Sunday, August 28, 2011

Best Worst Trip Ever: Costa Rica Finale

Well...  I feel like a complete asshole.  An exhausted asshole that needs a whole new vacation to recover from the last one.  An exhausted asshole that owes 5 friends and one disgruntled/ shell shocked JS an entire vacation re-do...

I pleaded and I begged for JS to get on board with my harebrained idea to kidnap a Costa Rica stray dawg and brang her home to Texas.  I held numerous round table discussions on the matter.  I interviewed the locals, my gang of merry travelers and the entire blogosphere...

I even polled two separate vets who both agreed that the best thing for said dawg was a new life in Texas.  The number one killer of pooches in CR is motor vehicle accident followed closely by painful bloody hemorrhage from Tick Fever.  THEN if the stray pups survive all of those things, there is the ever pleasant death by heart worms.

I spent half my week in CR driving here and there and everywhere to get all the paperwork signed, sealed and delivered.  That's not even mentioning the effort we spent cleaning, feeding and loving Tica Tammy to prepare her for her new life.  And JS refused to speak to me for approximately 4 out of our 7 days of vacation.  Not awesome.

AND after ALL OF THAT...  I'm unhappily home in Texas while Tica Tammy was left confused in Costa Rica.  Added bonus:  The waterworks come and go every few hours with little or no provocation.
I shall let my letter of complaint to American Airlines explain the rest:

To Whom It May Concern,

This past week found me travelling in Costa Rica via your American Airlines company.  I travel internationally at least once a year with a large group of friends and nationally several times a year, both while using your airline.

Unfortunately, after my most recent travels and horrifying experience at your Liberia, Costa Rica American Airlines counter, I will no longer be an American Airlines customer.

I must say I have never been more disappointed and distraught over any other incident as I was at your Costa Rican American Airlines counter yesterday, August 27, 2011.  I was met with a complete lack of assistance and terribly misleading information from your associates.  Due to this deceptive information and the extreme time delay that the misinformation caused, I was left with no other option but to literally leave my dog on the sidewalk in front of the Liberia airport with a complete stranger.  Luckily, my veterinarian was then able to cancel all of her afternoon appointments and drive two hours to the airport to fetch my terrified dog, where she remains now, frightened in a strange kennel in Costa Rica while I am at home in Texas.

From the beginning:

When I decided I would like to ship my dog from Costa Rica to Texas I called your Costa Rica office, via your Worldwide Reservations Phone Number:  2-248-9010.  I was told exactly these six things:

1. I needed a health certificate for my dog.

2. My dog must be contained in a kennel and the entire package could not exceed 100 pounds.

3. My dog would not be able to fly outside of the temperature regulations stated on the website unless I had an acclimation letter from my vet.

4. I must bring my dog to the airport three hours prior check in.

5. The person I was speaking to was able to make a reservation for my dog but was not allowed to provide me with a direct phone number to the American Airlines ticket counter in Liberia, Costa Rica.  Thus the only way for me to get any further information was to drive two hours one-way to the airport and speak to the ticket counter in person.

6. She also directed me to your website.

Under your “Traveling with Pets” page I read through all of the information under temperature regulations.  My veterinarian had already informed me that she would be able to provide a temperature acclimation letter and that my dog would then be able to fly regardless of the temperature.  She seemed to think that my dog was capable of surviving temperatures closer to 110 degrees Fahrenheit if provided ample water.  She believed this to be the truth because she has had several clients fly out of Liberia with no problem, even during the summer, on multiple airline carriers and she is familiar with dogs outdoors year round in very hot climates.  As I’m currently observing one of my dogs at 14 years of age voluntarily lying directly in the sun in my backyard where its 107 degrees and she is suffering no ill effects, I wholeheartedly believe my veterinarian and my own eyes.

