Sunday, April 29, 2018

Bitches

My grown kids are here and we spent the day on Playa Avellanas. They tried surfing for the first time in many years and decided it was too much like work. It is.

I have a saying about the ocean in general, and surfing especially - 'Sometimes the ocean is your bitch and sometimes you are the ocean's bitch' Today I was the ocean's bitch. I'd not been to swim at Avellanas before, I'd just driven past Lulu's bar and the beaches. Was completely unaware that about half the beach had  slippery rocks beneath the surface. I ran out onto the sand, stepped upon the rocks under the water and realized I had to be careful. I gingerly edged over the rocks, stepping right into a big rock hole twisting my ankle and sitting down abruptly. The tide flipped me over and I emerged five minutes later oozing blood from a multitude of tiny cuts and with a badly scraped elbow.

The elbow is pretty agonizing, but not swollen up, scraped up bloody. I can bend and flex it, but the alignment of the bones feels off. Possible fracture.

A few muscle relaxers tonight and if it's still tender in the morning I'm going to the doctor for a quick xray.

Only causality at the beach, everyone else is merely sunburned. Good times.

Friday, April 27, 2018

More Firsts

I'm trying to knock out the last few things before my adult children arrive in the morning. In the last month I repainted the interior of the guesthouse on our finca a light turquoise with darker turquoise cabinets and shelves. The guesthouse has all new appliances. I've decorated with a beach theme and some furniture. Still not completely done, and will not be until the remainder of everything we own gets shipped here. But it will do for ten days. Stocked the fridge tonight with sodas, wine, beer and juices along with putting a variety of snacks, fruits and cereal in the cabinets. I don't want them to have to trudge that long path to the main house.

The shipping has turned into a freaking nightmare. I've spent a lot of time in group IMs and phone calls trying to coordinate the packing and pickup of about 2/3s of our furniture and possessions, all the things we stored in the box room above our garage. We are selling our American house and settling here as residents. Not going back, at least not as long as Trump is in control.

We had an unpleasant first this week. We paid our first bribe after being pulled over and threatened with a steep fine for Jim leaving his drivers license back at the house. He took it out of his wallet for some reason, set it down with his passport and other papers and sure enough got pulled over. This is how getting out of a ticket used to work in Louisiana, and I see it's the same thing here. Gave the police a hundred bucks and went on our way. Lucky they didn't seize Jim since he didn't have proof he was here within his 90 day visa.

First time in a long time yesterday evening we went out for cocktails and sat at the bar for ages talking to everyone around us. I had great fun conversing with a pretty lit up on alcohol family court judge from the U.S. Kept teasing him that he should replace Judge Judy. She got her start in family court too. Compared notes on worst child abuse cases seen between his bench and my time as a social worker.

The pool is finally fully tiled and has to be allowed to dry over the next three days before the water goes in. Pretty big pool. Tonight our cat Stinky and I slid around on the tiled bottom with the monkeys watching us scamper and play.

I'm anticipating the next few weeks are going to be intensely busy. Ten days with our kids followed by some of our Peace Corp buddies coming down for a week. Good thing the house is so big because we're going to fill every room.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Dear Larry Solomon....

One of the things that has made me laugh the hardest in the time without regular internet is the reaction of one Larry Solomon (not his name, but I do have his real name and location from the time he showed up and went nuts at NLQ) from Biblical Gender Roles to NLQ quoting his semi-treasonous rantings on his website.

Larry's not on the Southern Poverty Law Center's hate list.... yet... but there is still plenty of time for that! I suggested that perhaps the FBI ought to add him to their watchlist, which considering some of his political pieces would not be a bad idea.

Just like Vaughn Ohlman, a fundamentalist nutbar, bad author, girl-selling into common law marriage and theonomist,  Larry believes that our government needs to be overthrown so that his flavor of rare fundy-town, very fragile masculinity can take over the government and turn it Christian. Since this is in direct opposition to the U.S. Constitution. I would consider that at the least borderline treasonous.

