22 April, 2011

Shade Galore

We have the awning up with both sides up and providing shade. It works really well so far.
Awning Looking East To the Canal
Of course, it's not done completely yet. We've got to get a couple more runs of support wire under each section, so they're divided into thirds lengthwise, and a few other fittings and stuff. But, basically it's done.
And Looking West
There were two objectives with this project. 1) Provide shade to keep the water a smidge (2 to 3 degrees cooler, if possible); 2) Provide shade to keep the deck cooler. Just walking from the sliding glass doors to the pool steps (about 10 feet), your feet can literally feel like they've been burnt and are ready to blister; and 3) to provide shade to keep users a little cooler, or to at least cut the intensity of the sun when you're just hanging out pool-side. Alright, there were three objectives. Sounds a bit like Monty Python. At least no one mentioned the Spanish Inquisition...
Looking Up From the Parking Area
I took a couple of shots from other angles, just to give you the idea of how it looks.
And Looking Down From the Front Porch
All in all, we're very happy with the way the thing turned out. Now, once I get the details completed, after the Easter holiday of course, then all will be well.

Now, we have to get a bit more furniture out there - two or three tables, more chairs, and probably a chaise lounge or two ought to round it all out. Of course, we'll have to figure out what to do with everything come hurricane time, but, that's another issue.

Have a nice holiday. Hope the Easter Bunny reaches your place.

Cheers,

20 April, 2011

Finally, A Roof Over Our Heads

I thought yesterday was going to be a busy day. I mean, my appointment calendar looked like this:
  • 5:35 - Walk the doggies
  • 7:15 - Take Shower
  • 8:10 - Move Generator Out From Its Cubby
  • 8:30 - Terrence Here To Check Out/Repair Generator
  • 9:00 - Pick Up Edna (Housekeeper)
  • 12:00 - Kent Here To Deliver Sewn Shade Cloth
  • 12:30 - Eat Lunch
  • 1:00 - Begin Setting Up Shade Cloth Over Pool
  • 2:00 - Return Edna Home
  • 5:30 - Appointment For Install of Permanent Crown
  • 6:15 - Jing Jing Store
  • 6:25 - Chon Kong Chinese Restaurant
Looks pretty good doesn't it? It was all just going to happen like clockwork. Instead, here's what actually happended:
  • 5:35 - Walk the doggies
  • 7:15 - Take Shower
  • 8:10 - Move Generator Out From Its Cubby
  • 8:30 - Terrence Here To Check Out/Repair Generator
  • 9:00 - Pick Up Edna (Housekeeper)
  • 12:00 - Kent Here To Deliver Sewn Shade Cloth
  • 12:30 - Eat Lunch
  • 1:00 - Begin Setting Up Shade Cloth Over Pool
  • 2:00 - Return Edna Home
  • 5:30 - Appointment For Install of Permanent Crown
  • 6:15 - Jing Jing Store - Purchase Canned Cat Food
  • 6:25 - Chon Kong Chinese Restaurant - Purchase 2 Fried Chicken Dinners
Notice there's a couple of key players who are missing from the list. I called Terence. His wife had the car and he was almost done with the shade cloth.

Edna wanted to come yesterday so she could get a jump on the Easter holiday. I kept my appointment at Dra. Monica's for her to fit and install my permanent crown.

Kitties were about to experience a severe food shortage. They were completely out of canned cat food. I also had to stop and get some fried chicken for us.

Here's what happened today:


5:35 - Walk the doggies
7;15 - Take Shower Thought I'd take one after Terrence and Generator

8:00 - Set Empty Belikin Cases Out For Exchange

8:10 - Move Generator Out From Its Cubby

8:30 - Terrence Here To Check Out/Repair Generator

12:00 - Kent Here To Deliver Sewn Shade Cloth
12:30 - Eat Lunch
1:00 - Begin Setting Up Shade Cloth Over Pool
2:00 - Visit Shanti To Change Money
2:20 - Visit Kent, Pay Remainder
3:30 - Put Ladders And Tools Away

I thought I'd be smart and wait till after Terence was finished to take a shower.

