“Engine: start”

Chevy Aveo

A friend returning to the States for an extended period generously offered us the use of his car, and refused to accept any money for it.  I wasn’t too concerned about that, because I could tell it needed some work.

And boy, did it: entire front suspension and brake pads, rear wheel cylinders, alignment, oil change … a little over USD 700. But, seeing as we’ve had the car seven weeks and probably will need it one more, the cost will come to something like USD 12.50/day, and we “leave the campsite cleaner than we found it,” as was the goal when I was a camp counselor. Win-win.

But there is one more thing it needs: a new battery. Sometimes it doesn’t want to start, and this morning it simply didn’t, even with my command “Engine-start!” as I turned the key.

Which is from a silly 2009 movie called 2012 Apocalypse. If you have access to US Netflix, you can see it at 1:42.

2012 Apocalypse - "engine, start"

The movie has some other compelling scenes: the Vatican destroyed in an earthquake (1:30), the White House destroyed by an aircraft carrier in an immense tsunami (1:34), and helicopters flying in the Himalayas with giraffes slung beneath them (1:44) – you just can’t make this stuff up.

Anyway, maybe I’ll spring for a battery. I have to go to the supermarket now. Engine – start!

Requisite autumn photo

autumn tree

Lovely, sunny, crisp autumn day. I walked into town to pick up a $3,000 Western Union transfer (cost: $6) so that now we officially have enough money in the bank here to pay for our new car, which should arrive in the next few days. From where, I have no idea. We ended up with the Meriva in 2009 because it was available: with other makes and models we might have preferred, we were told to “come back in January when the new cars arrive.” At $1,000+ per month for a nothing-special rental car, we did not like that idea.


Maybe, maybe not.

pesticides sign, Tienda Inglesa, Atlántida, Uruguay

Pesticides? No thanks! Tienda Inglesa looks out for you. We monitor for the presence of pesticide residues in the fruits and vegetables that we offer.

Sorry: no you don’t. Now that you’re owned by Americans, your marketing people have determined that pesticides are becoming a concern to hoi polloi, so you pretend you’re concerned and looking after your customers. You’re not. It’s simply bullshit.

Oh but wait! There’s a Gmail email address. That somehow lends legitimacy?

OK, I will write them for specifics. But I just spotted this today, and I’m calling bullshit.


First fire this year

wood stove, dog

Temperature is in the mid-50s F (12-13° C) and it just felt right to crank up the wood stove. I had the door properly resealed a couple months ago. When I last got the door redone a couple years ago, the job was sloppy, and the stove hasn’t been really tight for a long time. We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of heat coming from it – and of course forgot to dust the top before lighting. Eh, what’s a little temporary burning odor?

We don’t currently have enough doggie blankets for everywhere, but I did put some cardboard down after taking this photo, so Benji is now enjoying the warmth without vaguely thinking “something is wrong with this picture” as he lay on the cool tile floor.

The boxes above him contain a backlog of fire-starting material. I haven’t ordered firewood this year. We have a small amount of odds and ends, plus quite a bit of curupay from the deck of Tim and Loren, who left here over three years ago. I probably should think about that, since the weather’s been OK, and in the east of Uruguay, firewood is stupidly sold by weight. So, after a rain, if the wood is stored outside, you can end up spending 35% more – yep, that’s how much the wood can absorb temporarily.

So welcome winter, and we’re not quite prepared. I guess hoping it will be mild like last, resulting in an incredible harvest of avocados, starting March this year versus June the year before.

Ya veremos – we will see!