Blowin’ in the Wind: My Patio Furniture!

It was still dark, but the sky was starting to lighten.And the remnants of last night’s storm gave us this gorgeous sky.

Just after sunrise taken from our terrace in El Comitan

Something woke me. A bump or the sound of something being dragged. I saw a flash of lightning, so I turned over and tried to sleep a little longer.
There it was again, like someone was in the house or on the roof.

“ Did you hear that?” I shook my Beloved awake. “Someone is in the house!” “ Get up!”

He took a moment to pull on some shorts and slip his feet into slippers. I got up to get dressed and find a weapon to help my Beloved. The dog jumped off the bed, but did not bark. He was following me into the dressing room. I pulled on a robe and a pair or mismatched flip-flops. I grabbed what was at hand for clothing and shoes in-the-dark. No time to be a Diva when someone could be robbing the family silver.
My Beloved was already in the front of the house, I could still hear bumping but not a word from him.

I grabbed the heavy flashlight from my bedside and went out to the main part of the house. He was there looking out the patio doors.
“It was probably that bucket right there.”
The little blue bucket was sitting upright, exactly where he had put it the night before.

“ No way that little bucket made enough noise to wake us. And it is right where we put it last night.”
“Well it is windy.”
This is male logic: A tiny bucket that has not moved from its place near the pool made noise loud enough to startle us awake, twice. In other words he had no idea what made the noise and illogical as it sounded, he blamed the bucket. Once when we still lived in San Jose, CA our backyard sensor lights came on in the middle of the night.
I called to him:
“ Sweetness, there must be someone in the backyard, the lights came on, go check!”
“ No dear, don’t be silly, it must have been a cow walking by.”

I am not making this up! My scientist husband, said a cow walked in our back yard. We lived 2 miles from downtown San Jose. Ours was an urban neighborhood with nary a cow, nor a plot of land big enough for a cow to turn around in.
“ A cow? A Cow?” I asked him twice.
He just looked at me as if I were speaking an unknown language and walked away.

So why am I surprised that he would say that a little plastic bucket we bought to keep near the pool so we could empty the strainer into it instead of piling dead bougainvillea leaves on the side of the pool that would only blow back in when they dried, that little bucket woke us? No Way!

Seeing that in fact we were not the victims of home intruders, I went outside to take pictures of the gorgeous morning sky. The breeze was heavenly. Well actually the wind was heavenly.
I opened up all the doors and windows to let the fresh air in.
When I opened the door to our “Spa Terrace” I saw this:

This is what went bump in the wee hours.
This terrace is my refuge, I like to meditate here, I like to sit and enjoy a coffee, the city lights, the moon, the silence. It is always beautifully arranged in a cozy grouping. The chairs have lime green cushions with striped piping(they blew away, but I found them). Because of the storms, the umbrella was closed and sitting where it belongs in it’s GRANITE base. It is a very big and heavy umbrella. Did I mention that it was closed? The potted palms were in new places as well. It is almost impossible for me to move those potted palms.

And this is what a little wind did.
Well I guess, not such a little wind. The wind was strong enough to lift this chair, move the chair flip the rug and drop the chair on the folded edge and rearrange all of the furniture, and scoot the potted palms around.
Look:

Why did all of this stuff move and not the famous bucket? The Spa Terrace is funnel shaped so any wind becomes a vortex. The bucket sits on the main terrace in front of the pool. It is surprising that the lounge chairs near the bucket moved in the wind. The cushions on the other patio furniture were tossed about, and one throw pillow is missing, but the bucket did not move.
Those must be some heavy bougainvillea leaves!
Here is what the grouping should look like. Well the cushions are now safely inside until the wind stops:

Hurricane John is well south and west of us, but we have had rain and thunder storms for days. This morning’s wind is a wonderful refresher after all of that humid air.
So now I know that if there is a hurricane looming even my potted palms need to be secured. And Mr. Stubborn “you don’t have to move everything”, may not even argue with me when I insist on battening down.

Do You Know Where This Is in La Paz?

