Tuesday, January 30

To My Loyal Readers

To all two of you, just a post to let you know things aren't as they appear.
Yes, it's been fun starting a new relationship and having a playmate but
I have been also sick as a dog and getting things ready for my long-time friend, Kim, and her husband to come stay with me. My spare-room serves as my throw-all, garage room. Lots of sorting and cleaning to do plus I'm finally motivated to make the curtains for that room. I've had all the material for a couple of years but I kindda liked the black plastic curtains I had up. They blocked out the sun and looked so horrible that it deterred people from asking if they could rent that room. When you live in a big house alone, people just assume you want company.
All is good in paradise except for this blasted cough I have. It's hot
as blue blazes (400 hells) so when I do get out of my a/c'd room, I start coughing more. Yes, I'm taking antibiotics and trying like hell to get well so I can party with Kim like the old days!
I'll be better about blogging, I promise.

p.s. The photo is for Lisa and Sarah. Sam is fine and WE ALL miss you two!!
How is Canada treating you and don't you miss Jaco? We miss you!

Sunday, January 21

Church on Sunday

Church of Crosses, check out the "Wall of Crosses"
Taken somewhere in the Guanacaste Province near Liberia (I think)

Thursday, January 11

Modern Day Hero

I wanted to write about the heroic act of one man, Wesley Autrey, when it happened last week but I let it pass. Today, Mr. Wesley Autrey rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange with his family by his side. It brought me chills to think how one person can truly make a difference in another's life. Wesley Autrey is now listed on Wikipedia and you can read about him here.

I am still in awe how a complete stranger would risk his own life by jumping on a subway track with an oncoming train, to save another person's life. A true modern day hero. I hope he becomes a very rich man. He is rich at heart already.
Wesley Autrey, forever to be known as the "Subway Superman". Truly awesome.

Wednesday, January 10

Starlight Shower

You just haven't lived until you had a brisk cold showered under the starlight. I don't have a outdoor shower so the garden hose had to suffice. I remember the days when all I had were cold showers, but they were inside the house, in the shower. I didn't have a hot water heater here for the first year or so. You get use to it. Most Ticos don't use hot water, ever. It really does make you feel all fresh.

I've had hot water now for a couple of years and have gone back to my gringa comforts of back home. You'd be surprised to learn how many older homes DO NOT have a hot water heater. It comes under that "buyer beware" category. I ended up buying a water heater from Germany that heats the water as it's passing through. It's a small box and is located in the laundry room. The typical Tico water heater heats water at the showerhead. A pure electrical mess, fondly referred to as a "widow maker".

I've been without electric, without hot water, even without water but this, not being able to use anything that would fill my septic tank, will be quiet the new challenge. It's only temporary. Pura Vida.

Holy Crappers Batman!!

I must admit, I am a total Gringa. I am use to flushing the toilet and never giving it a second thought where the stuff goes. Most public places here WARN "do not flush paper in toilet" (in Spanish, mostly). I almost always forget and have to make a conscious effort not to slip up and clog their system with the paper. At home, it's gringa style and I never put the used paper in the trash (that's nasty), always flushed down the toilet.
Photo is at Mirador Restaurant, they have several warning signs.

This whole septic tank system and grey water run-off is totally alien to me. Just last year, I had to make some changes on "my system". I had a new grey water run-off dug and the guys filled it with big rocks, covered that with plastic and the lawn turf. I thought I was good to go. They neglected to put a S-curve (the smell backed into my house) and a T-joint for the paper not to clog the grey water line. I had to have that repaired by someone else. It worked for awhile.
Now, I am back doing it all over again. I have also found out that the water from my washing machine (the soap) is not good for the septic tank and I need to change that line as well. Again, poor design on the house and new discoveries for me to fix!

The guy with the big tank trunk came today to empty the septic tank but the other guys that are going to fix the grey water depository cannot come until Saturday. An outhouse would come in real handy about now because I CanNot let the tank fill up with water until they come to fix it. Yes, I wish both could have been done on the same day but NOTHING is simple here or goes as planned. Trust me on that one.

I guess I will be living Bohemian style the next couple of days, missing city sewage!
Or, checking into a Gringa Style hotel.
If anything, Costa Rica teaches one how to be industrious and a problem solver.
By the way, the internet is on the crapper (all areas) and it works/doesn't work.
You may not hear from me in awhile....
Oh God, it's only Wednesday. All day long, I've thought it was Dr. House night on t.v. tonight, Thursday!!

Around here, when things get rough, we get going to the beach (and/or the bank$$)!

Thursday, January 4

Meet the new Jose

That would be ME! As you may remember, Jose (my helper for a few years) returned to his country and I have been winging it on my own for a few weeks. Fortunately, the grass doesn't grow as fast since we are in the "dry season" now. I suit up for the job, wearing my boots that usually stay in my car (in case I need to hoof it due to a break-down). One good tug on the already wornout pullcord to start my beloved Weedeater and the cord snapped. My pathetic repair didn't last long (see yellow string).

Today a Tico friend, Oscar, took me and my mower to a neighboring town (Parrita) so it can be repaired. Four years of usage and not much maintenance, a trip to the lawn mower doctor was much needed. I could buy a NEW 6.0 mower for $400 but I like my little mower. I've grown fond of it, especially since I've been the one behind it lately.

And by the way, THIS TICO (Oscar) does do what he says he will, WHEN he says he'll do it. A rare caballero (gentlemen) indeed. They are here (men of their word), you just have to have the good fortune to find them.

Wednesday, January 3

"To Tell the Truth"

Back where I'm from, a man is as good as his word and deals are made with a handshake.
My mantra, "Remember where you are", comes in handy here.
It is a little known fact that Costa Ricans (being very courteous) will tell
you what you would like to hear and not necessarily tell you "the truth".
They will agree with you as not to hurt your feelings. Remember, this is
a non-confrontation country. They will accept an invitation never intending to attend. They will agree to work and never show. Many days I have waited for a worker to show and not receive a call or even see them. ICE (our phone/electric company) told me "manana" for a month! I waited deligently everyday. I would even see the truck pass and think it was stopping at my house only to see it keep on going. They finally did come and connect my phone line at 5:30 at night. Go figure.
I was happy they came at all. For some, it takes MONTHS to get a phone connected.
God Bless those ICE boys!
It took me awhile to catch on to this "way of life" and I don't take it personal, they do it to each other, too. It's just part of the "Pura Vida" lifestyle.

Now, I find myself doing it. Agreeing to meet someone in the "un-designated future" knowing it will probably never happen.

Monday, January 1

Me and My Shadows

It all started with the horrible thunderstorms we have here during the rainy season.
Macha, one of my pups, was terrified and insisted on coming inside the house
with her pitiful whimpers and outcries.
Of course, the others followed. I don't care for the lightning much either so I was happy to have the company.
With the celebrations for Christmas, fireworks every night for a week, and
then the culmination of New Year's Eve celebrations...they now ALL sleep inside.
I swear there was a cannon firing on some nights.
Last night at midnight, all of them were trying to get IN THE BED with me.
The blasts were intense and seemed almost never-ending.
I fear I have set a precedence for the new year and they now expect to
sleep indoors. They follow me like my shadow, making every move I do, going
up and down the stairs, waiting to move with my next motion.
Considering robbers poison dogs here before robbing, maybe they should sleep inside.
Sweeping and mopping my floor every morning has become part of my morning routine anyway.
Happy New Year to All.