When I arrived at your American Airlines ticket counter Saturday, August 27th I first spoke to Ivan.  Ivan told me that as long as I had my temperature acclimation letter and all of my other required paperwork, my dog would be able to fly to Dallas with me on Saturday, August 27th. This was at 12:00pm. My flight was leaving Costa Rica at 2:35pm.  By the time my veterinarian in Costa Rica prepared my letter, it was 1:00 pm.  When I asked Ivan for his fax number so that my veterinarian could send him the acclimation letter, he then informed me that the letter was invalid unless it was dated 30 days before traveling.  No problem.  I called the veterinarian again who agreed to post date the letter and fax it over; now it was 1:30 pm.  After the veterinarian sent the letter, Ivan and his supervisor (who was a female, name begins with a J) informed me that regardless of the letter, the law stated that no animal is allowed to fly as cargo if the temperature anywhere upon the route was higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  However, your website says 85 degrees is acceptable for regular-nosed dogs.  It was also called to my attention that he had provided this EXACT same information to Mr. C H who was similarly trying to fly his dog to Dallas on the same flight, but he told Mr. H he was unable to ship his dog even with his temperature acclimation letter at 12:00 pm.  Thus, Ivan had already turned away one customer due to the heat in Dallas but willingly neglected to be truthful to me.  This intentional dishonesty left me with two options:  Postpone my flight so I could take my dog with me at a later date, or leave my dog in Costa Rica.  This also left me with less than one hour, thanks to the incompetence of Ivan and his supervisor, to find other travel arrangements.

When I asked Ivan if he could help me re-route a travel course over the next few days in attempt to get my dog to Texas he told me he simply did not have time.  He also mistakenly told me American refused to fly dogs as cargo.  He stated that dogs could only fly on American as a checked bag with an owner/representative on the same flight.  He did not offer any phone number to contact American Airlines or any other suggestions for help.  After asking how I could research other flights he referred me to, however, there is no internet service provided at Liberia airport.  After all of the above, when I directly asked for a phone number he reluctantly gave me an American Airlines contact in Costa Rica.

Today I spoke with a different American Airlines Customer Representative located in the US and she also told me that she was not allowed to give out the phone number for the ticket counter in Liberia.  This is why I cannot state the full name of Ivan or his unhelpful supervisor. The supervisor on duty Saturday, August 27th refused to speak to us until we had less than one hour before boarding and then she was very hostile and very rude.  Your US Customer Representative also seemed to “think” that there actually is no law stating animals cannot be shipped above 85 degrees, and she was further “under the impression” that the supervisor on duty was the person with the final say in this matter.

This entire incident leads me to believe that all of your associates need better training and your website needs to firmly state all of your policies, state laws or otherwise.  Obviously this is a source of mass confusion for multiple veterinarians, travelers, and most importantly, your very own personnel.

I truly regret booking my travel accommodations with American Airlines immensely and I have suffered extreme financial and emotional upheaval over this incident, not to mention the distress my dog has had to suffer.  I obviously do not want to subject my dog or any others to unhealthy temperatures, however, I find it very difficult to believe that your personnel are so incompetent as to leave any animal on the tarmac for a lengthy amount of time, as would cause harm to their health.  At least that had been my impression up until recently.  I never doubted the competence of your personnel before this incident. Now it is clear that I cannot trust that any of your staff is well-informed or trained properly.

I also wonder why your airline does not offer a space to load one or two kennels inside the main cabin if absolutely necessary?  We can travel in the main cabin with yowling cats, small barking dogs under 20 pounds, and multiple screaming babies, however, my 40 pound dog that fits in a medium sized crate, who would not so much as make a peep, is denied access.  I think this system is terribly flawed, and you may rest assured that I will no longer patronize your company for my travel needs.  Moreover, I will utilize every possible opportunity in both my personal and professional life to discourage potential American Airlines customers from spending any money with your company.



(Although it has also been suggested that instead I sign:  F-YOU ASSHOLES.)

The good news came in an email yesterday from Dr. Jessica Jimenez when I arrived sans Tica Tam in Dallas. Right before I drank myself silly.

Dr. Jimenez is my Costa Rica Veterinarian who also happens to be my identical soul-sister.  She went above and beyond to help a perfect stranger and a sweet stray pooch that was stranded at an airport 2 hours away from her busy work schedule, ON A SATURDAY, no less.

This is what she sent to me:

Hello Abby,
Hope your flight was ok. Tammy is here with me, safe and happy.
She is giving me the look like, "ok what is going on?" but she will relax
later. She is a very calm dog and a cutie.  She will be free in the clinic during the day and at night she will be in the kennel because I would worry she would get out or do something naughty ( I have this idea because my dog does these things.)  I will take her with me tomorrow because I will be all day home, if I do not get any emergencies. If you do not get to communicate with me tomorrow it is because of the reception problem but she will be ok. I will talk to you on Monday because I have no internet in the house. I know it sounds crazy but this is Costa Rica and I live in a area that looks like the jungle, but I love it, that is the reason whyI moved here.
Take care.
PS I love the purple nails.