Do you know where this is in La Paz

Just as a goldie-oldie on the radio can bring your teen age summers at the beach rushing back with the smell of suntan oil, French fries and the salty sea, so can other sights, sounds, smells or objects.
After a couple of wonderful, but long rainy days in El Comitan, my Beloved and I were hankering for some time in town.
We went to town in the early evening and decided on a cold drink, and a light snack.
As we were waiting for our food I snapped the picture you see above.
It feels like an old port on a windy coast after a storm.
It brought back memories of Half Moon Bay or Princeton, California before they became chi-chi.
We would walk on the beach , the wind so strong we could lean back against it and be pushed along. When our faces ached from the cold, our glasses fogged over with salt sea spray, and our hair was full of sand, we would head back to Nancy’s Fish Trap in Princeton, or one of the cafes in Half Moon Bay.
Once we sat in the first location of Main Street Sushi, the weather was wild, windy, slashing rain, it was cold, it was summer. The windows rattled and the wind wailed. We enjoyed a wonderful sushi platter. The streetlights came on, the streets glistened in the rain, the lush flowers and trees were whipped by the wind and their blossoms stuck to the window.
We felt truly alone and isolated like castaways washed up on a foreign shore.

It was romantic.

Same picutre a few minutes later!

This picture took me back to that wonderful day in Half Moon Bay.
It was a balmy night, there had not yet been any reain in La Paz, but the clouds over El Mogote created a magnificent sunset.
This is a light on a post on the Tailhunter at street level.
Did you guess it?
Please leave a comment here on the blog ( upper left there is the word COMMENT) telling me whether you knew where the picture was taken, or if you had to read to the bottom.
Thanks,
Susan

A Letter to My Daughter on the Occasion of the 42nd Anniversary of Her Birth

August 17

Miss Meliss and Me, Well Our Feet at La Concha

It was the New Math that threw me, I just never could get the hang of it, and it has traumatized me since 8th grade. And because of that I wonder how you, my darling can be 42 when I am just 35 myself?
Using the nutty thinking of the New Math era let’s look at this: (Me= i) (You = u)
i was born in 1950 u were born in 1970. (u =1970) – (i = 1950) = 20. So shouldn’t you be 20 years old today? You always wanted to be older, but this 42 thing…it irks me.

So my darling today is your birthday. You are an amazing woman, talented and funny, snarky and sweet.

You are the kind of friend everyone should have, and as a daughter, well you are the best.

Since you were very young, you felt the need to take care of me, and called me “Little Mommy.” One day you came home from school and sheepishly asked if you could have some five pocket jeans that were not handmade. You painstakingly outlined your need, and made sure my feelings were not hurt, by saying how much you loved all of the clothes I made for you. You are like that; you think through the problem, see the end result, outline the need and offer the solution. And of course as a kid the solution suited your immediate needs perfectly.

Sometimes the solution was to dye your hair fuchsia.

There was the first Christmas we spent alone in California. You borrowed records (yes vinyl records) from the library and made tapes of my favorite songs. Then you decorated boxes with glitter and packaged them up beautifully. I will always hold that gift in my heart.

You have made my days special (and frustrated and maddened me as well). But I can never forget the “Ice Skating Barbie” doll holding close up tickets to Stars on Ice you gave me for Christmas.

And the times you faxed my picture to our clients and vendors and ordered them to send me birthday flowers. Sixteen flower arrangements arrived at our office! You sweet darling!

Then there was the Valentine’s Day in Fresno, when you had to take two buses in the rain, and came dressed in hot pants, black stockings and your tap shoes, bearing a rose, and sang “ What I did For Love” to me in my office you brought everyone to tears, I tear up thinking about it now.

Once when the internet was just starting, you made lots of online friends (still do). You invited two women that were visiting San Francisco to come and meet you at my house. They said something like “ You know we are Lesbians, will your mother mind?” You answered “ Well only if you smoke!”

Your creativity and generosity of spirit amaze me.

I bragged about how you opened your home in Dallas to some people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
And you have lovingly fostered dozens of rescued doggies.

Your sharp wit, delights and always leaves me searching for a retort.

So back in August 1970, the only day I did not go to the beach that summer, you were born. It was hot and humid, a Tuesday 2:25 p.m., at Patterson Army Hospital in Fort Monmouth, NJ. Soon to be EX-president Nixon had ordered an energy saving program and the air conditioning in the hospital was kept at 82. Even-the-maternity-ward. I sweated for you!
Your annual visit to La Paz is wonderful. We have fun, just the two of us having coffee, eating out, laying on the beach, just being.

