Sunday, April 5, 2015

Mae Sai - Fun Around the House - Easter 2015

Please forgive my spelling and punctuation, I'm a plumber and not an English major. Just read and have fun.
We have been staying close to home and doing things around the house. that is except a few side trips for medical reasons and supplies. 

March 23rd, We are on our way to the hospital in Chiang Rai for another shot in my knee.

We stopped at our friend Jan's Coffee Shop. She was in good spirits, as usual. We love to hang out with happy folks.

We love the layout of her little shop as it has a tree growing up through it. 

I'm not a big lover of "Joke", a boiled rice mash or soup, but I'm told she makes some of the best "Joke". 

We're at hospital, so far so good. It's Monday so it is busy here. We parked our pickup truck in the big lot and hitched a ride to the front door.

The receptionist took my name and told us to be seated.

In a couple of minutes I was called up for vital signs. My blood pressure was a little high. To much coffee this morning?

The doctor that did the last shot was not here so we had Dr. Rathaphol Nithinunkulphat, MD do this one. He was right on with the injection and there was no pain, YEA!

We made an appointment for next Tuesday with him.

Total charge today, because we bought the medicine last week, was 643 THB, about $19.96 USD.

And we were in and out in a little over an hour. We love Thailand. 

March 24th, It rained a little last night so the air is much clearer. We can even see the sun.

Here is a picture a friend sent me of the sunset at the border crossing last night. 

With five bathrooms and two inside kitchens we always have repairs to make. Today we had coffee and installed a new faucet and drain trap on the 3rd floor east bath.

Then we moved to the 1st floor and installed a new trap on the sinks off the ironing area.

Because the drain lines are cemented into the wall piping we have to wait a couple of hours to test the drain lines.

I might add that this third floor, east restroom is the only bath that has a squat toilet.  It takes a little practice to get it right. The method I promote is elbows on the knees method. 

I laugh as even the kids squat on the western style toilets. 

With that said we're off to lunch. 

We had a nice bowl of chicken noodle soup for lunch. 

I know I have said this before but Thais usually only use chop sticks to eat noodles in noodle soup. 

I use a fork and spoon like eating spaghetti. The Thais laugh at me. 

Folks ask me why I wear a headband, all the time. I just tell them it is to keep my hair out of my eyes. 

March 25th, It is early morning, the worker bees are up and taking care of things. 

The rest of the lazy, eat and sleep side of the family is still sleeping.

As for me, I sanded off the concrete rendering with a sanding stone and put a finish coat on the patched wall.

After it dries for 24 hours, I can sand and put a coat of primer on these areas. 

I'm sorry I spoke badly of Miss Queen Bee, Nuy. 

She did get up at around 8:25 to give Foey, the baby, her medicine after Hlong's and Daeng washed all the dishes, baby bottles and then cleaned the house. 

For breakfast it's some spicy noodle and bamboo tips. 

The bamboo is cut up and dipped in spicy sauce.

In the picture, Daeng is showing it on a chop stick but it is usually eaten with fingers. 

Yee came by and we talked about installing the new lights and painting the ceiling. 

The ceiling in this part of the house is over 17 foot high, that is 5 plus meters.

He will be here Monday with the scaffolding. We figure 3-4 days work. We agreed on a price for the work for labor, 4000 THB (about $124 USD) plus 150 THB (about $4.65 USD) a day for scaffolding. 

After he left we moved some of the tables in the outside cooking area and painted two sections of wood trim.

Daeng told me that should be it for the day. I agreed. I think it is time for lunch. 

March 26th, This morning we rode our bikes to the local morning market and had coffee and Pa Thong Ko. My guess is about 2 mile round trip.

The market kids still look at me with this bewildered look in their eyes. 

We came home from the market also to a bunch of kids hanging out at our place.

Hlong, Daeng's sister-in-law, is a kid magnet. I think because she feeds them. 

You know the old saying: "Feed them and they will come."

Maybe another reason is we also have fast WiFi internet. 

Because it rained so hard last night the last coat of plaster is not real set and dry. We are going to wait another day to put on primer coat.

I spoke with attorney Jack on the telephone. He will be in Mae Sai this afternoon to work on getting my Thailand Residence Book, aka yellow book. We had retained him in the fall to help us get it.

Attorney Jack come to our home after visiting the government office here in Mae Sai. 

He said we need, in addition to the copies of everything he has already furnished, about 10 family pictures, copies of my new retirement visa, copy of new driver's license and two people from our area of the village to go to the office to vouch that we live here. 

One of the people must be a community leader and the other can be a neighbor. He will call us on Monday to let us know the date in the last part of April so we can arrange it with the two people.

We asked him what it is so hard getting a "yellow book" here and he said because we are right on the border of Myanmar (Burma) and everyone wants one.

As for me, I just feel they are making it so hard to get that most folks won't do it.

You can read more about trying to get a "yellow book" in this story: CLICK HERE

By the way, due to the appointment booking at the government office we won't be able to do this until fall. 

It is not really a big deal, I would just like to be completely legal as a resident.

Daeng just came home with fresh strawberries. They were about $2.11 USD a pound. They were sweet and pretty.