WAH!  Tears of joy! Can you believe my luck?  I got to speak to her today before she took all of her pooches and Tica Tammy to the beach!!  She says Tammy is a lazy pooch and she is a bit shy, but not aggressive.

So...  I'm off to do more research and soul searching.  I've already logged a good 8 hours but I still can't decide if I should have Dr. Jimenez find Tam a home in CR (she said it could take months) or wait until the end of September/ beginning of October to ship Tam as cargo?  

Go ahead.  Say it.  I'm beginning to think you were right...  I probably should have left well enough alone and TicaTam on the GD beach in Tamarindo :(


Friday, August 26, 2011

Brain Flukes and Panic Attacks: Our last full day in Costa Rica

This is what rejection looks like...

I think I must have contracted brain flukes.  Lord knows I have contracted a fair share of intestinal parasites as well, but that’s not the REAL issue here.

The real issue of the day:  WTF have I gotten myself into?

This dog is 100 % going to eat Bella when Bella latches onto her cheek like the little dummy that she is.  At the very least Tica Tammy is going to rip apart our house in an attempt to get back into the wild.  Apparently she has separation anxiety.  We went to the casino last night and left her home because we didn’t want to leave her outside the casino in the rain…  Good news:  She only scratched up the door a little bit.  Bad news:  She scratched up the door a little bit.

I need your votes, STAT people.  I have less than 24 hours to figure this out.

Option A:  Leave the dog in CR to an untimely death by motor vehicle or heart worms…

Option B:  Bring Tica Tammy home and suffer the consequences…

The following is a breakdown of my reoccurring panic attacks:

Worst case scenario 1:  I am the owner of 3 dogs and I get to enjoy my new single life when JS dumps me and my dawgs in a shack down by the reever.

Worst case scenario 2:  Tica Tammy eats Bella and I am the owner of 2 dogs again.

Worst case scenario 3:  Tica Tammy eats through my front door and escapes into the wild.

Best case scenario:  All three little queens live happily ever after (with Mamma in a shack down by the reever).

THIS IS A CRY FOR HELP PEOPLE!  I absolutely cannot decide which page to turn in this wacky Choose My Own Adventure.  I feel like I'm in just a little over my head here, strapped to a runaway train that's barreling toward it's eminent demise.  To summarize:  I am very calm.  VERY calm.  WOOSAH...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dog Deportation and Other Shenanigans... Day 4 and 5 from Costa Rica

Yesterday was D’s BIG 3-0 and we toured the jungle.  Right after we dumped our dog back on the beach…  And she chased our car for 3 blocks.  Saddest thing EVER.  But don’t judge me just yet.  Wait until the end.

But back to the Bueno Vista Tour: I’m just going to be honest here…  I was totally hoping for less schlepping and more horseback riding.  Our tour started with 10 zip lines.  Yep.  10.  And I cried through the first 7.  At least.  It was terrifying.

Chill on the outside, stroking out on the inside.  Pre-zip photo.
Photo Credit: MacGruber

Flying High.  We renamed this the "Full Diaper Tour."
Photo Credit:  MacGruber
Walkway to Heaven.  Literally.
Photo Credit: MacGruber

Poor Smookems was more petrified than I was, but just barely. At one point between zips I looked over on our tiny trembling platform, suspended 60 feet above the jungle floor only to find Snookems shaking from head to toe, with both arms wrapped around a tree. Now that’s good clean fun.

We actually have a video of Smookems zip lining UPSIDE DOWN, but since it was too large to upload I have included a transcript of the audio:


I have to change my pants every time I watch that video.  Holy Jeebus that's good stuff.

MacGruber on the other hand was completely fearless and is the very first person in history to join the ‘Canopy Mile High Club’ with this little number.

(Will post picture later. Blogger apparently thought it was too racey for your viewing pleasure.)

She’s an adrenaline junky.  I just about peed my pants watching all of her crazy shenanigans, but thankfully we had the foresight to get them all on film.

