142. A New Year Begins

New Years GIF from New GIFs Monday 1/1- Being a holiday I had the day off but even so, we didn’t have any plans. Ramie decided early in the day that we should go for a Dusti ride and he wanted to take Skye with us. She has only been for one ride before, and we realized that the set up in the back seat wasn’t ideal for her, so Ramie has made a nice modification to hopefully make it easier for Skye to ride. Part of the problems that Skye was running into are that Dusti doesn't have easily removable rear seats, and that the floor is slippery plastic and has ribs, which makes it hard for Skye to stand on and hold herself in place. We brainstormed for a while and thought about what we could do to make the ride easier for her and came up with a few ideas. Ramie has found a way to make the flip up seats easier to remove and he cut a piece of plywood to fit the space where a person’s feet would go when you’re sitting on the seat, and finally we attached a rubber floor mat to the plywood

116. Finally a Chance to Relax

As I’m sure you’ve been able to gather from all of the things that we do together, Geoff & Tracy are pretty close friends of ours. They had to go back to Canada for about a week and a half and they knew that they could count on us to make sure their fur babies were taken care of while they were away. The difference with taking care of their furballs compared to what you might be thinking, is that these gals stayed at home and we went to their house to take care of them. No- we didn’t go live up at their house, their animals are pretty independent so we just had to make sure they were fed and looked after. They didn’t need a human living with them all of the time.

Bailey, the cat, is very independent and quite particular about the people that she trusts. Ramie is usually an animal whisperer and most animals like and trust him pretty quickly. Bailey took a little bit (or maybe a lot) of work, but after a few tips from her momma we were able to coax her into coming out for us and were able to give her a little bit of social interaction. Casey the little dog is a unique situation. Quite a few months ago she started hanging out at Geoff & Tracy’s house, they thought she was a stray so they took her in. She needed some medical attention for a few things including a severe ear infection that left her deaf, and they adopted her. After she was mostly healed up she would sometimes disappear for days at a time and come back still in good shape, so we figure that she might have another house somewhere else too. No one really knows what she does! She mostly lives outside and is allowed to wander around at her pleasure. She’s a very happy little dog and loves to see people so we didn’t have any trouble playing with her when we went to take care of the animals. While Geoff & Tracy were gone we were in charge of making sure the pets were fed, litter box cleaned, and making sure they knew that they hadn’t been abandoned. They survived momma & daddy’s time away with us babysitting, but I know they were so much happier once Geoff & Tracy returned. We were happy too, not because we didn’t have to take care of the animals though (because that wasn’t a bad thing at all) but because we got our co-pilots in adventure back. 😊

Saturday 4/8- With Geoff & Tracy back from Canada we had to make time to reconnect. I’m in the final hard push of tax filing with only 10 days left before the deadline and I’m not going to lie, I’ve been a little stressed recently, so Ramie, Geoff & Tracy coordinated an “Easter” dinner and all I had to do was show up. They truly left me out of the planning process, had a group chat that I wasn’t even involved in, and just told me when to be ready to shut off my computer and walk out the door. I was very thankful for this- I needed a break and time to unwind, and not having to help plan it was so helpful! (Thanks guys, you saved me!!)

While Easter is a very big deal here in Costa Rica, and is kind of celebrated as a “spring break” week, for us it is a time when we try to stay out of town and away from the beaches because all of the city people come to the coasts for their vacation (for our MN friends, think Memorial Day, 4th of July & Labor Day “up north”). For us, though, Easter last year was the first time we hung out with Geoff & Tracy. Kind of our “friend-iversery” if you will. We originally met them when we did a border run to Panama in February of 2022, and exchanged contact information. A couple of months later they invited us up to their house to hang out and get to know each other, and the evening that worked out for all of us just happened to fall on Easter. Yes, I know, Easter isn’t the same day every year, but it’s close enough and a fun way to count the time that we’ve been going on Costa Rican adventures together. Anyway- Tracy is a fantastic hostess and always puts together a great spread of food. We had a great afternoon and evening hanging out together and eating, and I got to relax away from the computer. No candy, no eggs, and no bunny, but still a very Happy Easter!

