March Marbete Madness

Every year you need to get a new sticker for your windshield. It requires an inspection of your vehicle and waiting around. It’s dreadful. But last year my neighbor helped me out so this year I felt prepped. And I was certain that I didn’t have any toll road fines and my daughter was now in school so I shouldn’t end up crying at the DMV like I did the first year. Let’s go!

Inspection station


What’s a couple more minutes of waiting for the inspector to help move something out of the gas station?


There’s a marbete inspection spot at a gas station near the mall. It’s a glorified tent. You pull in, give the guy the papers your insurance company sent you in the mail, hand him a pile of official looking papers from your glove compartment (cause you can’t understand which one he needs exactly). He disappeares into his little office. Then he reminds you that you have until the 31st to get this done (in other words, why are you doing this in the 8th?) 

Five minutes later you pay and you realize that the ‘inspection’ didn’t even include him looking at your vehículo whatsoever. No light check, no exhaust check like the last two years. Maybe I look like the type that maintains my car well? (This explains a lot about why there are so many cars with blue plumbs billowing behind them on the road even tho yearly ‘inspections’ are necessary. 


For reasones I don’t understand the gas station can’t give my my new marbete sticker. I have to go to the CESCO (DMV). I knew this, so there I went. 

The parking lot was delightfully empty-ish but my optimism was squashed when inside I saw the line I needed was still 17 people deep. No prob. I had an hour before my yoga class

Fast forward a half hour and a lady hands me a triplicate form to fill out. Ok. I do. Then she looks at one of my many papers and tells me I need to go to another line to get a new paper. NOT THIS AGAIN! Since there is no one in that other line I don’t panic. That dude just needs my license then prints me a new sheet. I have no idea what this is for. 

Door to the office with signs reminding people to use manners haha


But I skip to the front of my first line and finally get seen. I wish I could take a photo of this office. But there’s about three signs admonishing anyone from using their phones or taking photos. There’s also a sign that reminds people that the magic word is gracias and that it’s polite to say disculpe when interrupting someone. Hahaha!

The lady at the desk informed me that I didn’t need to fill out the form in triplicate that I was handed so that’s now my souvenir. She also told me I have until the 31st do so this. (Why so early gringa?) I paid with my Visa, scoot outta there. I can now look forward to scraping off my old marbete. 

Only an hour and half of my time! And no tears! A success!

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Guilligan island

Trevor and I recently stayed at the Copamarina Resort in the south. My Dad and step-mom took care of our kids for three days. Yay! For $10 a person, the resort will ferry you over to the little Guilligan’s Island. Not a three hour tour, haha. A 7 minute ride. 

The main attraction is the mangroves and all the fish and coral that surround them. Just wanting to check it out for future visits, we didn’t have snorkeling gear. But we did enjoy watching the schools of fish in the very clear, and strong currented water. There are no facilities here except baños. Plenty of shade, no beaches to speak of, so get in the water and swim around!
Mangrove trees were interesting. Overall, I don’t think I’ll bring our kids here until they are. Enter swimmers and can do a bit of snorkeling. But I’d love to return with Trevor and full face snorkel masks!

Some nice people let us try their full face snorkel mask. Sold! Put it on my birthday list…

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Aguadilla bowling

I took the kids bowling while Trevor was in Barcelona last fall. We usually go ice skating Sunday mornings. Not wanting to skate without our entrenador (coach) we opted for another relatively obscure sport.

Straight outta the 80s, this alley was completely empty on a Sunday morning. Score! The kids got their 6 pound balls, their little slide for rolling the ball, and the gutter blockers down. In search of an appropriate ball for myself, I picked a 12 pounder. To which the employee suggested I might want something lighter. Wha? No, I’m good.

Later I’d find out that my daughter  was much sicker than I thought she was. She let me take her bowling turns while she curled up in the chair. Ok. I like bowling!

Ordered a pizza. Told it will take 45 minutes because they have to clean the oven. Uh. Alright. Employee tells me I handle the 12 pound ball well. I tell him my daughter weighs 37 pounds and I lift her up with a one arm swoop. Jeez buddy. Girls aren’t weak.  I eat watermelons bigger than 12 pounds.


Slowly more bowlers arrived. A family settled in next to us. I scooted the slide over there way in case they wanted to use it too. Then I saw that they brought their own shoes and bowling balls. They are our doppelgängers of the bowling world! That’s how we look at the rink with our own ice skates.