March 27th, I try not to put my heart out publicly but I got tears in my eyes last night. While I was riding my motorbike back from returning an item to Tesco.

Yes, Tesco has an unconditional return policy, very similar to Costco in the USA. You don't see that in this part of the world. Most store policies are: "You paid for it, too bad!"

In any case, I saw Kit, Daeng's nephew, was riding a motorbike without a helmet. The policy in our house is: " Wear a helmet 100% of the time." He has been on a long ongoing rebellion about wearing a helmet and at one point he even moved out of the house over it. He said: "It doesn't look cool."

The part that made me cry is that he promised me he would wear a helmet ALL THE TIME. I have all kinds of feelings over this. He is now 20 years old and has made promises to me in the past. I was taught that when you break a promise you set yourself up as a liar and you become dishonest.

I am trying not to take it personal but I have trouble being around people that are dishonest.

I am starting to understand why old people want to live alone. 

I need to work though these feelings and move on. I want to just be indifferent about it but I believe the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.

Here are some stories from our blog that talk about helmets and death:  CLICK HERE

On a lighter side, what Kit is holding in his hand in the picture above is an ice cream sandwich. That is two slices of white bread with ice cream in the middle. 

Last night, dinner with Sumo at Tesco and then ice cream at Dairy Queen. 

Life is good. 

March 28th, The Home Mart, the local paint store, was out of the paint we wanted so, by phone, we moved my doctor appointment in Chiang Rai up to this afternoon and we will get the paint at the same time.

So we picked up Daeng's bicycle from Fat Free Bicycle Shop. She had a shopping basket added so she could bring back stuff from the market.

We dropped that off at home and on the way south got our registration for the pick-up from "Ta" at Toyota.

Because it is almost lunch time we had to stop for BBQ chicken. 

The visit to the hospital and the shots in both my knees went great. 

We all had some fun.

We always need to have fun or we probably won’t stay around very long. 

What was really entertaining was watching seven workmen trying to clear a sewer line with a fire hose.

The more water they turned on, the more places it flooded.

Daeng and I had to leave that wing of the hospital because we were laughing so hard. 

After the hospital visit we went to the largest home center in Chiang Rai. They had the paint we wanted but it was over $20 USD more there than in our little town.

We asked the paint person why so much and she told us: "Because this is a big store." I get soooo confused sometimes.

We went to a small paint shop that Daeng knew of and bought it for the same price we paid here at home.

They were really nice folks and we are happy campers.

Daeng was not feeling well so I grabbed something quick to eat and we booked home without any other stops. 

March 30th, Yesterday I slept most of the day so we got busy this morning and moved all the laundry stuff into another room.

While we are waiting for Yee and the scaffolding I put a coat of paint on the wall repair.

Daeng fixed a little something to eat, as well.

Yee arrived with the scaffolding and set it right up.

Daeng gave Yee one of her hand made aprons, with pocket, to put all the screws, drill bits and stuff in. I think he looks great in it.

We then installed the plugs and hooks for the new lights and put the first coat of paint on about half of the place.

Yee's wife also pitched it. 

The rest of our family left the house without helping. They complained of the smell, poor folks. They live with the smoke from the jungle being on fire but a little paint smell is to much for them. 

I still haven't figured out why they never even ask if they could help us. 

After the earthquake, a few years ago, they wouldn't even help sweep up the debris. It must be me and my negative self. 

We had bought 5 US gallons of paint but it looks like we need 7.5 to 10 gallons more.

I will go the the paint store early, about 7:00 AM, and buy another 10 gallons. 

March 31st, Left the house about 7:00 AM and made the 60 kilometer drive in about an hour.

This really old paint store was not open yet so I sat and drank some of the coffee I brought with me. 

About ten minutes later an older fellow arrived and opened the place.

I told him what I wanted and he said since it had to be mixed I needed to wait for his assistant. TIT (This Is Thailand) 

When the boss man got here we made the deal for 10 gallons of the white, matt finish, wall paint and 2 gallons of the walnut base paint.

This place is an old, old, hardware and paint store. He has just about anything and knows where it is. 

The pricing is good, also. 

I got back with the paint just as Yee was running out of the white paint we had left last night.

After lunch I was really tired as I only slept about 2 hours last night. I kept thinking about all the things we had to do to make everything work. I told Yee and Daeng I needed a nap.

Daeng woke me up about 4:00 to tell me that the 2 coats of white paint was complete and ask me where the walnut colored paint was located for the wood on the glass enclosure ceiling. 

April 1st, We did it. We installed the four light fixtures and moved the scaffolding outside to dress up some of the outside wiring.

We loaded up the scaffolding in Yee's pickup, had some lunch and Yee left for home in Chiang Rai. 

Before he left we thanked him for doing a great job.

Daeng and I cleaned up and I painted the base.

Hlong, Tun, Daeng and I put most of the front area of the laundry back in order. 

We did change things around in placement to see if it would be easier; dirty clothes on the right, clean clothes on the left.

I did have words with Nuy, Daeng's neice, as she would not put her phone down to help.

