149. Another Month Gone By!?

Monday 3/11 thru Saturday 3/16- No time to rest. Yes, it’s work, work, work, all day long. I did take a break from the multiple jobs for about an hour on Tuesday morning to go get my passport picture taken, but that may have been the only time we left the yard this week. Now, I’ll have to pick another day sometime next week to drive an hour to the Palmar post office to send my passport renewal package up to the US Embassy to be processed.

Sunday 3/17- Since I haven’t had a chance to do anything but work all week, I was looking forward to a productive day today. I started the day by making some homemade salsa, and while I was in the chopping mood, chopped up the rest of the jalapenos from our garden to put in the freezer. Well, I forgot to put on gloves before chopping the peppers, and my hands did not respond well. I tried all of the tricks I could find- rub them with olive oil, soak them in vinegar or lime juice, or milk, wash them with dawn dish soap, but I had no luck- the capsaicin got the best of me and I suffered chemical burns on my fingers and hands. I cut up those peppers up at about 8:30am and within a half hour I could barely touch anything and was desperate for relief so I went in the pool to see if I could “dilute” the spiciness and make my hands feel better. It helped a little bit, but once I took my hands out of the water they would burn again. I tried all of the things that I could think of but nothing was working and it felt like it was getting worse the more time went by.

Ramie just laughed at me because he knew the feeling. He’s done this himself and now always wears gloves when he chops the jalapenos (he will now be the designated jalapeno chopper!!). My last resort was my trusty nurse-on-speed dial, Taryn. I, very carefully with my burning fingers, texted her about what I had done and she told me to try some steroid cream, luckily I had both hydrocortisone and triamcinolone on hand. I slathered it on like lotion and within 40 minutes the pain was diminishing. By now, it was about noon and I hadn’t done anything else productive today like I was originally hoping to. My hands weren’t feeling well enough to do much of anything at all, I scrolled on my phone until I was bored with that, and then pulled out my computer to see if I could type enough to work on the blog… and that’s what I’m doing now. Lesson learned, the next time I have to chop up jalapenos, put on the gloves!!

Monday 3/18- Fortunately my hands were feeling good enough to work, and work is what I did. All week again. Ramie too! He’s putting in quite a few hours too, since tax season is so short there’s just a lot of work to do in a short period of time. We’re getting the work done and making some dinero while we have the opportunity.

Friday 3/22- Today I’m playing hooky from work for a couple of hours so we could get my passport renewal application sent off for processing. The post office is about 45 minutes away, and yes, this is the closest one. We had to wait in a short line and when it was my turn I handed over my US passport; it's now in the hands of the Costa Rica Correos service.

I will be in a foreign country without a passport for probably about 6-12 weeks, maybe more, who knows. It feels kind of weird. I suppose for me it’s less weird than for people who aren’t residents and have to go through this. People who are not residents are supposed to have their passport with a valid entry stamp with them at all times while in the country, even people who live here but don’t have residency have to do this in case you get questioned by a police officer or any officials. I don't know how that would go over if you had to prove who you are or that you’re here legally. At least, being a legal resident, I have my Costa Rica ID card proving who I am and that I am legal. (Real time update: May 26 and I still don't have my passport, we'll drive down to the post office next week to see if maybe they just havent updated the shipping info and its been delivered there.)

It's been a while since we’ve hung out with Val & Marshall, the couple who Ramie did his turtle walks with last year, so Ramie reached out to them earlier this week to ask if they wanted to go for dinner this evening. We haven’t seen them since turtle season and it was nice to see them again (and just to get out of the house for a couple of hours) and catch up. We went to the Jolly Roger to enjoy their nice ocean views and delicious wings and French fries, and talked about starting to walk the beach again for exercise and for the turtle team to get back in shape for the season. I told them that I would love to and really needed to get myself out of my chair and away from work, but it would have to wait until after 4/15. Damn tax season!

Saturday 3/23- You guessed it, today we worked again. Are we getting predictable? The tax prep time commitment is really getting crazy right now. At the beginning of the season people are slow to get you all of their paperwork, but the closer we get to the deadline, the faster people are to get it to you. Ramie has been doing really well and is starting to work some pretty complex tax returns. He says he is enjoying it and will do it again next year if they ask him to come back. Here we are- a tax prep power couple 😉 

Nobody loves me anymore! I'll just lay in the road

This is kind of hot! I think I will go back in by my people

Sunday 3/24- I started to day with doing some meal prepping again, getting a few things ready for quick-ish meals this week because that’s just so much easier than trying to fit cooking in with all of the work that we are both doing, and I worked as much as I could on the blog because OMG we are falling so far behind again!! Ramie took some time to wash the truck that has gotten extremely dirty, and even took the tires off to clean the rims out from all the mud and muck stuck in them. Of course, we have to use every opportunity that we have to make sure we do the laundry and other household chores when we can, so that was all on today’s list as well.