This facility also has tiny mini golf, tiny bumper cars, and (I assume) tiny laser tag.

The mini golf course. Better than nothing I guess.

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Our poor mirrors

Since moving here more than two years ago, I’ve had three side view mirror incidents. Now I’m done, right?

Yeah. Nothing like a morning shake up. Actually, I’m positive this happens all the time of these narrow mountain roads. Several times now I’ve seen the cars in front of me pass within inches of each other’s mirrors. And there are countless cars driving around with ‘naked’ side view mirrors. Or none at all. 

The second mirror incident happened here, at our gym parking lot. Just a little scratching against a concrete pillar as I reversed. These stalls are narrow!
The first mirror incident occurred not long after he moved here. A garbage dumpster was hanging out into the street and my passenger-side mere got completely tore off. As in, dangling by a wire. Oops. 

So if bad things come in threes I should be done now right? I’m sure that time I was slowly squeezing passed another car outside a school and our side view mirrors just kissed each other doesn’t count.

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Depósitos en el banco

I always feel a little bit guilty when I go to deposit my rent into my landlord’s account. Why? Let me explain how people use the bank here. They use the bank to pay their utilities and obviously do things like deposit their paychecks and withdraw money. I have a feeling they do a lot more because the lines are always forever long.


Except they have an express lane for simply paying a deposit. And that’s what I use to pay rent. I always feel a little bit guilty passing up the eight or 10 people who are waiting in the longer line but if that’s the way the bank has set it up then who am I to go against the flow? 

And I am eternally grateful for this process. Because I always come with my deposit slip already filled out. The bank might be the fastest place that I ever get in and out of. Just don’t ever use the drive-through. More about that later. 

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SPhoto chuckles

Teehee wisconsin smiley water tower

WI State Fair

Can’t make it more obvious! Found at a swing dance in Huntsville

 

Gas station humor en route to Airventure in Oshkosh

 

 

wait, does this club asking for donations work with animals, legos or robots? ?

 

aw man, Trevor. Hope you weren’t planning on getting any work done today

Wait, if you cut the mango like that, aren’t you just selling me the seed???

There wasn’t a door on the driver’s side either

Just park in the middle of the entrance. No prop

They forever have mail to send.

They forever have mail to send.

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Foto randoms

 

Embedded trash – keeps a neighborhood pretty. Lawn mower’s nightmare

Why does a pizza place need it’s own boat?

This pizza place must do booming business. And I highly doubt they’re paying royalties for that minion.

The kids show ‘Michael Recycle’ demonstrated how to recycle your Victoria Secret catalogues and old Vanity Fair magazines. I could see the cleavage from the balcony.

I’m sure the Taino natives would laugh at their name being thrown about at grocery stores – where you can inflate your own balloon and do your makeup in the Salon Taino.

Cheetos left out for 20 minutes at a party = stale Cheetos

When you try to get rid of old clothes and your 4 year old wants to squeeze into a 12 mo pajamas

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wordpress won’t let me rotate this…but this was a fun sign to read – facts about the planet Uranus…hahaha

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Christmas in the Plaza

Last year they had an ice rink.  Being much more practical this year, the Mayaguez plaza had carnival rides, DJs, and food vendors. Super fun and not many people there on a Monday night.

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The carousel was free! Thanks city.

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We ran into a school friend.  And Trevor did a skating lift with her, naturally.

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The ferris wheel in front of the church.

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I opted out of the Tilt-O-Whirl.  I’m getting old 🙁

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Trevor suggested I take a photo of the architecture and the moon.  Here ya go babe. 🙂

It’s still a little weird to be in such warm weather so close to Christmas.  But this definitely put me in the spirit!

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Size Matters

So during that flight I made this week, I told the instructor that I wouldn’t fly across Lake Michigan in a Cessna 172. And he chuckled at me!

I’m not a wimp. In that moment with the instructor, I forgot the exact reason why I didn’t fly over Lake Michigan. I just knew that it was too wide.  He chuckled again when I said that.

“How you even see a Great Lake?”

“No.”

“You can’t see the other side when you stand on the shore.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

I could tell he was still doubtful.

At home Trevor had the answer I forgot – even at the flight ceiling of the Cessna (the highest you can fly it) there was a short point in the middle of Lake Michigan we couldn’t have glided to land if our engine had failed.  No, gracias.

