I did some internal gymnastics, called on many of my tools, and woke up ready to welcome the day.
It was lovely pulling up at the site mid-day and being reminded of how well things go when everyone is working.
The newly painted beams were going up, using a savvy array of scaffolding, skills, and agility.
I love the color and am glad I made some waves about it, took the time to adjust it.
Jorge and I had a meeting on the side of the car about paperwork and costs etc... (I am pretty sure he could feel my frustration of yesterday and one of my self-prescribed exercises is to not try and stuff that away).
That part out of the way, I mentioned to him my fear about the house being dark once the roof is up and we played around with some ideas to remedy that, should it be the case.
Once again, I am touched and impressed with his patience with me, combined with his yes attitude. And with the skill of the crew. Which makes me feel a little unhappy with my bouts of annoyance and possible pettiness. Or is it control? Heck, I don't know what it's called but I know I want to find a sweeter spot with it, a more trusting place.
So yes, beams are expertly and somewhat acrobatically going up.
(Part of me wants to stay there all day and allow the wonderment of what they are doing to soak in. It's really something)
When Jorge and I mentioned the possibility of opening some holes way up in the walls later on, Rigo came up with a beautiful idea to let light in, right there on the spot. Creation in motion. What a gift.
As I got ready to leave and was about to get in my car, Jorge waved me back towards the house, and what I saw there was pure magic.
They had set up a tiny section of the way the ceiling was going to go up and wanted me to see it.
The bricks. The famous curved brick ceiling at which my friend Carol and I had marveled a few years ago in Mexico. As we started this project, I had decided to invest the extra $600 in choosing to have this ceiling for the house. It's truly awe-inspiring: rows of curved rust-colored bricks (which are handmade and fired, I am pretty sure), seemingly levitating up above our heads. I had wondered how it could be done and ... there it was. They knew this was going to get me and they looked on, amused. Catarino said to me, smiling "Y sin luz" ("and without electricity" - which is what I keep marveling at).
I asked questions about the process and shared my fears (yes, again) about "What happens if there is an earthquake." Because dang, I had carried ONE of these bricks to the paint store the other day, and let me tell you, they are not light. So of course, this had created an opportunity for The Fear Voice to bring up the earthquake question. It rarely misses a chance to step up to the mic and speak up.
I was told that this is actually a very stable and safe construction technique, the special curvature of the bricks creating a tension that is very strong. "Like a well," was the analogy that was shared and which I pretended to understand (wait... was this a white lie on my part?)
My fragile mind was soothed once more, and when Costa, Hannah, and I returned in the late afternoon on our way to a hike through the woods and hoping to find the waterfalls, the crew was packing up, and all looked great.
While we did not find the waterfalls, we saw many of the hoses that bring water down from the jungle to the houses nearby and it brought me yet one step closer to this growing humility of not taking water for granted again.
I mean... do YOU know where your water comes from? Really comes from? I have never even thought about it before. Last year, I gained appreciation for hot water but water? It turns out that water coming out of our faucets is the result of many happy events - and none of these events is a sure guarantee, I think.
Whew. I tell ya. The internal shifts are BIG.
And speaking of water, there is a meeting about just that at Jose Luis' (not the one who sold me the land) big orange house tonight. I am very much looking forward to seeing how this goes and paying attention, and again... learning.
Frustration - Questioning
Early Wednesday morning I received a message from Jorge that "he would be there in the afternoon." I don't even want to bring energy as to the why (had to do with getting things for one of the houses he manages "while checking on welders for me"). Anselmo would not be there either, his arm still hurting.
This, barely two days after we spoke about how much time was not spent with a full crew on the site, while paying for a full crew.
I chose to leave town for the day and go to the immigration office to try and retrieve my immigration card now that the printing machine had arrived.
I swung by there to bring water to the site using Alberto's hose to fill our tenaco and made my way through the jungle road and towards the city.
It felt good to put some space between me and the construction. To give some air to "the way I think things should go."
And it helped.
By the time I returned in the late afternoon, I felt easier, more in the flow.