Of course like any proper piece of machinery, the generator fired on the first pull for Terrence, after baffling me for a couple of months with no luck in starting the generator. Perfect. Terrence's visit here was so short, he refused to accept even a token payment, saying he was just glad that the generator was working and wished me a happy Easter. A nice guy, for sure.

I got sidetracked on a couple of small projects after he left. I figured I could take a shower at noon, because Kent wouldn't show up during the lunch hour.  I was just ready to step into the shower when I heard "Hello?" coming from the vicinity of the front gate. I hurridly threw my shorts back one and opened up the back screen door. Sure enough. It was Kent with the shade cloth.

Not a problem so far, right? Wrong. When I set out the Belikin cases, I set out 4 since we have a long holiday weekend staring right at us (Good Friday and Easter are official holidays here). In order to get four full ones back from the beer truck, I had to part with two-hundred Belize dollars. Which meant that I didn't have enough cash to pay Kent.

I told him I'd bring the remainder by his house right after lunch. Of course, Dianna and I began attaching the shade cloth to the awning support wires. Long about 2:15 PM, I remembered I still owed Kent a pile of money.

So, Into the car I jumped and hit Shanti's, then over to Kent's to pay the final tally. Then it was run back to the house and jump into the pool for a while and eventually, to put the ladders and tools, etc., away.

Here's some shots I took of the awning.

Here's the piles just as Kent and I had dumped them on the deck. All nicely sewn and clean.
Shade Cloth Has Arrived
A little different view showing there actually are two separate piles and Dianna keeping an eye on everything too.
It Is In Two Pieces
Dianna and I mounted our ladders and began the job of attaching the caribiners to the wire rope and and shade cloth. Here's the result. It's still kinda of rough, but as we really don't know what we're doing (shhh! That's a trade secret right there), there's still plenty of things we have to figure out about installing an awning.
One Part Suspended Looking East
Here's a nice view showing what it's like under the shade cloth. Dianna was testing things out to see if it made a big enough difference. She said enthusiastically that it really did!
Looking From Underneath
 And another view. Not bad, if I do say so myself. I've developed a shopping list of more bits and pieces I need to get and install prior to it being used.
Looking West
 Of course when I took the girls for walkies this morning, I bought six nice green apples, so we could slice them up and give them to the iguanas on the dock. Of course, wasn't till late in the afternoon, that one of the big guys came back and we could toss him a bit of an apple.
Our Friend Is Back
 Unfortunately, I think it may have spooked him and he took off. Before he did, I managed to grab a couple more shots of him (or her - How do you tell"?).
Not Sure He Trusts Me
Right after this next one, he jumped into the canal and swam to the other side.
Almost Ready To Run

18 April, 2011

Lizard Breath

It all started a couple of weeks ago, well, more accurately, about a month ago. We were in the pool and all three girls started jumping around in the back area by the canal. By the time I figured out what was going on, it was too late.

The three of them cornered a Jesus lizard (Basilisk lizard), who was about 18" long, stem to stern. Secret, out biggest dog, administered the coupe de grace, killing the poor thing.

Of course, I bounded out of the pool yelling at them, but it was way too late. From then on, every time I catch them doing something nefarious, I holler at them "I better not smell any lizard breath!". Of course, Secret's head pops right up looking around like "We're not doing nothing...", about as guiltily as it's possible to look.

Well, since then, we've had more Jesus lizards visiting, around the back area, near the stairs up to the house, and in short all over the place.

Now, the past two days, we've had some large iguanas visiting. More properly, sunning themselves on the canal dock behind our fence.

Yesterday, Thanks once again to the doggies, we found this guy lounging on our dock. He's at least 3 1/2-feet long, probably closer to 4-feet. He was also a darker grey-green.
Yesterday's Big Boy
Unfortunately, the only camera I had at the time was my phone. With the bright sunlight, the view screen was impossible to see properly. I took about 10 shots of this fellow and these two were all that even marginally turned out. All of the ones I zoomed in to shoot, I got some marvelous shots of concrete, fence posts, you name it - except none with the lizard. But on one, I did manage to capture part of his tail.

