Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 10 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The IMSS Experience

Hola! What a beautiful full moon last night here in Alamos. I hope you experienced a scenic full moon wherever you live. Our days are so long now. The light is coming before five am and staying until almost seven pm. All of the trees are getting their baby new shoots and everything is in bloom. One of Senor's orange trees is covered in hundreds of tiny white flowers and the air is very sweet.
Below is a photo of the old mesquite tree. Last year we were worried about it, but it has come back, rich in many colors of green. It is so healthy and such an experience to stand under it and watch the butterflies drift in and out of its long lacy branches.
I seem to recall that I was going to tell you about our IMSS experience. IMSS is the Mexican medical plan for Mexican homeowners and laborers. There is a seperate medical plan for government workers, ISTTE. I might be off an acronym in there, but no problems, we aren't going to talk about that one.

Below is a photo of the IMSS, also called Seguro, or social security, building in Navajoa.
When we moved to Mexico, we gave up our health insurance in the United States. We are not old enough for Social Security or Medicare, but we wanted something. A great deal of research told us that in Mexico, we would either want IMSS or to pay out of pocket should we need anything. We chose IMSS.

Sometimes, these things can be difficult to research. Here is a prime example. Before we ever came to Sonora, I read a blog that said the highway from Nogales to Navajoa (where the road turns off and up into the mountains and Alamos), was a four lane, well lighted highway the whole way. Believe me, nothing could be further from the truth.
So when I begin research on the topic we are interested in, I pretty much gather up all the information, throw alot out, keep some and then, hope for the best.

I talked to several folks who have IMSS before we went to the building to apply. All of them said something different. I am not going to bore you with all of those details.
I gathered every bit of our paperwork and made two copies of everything.
The following is what we needed in January, 2009, to first apply:
2 photocopies of the entire passport for each of us.
2 photocopies of the FM3 for each of us.
2 photcopies of our marraige certificate.
2 copies of one paid utility bill.
2 passport size photos of each of us.

We spent alot of time at several different windows at IMSS last year, finally went around the corner to pay at the bank, received a stamped paper that showed we could have medical care with restrictions (only basic colds, shots, flus and exams would be covered) and went home.

This January, 2010, we went to reapply. Before we went we were told by a man that he had been there the same week and it took over 8 hours to complete his renewal. We were a little concerned. The day before we went a woman told me she had just been there and the computer was down. She waited 5 hours and then was told she had to return the next day. Once she did complete her renewal, she was stamped with retstrictions (research says it is not until your third renewal that you are without restrictions).

At IMSS, we had the above things available, but they did not care to see anything other than the passports and the FM3's. We spent half an hour at several different windows, walked around the corner to the bank and paid $4,267.60 pesos (that is less than $200 USD dollars each), received our papers stamped SIN restrictions (with no restrictions) and went home.
So, that is pretty much it. No two people seem to ever have the same experience in the same place.

So, I am going to bake a pecan butter cream cake this afternoon. Doesn't that sound awesome? My dad shipped several pounds of his freshly shelled pecans to Colorado, where I picked them up and then brought them back home. Sonora actually has its own fair share of pecan trees, but there is nothing like a good Texas pecan. I will let you know how it turns out!
Adios! Linda Lou

Friday, March 26, 2010

It is on the Horizon

Buen dia!

So the other night Senor asked me if our house was beginning to look more like a house. Look at these photos and I think you will understand my answer, which was yes.

In this photo, Umberto, is plastering all the outside walls. It is a white plaster and just makes our house look more like a house, don't you think?

Most of this was done while we were in the states, so not only was I happy to see the plaster, I was happy to see that some of the stuff laying all over the ground was moved to a different place where it could still lay on the ground, just not the ground where we have to walk to get inside the house.

While we were gone, he also filled in alot of this window in the master bedroom. We measured and discovered that the headboard of the bed will rise into the middle of the window. So he shortened the window for us.

Senor said to me on you think we really need hot water for the washing machine?
Well, I don't recall ever having a conversation about hot water for the washing machine. We have had plenty about hot water for the shower.
I said......................good grief, i don't know, why?................well, i just don't think my clothes are getting very clean in the cold water, he said.........................okay, i said, then we will want hot water for the washing machine.
And in the blink of an eye, I was displaced. I was asked to move all of my glass cutting stuff out of the laundry room because it was the day to put in the hot water heater.....................

If you look to the left of the center brick section, you will see the white contraption that is the heater's vent. That should give you an idea of the location of the heater.

Below in the garden room, you can see through to where the front door will be. But I do think it is all looking just a little more like a house..........................

Just a minute, the phone is ringing.
YAHOO! Senor has been invited to play bridge tomorrow. I did not even bother to ask him, I said yes for him. His regular team members have all been out of town and I have not had a Wednesday to myself in over a month. I am so excited!
As you know, Senor works hard and I am very happy when he takes a break. He just came in to get his new favorite book, Bridge for Dummies.
So, I have moved the glass sconces I am working on back into the kitchen........maybe I will show them to you manana........................

I will let you know when everything is connected to the propane tank so we can light the heater and have hot water to have clean clothes. I am sure it is on the horizon..................

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Home Again


After two weeks we are back home.

Days are longer now and as the sun sets farther to the north, the sky is brilliant in the twilight. We spent a few days in Bisbee, Arizona, before coming back to some Tucson shopping and then, the border crossing on Sunday.

Bisbee seemed a little sleepy, like a town just coming out of hibernation, a little worn and a little tired. But, the lure is definitely there, with alot of people in the restaurants and hotels, excellent food, and endless shopping. But at night, Bisbee seemed to tuck itself in early, with its streets deserted well into the morning hours.