Melissa at Maria California in La Paz

The beautiful home and life you have created in Dallas with such loving and interesting friends are a testament to you.

So my sweet Miss Meliss, today, have an extra hot, non fat, decaf, no whip mocha for me. After your pedicure, your swim and later your luxurious bath, turn your eyes and heart to the south and I will turn north and toast your 42nd year.
I love you!
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMOM

Flying Over California in a Tiny Plane With My Son as the Pilot!

Approaching Morro Bay

Gorgeous scene, no? It would look good on a postcard don’t you think? As scenes go, it is one of thousands that can be seen in coastal California.
So what makes this scene and this picture so special?
Circling Morro Rock in a wondrous flying machine

I took it while sitting in the co-pilot’s seat of my son’s Beechcraft Bonanza! It is a beautiful little plane. And it symbolizes so much for him and our family.

A year ago in April, my son, Avram lost his precious youngest son, Thomas to cancer. It was a fierce battle, with hardly a victory for Thomas. And it was a battle we knew he could not win from the day he was diagnosed. We hoped the treatments-the horrific treatments- would buy Thomas time, and maybe new treatments would come along.
There just wasn’t enough time.

When Avram announced that he had decided to leave his flying club and buy his own plane, we were thrilled for him. He said that one thing he learned from Thomas is that life is short, and he was not going to put off his dreams any longer.

Pre-flight check. He keeps his iPad at hand for info.

Two years ago, we had flown with Avram in one of the small planes owned by his flying club. We were flying over the Santa Monica pier when we were ordered out to sea because President Obama was aboard Air Force One and it was entering our air space, we had to make way. We circled for a few minutes and were given the all-clear to return to our route During that same visit we joined the LAPD air support team on an actual shift in the police helicopter. We were warned if there were a big event like an O.J. chase, we would be in the helicopter until the event was over.
No crimes that day, just a false alarm at the local bank. But we did do a “beauty pass” of the HOLLYWOOD sign, which I blogged about two years ago.

HOLLYWOOD sign an American icon

So back to this past July. Avram took us from Camarillo airport to Morro Bay and we circled the famous Morro Bay rock.

He banked hard so I could get good photos. My Beloved in the back seat said he felt as if he was going to fall out. I kept the wing in the picture so you could see I really was flying through the air in a light plane.
Pre-flight fuel check,Avram and Ira, my Beloved

I loved every minute of it, even when on the way back the sun, and motion of the plane combined to put me to sleep. Good thing Avram was not also lulled!
After we secured the plane, we ate lunch outside at the Camarillo airport, a place where the rich, the famous and hardworking people with a love of flying hang out. We watched planes come and go, and felt very nostalgic. Small airports still have the romance of flying.
Last pass and then home

Baja Bottles and Shells, Magical Things From the Beach in La Paz!

Antique bottles nestled in one of Mary's Shell Wreaths

Beach, just seeing or hearing the word takes me away to a place of salt, sand, sun and peace.
I grew up in New Jersey, and Fort Hancock on the end of the sand spit called Sandy Hook was where I spent many a summer day.
The only day I did not go to the beach in August 1970 was the day my darling daughter Melissa was born. That was August 17th.
When we were kids growing up in Atlantic Highlands New Jersey, we lived a few blocks from the Sandy Hook Bay beach. My mother did not drive. So she gave us each an inner tube to carry, lined my brother, Merrell’s wagon with an army blanket, plopped La Princessa Patti ( my younger sister) in the middle and surrounded her with our lunch, our towels, change of clothes and beach toys.

Off we trekked to spend the day at the beach. And we loved it. Every second of it. And of course we collected shells and lots of other flotsam that washed ashore. My mother, as mothers do, had to limit what we could carry home, so we were told to only collect perfect shells. Otherwise we would have carried home every fragment, shard and sliver of shell.