Here's the second shot that turned out. Unfortunately, the phone camera resolution is so poor, I can't even blow the two photos up. Ah, well, there's always another day.
Another Of The Big Boy
And, speaking of another day, Let's try today! I had my Canon digital with me just in case we saw him again. Well, we didn't see him, but we did see his cousin or maybe his little brother. This guy is a brilliant green and definitely not camera shy.
Today - What A Handsome Fellow
He wasn't real sure about the dogs, but he was totally at ease with me and the camera.
He's Stretching To Almost 4-Feet
 Even though he's quite a bit smaller than yesterday's lizard, these boys are still major sized. And they have claws to match. I've heard they can be quite aggressive. I don't know that for a fact, I'll just accept their weaponry as being enough of a convincer that I don't need a further demonstration.

Mr. DeMille, I think he's ready for his close-up. This is one nice looking lizard.
He's Ready For His Close-Up
Even though we've been threatening the girls that we don't want to smell lizard breath, that still doesn't keep them from looking and barking at the sunbathers. Here's Cindy keeping a close eye on the handsome fellow.
Somebody's Watching You
Today must be my day for shooting animals. This morning, while waiting for the butchers to finish cutting up eleven pounds of bones for the girls (they get to carry them in their packs all the way back home too), I spied one of the butcher's most loyal customers, just patiently waiting for a tidbit or two.
Waiting Patiently At The Butchers
Cheers,

17 April, 2011

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Well, not quite, but I was searching for a title and this popped up into my train of thought, limited that that might be.

The project to provide some shade for the pool continues to make progress. Progress in a forward direction, no less.

Dianna and I spent some quality time Friday, applying silicone grease to the threads of 120 locking caribiners.
Caribiners All Greased And Ready
These are the little dudes that will go through grommets in the shade cloth and enclose the wire running from stanchion to stanchion.

Here's the first stanchion, painting is complete on it. One more to go.
This One's Finished
Yesterday was interesting. I had some chores to do in the morning and a Man's Group meeting in the afternoon. The chores mostly entailed me putting a first coat of 'Precaution Blue' on the second stanchions.
Second Stanchion Done
The first thing I did, besides wimping out on a morning walk with the girls, was to surprise them with a ride at 6:30 AM. We went in to town to Vivi's and got some meat pies for breakfast. Then, I got cracking on painting the stanchion.

After that, I took a shower and ran (drove) into town again with the girls. Two rides in one day. They thought that was pretty cool. I had to go by Villa's Imports and get a second can of 'Precaution Blue' and a couple of brushes.

While I was at Villa's, my phone kept ringing and since I was busy, I tried to ignore it. Whoever was calling was persistent, I'll give them that. Anyway, I answered the phone. It was Dra. Monica's assistant wanting to know if I could come in right then for an impromptu appointment. I told her no way as I had a lot of running around to do and a meeting in the afternoon. She came back saying it was really important as Dra. Monica needed to see how it was healing up and to try out the crown before it was sent to the techies who actually make the ceramic crown and that it would only take 10 or 15 minutes.

I told her ok, I'd be there in about 10 minutes if I could find a shady spot to park as I had the dogs. I finished purchasing the paint and brushes and jumped into the Isuzu.

As we neared the medical center, I spied a lucky spot across the street near the church on the corner. A nice shady spot too. Then I briskly walked over to the dental office and knocked on the door.

Right away they had me in the chair and Dra. Monica removed the temporary crown, fitted the 'mock-up' of the permanent one and after determining that the bite was fine, the two spent some time determining the matching color of my teeth.

After that, Dra. Monica re-installed the temp crown and we made an appointment for late Tuesday afternoon to put in the permanent crown (she goes on vacation on Wednesday).

Leaving her office, I completed my grocery shoppping and zoomed back home, let the girls out of the car and proceeded to put the first coat of blue on the second stanchion.

Then, it was time for another shower and by then, time to leave for the 'Man Meeting', which pretty much shot the rest of the day - with no pool time either.

I do have to confess something entirely unrelated. I've relapsed... Years ago, like around 1979, when we first got cable TV in Cheney, Washington, I became a Chicago Cubs fan, mostly because of Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray, the Cubs announcers. They just made you feel like you were part of the Cubs family.

Several years later, when we moved up to Olympia, I started rooting for the Mariners. I remained an M's fan for around 20 years.

