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Ship's Log: Entry #1 Arrival to July 14


June 23, 24, 25 Arrive Visit visit visit Drive

We got home to find the road almost impassable and the house in a state. The dogs in a state. And we are very surprised. We react strongly, perhaps badly, because we are so surprised. There’s a dead snake in the bathroom, iguana and mouse poo everywhere, wasp nests inside, dogs infested with fleas, the nursery is a shambles, grass is thigh high, his sheets are filthy… And we find out Gilbert, who was working here while we were away, broke his ankle on the job. Not cool.


Tuesday, June 26 Clean house We work out what we think about this. Anger aside, what could be the reason for such disregard for the house, the animals, the worker under his watch? Different standards? Because it’s women’s work? He’s a slacker? He is developing cataracts. All of the above I’m afraid. Pay everyone, including Gilbert. We also start to pay him for the month of lost work due to his injury.


Wednesday, June 27 Clean house Take dog to the vet as she’s very very skinny. She has a fever. Antibiotics by injection. (Is there nothing easier to administer?) Start work on the road repairs


Thursday, June 28 Clean house Start talking to people about the horrible condition of the road. Continue work on the road Do Laundry


Friday, June 29 Clean house Do Laundry. Machine breaks


Saturday, June 30 Clean house Drive to San Jose. We have to bring the dogs because of the antibiotic injections for Mariposa. Willy is in the back, but likes to stand on my shoulders as I drive. I kind of like it, to be honest, but it isn’t that safe I suppose. Stay with Mabel and that whole family. She kindly agrees to let us keep the dogs with her when our stop at Jenny’s house is a disaster. Harry asked Jenny (our 17 year old niece) if we could keep the dogs there with her new puppy and she agrees. We don’t ask her mother. Jenny forget’s to ask her mother, who doesn’t agree. So it’s late, we’ve deposited to the dogs to the absolute joy of Jenny and Jasmin (her 4 year old sister) when Giselle announces WTF and we have to leave. Harry leaves me to deal while he goes to his primary school class reunion. (I wasn’t invited ?)


Sunday, July 1 Happy birthday Canada Get collars and leashes for the dogs. I take them on a walk, that’s funny. We visit Tia Lija with Mabel and remember Harry’s mom


Monday, July 2 Start search for a new stove. It turns out people in San Jose are not fans of gas stoves. They are afraid they will explode. Other stuff Try and get out of town, in rush hour, and the brakes become completely freaky. Take car to Mechanic and he says it will be a day to fix it. Tell Mabel we’re going to be another day.


Tuesday, July 3 Wait for car. Find new problems. Tell Mabel we’re going to be another day.


Wednesday, July 4 Happy birthday USA Wait for the car. Find new problems. Tell Mabel we’re going to be another day.


Thursday, July 5 Wait for the car. Leave at rush hour, pick up electrician friend Randall Harry reconnected with at the reunion. Drive at night.


Friday, July 6 Harry and Randall are gone all day on their search for Randall’s tools and his pay I fix the screen door at the front. It looks beautiful. I am miserable. as the day progresses and I’m left alone, I feel like there’s no real plan here and I’m ready to return to Toronto. We’ve been here for weeks and still the nursery is a shambles, and it is supposed to be our first plan for produce, for revenue, to start our artesian lettuce business. Yet it feels like Harry’s focus is everywhere except there.


Saturday July 7th Work out a plan with Randall to repair the electrical service in the kitchen and studio and to ground it all.


Sunday July 8th Removed a bunch of worms from Willy’s skin. Yucky stuff Drive to San Jose. it’s a freaky experience on the highway, as it is temporarily changed into a one-way road for a few hours on Sundays. Very freaking weird to get used to. Attend the surprise party for Mabel’s birthday. She was plenty surprised. Yay. Tequila got us dancing, fun. And the cake took the cake. Wish I understood more Spanish


Monday July 9th Had a hard conversation between co-captains. There is an issue of difference in point of view – communication – expectations – perhaps culture. But maybe we got a few things said to help pave the way for the next bit. Anger has defined things for the past several weeks. I stayed most of the day in the hotel, working on the tax credit application revision, while Harry went around buying our electrical supplies, doing other chores, and visiting friends. Shopping at EPA (think Home Depot) for home necessities like good composted earth, a new sink, bathroom stuff. Unusually satisfying. (Can’t find this stuff where we live). Had a delicious empanada dinner on the curb with friends. Admired painted signage in the light of street lamp. Our friends returned to their separate homes ( I hope they get back together again soon) Took some photos of the night in Desamparados.


