Tuesday, June 06, 2006

That Fateful Day

Although by "fateful," I refer simply to That Fateful Date (06/06/06), not to anything that particularly happened today. As always, thanks to Sheryl at Paper Napkin for encouraging people to share their own Day in the Life posts.

In case anyone is new here (hi!), "the girls" are Robin (7) and Julia (almost 5). Alex is my husband, who has been working in the United States--for economic reasons only--for a little more than a year. He's been back for a few visits and expects to move back home in July or August. José and Yolanda are the girls' Costa Rican grandparents.

Oh, and Tina, Scruffy, Emily and Ellie are dogs. Fifí is the cat. Loren is the parrot. They may not all come up, but for sure you want to know who I'm talking about when I mention Tina. Tina the dog.

To the seasoned regulars (all--what?--like, eight of you?), I've only written the first four lines of this post but it's shaping up to be as long as the "Day in the Life" I did last April, so once again, feel free to get yourself a snack or a refreshing beverage before committing to the scintillating minutiae that is June sixth.

5:04 a.m. - Wake, check clock, think "5:04 a.m. Wake, check clock...oh man, THIS is going to be a long day." Go back to sleep.

6:01 - Wake, hear girls talking among themselves. Think it's still five a.m. but check clock and discover it's six.

6:03 - Girls come in, get into my bed. Nobody's feeling talktive so we just lie there.

6:15 - Get up, put on slippers and a fleece shirt over the sweats and Alex's t-shirt I wore to bed. Hit the "Disc Direct Play" button for CD number 2 (Twentysomething by Jamie Cullum). Experience not one iota of surprise when the disc fails to play. Try a couple of things then give up and switch to radio. Consider getting the stereo fixed before Alex comes home. Wonder if I'll actually do it.

6:20 - Call girls, take their hands, walk downstairs, let go of their hands.

6:21 - Uncover parrot cage, greet parrot, open cage. Open curtains. Seethe at Scruffy, who throws himself against the sliding glass doors when the curtain opens. Every. Single. Day.

6:25 - Hear garbage truck up the street, slip out back door to check on Tina. Still breathing. Awake, in fact - haven't seen her awake for days, except when I've woken her up myself. Wonder, once again, what she's holding on for and what I'm going to do with her when she finally lets go. Elberth's not around to bury her in the field behind the house like he did with Perla. And we don't really have access to the field anymore anyway, now that the other lots are all fenced in.

6:30 - Put cornflakes in the girls' bowls, momentarily lose my head and sprinkle raisins into one bowl. Snap back to reality and ask if anybody wants raisins. Nobody does. Pick out raisins.

6:35 - Put coffee on, get out my own bowl, pour in granola, add raisins and banana. Obtain authorization to slice bananas onto and pour milk into Robin's bowl. Pass Julia her dry cornflakes and--for my own sake--a spoon, which will remain untouched in favor of individual corn flakes that are bent enough to support a second flake. Look at my spoon! Child, it's awfully early for this. Put your food in your dish.

6:40 - Add milk to my bowl, pour large glass of water. Sit down to eat.

6:43 - Robin's tummy hurts. Tell her to go lie down. She doesn't want to be alone. Then stay where you are. She stays at the table.

6:50 - Get out tortellini I cooked yesterday for today's lunches. Love that I did that. Cut apples into eighths, spread with peanut butter. Add two chocolate chip "blondies" for each of the girls, pointing out that this leaves two for me and that there are none left after that. Robin asks, if she shares her cookies with her friends, will she be able to have more after school? (Did I say that out loud? About the cookies being gone?)

7:00 - Tell girls to get ready for school. Pour coffee, add lots and lots of creamer, dollop of milk, some vanilla. Bring coffee upstairs, make bed, get out backpack, choose a sleeveless shirt and the cleaner of two Scruffy-ed up pairs of jeans to wear later (the third pair has a broken zipper). Put full change of clothes in backpack. Consider gray, drizzly day and add a long-sleeved shirt.