Just an artsy shot of some candle ring shell wreaths on my patio

Now I live on the beach in La Paz, Baja California Sur. I collect shells of every size and color. For years I was addicted to collecting what we call jingle shells, gorgeous fragile, oddly shaped shells that range in color from pearly white to yellow, golden yellow and vibrant orange.
I love the gorgeous spiral curves of the inside of shells that I will dub “snails” anything that had a creature inside that spun their gorgeous homes.
These gorgeous yellow and white striped shells came from El Mogote, the sandbar that forms the La Paz harbor. We were wading and started to see these gorgeous shells lying on the bottom. We fulled bag after bag with them, and had to float the bags as we walked back to our chairs.

Some days, I have to do a shell intervention with Mary. When she starts hodling her back, I know it is time to stop. She always says " Just one more...please."

My friend Mary and I spend hours in the winter collecting shells, and we are always surprised what we find. And certain days big shells attract us and that is all we will pick up, others it is small to tiny shells. And always oddly-shaped shells. Mary makes the gorgeous shell wreaths pictured in this blog.
I take credit for inspiring her.
We would collect the shells and take them home to pile around the house, or stored them in jars and otherwise drop them and forget about them. There was no mother to tell us to only pick the perfect ones, or to only take home five.

Then I decided to see how many household objects would look better adorned with shells. Out came the glue gun, and nothing was safe! I glued shells on mirrors, picture frames, I wrapped a yogurt container with fabric then glued shells on it. It was to hold a roll of toilet paper in my outside bathroom.

Soon Mary and I were having shell contests.
But she has created the most amazing objects, including seashore Santas, modeled after the Victorian Santas that are so popular. But hers were standing on a base of sand, garbed in pieces of Mexican cloth, and some palm bark. Slung over his shoulder was a bag of shells.

Mary’s work has evolved into gorgeous wreaths. I am proud to say my small wreaths pictured here are the prototypes of Mary’s ongoing work. She gave them to me for my birthday a few years ago.

These wreaths are wonderful candle rings. They become part of my seasonal dlsplays and centerpieces for dinner parties, and are always where I can see them.

Now when I need a gift, I call Mary.
Her wreaths grace the homes of friends and family all over the US. They are in Denver and Dallas. One large wreath made just for her, was the centerpiece at my sister’s wedding in Amagansett. And there is the all black one. Mary dyed all the shells and turned her fingers black, they stayed that way for weeks. From Minnesota, to Idaho, South Dakota, California and New Jersey, someone I know and love has one of these wreaths. And a few years ago, one of Mary’s shell wreaths went to Paris with Madam Francine Cousteau.
Francine was here to dedicate the Jacques Cousteau memorial at Centro Investigaciones Biologicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR).
And here is the wreath that is always on my dining room table it is really very big abut 12 inches in diameter. Take your time, look closely, and you can see hundreds of different shells, a sea star, and some broken shells with gorgeous shapes. If you would like to know more about Mary’s shells contact here here Mary’s Shells: bigfishes2@aoldotcom

Mary always makes sure there is an orange scallop, and often a piece of sea glass on every wreath.

Birdsong in Baja


What shall I write in my blog today?
I am always talking about the gorgeous view from my terraces, and my office and my bathtub.
I never get tired of the colors and textures, and the ever-changing sea and sky and in winter the colors are pastel in morning, and silvery for part of the day. Very different from the fire-y summer mornings, and hot sun drenched azure sea.
This morning as on many mornings, the sound of gulls and other shore birds squawking woke me, long before dawn. The birds, sea and shore dwellers fly by all night and honk, and squawk. I love the sound.
One particular great blue heron flies right across our terrace and honks, loudly! He has no care that people may be sleeping inside. He loves the updrafts that the shallow X shape or our house create. And I assume that the honk is one of sheer pleasure. Although it does not sound much different from his imperious honk when he is chasing other birds from his feeding grounds…or waters, I should say.

There are some birds whose calls I have dubbed “Jurassic Park” sounds. They sound as if they are huge and calling from deep in a distant jungle. You know the sounds that are background for jungle movies? That’s what some of these birds sound like…and I am charmed.

There are over 60 identified species of birds living in our neighborhood. We are surrounded by a biological preserve. We have a pair of Great Horned Owls. They are huge, and their haunting “hoo-hoo” can be heard throughout the area.