Being curious, I used overlapmaps.com to compare sizes.  It puts one geographic location on top another at the same scale.

michigan

3 Puerto Ricos could fit in one Lake Michigan! I don’t know why the menu on the left says Erie.  This is clearly Michigan.  Anyone who roots for the Green Bay Packers knows that’s Green Bay!

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Just for fun – Lake Superior too (the biggest Great Lake)

Nuff said. 🙂

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Me: Caribbean Fly Girl

Me flying in Puerto Rico today

I  first wanted to become a pilot when I started watching the cartoon Talespin in 1990. I was 11 years old. Trips to Oshkosh Airventure and watching the planes takeoff and land at our closest little airport, Timmerman, inspired me. Today I got to pilot a plane for the first time in the Caribbean, and it got me thinking about what it took to get to this point.

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My second flight EVER.

Above is a little photo of me of my 12th birthday. I got to see the cockpit! I was so excited! I eagerly told the two pilots that I wanted to be a pilot too. They laughed.  And one said I could work on this plane and bring them cookies. I nervously laughed too, not really understanding the sexist moment that just occurred.  They didn’t squash my fire. no no

A year later my middle school friend and I went to an informational meeting at Timmerman airport.  It was basic info for young people like us: what you need to earn your license, money and time involved. I loved it, but I knew it was too much money at the time.  After the meeting the head instructor came right up to me, looked at my sweat-shirt, and said gruffly, “You better not wear that here again!”

What was on my sweat-shirt? Olive branches around the USA and USSR flags, showing peace.  You see, my sister LisaMarie had just returned from a People-to-People trip to the USSR. The year was 1991 – Soviet Union would fall a couple months later. Maybe this guy was ex-military and hated the ‘reds’.  In any case, I felt puny and I have yet to set foot inside the terminal at Timmerman again. It’s 2016 now.  That’s a long time. That guy’s probably gone.  Or dead. And nobody cares about the Russians anymore. Sorry Russia.

2002. 22 years old…starting my flying lessons

The photo above is during my lessons at Morey in Madison. My boyfriend lent me money to reach my dream of being a pilot. What kinda boyfriend actually does that?? One you marry–haha

I earned my license in 13 months (and planned a wedding during that time too!).  I took a job as a line girl. Meaning – I got to wash all the oil, dirt and bugs off the airplanes, refuel them, mow the lawn, lean with all my might to open the old, frozen hanger doors, and tug (push and pull) the planes over uneven grass and mud. The airport was 70 years old. The fuel truck was from the 1960s.  It had no doors so I had to brush the snow off the seat in the winter, and pray it would start when I pressed the ignition button.  Most of the time I just flooded the engine! haha  oops.  Inside the building, the most direct path from the front office to the back shop hanger were we worked was through the men’s bathroom.  Yeah, I walked in on a guy once or twice. oops again.

I joined the 99s! It’s a club for female pilots started by Amelia Earhart herself. Met a bunch of awesome ladies.

I also had an old pilot guy tell me that if women were meant to fly, the sky would be pink. Ding dong. A) Up until WWII pink was a color for baby boys B) um, sunrise and sunset??

Call me Sully ’cause I hit a bird with my propeller.  Ok, bad analogy.  I didn’t do anything heroic except keep myself from tossing my cookies when the guts covered my entire windshield and I made my landing looking out the door window.  Aw, memories…

Since then I’ve flown a Cessna in the Swiss Alps, a glider and a Waco in Hawaii, and done a little aerobatics. Actually…I had another experience with the guy’s bathroom in an airport.  Sounds horrible – but no it’s funny.  I had to pee before our Alps flight, and didn’t want to be late, so I just dashed in the bathroom and when I exited the stall I noticed there were urinals in the bathroom. Wait, what? Yeah, as I was leaving the bano a dude gave me a funny look as he entered. well, I was excited and the sign on the door was in German  tee-hee

My view today

I was expecting smooth sailing, uh, flying today.  I knew I’d be a lone aviatrix among aviators.  This is nothing new. But Puerto Rican guys are very nice, not overly macho, and very respectful (not ONCE have I been cat called or looked up and down here. EVER! Way to go, hombres…)

I learned on a high wing Cessna from 1978. This was a 21st century low wing glass cockpit Piper Sport.

My maestro Jose was very nice.  Their practice area is where the UFO sighting were. And you need to fly around the big blimp. So pretty! I even saw my neighborhood! You realize just how small this island is up there.  And with so little air traffic on this end of the island, we had the whole southwest corner to ourselves.

By the way, the universal language for pilots on the radio is English.  So I get off easy with that! haha

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