Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beware of the Crying Muchacha

I have passed a milestone. This morning I successfully talked and cried my way out of a Mexican traffic ticket. Going the wrong direction on a one way street. I said these magic words -Lo siento, mea culpa, mea culpa. (I am sorry, my fault, my fault) accompanied by a bucket of tears and the bewildered Mexican police officer let me go with a warning.
Hmm... I will have to remember that, say you are sorry and cry...

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Trip to the Mexican Dentist

I was desperate. That is what it usually takes for me to submit myself to helplessness and drilling into my skull.

I found them on the internet and since my phone spanish isnt as good as my in person spanish, (because you cant see my hand gestures over the phone) I grabbed a cab and tried for a walk in. The receptionist put me out of my language misery when I said in Espanole, --Soy tengo dolor aqui - me have pain here - (pointing to my mouth), and answered me in English telling me that the dentist can see me in a few minutes.

She took me into a thoroughly modern and hygenic office with a TV mounted on the wall and the Dentist, speaking perfect English (although the word for ouch is the same in almost every language) took an X-ray and gave me an estimate and set up an appointment for the next day. I And (drumroll please) the cost of a root canal on a bicuspid, a stainless steel post driven into my skull to hold it in place, and a porcelain crown was 4,000 pesos, and at an exchange rate of 12.5 to the dollar it was $320 U.S. I have the temporary on right now and the permanent will be installed next week. The temporary looks so good that I am half tempted to not come back, but since I have paid in advance, I will. I promise.

Having the stainless steel peg put in was pretty intense, but I will just blame it on menopause. Two doctors did that part, and the other doctor was young and female and did a lot of cooing to soothe me as she held my head in a neck lock. (just kidding folks, she did the suctioning). My favorite part was when she said --Mrs. Lee Ann, I give you all of my kindness, it ok to cry you can cry it o.k. you cry now-- Awe shucks that was the nicest thing anyone had said to me all day, in fact all week. She then complimented me, and at this stage in the game, it sounded pretty good when she said -for a woman your age you have more teeth in your mouth than the average.-

Before I left, I asked the dentist if they ever did gold front teeth anymore, and he gave a deep sigh and said, -alas, no, gold is too expensive, and these days and no one likes to see shine in the front anymore.-

Friday, January 01, 2010

Where were you (10 years ago) at Y2K and what were you doing?

I was on a nearly empty first flight out of Detroit Metro airport headed for Cancun Mexico and then ultimately for Belize. I figured (correctly) that they would not put that big plane in the air if they thought it would crash.

I was a tier 2 supplier for GM and had to file a Y2K plan months in advance. My plan was this: I plan on turning the clock back one year on all my computer equipment, then unplugging everything. And as it turned out, Y2K was a non-issue.

10 years ago would I have figured that I would be in this place at this time, doing this thing? I came to Belize initially on an exploratory mission. I had checked out other places, and they didn't fit. I knew I wanted out of the rat race, and out of corporate America. I was in the publishing business and subject to crazy deadlines, technology glitches, and other people's bad planning. It nearly wrecked me. So that was the year I decided to bail. Back and forth I went, working on plans & contacts.

I get asked this questions all the time: "Did you come down here on vacation and stay?" And the answer is no, it was part of a 3 year plan to exit. When my youngest daughter went into high school, the light bulb went on over my head and I realized that I didn't HAVE to do this forever and forever. I needed to do something for myself, I had been working since I was 12 years old, first job was in the family business, then for the U.S. government, then for a big university, then a corporate publisher, and then for myself (the worst torture ever imaginable).

10 years ago, I was the typical idealist. I got down here and flopped around for a while, a fish out of water. I made some mistakes and nearly got swindled in a land deal, but somehow some way I was saved by the strangest twist of events. It took a full year to acclimatize myself and not break a sweat at the thought of moving my limbs. On Caye Caulker there are signs saying "Go Slow" and you think that it is referring to the speed of golf carts. Well, really it is the speed for walking. If you walk slow you sweat less.

So this morning, the first morning of 2010, its a little rainy and cool, but living in Belize is still better than having to get a real job.

So, the question I pose is where were you and what were you doing on Y2K?