Author: Doug

At the taller

While in the States in September, I got to thinking about the pobre Meriva, as our worker referred to our Chevy minivan after seeing the loads it carried. (I wanted to get a four-door pickup when we arrived in Uruguay; wife nixed that idea.) We got it in early 2010. Paint’s fading, windshield best replaced because of scratches from volcanic ash from Chile a few years ago. But it runs well, and the prospect of shopping for anything in Uruguay is generally dreary. So when I got back, I got some repairs done: replaced the serpentine belt in the engine at 90,000 km (supposed to have been changed at 45,000), body pained, and maybe the windshield one day soon.

Quite a few weeks after the paint job, I noticed the strip between the top of the doors and the roof was looking pretty bad.

incomplete car paint job
I’ve been parking inside. This after just a few weeks?

I took it back to the shop (taller) and showed it to the owner. He walked around the car. Whoever painted it simply skipped that area. No problem, he said. Of course, to finish the job will now take another three (Uruguay: read four) days.

While waiting in the garage, I became fascinated with the packaging of a replacement door.

replacement car door cardboard packaging

The strings aren’t added afterward. They’re an integral part of the design. They wrap around little round plastic fasteners.

cardboard package string fasteners

What an elegant (in the engineering sense) solution!




Those ceiling spiders

I have nothing against spiders. They eat lots of critters, and that’s a good thing. What’s less good is when they decide to hang out at the tall peak of our bedroom ceiling, and we end up with insect inedibles drifting toward the floor (fortunately not directly above where we sleep).

I finally decided I had struggled with our foldable ladder (which gives us access to above-stairs storage) one too many times. So off to the workshop, and after a few fits and starts, this:

homemade bug spray extender

The lever and plunger are slightly off to the side, so the spray doesn’t hit the wire. And why wire instead of string? Simple — I don’t have any string!

So now I can stand on a chair that lives a meter away, reach up, and spray with much more accuracy than when I had to lean back off the ladder against the wall. Not exactly pretty to look at, but hey, it works!

I don’t like the idea of spraying poison. My ultimate solution will be a lightweight vacuum cleaner extension, but I can’t make that from stuff I have lying around. Up north, I’d wander around Home Depot until I found something that worked. Here, I have to tell someone in a store what I’m trying to do, have them rummage around and come back with the wrong thing, try again, try again—.



The last box

Since we have to go into Montevideo, today was a beach walk day. Strong wind. Heading back, near the zoo, I saw a trash container that had apparently been blown over. I decided to right it, a bit of a challenge with one arm, since I had Benji on a leash. But I did it.

One shoe box remained on the ground. I picked it up, noticed keys, old photos and a copy of a cédula.

box with personal items

The cédula number is 698,315. I didn’t see the birthdate on the back, but seeing as my cédula number from seven years ago is over 5.8 million, and Uruguay’s population is only 3.5 million, I’d say she had a pretty long life.



Unplanted flowers

wildflowers, Uruguay


wildflowers, Uruguay
No idea what this is called.

If you look closely at the second, you might spot a volunteer tomato plant in the box, which I originally built for worms. Turns out they thrive just as well, with no attention, in the ”compost” barrel which never gets hot enough to actually compost anything.