Well, now here we are in Belize, and it's next to impossible to watch the Mariner's on TV. Last season, I signed up for MLB-TV for mucho dinero. Turns out their system said my computer and connection would work, but of course, no it didn't. But, their policy didn't allow for a refund of my money. So I went last year with no interest in baseball.

This year, I had a hankering to watch the American pastime once again. Since we get WGN as part of our satellite package, I decided to renew my fan relationship with the Cubs, and it just feels right. Like an old comfortable pair of slippers.

I've managed to stay up and watch a couple games so far. Last night, they played the Colorado Rockies in Denver and kicked butt - 8 to 3. So, consequently, once again, I've become a Cubs fan. I might even have to dust off my Die-Hard Cubs Fan Club membership certificate - signed by Ernie Banks!

So, now we're back on topic and we do the miraculous time shift to today. I walked the doggies and got right to painting. I applied the second and last coat of blue to the stanchion (see photo above) and then pressure-washed the deck to remove most of the dribbles and drops I had spilled on the wood. My excuse for not using the plastic tarp that I had was that it was too windy. Well, that and I was probably too lazy to wrestle with it and the ladder at the same time.

Anyway, it's all done and we're waiting for Tuesday afternoon for the awning... And Tuesday at 5:30, when I get my permanent crown. Woo-hoo!

Cheers,

13 April, 2011

Root Canal; Part II

Ok, so it turns out that it is different than a root canal. Once Dra. Monica got to look inside my mouth at the results from Dr. Jose's surgery, she determined a root canal wasn't necessary. Although the break in the tooth was deep, it didn't expose or damage the nerve, so she said she'll put in a crown.
Dra. Monica Working On Yours Truly
Dra. Monica was kind enough to let me take a picture of her at work on me. Well, I didn't take the photo, her assistant did. The 'trouble light' that dentists use really focuses some intense light so my mouth in the photo looks like it's glowing of its own accord.

I'll be going back to see her Thursday, next week. It turns out there's a bit of inflammation of the gum and before she seats the permanent porcelain tooth, she wants to make sure that's all taken care of. Dra. Monica prescribed some medicated mouth wash, which I'm using religiously twice a day.

Right now, I have a rough-textured temporary crown in place - but that is an improvement. I can actually eat again without cringing. The down-side is that I can only drink room-temperature Belikin. Bummer. But, at least it's beer and I'm usually in the pool while I'm drinking it. BTW, the cost for the crown will end up being $600.00 BZD. Still less than just about any procedure up north.

I'll include a final entry on this part of the saga after my next visit to Dra. Monica. Then, it's back to Dra. Glenda for more normal dental stuff, like cleaning, replacing old metal fillings with the plastic ones, etc. I'll keep you tuned in on that too.

Cheers,

12 April, 2011

EB's Pre-Easter Celebration

Here's something you don't see every day. I'm guessing the bottles were discretely pitched over the fence before we came along. Looks to me like somebody's binge drinking has gotten just a little out of control.
EB's Big Adventure Gone Astray
Of course, I might do something similar if I had to hide billions of hard-boiled eggs all over Hell's half acre in each neighborhood - not to mention all the houses and such that make up those neighborhoods.

One wonders what kind of shape he's in après-Easter.

10 April, 2011

No Title As Yet

The past few days as I've driven into town, I've seen this elderly bus being painted at at small shop beside the Corozal Glass Shop on 7th Avenue (or the Northern Highway). At first, it was rather sloppily primed with white primer, but bit by bit, it's turned into quite a nice paint job. Now, it's parked by Vivi's Meat Pie Shop on College Street (I think). A rather spectacular job all in all.
'Further' Reincarnated?
And now, a bit more on the story of the awning and what will be holding it up. After I had the poles installed and Isaiel welded the cross-braces, I thought it was still a little sensitive in the wind - especially with no load on it yet. I had the opportunity, since Isaiel was staying in the pool house for a couple of nights, while he worked another welding job in the north part of town, to get four corner brackets cut, and have him weld them in place.
Isaiel Welding A Short Bracket
As near as I can tell for now, they have stiffened the whole thing up considerably. We'll see in a bit just how successful this is.
And Welding Another Bracket
Since the brackets are now welded in place, I took the opportunity to paint the poles, cross-pieces, and corner brackets. I'm about half done with the whole process. It was kind of involved. Since all the bits were made of galvanized steel, I first coated them with Ospho, which is a balanced formula of phosphoric acid, dichromate, wetting agents and extenders. It also has the ability to etch the zinc coating on the steel. You can either apply it, wait about a half hour and hose it off, or let it dry thoroughly and leave it as a pre-primer sort of thing. That's what I did.