While Larry never called directly for an armed overthrow by him and his pals he's clearly heading that way in his mixture of theology and politics. It's the logical conclusion of that type of theonomy. He does not understand that I've been watching his type, first as a member of a church like his for nigh on twenty years and the eleven years I've been out. When men in this subculture start talking of taking over the government it's by either vote or force. Since Larry is not running for higher office, or talking of voting strategies it's pretty clear which way he leans. He'd have a snowballs chance of being elected in that district anyway. I may be rather stupid in some things, but this I know.

So how did Larry react to once again being quoted by NLQ? By writing about me. I'm so flattered
. I'm not going to respond on NLQ to his rantings. We've been quoting Larry for a long time and the greatest hits list of his quotes involve his approval of slavery, approval of raping a wife that says no, positing that women aren't made in the image of God and lots of really very bad and illegal in some states ideas on dealing with women.
He called me a feminist, which is only partially right. I am a humanist. I would like to see no one, neither sex, ever harmed, threatened, demonized and reduced to less than nothing based on some ridiculous notions of misinterpretation of the Bible. EVERYONE DESERVES RIGHTS. Even fuckheads like Larry.

The other name he tried to pin on me as an insult that I take as a compliment is egalitarian. That's right, I want everyone to be equal in the eyes of society, from the guy who pumped the septic tank to a millionaire female stock broker on Wall St. Treating others decently and with equality lines up with the words of Christ, however much of what Larry promotes sounds like something straight out of the Pharisees.

Larry and pals are calling for me to be placed on some FBI watch list, which really make me laugh (hello Security Clearance!), plus I do not promote hatred of others. Even as I quote him and a host of rather hateful others my greatest hope for them all is to wake up and smell the coffee and to stop advocating things that harm others in the name of their religion. If your faith has a body count it really sucks and should die immediately.

All of this make me happy to be a legal resident of a Central American country now, far from guys like him and his followers. There are almost no under educated over religioned fools here. It's frowned upon as somehow rude. I am far removed from the fundamentalist madness now, which makes the occasional death threat I receive for merely pointing out that much of what Evangelicals say has little to do with the words of Christ completely pointless gesturing, like a baboon pounding on his chest and hooting.

Too bad he's not smart enough to realize that there have been an entire fleet of people trolling him that he takes seriously. Clue - not all the letters asking for advice are real.

Also, Larry criticized the length of my articles at Patheos. Hey genius, the lengths are suggested and set by Patheos and the hit numbers different lengths generate in revenue. It has NOTHING to do with the ability or the intellect of the editor or writer. If you had at some point in your life actually taken a class on writing for the media you would understand that you must tailor your length, voice and types of words you use. The newspaper I used to write for required a different format - A one paragraph summation sentence to start and perhaps 4 more paragraphs. Some clients I do website content production for require more. It depends on the platform.

Larry is verbose, repetitive and takes far too many writing rabbit holes. He reads like someone too in love with the words and ideas he's spewing out like so much mental vomit. He does not understand most online have a limited amount of attention they will pay to an article. Better to be brief and hold the reader than to racket out whole cyber reams and be thought to be ridiculous.

The other issue with Larry is that I will never in a million years link from No Longer Quivering to Larry's blog because Larry loves to brag about hit numbers and I have no wish to pad out his Google numbers. I suspect he's tried in some way to monetize his blog, and it hasn't been the cash cow he'd hoped.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tico Time Ends

Hooray! I finally have internet and cable - obscene number of channels - installed this very afternoon!

We had to do the most White Upper Middle Class action ever. Storm into ICE (Eee-say) and ask for (gasp!) a supervisor. As of this morning it's been 41 days since we gave them our CR LLC papers, signed the contract and ordered the service. We were told it would be one to two weeks. Tico time.

One of the nicer un-Tico time things happening is that the work crew is almost two weeks ahead on the construction of our monstrous huge pool.j Tiling starts tomorrow, and next week the pumps and water go in and a week from tomorrow we swim! I'm excited.

Unhappily we had to go back to the U.S.A. to go to court to evict our renter, and pack up our remaining possessions to move everything here, right down to Jim's motorcycle. The renter tried to appeal the eviction order, but was shut down by the judge. She would have had to have coughed up all three months rent she's not paid in order to even start the appeal. As my realtor said she had all those thousands like he had three heads.

