Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Smell of the Paint, the Lure of the Hardware

We finally visited the Ace Hardware store in Morelia yesterday. We first heard of it a few years ago, when someone was looking for canning jars and lids. We'd passed it a few times when driving along the Avenida Acueducto in search of culinary and other pleasures.

I must be honest. Do-it-yourself projects are not in my repertoire. I do enjoy visiting the amazing, seemingly cluttered ferreterías of Pátzcuaro, grouped conveniently about la Plaza Chica for the most part. They are a time machine back into the hardware stores of my youth, but in Spanish.

Nothing therein is self-service. It's a studied ritual of waiting at the counter for help; waiting while the employee looks for the item, often back in the bodega, then comes back with the item(s). If you decide to buy it, they give you a ticket which you take to the cashier's window, where you wait a moment, pay, get ticket slip stamped, return to the pickup window, where your purchse is waiting upon surrender of the pagado ticket.

Ace Hardware Morelia is a bright, modern store with shiny fixtures, broad aisles and gadgets that gringos like. It also has at least one cheerfully helpful saleswoman who goes out of her way to assist you.

At Ace Hardware, you checkout as in a supermarket; your purchases are scanned; credit and debit cards are accepted, and off you go, out the automatic doors.

We entered hoping to find Rid-X, which they didn't have, but left with two metal flyswatters, a hanging soap dish for the kitchen sink, suction cup hooks and a 40 foot retractable clothesline reel.

We ran the gauntlet of tempting 1/2 gallon (and smaller sized) canning jars, canning lids; frying splatter shields, OXO kitchen tools, barbecue and grill tools, heavy duty fireplace gloves; Coleman Camp Stoves and fuel, and too many more items to list here.

This morning I started to think about where inside the house to mount the retractable clothesline reel and quickly eliminated most locations as inappropriate and awkward. I finally found one spot in the second bedroom (which is also my computer room.) where we might get 10 feet of the line extended. I also realized the almost the same thing could be accomplished with some clothesline and two hooks drilled and screwed into the wall. Cost of lesson: about $30 USD. (However it's retractable. Wow.)

But it was possibly worth it for the entertainment value of visiting an American style hardware store in Morelia.

Avenida Acueducto # 3175 A,
Colonia Matamoros C.P. 58240
Tel: (443) 315 8161

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Two Years in Las Cuevas

August 3 was a red letter day for us. It marked the second anniversary of our life here in el campo, specifically, in La Casa de Gloria en Las Cuevas.

To celebrate, we made a party for our neighbors and friends on Saturday, August 2nd. They have been so friendly to us and had shown us many kindnesses.

We had no idea how many people would show up; we estimate from 25 to 75. As it turned out, we had about 35 guests. Our neighbors, Sra. Chucha and Sr. Mateo lent us tables and chairs, as did our neighbors on the other side, the venerable Sra. Jesús and Sra. Praxedes. Our Alabama American neighbors brought us a tent and 2 chairs. We were set. Guests began to arrive at 2:15 and by 2:25 all were present

The menu was simplified from a similar party from December 10th, 2006:
Two salads, 4-bean or Italian coleslaw; pasta mushroom and cheese bake; pizzas. We also served soft drinks and beer was available, but almost no one took a beer.

The expected tormenta de lluvias arrived, but we were dry under the entryway where the guests gathered.

When it was over, Susan and I were tired yet happy. It was worth the work.

I'll give more details of the pizzas and recipes for the salads on my food blog, My Mexican Kitchen. (coming soon).