Sunday, March 16, 2008

Doctors, doctors everywhere!

I promised a while back I that I would do my best to keep you current on medical information, prices and the like. Here's the latest........................

Oh, just bite me!

We like going to the dentist every six months. It was time for the semi-annual check up so we called for an appointment on a Thursday and got in the next Thursday. Deb's appointment was for 11 AM and mine for noon. This is the same dentist that we went to about six months ago.

Debi received her check up and cleaning....all was good.

A few weeks prior to it being time for the semi-annual check up I had noticed that my right rear upper molar was rough and I figured that it got chipped or broke or something but I was having no discomfort. Needless to say I mentioned it to the dentist when I went in and he checked it and said that yes indeed something happened to the wall of the tooth and the filling had partially come out as well. He was surprised that I wasn't having any pain. I asked if it could be repaired? He said yes it could be repaired as the main part of the tooth was in good shape and he'd just have to re-do the filling and re-shape the back of the tooth. I then asked when could it be done and he said "now". Now? Really, no waiting? Cool! So he did the tooth first and then the cleaning and check up, etc. All was well!

Total cost for everything 1,500pesos ($142.85 US)

To see or not to see..........let me take a peek!

For what ever reason we had not been to see an eye doctor since our last eye exam in August of 06 in the Springs.

Since we've been her we have talked to numerous people about who they go to, what type of experience they have had, etc. We had been getting more serious about it over the last four months and we received some serious recommendations from our close friends Jim & Cheryl and Jane and John. They gave us a glowing report on a Dr. Chi. As a matter of fact Jane and John flat out stated that if it had not been for Dr. Chi Jane would have lost the vision in one of her eyes. Jane and John are world travelers and they know what they are talking about. Their experiences are totally amazing and it's great to get together with them and hear their stories. Oh yea, and Jane is a super cook too! So anyway, that put the lid on the searching.

So we called on a Friday and got in the next Thursday. Deb's appointment was for 7 PM and mine at 7:30 PM. Unusual for what we were used to in the States but not unusual for here. It seems that Dr. Chi has morning appointments and then mid to late morning he does surgeries and then resumes appointments around 4 PM. I can only imagine that he also has a respite of some kind worked in there as well. I sure would!

We go into his office and he greets us, speaks very good Ingles, and since Deb's appointment is first he starts with her. Does a background check, health, any eye problems, etc. He checks her glasses and the prescription in the lenses. We had brought the prescriptions written down for him but he likes to check them himself just to be sure. Takes her into the examining room and asks me to come along. As some of you know the family unit in Mexico is all important so it's not unusual to see four to six people accompanying a family member into a Dr's office. So I sat and watched and listened. Since I was there to hear Debi say what the letters on the vision test were he looked over his shoulder at me, smiled and said don't worry, I'll test you with numbers! LOL!

The equipment was state of the art and he had some things that our Dr in the Springs didn't have the last time we were there.

After Deb's exam was over he took us both back to his office and sat down and explained everything he found thru the testing. He used an eyeball model and explained everything even further so that she would understand the changes her eyes are going through, etc. Very interesting and informative. He told Deb that her prescription did change a little and he wrote it down in case she wanted to get new glases. He did not push for new glasses, lenses, etc. He told Deb that she could use the drug store glasses and be fine. However, he did caution that it was very important to get yearly exams.
Next was me and he went through all the same stuff. My history was a bit more complicated but that's cause I'm a guy....right? LOL! Which just means I was more stupid! LOL! While my check up is being done my beloved decided that a picture would be worth a thousand words. So not to spoil her good work here I am along with Dr Chi.
I too was told that the drug store glasses would work fine but that, of course, I couldn't get them with a bi-focal lens. That's what I'd like to get.
We were very pleased with our experience and feel that we have found our eye doctor her in Merida.
Total cost for everything 800pesos ($76.19US)
I will certainly update as needed but other than routine check ups, etc, I hope I don't have the need to report very much!
Take care!

Madera for the pergola!

Hola mis amigos!
If you are reading both Debi’s and my blogs then you know about the pergola we had built in the jardin (garden). In case you aren’t aware of it here is a picture.

Overall the jardin is “ours” but Debi is the lead “our” in things regarding the jardin. We mutually agree on placement and all that but she has been the purchaser of the things that need planting. I am the planter for the most part especially when it comes to the bigger holes. I picked a few plants that I wanted as well but those were more that I liked them than what was best for the jardin layout, size, etc. and Debi worked them in. I’m a great hole digger! LOL!

We designed the pergola and we hired an albanil (mason) to build it. (It was completed the beginning of December.) We bought the materials, had them delivered and he did the rest. The base is 9 x 9 and it sits in the pathway that Debi has formed in the jardin. She plans on doing her yoga there and it’s a most wonderful place to just sit and contemplate stuff! Oh yes, and to watch birds, lizards, iguanas, gatitos (cats) and zorros (possums).

Anyway, on to the madera (wood) side of this subject. I was in charge of locating, securing and installing the madera. All well within my ability with the need of a little help on the last part. So a few weeks after the completion of the pergola proper itself it was suggested by “someone” that they would very much like to see it completed. With inspiration and enthusiasm I started finding and going to the Madera tiendas (stores) and pricing out the madera beams and cross members. Much to my surprise….wow, it was very expensive. So I kept trying to find more tiendas to check on prices and make comparisons. Two beams were needed and 20 cross members. The hunt lasted a few weeks and then it was put on the side burner as I was not willing to pay 800pesos per beam and 150pesos per cross member. I just couldn’t bring myself to believe that that was the best price.
At this point I’ll share the concern I had about the prices I was being quoted. Now this doesn’t happen everywhere or all the time but it does happen. What I refer to is what we gringos refer to as “the gringo factor”. All it means is that the price can sometimes go up a bit when a gringo is asking to purchase something. We are perceived to have more expendable cash and there are those here who would like to have some of it! It is a big thing in the heavy tourist areas as the terms “buyer beware” and “what the market will bear” should be emphasized. Well that’s what I thought was happening but I came to find out that it was not the case. Within reason all the madera tiendas were within a few pesos of each other. So anyway I stopped looking but knew it had to be done.