After zip lining we got in line for our pony tour.  Poor ponies.  We climbed high, high, high into the jungle while desperately trying NOT to be scraped off on the side of the mountain.  Graddy had a little trouble in the steering department, took a quick kick to the shin and decided that was the END of her riding career.  Pobrecita.  It is an accurate statement to say she absolutely detests horses.

Graddy didn't realize she signed up for the poison ivy tour. 
Photo Credit: MacGruber

Then began the schlepping.  Boo.  I mean YAY!  We took a 15 minute hike (unfortunately on our own two feet) up a steep mountain for a really amazing 2 minute glimpse of a real life, honest to goodness waterfall.  But boy did we get some good pictures.

Bueno Vista Summit.  JS is still speaking to me at this point.
Photo Credit:  MacGruber
After schlepping back down the same mountain the real fun began.  We chillaxed in the sauna and then painted ourselves with molten magma mud.  I suffered first degree burns to my hand (for real), but again, it was all for the sake of good pictures.

Somewhere there are Costa Ricans laughing
at the Gringas that paid to bathe in mud.

Here we are drying and worshipping the birthday girl.
 They forgot to tell me that if I chose to cover my body in mud I would then have to dowse myself with water that was a mere 50 degrees.  I swear it was so cold that I blacked out for a few seconds and my heart stopped beating.  The best part of the entire tour was lounging in the hot springs (107 degrees) and a quick nap on the chaise lounge, after which we scarfed a sketchy buffet and hit the road back to Tamarindo. 
But it gets better.  Guess who showed up at our front door before we left for dinner last night?  Did you guess?  This sweet little girl!

Who apparently answers to Reyna:  The Queen in espanol.  The bartender told me that she belongs to the beach and that I simply could NOT take her home to Texas.  Actually, his exact argument went as follows: 
“Does she looks sick?  (No.)  Does she look hungry?  (No.)  Her yard is the entire beach.  She will not like Texas because she does not like cow.  She likes fish and shrimps and lobster.  Besides, that belt you have on her neck is not exactly her favorite color.”

Touche.  Today I let the vet decide.  Dr. Carla the veterinarian says she sees 5-10 dogs every week for motor vehicle collisions alone and she assured me that I should not leave her in Costa Rica.  I actually took a poll and 2 out of 2 veterinarians agreed.  Tammy should live in Texas. 

Poor Tica Tammy got all of her shots today, her worming, her flea meds and tomorrrow she will get her Certified Health Certificate.  American airlines already has a reservation for 1 perro from Liberia to Dallas and she is scheduled to have her toes painted purple later this evening.

Hasta luego amigos and watch out Texas!  Tica Tammy Reyna Dawg is headed home.

P.S.  Tica Tammy, Bella and I are looking for a new roommate if  you know of anything good...  Let's just say JS is LESS than pleased.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kidnapping in Costa Rica

Day 3:

Today we kidnapped a dog.  I TOLD you we was brangin’ us a island continent dog home.  Her name is Tammy.  Remember?  And JS officially won’t speak to me any longer.  She loaded right up in the car, walked straight in Casa Maya like she owned the place and immediately got a good scrubbin’ with Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious.  And now she looks a little peeved.  Probably because we totally ruined her Eau of Dead Crab and her Brazilian Blow Out.  Pobrecita.

Tammy Dawg.  Photo Credit: MacGruber

Not a happy camper.  Photo Credit:  MacGruber

Before the kidnapping took place we got up early and went to the fitness center for our workout and then an hour of yoga.  It was fantabulous.  MacGruber suffered a slight sacrum dislocation but otherwise it was a total hit.  Luckily we chiropracted her back into place successfully and then we were able to book our travel tour.

Tomorrow is D’s BIG 3-0!  We signed up for a horseback ride/ hike across a tiny bridge into a water fall/ zip line into the canopy/ sit in a mud bath / lounge in a natural hot spring combo package.  We can’t wait! …Although I’m undecided as to which of my swimming suits I want to sacrifice to the mud gods…

Junior.  If for some reason we don't come home from our tour... 
He's the second stand on the left.  Main Street.
Photo Credit:  MacGruber

After giving Junior, our tour capitan a bajillion dollars for our tours, we drank some fabulous cocktails and headed back to the Langosta Fitness and Beach Club to watch a storm roll in. 

