Monday, March 12, 2012

Here's to Hoping

I have planted a garden.

This from the girl who, after I stopped getting paid five cents a bag to pick the "little yellow flowers" growing in my parents' backyard, despised just about everything garden related. I can pin it down to a few reasons. I think I was always on weed duty. No one wants to pick weeds. I also know that the dinner menu at the Hickey house from the day the first lettuce is ripe (Does lettuce get ripe? See. I'm a newbie.) to the day the last squash is picked (usually the size of a human arm because it somehow got lost under the leaves for 3 days too long) is salad. That was a long sentence, but the point is the fat child in me doesn't like the memory of constant salad consumption. I'm pretty certain I always got the one bug that didn't rinse away, too.

Those reasons, to me, are enough to be understandably put off by gardening. But, then I had a baby. And then I bought a house. Something about having a baby and having a house ignited the necessity for a garden. Must have plants to eat.

Last August when my Mom "The Green Thumb" came to visit, we went on a special outing to get plants. She chose hardy plants that would be the most likely to survive (aka I might have to try to kill them) and some herbs. Easy enough? Well, today, I can tell you that all of those plants are dead. Everything except for a little pine tree that I planted 4 years ago. Although, Ramon was happy to point out to me that it's probably still alive because (exact words translated) "they live even if you don't water them in six months." Ouch.

When we decided that the grass in our back patch needed to be changed, I excitedly suggested that we make a place for the garden. He looked at me, looked at the planters either empty or home to a dead plant, and looked back at me. "We" decided that the whole back patch would be grass for now. Oh yeah, I call it a back patch because I don't think it can quite be classified as a yard if it only takes about 3 steps to get from one end to the other.

I may not have a place in the patch for the garden, but I do have 6 plastic planters of various sizes. Having something other than dead plants in them was motivation enough for me to try again. That and a packet of seeds costs like a buck. We went to home depot (hard h sound from the back of the throat and please pronounce the t at the end) and AV chose peas, Ramon chose cherry tomatoes, and I chose radishes, carrots, parsley and basil.

I have no idea if I planted them correctly because the packet told me how to plant them by using centimeters of depth and distance apart from each plant and centimeters still are pretty much gibberish and not a real measurement in my book.

The good news is I remembered to water them today. The other good news is that I have them in the front so I have to walk by them at least twice a day which is conducive to watering, as well. The other other good news is that we got water finally over the weekend, so there's actually water with which to water them.

I planted approximately one dollar worth of seeds. If I get at least one dollar worth of vegetables out of the project, I'll call that a rousing success.

Here's to hoping.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sometimes it's just still the 3rd world.

I may drive a nice car.

I may make a decent (which is a very relative term) amount of money.

I may have a Master's degree.

My husband may have just been promoted.

We may have a new home.

...But, sometimes, some days, it just really kicks me in the face, to put it nicely, that I'm living in the third world.

How many of you have ever had to think about how and when the water gets into your pipes? How the water gets from the magic water world somewhere deep down under the Earth's surface into the shower and the toilets?

I'm willing to bet that not many.

Here in the C-wow (We'll call it C-wow since I'm also willing to bet it would take you about fifteen minutes to figure out how to pronounce Cuautlancingo, the name of the city where I live.) water is supposed to come in on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. We have a 5,000 liter cistern built under our driveway/front yard. 5,000 liters sounds like a serious amount of water, and it is. Topping it off every other day also sounds reasonable, if not more than enough. I would agree with you up until the little factoid that I failed to mention. The water is not always opened on the days when it's supposed to be. In fact, the last time I heard water falling was over a week ago and it only lasted for about 45 minutes. Before that, it had been over a month.

Now, since we've already paid the year's worth of water, a whopping 75 bucks (we got a discount for paying early. Cha-ching), I had the 1st world expectation that water would abound and everything would run like clockwork. 6 years in Mexico and I just can't seem to learn that things don't work the same way. The government offices which are half painted one color and half painted another, are open from 8:30-4:30. There is one person who can solve the problem. I called on Tuesday at 4:15 and got transferred, I mean hung up on. I called again at 4:16 and dialed the extension for the management and got the extension for the warehouse. I called again at 4:17 and the one person who could solve the problem wasn't in the office. But, I was assured that the message would be communicated and a solution would be found.

I have learned enough to doubt that response. On Wednesday, I rushed home after work, choked down lunch, grabbed AV and tried to get to the office before 4:30. I miraculously got there at 4:29. The one person who could solve the problem left at 4:28. Another message was taken. This time in a ratty, ripped up notebook where they wrote my name (and by my name I mean Ramon's name because after trying to spell and say my names for the last 6 years, I've opted to just use names that can be comprehended with ease), my (Ramon's) phone number and our address with a very detailed explanation. "No water, Solve." I left with the promise that the one person would get in contact with us first thing.

Today is Thursday. No water came in. The person didn't call. And Ana has learned what a washcloth bath and a bath in a bucket are. I have used the water from warming up the bucket bath to rinse off my dishes and we are considering the possibility of letting "yellow mellow," if you know what I mean. I am adamantly anti-mellow.

While this sucks as much as it does, I remind myself that I've lived a privileged life. I've never wondered where the water in the pipes comes from and when it might stop coming. Until 6 years ago, I opened the faucet and drank the water that came out. There are many (probably a majority of this planet's population) that have doubts about when and how they will get clean water, if clean water is, in fact, a plausible reality. Challenges call for creativity and open-mindedness, who would have thought that AV would get such a kick out of the washcloth and bucket baths?

My point? When you turn on your faucet tonight and water comes out, take a second to say thank you.