Saturday, July 21, 2018

Doxxing and Swatting Me

I have to laugh. Yesterday at NLQ I did that thing I'd been putting off forever now, quoting alt-right recruiting all around toxic theologian Jordan Peterson. It has become quite the game for authors of Patheos Non-Religion section to poke the beast that is the Jordan Peterson Defenders Dumbfarts. Post why you dislike the words of Jesus handjob giving Peterson and wait for the outrage and hand wringing.

Once that quote about women needing to deal with their anger by holding babies made its way around Facebook I knew I had to hold my nose, and just jump into the deep end by posting why that's insulting to women and how it reduces them to objects.

I knew his dumb defenders would show up, repeat themselves ad infinitum, and eventually I would just ban them all. It happened. I banned this morning. They can gotten most broken record like and devolved into crazy circular logic.

The funny bits to me were the fact that I'd gone off to the beach, walked the beach picking up sand dollars and huge shells followed by drinks, appetizers and dancing at my favorite restaurant followed by a grocery run, not thinking about them or their outrage at all, come back three hours later and all the same folks were making the same claims in every few minutes posts the entire time I was busy doing my life.

Shortly after banning the Dumbfarts I received panicked emails and comments from  concerned friends that said that the Dumbfarts are notorious for doxxing people and SWATTing them. Good luck with that, as I already pretty much doxxed myself five years ago when Curious from Free Jinger was sniffing around telling everyone she would dox me.

Unlike many online I live under my real name, I work on NLQ and a huge pile of other freelance writing assignments and research. Doxxing me is going to be ridiculous. Everything has changed in the last five years so let me update the Dumbfarts and anyone else dying to doxx me.

I now live my life in Central America like a piece of rich Eurotrash. I spent my days in cut offs and tees or my swimsuit and coverup. There is copious drinking and art. There is lots of beach time, time in our pool and yelling at the monkeys and iguanas to get their cotton picking hands off the papayas. My husband is retired. We've sold everything in the U.S., right down to our brokerage account and have everything invested here at a high rate of return so that even if Trump snatches away Social Security and my husbands government pension we'll keep living large. I am old with gray hair, body parts losing their battle with gravity and boobs like pancakes, huge huge pancakes. There is nothing you can say about my personal appearance that will not make me laugh and likely agree to some degree. Getting wrinkly and am the brown of a piece of fine leather.

You'll never find out actual address or mailing address because everything we own is through a lawyer and corporation. Thinking about showing up? Think again because I live in a finca near a tiny town. You'd have to get past the armed finca guard, over a ten foot security wall with razor wire on top, past the property security alarms, past the motion detectors and the alarms in the house and various weapons. I'd likely fuck you up with a machete or shotgun. ALL the alarms are monitored and the po-po comes out quickly to gringo addresses.

SWATTing does not exist here. There is no SWAT and someone calling to report an armed standoff or whatever fool thing they think up they better know Spanish fluently. Know that the policia know various people around here, and know what's bullshit. They are eager not to offend the local gringos like us.

Suck it up, fucking buttercup, and admit you've been bested this time and go lick your wounds elsewhere.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Diaryland and Jobs

I wish I still had all the posts at my old blog on Diaryland. Diaryland was ghetto and basic, but my years there encompassed the crazy of fundy town along with some of the getting out adventures. This morning I was talking to a friend about job interivews and shared one of those worst ones for myself that happened in my Diaryland days.

One of those times when I was seeking work, and I tended to look for temp jobs or long term assignments over a real job, because it fit our lives better. I came across an ad for a long term assignment doing medical records at night, right up my alley. Applied, got an interivew and  prepared.

Did nails, hair, makeup. Put on a business suit, one of my favorites, navy blue with a wife label embroidered with black design. High heels, stockings. I looked professional. And then it all fell apart.