I got to the house at 4:00 to meet with another solar panel expert and to see who was there and what was happening - and only two of the guys were working, had been all day.
I really liked this new solar guy and felt good about what I learned from him and what he could do. The cost is high but comes with a long warranty. Again, this is something I can decide on later, so I am focusing on Gathering the Data.
I was told that Jorge would come in a bit to pick up the generator. Neither he nor Anselmo had been there all day.
I chose not to wait but go home instead.
Crossing the river bed I wondered for the first time if I was cut out for this. This unreliability of schedule, this seemingly unending peppering of what I still see as white lies, which really is "just" bending of the facts to accommodate smoother interactions. It goes so against my nature and while I have felt my edges get rounder about this, there are still shards that come out to poke me once in a while.
Could I really live in Mexico? As in truly live. Engaging, building, living?
Only if I make some fairly major internal changes is the answer I hear.
Water Treatment Plant - and Chills
So meanwhile, we still have the water treatment situation.
This morning, I get a briefing from Nellie, the woman who is at the helm of this enormous project.
She catches me up on the last few days, which really is a huge honor considering we have never met in person and how wildly busy she is.
Listening to her 5-minute message, I am alternately speechless, inspired, and with chills.
The amount of work that has been done in the last three weeks is out of this world. I know I move fast and I can get stuff done. But this? No words.
She has gathered a team of community leaders, funding, experts, politicians and more. Every day something gets done, promised, committed and often, executed.
We are told that withing a month a half, this plant will be fixed, while another one gets built. Through a FB post, we got connected with a man who has specific innovative plans for such a site.
Accountability is being created and the delegado has been talking about this with the president of the state.
These are just tidbits.
We have an eye on the calendar as we are weeks away from the rain and the river HAS to be cleaned before the first rain. I believe very much that it will. And more.
Right now, and in the spirit of the way this village was founded, there is a vision of making this project a pilot project, a blueprint for other countries to heal their water treatment. For those of you who signed the petition, please know that it has made a huge difference.
Some days since I said yes to this adventure, I feel that there is a bigger power at work for the whole place. A healing, something. Something sacred.
I don't know what it is and that's very okay.
Turns out there will be no need for us to invent how to finish the house and dang, that is good news.
All but Anselmo were at work. I was told that a sick child had been the reason for yesterday's abandonment of the ship. I had a list of questions about that (including why did it take two of them to take care of it?) but decided to not let the words past my lips. There is so much I don't understand about the dynamics of it all, so much I want to humble about.
I was there early to get an idea of what the day would look like and offered - in a possibly pushy way - to go get the paint needed for the steel beams so that Jorge may stay on site.
These are the beams that will hold the curved bricks for the ceiling and I am super duper looking forward to seeing how this process happens. The first time I saw a brick ceiling in Mexico, it seemed like a crazy idea to me, albeit a beautiful one. Early on I made the decision to invest a bit of extra money on this and now it is getting close to the time of watching the magic happen.
2000 bricks waiting for their turn to get to work.
Interestingly to me, we had also ordered 2000 blocks.
So yes, 2000 bricks, held in place by 16 heavy steel beams. Which need to be primed, then painted.
Off to the store I went.
There are two paint stores in the village and I am always delighted to visit them, especially the one right by my house where you get to order a plastic cup worth of paint and the thinner comes in rinsed and recycled plastic jug.
I bought the primer and the thinner and because I wanted a custom color for the paint, I headed to the other, more commercial store and had them mix a deep red hue called "Enchilada."
An hour later I was back at the site delivering the goods and letting Jorge know once more to please send me on these errands any time. Really, I think he would rather be running around doing that than working on the house but there was no way I was going to run with a crew of two for the second day in a row. Especially since they seem a bit slippery when he is not around.
The day before, as I was running this electricity question in my mind, I had seen a small car by a gas station, with a phone number and something about solar panels. I had pulled over and called them and we had arranged to meet by the highway at 2:30 so that I may take the owner of the company to the house and hear his thoughts on setting up an independent system.
