Friday, January 29, 2016

What a wonderful description

I have been quiet while I complete Cate’s US tax return for 2015. When I say complete – all I have to do is fill in boxes and answer about 1 million questions on the online forms with which PWC supplies me.

Most of the answers I can get although some of the more obscure questions require a bit of foraging – at which I am getting better. Some of the questions are unanswerable. These include things like what was the maximum value of a particular superannuation account during the year – if available.

Well the answer is not available because I can only get balances as at 30 June and 31 December – but if I use their designation N/A (for not available) I know that all that will happen is that I will get an email asking what the maximum balance was.

So I have to make these things up – and this seem to keep them quiet.

I also have to do an Austrian return because of some arcane reason but I just fill in the boxes and send off the forms.

Some months after doing this I will receive a completely incomprehensible pile of documents in German - to which I have to attest the truthfulness.

I think it is inevitable that one day I will end up in jail in either the USA or Austria and I hope it is in Austria because I have seen episodes of ‘Lockup’ on TV and prisons here don’t look particularly inviting.

I have been cheered up immensely by the reemergence of Sarah Palin. She has added some much needed humor to the otherwise stultifying spectacle of politicians of all persuasions trying to out lie each other.

The best description I have seen of her speech is that it sounds like ‘post apocalyptic slam poetry’. What a wonderful description.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sort of a clunk-clunk noise

I bought one of these fancy electronic doorbells that shows you a picture of whoever is at the door – and it does not matter where you are. You can be basking in the sun in Florida and it will show you on your iPhone who is at your door. There are also ringers you can place throughout the house – and you can hook it up to the cloud so it records everything.

For example you can have a slow motion video of the postman delivering your mail – or of someone making off with your door mat.

At least it says on the website that it does all this but I tried for months and could not get it to function properly. See it all depends on your WiFi and I could just not get mine fired up enough to do what it was supposed to do.

So I finally gave up and reinstalled a doorbell and a new ringer out front. Cate says the new ringer is hideous. I think this is unfair because I spent quite a bit of time picking it out. Well actually it was the only one Lowes had – so I bought it – and it cost me $12.95.

But I have given her details of the best door bell website in the known universe and she can browse this and pick one she really likes.

The reason I started all this was the that old chimes – as distinct from the actually door bell – did not actually chime properly. They sort of made a bit of a clunk-clunk noise.

So today Gustavo installed a new one. This one goes ding-dong – but so quietly that unless you are standing next to it you will not hear it. Javier is going to find a better one for me.

I could have done this but it involves being up a ladder and this is verboten in our house. 

Gustavo also installed the new smoke alarms and in between doing this and drinking my coffee – which he loves - he told me about recent events in his life.  

He found out just before Christmas that his girl friend was having an affair with someone else – but that was OK because he was not that fond of her – and then on Christmas eve he totaled his truck when it slipped on a  patch of ice. But that’s OK because it was 14 years old and he wanted a new one.

But he found a new girl and they spent Christmas together but then she had to rush off because she was having an affair with a married man and she got a text telling her that he was available – albeit briefly.

And on New Year’s Eve he took a girl out to dinner and she got absolutely plastered and vomited in his new truck.

None of this concerns him because he seems to have no trouble picking up women and he showed me some of the photos of his recent ones.

Now based on the photos of them that I saw – and what I see of Gustavo– he clearly has some form of animal magnetism.

He personally admits to be short and flabby – and not particularly good looking - but says he is going to the gym to lose weight and build muscles – and also pick up women.

He says he wants to look better so that the can pick up not just women - but really hot women. And he has his eye on some at the gym.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

If I hear one more peep

Georgia loves the snow
We had lots more snow last night and more is on the way.

We have also discovered that Georgia does not like the beeping noise that occurs when the front foyer smoke alarm battery needs replacing. This needed to be done at 3:15 am (of course) and Georgia went quite funny.

She slunk around with her tail between her legs and would not come near either of us. So anyway I got the ladder and climbed up and changed the battery.

Now I should not be anywhere near a ladder let alone at 3:15 am but I did it anyway on the basis that otherwise Georgia – and possibly Cate - would have to be sedated.

Incidentally I read that most people who fall off ladders and are badly damaged are my age or older and hit their heads. So I should wear a bicycle helmet when I climb ladders – which I might add I am not allowed to do – except in emergencies – like a smoke alarm at 3:15 am.

Turns out that the new battery I put in did not have enough juice  so the beeping started again at about 7:30 am. So I took the battery from the smoke alarm in the basement – and it did not work either – and the basement smoke alarm started beeping – even when I put the battery back.

So I hurtled down to the hardware store and got new batteries and put them in the two smoke alarms. This did not stop them beeping and then the hall alarm started beeping in sympathy with the other two.

Perhaps the batteries were no good? - so I then went to the supermarket for hopefully fresher batteries. This fixed the foyer and hall alarms. I could not stop the basement one so I tore it out of the roof and disconnected the wires.

At 4:15 am the next morning the foyer smoke alarm started beeping again. Georgia jumped of the bed and hurtled to the back door.  Foolishly – I let her out.

I grabbed my pliers – I had left the ladder there – and tore the alarm out of the roof and disconnected it.  Then I went to let Georgia in – but she would not come in – and it was snowing very heavily indeed and was well below freezing.

I could not let her stay there so as I had bare feet I put on Cate’s flip flops and leapt into the snow – in my underpants – which is all I had on.

By the Lord Harry it was cold.