Once I got to the parking lot of the clinic things started to go haywire like I was starring in some bizarre comedy on job hunting. I got out of the car, banging my shin against the edge of the car door, creating a huge laddered run in my hose and bleeding into my shoe from the injury. I bent down to eyeball my leg and try to wipe off the blood and when I stood up I hear a rip and banged my head on the edge of the car, smearing my makeup. After removing the jacket and attempting to unsmear my face I marched towards the clinic enterance, determined this was not going to stop me. As I got to the door a bird overhead crapped right on the front of my white blouse and a heel snapped on my shoe. I hobbled in, tried to pull myself together in the restroom, including cleaning the bird poop, but all it did was make a smeared dark spot. I shrugged and hobbled into the interivew, confident that no one was going to hire the rolling disaster area I had morphed into. I didn't get the job, but I was able to laugh off all the things that happened and realize this had to have been a message from the universe that there was something very wrong with that job, which usually isn't what happens.

Usually I pick crappy jobs like some women pick bad boyfriends. The biggest example of that was the time in college when I took a job at a home builder whose name is suspiciously like Gym Wall Tear. Seemed like the perfect situation for me as a working single mother in college. The hours could be varied depending on who was coming in to sign paperwork and a variety of other issues. I was allowed to make my own schedule as long as I worked the 40 hours and got everything done. Good fit in many ways.

But I ignored the huge red flags going in, even if it wasn't me falling off my heel or banging up my leg till it bled. Over the course of the year the outlet had been through most than six different administrators. I didn't bother to wonder why, I was young and stupid then, at least stupider than I am now, which does not mean I'm not some version of stupid right now. But I've been burned enough now to ask questions about staff turnover and firing rates.

The job went well. I managed to turn around all the paperwork from the past year, get the books straightened out and other tasks. Home office sent me a big bonus and a thank you card for fixing everything wrong. I was able to go to classes and even work some on the weekends with my toddler daughter in tow. Then it started nearly five months after starting..

Once I had the books straight I started to notice a pattern. The manager was a weaselly fellow I didn't much like who spent most of his time huddling in his office that I mentally called 'Edweenie' while everyone else called him that behind his back. Pretty much universally loathed, but since I worked an odd schedule I didn't have a lot of interactions with him. He did throw a fit over the fact that when I came in on the weekends I brought my daughter with me, something I'd discussed and gotten clearance with the regional manager during my interview and subsequent conversations.

What was the pattern? That Edweenie liked to submit bullshit invoices, handwritten, for a variety of fictious things. He was skimming about fifty to hundred dollars a week out of the petty cash this way. I chose to approach Ed by telling him I knew money for tight for him and his family, so if he stopped it immediately I would say nothing, but if it continued I'd tell regional. I called him on it and was fired immediately. My separation paperwork indicated I was being let go for 'having a bad personality'.

I left and went straight to a friend's job. She worked as a paralegal for a team of lawyers. I sued and I won a twelve month severance package that at least bought me some breathing space. The company paid me off within a week. I asked for my job back, but was denied as I had yet to learn that companties never rehire people that blow the whistle on other employees. I did succeed in one thing. One of the things I forced them to do was to change my  separation report to state I had been let go through no fault of my own. Of course the company wanted me to give them all the information on Edweenie's money schemes and testify in his court case. I did.

I suspect that what happened to all those other admins was the same thing as I. At some point they figured out that the manager was stealing and got canned for questioning him. I was so young and so so stupid! I should have just gone to regional quietly behind Ed's back. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Second Wave

So we're in our second wave of tourism this year. The first one runs from Christmas to May before dying off. The second one starts once school in the United States happens, running from late June to early/mid August.

I'm not sure which one is worse. The one that starts in December is a world-wide glut of tourists.The one happening now is almost strictly Americans of the most obnoxious variety.

Last night we went to our favorite local restaurant owned and run by Ticos and instead of being one or two non-Tico couples the entire restaurant was filled with people from the U.S. of A. with their kids running and shrieking around the restaurant. Loud conversations, drunken idiots behaving badly. Left a very bad taste in my mouth instead of just chifrijo. It was jarring.

When we eat at the tourist traps I expect this during the two tourist seasons, but not when you go local.