As I learn more about solar power, I am realizing that there is a big difference between a situation where one is hooked to the grid and wants to use solar power - and a truly off-grid situation. At this point, I am the latter and this means that I need batteries to store the energy. It is fun to learn this cool stuff.
So, 2:30 and I am at the gas station, having purchased a liter of Coca-Cola for the guys. Ernesto is on time (oh how I love it when that happens) and off we go, me leading him through the dirt road and three dry river beds.
Once at the house, he asks me several questions, including what I intend to run on the panels, which appliances? All seems pretty low-demand to him until I mention the air conditioners. Within a second, I have doubled my need to eight panels and batteries (there is one battery per panel) - and also doubled the cost.
As I have done before, I ask myself if I really need air conditioning.
I have usually not been a fan of A/C but last summer... oh last summer. I cannot forget last summer nor let the cool winter evenings and mornings trick me into forgetting. On the other hand, I do not plan to be here much in the summer, especially this coming summer. Hmmm....
The gentleman explains things to me patiently and I take note. He says he will send me an official cost. The approximate cost is about $3,000 including installation, for the least expensive batteries. The next battery upgrade brings us closer to $5,000. The next one, the lithium batteries, I blocked the cost as soon as he said it. Apparently good batteries are important.
Lots of info and then the really important one: HE CAN SET UP IN A DAY!
That's a big deal. That's a big deal because it means that I can keep on "praying while I move my feet" about the CFE blessing us with an inclusion onto the grid in the next few weeks, or some other creative solution. And then, within a day (ok, I am going to call it a week because you know, Mexico) I can be hooked up to solar. I LOVE the option, the peace of mind, the plan B, or C.
Tomorrow I will meet with yet another solar company and learn more.
As Ernesto gets back in his truck, Catarino asks me if I am sure I need electricity. And as I have done before, I ask myself the question. Do I? Do I really? Once again I go through the options in my mind, bump against the A/C topic once more. Remind myself that I will most likely not be here in the summer, too. I know I can get a propane fridge, solar lights... charge my phone in my car, satellite internet.... I love the stretch of even considering living without electricity, And the awesome gift I just received is that I can keep on considering options because all of a sudden, there is no rush! That is a tremendous layer of peace of mind. Allowing more curiosity, playing, and learning. Both about systems and about myself.
Meanwhile, some fun stuff has been happening inside the house.
Rigo has brought his generator and his air sprayer and the big steel beams are sporting a new coat of bright orange, anti oxidant primer (I now understand why Jorge, weeks ago, had asked me if I wanted them painted bright orange), while some of them have already been painted their final Enchilada color.
I love watching Rigo spray the even coat on the metal. It is our first step into the more detailed, esthetic part of the project! While I have loved seeing the magic of the blocks being stacked into the shape of the house I drew on paper, I look forward to talking colors and tiles and stuff.
Then, for some reason, Jorge asks me if I like the color.
The color? Well, yes, I like it. I think I like it. I picked it. We have a few beams already painted with it. I have to like it. What do you mean? Do YOU like it?
He tells me he likes it and I leave it at that.
He and I get down the fun business of talking about doors and windows. The bid from the first welder came in quite a bit higher than he had hoped because the price of the metal has gone up in the last month, as Anselmo and Jorge had said it would. I am so glad we bought the steel beams early on. So we are going to see what the other bid is and then place the order right away. He was told that it will take ten days to make the 4 windows, two big bay doors and the frame for the car door. We decide that we will wait until the floor is done and the patio installed before asking the welder to put them in, to keep them nice and clean.
An hour or so later I am driving down the dusty road back to town and the darn beam color thing is ringing in my mind.
Truth is, I don't love it. This Enchilada color is close to the color of the bricks and it competes with it more than it complements. Also, because I am planning on some light walls, this ceiling color is going to matter quite a bit.
I pull over. I look at the photo.
I am going to change it.
So I call Jorge and tell him that I am on my way to pick up another brick to bring to the paint store and that I am going to buy a new color. Is that okay? Can they keep on doing the primer while I do that?
I get a yes.