Thursday 3/28- It's been awhile since we have pet-sat for anyone and I think Skye was ready for a playdate with another doggy. Earlier this week Randall asked Ramie if we could watch Hunter for a few days while they went out of town. It’s Semana Santa (Holy Week), and here this is considered a major holiday time for the Ticos. Many businesses close down and people take time off. Families come from San Jose to Uvita and the other coastal towns to flood the beaches with families who take this time to go on a spring-break style vacation. This year, Randall and his family are doing the opposite. They are leaving Uvita and heading up near the city for a vacation. He dropped Hunter off this afternoon and will pick him up on Sunday. Skye has met Hunter a few times, but only for short bits of time when Ramie stops to visit Randal. Hunter is a full size German Sheppard and is so much bigger than Skye. 

What are you eating Hunter?

She was very scared and nervous of him the first day, but since he wasn’t going anywhere and he was very tolerant of our hyper pup, she started getting used to him and slowly became more playful.

I'm so happy that I have a friend visiting!

Break time!

Hunter also needed a good brushing. So Ramie took it upon himself to brush him 2-3 times a day. 
True definition of a furball? 

Day 1 of brushing Hunter. I think we'll be able to make a whole dog by the time he goes home.

Friday 3/29 and Saturday 3/30- While we worked, Skye and Hunter played hard. Skye was definitely an instigator, but Hunter was patient with her. I couldn’t count the number of times Hunter had Skye's entire head in his mouth (gently), I think that was his way of saying “knock that shit off”. The nights were the toughest and I don’t think any of the 4 of us slept well while Hunter was here. We think that part of the reason for this is because Hunter spends 99% of his life outside. At home he does not sleep indoors, he's an outside dog, so at night he would wake up and start pacing our house looking out the doors and growling at whatever he thinks he saw. After a while he would lay down on the floor right next to the bed and sleep, but you could tell that he was still very alert. I will say, if I was a bad guy and I heard his very deep growl or Hunter’s super “big” bark, I would think twice before getting any closer! But, if you know Hunter, you know that he is the biggest baby you would ever meet. The big scary Sheppard is even afraid of thunderstorms!  

Treats! We like treats

Hahaha, I got you Hunter! Sneak attack!

Sunday 3/31- Happy Easter!

As mentioned, Holy week and Easter are known as Semana Santa here, and it can be crazy in the Southern zone and many coastal areas of Costa Rica. This week is treated kind of like a Spring Break and many Ticos from the city will come vacation at the beach this week. So many city people travel to the coast that every year on Easter the Department of Transportation (MOPT) turns all of the lanes of the major highway going from the coast to the city into one-way traffic to help reduce some of the congestion and huge delays for people on their way home. This means that you can only get into the city and you can’t get out toward the coast going the opposite way. This is your FYI if you ever want to come visit us, don't plan travel to or from the city during Easter weekend!!

For all of these same reasons, we stay home during this week! Today I had a very productive morning, in addition to my regular Sunday morning phone call with my mom, I once again got some cooking for the week done. I made tuna salad from Ramie for lunch this week while we’re working on the big final push. I made brownies, blueberry muffin cake, and fresh patacones, and did all of the associated clean up and dishes that went with the cooking, and I was finished with all of this work by 10am.

Step 1, deep fry chunks of plantain

Step 2, Squish!

Step 3, deep fry some more

Step 4, salt, let cool and eat!

I was thinking about baking some homemade bread again since I had made a loaf for Ramie last week and he ate the whole thing already, but I kind of ran out of steam by the time I was done with all of that other stuff. Randall picked Hunter up today, so the afternoon was ours to do with as we wanted. It was fun to have Hunter visit, but it will be much quieter now that he’s gone and we will definitely be able to sleep better!

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a chance to visit with our neighbors Nick and Sarah, and they invited us to their backyard for a little while this afternoon, so we stopped by and caught up with them for an hour or so. It was nice to get away from the house, even if we were still in the neighborhood and it was only for an hour.

The Official Casa Costa Breeze end of March rainfall total was 0.95 inches

Monday 4/1 thru Monday 4/8- For me, it's WORK! SO MUCH WORK! NOTHING ELSE TO SAY.

Tuesday 4/2- Ramie is hard at it, working himself out of a job!

But isn’t that what tax preparers do from February through April 15? Since we’re getting close to the deadline, the majority of the tax returns have been completed; those that still have open items that we’re waiting on will likely get extensions filed, so Ramie has some open time to do other things. That's a good thing, though, because Karen is here this week and needs Ramie’s help getting her little casita ready to be remodeled for her big move here later this year. Today was Karen’s first day here and she stopped by for a little while to catch up and to drop off some things that we asked her to bring down for us. Since they will be working on taking out the major items in her casita, she’ll stay at Loren & Nancy’s these first few nights. 

I, on the other hand, am at a point in the filing season where the boss and I are busy doing final review meetings with the clients. Even though the preparers got all of the returns substantially finished already, it just seems like there aren’t enough hours in a work-day to get through all of the review meetings and we are pushing hard to get as many of them done before 4/15 as we can. I will be glued to the computer for another week!