It didn't help that for the first appeal hearing I had photos I'd taken in the house when we entered to go into the storage room. She had a number of animals in there without paying the pet deposit of $500 per animal and there was clearly a man living with her, a man not on the lease. Apparently she broke the lease immediately.

Anyway the house is listed, she's demanding to stay until the 30th but the deputies are paid and scheduled to do an eviction as ordered by the courts on Monday. So Monday it is. She's been dragging this out and is now basically squatting in our house.

The moving company is scheduled to pack up the last of our belongings and put them on a ship bound for the Porto Limon here.

We came back on a flying three day trip to the U.S. because of the rental nonsense, and spent very little time with our kids. One day was organizing our belongings and much of the other eaten up by the dealing with the house.

I am still a little sad about selling my cute little cottage home in Virginia, but it's really for the best. This rental experiment is too nerve-wracking and it's been one thing or another with our tenant since September. The realtor expects a quick sale at a price that is a significant profit.

One of the things I do each time I come back to America is load an extra suitcase with those things I cannot buy here.

I'm not sorry to be out of the United States at all, even while I am proudly an American. I just cannot feel safe in what our nation has morphed into in recent years. Until recently I was a property owner of significant acreage and investments in my home country. We've since liquidated everything and invested in safer, better-paying investments here in our adopted country.

One thing happened in the last month that confirmed the rightness of our decision to move here and set down roots, buy a house and invest, invest, invest. One of Jim's former coworkers in D.C. at the Dept. of Labor killed himself on the sidewalk at the security entrance to their building. The armed security guards did not allow him into the building, thwarting what was likely a mass causality workplace shooting into a tragic suicide.

There was very little about this in the media. I suspect the Labor Department is downplaying what happened. This is a guy that both Jim and I knew quite well. He did have a temper, but I would have never thought he'd be the type to storm his work and take out others.

Here there's just not much violence, and to own a gun you must jump through some significant hoops. We had to do that to have a shotgun. It's costly as hell, beyond the budget of the average Tico here.

Not that we've had to worry about crime here. A nine foot tall concrete security wall topped with broken glass, a security system and alarm system pretty much renders our new place as save as one can get here. No, we didn't pay for or install these, the previous owners did, but based upon the ridiculous emails/messages I've gotten lately through No Longer Quivering from some of the crazier people I quote I am quite happy I have a continent, a shot gun, a high wall, a dog, a security system triggering a police visit and an alarm system between them and myself. 

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

One Toke Over The Line, Sweet Jose

I have been completely without the internet since we closed on the house, only able to access NLQ and email on the few days a week I've visited the restaurant at Witch's Rock. I have eaten my fill of Casadas and Nachos As Big As Your Ass as I've tried futilely to stay abreast of NLQ unsuccessfully.

The closing went off without a hitch, even as Jim and I both were busy seriously mistrusting and disliking our realtor. I managed to keep from telling him off by the skin of my teeth.

The day after the closing we moved into our new house, and I set forth on the Sisyphian task of cleaning our rental to exacting German standards. I scrubbed for five full days, we're talking taking apart every appliance that could be taken apart and hand scrubbing every surface. The realtor selling our German landlord's hotel/property/houses had already warned me that the Germans never gave back anyone's deposit, and I'd likely get nothing back. Taking the security deposit is common here in Costa Rica.

I was kind of aghast at that idea because everywhere I've rented I've either gotten the entire deposit  back or almost all. We were once gigged by an apartment complex because I'd forgotten that the ice cube trays belonged with the fridge to them. I had something like eight sets, and it was an oversight that cost me 25 dollars. I always leave my rentals completely clean, even our German house.

The day we moved out we had an inspection with our landlord and she said everything looked good, but to stop by in a month to settle up. She would not release our money until we showed her a receipt for paying February's electric bill. Yesterday we paid that bill, showed up with the receipt and asked for our deposit. It didn't go well. Our landlord reinspected two weeks later, and, of course, there was dust, iguana turds falling out of that leaking ac unit with water and other things dirty from that draining water. There was only one thing of her long list I'd actually not cleaning, the drain in the master bath. Pure oversight. I got so mad I pretty much exploded.