I am not thrilled about paying for another batch of paint, I am not thrilled about not having gotten it right the first time, either. I have a conversation with myself about paying more attention, about not being difficult, also, And then I have a conversation about how much it matters to get the color right because colors matter a heck of a lot.
Then I wonder if maybe instead of buying a whole new batch of paint, we could doctor this one and bring it to a hue closer to what I now want. I call the guy at the paint store and he says he'll try. Bring him the can.
Back at the house, I now am not only picking up a brick but the mostly full can of paint. The guys look at me funny (or so I think - I often think they look at me funny) and hammer the top of the can securely. I am off on a mission.
At the paint store, Miguel assesses that there is now thinner in the paint can and then decides that it does not matter much. I look at the paint swatches again and decide on a rich dark brown, wood-like. I had thought about going with a dark purple, a nice complement to the rusty brick but for some reason, I am going to play it safe. "let's get us close to this color," I say, pointing to a swatch named Cognac.
Miguel goes to work on my paint, adding a few squirts to the can, including white. Why we would need white to make a color darker, I don't know. But I'm sure not going to say anything.
Squirt squirt, shake shake. Open and look. PERFECT. Rich, warm. Perfect.
I thank him a whole bunch, give him a 100 pesos propina since he does not want to charge me and I am back at the land shortly where Jorge opens the can, the other guys looking on. "Oh! color of chocolate!" they say.
Excellent day and I am grateful for the crew still being there as the sun turns to orange over the jungle.
So much to learn. Much more than how solar panels work.
I am grateful.
Following the impromptu meeting with my butt-kicking neighbor lady, I was looking forward to a 3:00 appointment with the "herrero", the welder who is going to create the doors and windows. Pretty exciting stuff.
Jorge said that later on, he had to run to the nearby town to let some guests in and that we would meet back in the afternoon.
At 3:00 I pull into an eerily quiet work site. No one is here.
I text Jorge who tells me that he is minutes away and knows nothing about why the other two guys are not there. He asks if the herrero has arrived and I tell him that I am alone.
He arrives and says that the welder has already come and taken measurements and will get back to us tomorrow with prices.
I am bummed to have missed him and there is still The Matter of The Missing Workers.
Jorge calls, they don't answer.
I know they are all friends and I am wondering if he knows something I don't. We have no idea when they left.
We sit on cinder blocks and look at welding designs.
It's quiet and a little weird. He tells me about what's going to happen next. That by Thursday we should be able to plaster the walls. Remember that the floor is still dirt, right? That's the order of things.
Finally, we get up and walk to our cars. I tell him I'm a little frustrated. He asks me what I like to eat.
Confused, I mention chocolate and not liking beets. Then I ask why he wants to know what I like to eat.
He tells me that we could go eat out in a nearby town sometime. I think he is trying to soothe my annoyance.
Later in the evening, walking around the village towards a beach sunset with Lila, I text him to ask if he has heard from them. They are not answering their phone, he tells me. Are you worried? I ask. No, is his answer.
So I guess I won't either, then.
A couple of hours later, eating crepes with Costa and Hannah, we are talking about what happens if we need to finish the house ourselves under Jorge's tutelage.
It is an exciting and terrifying topic.
Let's see what funsies today brings!
Monday morning and I am excited to get going, as I have been all the Mondays since we started.
Except that for 4 out of 5 Mondays, the crew has not worked or barely worked on these Mondays. last week I expressed my frustration about this to Jorge and he told me that he had spoken with the guys and that Mondays would from now on be real workdays.
Cool. And to be sure, I arrive on-site early.
Pulling up I see a couple of cars, Catarino mixing concrete, Jorge wearing construction clothing (not his usual as he often goes between the site and letting renters into the many vacation homes he manages), and all feel active and Monday like. My idea of Monday, anyway.
Before I have time to step close to the house, I see a big four-wheeler arrive, backed by a cinematic cloud of dust in the morning sun - and accompanied by a white dog running alongside.
On top of the four-wheeler, commanding a whole lot of attention is a woman whom I can best describe as a blend of Mexican Judi Dench and Mel Gibson in Mad Max.
"Quien es la dueña?" she asks, turning off her machine. "Who is the owner?"