Then I had to prime everything with a direct-to-metal (DTM) primer, and finally I'm coating it all with a DTM acrylic enamel. I found a blue color that almost matches the blue trim of the pool house. So far, I've got one coat of blue on one half of the whole assembly. I have to prime the assembly that is mounted to the pump house and then I can paint that as well. The blue requires two coats. With luck, it should last for quite a while.
From A Distance, Progress
It's fun painting the bits from on high with my new 8-foot aluminum ladder. It's had a proper breaking in, already spattered with Ospho, primer, and paint. It's beginning to look like a proper ladder.
Climbing Up To Paint The Top
I can comfortably paint one whole section (one coat), starting at 7:00 AM, and finishing at about 9:00 AM. Just perfect, as it really starts to heat up about then.
Hard At It
And, just as a reminder, these are several photos of me actually working. Not only working, but working up a sweat too. Proof positive that it can be done.
Paying Attention To Details
This evening, we were going to have Alan and Elsie over for a farewell dinner. Wouldn't you know it, about an hour and a half before, we lost current (electricity). We called them and apologized that we were going to have to cancel the dinner. Too bad. I was looking forward to having some of that Kielbasa. Oh well, two large helpings of a very nice salad helped satisfy my hunger.

Tomorrow Doug and I will be heading to Belize City, to stop at Duke Marine and pick up some wide nylon webbing for Kent, the upholsterer I'm using for this project, to bind around the edges of the shade cloth. He's already got the grommets (I think). If all goes well, we might have the awning in place by the first of next week.

Tuesday, I go back to Dra. Monica to have the root canal... Finally. Even with Dr. Jose's surgery from Thursday a week ago, My mouth is still really sensitive to hot and cold. Major bummer.

That's it for now.

Cheers.

03 April, 2011

Yet Another Sunday Morning Grab Bag

Wow! It's always amazing what slips through the cracks, or doesn't seem to fit with whatever rant I've got going at any particular time.

I hope you enjoy this edition.

We'll start this off with a picture of one of the prettiest houses in Corozal. I don't know who owns it or anything else about it. The color selection they made is just perfect with shades of mocha and milk chocolate. The fancy railings on the balcony and fence lend a nice touch, and the iron work of their gates and burglar bars really set off the place in a spectacular fashion.

Off hand, I'm not sure of the street it's on, although we walk past it almost every day (Isn't that how it always goes?). Anyway, it's on the cross street right behind Gomez Cement and Building Supplies, if you're familiar with that part of town.
One Of The Prettiest Houses In Corozal
 Next, a happy hour. What would life be like without that to look forward to each week? Back in the day, we used to gather weekly at Jim and Melanie's poolside and share tall tales and conviviality. It was something that folks just kind of took for granted that it was always going to be that way.

Alas. Such was not the case as Jim and Melanie moved back to Florida a few months ago. We've been trying to keep the tradition alive and several folks have been divvying up the hosting duties for happy hour. This time a few weeks ago, was our turn. Unfortunately, we didn't have much protection from the sun, so you can see folks huddled in the shade. That's why we're putting in the awning, so we can not only control the pool temperature, but will make most of the deck usable more often. Anyway, as usual, it was a fun time, very casual and relaxed - the way it should be.
Happy Hour On The Pool Deck
Next, we'll move on to the wild west - Belizean style. A while back, I was enroute to Belize City with Denis (I think). Anyway, we were pleasantly slowed down by a group of cowboys moving their stock from one field to another. I happened to grab my camera and snapped a couple of shots of the action. It was kinda fun seeing that. Been years and years since I've been near to cattle like that.
Head 'Em Up, Rawhide!
Here's what I think is a little better shot of the cowpoke's in action.
Belizean Cowpunchers At Work
 And, last, but by no means least, we purchased another painting by local Corozaleño Fred Trejo. I guess we like his work. This is the third painting by him that we've gotten. We don't have that much room for artwork, but it's hard to resist.
Another By Fred Trejo
Ok, that's it for this edition of the Sunday Morning Grab Bag. Now step away from the computer and go do something. Me? I'm going to have something soft to eat (chewing on the left side of my mouth only) and then I'm going swimming cause by then, it'll be pool time.
See Ya.