Wednesday 4/3- Ramie had a busy day at Karens casita. Because their plan is to expand, add on, and remodel the casita into the big house, this would become a construction zone soon and she had to pack up all of her belongings and store them. Ramie and Karen went through the house and started removing things that she would be able to sell instead of having the contractor just tear it out and throw it away. Ramie got home around 3pm and we decided that instead of trying to coordinate a dinner, we would invite Karen, Loren & Nancy to go out to dinner at Los Gatos this evening. Loren and Nancy have never been there but we and Karen ensured them that they would enjoy it. Sure enough, everyone seemed to enjoy the dinner and company this evening.

Thursday 4/4- Ramie spent some time working on a few more returns that had been assigned to him, and I worked all day as usual. In the afternoon Karen stopped by just to chit chat and we spent a couple of hours talking about all sorts of things.

Saturday 4/6- I bet you’ll never guess what was going on at our house today. TAX WORK! We are both getting burnt out, but I think that I am likely more so than Ramie. I think I’m putting in around 55 hours per week when I combine all of the different jobs for the different companies. I am looking forward to 4/15!! When the deadline has passed, things will slow down, and I can try to get back to normal life.


After spending the last few days at Loren and Nancy’s house, Karen is going to move to our house and spend the weekend with us. Even though it will only be for a few days, it is nice to have a guest staying with us.

Sunday 4/7- Several months ago, one of the houses in our neighborhood was sold and is being used as an AirBnB rental. We have a neighborhood text group that everyone who owns property in the neighborhood is a part of, and the new owner posted that she would be staying here in her house this week. Ramie reached out to her directly, told her that we live here full time, and asked if she would like to meet up for a little while during her visit. We set up a time for this morning to meet Janique. We learned that she is from Canada, nearing retirement age, and that she and her husband plan to live here part time, 6 months of the year when it is cold in Canada. We spent about an hour visiting her, but they were heading back to Canada today and had to get going. We also had plans this afternoon with Karen. Since it’s been a while since we’ve done anything fun, and Karen had never been up to the coffee plantation and wanted to go, Ramie messaged Deiner to find out if he was available to just hang out, but not do a whole tour. Deiner had a great idea that instead of just sitting around at the plantation, we could meet up at Jungle Fish, a Tilapia restaurant that his uncle owns that is just down the road from the plantation. Karen thought that it sounded like a good plan, so we invited Loren and Nancy along with as well. The plan was to take ours and Loren’s ATV, but mother nature said otherwise. It started raining about an hour before we were scheduled to go, and didn’t appear it was going to stop anytime soon. Loren offered to drive us up there in his truck so the 5 of us piled in and started to head up the mountain. Of course, just 5 minutes down the road it wasn't raining any more, but there really was no sense to turn around to trade out for the ATVs now. It turns out that Jungle Fish is a very rustic restaurant, but it is truly authentic. Even though they are a tilapia farm and their specialty is tilapia, they do have other items on the menu. Our whole group decided to order the Tilapia which is served whole and fried, head, fins, tail, and all. It was the first time any of us Gringos had ordered this dish and were very glad that Deiner was there with us to give us instructions on how to dig in. I think we all enjoyed our meal well enough, even though I’m not sure any of us would order a whole fish again. 

Here fishy fishy fishy!

After a quick tour around the Tilapia farm we all decided we would go back to the Coffee Plantation for some moonshine and Baileys. Ramie noticed that Emilo was wearing a shirt that said something about a choir. He asked him if he would sing and Emilo laughed, shook his head no and walked away, only to come back out with a guitar. He sat down and sang us a song which was a love song about a guy wooing a girl. I could understand enough  to get the jist of it.

A little while later, since all of us are early birds, we were finished and headed back home around 5:30. 

Tuesday 4/9- Today was Karen’s last full day here in Uvita and she had a meeting planned with the foreman for her builder. She asked Ramie if he would meet with them to go over the blueprints and be there to help her understand if she had any questions. During the conversation, they asked Karen if she was sure she wanted to basically destroy her little casita in order to rebuild the new house on top of it versus building the same house that they had planned to be built over the casita on a plantel further down the hill of her property. They talked about cost differences and what building from scratch in the new area would consist of, and it got her gears turning once again. What she thought was going to be a simple look at some blueprints to finalize and sign them turned into a major decision that could change a whole lot about this whole build! She could not make the decision without discussing all of it with her husband Dennis. The meeting ended up turning into an entire day up at her property talking about how this would all work out. Initially the owner of the construction company wasn’t going to be at this meeting, but because of the “new” idea, he decided to make the drive from San Isidro to her to talk everything over in person. Karen had a big decision to make now.  Would they keep the little casita and live in it during the construction of the big house to save money, and eventually be able to rent it out later for income, or would they knock it down and build her new house in its place? What will she decide? Stay tuned for future details. (If you can’t already tell, even though this isn’t our house, Ramie is helping our friends a lot and will probably be very involved in the beginning stages until Karen and Dennis are here full time to keep an eye on it themselves. You might get to read about another whole house build here in Costa Rica!).

Pura Vida!