She has a paper in her hand.
I like this morning energy and make my way to her.
Her Spanish is fast and she has a lot to say. Her name is Ofelia and it turns out she and I had connected before on Whatsapp as her name had been passed on to me as "the person who makes things happen around here." I can now see this plainly.
In her hand is a blank petition with a space for my name, phone number, address ("Of course, we don't have one of those, she says laughing) and four or five empty lines. This is for you to write what you would like to see happen for our barrio, she says. I tell her I would like to see flowers delivered weekly, dessert on Sundays too. She laughs again, an easy laugh for someone straddling such an enormous engine on a Monday morning and she and I spend the next half hour talking. She tells me about her journey with trying to get electricity (she still drives to the village to use her sewing machine at her son's house), water too. We talk about the water treatment plant, the things that need to happen. She tells me that a lot of footwork has been done, money handed out, and little to show for it. I catch about 70% of her words.
As Alberto walks by on his way to his piece of land, which is looking mighty sweet and on which he has now slept for the last four nights already, she asks me for his name and summons him to walk over to her. No way he can resist, even though I can tell that he is not fully awake yet. She hands him a petition which he reads while rubbing his eyes.
She tells me about the meeting on Friday to talk about getting water to us. This is a woman on a mission and the whole thing feels darn exciting to me.
I love the pioneer feel of this place, even though it comes with challenges. We are a 15-minutes walk away from the village and its nice restaurants and nightly jazz music and yet we are kind of creating a new world, in a new way. It's intoxicating.
As she drives away to deliver more petitions, her dog runs behind her, and more dust flies in the air. I am reminded that the house color definitely needs to be an earthy tone.
Walking back to the house, the guys are looking at me and Jorge wants to know what we talked about.
That's when I notice that Anselmo is not there.
Where is Anselmo? I ask, almost afraid to hear the answer.
He hurt his arm, responds Jorge. Apparently working on fixing Jorge's car yesterday, the jack slipped and Anselmo's arm got hurt. I am split between being worried and annoyed. I choose to not attach to either. Jorge tells me that he is okay and will be here tomorrow.
Then he picks up a hammer and I understand why he is wearing construction clothing.
It's only 9 am and unbeknownst more Monday Shannanigans are in the works.
All Kinds of Movements.
$9,000 for the electric company to bring a transformer is not going to work for me. Especially that I am pretty sure that it won't be long before this area is a "real" area, with "normal" people living there and needing things like water and electricity. How long though? I don't know. My guess is at least one year or two. And I would like to turn on the A/C by June. Somehow.
So, options. Looking for options.
For about a minute and a half, I consider going without electricity at all. It was fun to think about and I do think that in a more temperate climate, it could work. But not here. I am not up for it.
So, solar panels. Yes, an option. I am looking into it. Not cheap and apparently it takes a bit of a learning curve but I am investigating, talking, learning.
Also, two other options showed to hook me up to the grid. Private contractors who will be the bridge between the CFE and me, and charge me less for the install. The first one came at $6,000 and I am going to hear back from the other one tomorrow.
Some moments, I am bored with the topic and it feels refreshing to set it aside for a while. Others, I worry. Mostly, I am curious.
Something will show up.
The topic of water brings up two sub-topics. One is "water to my house" and the other is "the water treatment plant."
Water to my house is going to be just fine, I believe. The cistern is not built yet, just a big hole for now, but when it is, it will be a matter of calling Dani (same guy who "fixed" my oil gas cap) and order a "pipa" to fill it. Or to get water from Alberto if our deal is still valid. That will be quick and smooth. And also, BIG NEWS: I have learned that there is a meeting next Friday to discuss getting our own city well! That's fun and especially fun to see how this little remote place is getting organized. I wonder what it will look / feel like in a year or two.
Then, there is the water treatment plant and what is going to take place there.
One of the wins is that we got our first 1000 signatures quite fast. Fast enough that when Nellie met with the delegado, he was impressed, possibly a little nervous.