 


Saturday 4/15- I’m very thankful that the CPA firm that I work for is proactive and has already filed extensions for all of the returns that weren’t done by mid-day on Friday. What this means is that while I did have some work to do this morning on a few cases we wanted to get out the door “on-time”, I was done with the most stressful push to the filing deadline. I worked for a while in the morning and once the highest priority work was done, I turned off the computer and told Ramie I wanted to go for a ride. Of course, he wasn’t going to argue with this, he never needs an excuse to go on an ATV adventure!!

There are a lot of roads up the mountain and many ways to get lost back there, but Ramie has been looking at maps.

Along with a little bit of driving that we’ve done in that area and what he remembers from when he & Randall took the back roads to San Isidro when they did the car inspection, he was pretty confident that as long as we didn’t take any turns onto side roads we could make it up the mountain to a road that runs somewhat parallel to the highway here in town, and then find another straight road back down the mountain, and in the end we wouldn’t get lost. So- that’s what we set out to do! We took a road that we had driven once before while we were here on a vacation (and had turned around because it was getting too adventurous for our rental vehicle at the time). This time, we kept going, I mean, this is the type of terrain that these ATVs are made for, right!? 

As we made our way up the mountain, we realized that this road has changed quite a bit since the last time we were up this direction a few years ago. While it was still very adventurous, it had been made a little bit safer (I think) than it was before. We made it to a nice plateau high up the mountain that was overlooking the ocean. We decided to stop here & snap some fun pictures of the ATV and a few of the view as well. It looked like this space had been cleared out for the intent to someday build a house - I don’t know how I would feel living here, though, having traveled the road we just had to drive to get here!! 

Looking down on Uvita and Whales Tail from the clearing


If you go high enough eventually you will be in the clouds. This was at about 4000' looking back towards the ocean
This is the other direction looking inland. Totally clear and amazing views of this valley
I guess we will go down this road next


We weren’t all the way to the top of the mountain yet, so once we had our fill of the view, we hopped back in and kept on climbing!! Eventually we made it to the top of the mountain to that parallel road and could see down both sides of the mountain- one overlooking the ocean & Uvita, the other looking all the way to San Isidro. What amazing views, but again, not sure I could ever live up this high (plus, you’ll be in clouds for half the year during rainy season- no view & probably lots of mold on everything, even worse than when we were renting the house that was just a little way up the mountain!).

Once we were traveling on that parallel road, we quickly figured out that this road goes straight past Don Emilio’s coffee plantation that we like so much! Since it is Saturday, Deiner is selling their coffee down at the market and they aren’t open to tours today. They do sometimes have the ATV tours stop up there and the ATV guides give a mini-tour of the plantation. As we were driving by, we saw that one of the ATV groups was there, which means that Emilio & Rita were probably around too. We stopped with intention of staying for only a few minutes to just say hi and continue on our adventure. I know we’ve mentioned before just how much the Don Emilio family considers us a part of their family, and today was just more proof of that. 

When we stopped to say hi, Emilio immediately brought out the moonshine and Baileys. Coffee was an afterthought. After we each had a shot in and a cup of coffee in front of us, Rita & Emilio sat down with us to chat. Remember, Emilio speaks only a very little bit of English, and I don’t think Rita speaks any (although I think she understands a little bit). Lo and behold, our stop to say hi turned into a 2-hour Spanish lesson from them! Between the little bits of English they speak and our limited Spanish (and their extreme patience with us and a little help from the translation app) we had a nice afternoon, shared some laughs and a few jokes, and learned some very basic necessities that our DuoLingo app doesn’t teach- correct pronunciation! Think back to kindergarten when you start learning the sounds of the letters. First you learn what each letter sounds like, then you start stringing them together, saying the sounds faster, and finally getting a word. C-A-T eventually sounds like cat… you get the idea. Now, we’re learning the similar idea in Spanish. Their letters do sound different than we are used to in English!! They taught us like we were kids, and I think we learned something we otherwise wouldn’t have. Ramie's favorite word to learn was Moco, which means booger. After our lesson we headed home, and when I got back into cell-coverage range I saw that I had an email from work asking me to put in a little bit more time this afternoon to finish up a few things that just came in. I was completely ok with that and am glad that I got to go for our little adventure today before digging back into work. After all, today would be my last day working for this job before the filing deadline on the 18th. (That doesn’t mean it’s over for the season, though, they are keeping me on to work on extensions too. The work just never ends!) 


