Sunday, December 4, 2011

Never a Dull Moment…

The past week has seen more activity of a sort that one doesn’t really wish for. My new guys working for three days from November 30 to last Friday are Luis, a mason, and Jesus, his helper. Since the helper has a bit of free time between chores for the mason, I had asked Jesus to help me check on the state of my batteries used for the house, in conjunction with the solar energy. The panels were on the RV’s roof and COVERED with dust. The batteries are housed in a very small cubbyhole difficult of access. They are the Deep Cycle type and quite heavy. I had long suspected that they might need an addition of distilled water. The problem was that I could not locate where to get distilled water around here. First difficulty. The second was swiftly on the heels of the first one; who would help me do it?

That task took a number of weeks to complete as I was (as all of you are probably aware of…) without wheels. I was finally successful in locating a place where the right stuff was available and bought two liters. Then, I had to wait until I found someone available to help me with that chore. More weeks went on without any kind of progress, until Jesus (the helper) came into the picture. I’m sorry to state that this is often the difficulty and frustration of dealing with what we, up North, would consider daily humdrum realities of life. (I’ll add that living in Mexico has many redeeming qualities… and that they fortunately far outweigh the problems).

Jesus quickly warmed up to the task. I have two 6 volt batteries connected in a series and a 12 volt one connected to the others in parallel. (For the purists out there, I know that it isn’t the ideal method, but it was all that my cubbyhole could hold.) I asked him to disconnect first, then to hold together those wires that were connected together and label. He did his very best but it was mid-afternoon and he was tired. The sun was getting low on the horizon as we’re more than 6,000 feet above sea level. Unknowingly for him and unbeknownst to me, he created a short circuit.

When I looked at the regulator, I saw that from a reading of 9.8 (a terrible reading) it was rapidly going down to 8…. then 7.1, the final reading. That’s when I remembered that I should have covered the solar panels before proceeding with checking on the batteries and adding water to the cells. To my eyes, tragedy had struck because of my lack of awareness. The inverter was uncheckeable reading totally blank as was the regulator, the fridge would not start for lack of sufficient power to generate a spark, and neither was the water heater. What to do?

Nothing, other than to cover the solar panels (albeit a tad late for that!) light up the candles and pray. Jesus had called on a friend who was a full-fledged electrician but could not, and should not have either, come this late in the day. Diego (the electrician) came promptly at 8 A.M. yesterday, the following morning and I had to tell him my sordid story of neglect. Not a proud moment in my life. His first task was to check on the state of the batteries. My 12 volt one registered at 2.8!!!!! Honestly, I thought that short of fervent prayers to the God/ess of Batteries, nothing could be salvaged.

We took it to town for recharging (using his car) and left it there. The 6 volt ones were both ok. Then, Diego’s car gave up (in despair?) shortly after he’d gotten home from Tequis. He came back a few hours later with a 12V fully charged but only by taking the local bus with the battery to make it back to my lot. All of that had taken from 8 AM to about 3 PM, allowing an hour for lunch. Diego went to work. Very professional. After high school, he had taken 3 years to complete his requirements for Industrial Electricity. In Mexico, there are 3 levels—Domestic, Commercial, and Industrial—the last requiring one year more of schooling. He was so generous with his help and time that I decided right then that he would have the contract for the electrical installation of the house. His pay? $300. pesos a day; that is about $25.00!

The long and short of it is that I again have power, in spite of my failings, and can use my computer. This kind of problem is why I opted out of RV’ing full time. As available as were the helpers and the knowledge of full time RV’ers in the beautiful Arizona desert, there were 5 more months of uncertainties on the road where qualified help wasn’t always available or was frightfully expensive. Tomorrow or the day after, photos will be taken showing the construction progress. It’s awesome! I swear endless gratitude to the Powers-that-Be for always providing me with the kind of help that I need. Uncanny!

So let not my small tribulations be a deterrent for getting on with your dreams and projects. We, as women, do not shirk and wither away from giving birth, do we? And men, do you shy away from producing offspring despite the hard labour and commitment to come in caring for them? If you have children, you certainly know what I’m talking about.

So I go on. As you also must go on. Life isn’t always easy, but it’s certainly worthwhile!

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