On Tuesday morning, we shall be heading down to the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre for an extended stay, probably three weeks or so. We have numerous projects, all very small, and thankfully not needing material or extra "maestros" to assist. Alvaro will take advantage of this to go down to Xicotencatl, Tamaulipas to tend to his properties and his "retirement home". He will usually go down there, saying he is coming back when I leave to go back to Texas, but normally after 10 or 12 days, he will call and ask if everything is alright.
El Gringo Viejo learned that instead of saying "Si, si, esta' bien todo.", it was better to say, "I have a problem with the toilet tank lever, and I cannot find the special tijeras jardineras (garden scissors). Of course, a bit of "Your dog, Bebe just lays there all day by the gate waiting to see if you are going to come back".
| El Gringo Viejo consoles Bebe who is|
dejected because El Sargento Mayor
(Alvaro) has not returned.
Alvaro will immediately say, "Don't worry, I'll be there to-morrow, in the early afternoon." And, actually it is better, because we seem to accomplish an immense amount of "proyectos" in terms of doctoring scratches in the walls, loose sockets, washing throw rugs, re-arranging closets, airing and sunning sheets and other bedding, waxing tile floors, dusting the cane ceiling (a real chore, but worth it), doctoring the animals for ear mites...the dogs for fleas and ticks. For some reason, the three cats never have any trouble with the fleas.
Alvaro is immensely patient with El Gringo Viejo. He is only 5'5" and 130 pounds at the most, but, quite frankly, although we are the same age, he can pick up more weight and carry it further than I can....at 6' 2" and 180 pounds. He also does not wear glasses, but can read all but the skinniest, tiny print. In the beginning Diana took offense because he had this fixation about rubbing everything down with red oil, and mopping the floors with diesel oil. We still use diesel oil, mixed with Fabuloso on the floor, but Alvaro no longer puts red oil on the toilet seat, or television, or on the light bulbs.
The other strong suit about Alvaro Huerta Balboa is that he keeps very accurate accounts. He also prohibits that I contribute to anything. He says he will do the contributing because he knows if the contribution will wind up in the proper cause. For quite a while now, the Ejido Water Commission has not come to ask for "financing" some major repair or reworking of a water line. To have a pump rebuilt can run a couple of thousand pesos, and it injures our operations when the "Comisario" comes to ask if I can front the money so that the west people or the east people on the line can have water to-morrow.
We have always dug up the cash, but it leave us in the place where we have to go to Victoria in order to buy anything, and buying means always having to use the credit card. Everything in the Ejido Francisco I. Madero is cash, and the smaller the bills and coins the better. There is very little change.
We should point out as well that every advance of repair and/or replacement money we have "proffered" has always been paid back within a week to a month. At times water people will even mark our water bill (40 pesos/month - about 3.2o USD) paid for a quarter, as a courtesy. There was another person a Latin lady, an American, whose mother was very elderly, around 100 years old, who built a house near the Hacienda de Santa Engracia, and she would help out with public utility repairs, being somewhat well-to-do. But, with the disorders from about three years ago, she stopped coming down, and her mother passed on a while back. The lady had moved her mother down to the Santa Engracia area and build quite a nice two-story house there because as she pointed out, it was cheaper than a nursing home, and the rustics in the area thought nothing about diving in and taking care of the old girl, as if she were a grandmother of their own. Many of the women in the ejido have "basic-plus" nursing skills from having attended public health seminars during the vaccination times when the Health Department comes out to do the shot batteries.
Anyway, Alvaro is a blessing...even if sometime I have to grind my teeth and bite my tongue....and we would have been much worse off without him.
In any regard, Tuesday we shall leave. I shall continue to try to find a chat room with a faster connection, and thereby maintain some reasonable contact with my people on OROGlandia.
El Gringo Viejo