Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

I got up once during the night and woke up thinking the alarm was going to go off at 4:45 so I was awake from then until it really went off at 5:45.

Last night we finished Pulp Fiction before we went to bed.

I forgot to mention that one of the things I tried to do last Tuesday was call Social Security via Skype but I was unsuccessful.

I checked the MBE website and it says the “clothesline” stuff is now “in transit”.

We left the finca at 7:15 and were 4th in line at BanColombia in Caldas at 7:40.  They opened promptly at 8am and after a short wait we went into an office to speak to a lady working there.  It appeared that Teresa first got a new BanColombia card of some type.  Then we got into another line and paid 164,000 for the Direct TV bill.  I think there might have been an extra 10mil charge because we were a little late.

I took a little cash out of the ATM machine next door and then we walked a few blocks to the Aymará panaderia/restaurant where Teresa had lasagna and a juice and I had a waffle with strawberries and whipped cream with coffee for a total of 22,100.  She had never seen anything like my waffle before, she liked the tastes I gave her and she said we could make that at the finca (of course).  

We stopped at an Internet Café but we weren’t able to reach Social Security from the instructions we were given.

We took a bus to Envigado and stopped at another Internet Café.  This time I got through to a rep after only a 33 minute wait.  I answered all the identification questions correctly but he wasn’t able to fax me a Benefits letter because they don’t fax out of the US and he couldn’t fax to the number in the US that James Lindzey gave me because I’m not in the same room with the fax machine.  After he said that, I realized that James forewarned me last year to say I was at the fax machine in the US but I can’t do that after telling him I’m by the Fax in Medellin and my address is MBE in Miami.

I learned that the SS Call Back offer you hear at the beginning of the call won’t work for me being out of the country.

The rep did say he would send a copy to my address on record in Miami (MBE).  He also told me I could go to the US Embassy in Bogota and they would print it out for me.  I wonder how much else they could do to help me.  I paid about 24mil for the call.

We took another bus to Oviedo CC where Teresa thought she could find inexpensive bluejeans.  We walked around several stores and she did find some blouses she thought Laura might like, some fancy pillow cases, and a couple ponchos.  I saw a poncho I liked for me at “de mi manos” for 90,000 (about $45) that I thought might do a good job of keeping me warm in the finca.  That might make more sense than buying lots of new t-shirts.

We had lunch in their food court.  We each had the chicken teriyaki and drinks at Sarku’s for a total of 33mil.

We stopped in a store and I saw some shoes (for about $100) similar to moccasins and I talked to an English speaking salesman who believed I wouldn’t be able to find moccasins in Medellin.  I’ll probably order some for myself next month from the States.

Outside Oviedo it wasn’t very hot or sunny so we walked down to MBE.  I paid the 30mil for December’s rent and 23mil for the umbrella I received last month.  They had the Nintendo although the box was open on one corner.  I paid 24mil for the Nintendo and then another 86,150, that I paid with my debit card, for God knows what.  I asked the young lady working there if “in transit” meant the item is in Bogota and she said “yes”.  Back at the apartment later I found another MBE receipt for 35,850 so I don’t know what’s going on.

We took a taxi to the highway where we caught a bus back to Caldas.  We got off at a side entrance to the town and walked across the street where Teresa found Ramiro in his workshop.  He showed us the very solid wood is is going to use for the supports (stringers) and steps (tread).  He expects to start assembling it on Monday.

We walked towards Caldas itself and stopped at the edge of town at her brother’s little café.  His name is James and I understand he is the youngest member of the family.

After a visit of about an hour we waited another 20-30 minutes for a bus to take us back to the finca.

It was getting dark as we walked past the killer dogs and I had to use a few more sprays.  I don’t have much left from my first can.

I sent an email to the US Embassy in Bogota requesting more information on the services they could provide for me in renewing my Pensionado Visa.

I unpacked the Nintendo and the console made a rattling sound when I moved it but after I hooked it up it worked fine.

We all played Mario Bros and Mario Kart for the rest of the evening.

I took my medicine at 9:15 and we went to bed at 10pm.

T-shirt of the day: Pretty ugly. (And yes, she was!)

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