Thursday, September 22, 2011

Progress at Home and in My Head

I guess I'll survive the week.  Sleep has been elusive, but the daylight hours have been OK.  "Vale," as they say in Spain.  (OK, Cool, Fine, Great.)

Monday night — Dale's birthday — Jerry and I went to Carmela for dinner.  The service was, as always, warm and friendly.  The mojitos were not, as they usually are, delicious.  Remember "Carmela" who walked around like she owned the place?  Well, her name's not Carmela.  It's Mai.  Her son manages things, and he is extremely nice.  He asked how things were and I told him the mojitos were kind of odd and not as good as usual.  He had them made again, but they still were disappointing.  Apparently, they had different brown sugar and it completely changed the consistency.  Oh well.  I drank mine anyway and Jerry and I toasted to Dale's memory.


On the walk over, I noticed that Jerry appeared to be a bit down.  He told me during dinner that his mood had crashed.  I told him simply and directly that it wasn't his turn.  We have an unwritten rule that we can't both be totally out of sorts at the same time.  It was my turn.  He laughed, said I was right, and saved it for another day.  What a trooper.


Tuesday afternoon, I met Albert and Co. for a quick beer.  Always a pleasure.  Jerry and I then had a delightful dinner out with Margarita, who saw our apartment for the first time and gave it a rave review and her Sevillana Seal of Approval.


Tuesday evening, Jerry said he would give the English-language customer service line at Vodafone one more try to see if we could make any progress with our home phone.  Our assumption was that he would again be unsuccessful and I would then walk over to the Vodafone store and put up a bit of a stink.  He phoned.  He got a wonderful rep, who had him explain everything and then repeated it back to him to make sure he clearly understood.  He then got the technical department on the line and worked with them while translating to Jerry.  He would instruct Jerry to do something and ask for the results.  He'd then relay the info to the techies for more input.  He finally asked how the phone was plugged into the router — in line 1 or line 2.  The Telefonica installer had it plugged into line 2.  The rep told Jerry to change it to line 1.  Jerry did so and the problem was solved.  We had service.  Jerry, in his exuberance, offered the rep 28 gold stars.  The rep was very excited to have them.  So, we are grateful to an individual at Vodafone who was smart, helpful, diligent, and successful.  We are not grateful to the other six phone reps at Vodafone who lied to us for three weeks.  The rep gets 28 gold stars.  Vodafone gets a thumbs down.


This morning we met Albert for breakfast at Casa Santos.  We hope he appreciates how special he is to see us cleaned up and out of the house for a 9:20 breakfast.  Lola joined us.  She and I are going to start getting together twice a week for an hour at Santos. Tuesdays we'll speak only English and Thursdays we'll speak only Spanish. Margarita happened to drop by while we were there and we all had a great time together. Jerry and I then joined Margarita for a walk over to Calle Feria. Every Thursday morning, there is an antiques and second-hand market in the neighborhood. Lots of people.  Lots of wonderful finds. Lots of junk. Margarita found some great old books. Jerry and I, the former conspicuous consumers, saw loads of things our old selves would have snapped up.  We resisted.  We were seriously tempted by a spectacular ceramic pot in an elegant wrought iron stand. It would be great in the living room for a large plant. I asked the price and was told it was from Triana (well, no surprise that ceramic work in Sevilla would come from across the river in Triana where most of the ceramics were made) and it was 400 euros ($600). We passed. Instead we bought three beautiful, intricate, antique brass handles that we needed for our dining room cabinet and a cabinet in my bedroom. Total cost: 12 euros. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks.



  1. Sounds like you guys are really establishing nice friendships and routines. Hector and I can't wait to do the same in Madrid! X

  2. Steve: Have you decided to move? Exciting!

  3. "We have an unwritten rule that we can't both be totally out of sorts at the same time."

    Carlos and I have the same unwritten rule!
    Works rather well, too.

  4. Bob:
    So glad to know you have the rule, too. It just naturally occurred and it is a lifesaver!

  5. (Last photo) Does this one expect you to haggle over the price? I'd be in danger of saying "However much you want, amigo, it's yours! Now come on - this way!" (Oh, darn it! Looks like he's already got someone ogling his goods.)

  6. Raybeard:
    I knew you'd like his sales pitch. The "ogler" was simply cutting between the sellers to head down the street. The poor guy didn't get much attention.

  7. Hello Mitch:
    We are delighted to know that you are feeling a little brighter about things in general and we are certain that Jerry is riding on the crest of the wave having sorted out all of the problems with Vodafone.

    The street markets look great fun - we should be coming away with all manner of plaster saints. But then we should quite like to have a private chapel and they would make a good start!!

    The English/Spanish days sound to us to be an excellent swap idea.

  8. you guys are so cute, an unwritten rule to not be down at the same time...that made me smile:)

    the photo of the silver fraimed lady and child...I WANT :)

  9. J&L:
    I have been so tempted to start collecting "virgins." Are you familiar with the song,"I don't care if it rains or freezes, long as I got my plastic Jesus, sittin' on the dashboard of my car"?

  10. David:
    That "rule" just sort of developed of its own free will; and it definitely works.

    Oh, there was so much kitsch (and good stuff) that would be so much fun to own!

  11. Now that it's fall, I'll be interested to hear how your weather changes. I know it's not likely to change much in the near term, but I'm wondering if you'll have horribly cold days (like 70F) as fall progresses. lol.

    Keep us posted, 'k? I know, I could just look up the weather online. But it's more fun to hear you describe it.

  12. Walt the Fourth:
    It's a balmy 71F right now and is expected to only get up to about 79 today. We have all our doors and windows open. Fall is in the air.

  13. I was wondering where all the junk I've been getting rid of has gone. Who knew that they shipped it to Spain! Thanks for buying my old brass handles.

  14. Again a wonderful post Mitch.
    [Trying to catch up on some of the blogs I read].

  15. Come to think of it we also have and practice that same unwritten rule! It sure does feel good that there is always someone to 'catch you', doesn't it!
    I would be so lost with the language barrier but the culture there would certainly help me along.

  16. Jim:
    It's funny (and fortunate) how those "rules" develop.

    We have no regrets about our decision to move to Sevilla, even with the language challenges. And the people we meet are extremely welcoming and helpful. (But we are quite often lost!)

  17. Hi Mitch,
    Fabulous blog. I wandered here as I was l looking around to see what I liked and I like this a lot. Great street market photos. Good to hear that your move to Seville is turning out to be a good decision. I'll be back very soon.
    I am putting you my favourite blog list.

  18. Oh yes and I am following your blog too.

  19. The Cuby Poet:
    Thanks so much for visiting. I hope to see you often. I just visited your site and have begun to enjoy your beautiful poetry.


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