So it is 10pm. I just got back from a walk with the dogs and I should be sleeping. Especially after a day like today. More to follow on that. But my creative juices are flowing and I feel the need to share the possibilities/life/hurdles involved with living overseas. The intent is not to scare anyone, shock anyone, entertain anyone or make anyone feel for me. The intent is simply to share and maybe change your mind about life a little.
I’m an early riser. Always have been. This Saturday started like most, before 6am and I can’t sleep more. Our hotel has 5 rooms and we have 4 checkouts scheduled today but only one check in. My girlfriend/partner is in the USA visiting family and friends. Our last employee left a few days ago to head back to the UK and our new one won’t arrive for a week. So it is just me running the funny farm. We have been swamped lately with all rooms full and even going into my neighbors overflow rooms since he is away. I also make pizza for our guests and people that know we make great pizza. So far just one week into August we have surpassed the average month in pizza sales by double and are already approaching a top month. Did I mention I am all alone right now?
Three of the checkouts are up and at ’em and out by 7. Which means I didn’t get to check my Yahoo News feed and really enjoy my first cup of coffee. I started the cleaning process and the day began in earnest. Last checkout is gone by nine and my day is rolling. The clock in my head is ticking because we play softball here in Uvita every Saturday. Today is a special day because a team from 8 hours away in Arenal is coming down to challenge us and I want to play. The first game is at 10 (not a chance I can make that) but the second game should be around 12. Doable. My 14 year old neighbor boy that helps with things is going to come at 11 and wait for my check in from Spain. Laundry gets washed and hung up, I bust my butt and get all the rooms cleaned, but alas, the clients in back have a couple of small issues with my friends overflow house. The screen is broken and they had insects in the house. Plus there are a couple of wasps nests in the overhangs and they don’t like them. OK, I can get to the hardware store before it closes at 12 and do the chores after softball. Check. I also need to get some things from the store for pizza clients tonight just in case we have one. Remember only one new check in and everyone else has already eaten pizza with us the night before. So I assume not much pizza if at all.
Quick fast forward to softball. We won. I went 3 for 4 with a couple of nice plays and a couple of throwing errors. No surprise to my high school baseball teammates. It was 2+ hours of blissful play including a few Sam Adams that our friend at the beer store had imported in.
And then… REALITY. Just as I get back the check in arrives. Limited English on their part and my improving Spanish on my part. I head back to fix the screen JUST as a massive rainstorm hits. Where is the ladder? I call the young Tico that also helps with my friends property; it is at his house, of course. OK, now what? He will bring it in the downpour. I start with the side that I don’t need a ladder and proceed to slip off the stair rail and bust my butt. Done. Move to the other side and hope the ladder arrives soon if at all. Mind you, there is no window. It is a 15 X 5 foot open space on the second floor bedroom with some wood pieces for a frame and an ancient, crumbling screen on it that I am replacing. I hear a whistle. Pookie is standing in the downpour carrying a ladder. He is such a good kid. I shed my shirt and head into the great outdoors with him. We set the ladder and he wants to know if he can help.
“No, Yo tengo. No, I have it.”
“En serio? Really?”
“Si. Todo bien. Yep, it’s all good.”
He rolls his eyes and shakes his head and heads home in the rain.
Three trips up and down the ladder for repositioning and the screen is up. Let’s move on to the wasps nests. I see the first one. Just a small one with 2 wasps sitting on it. A well placed smack with a piece of wood sends it and them on their way. Bring on the second one. Ooo, this one is a bit bigger with 5 huge black wasps on it. Bring it. A semi-well placed smack renders none of them defenseless and a bit angry. Result? I have a huge welt on the back of my neck.
As I crawl down from the balcony side I hear my name called. My little helper has someone looking for a room in the deluge. I’ll be right down. Not just a solo traveler caught in a rainstorm, but rather a family of 6 Germans seeking refuge. I guess that fills two more cabinas for the night. Luckily they have a car and are mobile so I don’t have to worry about more pizza tonight. hahahaha
Everyone says they want pizza tonight. BLAST IT ALL! I was hoping for a quiet night.
Jump in the car to head to the supermarket because I need supplies. Meanwhile the deluge continues. I am in a rush and I am sure I have forgotten some things. Get out to the car and… it won’t start. Pop the hood and out into the rain and into the huge puddle in front of the vehicle. Starter won’t engage. Tap, tap, tap. Nothing. Just then my mechanic parks next to me. HELP!!! Nothing. He drives me home because he is the nicest Tico EVER and says he can do something tomorrow. “Tomorrow is Sunday Esteban”. I guess I will have to try and push start it tomorrow.
Now I am soaked to the bone. I start unpacking beer and sodas into the restaurant fridge. “Hey Scot”. One of the other guests in back has a sick girlfriend and would like to order a pizza as well. OMG I am dripping wet and just got back and we are up to at least 5 pizzas for guests. He wants it in an hour and I still have to make dough, make sauce and cook chicken. Plus, I’m worried about his sick girlfriend. Bring it.
I finish upacking and change into dry clothes. I make dough, start sauce, cook chicken and start on his pizza. Yep, 2 of the 3 ingredients are things I forgot on my list. Tomato and Spinach. AHHHHHHH! He comes up in the rain at the designated time and we decide on a new pizza together. Super nice German student studying Business Management. Off he goes.
That’s when the day got crazy. The German family of 6 came down and ordered 3 pizzas. A walk up from East Lansing, MI came in because they saw us on Trip Advisor. I need to make more dough, finish the sauce and chop more ingredients. The family has pizzas at the table and I have the Americans dough in the oven prebaking. The German student from the back comes rushing into the house. Not the business, my house.
“Help! I have cut my finger very deep and I can’t make the blood stop”
I do well in stressful situations so I took him over to the sink, covered in blood and looked at it. OK, sit over here in the chair with this rag and put pressure on it with your hand above your heart. Just then the father of the German family comes walking in to the house to see if he can help.
“Hell yes, I have dough in the oven. Take over!”
The father runs back to his room and comes back with a huge emergency medical package with bangages and more. The guy looks like he wants to pass out from all the blood but I don’t think it is all that bad so I continue with making the pizza. Just then the sick girlfriend who has been throwing up all day appears. She takes one look at his finger and collapses on the picnic table bench. The bleeding boyfriend goes to console her and has her legs on his shoulder while he is bleeding out. The German father is standing there watching. I run up and tell the father to take the student and I have the girl. So I sit down on the bench and put her legs on my shoulder. Meanwhile my pizza crust is getting cold.
The father gets some bandaging going on the student, I readjust the girls feet to the top of the picnic table and I head back to finish the Spartan’s pizza. BTW, it was a large half Tropical Chicken and half onion, pineapple and mushroom. Looked delicious when I was done.
7 pizzas into it. The bleeding is under control. The girl feels a bit better and our Spanish ladies are fed as well. I have a PILE of dishes and tomorrow, a full house of rooms rented. And our boys are looking at me like “Come on Dad, it’s time for our walk.” No rest for the weary.
In conclusion, would I trade this for my old life? Hell, no. Do I want to continue doing it? I’m not an idiot. This is a great adventure. I look forward to the next great adventure. Can anyone say they did this today? In a month? In a year? In a lifetime? I am a fortunate man. I am willing to take risks and open my world to the world. I can only advise you to do the same. I am a much better person for doing it. Exhausted and crazier than I was before. But, I am a better person for it.