7:10 - Drink coffee. Choose shorts and tank top to wear to the gym. Consider yesterday's outfit, now clean, which I favor because I inexplicably consider them my "cute" gym clothes. This is inexplicable not because it's not a cute outfit, but because I am not given to using the word "cute" to describe myself or my clothing, and wouldn't expect anyone else to either. Decide not to wear yesterday's outfit.

7:20 - Get out the envelope with the family passports and find my current one. Count seven passports in the envelope for our family of four - and Alex has his current one with him of course.

Aside: The US government is all about the globalization when it comes to economics. How long do you suppose it will take until they accept that international families are a logical offshoot of that? I'll save the Green Card rant for another day, but I'm just sayin'.

7:22 - Add passport and current cedula (Costa Rican residency document) to the backpack. Count money for girls' school and put in the zippered change purse I've been using for the cell phone ever since Scruffy ate the regular case.

7:25 - Take out braid (which I've taken to wearing for bed), brush hair, make bun. Brush teeth.

7:30 - Compliment girls on getting ready for school without fighting. Send Julia to make her bed. Put Robin's hair into her favored style of two ponytails low on her head and toward the back. Clarify that having worn it that way the day before last really doesn't qualify it as "the way you always do my hair."

7:35 - Tell Julia that if she wants ponytails it has to be now.

7:36 - Really, Julia, there won't be time if you don't come now.

7:37 - Do you want them or not? Okay, then. Stand here. Brush the top layer of Julia's hair, make ponytails. Accept that no brush or comb will penetrate the layer beneath until this hair has seen some conditioner.

7:40 - Pack up girls' clothes for tomorrow, along with towel and umbrella for Robin's field trip to the woods tomorrow. Place in separate bag and put Robin in charge of giving it to Yolanda when she picks them up after school today. Realize that there's an evening meeting tomorrow too, but figure if the girls stay over a second night, I can always stop by Yolanda's house sometime tomorrow with their Thursday clothes.

7:45 - Stow parrot back in cage, unlock front door, open passenger-side car door (grass needs cutting), pop car hood, go tie up dogs while girls get into car. Call Scruffy names but appreciate that his new collar has stayed on overnight, so might work out until the next time the dogs work it off of him and he consumes it.

7:50 - Unlock and open gate. Check car radiator, add water. Check oil. Close hood. Close passenger door. Lock front door of house. Start car. Rev engine for a moment, back out of gate. Close gate, untie dogs. Lock gate, return to car.

7:57 - Pull out to drive to school. Robin notices that it's 57 minutes after seven o'clock. Explain that this means it is three minutes before eight. If it takes us eight minutes to drive to school, how late are we going to be?

7:58 - Robin announces that we will be five minutes late for school.

8:04:57 - Arrive at school.

8:05 - Go inside to pay June tuition: about $190 for both girls, for a small, private Montessori school eight minutes from the house. Including Julia's "stay late" fee so I can pick her up at 3:00 instead of noon four days a week.

8:17 - Drive down to the gym, where Abel is going to change my weight routine today. I won't be staying for spinning, partly because I'm still getting over a sore throat and don't want to overdo. Partly because I have to go to Immigration and don't want to get there too late. The new routine includes probably twice as many exercises as the "beginner" one I've been doing since joining the gym. It also calls for four repetitions of 20 (instead of 3/15) for each one. I can see it will take some getting used to, but don't actually get to go all the way through it because Abel is called away for a while and then has a lot of people needing attention when he gets back.

9:15 - Finish the last exercise Abel showed me, then watch part of the spinning class (which he teaches). It feels strange to sit out. I'd rather be doing it, but go get dressed instead.

9:45 - Leave gym, head to Immigration.

9:58 - Arrive at Immigration, debate whether to park in a paid lot ($1/hour) or on the street (pay the self-appointed guards whatever you feel is right). Opt for the lot, notice a traffic cop pulling somebody over and figure it was probably the right decision (although it seems clear that the street parking is permitted. Who knows what the ticket was for.)

