to the other.

The next day was Sunday and Miguel decided to try to drive the cart again. Still no brakes, but in the daylight, with light traffic, we were able to do our rounds using the jerky motion all the way (on, off, on, off). Our old golf cart didn't have brakes for a while either, and we really didn't need them most of the time. But with this cart and the problem with the accelerator, we needed brakes.

Somehow we managed. Until we got to the curve by the new Chedraui. There, on both sides of the street were groups of teens cheering and handing out candy to passing vehicles. With full acceleration and no brakes, we were dismayed that one of the kids came right up to me as we were passing by and tried to hand me some candies - unaware we were unable to stop or even slow down. Miguel told her to move aside - "no frenos!". She stepped aside and we blew past, backfiring as we went.

That was enough to rattle the nerves, we weren't going to take any more chances. On Monday the mechanic was called to come by and pick up the cart. Obviously he needed the cart at his shop - but how to get it there? He asked "no brakes?", and when I confirmed, he flinched but the next thing I knew I looked out the window and the cart was gone. I also asked him to fix the bucking bronco - the nasty habit the cart had of jumping whenever we took off from a dead start.

And so it came back in a day or so. "All fixed".

Or was it? After a trip out to Garrafon, we drove the carpenter to his place where the cart simply died. Since it was a Sunday, Miguel tried to fix it himself, without success. The next day, heading to Cancun, we sent the mechanic over to fix the cart, and if possible, leave it for us at the ferry. It was so nice to find the cart in the parking lot when we got back, "all fixed".

Until the end of last week, when we were out by the airport and suddenly the headlights went out. We pulled over, and Miguel fiddled with this and with that and finally found that the cable to the headlight switch had broken off and was just dangling. Being the electrician that he is, he found another orphan end and stuck them together and bingo - we had headlights! Off we went, continuing on our journey.

The next morning (Saturday), I was going to the market. I backed up the cart, put the gear in forward, and the cart was dead. Not a sound. Must be something electrical (hint: the headlight cables?). Another day without the cart, another day for no tour for Loco, another day for Miguel to do rounds on his own.

We called the mechanic. Please replace the switch for the ignition (which was in bad shape from kids playing with it), replace the light switch, and fix the electrical problem. By 4 pm the cart was back home. "All fixed".

Sunday the cart was great. Yesterday the cart was great. Until Miguel got a flat tire in the afternoon - but those things happen...sigh...

Today Miguel was out all day with the cart. Tonight was Loco's turn - he hadn't been on the cart since last Friday. I had baked pumpkin pie and had my hands full with dishes of pie to deliver to friends at two locations. I also had hold of Loco's leash. Off we went and made our first delivery. But when we tried to pull out of the driveway, the engine died. We had lights, but no motor.

Are you flipping kidding me? It was all I could do to protect the dish of pie, control Loco who was bouncing around on and off the cart, and hold the flashlight from my cell phone so Miguel could look under the seat. We also called the mechanic - he couldn't come until morning.

So we pushed the cart over to one of the homes Miguel manages. I collected the plate of pie, my jacket, my purse, and with a strong desire to give the cart a swift kick, we left. Miguel walked Loco home and I hailed a cab to make the pie delivery.

And that's all I have to say about it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bad memory

This morning I opened a new page to put up a new post. It's now a couple of hours later and I've completely forgotten what I was going to write about. And I can't think of anything interesting to put up instead, so I guess I'll just sign off and call it a day on this one. Hope you all have a great day!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cookies, cheesecake, and Friendship

About a month ago, during a stormy day, the neighbor's daughter brought us some rice with milk - a wonderful snack here, especially on chilly or rainy days. I have sent them brownies and cake in the past, but I got the idea that I would make some cookies.

I pulled up a toll-house cookie recipe (always remember that Friends episode where they tore their hair out looking for Phoebe's grandmother's secret cookie recipe - with the French accent they didn't figure out until the end that it was toll-house, and right on the package...hahaha).

While searching for the toll-house recipe, I found one for chocolate chip peanut-butter cookies too, and since I happened to have crunchy peanut butter on-hand, I decided to make a batch of those while I was at it.

The cookies all turned out great, but way too many for us. Some went to the neighbors (I put the cookies in the dish they used for the rice with milk - was taught to never return a dish empty (although I sure have, lots of times)). Some cookies were given to Miguel's daughter, some were given to Ed (a client who was here on his own for a month), and some were given to another client (along with some of my home-made lasagna).

The peanut butter chocolate chip cookies were the best, and from now on those are all I'm going to make - we love them and so does everyone else we share them with.

And the lasagna - one of our clients loves lasagna, and so I wanted to share some when I made it. In exchange, they made lasagna a couple of weeks later, and delivered it to the house, along with some gnocchis, a stick of bread and a nice slice of cake with chocolate icing. In exchange I made them some chicken vegetable soup, and sent it over along with some fresh rolls, and a few more cookies from the batch I made that morning.

I've also shared some soup and cookies with the carpenter who has worked so hard the last month. He didn't say anything about the food so I'm not sure he liked it, but I'll continue to share with him anyway, when I make something I think he will enjoy. He lives alone and I know he doesn't cook for himself, other than eggs.

We have exchanged meals with other friends too - they came for breakfast a few months ago for Miguel's chilaquilles (the best in the world). A month or so ago we went to their place for dinner - Italian night - baked ziti, Italian sausage, salad, and lime pie. Delicious!

Ed also came for breakfast one day - once again we did chilaquilles since we know he loves them. Then he took us to Cafe Hidalgo for breakfast, and a couple of weeks later we shared a delicious pizza from Barlito's. We couldn't just have the pizza though, we also shared the Anthony Panini (meatballs made with their own Italian sausage) - the best sandwich in the world.

