Not firing on all cylinders

Yesterday: Syd expecting house-sitters arriving by bus at our usual dog walk time, suggests we go at 1:45 instead of 3:00. No problem. I show up on time. Except that it’s 12:45. And now his dogs are all agitated, so we go an hour early. I wonder what exactly I was thinking. It must take a special set of skills to misread a digital clock: my computer and cell phone.

After the walk, I stop by (an hour early, but fine with them) to collect house keys for friends going away for several days, in case a real estate agent wants to show their house. Out their front door, I am unable to lock the fence gate. I ring the doorbell. Don comes out; also tries it without success. This is weird. Well, let’s check the driveway sliding gate, he says. It doesn’t work either.

At which point he realizes we’re using my keys, not theirs. Well, there’s that little mystery solved.

It’s spring, getting warmer, but nights are cool, so we’re indulging the last of our firewood.

Is it just my imagination, or is the wood stove laughing at me like I’m an idiot?




Shopping for most things in Uruguay is not fun, given prices, lack of selection and quality, and not-quite-ready-for-first-world business practices. But recently, shopping for tile, at least I found a title amusement in these ceramic tile displays.

Tiles, Uruguay

OK, the English-sign thing. That’s definitely got appeal. Of course they’re missing out by not including possessive apostrophes, but ta.

Tiles, Uruguay

I don’t see how ceramic versions of old American license plates would find a place in too many design schemes. But then again I’m often surprised at the limits of my imagination.

Tiles, Uruguay

Which brings me to what I bought for the terrace above our dining room, in an atempt to solve the moisture/mold problems below. I found a great deal on these 50cm (almost 20″) square tiles: good albedo for summer heat deflection, nice texture. The kid at the store (at a certain age, almost everyone is a kid) advised I should take my 24 square meters in two loads of about 300 kg (660 lbs) each, given my vehicle.

The first trip went swimmingly. On the second trip, I decided I should stop at Tienda Inglesa to stock up on wine, which involved a turn to the right up a ramp. As with the first trip, the tiles were vertical in the back, leaning to the right.

Kar-umpph! Load shift to the left! I did my shopping, then carefully re-leaned the tiles, noticing that happily, few had broken, and with them just corners.

Getting off the Ruta Interbalnearia, I realized we were short on cardboard, still necessary for fire-starting (it’s been a few weeks since this happened) and provision for night time puppy “accidents.” So I pulled slightly off the road, which involved a slight incline, and kar-umpph! This time the fall wasn’t quite as drastic, seeing as it was limited by ten bottles of wine – ten because that’s what fits into a very sturdy bag we have, gift from a friend in Mexico.

And – sorry if this disappoints you – the story does NOT continue with my ruing the odor of alcohol replacing (what’s left of) our new-car smell. No bottles broke, and though significantly more tiles suffered breakage, overall it’s not as bad as you might have imagined.

And there is – at least was – plenty more where it came from.




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….