Thursday 4/20- With tax season finally and officially over, I finally have my first day completely off. You’d think I would use the day to relax, unwind, have a glass of wine or something like that, but nope… we’re going to make the trip to San Isidro for the farmers market & a grocery restocking. It has been many months since I got to stock up on all of the beautiful vegetables at the feria, and I was craving some of the things that I just won’t bring myself to buy in town, and the less expensive prices we find there!

Ray & Wesley, the couple that is currently living in the house that we rented when we first moved down here, have lived in Uvita now for a few months but have never ventured over to San Isidro. We love showing people around and bringing them to new places that we’ve discovered, so we asked them if they’d like to tag along to discover a new city & some new shopping options. They were completely on board because they were getting tired of the limited selection & high prices in Uvita too.

We got off to our early start, just like we always do. As we’ve written about before, the drive over the mountain is adventurous in and of itself with all of the winding roads up and down through the mountains, and I think Ray & Wesley were surprised by the drive but in awe of some of the views. When we made it to town our first stop was at the feria like we always do. I think they were amazed by the size and selection (and overwhelmed like most people are on their first trip through) but were glad to have discovered it now. The baby chicks below were at one of the Agri stores we stopped at for some supplies. We have thought about raising some chickens on our property but after going back and forth many times, we have decided against it.

We continued on through our regular stops for the day and pointed out the hidden gems that they will no doubt want to check out at some point. They are building a house, so we mentioned all of the different tile stores that we had discovered, the hardware stores where they would likely find things they need for their build, and even the granite countertop place that we ended up using. Even though we made a lot of stops and got all of our errands and shopping done and we made great timing. We made it back to Uvita by early afternoon and I even had a little bit of time to relax with that glass of wine.

Months and months ago when we were shopping in San Isidro we were looking for concrete stepping stones for the garden. We never found any that were a price that we were willing to pay, but we saw some really cute paw print ones that I really liked and hadn’t forgotten about. After Breeze passed away and we made her memorial garden I immediately wanted one and didn’t care that they were a little bit expensive. This is different than just placing stepping stones in the garden! This was the first time we’ve been back to San Isidro since we finished Breeze’s garden, and we were lucky to find just a few paw print stepping stones left. We bought one and put it in the garden in memory of our doggy. 

It has been so dry lately that a lot of the plants never made it. Its on our to-do list to replace them.

Saturday 4/22- Since I didn’t get to relax on my Thursday day off, I made sure that I would get a good day of “me-time” before I started working on the tax extensions that I knew were inevitably going to start soon (some days I still really wonder what I have gotten myself into with all of this!). Today I finally got my beach day!!

We invited Geoff & Tracy to go hang out at the beach with us and, like always, they were happy to hang out together. Since we are creatures of habit (and up early anyway) as soon as we were finished with our coffee we headed toward the water. We brought our beach chairs, boogie boards, some snacks & drinks, and decided that we’d make a day of it. We started out the morning like I always look forward to: a long walk on the beach. It’s been far too long since I got to do this so I enjoyed walking in the sand at the edge of the water, sun on my skin & warm ocean breeze all around us.

When we made it back to the starting point, we set up our chairs, pulled out the coolers, and hung around on shore for a while. After we were sufficiently rested from our walk and getting warm from sitting in the sun, Ramie, Geoff & I grabbed the boogie boards and headed out to the water.

The waves were very big and quite strong today (probably perfect for surfing), and typically I am not a huge fan of spending a lot of time in the water when it’s like that, but today it felt so good to be out playing in the waves. We probably spent an hour in the water fighting the waves and having a blast. We were so exhausted by the time we were done but it felt so good, and for me, was so needed! I think each of us were tumbled by the big waves at least a couple of times, but as long as I kept that board tethered to me and I knew which way was up, I was enjoying it. Once we were thoroughly exhausted we headed back up to our chairs again for some fun conversation and good times. By the time we hit early afternoon the rain started moving in, and while we probably would have put up with the rain, there was way too much lightening to trust staying at the beach, so we decided to head home for the rest of the afternoon. Despite the day being cut short, this was a great end to a busy tax season and first time back out and really able to enjoy myself since the busy season started.

Pura Vida 



Comments

  1. You're becoming old salts now, showing newer people the best places to shop etc. Its great to share your knowledge and make friends along the way.

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