146. A Beautiful Reunion

Reunion Dance GIF from Reunion GIFs Saturday 2/3- Many of you who know me know that once upon a time I was in the military. During a deployment to Iraq nearly 17 years ago (Ugh, I really feel old after saying that!) I got close to 2 battle buddies who I hope will be in my life forever. We were all young girls from MN in a military field where very few women end up and we formed a tight while trying to keep each other as sane as possible during a tough 18 months far, far from home. After the deployment we all ended up back in MN, but only saw each other about once a year. Despite not seeing each other very often, when we do get together it’s like no time has passed and we can step right back into our friendships without any problems. The last time I saw these gals was shortly before we moved down here, and ever since then we always talked about when they would come visit us. That was finally happening! We have been working on planning this for a while, and today was my & Ramie’s d

143. A Mixed Bag & Mixed Emotions

Thursday 1/11- 3rd Annual Christmas at the beach, take two. Tracy has returned to the warmth of Costa Rica after spending a few weeks in Canada and after seeing evidence of and hearing about the fun we had on Christmas day, she wanted to have a Christmas on the beach redo. We invited the same group, but Ray and Wesley had plans and couldn’t make it. It would just be the 4 of us and Skye. We made it to the beach around 8am and promptly started with a shot of Baileys.

Tracy even brought a Santa hat, bells and festive glasses. 

We sat around for the first hour or so catching up with Tracy, talking about her Canada trip and filling her in on what we’ve been doing. Finally, when we were ready, we decided it was time to hit the water. The waves were good, but not quite like last time. The stingrays were back again too!! Ramie and Geoff stayed out playing in the water for quite a while before they needed a break. When they came back to dry land we talked some more, ate some snacks and had some drinks, let that settle for a bit, and then it was time to head back into the water. We played for about another hour and then dried off and headed home around 1-ish. We all had a blast and it’s always so much fun to hang out with friends on the beach no matter what day it is.

Friday 1/12- Ramie had one more big chore left on his to-do list. He had to finish power washing the pool deck and terrace.

This is the most heavily used area of our house, we spend the majority of the day there and the tile gets dirty from our shoes and muddy puppy paws. Some of the tiles, especially near the table and where we walk into the house, are stained and kind of ugly. The natural soil here in our area is red clay, so you can only imagine how much mess that makes and how difficult it is to clean up.  BUT, when Ramie power washes the clean the tile you can clearly see how dirty it was and the transformation back to what it should look like. The areas that are stained the worst take the longest since he has to power wash it first, then he uses Dawn dish soap drizzled on the tile and a scrub brush to lift the ground in dirt, lets that sit for about 10 minutes and then power washes it again. He may have to repeat that a couple times for some areas to get them back to their original color, but once he's done there is a noticeable difference. It took him the majority of the day to complete the whole area, which meant I had to listen to that dang pressure washer all day long.

Saturday 1/13 – Monday 1/15- Yep, it was another long weekend since I got Monday off for MLK day, but honestly we didn’t really do anything at all. My weeks are so busy that relaxing around the house is sometimes all I want to do when I have a day that I don’t work. Plus, there’s always stuff to be done at the house and days off are the only time I really get to do them. 

I'm always so happy next to my hoomans

Wednesday 1/17- Per their realtor's request, Katie & Adam's house needed some things fixed and cleaned. Ramie was put in charge of looking for someone to who could give a quote, and then try to get them scheduled during a time in-between guests. The thing is, with the cost and quality of work you can expect, it is very hit or miss situation here. Unfortunately, the majority of the time it's a miss and instead of hiring out the fairly simple work, Ramie offered to take care of these items, at an agreed upon hourly rate. This way, everyone knew that it would be done right and there would be a good quality result. On the to-do list were cleaning the soffits (they have white soffits which show dirt very clearly), painting the eaves (also white and very dirty), painting the concrete pool deck, and repairing some metal on the roof.

