Home is where you hang your shoes

shoes on coat rack

Especially if you have a puppy, not quite one year old, who will happily tear into Vasque hiking boots that you spent an hour getting fitted for in Asheville, North Carolina 15 years ago, and cost USD 150. I bought those at the end of few years of hiking and camping with kids, after realizing how idiotic I had been the first day of a five-day hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail, with backpack – racing a 15 year old boy, wearing cheap-ass Walmart-purchased hiking boots and very nearly twisting my ankle. I upgraded to the Vasques – and, oh yeah,  then essentiality stopped hiking.

Turns out their construction is not essentially different – in terms of puppy teeth – to the last pair of middle-aged-man ankle-length “hikers” I bought at JC Penney last year for what – USD 30? Or Walmart? Alas, that was in Murka: nothing like that exists here: size 12 feet find little welcome. So they hang out of range of puppy teeth.

The Hiking Boot Thing is similar my Mountain Bike Thing: going “endo” over the handlebars of my mountain bike, tearing up and bloodying my shirt and cracking my helmet, riding down a root-addled trail in North Carolina, faster than I would otherwise, trying to keep up with two 13 year olds, one my adopted son. They were considerably shorter than me, so of course had a much lower center of gravity, as our bikes were more or less the same length,

Ah, the adopted son: he was brilliant at destroying things, and soon needed a new bike. Shopping, I was appalled at prices. Again, this is fifteen years ago, but look at this – who would pay USD 1,200 for a mountain bike? The clerk explained that Gary Fisher was a couple inches taller than me, and designed bikes with “cockpits” – distance from seat to handlebars – to effectively lower the relative height overall. In other words, make it harder to go “endo.”

He offered that I could ride it around the parking lot, and after “busting” a curb or two, I knew who would pay $1,200 for a mountain bike. Me.

And then, of course, we moved to Spokane. I rode a couple trails. We moved to Mexico. Eventually I left it with my several-years Myspace friend Hektor Dangus to sell in Austin, Texas.

And the fake Crocs? Well, yeah, they are fake Crocs – but left at floor level, simply chew toys.

Behold the beady eyes

Hearing the dogs stir shortly after sunrise this morning, I got up to let them out. Almost immediately Mocha started barking at the closer avocado tree (for the record, not the one I put fence around). Aha!

comadreja - possum - in avocado tree
Hmmm …. trying to remember – can dogs climb trees?

The first year we had avocados, there were 32 of them. So when a possum got one, it was a big deal. This year, both trees have been producing since March. At 6:45 AM, standing naked in the back yard watching a four-legged looter getting ready to steal an avocado, my best course of action quickly became clear: go back to bed.

Later we saw that the critter had indeed had a heart-healthy breakfast. Mocha wonders if it is still in the tree.

Meanwhile, a few feet away, our little orange tree whose first harvest (three oranges?) happened this year, looks primed to do considerably better next. Which would be wonderful. But I have to wonder if it will be as “dumb” as our lemon tree, and grow so much fruit that a branch breaks. Time will tell.


More than a little ironic

Just shy of six months ago I totaled our Chevy Meriva. The driver of the delivery truck that hit me (the whole thing was entirely my fault) had no insurance, and I assured him I would help him with repairs. He spoke great English, and we had quite an interesting and unrelated discussion as we waved away the ambulance crew, who couldn’t quite believe there were no injuries.

It turns out I had no insurance, either, since the company never sent a bill, and lied that they had called me ten days before they cancelled it for non-payment – just a couple of weeks before the accident. And though I sent a couple of text messages to Jorge, the other driver, I heard nothing back. Was it possible I got his number wrong and he got my number wrong?

Yesterday my cell phone rang. That in itself is unusual, because it’s almost always in airplane mode, serving primarily as a camera.  It’s Jorge, wondering if I remember him (of course) and was still willing to help (of course). He said the repairs would be around USD 2,000,1 and I agreed to meet him today at the gas station near the accident, as he would be on his way to Montevideo.

Let the ironies roll: traffic was crawling on the highway, and I saw police cars and an ambulance, so guessing I couldn’t cross the most direct way, went over the bridge and through the awkward back streets to get there. I was early, and curious what the fuss was about.

Irony #1: it was about a car broadsided. Though I have heard there are many accidents in this crossing, before and since my car being broadsided I have never seen another.

car crash site
The closest point of grass in this photo is where the Meriva and I ended up, spun 180%.

Irony #2: I thought I had gotten a picture of the crashed car (silver, to the left of the police truck), but with shutter lag instead have it obscured by a black car.

Irony #3: that black car is exactly at the point of impact of my crash.

crash site diagram

Irony #4: the black car in my photo is in the exact position of the black car in the Google Earth screen shot I used to illustrate my accident back in March.2

Feeling little chills yet?

Anyway, our meeting was rather emotional and ended with a big hug, and Jorge telling me if I ever need something delivered from Montevideo, let him know and he’d do it for free.


1 I asked if I could see the estimate, and it was closer to USD 3,000
2 wrong lane, but hey….

Ya gotta love Fedex [not]

I was informed yesterday that I needed to sign and deliver a power of attorney letter pronto! regarding a Swiss-based investment in Panama that turned out to be a scam. Issue #1: it absolutely had to be delivered on legal-size stationery (8-1/2 x 14″). I do have legal-size documents from Uruguay. Alas, they date from the 1980s. “Legal size” hasn’t been here for a long time.

So how on earth to create a document that size? Visit a papelería and ask them to cut down an A3 sheet to size? Actually, turns out the solution is much simpler – shoot an email to our Canadian neighbors Janet and Wayne, and minutes later retrieve a ream of legal-size stationary from atop the wall that separates our properties.

Issue #2: OK, I am used to this; it has existed for the couple decades I’ve sent shipments internationally with “Federal” Express – but this is just total insanity:

Fedex - ridiculous pricing

If you have any insight into this, please let me know. Is it just a scam for people who don’t pursue details?