I know, having a temper is not a good trait, but once someone tries to rip me off and pushes me beyond  a certain point I explode. It happened, and we ended up getting half our deposit back. Our old landlords ended up renting the place out for a 50% increase over the price we paid. High tourist season in Costa Rica is here clearly when someone paid that much for that place where almost every appliance and the electrical on property was super screwed up.

Settling into the new house has been wonderful, even more so that the electricity for the place is not messed up and everything WORKS! I no longer fear a landlord opening the door and tromping in unexpectedly like our landlord liked to do. No one barging in to exclaim that I'm running the ac at too high a temp when I'm the one paying the damn electric bill. The dining room table is on the big tile patio under a ceiling fan and teak ceilings. The marble kitchen countertops have encouraged me to do a little baking again.

We have more mangoes than we could ever eat, mixed with all sorts of fruits. Daily we see several large tribes of howler monkeys, a big iguana and many different types of exotic birds. I have parrots that visit daily to raid the Star Fruit tree.

The only drag is that we are off the beaten path, meaning that we're still waiting for the internet provider in the area to come hook us up. Three weeks and still no internet! I've only been able to occasionally access Facebook if I use my phone, stand on a kitchen stool waving my cellphone vaguely in the direction of the lone cell phone tower. I'm reminded of the scene in season one 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmit' when the Mole women have to stand on each other's shoulders to access cell phone coverage in the bunker. The ISP says they will be at our house tomorrow afternoon. I hope so. I made and quilted three quilts in the last month out of boredom.

The funniest thing is when we have to give out directions to delivery guys and contractors. The only directions that everyone seems to understand is to tell them to turn right at the first strip club sign, turn right again at the second strip club sign, go past the strip club and turn left and you are there. Yes there is the only strip club/brothel in the area near us. Sometimes I can see the traffic going in and out late at night if I'm in the very back of our yard and I peak over the fence.  But overall there is no noise, crime or unsavory things happening that originate at the strip club. Girls gotta make a living somehow. I just worry sometimes that the girls working there may have been sex trafficked in from Nicaragua.

But buying the house was just the start of this very busy time. We priced pools, getting seven different quotes before settling on a local company. Right now the backyard is dug up, filled with toiling Ticos putting in a pool of about 40 feet by 90 feet. Jim is busy pressure washing the ten foot tall concrete walls around the property and preparing to paint them. We're still getting quotes on having the gate replaced with a motorized one so we don't have to struggle with opening and shutting the ten foot tall metal security gate when we come and go.

I just started on my project, redoing the guesthouse in the front of the property. Jim is not understanding what I'm up to. Right now he keeps telling me he thinks the experimental spot of paint I put on one wall looks wrong. He always does this when I remodel and usually has to eat his critical words when I'm done. I'm painting the guesthouse the palest of turquoises on the walls and the cabinets a darker shade.

While we were in South Louisiana I'd purchased an entire stock of a Waverly decorating fabric, 15 yards, and I'm making curtains and the shower curtain out of this. It's white with turquoise shades of butterflies and flowers. Since we officially named the guesthouse the Butterfly Cottage and CR has a certain turquoise butterfly called the Blue Morpho I thought it would be a good theme. We have so many butterflies that visit the extensive flowering garden.

I hope to have the cottage finished by the time our kids arrive for a visit. Right now the Ticos putting in the pool are using the cottage fridge to store their meals and the bathroom for themselves. The first evening I went into there to paint I was in for a big shock. I opened the bathroom door and was almost knocked over by the cloud of pot fumes rolling out. Yes, the pool guys are smoking up the wacky weed right on the job! I'm not going to say anything about it because the contractor is doing a good job and he's working on rewiring the cottage as part of the contract. I was surprised to say the least, but if I had to run the machine that pounds the gravel into a solid layer before pouring the cement and having to lay iron bars under the cement I'd probably find it more interesting after having smoked a doobie.