After a few more weeks “someone” says to me, “if you don’t go get the lumber for the pergola I’m going to go purchase it and have it delivered!” Well that was easy enough to understand and I knew I had been dragging my feet on the project…..lo siento! But hey, I’m retired, I’m in mananaville and all that! Yea, ok! So I went to the madera tienda of choice, and ordered the beams and cross members. Now due to the cost we decided to cut back on the number of cross members from 20 to 5. Deb decided that we can cut the sun and create shade by planting a vine called zapatos de reina. Very cool vine and it grows fast. Ok, they said that the madera would take a week to be cut out of the logs, etc. Oh, and they don’t deliver, no truck! I said ok, gave them a deposit and departed.

Well, it was plain as the nose on my face that within the next week I would need a truck and a manly hord of madera movers. So of course the first call is to Walter whom I mentioned in the last blog as the proud owner of a full size pick-up truck and everyone’s friend! (Yes, he’s a really great guy even without the truck!) Walter said yes so I had one body and the transport set up. Next call was to Geo as he likes adventures and he’s always up for helping out. He’s a super guy and I really appreciate knowing him and having him as a very close friend. The cast was set and all we had to do was wait. Time flies when you’re here and the big day arrived.
The morning of the day of the move was scheduled really well as I had a trigger point massage w/Britta, a semi-annual dentist appointment/cleaning and then I walked from the dentist’s office to Geo’s casa and then we walked to Walter’s. We motored over to the madera tienda. I paid the remainder on the ticket, Walter checked some prices and found that they were the best he had been able to find to date and ordered some madera he needed. The truck was backed in and the employees of the tienda loaded the beams and cross members. It wasn’t a large load but it was very heavy. The wood I got was puc té and it is a very hard wood and very durable. The employees attached a flag type item to the load hanging out the back of the truck and we questioned their flag but they said it was just fine.
You can be the judge! LOL!

We drove the short distance to the casa and I had the manly Madera movers pose for a picture.

Then the madera was unloaded and placed in the bodega with stacking blocks so that it will dry faster.

It has to sit for 3 weeks before it will be dry enough and ready to be installed on the pergola. The installation will certainly be fodder for another blog. You’ll get to meet a new person, Richard, as he told me he wanted to help with the madera installation when we first started talking about a pergola last year. So stay tuned and in a few weeks we’ll be ready!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The tree and the orchid

It's been a few months since my last post but sometimes life just gets in the way and blogging has to be put on the back burner. But I'm back with a new post about our garden and a new acquisition.
Our friends Jorge and Joanna are getting ready to remodel their casa and are giving plants away. Their remodel includes a pool and they have to clear space that some of which is occupied by plants and trees. Debi and I have been to their house several times and are somewhat familiar with the grounds. Since Debi and I have gotten into orchids we perked up when Jorge and Joanna said that they had to get rid of a flor de mayo (plumeria) tree that has many orchids on it.
They told us that they had a beautiful flor de mayo in their yard with orchids on it but hurricane Isadora wreaked havoc with all their trees and bushes when it unleashed it's fury on Merida. The flor de mayo was blown over and the main piece with the orchids was leaned up against their stone wall. They figured that the orchids would live on the large piece of the tree. Not only were they correct in regards to the orchids but the tree limb actually started rooting into the ground. It's just amazing how things can grow around here!
Here's two pictures of the tree in their yard.

In this picture you can see the bottom of the tree sitting on the ground and the bare limbs at the top. I realize that it isn't easy to make out but they have many plants with a lot of foliage.

In this picture you can see the top limbs of the tree. As you can see there are no leaves or flowers at this time. However right after we planted it a few flowers bloomed.

Ok, since it was a fairly large tree to be just picking up and moving around I needed to gather a manly hord of tree movers. So I got my "manly hord call list" out and started calling. First was Walter cause he had the truck and we all know how important the truck owner is. Everyone with a truck has many, many friends! LOL! Next was Geo who is small in stature but large in heart and he always loves an adventure. Next was Greenwood, the "big guy" and we all know how important a big guy is when you're moving a tree! So with implements of destruction and earth moving power we removed the tree and put it in the truck. The tree had not rooted in any major way so we just bent it back and forth and it came loose. It was very awkward to handle. Sorry that there isn't any moving the tree pictures as it did take all five of us to do it.

This pic will give you an idea of the size of the tree and the manly hord.

So here they are from left to right, Jorge, Greenwood, Walter, and Geo.
All friends and good guys!

Next was to transport it back to my house and get it into the back yard. The trip was completed without incident. Of course getting it into the back yard could only be done by bringing the tree through the house. You may ask why it had to come thru the house and the answer is that there is no other way unless you take it up and over the roof. There are no side yards for the most part in the centro area of town.

Now to make things faster I had pre-dug the hole in the garden before so all we'd have to do is get it thru the house, into the garden, and into the hole. Much to everyone's happiness the transfer went smoothly and easy.

This picture shows the tree in its new home and actually proves that I was involved.
FYI: The large palm in the forefront is a coconut palm.