This spring we heard a lovely birdsong that sounded somewhat like a burbling creek. We looked around to see where this sweet warbler was. To our amazement, a plain, scruffy black, bird was singing that perfect song. On the sill outside our eight-foot kitchen window were two of these plain birds.
The male, the one with the voice was strutting and preening for the not-so-interested female.
She would ignore him, and walk to the end of the sill. He would hop in front of her and puff up his chest and sing. She was not interested. She would turn and march to the opposite end. He would fly off and land in front of her and sing his heartbreaking song. This went on for days in front of this window. Showtime was just around our breakfast time, we would hear the first chirps, and drop what we were doing and head to the kitchen window.
Call us voyeurs. But we were also rooting for the little guy, hoping his beloved would accept his attentions. And finally, after many repetitions of the song, the puffing and preening, his lady love succumbed.

More than once I would hear the screeching of what sounded like a bird in distress. I would run out to the terrace with my binoculars, and there would be a baby osprey perched on a dead palm. Some baby, its talons were longer than my fingers, and it’s wingspan over six feet. I asked an ornithologist friend about this, and he said the bird had been pushed from the nest. It was able to fly and deemed ready to go out on its own by its exhausted , yet doting parents. It was screeching for mama or papa to come feed it. Mama and papa were clearly done with child–rearing, but baby was not happy. After an interminable time of pathetic screeching, the parents would fly by and coax the baby down and show it one more time how to hunt. The baby would learn to feed itself or die.
I have never seen a dead osprey on our beach or in the mangrove, so I believe that baby went off to feed, and soar, and mate and train babies of its own.

Soon I will write about “Eddie the Eagle’, that turned out to be a very sick baby osprey that turned up in our patio once many years ago.

Sexy, Exotic, Hawaiian Flower, Showing Off in La Paz Baja California Sur


Do you recognize this gorgeous, exotic bloom?
It is an anthurium, and it actually is native to Central and South America. Wikipedia says nothing about how it got to Hawaii, but that is how I think of it.
And Cecilia, a flight attendant friend of mine says cut anthurium are popular take home gifts for tourists leaving Hawaii. She has seen them specially packaged in small bunches for a lot of money and they are carried right on the plane.
Well, back to my anthurium.
My dear friend Maria gave me the plant for Christmas this past December 2011. It had much smaller leaves and was bursting with many blooms and some tightly rolled buds. I thanked her profusely, and wondered if it would survive my three-week Christmas vacation, with the maid caring for it.
To my surprise, it survived, and flourished. It had pride of place on our kitchen island where it was kissed by morning sun. But it grew so large and full, my beloved asked if I would consider moving it.
I was sure that moving it would mean certain death. But here is another picture showing how shiny and healthy the leaves are
And this is not the first time it has produced buds, here are two making their way out to the sun. It has been in constant bloom since December. It is still in the plastic pot. I am afraid to re-pot it and kill it. It s so healthy and shiny, and happily blooming, that I think I shall keep it right where it is!
One of the nicknames for the anthurium is the “boy plant”. Well it does have a big, yellow, penis, Uh, excuse me, it has a big erect, knobby spadix.

And when the flower starts to die, the red bract turns muddy green and the big, erect, spadix develops yellow bumps and lumps, I call it gonorrhea of the plant world.
I am sure my grandson Patrick aged 11, will just love seeing photos of this guy:

Before this bract withers and dies it will be covered with the yeloow bumps, which get uglier and uglier. The firts time I saw it I thought the plant was diseased! I am going to try to propagate the plant by laying the withered bract with it’s blistered spadix on a nice bed of potting soil. Stay tuned!

The La Paz Multiple Listing Service: A True Story for Sellers to Heed

By Susan Fogel


It happened in La Paz just a few weeks ago, and it is about the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

I have several nice properties in El Centenario and El Comitan. My colleagues make jokes about how I live in the desert, the boonies, or “way out there”. I invited them to see my properties and they said things like “some day”, “it’s a good idea” or “the next time I’m in your area I’ll make an appointment to see your properties.”

Others said if they had buyers for my properties they would be sure to show them. In other words, no one was going to make the effort to drive a mere 20 minutes even to see beach front and beach community homes, even though beachfront and beachview homes are in high demand even in this depressed market.