I know to avoid the Auto Mercado and Tamarindo Beach on the weekends during the tourist times because of the crowds of folks, and the crowds of stupid people that want to whine and moan that they cannot find the right brand of bagels or vegan cheese.

The problems with living in paradise!

Maybe I'm just still cranky from the continued hacking cough and chest congestion.

Jim was approached again to teach at the school south of here for the month of August. Thankfully he said no. I'm not ready to go live in one freezing room again not even to escape the tourists.

Of course once the rest of our furniture gets here from the States I'll likely be singing a different tune on the tourists. We have pieces coming that I will be using to finish up the guesthouse before listing it on AirBNB for high season in December. We're also already have reservations for our house for Christmas week and New Years. We decided to go home for the holidays after discovering that our house will rent for four thousand bucks a week during the holidays.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Objects in the Rear View Mirror Look Farther Away

The interesting thing to me about being nearly twelve years post-Quiverfull Evangelical is when old memories pop up. I absolutely could not be farther away from that old life, living like rich Eurotrash in Central America.

When the memories pop up I am frequently astounded by what I put up with. Things that either make me laugh at their ridiculous nature,  or because they were crazily toxic. Take last night for example. I cooked dinner, something light and simple, baked beans, hot dogs and salad. Just like that as I was grilling each of us a hot dog I flashed on an incident that had to be twenty years old.

At some point we'd had my personal Fundy bete noir with his family over for a quick meal one summer evening. Hot dogs. One minute I am cooking in my kitchen here near Tamarindo and suddenly Tom Smith is yelling at me for not grilling the buns in butter and not having any of the condiments to make Chicago-style hotdogs.

I haven't thought about that incident in twenty years. I remember being perturbed and asking Tom how he justified demanding things at someone else's house. I also remember Tom answering me that his wife knew his expectations for hot dogs and made sure he had the finest in all things because he was king of his castle and in charge of her. "But, Tom," I said, "they're just hot dogs and I'm fixing them like I always do..no king, no castle, no disrespect meant."

I wish I'd have said "You're lucky I'm not microwaving them, sucker!" with a laugh and a swagger.

This is the exact kind of mean-spirited demanding baby-tantrum man you  get if you follow the cheerfully wait on your husband hand and foot so he has no needs advice given out by Lori Alexander and others. You get guys that expect you to go to ridiculous lengths routinely, who demand it, whose expectations are all out of wack for what's on tap. Everyone is stressed out and unhappy in these types of marriages from my observation.

Of course this is all a cautionary tale too, because of what happened later with Tina and Tom Smith. Tina's MS has progressed such that she's completely bedridden now and Tom, King Baby, is the one nuking their meals  now.

My takeaway is this: Be grateful whenever someone else feeds you, no matter if they don't do things the same way you do.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Juan More Time

So we managed to pull it off, even in record time. In just under an hour we crossed the Costa Rican border at Penas Blancas into Nicaragua and back.

The U.S. Embassy might have issued their travel warnings and pulled their personnel out, but at the border it was busimess as usual without violence or riots so it was all good.

I had started to get a bit nervous as  I drove north from Liberia on the Pan American Hwy Rutas 1 and there was almost no traffic. It was eerie having the road to ourselves for a very long stretch. But once we neared Penas Blancas and I saw the hundreds of idling big trucks waiting to cross and the Tica and Nica buses waiting I knew it was just another business as usual day.

What made this crossing different for us than the other times we'd come up to the border is that we weren't riding in on Tica Bus, or on on the local bus that dumps you out on the border. We drove, but we weren't taking our car across the border. To do that meant we would have had to drive five hours to San Jose and apply for permission to take the car across the border, pick up the paperwork, fill out paperwork for Nicaragua, pay the entry/exit fees for bringing a car and do it a good week or more in advance. See why we didn't? They make is difficult.

That was the other worry, where to park the car on the Costa Rica side. We did what friends said, asked a group of guys working the border as 'guides' where the protected parking was. We parked and one of them introducted himself to us as Juan. Juan, like Jim or Bob in the States, common name.

