May 9, 2017

I’m getting a might confused now.  When I walk into a public restroom, I can’t remember if I can brush my teeth using the sink water.  While driving, I can’t remember: should I push through that very yellow light or come to a screeching halt? And when I wake up in the morning, it takes me a minute or two to remember, where is it exactly that I sleep under the fleece green blankie? 

We had already made our trek from Oaxaca to Rhode Island in mid March, when we got to see great friends and pay our taxes, and I started the evaluations and my first week of a medicine clinical trial for pulmonary hypertension.  David returned to the sunny south and I stayed to comply with the needed visits to the doctor’s office as I continue the 6-month study.

Then things got complicated, giving us opportunity to rearrange our lives. It all started out when we realized that our 2010 Honda CR-V registration was expiring on April 30.  And we had to present the car in RI to get it inspected so as to register it.  No registration, and our insurance gets canceled. I, you’ll remember, was still in RI.  The car and David were in Oaxaca.   The 5000- kilometer drive to RI seemed like a lot. In another year and a half we may get permanent Mexican residency, at which time we cannot have our American registered car in Mexico, and the cost to nationalize the car in Mexico are prohibitive. So we will need to buy a Mexican car.  5000 kilometers –vs- 1 ½ years of use . Huh.

Meanwhile, Indiana daughter Abby had mentioned that her car had started leaking through the sun roof. She seemed, well, excited at the prospect of having a newer car. So says I, we can drive the car to Bloomington , a mere 3,660 kilometers, visit with her for a

week (lovely Bloomington in springtime, think nice hikes), and then David & I each could go on our merry ways shortly thereafter.

We have friends currently living in the Casita and they could keep an eye on the place. A nice drive and we might could stop in a couple of towns in Mexico that we haven’t been to yet (Tequisqiapan, for example).

And so it was done. I flew back to Oaxaca. We loaded the car to the minimum amount and we set off, along the familiar highways that we have gotten to know well in the last 5 or 6 years. 

Three days later, on his birthday, David turned into Maryjane Dunn Whitener’s driveway in Arkadelphia, Ar , a traditional stop on every trip we’ve made in the last, has it been 5 years?

Then Maryjane and I made the traditional visit to “Knit Unto Others,” a fabulous yarn store where I stocked] up on more good yarns, especially fun and exciting since the couple of yarn stores in Oaxaca stock only acryllic blends [mohair ; merino wool & mulberry silk; 100% silk; some tricky yarns to zazz up a shawl or cape].

Six days later we pulled into Bloomington Indiana and Mother Nature greeted us with a

heavy downpouring of rain.  Which didn’t stop until the day we left. So we mused, chattered, nattered on about sundry topics for the various days, attending a couple of theater performances, making two trips to the Kroger Cheese section for delicious tastings of bries and roqueforts. And the requisite knitting, of course: a clapotis-ktus pattern that took only 2 days.

The trip to the Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles to transfer title of the 102,800-mile loaded Honda took less than a half hour.  Presto: the CRV belonged to Abby, sale price $1. No ceremonies as it was again raining.  On our last night in Bloomington we went to a lovely Afghan restaurant where we dined in style and to repletion.  The red lentil tomato soup was divine and we concluded that there must have been a light sprinkling of sumac that brought out all the flavors so nicely. I ordered

badenjan, an oven-baked eggplant, and the lightest, most flavorful eggplant dish I think I may have ever tasted. Again, it left me wondering if there was sumac in the spice medley. I’ve been haunting the online Afghan recipes ever since.    

The next morning David & I parted ways in the Indianapolis Airport, he to Oaxaca and I to Wakefield RI. There I found our fave liver-in-laws Dan and Jean Carpenter, still reeling with Jean’s sudden illness, but at least she had been released from the hospital, after a month-long stay, and was resting at home.  And there, too, some --- it would be comical were it not so serious – confusion: Jean came home with an oxygen machine and a measurer of the oxygen in her blood  -- all of which I use as well.  Dark humor as we compared equipment and treatments.  I stayed another 4 or 5 days, the end of semester time at the University of Rhode Island, which meant that Dan was busy preparing for the Annual Classics get-together. Instead of helping him, I spent all day Thursday in the doctor’s milieu doing the mandated set of tests for the study. This month’s group of activities included 7 blood draws, from 8 am until 5 pm in a study of at what rate the medicine is getting absorbed into the blood stream, called pharmacokinetics. I think that’s a pretty neat study, but unfortunately I only get to give the blood, I don’t get to see how the expert folk track the absorption.  After being in the office from 7:45 am until 5:30 pm, I immediately went out & broke my diet: I went to Burger King for a hamburger. The next day I was toast, but well-rested toast.

Then Sunday morning the “leaving on a jet plane” schedule had my departure at 6 am from Providence to a 3:30 pm arrival in Oaxaca. Most everything went smoothly.  Following daughter Debo’s advice, I order and take a wheelchair in the airports, which gives me shorter lines in TSA and Customs, and eliminates the real problem of my trying to actually walk the kilometer-long distances from arrival to departure gates, something I cannot now do.  It also means that the wheelchair assistant pulls along my carry-on suitcase which contains my portable oxygen compacting machine, weighing in at about 15 pounds.  Something else I cannot do for extended distances. 

Home again ! And remembering that it was Santa Cruz days, the town festival, we had to participate in that evening’s activities: a full-fledged concert outside of town hall: a local band playing some Mexican ‘30s classical music and then a splendid performance by a young soprano of the Oaxacan standards. It was lovely.

But wait, you say, you left the car in Bloomington, In ! There you have it, the second major rearrangement.  We had decided to buy a new Honda CR-V as we jettisoned our old one.  David’s and my phone calls to each other for the past week had been salted with questions like “Do you want the super-charged Turbo or the regular one?” “Do you need the backup screen?” “If we want a dark interior, what color does the exterior have to be?” “How many USB ports and charging outlets are there?”  “How much bigger is it really?”  We visited the Oaxaca Honda dealership and learned that test drives had to be made by appointment. That haggling over the price is not done in Mexico for new cars.  That getting a license plate could be arranged and done by a third party and all very legal.  And that they didn’t take Visa or Master Card, only bank-to-bank wire transfer. It wasn’t as smooth as silk, but everything got done mostly. Yesterday, we went to pick up our new car. It took a couple of hours of paperwork and some frantic arrangement of insurance, but by 3 pm Honda CR-V “Red” was sitting in our driveway.  When I stopped in at the grocery and came out with some goodies, for a few minutes I looked for our grey 2010 CR-V in vain.   Oh yeah, red, it’s red, it’s new.                              

Doing all the paperwork for the car, the insurance, the airline flights all have led to more lists of things to do, more papers to file, more items to be Xeroxed. The dining room table and the living room coffee table are littered with VIPs (very important papers).

Now, if I can just remember to carry my passport with me when I return to RI on May 31.