On Thursday my ex-boss and his new wife came to the island for a day-trip. I took them all over the island and we ended the day with a shared meal on the beach at Sunset Grill. I ordered aztec soup and it was so flavorful - I will definitely go there again for that soup.

Last night we had guests who checked in at one of the homes and they were hungry so they followed us to La Bruja since we were going there anyway. We ended up sitting together and we ordered way too much food but it was all great - they loved it, and we found a lot of common interests and spent a very pleasant time.

Our clients that we exchanged lasagna with just made some cheesecake to share, so our evening rounds may involve a drop-in to pick up the dessert. It will taste great with our coffee later this evening. Now I'm subscribed to daily recipes from Allrecipes.com, and since I saved a cheesecake recipe that came to my email last week, I'm probably going to make that in exchange.

The recipe today calls for triple-dipped battered chicken. The calorie count is off the wall, but it sounds so good I'm going to have to make it soon. You can be sure I will not be short of people to share it with. Just have to figure out what to make for dessert (I bet peanut butter chocolate chip cookies would be just fine). Although Ed's wife Judy sent me a recipe for a chocolate chip cheese ball - since she's coming next month, I might have to make that and share it with her. She is doing some research so might need to include that dessert as part of her investigations.  ;-)

All this friendship has resulted in widening waistlines, but it's so much fun to share that I think it will be part of our routine now. In fact, I'm almost tempted to suggest a monthly food fest amongst our friends and clients - hosted at one of our homes, depending on who is here and when. We all have at least two things in common - we love Isla Mujeres and we love animals. I guess we also have a third thing in common - we love to eat good food and we are all good cooks (is that four things in common?). We'll see how it all unfolds over time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My life as it is today

Golf cart is back - hopefully all is fixed, we'll go out in a bit and take it for a drive. Need to pick up laundry and meet with the owner of one of Miguel's homes.

Soup is made and consumed. Dishes are done. Kitchen shelves are cleaned.

Animals have been fed. Chicken scraps were put out for the street animals.

Bed is made. Laundry is done. Living room is vacuumed.

Referral letter written for former boss. Access databases are updated. Quickbooks is updated. Online banking transactions are done.

Why do I still feel there is so much pending? I rarely make a dent in the clutter, the stuff that needs organizing. On the other hand, I realize my time on this earth to do all that organizing is dwindling, and in the end, who will care that I was organized? That my cds and dvds and photos and books are all neatly catalogued, like in a library. Who lives like that anyway? I think I need to forget all that, and just put stuff away and try to remember where I put it so I can find it if and when I need it. That is always the challenge, remembering where I've put things. So many places to tuck stuff away...so little time to hunt...some things will be lost forever because while I'm looking for them, I'll come across something else that will make me forget what I was doing and that will be that. So that is my future, I guess...staying unorganized and looking for stuff. Oh well...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Working like a dog

Loco's #1 passion is to go with us on the golf cart; he loves it  more than food. And although he hates water, he doesn't care if it's raining, he still wants to go with us. On Monday and Tuesday it was almost impossible for us to get out to take care of business due to very heavy rain, so we made Loco stay home for most of our trips.

But yesterday, he was not to be denied, he was sitting by the gate patiently waiting for us to get organized and get out on the road. By 9 we left the house, leaving Loco home as we planned to run some quick errands and he would have been in the way. He was not pleased, he tried everything to go with us, including hiding in the garden instead of coming when called. But in the end we had our way and Loco was left behind.

At 11:30 we were picking up laundry when Cablemas called to say they were headed to one of the three houses we'd reported with internet issues. We stopped at the house to pick up the laptop and Miguel wanted to take Loco too. Happy dog!

As we were approaching the first house, we saw the Cablemas truck pulling away - we'd taken too long to get there and they weren't waiting any longer. I tied Loco to the back terrace, making sure he couldn't reach the ledge of the patio and jump off, as he did once before (lucky he didn't hang himself). While we did some things around the house, waiting for Cablemas, Loco sat and watched the lizards playing in the beach plants. Eventually I moved him to the front of the house and attached him to a concrete block so he couldn't run off. He loved that view - the iguanas were right across the street and there was a nice patch of sun on the sidewalk for Loco to bask in.

Finally Cablemas came back, fixed the internet, and we all packed up and headed to the second house.

Loco loves the second house because there is a lizard living somewhere in the house. I suspect it might be in the maid's closet because Loco spent most of his time sniffing under the door. When he got tired of that he stood at the front door and watched the gardens, patiently hoping for a lizard to run around. We were at that house for a good hour trying to get the internet going, but Loco didn't mind.

Finally off to the third house where Loco sat tied to the golf cart. This was a short visit because the internet issue turned out to be a downed cable - nothing the technician could do except report it to the office.

Off to La Bruja for lunch/dinner. Loco has spent hours sitting on the golf cart at La Bruja, he is so patient - maybe because he knows he will usually get a piece of chicken when we are done. Yesterday a child was trying to fly a kite, and that caused Loco some stress as the kite hit the golf cart and he didn't like it. During our meal we got a call that the check-in at another property needed something, so we gobbled down our meal and decided to go straight to the condo rather than drop Loco off at home. We were probably a good half hour at the condo, leaving Loco on the golf cart, where he made himself comfortable on the front seat.

Finally it was time to head home - 4:30 pm. All day on the road for us, and 5 hrs for Loco. Miguel wasted no time flaking out on the bed. I fed the animals and joined Miguel - we both went right to sleep, with Loco resting in his usual place - under the bed.

At 6 we dragged ourselves out of bed to make our final rounds for the evening. I didn't think Loco would be interested but he was right at the door as soon as he heard the jingle of my purse keys. When we finally got home for the night, Loco was done - he flaked out for the rest of the evening.

This morning, guess who was raring to go again?