Langosta Living.  Photo Credit:  MacGruber

Texas Tornado.  Photo Credit:  MacGruber

Tamarindo Tornado.  Photo Credit:  MacGruber

Unsuspecting hammock lounger.

Bam.  Nice jump!

We were playing in the surf and lightening when out of the blue ol’ Tammy rolled up.  She was looking pitiful, cold wet and lonely when we raced back to our car so naturally we opened up the luggage space and she hopped on in like a pro.

Now we’re waiting for the storm to blow over, literally and figuratively, before we head back to our beach side Casita and poor Tammy is patiently waiting to break out of this biotch.

So… Peace out for now homies.  I think I see the sun!

Updates from CR

Photo Credit:  MacGruber

Cast of characters:
LG aka MacGruber
SK aka Smookems
Graddy aka Nina
W aka Dub

*Sorry for the small smattering of pictures.  I simply do not have the patience to wait for blogger CR to upload all 8 bajillion pictures and then scramble all of my well placed text.  Hopefully I will add more pictures when we are home in the states, but I make no guarantees.

Updates from the Jungle:

Day two (Sunday) in CR found me awake, bleary eyed and ready to explore our tiny town of Tamarindo.  D, Smookems and I jogged down the road, through the jungle, over the beach, jumped a few small rivers and then turned around and did it all in reverse.  2 days in a row.  Woot, woot.

I was worried about my gimpy ankles but my worry was totally unfounded.  Alas, the 3 billion dollars in PT, rehab and good Ol’ chiropractic care has finally paid off.  My ankles feel grrrrrreeeat.  Or at least 85%.  My hips on the other hand have overnight developed an excruciating condition that my fellow traveler and Chiro has diagnosed as bursitis.  And I just turned 30 last year.  RIDICULOUS I tell you.  Thus I have officially diagnosed myself with a double case of really sad hip flexor-itis.  Really, really sad.

My fellow merry band has offered to carry me a few times after witnessing my wobble, hobble, shake it, shake it that has become my new gate, and we’ve only begun Day 3 of our adventures.  Eh.  Nothing a little ice won’t fix.  And that’s why I’m sitting here typing with two large Ziplocs full of ice down my pants. Awesome.  And chilly.  JS says I’m still dead sexy with my ice bags, my limping and my personal fragrance: ode to Biofreeze.  But who wouldn’t?

On day two (Sunday) Smookums cooked us a wonderful breakfast of eggs served on an open faced roll.  Amazing! Yesterday (Monday) Smookems, MacGruber and I walked all the way to town for Copacobana’s six dollar breakfast. Yum!  We had fruit, a tiny smoothie, coffee, eggs and veggies.  And then we hiked/ limped all the way back home which totally negated all of our breakfast calories and my first morning shower.  It’s about a 15-20 minute walk in each direction.

Our first full day found us on the beach sunning and chillaxing with amazing views.  It was a Sunday so all the surfers were out in good form.  The waves are not exactly terrifying but I haven’t ventured out to see them up close.  I had totally planned on taking surfing lessons while we’re here but then I realized it involves getting out in waters that are deeper than my waist…  And then all I can hear is the theme song from Jaws.

Damn the 80’s and the high preponderance of water monster movies from my youth.  I have polled several people in my same age bracket that all say the same thing.  Deep water is terrifying and dark water is a no-go.  We ALL agree that anything unidentifiable that touches a leg calls for immediate ink cloud release, screeching and walking across the offending body of water until a safe shore has been achieved.  And we also agree that we could all benefit from a little therapy.

Photo Credit:  MacGruber

While we were on the beach we had Brazilian Caipirinhas with a watermelon CR twist.  They were fantastical and had us headed home for naps by early afternoon.  We ended our first day with swimming in our private pool.  Sadly, the purple floats I literally packed on my back all the way from the states are total lemons.  One immediately sank like the Titanic and the second is dying a slow hissing death.

For dinner JS grilled us chikkin and burgers while all the single ladies prepared the vegetable accoutrements. Needless to say, the fruit, veggies and eggs here are to die for.  The meat however, is really strange.  My good friend KBF would say that it tastes exactly like death…  And for the sake of my fellow travelers I have decided to call it "gamey."  Our joke is that it all tastes a little funny because its grass fed and lacking those tasty industrialized hormone injections. (KFB is a beautiful veg. and for this trip I am totally ON the wagon. Carbs and sugar laced snacks are the only thing I am willingly ingesting without massive amounts of alcohol to confuse my taste buds.)