10:05 - Fret gently about the fact that my residence is two months overdue for renewal. This never used to be a problem - you just paid a symbolic fine and renewed whenever. But they have gotten more strict in recent years, and when I went to renew last year I had just moved back to Costa Rica from our time in the States and it was two years out of date. I had to present a letter of explanation and was warned not to let it happen again.

10:10 - Find the appropriate line - it's moved since last year and settle in with a novel (Plantation by Dorothea Benton Frank - not bad, but the title and cover are completely inappropriate to the tone of the book.)

10:45 - Hear from others in the line that the computer system is down but is expected to come back up.

11:35 - Hear that the system is back up. Observe that the line has begun to move again, if slowly.

11:55 - Comment to someone behind me that we'll soon find out whether they close this particular office for lunch (12:00-1:00).

12:10 - Fortunately, they don't. Get the coveted appointment for renewal, including notice that I must pay a series of fees, including a 250-colon fine for renewing late. This is good news - a fine should mean there won't be any other problems as a result, and two months is hardly two years anyway. Plus, 250 colones is 48 cents.

12:30 - Back in Heredia, take myself out to lunch at a vegetarian restaurant.

I'll post the rest later - right now it's time to leave for my quilt guild meeting....

. . .

So. Where were we?

12:30 - Back in Heredia, take myself out to lunch at a vegetarian restaurant, after debating whether to go to the food court at the new mall, where I could have lunch and a cappuccino. Opt for the vegetarian place, where they have this salad that will keep me in veggies for a week. Or rather, take the place of any veggies I may have neglected to consume in the past week.

12:55 - Chat with Emilio from Friends World, who was eating in another section of the restaurant and saw me when he came up front to pay.

1:30 - Decide to stop by the mechanic's shop on the way home to see about the water pump. (Oh, I guess I didn't mention...the water pump needs to be replaced and, interestingly, isn't covered by the guarantee on the new (rebuilt) engine. In fact, it's explicitly excluded from the guarantee, right there on the receipt.) I didn't want to get into it before tonight, when I need the car for the guild meeting, but it does need to be done before it gets any worse. Marvin comes out when I get there and I ask if he's missed me. Of course I just saw him on Friday, when he came up to the house because the car wouldn't start. (Turned out to be a very minor thing and, most importantly, unrelated to the new engine.) Make appointment for Thursday to have the water pump fixed.

2:00 - Stop by the humane society on the way home to ask about options for Tina's...er...remains, once she decides to let go. They offer cremation & burial for 15,000 colones (about $30), so that's an option, but an expensive one. The lady said that, since she's not a terribly large dog, they might be able to throw in the euthanasia for the same price. (She said it in a much nicer way, though.) I guess we'll just have to see. Thing is, the dog doesn't seem to be suffering - just existing. She can't see much of anything, doesn't seem to hear too well, isn't walking well and has apparently lost much of her sense of smell. But yet, she hangs on. And on and on.

2:15 - Window-shop the pound animals before going home. Mentally select one dog and one cat. Oh, okay, and one kitten.

2:16 - As if.

2:30 - Arrive home, leaving car outside gate.

2:35 - Put coffee on, open parrot cage, turn on radio and computer, check phone messages, put gym clothes in laundry room.

2:45 - Check E-mail. Receive two documents for translation. Make faces, then remember that I sent them the name of a new translator to try over the weekend.

2:50 - Call Luis Diego. Did you get my E-mail this weekend? (What E-mail?)The one with the new translator's phone number and E-mail address? (Oh, yeah, I guess I did.) Hey, how about giving her a try? (It's just that...) You know you're going to have to do it sometime, right? I am quitting. I am. (But they all want youuuuuuuu.) But I want herrrrrrrrr. (Okay, I'll try her out, I swear. But I really need you to do this one. You don't understand how they get. "Why didn't you send this to Jennifer?" they say. They get mad.) They're going to have to get over that. (I know. I know. Next time.) *Sigh* (*Sigh*)

3:00 - Go downstairs for coffee.

3:01 - Turn on coffee maker.

3:02 - Check blogs.