The thing I thought might be an issue turned out to not be. We have ended up not putting a hot water tank in. By the time we knock off all the working on the house and shower we are THANKFUL for ice cold water in the shower. It's too warm here to ever take a hot shower.


The only fly in the ointment of our move is that our tenant in our Virginia house has defaulted on paying the rent by several months. We filed to have her evicted and she's countersuing us, claiming that she would have had plenty of money to pay the rent if we've had fixed the broken water main between the street and the house before renting the house to her. We did fix it as soon as we knew about it. About a three thousand dollar repair. The problem is that we knew nothing about it, it was fine when I moved out, and she didn't realize anything was wrong until she'd paid five water bills of about $200 each.

You would think when she received the first super high bill she would have reached out to our rental agent, or the water company. I know the few times I had a plumbing problem that resulted in a high bill I immediately got the water company out there to examine the system and had it fixed asap. I didn't sit there for five months and pay a crazy high bill with my thumb up my ass.

So she's refusing to leave, she's claiming we rented her a defective house. The problem with this is when we first started the eviction process back in February we bought airline tickets to come home in a few weeks from now, and tentatively lined up the shipping company to take everything we owned left in the storage room over our 2 car garage, pack it into a 20 shipping container and ship it to our new home in Tamarindo area. Plus put the house up for sale. Being the owner of a rental has not worked out as well as we hoped. The market is higher there now than it was a year ago. We'll get 50K more now so the time is right to sell and invest here in a place in the mountains and go between our two houses whenever the mood strikes us.

So I'm not even sure that she'll be out of the house, or if we'll be able to access our remaining things when we will be those very few days in Virginia.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Closing Thoughts

We close on the house tomorrow, just after lunch, and start schelpping our nine suitcases, 35 shipping boxes and piles of random stuff to the new place. It sounds like more than it is.

On Sunday we got wind of a development we had not looked at in our price range and a huge farm in the hills around Lake Arenal, and took off for some sightseeing before deciding both places were simply too remote.

Monday seemed like it was our new daily weekday routine, get up, get dressed, go to the bank, hurry up and wait, talk to the bank officer about more picky details and then head home. We both got home shortly after lunchtime, ate and took naps, getting up just in time to meet the realtors, both the liar and the less of a liar and someone that the Lying Liar was pushing as THE pool guy in Guanacaste.

Liked the pool guy, and he had some great things to say about the property and installing a pool.

What we were not prepared for was his estimate of around 40 thousand to install the pool. Jiminy crickets, was I shocked!! Lying Realtor had been insisting that putting in a pool would run between 15K and 25K, which is where we budgeted. We got told that this was just the price of the Gold Standard Guy, who has installed all the pools of the resorts and local millionaires.

I was pretty sick of the Lying Realtors shit by that moment, calculating that to install a pool at that price would take us just to the line of our budget for the house, installing hot water, getting a plumber and electrician in to put in necessary water/electrical to install a full sized American washer and dryer we are planning to buy.

Yes, I know we could tap our savings again, but I'm done with that. Friday we locked down a big chunk in a 2 year CD at the local bank. We'd get penalized like crazy if we did that. There are funds in the states that we could use, but quite frankly I'm over this whole damn thing. Bringing that money over would be another gigantic hassle. The realtor has turned the purchase into the Costa Rican version of the Bataan Death March with more crazy things we have to do, and trying to parse  which are lies and what's true. If we weren't right at the threshhold of wrapping the house buying up I'd walk away right now.

Buying our house in the states was nowhere near this much hassle, but we did get a 2 month turn around time from signing to closing and weren't dealing with the rules of a foreign government.

After the pool guy left it was Jim and I hissing like annoyed geese at our realtor. I had to point out that I was very displeased by the fact I had to now buy furniture because he'd not told me that the house was staged, the furniture rented, so that the furniture that came with the house was older and not so nice. Jim was hissing about the lie about the cost of the pool and how tight that would bring our budget.