I am powerless in that situation as this kid, now age 21, has been spoiled from birth. I thought we had entitlement problems with young folks in the USA but it is here, as well.  

April 2nd, Normal, busy morning at the Ban Pa Mueat Morning Market.

Daeng stayed home so I rode my bicycle to the market and had coffee, sticky rice, steamed pork, tea and Pa Thong Ko. 

During the time I was at the market, the laundry area had been changed from dirty clothes on the right and clean on the left back to clean on the left and the right and dirty clothes in the center.

Sometimes people like it the old way, even if it is harder to do things. 

Later in the morning I went to see our friend at the Internet shop by the border and took some tourists picture.

I also ran into the old, old lady that always laughs at me. 

In the fall, we spent a lot of time looking for her and we thought maybe she died.  

We are glad to know she is okay. We just love her. 

April 3rd, Daeng and I have been talking and we think we should make a visit to see our extended family in Ban AYO before the big water holiday Songkran.

Here are some past pictures of that family. 

With the craze of "selfie" sticks, I found one I like.

Daeng said she was going to cut it.

I think she was talking about the stick. I better clarify that before I go to sleep tonight.

Tun's Laundry is back in operation and he's smiling.

We love it when folks smile.

Even Foey is happy staying cool by sitting naked on the clean tile floor of the laundry ironing area.

Daeng put on a spread that she hand sewed from scrap pieces of material.

Let's see if it changes the mood in bed.

We stopped at the Toyota Dealer to pick up the insurance company papers. Ta, the sales person, suggested even though we only had a little over 5,000 kilometers on the vehicle, it was over a year old, it would be a good idea to change the oil, filter and service.

I asked how much money and was told with the 7 liter of semi-synthetic oil it would be about $40 USD.

We talked about 100% synthetic but because we only drive about 5,000 kilometers a year the semi-synthetic would do just great.

They did the service and washed it for us. We were back on the road in about an hour.

I watched them and they did a nice job. 

They gave us the 6 liter oil container in case we wanted to use it as an extra gas can. 

After the Toyota Dealer we went shopping for some rubber feet for the shelves and rubber casters for one of the clothes bars in the laundry.

We came home and Daeng made these great fish tacos. Yep, fish tacos right here on the Burma border.

We had a great day together. 

April 4th, Happy Easter to everyone. 

Easter is a christian holiday and since about 97% of the folks here are Buddhist it is not noticed except in the tourist areas. 

We made the deal for our home five years ago on Easter Sunday. To read that story just CLICK HERE

Eva Dasher of AARP put one of Thailand's beaches in the top 12 in the world for 2015.

And with over 1,400 island there are a lot of beaches. All of them, that we have seen, are beautiful. Here is a link to the top 12: CLICK HERE!

Another interesting thing today, in his E-Newsletter, I was quoted by Tom Blake. "From Terry, Thailand, aka "The Funny Plumber," who is married to a Thai woman, lives part of the year in Thailand and part of the year in southern California. Regarding background checks, he responded, "I had to go halfway around the world to find a lady that could not do a background check on me." Terry always puts a humorous and refreshing spin on topics."

Here is a link to his site: CLICK HERE!

I got a little sad this morning as my CPAP Machine leaked some water and the Melamine coated fiberboard, that the nightstand is made of, separated.

I guess if that is the worst thing that happens today, we will be okay.

Daeng and I went to the Mae Sai morning market. We stopped to buy some chicken on the way.

The market was busy. It was nice to see Koo Too and his family. His son gave me a big hug and a kiss. That is very unusual here.

The Burmese girl in the checkered shirt, named Ma Shwe, is looking for a farang (western person) for a husband.

I told her I was looking for a second wife, which is acceptable here. I told her I was having try outs. She talked to Daeng and declined. Anyway, I don't think I could handle two wifes.

We then stopped by to see if the Yeesun Hotel was opened after the flood as our friend Brian likes to stay here. It is back in business with 400 THB (about $12.50 USD) rooms this week.

The reason I say this week is next week is the big holiday and all the hotels will be full and charge higher rates. 

We walked the 30 meters to the river behind the Yeesun Hotel.

That is Myanmar (Burma) on the other side of the river. 

Here in Thailand, we need to rest up for the upcoming holidays. 

Starting this week it is almost non-stop partying. Monday commemorates the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty and the founding of Bangkok by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke in 1782. Officially known as King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke the Great Day and Chakri Dynasty Memorial Day.

This is followed by Songkran, the Traditional Thai new year, and the major holiday of the year. Many people return home for family reunions during this period. The first day is known as วันมหาสงกรานต์ (Wan Maha Songkran), the second as วันเนา (Wan Nao), and the third as วันเถลิงศก (Wan Thaloeng Sok). The 14th is also observed as Family Day.

For me, to sprinkle a little water on me and wish me good blessings is great. Throwing a 5 gallon pail of water at me while I'm going 40 miles an hour on a motorbike, that's terrorism. I'm just saying!

On the positive side there is food, boat races on the Mekong River and fun with the family.

My little buddies and I always have fun. 

In any case, Happy Keester!