So back to the true story. I uploaded one listing to the La Paz MLS and encountered Internet issues. All I had to show was one listing. The next morning my phone rang and a colleague from La Paz said he was looking for an easy care, one-floor home with a pool and a view. And my listing fit the bill.

The agent and client came out within the hour. She liked my house, but wasn’t in love. I suggested that since she was here, she see another listing next door. That house is two stories, is high-maintenance, and has a slightly smaller pool. The would-be buyer walked in and said: “This is it!” I want this house, I love it!” She made a full-price offer that day and the transaction is set to close shortly.

What is my point? The agent said he was looking only on the MLS. He did not have the time to search individual websites, even if he knew whose sites to visit. If my listing had not been on the MLS, he would never have known about it. The MLS allows agents to post as many photos and videos as they want. A buyer’s agent can preview the property and contact the listing agent to get more information. Then she can put together a list of properties and email them to her client. It’s efficient and, because of the strict rules of the MLS, it is accurate. This also means that when homes sell, the prices are listed so that agents will have comparable properties that will support the price of your home to the buyer.

The very next day, I uploaded three more properties. Almost immediately after hitting “submit” I received an email from an agent in Loreto saying that she had sent all of my listings to her client in the USA that is interested in La Paz, El Centenario, and El Comitan.

“How did you get hooked up with a La Paz buyer?” I asked.

“He was searching my IDX pages,” she said.

Sellers, listen up! This is the key. Under the new IDX (Internet Data Exchange) system, buyers can type “La Paz homes for sale” into Google and La Paz real estate sites will pop up. They can click on the name of a page and those that are members of the MLS will have a search function on them that allows Susie Q. Homebuyer to search for homes in La Paz and the surrounding area. Now thousands of buyers back in the USA and Canada  and anywhere in the world, can look at YOUR house long before they book their flight to come to La Paz. They can narrow their search to just a few homes or they can expand out to other areas.

The “Loreto man” was fiddling around, looking at everything on the market, when he found La Paz and decided on our lovely town for his retirement.

And how do you as a seller get to have your house visible 24/7 to the entire world? It’s easy: (1) Contact an agent that is a member of AMPI (Mexican Association of Realtors) and the MLS. (2) Sign an exclusive listing agreement and they will upload your home with photos and a video.

So you will have one agent looking out for your best interests. And you will also have an entire sales force of other AMPI/MLS agents showing your home. Isn’t it a good feeling that your property is in the hands of professionals that subscribe to a high code of ethics and use the latest technology to sell your home?

It’s the Fourth of July; A Video with Danny Glover

Today is Wednesday the 4th of July. I meet three other women every Wednesday at Cafe Exquisito for coffee and conversation. The other three are Canadian. I am American and have lived here in La Paz, Baja California Sur for 12 years. As the years pass, American holidays and their importance fade.

Oh my birthday will always be the most important part of February. Thanksgiving is special to me and we share it with another couple every year.

And Christmas is a lot of fun here in La Paz, we have parties, go to parties, exchange gifts, then head north to be with our kids for the big day.

We were chatting about things in general and when school would be out, since one og u s is young enough to have kids in grade school. At that moment I remembered it was the 4th.

We have no special plans.

And that is OK. America has not lived up to her Constitution in years and these last 4 years with the racism and hate flowing from Congress, and the Tea Party there is very little in the way of celebration in my heart.
I saw this very moving video sent by Moveon.org they lifted it from:The Howard Zinn Facebook page
He is reading the words of a former slave, written 10 years before the Civil War. It is rlevant today especially to blacks, Hispanics, Women and Muslims:

The Yellow Beetle and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day*

My day started off beautifully last Thursday. My new glasses were finally ready.  I could now, read, write, sew, and drive again! It was a sunny day; I was wearing brightly colored gauze clothing. My leopard-print flip-flops showed off my bright red pedicure.

From the optical shop I was heading to a closing, and from there to collect some buyers, have lunch with them, and then show them pretty houses. Daisy, our little yellow Beetle had just been detailed and she was bright and shiny.