The realtor said no problem, he knew of a pool building firm just down the road trained by the pool guy just as good and much cheaper. He would take us and introduce us. We get to this janky old building with a tiny pool sales office and none of the guys are in, just the receptionist. She gets one of the guys on the phone and he ballparks the size of the pool we want as around 37K. This is all after listening to Lying Realtor rolling down the road telling us that these guys would be significantly cheaper. They weren't. Another lie.

Here's the thing in business. "I don't know but let me do a little research and I'll find out" is a perfectly acceptable answer. I've uttered it myself in various jobs, gone and done a little research for the customer, getting back to them with the correct answer. This guy does none of that, and now he's acting all Simon-pure even after uttering a big pile of falsehoods.

At one point we were discussing the pole that needs replacing on the guesthouse porch and he stepped back, refusing to chime into the conversation the seller's realtor, Jim and I were having about the easy and cheapest way to shore up the pole. It has no base or foundation, so it's the easiest thing in the world to mix up a little concrete, put a concrete mold around the base of the pole and pour. Easy as pie. I've done concrete repair and stepping stone, bench and other projects at our old house. Liar refuses to say anything, telling us it's not his job to advise us on how to deal with some of the few pesky must dos on the home inspection.

He is rude, condescending, at times patronizing. He just gets under my skin. Jim and I both agree about him. He has something about him, some air or attitude that just makes thinking about punching him in the face something you might want to do even if it's immoral and illegal.

I mentally stick pins in a voodoo doll constructed to look like him every single day.

Tomorrow I have to write that sucker a check for helping us buy the house. I'm choking on that.

Today was the last full day here in the German house. The dishwasher and dryer are still out. The electricity is still out in the second bath and guest bedroom and the electric still flickering like a strobe light, plus for the last four days there is water pouring out of the bedroom ac into our closet.  The landlords have known about these repairs for quite some time but make no effort to fix them so I'm looking forward to moving, even if its going to be cold showers until the hot water heater is installed.

Most of the day was eaten up with our cat Stinky. He's had health issues since we adopted him nearly four months ago so we put off his neuter until now. Dropped him off early, picked him up and noon and had him struggling to overcome the effects of the anesthesia. He is still not as strong as he should be. We spent a lot time petting him today. Finally about an hour ago he showed signs of hunger and was able to walk without wobbling all over like a drunk guy.

The move will be good for him because the privacy fence around the entire yard is over 9 feet tall. I think it might actually be tall enough to let him outside. He likes going out on the deck here, but he can get out over the five foot fence.


Monday, February 26, 2018

Hot Water Cold Feet

Saturday morning took a weird turn. Jim poked me awake early even if I was staggering around under the effects of my asthma and allergy meds before coffee. He wanted me to immediately print out a copy of the engineering report and the architectural report from the home inspection team to hand over to lying realtor. Printed the reports out, threw on a beach dress while downing a cup of coffee and tried to make sure my feet were in the right sided flip flops.

We went to see our lying realtor (my new name for him). I thought we were just dropping the copies off and then meeting with the sellers realtor who lies somewhat less at 4 pm. But no, no, no, we were having a full bore on meeting to discuss the reports. I'd only had a tiny bit of coffee, I'm fighting my stupid body's tendency to try and stop me from breathing, and I'm still dealing with a body hangover for having eaten the most delicious, but stomach affecting cheeseburger.

Three days before I'd had a grilled cheese cheeseburger at a local burger joint and it was orgasmic. The problem being I rarely eat meat, I almost never eat junk foods like burgers and my body decided the best response was to say 'What the hell is that pound of cheese and meat doing in here' and just shut everything down. I'd been billious for days, trying to tell myself that hell no I did not regret eating that enormous burger even if I currently could only crawl around eating invalid foods like toast and tea. Took me the better part of a week to start eating again normally, and to feel hungry. Craziest reaction to junk food of all time.

I should have figured that my morning was going to be totally gutted by Lying Realtor because the day before when I'd gotten my hot little hands on the report I'd freaked out at first reading when the English as a second language home inspector carried on and on and on in the report about the water tank on the roof and I made the unpleasant discovery that the house had no hot water heater anywhere on premises. Plus a couple of other things I would have expected the Lying Realtor to know about. In fact, I did ask him about the hot water heater and the tank on the roof. He lied.

