Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Downsizing Begins

Today I set up the Christmas tree. It's kind of odd knowing that we only have 2 more Christmases in Canada after this year. I expect we'll come home for Christmas now and again, but I doubt I'll be putting up a tree in the limited time we'll have. And so I wonder, do I get rid of the tree and all the decorations in a couple years, or do I hang onto them for when Señor B and I reach an age that we don't want to be gone so long? Maybe we'll end up deciding to live in Mexico full time. Right now we say no, but never say never, right?

As I was sorting through all the stuff, I decided to get rid of some things. I went through the large box of lights. Because of Señor B's previous hip problems, he hasn't hung exterior lights in years. I asked him if he wanted to hang them this year, even though we only have two more Christmases here. He said there really wasn't much point so I set aside several strands of those old-school lights that have the pointy chandelier type bulbs. I'll either find someone to give them to or list them on a local site that's similar to Kiji. I also have 6 strings of icicle lights that one of our daughters is going to take. Oh, hey. Look what I found. A set of musical lights that blink. I don't want these anymore. And here are three strings of lights that don't work. Why was I keeping these? All these lights lived in a cubic metre moving box. It'll be good to clear that out of the basement.

I also went through all the decorations as I was doing the tree. There were a few that belonged to one of the girls. I'll have to get those to her. Oh, and here are some of those motors for some Ornamotions. Remember those? I've always bought each of the girls an ornament for Christmas so that they would have some for their first tree. They've all taken their ornaments but I must have forgotten to give them the motors because I have about a dozen of them.

I use strings of faux pearls to wrap the tree. I had two very long strands in a colour I didn't want. Why? Gone.

I have some colourful country type ornaments that don't fit the colour scheme of the tree. Many of them are gifts, some of them from our kids and g'kids. I held each one, caressing them gently and...I couldn't do it!! I couldn't get rid of them. Last year I had thought that I would clear them all out this year, but I really don't want to yet. In time, I'll pass them on to whoever wants them. For now, I'll re-purpose them into wall decor. Gotta love push pins. I did throw out several that were not gifts and that were just plain ugly and I don't understand why I kept using them year after year.

So I guess my downsizing was more of a declutter. Still, it was a bit unsettling, in a good kind of way, knowing that it was being done because of our approaching retirement and not just because it needed doing.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

We're Home

I managed to make it through the whole trip without getting more than a couple of bug bites the first day or two that we were there. For 4 weeks, nothing. Wouldn't you know it...the last night there, I got chewed alive. I woke up Thursday morning to 5 or 6 bites on each leg. I normally wear my jeans on the final trip to lighten the load in my suitcase but I couldn't because the bites itch like the dickens if anything touches them. So I had to wear my shorts. This isn't a problem in México but it sure does garner you some odd looks when you hit the airport in Canada, in December, in shorts.

Thursday morning, Gustavo arrived to pick us up 10 minutes ahead of schedule. In the land of "mañana", this is an astounding event. Liz told us he's always there and always early. I expect this is why he's earned himself a good reputation at the complex. He's a chatty guy who speaks pretty good English. We helped him out with a few words and he helped me out with some Spanish.

We took the bus at the CAME station. Oh my. You come into Mérida on a fairly wide road but the closer you get to CAME, the narrower the streets become. They almost felt like goatpaths. Each turn in the road gave the feeling of being drawn deeper and deeper into an elaborate maze of concrete, traffic and one-way streets. Sure glad it was Gustavo driving and not Señor B.

We took an ADO GL this time. It's not quite as posh as the Platino but it was still nice. I slept almost half of the way to Cancún. I tend to do that. Put me in a moving vehicle and I'm asleep in no time. Señor B finds it amusing.

From the ADO station in Cancún we took an $18USD cab ride to our hotel. We spent the night at the Royal Solaris, an all-inclusive resort. It was cheaper to stay there than to get a regular hotel room and then buy meals on top of that. The resort is pretty typical of most of the resorts we've stayed at. It seemed to be on the smaller size, which we prefer. We're not fans of the mega-sized resorts. The buffet was your standard buffet food and it was all tasty enough. The "concierge" aka Time Share Guy, tried to hide his disappointment when we told him we already had a condo and he didn't pressure us to attend the half hour morning meeting when we declined.

The cab to the airport the next day was a much shorter ride than the one to the resort but it was $30USD. What a rip-off. Whatever. It's still a whole heap cheaper than renting a car.

The flight home was uneventful. We had a layover in Canada which meant going through customs, claiming our luggage, re-checking it, and going through security again. What a rigamarole. If you had purchased any alcohol at the duty-free shop, it had to go into your checked luggage.

We arrived to our home airport shortly before 9pm. The weather wasn't too bad but we had made the decision, before leaving México, to stay overnight. The temperature was much milder than we usually have when we get back. It was -2C instead of the usual -30C. The drive home wasn't too bad. A bit of blowing snow near the city but that only lasted for about the first half hour.

The last 2 trips we've used a new parking company. It's more economical, which is always a plus, but they also offer a couple of services which are nice add-ons. They have a luggage check right there. It's only available for a few airlines and, fortunately, we've been flying with one of the ones they accept.  It's extremely handy to not have to haul your suitcases to, and through, the airport. Upon your return, the van driver asks your name and relays it to the parking lot. By the time we got to the parking lot, the good folks there had our truck running and the young gal was busy scraping the frost off the windshield. I think we'll be using this outfit on a regular basis.

And that's that. We're already checking out flights for our next trip.