DIY Plate Hanger

Although it was tempting to follow Red Green's advice and just use duct tape to solve the problem, I found a neat solution to this: Dianna had a large (18" dia.) serving plate that she wanted hung over the stove in the pool house.
Where The Plate Needed To Go
I procrastinated the appropriate amount of time (as you do) and then yesterday morning, I jumped on the Intertubes to see if I could find a heavy-duty plate hanger that could handle this large plate.

Sure enough, after cruising through several websites I did find one that would work. The price was a little on the steep side, I thought, being about $25.00 US for the plate and about $6.00 shipping in the US. So, if I had it shipped down here, there's an additional $25 - $30 or more if they sent it UPS or FedEx. Nobody seems to use the USPS for shipping. Although their service seems to be as good as anyone else. Or, I could have it shipped to Roy and Son Trucking, to be brought down with their normal shipment of every couple months. Or, I could find a willing traveler who was coming down anyway and would volunteer to stuff the item into their luggage.

As it turned out, I did something entirely different. On their website, they had a photo exposé of just how well their heavy-duty plate hanger was constructed. In looking over the photos, I thought to myself that I could just as easily make something very similar and save a bundle - plus, I'd have it either that day or shortly thereafter.

So, after showering and dressing, I took the girls for their expected (make that almost mandatory) ride and stopped at Villa's Imports hardware store. I went in hoping to find some sort of heavy wire that I could bend to fit the plate, maybe some vinyl tubing to cover it to protect the plate and some large cable ties to bind it all together.

Lo and behold, they had 1/8" bronze brazing rod in 36" lengths, vinyl tubing in exactly the right diameter to fit the rod, and cable ties that would work (I used four ties instead of the preferred two).

When I got home, I made a small bending jig out of a hunk of 2x4 and three nails that I had on my bench, made the appropriate measurements of the plate and bent the rod, which was pretty stiff stuff into the shape necessary. I measured and cut the vinyl tubing into four pieces, dunked them in water to provide some lubrication as I slid them onto the bent bronze rods. After that, I checked the fit on the plate, and bound them together with the cable ties.
A Most Professional Job
Wow! It really did look like a professional job.
Front View Of The Hanger
Next, I took the plate and hanger, along with my drill and a couple of bits down to the pool house. Thinking that I would be able to drill through the white subway tile in the kitchen back=splash, I was ready to go. Not so fast. Of course, that would have been the easy way to do it. But after measuring, it turned out that I would have to drill through one of the small glass tiles on the back-splash.

Hmmm, that's a problem. Would it be better to to just remove the tile in question and drill a hole to seat the anchor for the screw? Well, if I'm going to have to do that, I might as well try and drill through the tile. That way, if it breaks, I was planning to remove it anyway.

So, I taped up the tile and proceeded to gently drill with two sizes of concrete bits through the tile.
Taped and Drilling In Progress
 Surprise, surprise. It actually worked. I ended up with a small dinner-plate fracture in the tile, but a nice, perfectly sized and positioned hole through which I inserted the plastic anchor and drove in the screw that would hold the plate.

I then took the plate and hanger and gingerly hung it from the screw. Not bad. I even managed to get it centered vertically and horizontally. Something that always impresses Dianna when I do it right.
Nice Looking Addition To The Kitchen
Counting time from when I looked on the Intertubes for the product, to actually stepping back and admiring my handiwork, I had spent about two and a half hours - and saved a veritable bundle in the process.

It's Like A Root Canal Only Different

No it isn't. It's exactly that - It's a damned root canal, or, at least it will be. A few days ago, we were enjoying a nice dish of lasagna that Dianna had made, when suddenly - Crunch! Bright lights went off and something like a dagger was jammed up into my skull from my jawbone.