So after reading through the report I was ready to call off the sale because there was no way in hell I was moving into a place whose only water source was a roof top tank. It's expensive to truck the water in and we'd already informed Lying Realtor we would not buy a place not on municipal water for expense of trucked water and the possibility of dirty water. I fired off a less than nice email to the realtor, who immediately called and told Jim he never told me there was a hot water heater in the house and that yes, the house is on municipal water unlike what the report stated. We immediately requested a walkthrough for Saturday afternoon with settlement on Wednesday.

So Saturday morning was Jim and I, me sitting there beef-stunned, asthma-med-addled and coffee-deprived while the Lying Realtor went banging on and on and on explaining in great detail how septic systems work, how municipal water functions, and why Costa Ricans rarely have hot water in their homes.

Okay, I'll admit the Copey de Dota experience had worn off a bit and I'd forgotten completely about how hot water is never a thing in Costa Rican homes. Clothes, dishes, bodies all get washed in cold water. But I also made it clear that we would immediately need to install hot water tank for this house because I am not risking the Costa Rican electrified death shower again, a shower head that heats the water to intermittent lukewarm water while sometimes giving you an unpleasant electric surprise while adjusting the metal shower knob. It happened to us.

Lying Realtor talks to Jim and I like we're both utter dumbasses, explaining these things in idiot minute detail until I have to stop him because my sleepy head is aching and tell him I already know a lot about septic tanks and sewage from a environment ecology class I took in college. I understand how sewage is dealt with on a large and small scale. Tell you something scary I learned in that class at LSU. In the Baton Rouge of the late 70s and early 80s sewage was dealt with by skimming off the solids, putting chemicals to disinfect the water and then the entire mess was released into the Mississippi River to go downriver to New Orleans, who pulls their drinking water at that time from the river. Flush twice because it's a long long way to New Orleans!

These were all things we'd discussed in detail over the phone and email the night before but Professor Lying Realtor is clearly nervous we might not complete the sale. If we weren't already so so close I might have cancelled it over this sudden surprise over the hot water and being lied to about a few things. But we're almost done and not soon enough. I never have to sit through another idiotic lecture by this guy again once we close. 

We finally escaped around noon, got a few groceries and came home for lunch and a nap. Four o'clock we roll up at the new place just in time to see a troop of howler monkeys and scarlet macaws and other small parrots raiding the ripe star fruit off the tree in the back. The owners were there cleaning out the place, and we and their realtor went over all the small details and we got answers to the questions we'd been asking no one could answer, like the last time the roof had been served, when had the septic tank been pumped, where exactly is the leech field.

We both liked the owners and the other realtor quite a lot. Everything was explained in detail. The only unpleasant surprise was finding out that the majority of the lovely furniture we thought that they were leaving was hired furniture to stage the house!! Apparently Lying Realtor was supposed to have told us that. They are leaving all of the furniture on the list, it's just none of it is quite as nice as the extra pieces they staged with. So guess who has to buy all new furnishings for the lanai, the guesthouse and the master suite? Us. After all the crazy slings and arrows and hoops we'd been dealing with this surprise was actually quite minor. They are leaving things I did not expect, like a large chest freezer and two dining room sets along with six televisions and every single thing in the kitchen. They are leaving all of the potted plants of which there are quite a few ones in half whiskey barrel sized planters.

We just want to get this deal done and move in. I cannot believe I'm going to get to see such exotic birds right in our backyard because we sure do not see them here a few miles down the same road.

It wasn't long after we returned from our walk through that one of the lesser fun things that happens routinely happened. The electricity went out for a large swath of the area. It went out for five hours and at one point I found myself crouching in the running car trying to charge my sacred cell.

I also discovered I am too stupid and clumsy to be trusted with candles. I went into the kitchen to try to figure out if I could bypass the electronic pilot light on the stovetop to cook dinner and I left a candle in glass burning on the coffee table. Came back five minutes later and the coffee table and tv remote were merrily burning. Ugh.