While I am not in the front line, I get regular briefings and I can tell you this: something is happening. Meeting after meeting, we are getting noticed. A couple of days ago, a letter to the people was written and signed stating that things are being done and that "within a month or a month and a half," the plant will be working at a 100%. It also asked people to remain calm and understanding and ended with "affectionate salutations" or something like this, very Mexican.
I saw it as a win and was going to get ready to do a little dance but Nellie said to me: They are just wanting us to be quiet. Don't buy it. Followed by "I am not above blocking the highway if that's what it takes."
So. Things could get interesting.
Meanwhile, it still smells and I am told that since the trucks have been refused access to the field, they are now dumping straight into the dry river bed. Which will not be dry for more than a few weeks, and which lead into the ocean - and near the main well.
Bottom line is: there are changes in the air (no pun intended) and I believe that a lot is happening energetically. A cleansing, a transformation. I believe that the timing is right and that by the time Lila and I make our way there for our first night, many things will have been healed.
One Month - All Walls, and More.
It has been a month and two days since we broke ground.
Almost all the walls are up and being in and out of the three rooms feels real, almost as though one could live there, eventually. I am told this coming week will be the plastering of the inside walls, and maybe more. Whether that's what happens next week or not, I feel pretty confident that a month from now, it's going to be a huge change. It is starting to look really sweet.
Yesterday, with the crew working till 1:00 because it's Saturday, I showed them some photos of what they had done over the last thirty days. With no electricity. With their hands.
I had hesitated to share my excitement with them because this last week, I had also been a bit frustrated by what seemed like a slowing down, lack of showing up, and some seeming distraction from Jorge.
So I didn't want to give them a reason to slack, thinking that I was so very happy with things. Hmmmm.... strategy.
In the end, it felt most authentic to share my thrill of their accomplishment while making sure to tell them when I left: see you all on MONDAY!
And... we have quite a few more hurdles to jump over - hopefully joyfully. We keep going.
Backing up a few days to when Costa and his love arrived to stay with me for a few weeks. When they had left in early January, I was in the early stages of thinking about buying a piece of land. Much has happened for the three of us in these few weeks and it felt darn good to take them over there straight from the airport.
The guys had left for the day so we could roam around the building site in the quiet of the late afternoon.
I showed them everything, shared my vision, my fears too.
Within minutes, Costa questioned the funny little jutting bathroom area, the one I drew on the piece of paper in order to bring some light to the room. "That's the shower, right?" he asked. "Well, no. That's the sink area." I answered. Then I explained about the bringing-in-light idea. "Hmmm... seems like it would make a great shower," he said again. And just like that, I saw the shower. How I missed it before, I am not sure. That's the magic of extra eyes and minds, I suppose. So, yes, a walk-in shower - with a window. A little unconventional but why not? Of course, the plumbing would have to be adjusted (could it be adjusted?) and I couldn't wait to bring that up to Jorge the next morning.
Next, as we all marveled at the beauty of the view through the big studio's window, it also became clear that we couldn't block that view (it looks out onto the "green belt" area that is slated to not be built on) and so the car gate was going to have to be re-thought. More to talk about with Jorge in the morning.
As we left, it occurred to me how good it felt to have them there, how alone I had really been on this whole project so far. Not a bad/lonely kind of alone, but the kind of alone the contrast of which I suddenly relished. It made me wonder what else I had missed.
That night I barely slept with the anticipation of talking with Jorge about the changes in the morning.
I was back at the house early and of sure enough, he told me that yes, it could all be done.
Big Day - New Questions
Big day, today.
It was finally time to get The Decision from the electric company! Could they do it? Could they get us electricity?
It was also the day to see the lawyer and pick up the important piece of paper she had asked to be added to the contract "in case the owner of the land died." Dunno if it's standard lawyer stuff or if she has a sixth sense, but here we are and wow, it feels good to have this paper. So, lawyer paper is 98% complete (just missing an add-on about making my payment to the senora. Next week.)
This being complete-ish, I made my way to the electric commission to be told my fate.
On the way out of town, I had stopped at the "house" to see how everyone was doing and they seemed a little grumpy so I was hoping to come back with the news that "hey! we're getting electricity!" - which really probably only matters to me.