Photo Credit:  MacGruber

After the ladies and I made our breakfast hike Monday we came home to snack and found the rest of our group lounging poolside.  We tried to recreate the watermelon caipirinhas and somehow concocted a much more intoxicating version.  Nice.  We lunched at the VooDoo lounge next to what were most likely a friendly group of Nicaraguan drug lords, went home for naps and then we went back out for cocktails.  Happy hour found us at The Fitness Club which has the most PHENOMENAL pool, bar, and super skanky swanky casitas.

Today (Tuesday) we are headed back to The Fitness Club to work out, catch a yoga class and then to use their beautiful beach access and loungers.  MacGruber and Smookems SWEAR that while we were there last night that they witnessed a couple in the candle lit casita “gettin’ it on.”  Apparently when they asked our barman ‘Yimmy’ he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Eh. Here you do not need a room.”


We finished our Monday evening playing ping pong and pool at the little sports bar that's catty corner from our Casa Maya.  It's owned by a husband, wife and dog duo from California.  (There is a high concentration of expats from Cali here and really...  Who can blame them?)

I was nicknamed Andy Roddick after MacGruber and Smookems witnessed my ping pong serving prowress in action...  And then All the Single Ladies simply refused to play with me after I smashed Smookems in the face with a mighty volley and then very nearly put my own eye out with a poorly aimed slam in the same breath.  Who knew ping pong could be so dangerous!?  And fun! 

MacGruber, it turns out is like a little Korean ping pong mastermind.  We tried to get her to play in the surfers winners bracket but she wanted to wait for an occasion when she was weraing a longer dress.  At one point in our game she was whippin' my ass with a paddle in each hand.  Impressive. 

Luckily after my ping pong fiasco Graddy was still willing to take me on for a friendly game of pool, where once again all those hours spent at the Chicken paid off.  Perhaps it was all that adrenaline from my earlier ping pong 'championship' coursing through my veins that made me so accurate.  Whatevs.  I know better than to look a gift horse in the mouth but Mamma was ON FIRE!  Say what you want about my ping pong game but I frickin' schooled last night on the pool table.  (*Disclaimer:  These results are not typical and may not ever be recreated.)  So we're going to have the winner's pool bracket match off tonight.  And I think I owe the barman something like 55 ping pong balls.  Eh...   

Happy Tuesday friends and good day from Costa Rica!  XOXO

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Costa Rica Day One

Wow!  That was a long hungry day of travels.  This blog is sponsored by Costa Rican Coffee and my internal (rat bastard) rooster who likes to wake me up at all sorts of ungodly hours...  5:30 am Texas time or 4:30 am Costa time.  Wahoo!  Partay!  Can you guess who will be passed the F out at 8:30/ 7:30 TX/CR time?  Yep.  This girl.

Any who. I woke this morning to the hum of our super duper fantastically chilly air conditioner and then I had to chip the icicles off my nose.  Luckily when I got up for my 3 am potty break I was able to wake JS long enough to demand that he hold me.  And thus I didn't die of hypothermia. The long pajama pants and sweater were also a nice touch.

As I type in our cozy common room and sip my lovely rejuvenating java I am watching 'Cinecanal' which appears to be a CR movie channel.  The beautiful thing about Cinecanal TV:  The films are English with Spanish subtitles.  It's helping me tremendously with my rusty Espanol.  Not so much help with my ADD.
We'll just blame the sporadic and random bits of typed info on the crack coffee that I'm a slurpin' up like water.  My heart may seize at any moment.

A rehash of Costa Travels Day One:

Our story began August 20th at 3:30 am at our house. I showered, changed bed linens for the Pooch-Sitter, and smashed anything and everything extra I could find laying about the house into my bulging suitcase. We sped down south and picked up D, LG and SK, our three 'single ladies' for this adventure. Which inspired JS to begin immediately singing "All the Single Ladies" for the rest of our vacation. He's so cute when he adds the jazz hands and the sashaying hips.

ATX airport was totally LAME because they refused to serve us any Cerveza before 8:30 am. Upon arriving in Dallas we were forced to make up for lost time and 9 am found us reunited with Graddy and Dub, well fed and inebriated. At least all the single ladies. The boys (JS and Dub) remained well behaved and sober.