I made the left turn onto Cinco de Febrero from a side street; I was so happy to be driving and to be able to see again that I misjudged the turn and hit the divider and went up and over. Kaboom!  Down came Daisy. I could feel that the tire was flat. I limped her around the corner and parked.

While I was examining the flat tire and bent and gnarled rim, a kind man pulled up and handed me my hubcap. That was like a gift from the goddess. I had just replaced all four hubcaps. Each one had fallen off over a few weeks. I had waited six months for the VW dealer to finally get four. I asked him to help me with the tire; he said he had no time. I thanked him again for retrieving my hubcap and off he went.

I called the closing attorney and asked him to proceed without me. He said, “Just tell me where you are and I’ll send Jorge to get you.”  Easier said than done. THERE WERE ABOSOLUTELY NO STREET SIGNS TO BE SEEN. I asked a man walking by, he motioned that he did not know the street names. And he walked off. A few minutes later, he came back and said that I was on the corner of Independencia and Cuahtemoc.

Jorge found me in minutes. He set up the jack, pulled out the spare, and then hunted for the lug wrench, there was none! We had clients waiting to sign their closing documents, so we locked up the car, I patted Daisy’s rump and off we went.

We got to the notaria; I was hot, dusty, and thirsty. I asked for a glass of water and was told that this notario publico did not offer any services like that. I asked the receptionist for water. A few minutes later, Jorge, my savior came with a glass of water.

I texted my buyers to let them know I would be late. They answered that they would come and get me. I responded that it would not be long and I could get there in 30 minutes. Dream on. The signing went smoothly. That was the end of the good day.

The accident did not upset me so much as embarrass me. But it was the hours and hours of waiting that ruined my day. We had left the car in front of someone’s driveway. Jorge went to the door to let them know we would be moving the car as soon as the tire was changed. No one was home. The neighbor came out and said that the homeowners would not be back until four. But if they did by chance return, he would explain the situation and point out the ugly damaged wheel. We asked the helpful neighbor if he had a lug wrench, he said no, but there was a llantera (tire shop) around the corner. When we returned after the signing, we asked another neighbor if he had a lug wrench. He did, but it was for an American car and did not fit Daisy. We went to THREE llanteras before we found someone that would come to us in a timely manner and change the tire. While we were waiting, we saw a man washing a VW Jetta. We asked him if he had a lug wrench, he was not the car’s owner, but he went inside and asked and was given permission to lend it to us.  The wrench fit the lugs, but they were on so tight, that Jorge could not loosen them.

And then a hunched man with a leg brace came to offer help! I am not making this up. Jorge went back to llantera number three to check on their progress. He called me to say he was leading the tire truck to me. We agreed on a price, and Jorge was off. The tire was changed in record time. I paid the man, and hopped in the car. Daisy would not start!

The tire man helped me look for the invisible hood latch. By now I was tired, had not eaten, had to pee, and saw the time racing away. I finally found the hood latch. The New Beetles are wonderful cars. They are also completely computerized and we could not figure out where and how to attach jumper cables.

Thanking the goddess for the second time, this time for the magic of the iPhone. I was able to look up the VW dealer and click on their number and was connected at once. We called VW, they said, “NO! Do not attempt to jumpstart that car; it will destroy the computer!” Off went tire guy. I called the VW dealer back and asked for them to come and get the car.  They said they would send a tow truck.

“But you have to pay!”

“Of course I will pay, just send the truck.”

“OK, we will, but service closes from 1-3 so you need to talk to the sales department when you arrive with the tow truck.”

It was 12:30. By 1:30, no truck had come. I called the sales department of the VW dealer, after explaining what happened, where I was and that yes, I knew I had to pay. A tow truck was dispatched.

I arranged for a rental car, and the ever-generous editor of this paper came for me and also paid for the tow truck. I only had $200 pesos in my wallet. She took me to the VW dealer, dropped her kids at home, waited for my next call, and took me to Budget Rental Cars near the airport. It was well after 4:00 p.m. By this time I had eaten one piece of toast at home and two hairy cough drops I found in the car. No lunch, no coffee, no clients, and I still had to pee.

But here is how I overcame this Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:

*In 1972, Judith Viorst, author and poet, wrote a wonderful children’s book called

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very Bad Day.