Juan wanted to help us get through the border, offering to expidite the experience for a few bucks. We took him up on that, and ended up being brought to the very front of some long, long lines at each way station along the border crossing. Juan was Juanderful! With the mile and a quarter walk through the borders, getting the visa stamps, paying the entrance and exit fees we were back at our car inside of an hour. I'd budgeted three hours for the round trip through the borders.

The only drag is that when we got back to the car Juan was asking for double the amount of money we'd agreed upon. Jim and Juan engaged in what I call the 'Gringo Shuffle' - that awkward dance over moolah when you know that someone is trying to shake you down. They settled right at the middle of Juan's first request and second, which was well worth it to be able to bypass the long lines in the agencies.

A little shopping and we made it home in time to take an late afternoon nap!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Going Violent Bananas

There used to be a video game I loved to play, one of the Mario Brothers games, old I know. What was interesting about this particular game was that I got all the way to the final boss and could not beat him. I couldn't even figure out a way to beat him and I have always prided myself on my creativity and experimental nature. I still love video  puzzle games at my advanced age.

I tried everything, bombs, certain guns, fire, you name it, unlit I finally did beat the boss. You know what it took? Vegetables, you had to toss vegetables into his mouth to beat him. My experimental self had to go way beyond what usually works in video games and do something unexpected to win.

And so  this was actually a good lesson for life,  and one that I've carried with me since.

For years I've fretted over Jim's tendency to worry and go off the deep end in transactions that involve large amounts of money. Right now we're waiting for all the tees to be crossed and iiii's dotted on the sale of our Virginia home. I've left it in the hands of our realtor, who I trust. But Jim, Jim, Jim is dived off the high board and is dealing with his worry by spamming the realtor and all involved with the sale with literally dozens of angry ranty emails.

He also did this when we bought our Costa Rica home too.

This morning when I got up Jim had come to the realization, all on his own, that he may have been behaving wrongly. He asked me to read through the correspondence and give my thoughts.

This was a huge breakthrough for him. In the past he'd do these things and I would interfer each time, trying to smooth over ruffled feathers on all side, play the peacemaker and make things work out. I stopped doing any semblence of that well over a  year ago. Why? Because I finally recognized it was not emotionallly healthy for me and that it tired up enormous amounts of time and energy. I finally realized it was best to do the most unexpected thing for me.

The sale will go through, and Jim will just have to deal with his worry in a healthier way. Right now he's out walking the beach while I'm still abed with my cold.

Trying to get better quickly so that's why I'm resting and swallowing Panadol cold pills like M&Ma because tomorrow we have to do a border run, which I am more than a little nervous about. Until they finish putting together our residency package and filing it we still have to leave the country every three months.

We're maybe ninety minutes from border with Nicaragua and had planned to do what we did last July and head to Nica. Last year no problem. This year it's sketchy at best. There is violence going on between the citizens of Nicaragua and the government. People dying daily. The U.S. Embassy has pulled all their people out and issued travel warning for the place. But we're still going to try and make that border run.

We're just walking through the border and making a turnaround immediately. Some of the expats we know here said that is still safe. I hope so, but I've also heard that some folks are being turned away at the border. Who knows? If we're turned away at least we should still be able to get stamps in our passports at the border for another 90 days.

Of course if this all goes haywire I might just have to do something else, throw vegetables into the mouth of the problem, and make the nine hour drive to Panama to do the same thing. I hope they let us through....

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Fuck Those Bananas

Just finished up the hard core antibiotics for the toe infection around noon. About an hour later I started having a sore throst and a runny nose. FML now I have a cold! Been dragging around sneezing.

The only excitement this week was Thursday afternoon's trip to Liberia and Walmart. I managed to finally locate a fabric store (squeal!!!!!!!!!!!), a jewelry store and a movie theater.

They have been building a movie theater in Tamagringo for ages now, well over  a year. It was supposed to open back in January, then it was July 1st. I went by there this afternoon and none of the flooring, the screen or the seats have been installed yet. Tico time strikes again. Jimmy Danger at the book store and I started a betting pool for when this happens. I predict November 15th.

Good thing too because I am moving slowly.