Well, after coming down from the ceiling, I managed to gingerly check my teeth on the right, upper side of my jaw. It felt like everything was still in place. Still hurt like hell but nothing seemed to be missing.

I figured I'd go ahead and finish eating and maybe see if I could finagle a quick appointment with Dra. (Dra. is the Spanish abbreviation for Doctora, the femine of Doctor) Glenda Major. She's a dental surgeon who lives just up the road from us. She also has her clinic on the back part of her lot, convenient for her as well as us as it's within an easy walk from our house.

First time I went to a dentist's office after dark. 6:30 PM, I knock on her door. She buzzed me in and I'm in her simple and efficient waiting room. Of course, there was the usual form to fill out - no not for insurance, but just some personal information and dental history.

After that, I was admitted to the surgery. A nice, clean dental room with the contour chair, overhead light that always seems to shine into your eyes when you're the patient, and something I haven't seen for years in a dentist's office - the swirly-water spittoon beside the chair. I always enjoyed seeing that appliance. Most times nowadays, a visit to the dentist makes you think water is severely rationed. They give you a tiny little squirt and the suction tube whisks it away before you even have a chance to do a good swizzle and spit. Well, at Dra. Glenda's, there'll be opportunity to do just that.

For this evening, she concentrated on my broken tooth and not an overall exam and cleaning. That will come later. She poked and prodded very gently and blew compressed air gently over the tooth which got a rise from me. That confirmed to her that this, indeed, was the problem tooth.

She determined that the tooth did need a root canal to be performed before it could be crowned. Unfortunately, she doesn't do root canals. So my first visit to her ended rather shortly.

Dra. Glenda did refer me to another dentist for the root canal. That is Dra. Monica Vasquez, who along with her husband, who is an internal medicine doctor, have a clinic and pharmacy (Hope Medical - Dental Centre & Pharmacy), located in downtown Corozal.

I managed to get an appointment with her the following morning when we went through similar forms and formalities. Her office was similar to Dra. Glenda's. Anyway, after her exam, she determined that the break in the tooth was too deep for her to deal with in its present state and that I would have to see a dental surgeon who had the necessary equipment to perform the needed surgery. In this case, that involved removing a bit of the gum and some bone around the tooth, before she could complete the root canal.

So, from her place, I had to wait a couple days to head over to Chetumal, Mexico, to visit Dr. Jose Alberto Solis. He has offices in Merida and in Chetumal. His Chetumal office is open only on Thursday and Friday. I managed to coerce Edna, our housekeeper to go with me in case translations were needed. She also helped with navigation.

Dr. Jose admitted us into his surgery. After reading the notes Dra. Monica sent along, he asked a couple of questions - allergies to anesthetics, etc., and then it was into the chair. Interesting tidbit - both Dra's Glenda and Monica had assistants to help. Dr. Jose runs a one person shop.

Anyway, after making all necessary preparations, Edna went back out to the waiting room and I jumped into the contour chair. Bing, bang, boom - about a half-hour later I was done. It was a virtually painless experience. I left his office with what felt and tasted like a whole pack of chewing gum stuffed into my gum to protect the surgery area till it could begin to heal. It was actually a very nice experience, as far as such things go.

I bet you're wondering about costs... Uh huh, I thought so. Ok. Here goes. The initial consultation with Dra. Glenda cost $20.00 BZD. Dra. Monica's consultation cost $15.00 BZD. For the surgery, Dr. Jose charged me $1,700.00 MXP. Translate all that into US dollars, it comes out like this: $20.00 BZD = $10.00 US, $15.00 BZD = $7.50 US, and $1,700.00 MXP = $139.86 US, for a grand total so far of $157.36 US.

Of course, I'm not done yet. I still have to get the root canal and crown, but no complaints at all about the costs. More than reasonable. And the care, although with probably not the newest, flashiest equipment or facilities, was absolutely first rate.

I'll be posting more on this in a few days. I go back to Dr. Jose's on this coming Thursday to have him exam how I'm healing. If everything is ok, then it's back to Dra. Monica for the root canal and crown ceremony, and finally, back with Dra. Glenda for cleaning and possibly a couple of fillings, or at least replacing old, old metal fillings with plastic or whatever they use now. So, stay tuned.