The guests that were currently staying at the house were gone for the day and Ramie used this opportunity to check a few of those items off the list while at the same time not interrupting their vacation. He started with the soffits where he used a long extension and a mop to wipe them all down. They cleaned up fairly easily and looked new again. The next item was the eaves. They had algae on them from the rainy season and looked stained. The realtor said to paint over it, which is the easier, but clearly wrong, thing to do. Instead of the shortcut way out, Ramie brought out his power washer to see if they could be cleaned up instead. If anything, he would have to power wash them anyway to get the majority of the crud off, and if it didn't clean up well then he would have to paint them anyway. Fortunately the power washing took off all of the nastiness and they looked fresh, clean, and white again.

The difference
Front is done, now to move to the back


Since he already had the power washer over there and hooked up, he might as well try to clean up the pool deck. Unfortunately that didn't work nearly as well as the eaves did. The painted concrete pool deck (instead of a tiled deck like ours) doesn’t let go of the stained look as easily as our tiled deck does. Ramie will have to paint the deck, but that will have to wait for a day when there are no guests staying. The roof metal repair will also have to wait since Ramie lent his drill to a friend and hasn’t got it back yet. Ramie spent 3 hours working on their house today, cleaning up the exterior, make it look a little better (not that it looked bad) for potential buyers.

Thursday 1/18- The guests currently staying at Katie & Adam's house are from Minnesota, and actually from fairly close to where we lived. They have been here since the beginning of January and leave at the end of the month. They don't have a 4 wheel drive rental car, but they did let Ramie know that they wanted to go to Don Emilo’s for the coffee tour and asked how they could make that happen. Ramie offered to take them up there since we get along so well with the Don Emilio family, and they thought this would be a great idea.  Even though they were here for a relaxing vacation, they were very interested to hang out with us since we are from the same place. We were able to set up a tour for a Thursday so that I could go too, since it was my regular day off work. 

Since there would be 4 adults and a 3-month-old we’d have to take our truck instead of Dusti, and with the truck you have to go a little bit slower. The tour started at 10 so we had to leave the house by around 9:15.  At around 8am, our full time neighbor Carolina messaged Ramie asking him if he could come look at her car; she thought the battery was dead. With plenty of time before we had to leave, Ramie grabbed his tools and headed over there. 

After a little more than an hour he wasn’t home yet and it was just about time to head out if we were going to make it to our tour on time. Where was he and what was taking so long? When I called him he said that he was just finishing up and would be home in a couple minutes. When he got home, he quickly changed clothes, and explained that her battery was in fact dead, the place that they originally tried to buy a new battery at had terrible customer service and were waiting over 20 minutes to pay.  Even after they already had picked out the battery that they needed, no one came to take their money, so they ended up having to go somewhere else to find someone who would actually SELL them a battery. After all was said and done, Carolina had a new battery and was able to go about her day as normal and we would be able to make it to our coffee tour on time.

We brought the truck over to pick up Daniel, Taylor and their 3mo old little boy Elias, got the car seat buckled in, and made our way to the plantation. We arrived a few minutes before 10 and just in time. There was another group of four already there waiting for the tour as well. As usual, Deiner did not disappoint, he truly puts on a great tour. Everyone had a great time and once again, Emilo, Rita and Diener treated us like family. This time, as we were just finishing paying for the tour, Deiner came out and told us that Rita was making chicharones for us and asked us to stay and have some. When they were finished cooking the 4 of us adults and little Elias were brought inside to the VIP table where rice, heart of palm, chips and chicharones were served, along with a few different types of delicious fresh squeezed fruit juice. We didn't ask for any of this, it's just their hospitality! They are truly amazing people. By the time we were done eating it was close to 3pm. Baby Elias did very well and Ramie got his cuddle time with a baby. We made our way back home, stopping a few times for some pictures along the way, and Daniel & Taylor continued to talk about how today was such a wonderful experience.

Deiner's "office" view

Red coffee beans ready to be picked

The basket used by the workers who pick the coffee by-hand. They get paid $2 per basket. It about the size of a 5-gallon pail or a regular laundry basket for reference.