D and I wrassled down the length of our airplane while boarding. The hysterical giggles and an impatient soon to be birthday girl made it so she couldn't keep her grubby mitts off me. But really. Who can blame her? She bumped me down the entire aisle even after I promised to push her down on the floor and sit on her head if she didn't quit pushing. We gave first class quite a show. You're welcome.

We ate a light lunch on the plane around noon and didn't see another meal until 7:30 pm. Which made for a tenuous and rather ravenous journey.

After starving for half of the day I was able to terrorize the car rental guy (who apparently is not, contrary to popular belief, paid to be nice. Yes, I did ask him.) AND THEN the leasing agent that gave us the keys to our home. Both leasing agents forgot to tell me that there was a 10% bank fee associated with the use of a credit card (these guys want cold hard cash ya'll) and I forgot that I shouldn't use the F word in public. Oops. My bad. We’ll l call it even. 'Cept I may have set America back in our Costa Rican public relations department by a few years... Doubly bad. Eh. Tomorrow is a new day and now I have a good skill to practice. Patience and grattitude while totally being taken advantage of in a foreign country. That and reading the fine print. Duh.

The country that we traversed between Airport Liberia and Tamarindo, CR is incredibly rural. Which may be a huge understatement. We have two cars, little Suzuki Vitaras and two pilots. SK and myself. My merry band of travelers included Dub, JS and Graddy. SK was left to chaffeur D and LG. I had my car load shrieking in fright around every bend and now NO ONE will volunteer to ride shotgun while I drive. Whatevs, pansies. They KNEW what they were getting into. Besides, Mamma was EFFING hungry and they wouldn't allow me to stop at any roadside eateries. I debated on smashing and snatching up a bit of road fowl, there's chikkens ever'where here but alas, none wandered into my path.

We raced to our house, dumped our bags off, turned on our air conditioning and scavenged Tamarindo for food and booze. We settled on a lovely dinner at Cococabana, a beautiful little restaurant and bar right on the beach. Our waiter Carlos bonded with D over his new tattoos and his pretty eyes but mostly we all fell in love with him because he brought us food. And it was delicious. And the bar tender was generous with his pours.

The locals and stray pooches are super friendly and you can literally get anything you want on the street corner. Cuban cigars, surf boards or corn rows. They've got it all. Right now we've already decided to bring home at least 3 dogs. I know Bella will be SO EXCITED to have a new sister ;)

Our house is SUPER fab but this town makes the Riviera Maya in Mexico look like the Four Seasons. It reminds me a lot of Brazil with poorer roads.

Our home has open air corridors and separate rooms. It's really beautiful with a pivate pool, gardens and fountains... But I'm only 90% positive we don't have bed bugs... Time will tell.

Now D, SK and I are off to get our exercise on! We've got some jogging and Crossfit WOD's lined up. And D's on a mission to see monkeys. Me? Not so much. I hear they'll jump on your head and pull your hair. Not cool. I'm going to need to wear some effing diapers for any of those shenanigans. I’m telling you RIGHT NOW I will shit my pants, y'all.

F THAT and good day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Six Days and Counting!

Six days.  Only six days until we are partying in Costa Rica!  I simply can't believe it.  Better yet, I only have 4 working days until we hop a flight out of this dust bowl.

10 days!!! Only 10 days until my baby home-girl turns the Big 3-0!  Wa-freaking-hoo!

I effing LOVE IT!  I hope that D's 30th birthday is as magical and wonderfully awesome as my own.  And I just KNOW it will be.

D and I have been best buds ever since we started the 6th grade, which is truly hard to fathom.  Mostly because that was like 8 jillion brain cells and at least 5 lifetimes ago.  Our love for horses and all things melodramatic brought our world's together at the tender ages of 12 and 11.  And some how we've managed to remain connected through the wild years, some wild boys, hair school and college. 

Most importantly D kept calling me all of those fantastical years when I was going bat-shit crazy and losing my mind under the pressure of doctor school.  She even stuck by me during that first delightful year of my post-grad nightmare of a job, while I tried to stuff all that crazy back in.  I cried every single time I heard her voice and she still kept calling.  And it was the ugly type of crying that nobody but your very best girlfriend can love.  Or maybe your mother...  Well, love is perhaps the wrong word.  Whatevs.  My girl D has been around through some shizzle and made me laugh inbetween and during many an ugly cry session.