At the commission, I waited about an hour and was amused by the whole "whose turn is it?" system. You see, there is a paper number machine at the entrance of the nicely air-conditioned office - but it doesn't work. Just like the bank's doesn't work. Just like this one did not work last time either. So it's kind of fun to see people walk in, try to get a number, look puzzled and then look up at the waiting room, trying to find out who is right before them, who is the last person to have walked in. Usually, someone will point at a person sitting down and say "you're after the guy with the baseball cap." Me, I feel like inventing paper pieces with numbers on them every time, pin them to shirts, fix this darn mess, but instead, I get cozy in my chair and enjoy the system, which really works just fine.
I was after the-lady-with-the-pink-dress and took my seat at the desk, all ready to hear my fate.
I handed out my application number, made small talk about how great that the gentleman had already come by and how-well-this-is-all-working-out. The masked woman on the other side got up and left. When she returned, she had a small pile of papers with her. My papers! I thought.
She showed them to me and explained the process. I have till May 22 to go to a bank. Pay the fee. Then they have 28 days to bring in the transformer and get us ready to be connected. Then, we have a week to get the contract signed and they have 7 days to get us electricity. I am computing the calendar of this fun game in my head and I gather that around May 15 I will have electricity.
Then at the back of the papers, the cost.
The price I need to pay by May 22 to make this happy chain start moving forward. About 900 dollars.
Hmmm. That's more than I was hoping but I can make it work. Especially if we can split it within a couple of neighbors, and then they get their own account.
I thank her, I walk out, get in my car, and head towards the jungle, back home. Away from lawyers and fancy-ish offices.
In the car, I start thinking about how to make it work. My wheels are turning. $900.00 is not nothing but then I'll have electricity. At a stoplight, I look at the pile of papers and my eyes bug out. What? What is this? This ... number? This 171,000 pesos number. HOW THE HECK DID I MISREAD THIS? We are no longer talking about 900 dollars - we are talking about an impossible NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS.
Within seconds I have pulled over into the first gas station and I am buying two packs of MnMs (peanuts and originals) and one giant bar of Hershey's Cookies & Creams. The guy behind the counter looks at me funny, possibly a little scared.
NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS??? What the heck? Who has this kind of money?? I sure know who doesn't!! MOI.
I arrive at the work site full of sugar and my curls working overtime, flying everywhere. Jorge immediately pours me a massive orange-colored delicious orange drink. That should help. I am turning into a pure sugar-generated machine.
Whew. Door closed. Someone open a window, please. There is a solution and I can't wait to meet it.
Meanwhile, the workers still seem a bit grumpy to me. I ask Jorge and he tells me not to worry. Which makes me worry. Did they not like me mentioning that they have called in hungover 3 of the last 4 Mondays? Do they hate me? Are they going to quit and leave me all alone with my half-finished house, so very close to the sewer water and with no light?
Obviously, I need some Lila time and a lot of water.
On the way home I stop at the body shop mechanic and ask him to fix the back handle of Mitsu, my car. Mitsu has some bumps and signs of a life fully lived, but I am not liking this latest boo-boo incurred when a friend slammed the hatchback a bit too enthusiastically. Antonio knows my budget and my sensibilities so he brings out the silicone and the masking tape. For 100 pesos, I am happy. I just need to remember to peel off the masking tape in the morning.
Back home I get caught up on the events of the day with the mayor and the water treatment story (we now have over 680 signatures) and the picture that seems to emerge is that "fixing" the plant may not do it. We may need a new one all together. Ha!
What a day.
Lila and I made our way to the beach for sunset and even though I may have gotten more questions than answers today, I feel happy and trusting.
And tomorrow, of all things, I am going to... Costco! Jorge wants to buy a small generator so that they may start cutting pipes and things and we are going on a field trip. I think it will be the quickest way to feel like I am in the US.
Oh - the US.
I was told by a lawyer that I may go and pick up my resident card later this week or next week! It will most likely be ready because ... the printing machine is working again. Yup. I (and many others I am sure) have been unable to leave the country because the printing machine was broken.
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