This is a little story about my trip to the US.
I’m lucky that I live close enough to the border with the US that I can use my medical insurance and Medicare, while I still have it. I had an appointment with my US Doctor about some x-rays on my hip and a follow up on another problem. I also needed to go to my Broker’s Office, the closest one was in San Diego. I needed some tax documents to finish my US taxes and I had upset the Security Folks at Charles Schwab because I didn’t know the answers to the security questions they asked to reset my password. Seems they gather information from databases from all over the US. I can tell you these databases are not complete nor are they accurate. I was forced to go to the nearest Charles Schwab office to get my 1099 which was in San Diego CA! So here is the story about that trip!
I’m in San Diego at the Howard Johnson’s Motel just off the I-8, exit 5. How I got here is a long story. The trip to and through the border was uneventful. I got to the Doctor’s office on time then the waiting started. I waited an hour to be taken in and given the usual blood pressure temp pulse weight thing Then I waited for another half an hour more. I was wondering if I was being put on hold on purpose when the Doctor showed up. I was informed that I have Osteoarthritis in both hips and that it is not in its worst stage but at some point maybe five years from now I’ll have to have a hip replaced. The pain and weakness going down my leg is another story and she recommends that I have another MRI. Basically, she said there is nothing they can do for the Arthritis other than pain medication. The MRI may show a nerve being blocked or about to be blocked causing pain in my leg and weakness. We also discussed my another problem and she prescribed a medication and warned me it was expensive. I went to Walmart and checked the price and was floored, it has a copay of $300 dollars! And, I have really good insurance! I declined the prescription, my problem isn’t that bad, yet.
By now the time has slipped by and I have to get on the road to San Diego. I got gas and headed to SD and got here about 4 pm. But the exits to my destination were closed! I tried getting to Charles Schwab but the traffic was at a standstill. I pulled in to Motel 6 and found the there had been a gas main break and the whole area had been under evacuation orders and no rooms were available for five miles. So back out into traffic again and it was crazy. I found Howard Johnson’s and they had a room and it was under the corporate group as Travel Lodge and I have their club card so I got a discount of about $17! I had dinner at the nearest restaurant they had the dryest meatloaf I’ve had in years! So now I’m waiting for tomorrow to see if the roads are open to Charles Schwab so I can get my tax info and get back to San Felipe.
This is the following day and all is well or so I think. Last night I couldn’t sleep if it wasn’t one thing it was another that bugged me from a light in the bathroom that stayed on to bright to some lady walking back and forth in high heels and another talking loudly till after 2am! I got about three maybe four hours sleep. In the morning I went for the so-called breakfast, and was informed it was against the rules to take food out of the breakfast area! When I checked in I was told to sign a page, a whole page of rules, but the page was not given to me so I’m supposed to know the rules with just one glance? I was glad to leave that place and find the Charles Schwab office which now that the emergency is over with was not that difficult and the ladies there were very nice. My 1099 is thirty-two pages long! I’ve seen budgets for a government office shorter than that! Once the 1099 was in hand I stopped at Denny’s for a real breakfast and as quickly as I could I got on the on the road and out of San Diego! All the traffic made me nervous and stressed I’m not used to Freeway traffic and not knowing the area I was getting a bit frustrated.
I’m home now in San Felipe where I belong nice and calm. My kitty was glad to see me. I sure am tired and a little hungry as I skipped lunch today. I think I will go to town and have dinner there and cool down my emotions from all the driving and stress.
Like anyone, I’ve had my ups and downs lately. Health wise I have a recurring back problem for years and lately, it has been getting worse. It was time to see if it could be treated and made less painful so I made an appointment and was referred to have an MRI done. MRIs are not fun, for me, the noise and laying for so long a hard narrow bench not moving was torture. Now I’m waiting for the results if this test. We’ll see what is recommended to fix this problem.
I am having some work done on the Beach House. The bathroom with the tub is being redone. The tub had seen better days and was rusty and gross. I am concerned about the subfloor and walls of the bathroom as one never really knows what is going on in there. I hope nothing serious is amiss in those dark regions if there is it will have to be refurbished. I want all this done before my family arrives St. Patrick’s Day! If not oh well.
I did have the Mexican Saltillo floor tiles resealed and according to my rental agent, they look a lot better. I think one day I’ll have the floors updated with ceramic tile. The dishwasher is still not working if the parts don’t come in soon I may just go to plan B and replace the dishwasher. Still waiting for an estimate on the termite problem the first man was asking too much money for the job.
I bought some new lounge chairs for the beachside deck, they are a bright red so the should go with the red umbrella I bought. Having two houses is keeping me busy which is not a bad thing. I thought I would show some photos of the flowers on the front patio.