So this post is for D.  Thanks for letting me orchestrate a fabulous Costa Rican birthday adventure and invite a bunch of my friends.

The Top 10 Things I Love About D:

1.  Oh Sweet Baby Jesus!  Girl.  She'll make you LAUGH like no other.  Like hysterical laughter where you can't catch your breath and all your insides hurt.  The kind of laughing that requires a change of drawers if you have a full bladder.  Now then, if she would just let me write that book about her life and her fantastical shenanigans we'd have a New York Times best seller on our hands.  Or whatever's better than that.  THAT'S what we'd have!  D, just think about it.  You don't have to decide today.

2.   Her storytelling.  Never was there a better story teller.  The outrageous shenanigans she gets into and the amazing way she has of retelling her tales...  Refer back to #1

3.  Her beauty.  Inside and out this girl is GORGEOUS.  She also has some smokin' hot tattoos that make her package even more bitchin.'  IF that's even possible.  She's a show stopper.

4.  Her loyalty.  D is as loyal as the day is long.  Tried, tested and true.  You can rest well in her company knowing that she's always there for you.  That and knowing she'd totally shank a biotch for you if it were necessary.    

5.  Her discretion.  This girl has some Major-Classified-Grade A-Dirt on me and so far as I know, she's never told a soul.  She's the only thing standing between me and political office.  Well, that and my total disgust for politics.

6.  Her sense of humour.  She's really, truly funny as shit and she always has the decency to laugh quickly and honestly which makes a person feel all warm and gooey inside.       

7.  Her laugh.  It's absolutely beautiful.  It's contagious and it generates enough energy to run a city the size of Austin, Texas for at least an hour.

8.  Her family.  D comes from a tough, loving, good, honest country family that would give the shirt off of their backs to help a friend or neighbor.  The kind of family you can count on no matter what.  The kind of family that helped create such a wonderful friend.

9.   Her honesty.  Always delivered with amazing tact.

10.  Her strength.  Physically, emotionally and mentally this girl is TOUGH.  Let's put it this way... She's not someone you'd ever want to cage fight but luckily she devotes the use of her super powers only for good.

Plus One:  All the memories we have shared together and the ones yet to come.  Jumping hay bales, laying in the heat of the day under a shade tree, taming a wild filly, saving birds and calves and sleeping in your Dad's barn.  Wrestling in the tank, throwing cow patties, showing chickens and turkeys, our first kisses, riding our horses to Church, stealing a little brewsky from the neighbors, and super creepy Barney dolls that talk in the middle of the night when you are too young to be babysitting.  Learning to drive, surviving our first loves, our first failures and all of our successes.

I love you D.  I can't wait to see where the road will take us and all the great memories yet to come. 

Happy 30th Birthday doll face!      

P.S. This is an excerpt from a note I sent to Graddy today...

"Don't be alarmed, but after meeting the entire Texas contingent for our impending CR adventure I have some exciting news!  A) Our trip is very much going to resemble a skanky episode of Big Brother.  B) At LEAST one person is going to get voted off the island and it's NOT going to be D.  C) This shall provide OFF THE CHAIN blogging material.

That's all and Good Day. XOXO

P.P.S. Are you alarmed? I said DON'T be ALARMED!! Okay...  So maybe I'm just a LITTLE alarmed ;)"


Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I sent this via an email to my home girl G Money the other day, and thought it should be aired in a more public forum.  Mostly because she has not responded AT ALL... And I thought she would at least have commended me on the fact that I used the utmost restraint and thus did NOT add it to her very Churchy and familial comment thread that was a hoppin' on facebook.  And I MEAN to tell you, it was REALLY, really hard not too...  ;)

"Auto correct and such..."

So the other day my calorie tracker program wouldn't accept my spelling of Nutella...  It helpfully kept switching the entry to 'nipples.'

Which is a little frightening for the following reasons:

A) The program might actually provide nutritional info on nipples. B) If there is nutritional info about nipples, it would have to mean people actually eat nipples. And C) I was eating Nutella while trying to get shredded.

Perhaps the program was referring to the 'buttery' or 'slippery' kind that is a delicious and calorific alcoholic beverage. Yes. I should like to think so.

Food for thought.

Good day and XO...