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My Retirement Journal: Day 8

I have been wanting to write more about all I've been doing, but I've been too busy doing it. And I've noticed that the longer I go without writing, the harder it is to get back to it.

But I've now completed a week of retirement, and I've spent two nights in my new house in Ajijic. There's so much going on and I want to take some time to process everything and put my thoughts to paper, such as this is.

Today is my fifth full day in Mexico, and the second full day in my own house. It has been an adventure, a delight, a frustration, and a slog all rolled into one. If there's one thing it hasn't been, that would be relaxing.

I'm really only describing the last three days. The weekend was extremely relaxing. Boring even, in the best possible way. I spent most of it hanging out at the B&B, reading by the pool, going for walks, enjoying some good food, and napping.

Monday at 1:00 pm was the closing on my house. That morning I packed up and put everything in my rental car, and I still had plenty of time to relax.

The closing was as different from the closing on my house in Seattle as you could imagine.

In Seattle, on the Friday before closing, I went to the office of the escrow company. Just me and one other person (plus my real estate agent showed up to lend moral support, but had nothing at all to do). I signed some papers, all stacked neatly, one at a time, as the escrow rep explained what I was signing in each case. Twenty minutes, and I was back at work. On the day of closing (Monday), I got an email from my agent saying that the sale had been registered with the county, and then on Tuesday morning the proceeds were wired into my bank account. I never met the buyers. The keys were left for them in a lockbox outside the front door.

For the closing on my new house here, I showed up at the real estate office and rode with them to the office of the Notario in Chapala. "Them" was the owner of the office (Alex) and his partner (Mario, who was also the selling agent), my agent, Vickie, and their lawyer, Lucy. When we got there we met the sellers, the Notario, and another person who worked in the office. We all sat down at a big table, and then various people got up and went into another room. I was asked to show my passport, and they also needed the last four digits of the bank accounts from which I wired the money to pay for the house. (Why? It needed to be recorded on the deed. Why? I have no idea.)

Then the Notario came back into the room and read the deed to us, translating it into English and explaining everything as he went through it all.

Then various people gave me various documents to sign, and everything had to be signed in duplicate or triplicate. The Notario, Alex, Lucy, slipped papers to me, explaining what everything was. Lucy wrote me a check because I had overpaid (intentionally, as a precaution). And in the end the sellers handed me the keys. And we headed back to Ajijic, and I entered my house.

From that moment until now, it's been a whirlwind.

The easiest thing was getting on WiFi. The account was active and just got transferred to my name, so I simply logged in and was good to go. (Of course, the WiFi is crap, slow and barely reaches from the living room to the bedroom. There's another company that has a fiber optic network with much faster speeds, and I'm going to switch to them.)

But things started going downhill. First I discover that the propane tank is about empty, and the hot water heater isn't on, so I have no hot water. I go online and find recommendations for propane delivery, call, and in my best broken Spanish get an appointment for 8:00 am Tuesday. They show up at 8:30 (on time in Mexico, I suspect), and I get my tank filled.

And trying to get TV has been a nightmare. I want to get American TV live, and finding a service that provides it has been a big challenge. I'm still not sure what I'm going to end up doing.

I went to the bank to try to open an account. They say I need my resident card first.

My water pump (without which there is virtually no water pressure at all) keeps shutting down, about once every day so far. I have to go out front to start it, crawling into a narrow space and reaching under the front porch to push a button that restarts it.

Tonight it rained -- poured actually -- and the roof upstairs had two major leaks. Fortunately they are not in places that can be damaged; it's just leaking onto the upstairs tile floor.

(On these last two items, I emailed Vickie, and she's going to have someone come out tomorrow to have a look. When the inspection was done back in February, the roof was okay and the pump worked fine. She said it's possible that the wind shifted some of the roof tiles, which I think maybe be held in place by gravity alone.)

I've made daily trips to Walmart to find thing I need. Still need more things. My bathroom has no place to put anything, and I can't find any kind of storage cabinet to hang on the wall. I bought one of those shelving units that go above the toilet tank, but it didn't go together right (some of the screw holes were misaligned) plus it didn't fit and would have required me to lean forward uncomfortably while sitting. Fortunately, returns at Walmart are as easy here as in the US.

Not everything has been a disaster. I've found a couple of nice cafés and good restaurants. And met a few nice people.

Yesterday while I was shopping at Walmart, two women stop me and one asks me if I live on Zaragoza (which I do). It turns out they are my neighbors, and they saw me and recognized me. Sarah lives right next door, and her sister (I can't remember her name) lives a few doors down.

Later I see Sarah back at the house, and I mention how I was at Walmart looking for nicer sheets, but they don't seem to have good quality sheets. She tells me hang on, she has some she isn't using. They're brand new, still in the package, bamboo sheets. I ask her how much and she says consider it a housewarming gift.

The sellers of my house lost the key to the mailbox. (It's a regular mailbox mounted on the wall in front of the house, with a small padlock.) So at Walmart today I bought a small hacksaw and a new lock. I start sawing the lock, and it's working fine, and then a cop car pulls up, and they get out. I say, "Es mi casa." But I don't know how to explain that I just bought it and the previous owners lost the key. And they don't speak English.

One of the cops takes the hacksaw from me and finishes sawing the lock off. I say, "Gracias," and they get back in their car and drive off.

Mario (from the real estate office) has a car he needs to sell, and it's exactly the kind of car I'm interested in buying: a 2017 Honda HRV. He says he's in no hurry (since I can't buy it until I can open my bank account, which I can't do until I get my resident card), and if I want it in a month I can have it.

The previous owners left all their furniture, including a glass-top dining table. I don't like the glass top, but I figure if I can find some nice place mats, it'll be fine. But Walmart doesn't have any nice placements. Surprise!

Today I was taking a walk and I went by a shop that had some kinds of woven products. It turns out they primarily sell handmade napkins and place mats. There are three women in the shop working at looms. There are so many options; I took pictures so I can see what will go best with my dining room colors. But I also want to get new dishes (and surprise! Walmart doesn't have any nice dishes), so I will probably wait and get the dishes first, maybe next week when I go on my shopping bus trip to the Galeria Mall in Guadalajara.

Tomorrow I have a "Welcome to Lakeside" class where I will learn a lot about the complicated things I've already been learning about. Maybe they will have a good suggestion on TV service. Or whether it's okay to wash fruits and vegetables in tap water.

In between all the various stuff I've had to do, I've been trying to figure out how to put away my stuff in an organized way. Which drawers for socks and underwear and shirts, where to put tools and hardware-type stuff.

I can't wait for retirement to get boring.

A small touch to turn my house into a home

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