I have two projects at my house in San Felipe. One is getting the airstream trailer updated so guests can stay in it and the other is the garden wall between my neighbor to the south of me which it seems I am the project manager of that construction. Then there is the house in Punta Banda just south of Ensenada. I have several projects there. Project one is to repair and paint the deck on the beach side of the house. Project two is to replace the wood on the driveway gate and fix the wooden door to the front patio. Project three is repairing the front patio deck or removing it. Then there is the trash that has to be hauled away. I almost forgot I also have to get the termite man back as something is eating the wood in the laundry/storage room.
When I was retiring I was so worried that I would have nothing to do with all the vacant time on my hands. It seemed like I was always at work or going to work or coming home from work that I had very few hobbies that I could enjoy. I owned a sailboat but didn’t get to use it much. Now I’m as busy as ever.
Last night just off the beach here at the house in Punta Banda there were at least two big fishing boats at work with their lights on. They worked all night and even this morning as the sun came up they were still at work fishing.
The wooden handrails look nice and sturdy too. I met another neighbor his name is Rick and he lives across the street with four dogs he has been here fourteen years. That is two neighbors I have met Dusty and Rick.
Now if the Glass man shows up with the window glass and the handyman shows up today will have done better than I expected I already have had the Gasman show up and put some LP Gas in the Gas tank I was down to 5%, not a good thing to run so low on gas.
Time for lunch so I’ll close now. Write will write more later.
Friday night I went out to dinner at a place called Sharky’s. It was interesting to see so many people out for dinner after thursday’s feast. Of course it was Surf and Turf night; Steak and Lobster and from the looks of it and the way folks were eating it this is a big hit with the locals. I opted for something a little smaller breaded fillet of fish with rice and veggies. Well, I don’t like steak anymore and the lobster looked too big for me. The fish was good and filling especially because it came with corn soup.
I returned home to the Beach House and spent the evening on the computer while listening to soft music and watching the fire in the fireplace. Yes the fireplace works and I have bought some artificial logs to burn in it, looks pretty.
This morning I awoke and I heard the fog horn in the distance and sure enough the fog was rolling in, welcome to the Pacific Coast! Now I’m trying to decide to stay one more day or leave. Isn’t there a song about “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” ? Oh, here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN1WwnEDWAM
Here is a picture of the fireplace in action;
Here is a photo of the fog about to roll in;
I’d post a Photo of the fog, but what’s the point?
I needed to visit my new house in Punta Banda to sign some papers and to check the house out for any repairs and or improvements. I have been here since tuesday afternoon and I’m still in love with the place. The weather has been very good not to cold just cool and sunny. The sound of the waves coming ashore along with watching them is very relaxing to me. At night I can hear the waves and puts me to sleep. I find myself watching the waves for a very long time they are a great time waster.
I thought the location of the house would be good for a view of Ensenada lights at night and I was right ! This photo below doesn’t do the lights justice but it is the best I can do without a tripod and timed exposure. I have been busy shopping for the house. The house will be used as a rental from time to time so it needed a microwave oven. I got one at COSCO which is about a half hour drive from here. I also got some pillows for the couch and a few items for the kitchen.
Here is the photo of the lights at night.
Here is a video of the waves coming ashore click on the photo to get the video.
My trip has been a successful one in that I have gotten a list of things to be done all minor and through the rental agent have someone to do it! I’m really liking this house and through the agent I have learned more about its history which explains some of its quirks. I love quirky houses 🙂
I had to go to the US to my bank to transfer the money to purchase the house. I was concerned that somehow someway the money would go astray and cause me all kinds of grief. However my worries were all for naught as everything went smoothly the owners were paid the real estate agent was paid – I didn’t cry seeing my bank balance go tumbling down and now I own the house. Just have to pay the land lease and we’re good.
Of course I’ve been playing house in my head thinking of all the things I could do with the house. I’m sure once I have spent some time there I’ll find lots of things to spend money on. My next visit I’ll bring a note pad, and measuring tape to make notes and lists of things I want to do or have done.
New homes are like new clothes you feel good in them at least for a while they lift your spirits and give a little zip to your step. The feeling is short lived but enjoyable. I do want to spend the night sometime when the weather is clear to see the lights of the city and another time when it rains or storms to see where the water flows and if there are any issues with drainage. So, on to another adventure.
View of the beach
So as I’m driving along in traffic I get a phone call and like a good motorist I pull over at a convenient spot and call them back and it is my Real Estate Agent with the news that my offer was turned down. She says the owners are firm on their price and to think it over for a couple of days and let her know what I want to do. I drive on and when driving the cross peninsula highway in Baja Mexico you have to keep your mind on the business at hand this is a road with lots of curves and drop offs so no daydreaming. Still I was mulling over how much paying full price would effect my account balance.
By the time I got home I was thinking I could pay full price because I really wanted the house. When I called the Agent back she informed my that the owners had dropped the price a little bit just for me! Oh! I jumped on this deal ! Now comes the mundane stuff; transfers and leases, yadda, yadda, yadda. I’ll walk you through it so you’ll know what is involved in buying a house on the shore in Baja. For now I’m just tired from my trip.