Friday 1/19- Today was a day full of mixed emotions for me. It was my last day with my main job. An opportunity presented itself and instead of working a nearly full time job with a set-in stone number of hours per week, I will be picking up more hours with the companies that I worked my side-jobs for, be able to make my own schedule, and the plan is, still earn enough money to be live our lifestyle.  My goal in making this switch is to have much more flexibility and not be glued to my computer for a particular schedule, and to actually get to live the Pura Vida lifestyle that Ramie & I were hoping for when we moved down here. 

Originally, when I put in my notice at the beginning of December, I planned to be finished with them at the end of December and start the new routine right away on Jan 2. You know, the whole “New Year - New You” concept. Well, that didn’t quite work out like I had been planning. The main boss asked me to stay on for an extra 3 weeks to transition my cases to whomever would be picking them up and to start briefly training in the new girl (who they did hire before I put in my notice, so she wasn’t originally meant to be my replacement). Not to mention, it would be a little bit chaotic for everyone to do this transition over the holiday season when so many people were taking time off. Of course, being the hard working and high-integrity person that I am, I agreed to give them the extra 3 weeks.

Actually, the boss had originally asked if I would be able to stay on for an extra month, but I just couldn’t put myself through that. You see, since Jan 2, I have actually been juggling all 4 jobs. The 3 that were expecting me to start on Jan 2, plus the main one that didn’t want to let me go at the end of December. The first week of January was do-able, but this past week has been especially full, chaotic, and stressful because everyone needs me at once. I know I’m good at what I do and everyone wants me, but there’s only so much of Dana to go around before things get to be too much, even for me!

The one thing that I will say is that I am truly going to miss the people that I worked with; our team was fantastic.  What I will not miss is the constant stress and inability to disconnect even when I’m off the clock. Wish me luck in this new chapter!

Sometime during the middle part of my day I stepped away from the computer for a little while because our mobile veterinarian, Fabiola, stopped by to give Skye a checkup and get another puppy shot that she was ready for. Skye is up to about 30 lbs, and Fabiola doesn’t think that she’ll grow much more. Well, I guess we’ll just have a mini-dog, at least mini compared to Breeze and Kota who we were used to.

Speaking of Breeze, today has also been 1 year since the passing of our beloved pupper. We miss you every day Breeze! 


By the end of the day I truly just needed to shut down, my mind and emotions were fried. I didn’t feel like cooking dinner, and relaxing into a plate of wings and fries sounded soothing, so Ramie and I headed up Jolly Roger for dinner and a drink, and a gorgeous sunset view.

Saturday 1/20-Sunday 1/21- This was another laid back weekend full of nothing in particular, exactly what I needed again. We played around in the yard, checked out all of the fun plants we've planted to see how things were growing, and once again tried to get Skye to be more comfortable around (or in) the pool.  You see, she is still not at all interested in being in the pool, and won't get within a foot of the edge of it unless coaxed by something she can eat or drink!!

I don't like this dad! 
You may remember us talking about some of the fruiting and edible plants that we have planted in your yard. So far, nothing has produced anything yet, even though some of the plants were started before we even moved into our house nearly 2 years ago. Our banana tree is getting bigger and even has some baby banana trees growing from it, but still no signs of any fruit starting. Our first pineapple is finally starting to get a baby pineapple on it, though. I don’t know how long it will take for this little bud to turn into an edible pineapple, but we’ll be sure to keep an eye on it!
If you've never seen a banana tree, this is what one looks like.  Fun fact, a banana tree will give you 1 big bunch of bananas in it's life, then the tree is cut down, but baby trees continue to grow from the same root so you will have perpetual banana trees.
Many people don't know that pineapples grow from a plant on the ground, 1 single plant gives you 1 single pineapple.

Another fun thing that started this weekend was that we really started our coordination efforts with my army girls Jamie & Katie who would be visiting us for a week at the beginning of February. They’ve agreed to bring down some things for us, so after we discussed how much space they would have available in their luggage, we started placing orders on amazon to be delivered to them. The countdown is on and I know that all of us girls are excited (but I’m not sure how Ramie truly feels about it since he just gets to chauffeur us around, but I'm sure it'll be fun for him too).

Pura Vida!