Georgia would not come near me so I had to come back inside and get the dog lead – to pretend that we were going walkies at 4:30 am in the blinding snow?

Fortunately Georgia is not all that bright so I managed to catch her and bundle her inside. I sat in front of the fire for a while until I was sure that I was not going to die.

I did not ring Cate – who was in the Carolinas somewhere – because she would tell me that I should not have let Georgia out because she is frightened by the alarms and will not come back in. As I already knew this I no longer needed this advice.

Tomorrow I am going to Gander Mountain to buy a shotgun and some really heavy gauge shot.  If I hear one more peep out of a smoke alarm I am going to blow it kingdom come.

Monday, January 18, 2016

No one can explain them

Modern art in Oaxaca
It is 7° here today which is very cold indeed. They are advising people not to go out unless they have to and to rug up and take blankets with them in their cars in case they have a problem.

People start their cars here and leave them running while they go and do something - who knows what – finish their cornflakes – brush their teeth - at which time large numbers of cars are stolen.

One morning last week 12 cars were stolen.

Our central heating is blasting away and is barely keeping pace so I have had to turn the gas fires on as well. Monika is very pleased about this and lies in front of them. Usually she has to lie on a central heating vent.

The AT&T man just came to fix our internet which has been working only intermittently this week.

He farnarkled around here for a while – then in the box outside – and finally up a pole at the back of the house. Our internet has always been crappy but I assumed that this was the way it was supposed to be because I keep reading the numerous consumer complaints about the asshole internet providers.

But apparently one of our wires was frayed or shagged out or something and we are now getting about 9 MBPS instead of 6 MBPS which we had previously – and then only occasionally.

Of course I am paying for 12 MPBS but the man said the best I will ever get is 10 – I am not sure what they do with the other 2 MBPS for which I am paying but not receiving.

I did not bother to ask because I am sure the answer would disappoint me.

There are many things I do not understand about this country. One is that advertisement where a man suggests that I should change my car insurance - for a whole raft of excellent reasons including that ‘they will not drop you even if you have an accident’.

What does that even mean?

Do insurance companies drop you if you have an accident? Do they drop you even if you don’t have an accident?

I worry about this a lot because it does not make sense - but maybe I don’t understand the system.

I have lists of other things I don’t understand and am working my way through them with the help of American friends and Wikipedia.

No one has been able to explain the Kardashians who are apparently incomprehensible to humanity as a whole.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

What will they think of next?

This is an Amazon dash button. I know - I had never heard of one until today either. 

How it works is that you set it up with Amazon and when you need to order more Macaroni and Cheese you press the button and Amazon delivers it and charges your credit card.

No I don’t know who would use it either. The mind boggles.

But there are lots of dash buttons for lots of things and I am sure soon there will be one for absolutely everything. Houses will be festooned with dash buttons that you can push as you do the housekeeping and cooking.

The dog ate my slippers – where is my slipper dash button?

Damn it does not work! Where is my dash button to order more batteries for dash buttons?

Next thing they will invent shopping list apps that you can put in your iPhone.

Combined with Amazon drones you will know – as your shaking and malnourished hand edges towards the dash button – that once you press it your mac and cheese will be on your doorstep in an hour. All you have to do is heat it up – no – you are so famished and mac and cheese deprived that you will eat it raw.

Or perhaps Amazon will soon have personal chefs who arrive with your mac and cheese – warm it up for you – and feed it to you in tiny and delicate morsels as you recline watching Dr. Phil and wonder why on earth people would go on TV and tell the viewers things that they really should have taken to their grave. 

In the meantime.

Georgia had her first (and last) car wash experience yesterday. She was alright until the thingies started flapping on the windows and then she tried to climb onto my head. It is difficult for a 45 pound dog to do this but she gave it her best shot.

I fought hand and paw with her for about a minute until we emerged into the sunlight and she finally settled down – quivering.

This has been added to the list of things that Georgia does not like - along with brooms, buckets, boxes, vacuum cleaners and saucepans.

She is now also very scared of Monika - who weighs 5 pounds. Whenever Georgia chases or barks at Sissi (Monika's daughter) - Monika chases her around the house and whacks her.

Loud yelps follow.

It is a tribute to Georgia's limited mental capacity that she still chases Sissi knowing full well what the outcome will be.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Georgia was unmoved

View from our apartment in Oaxaca
I have been  flat out like a lizard lately and have not had time for blogging or Facebook. However – all our guests have now left and peace and quiet reigns – apart from the crazy dog who barks at everything.

We are finally up to our ears in snow and it is well below freezing. The one who really seems to like this is Georgia who bounds around in the snow like lunatic. 

I have a sort of a cloth Frisbee type thing that I throw and she chases. But she does not then let it go and I have to fight her tooth and nail for it. So we usually only get maybe two throws and chases per session.

She would not be much of a retriever if I was duck shooter and by the time I got the duck it would be chewed to smithereens.

Today someone tried to commit suicide using me as the instrument. I was beetling along college street and an insane or drunk person rolled out of a side street on the left and straight in front of me.

I knew immediately that I was going to hit him (or her) but slammed on the brakes and turned to the right. Just before impact I grut my teeth and prepared for the collision.

But there was not one – when I opened my eyes he had gone past me and was cruising along – probably oblivious to what had happened.

I think I must had missed the other car by less than an inch and I am thankful for my AWD drive car on such wet and icy roads.

Georgia was unmoved by the near collision.