Just in case you have started this blog here are some photos of what I’m going on about. Click to enlarge of course. This house is beachfront property on leased land has 3 or 4 bedrooms two baths an enclosed front patio and a deck on the beach side with views of the mountain, islands and the Port of Ensenada !
View of the beach
Front patio as you enter
Outside of the house entrance to the left and driveway to the right
Living Room and Dinning Area
I have submitted an offer and now I’m just waiting to see what the reply is going to be. I went by the house and took some more photos, they are posted below.
First the outside
Outside of the house entrance to the left and driveway to the right
Front patio as you enter
Bar and dinning area on the patio
Now the inside
Bedroom with fireplace
The house is now configured for four bedrooms plus in the garden house there are beds.
Now the views
View out of the living room window
View of the mountain and the sea
On A Clear Day you can see islands farther out
I went to Ensenada looking for a summer place and I found this house on the beach at Punta Banda. Two or three bedrooms two baths nice living room with a view and it has off street parking, two fireplaces nice kitchen appliances and it is on the beach. Leased land for a small fortune every year. Did I mention it is on the beach ?
View of the back of the house from the beach
Beach view in back of the house
Beach view towards Ensenada
Beach view West
View of the rear of the house with deck
Beach view from house
Living room with fireplace and dining area off of the kitchen
Today I decided to pay my Mexican Health Insurance; it is a yearly thing and I joined it because I wanted a back up in case of emergency like an accident or some other disaster would befall me. I’m getting on in years now and a fall could be a serious situation so the Mexican Health Insurance is there to pick up the pieces so to speak.
I had to travel to Mexicali which is about two hours away and find the IMSS office to go through the maze to pay my premium. I got there after negotiation the city traffic which wasn’t to bad for a thursday morning. I just had to remember which statue I had to turn right at, there are several traffic circles in Mexicali also known as roundabouts for our English friends and Glorietas for our Mexican friends. Navigating these traffic mazes while looking for the right statue is always so much fun as traffic gets down right hairy in these things and one might get trapped into going around and around again. This morning the traffic minions were with me and “Lo and Behold” there was the familiar statue and I was in the almost correct lane to make a righthand turn. This time there was no horn blowing or single figure salutes so all went well with that turn!
I proceeded down the avenue that I never learned the name of until I got to the IMSS office. Thank the government official who ordered the new sign I can actually see it now from the street but of course being a city street no left turn permitted so I had to go to the next light and make a U-turn, I’m still not sure if that is permitted or not. I proceed to try and enter the parking lot and of course true to my form I found myself to the dismay of the guard going in the out with him waving his arms in disgust at my ignorance ! Oh well I got in and found a parking space, then the fun begins.
I have a little Spanish but under stress I tend to get things mixed up or not understood at all and today was no different. I got my number from the receptionist and was told in Spanish that I would be going to window 22 when my number came up, and there came the problem! My number didn’t come up! I sat and then sat some more I even moved close to the window with number 22 on it and still my number didn’t come up. I saw other people go there and leave but my number didn’t come up on the screen. I finally waved at the man in the window and he called me over looked at my number and did the latin shrug like “oh well shit happens” after a comedy of pantomime, broken Spanish mine and broken English his, he sent me to window 3. And there again my number didn’t come up ! I did my best to look pathetic and or worried and a young lady took mercy on me and called me to the wind sans my number. She was puzzled by this no number thing and wanted to know who sent me there I point to 22 and said in Spanish window 22. Where upon I was sent back to my seat to sit some more while she and then a man typed and discussed my case or maybe they were discussing where to have lunch, how would I know?
finally, I’m called to the window and I confirmed it was time to take some documents to the bank and pay for my insurance and return. It seems in Mexico this is the way things are done you first process documents get more documents take said documents to a bank sometimes to a specific bank and only that bank and other times you’re given a choice of banks. Today I got a choice of banks. I chose HSBC bank as that was close to this office and I had been there before. Mexican banks are so much better now than years ago they have lines and folks follow the lines and mostly stay in line. Years ago this was not the case; like I said things are so much better now. My turn came and without any problem other then the sadness of giving up my money I paid 7540 pesos and returned to the IMSS office to find that almost everyone had departed. I got worried; did the nice man who helped me leave? Will the new official understand what I’m doing how do I explain all this in my broken Spanish, plus I had to go to the bathroom ! Which do I do ? Go to the bathroom and hope someone will be there to assist me when I get done or take a chance that I can hold it until later? I took chance I didn’t want to have to come back another day and start over. I went back to window 22 and there was a new official he looked at my papers like “What the hell is this Gringa doing here?” But, he found documents laying there with my name on it that showed that I was a client and he stamped and stapled and typed away until suddenly I was in possession of my new contract for IMSS ! TA-DA good for another year ! I celebrated by having lunch ! Oh yes I did get to use the bathroom, just in time too!