Tuesday, July 10th 5:30 get up get ready to leave for Guanacaste. Harry goes to pick up our niece Jenny, her cousin Dorian, and Randall the electrician. I stay here at hotel Don Carlos and call Canada Revenue to sort out an HST issue and do some email. Per usual, we stayed extra time and I don’t have any clean clothes. Naked me needs some work. Note to self: do something about this temple of yours. Facebook Youtube Writing that damn application. Harry comes back here with everyone. we are now five. Repacks the car to make space for passengers. Finally, we get to use the basket on top of the car. Driving the whole way myself because – frankly – i don’t want to sit next to Randall, I’m not sure why. Driving this truck is such a trip. It’s a matter of momentum. It takes effort to build it up because the engine doesn’t have much pep, and once you have it, it becomes all about not losing it. I kind of love it. The heat takes everyone by surprise and thus begins the constant chant of “Que Calor!”.


Wednesday, July 11 Woke up mad Went to bed happy i may have turned a corner Everyone complains of the heat.


Thursday, July 12 Work on the electrical upgrade progressed, Roof came off again, more banging around. Harry finished fixing the rotten wood section of the eves. Nice work. I took a side trip away from the house because I was feeling like I wanted to scream. It did the trick. I wish I knew way more Spanish. Everyone complains of the heat. Laundry (by hand, machine is broken) Facebook More work on the application (hard to do with all the infernal noise). Then Harry saved the day by arriving with horses for horseback riding. What a joy. Walking about for a couple of hours until sunset. Then to the farm where they come from and home in the dark. Dinner was a joy to prepare because of the new, bright lighting in the kitchen! No more guesswork! Went to bed, watched a movie (Bourne Ultimatum) Harry taught Jenny to fire a gun.


Friday, July 13 Up early. breakfast pre-made from the day before, so that was one less chore. Harry takes the kids to the river for a swim, Randall gets back to work to finish up. He says he only needs an hour or so. I worked on and finished as much of the application as I could, sent it off to Chris. Laundry (by hand) Cleaning dishes Everyone complains of the heat. Weirdly, even though Randall had predicted he only had a hour’s work left, in reality, he hadn’t done the grounding – nor did he have the proper gear to do it. So, (I ask myself) how did he think he was going to be finished? We discuss the situation and clearly a trip to Nicoya is required to buy the copper wire for the ground. So we’re not leaving this morning. (And really, seriously, what did he mean – he was almost done? What did he think, it was okay to leave without finishing?) Harry and Randall leave for Nicoya. Start cooking lunch (slow cooked meat) More laundry Meat kept cooking Kids grabbed fan and fell asleep in their room due to inexperience with the heat Suddenly — quiet. peace and quiet. so I read more of Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines. Harry and Randall stuck in Nicoya with a flat tire and my bank card not producing cash. Burritos for lunch. Lunch is late. Planted Tomato, cucumber, red pepper seeds.

It’s a travel day today for some. Travel days in this family often start after dark. Today is no exception. Harry and I discuss it and agree I’m going to stay here while he returns our niece and her cousin to their families. They start back at school on Monday. I’m staying because I need a break from Spanish, from people who only speak Spanish. I need a break from loud talkers. Who only speak Spanish.

To bed after they leave and the dogs are fed. Mariposa gets a slap for trying to sleep on the table. Chairs go up onto the table and then lights out. Zzzzzzzzzz


Saturday July 14th Cutting butter from the bar with the same knife I buttered the toast reminds me of my Grandmother and how she showed me how to use a butter knife properly (and which I am not doing here.) What to do today? I have the whole day to myself ( and the dogs). Watched a movie – Wasteland by Lucy Walker. Very, very Inspiring. Gave the dogs a flea powder bath. The to do list is the same as always, sweep, tidy, laundry. And then there’s the fun stuff to do. Writing, Photo work, building things. Where to begin! It’s so exciting. And the heat isn’t a problem today. (Though nothings changed except there is an absence of complaining) Laundry. Lots of it. Refurbished another bucket of dirt (sand, compost, earth). Drilled new holes into more bamboo planters. Planted new seeds. Lettuce mix, zinnia, cilantro. The rain was really strong tonight. Lot’s of lightening and thunder. Mariposa comes whimpering to the door, so I go out and hold her in my lap. She’s loves that. Willy is nowhere to be found. Go looking, don’t see him. Figure, he’s a dog, he’ll figure it out. Later he appears, I feel better. i give them each a towel to sleep on, so they are not too cold. Watch a very funny South Park DVD and then sleep.

Originally published July 15, 2012

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