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 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.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Take Two More Bananas and Call Me In the Morning

Another visit. Toe more infected. Put on serious meds this time for the proper amount of time, ten days instead of five. Received lecture on blood pressure and blood sugar readings again, even as I pointed out that both are within normal ranges when I'm not illing like a villian.

Sweaty and yuk. Got worse. Ended up with vomiting like crazy last night along with the meds tearing up the rest of my stomach. I am cleaned out. No cleansing needed.

Jim is at church, and I'm sitting feebly on the deck waiting for the sheets and quilt to come out of the wash again. I hate clammy sheets when I'm sick.

Feels just like it did when I had MRSA a couple of years ago I asked for a culture, but the doctor didn't want to do it, even if I explained the why. I guess it does not matter because I'm back on the baddy antibiotics that kill MRSA. I feel like shit. I hope I can keep the medicine in this morning without throwing it up or having to throw the other end on the toilet. So far, so good, which is needed. I really need the oxycontin for the pain to kick in soon.

That why I I think this is MRSA. It's hurt, but not unmanagably until yesterday. Once MRSA hits it's ridiculously painful.

Great, another day feeling like a bumper-stunned toad by the side of the road. But its better than the pain.


At the same time I am coming up with some realizations about our lives and how things have happened that I haven't been emotionally healthy to make the connection before. Primarily how Jim deals with stress.

We've been dealing with the stress that is selling our house stateside these last few months. Now we're in the nitty gritty do or die time. Every single day something new comes up, starting with the home inspection, now to dealng with the insano assholery that is our HOA. The HOA is demanding we change out all the screens (done a year ago) and have the house powerwashed (also done a year ago).

Personally I think those two requests are a 'fuck you' from the HOA board we were both officers on for years, years involved with crazy cakes behavior by board members. Do it and move on.

But Jim has been fighting tooth and nail with the realtor and everyone else. I used to get very anxious when he did these things. Now I am just too sick to care, and I've realized it only happens when he feels worried about something. This time I left him ranting and rambling, and it ended sooner than usual, when it suddenly dawned on him that he was behaving badly, and the why.

This, THIS is the freedom of leaving toxic fundytown. I am not responsible for Jim, for making him behave, for explaining the world to him, for making things work out to his satisfaction. I no longer have to walk on eggshells to keep from upsetting his male ego. I don't have to fix anything. He's a grownassed man. In fact the only thing I said was that I pointed out that he was being a bit of an asshole as I shuffled on by.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sweatin' For This Oldie

Apparently I've picked up something else, something that keeps me sweating like a fool, feeling exhausted and feverish. Another doctor's visit, another round of drugs. One of the quite awful parts of moving overseas is being exposed to completely different cold virus and other medical maladies. Costa Rica has a few bug borne illness and other medical issues we generally don't get exposure to in the USA.

But, I think that being raised in South Louisiana, in the heat and the bugs before air conditioning, has had a positive effect on me. Jim catches every single bug bite that turns into a hideous infection. I don't. I can only conclude it has to do with my childhood in a tropical clime.

On the positive side I have managed to get a box of suppliments made from a Costa Rican herb that is currently being studied as an asthma aid. It works, it works well on me, even better than the CBD oil and medical marajuana ever did, which worked much better than any of the other traditional asthma meds have for a long time on me.

So dealing with this new fever put quite a weird dent in dealing with life the last few days. I've been alternatively resting and scuttling around like a crippled crab on speed. And thinking about the crazy crap going on in the States like mad. I've come to the conclusion, based on seeing the effect of polite behavior here and seeing that the rapidly escalating hostilities in the States aren't working, I'm come to the conclusion that we need to not react constantly in what I can only term as hissy fits. Let the Evangelical Christians and Conservatives work their hissy fits like a performance artists on crack. The rest of us just need to go into smiling 'Bless your heart' mode.

Fighting fire with fire only creates a scorched earth. Acting like an asshole to another asshole just adds another asshole to the situation, it is not helpful in any way, We need to treat the hissy fitters with the same gentle smirk and 'there there' you might use on your elderly uncle who likes to tie onions around his belt and mutter about 'The Kaiser!'

I know many on the left are calling for ramping up hostilities. I don't think that's going to work.

Well, anyway I had a chance to practice this with my finest 'Bless your heart!' towards the visiting pastor who was busy spewing shit two Sundays ago. Jim and I ran into him at our local shopping center yesterday. I didn't say what I was thinking, for a change, I smiled, nodded politely and said 'Bless your heart' as he heavily handed reminded us of his Bible study class this morning.

As you can see I am here at home this morning. Nope, nope, nope. But he'll be gone from Costa Rica on Monday. A blip on my screen not even worth getting agitated over. I am about to put his organization and website on blast on NLQ.  He teaches exactly the kind of toxic theology as the Bill Gothards of this world.

We spent the entire afternoon and evening with a couple we met through the church. A lot of laughing and drinking of spicy grapefruit martinis before we went to the nearby mountains and watched the sun go down. There was a  great deal of talk about the wonderfulness of escape from Fundytown, They also walked away from a cult church.

 Sunset over Playa Pinellas

Today is our wedding anniversary, the 32nd. We'll go out for dinner, but I think I'm going to have to lay low in the pool for the day.