Alligators 'n Roadkill

Alligators 'n Roadkill
On The Road


Saturday, May 22, 2010

I heard the news today, oh boy……

Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. - - Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC), The Bacchae, circa 407 B.C.


So, what is a day in the life of a retired ex-pat like, anyway? I'm glad you asked.


Believe it or not, we do have some things that need doing, and some of those are just as repetitious as some of our duties back when we had to work for a living. Like, for instance, the Muni (short for Municipalidad, or municipality) truck comes along the Lake road on Mondays and Thursdays, so we have to make sure the garbage is up on the road in time for pick up on those mornings. Obviously, we need some necessities of life, like milk, bread, beer, toilet paper, coffee, meat, beer, gaseosas (read, soda pop), veggies, cereal, beer, butter, juice, (did I mention, beer?), and like that, so occasional trips to the store are called for. We have to pay the water (once a year), the lights, the phone, the internet, our mortgages, our health insurance (used to be monthly, now will be every three months), and so forth. And, once in a while, Blanca needs oil or acrylic paints for her new hobby, or sewing materials, so a trip to either Tilaran or Cañas might be called for. Occasionally, we need some hardware item that the local hardware store doesn't stock, or something to do with the car, like the annual inspection, or the trip to a mechanic which preceded that (can't get that done any closer than Cañas), so there is a need for a trip.


I also have to go to the bank around the end of the month, and the first of the month, so as to hit the ATM (Cajero Automatico) for cash. Now, this has turned into a routine that has been refined over time. I used to go to the bank just after the first of the month, and wait in line to go to one of the teller windows (Caja, where one deals with a live Cajero/a), present my debit card from our American bank, and ask for our Tico bank to move dollars from that American account into one of our Tico accounts. This involved fees for international transactions, and I don't know what all, totaling around $30.00 per transaction, and since Visa lowered the amount allowed per transaction after the first of the new year, this was becoming expensive. So, I hit on the idea of trying the ATM, and while time consuming, it saves me a ton of money. For some reason, my Tico bank does not charge me any ATM fees for cash withdrawals on my U. S. debit card. So, I hit the ATM for three quick transactions in a row, then take the cash inside the bank to deposit. Silly, but it is sure worth it to save maybe $60.00, or more each month.


Blanca has a trip to Tilaran every Tuesday, because she is volunteering at the Catholic School there, to assist the high school students with their English language skills, so that pretty much takes up her day. She also teaches Catechism at the local church on Saturday mornings, for a couple of hours. Other than that, she sews, she paints, and we always have the normal routine of a household anyway (laundry, cooking, dishes, etc.).


My morning routine starts with my coffee, while I sit down at the computer to go over email, read up on the news (mostly local CR news, via English language online sources, such as, check out my blog, and a couple other blogs to see what is going on there. I also look in on some internet forums dealing with Costa Rica, to see if there is any new argument going on (there usually is), and then I have to decide whether or not to get involved (I all too often do). I spend anywhere from minutes to hours on the computer, perhaps adding to my blog (actually, what I try to do is have more than one work in progress at any one time, writing and re-writing each post before I publish).


I am also trying to clean up all the music files I have on an external hard drive that was pretty much filled by my sons before we left Texas. Unfortunately, when I told AD to put all of his music on this drive, he took me seriously, and I've got tons and tons of electronic, disco, Club, Hip Hop, Rap, and other crap to get rid of. Also, some strange movies were put on the drive by Bucko, so I've been trying to sort those by eliminating those that are out of my league, or a number that won't play anyway, so that is taking time. (As a for instance, regarding music files alone, after waiting a day or two for Windows Media Player to sort files, I have discovered that I have 556 hours (that's right: Five Hundred Fifty-Six hours) worth of unknown music files, as in not classified by genre, song title, album title, or artist).


As I think I've mentioned elsewhere, and if I haven't, you should know, we have a busier social life than we have had for years. We go out to eat once in a while, also. Last week we had one gringo friend and his son over for dinner, twice. The gringo's wife is back in the states (would you believe working?), and his son stayed with him for a time. Now, the gringo has gone up there to spend a couple of weeks with her, and the two of them are to return in early June. Their son is house sitting meanwhile. We will have some friends over for dinner with us this afternoon, for which I'll try to improve on my recipe for saltimbocca (it does, sadly, need work).


I also still spend a lot of time reading, either in my Lazy Boy (which, by the way, is taking on an unpleasant odor due to the humidity; note to self: look into a fix for that), or in a lounge chair on the porch, or- better yet – at the beer table. Yesterday morning we had to go to the clinic in town for lab work (to hand over our urine samples that we collected first thing, and for them to draw blood; they do not furnish the container for urine samples, so we go to a local pharmacy a few days before our twice-a-year lab work, and buy the plastic cups for this purpose – cost was about 15 cents, U. S.), and we also went to the store.


A couple of days ago, believe it or not, I baked Italian bread. Unfortunately, the yeast didn't do its thing, and it came out pretty flat, but at least it tasted OK. I also prepared a pot of Oyster Stew that same day (Thank You, Mike and CJ - they brought me the oysters).


Update: the dinner went well. I may have the bugs worked out for my saltimbocca. As for how days end, usually, after we've done a number of the things mentioned above, the sun will be over the yard arm by then, somewhere, and it will no doubt be 5 o'clock somewhere, too, so…………..


And, yeah. One last thing: most nights, for the last couple of weeks, we are able to watch American TV, as the internet connection does seem to have improved enough to allow for that. It is still not as good as it could be, but we have watched a number of programs that we hadn't seen in more than a year.


  1. John,

    Since you have been around the area for a while a freind of mine and I are making a mule trip to the house the first of July and was thinking about bringing him up to the cano since he has never been to CR. Rainy????? or should we just stay at the beach and pretend we when?


  2. I had to take a look at your blog to get a better idea of what you're asking. Not sure what you mean by 'bringing him up to the cano," though. Is that a reference to a place? If so, I don't think it is very close to me, or maybe there's a different, or more proper name for it? As to climate anywhere in CR, you probably already know that it changes within a distance of just a few miles. We have started the rainy season up here near Arenal, and so far, it is hot and muggy (to us) during the day, and we are having heavy rains at night. Who knows what the weather will be like in July. Last year, we didn't have as much rain as a 'normal' year. I'd say to go ahead and make the trip. Ticos never let the weather stop their plans, and we are learning to go with the flow.
    btw, I noticed on your blog that you aren't sure how to handle the authentication of your documents. Please take the time to read through mine, because I describe what I did to get ours certified and documented, and it sure did not include any travel by me until we went to the CR Consulate in Houston. You can send your documents via U. S. Mail (I think I used Priority Mail, delivery receipt requested, and didn't even consider registered, or overnight), and you'll get them in a timely fashion.

  3. By "cano" I mean Volcano. Did mean to throw you a curve ball on that. I have been there a couple of times and almost got to see the top.

    We now live on the eastern coast and will be bringing some stuff down to the house before we make our final move in August. I didn't want to waste making reservations if you think the weather would not be good during that time.

    Anyway if we do make it and you're around we could always share a beer or two.



  4. Using the ATM to withdraw dollars (not colones) from your U.S. account works really well because as you say the local bank here in Costa Rica does not charge any fees. The problem is that this advice doesn't work for everyone. Some U.S. banks charge currency conversion percentages even when you receive dollars at the ATM.

    What I like to do is deposit a check from my U.S. account at the Costa Rican bank. It takes about 20 businesses days to clear, but there are no charges on either end, and you can move larger amounts of money without having to handle the cash.