Everywhere we looked cypress trees soared skyward and stood guard over churches, schools and homes.

The old Lavender Copper Mine tumbles deep into the ground and its sulphur pool, at the bottom, is ringed in copper, blue, gray and pink.

An even older section of town had a few gasoline pumps and old cars parked along its streets. Old rickety doors and broken window panes and old pool and snooker halls were boarded up.

Back in Tucson, we said our goodbyes to Senor's brother and his wife and quickly got as much shopping in as we could. We were beginning to miss home and Cookies.
We sailed across the border at Nogales. We never pull in here and it is easy to continue on directly toward Hermosillo.
The red light/ green lights are inside the interior at KM 21, which is where we meet aduana trouble if there is going to be any. On this crossing we stopped to declare our new 26" tv, which we will use for watching dvd's. It was time to pay our dues.
In the declare office, we showed our Target receipt. Aduana filled out a short paper, and then sent us next door to the bank, where we waited for ten minutes while the bank lady finished her lunch. Then we paid her $28.50 (US) in tax for the tv. We received our copy of the paperwork and left.
We were third in line to cross. The first car got a green light, the second, a red and then, we got a green.
Is that the system..............i asked, red, green, red........can it be that simple? We will somehow just have to sneak right in line after a red light has shown. I told Senor I am sure he can figure out a way to do that...................
Our green light flashed quickly before our eyes and Senor hit the gas before I could even tell him to get going. Nothing exciting, absolutely nothing unusual..................

The truck of pigs below was about the most interesting thing we saw on our way home. If you look at section five of the left side of the truck, you will notice a pig's leg sticking out through the bars. We were so close Senor, who was in the passenger seat, could have tickled its toes.

So, I am really ready for a nap...............Baby, the burro (I call her Louise, but Jose, her owner, calls her Baby) was moved from down the street to up the street and across from our casa yesterday.........there is also a new rooster somewhere over there. Those two, with their crowing and braying, and some endless singing last night by the nightingales made for quite a party over there..................but Senor, who slept through it all, has requested that I paint two cement vigas so he can finish the varro blanco ceiling of the bathroom.....................I guess that is more important than my siesta, so adios..................

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Christmas

Buen Dia!
We have just returned from the Rocky Mountains.
KD met us at the airport with a wonderful surprise in tow............Ian.............I cried, it was so unexpected.
So the four of us had a cold and snowy visit!

It was a March Christmas. KD still had her Christmas tree up. All of the mountain towns must have known we were coming because they still had their lights and decorations up as well.

KD lives at over 9,500 feet. I have not been that high since 1983, when I climbed Mount Ranier (did not make it to the top), and had to overnight at over 10,000.
During this Colorado visit, I lagged behind on all of our day trips; I was breathless going up and down KD's condo stairs. I was deep breathing just opening the fridge.

We took a few day trips, among them were visits to Vail and Brekenridge.
A day was spent skiing by Senor and KD at Vail, after Ian had to head back to Seattle for a snowboard event at the Pass.
Great memories came to Senor who spent many winters in high school and college skiing Vail, which was much smaller, and cheaper, in the 60's and 70's. As a Colorado College student, Senor was invited into the dean's office for a visit or ski............said the dean. Senor took off a year, lived off peanut butter and out of dingy basement rooms, but he got in a year of good skiing and then returned and graduated.

Okay, this is all I have time for.
We are on our way to Bisbee, Arizona, with Senor's brother and his wife (our Copper Canyon traveling companions) and then we will return to Tucson later in the week.
What a great Christmas!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

For the Love of Cookies

buenas is cool and cloudy this morning. It is going to rain. I feel it. Mt. Alamos is obscured by fast moving thick clouds. The wind is whipping leaves everywhere and blowing the sweet smelling blossoms off the limon tree. Cookies will not go outside. The tamale boy did not come today. It is going to rain. Manana we go north. We will go visit KD in Colorado, get in some skiing, and among many other things, watch some tv, go to the picture show and go shopping, and restaurant hopping.

I am very excited. We have not been to the states since August. Senor is not as excited as I am. This is prime casa working time.

Back in November, I said............................i want to go to the states for Christmas, to see KD (we had just seen Ian in November) need to just cut loose, let's stay here, let's have christmas here.....................said senor.
So, I cut loose. We stayed here. You read the post. It was just okay, not my best Christmas. I think on Christmas Day I said it would have been nice to go to Colorado and Senor said, yea, maybe it would have been nice.

So, in January, I said...........................i want to go to the states in March and see KD. Senor did not really say much, but I could hear him thinking ..................... March is really prime casa time, good weather, not too hot, good breezes, longer days, should've gone for Christmas........

So, there has been a great deal of preparation before we leave tomorrow.

The first and biggest concern is the cat. The second concern is dogs.

The coyote fence is complete across the back and it is two thirds finished down the side, which borders an empty lot. The empty lot is of great fascination to Cookies and he likes to spend time out there, often returning with a small mouse or other creature.

Taking care of concern number one will be our wonderful neighbor. She will visit with Cookies everyday and make sure he is safe and happy. When we return we will have a Trader Joe's goodie bag for her.

To eliminate concern number two, I have put chicken wire from the adobe wall at the road, all the way down to the completed section of the coyote fence. Sturdy, and reusable, the chicken wire is attached to rebar and old barbed wire with baling wire, and rocks placed here and there will help keep a few loose edges down. I have walked one street over and checked for any places in the wall surrounding the empty lot and I do not see any open areas to the street. Since the fence was completed in back we have not seen any signs of dogs in the yard.
I think our cat is secure.

I don't think he likes it, but he will be safe. I will not worry.

Oh, what won't we do for the love of Cookies.
Adios! Que tengas buen dia! linda lou