3:30 - Get coffee. Consider starting the translation, but begin writing this entry instead so I don't have to do it all after the meeting tonight, and don't end up doing it too late and miss all the (four? five?) casual visitors who come and say nice things about my blog. I love that.

4:45 - Oh crap. I let it get late. Come to a stopping place - lunch will do nicely - and post partial entry.

5:00 - Okay, not toooo late.

5:01 - Oh, right. Probably should change out of the dog-printed jeans. Change. Fast.

5:05 - Grab pile of things to take to meeting. Hope it's all there.

5:07 - Call Jan to let her know I'm on my way. Throw some dog food out the back door (you know, into the waiting dish). Toss the parrot two peanuts and the end of a banana. Tell cat to get over herself because her food is still half full from the last time.

5:10 - Close curtains, turn on living room & outdoor lights, lock door, lock gate, get underway.

5:30 - Pick up Jan and begin talking.

6:30 - Get to meeting, still talking. Wonder if Jan had anything to say. Am I always this talkative?

6:32 - Get photocopies of the block of the month pattern.

6:45 - Arrive at meeting, help out by counting a pile of change, locating the raffle tickets, taking dues, making out receipts, talking with someone who is not part of the guild but wants to contact quilters interested in selling their work through her website.

7:10 - Remember that I'm supposed to be translating for the English speakers. Fortunately there are only two and they are getting most of what is said, and are sitting with Rita who is providing the translation that they do need.

7:15 - Give treasurer's report.

7:17 - Sit. In an actual seat. For minutes at a time, and listen to the meeting.

7:25 - Get up to buy raffle tickets.

7:40 - Get up to help hold a quilt being used to demonstrate how to measure border size.

8:05 - Get up to clarify a point under discussion.

8:15 - Get block of the month entries for this month, have someone choose a winner's name from the box. Explain system for any newcomers, pass out sheets with next month's block design. Review colors & technique.

8:18 - While meeting is concluding, head to back of room to pay my own dues (oops), pick up extra instruction sheets, get the paperwork I'm supposed to take home, count the raffle & dues money.

8:30 - Chat with others as we leave the building. Arrange to go to Rita's house next weekend to meet Alana (her granddaughter, born on Sunday!) if my sore throat is completely gone.

8:40 - Head back toward Heredia with Jan. Begin talking.

9:30 - Drop Jan off at her house. Jan says she enjoys riding with me because she likes hearing my stories. Good thing, because she apparently doesn't have much of a choice. Do I have an Off button?

10:00 - Arrive home, tie up dogs, open gate, drive in, lock gate, untie dogs.

10:10 - Feed cat, check that dogs have food (Tina eats after the others so there needs to be plenty left), give parrot some bird food.

10:15 - Check phone messages. Two. Both from Luis Diego: They really really need that translation by noon tomorrow; how much can they get by then and how much will they have to send somewhere else? Gauge attention and energy levels, decide to finish this entry tonight and work on the translation in the morning.

11:00 - Done. Time to post this and go watch my Friends DVDs because that is what I do best.


Dad June 06, 2006 5:21 PM  

I can just picture (most of) it. Thanks for the account. I'll watch for the next installment...


Sheryl June 07, 2006 4:51 AM  

Ha, I had to go back to the 7:45 entry, because I missed that the grandparents were watching the kids, and I couldn't figure out where they disappeared to. Sorry about your poor doggy.

Laylabean June 07, 2006 8:24 AM  

I'm giggling at the ponytails episode a nd "no brush will penetrate bottom layers" thing. Oh, can I relate!

Great post!

sandy June 11, 2006 8:53 AM  

you do realize that "late" is actually "on time" for you? Have you always been like that? LOL
Why are you giving up on the interpreting?

Jennifer June 11, 2006 4:53 PM  

Well, I've definitely always been a deadline person. From high school homework assignments to present-day translations, I have always started things in just about enough time to finish them before the deadline.

I don't think I used to be late getting to things, but what do you want me to do, reject the culture in which I've chosen to make my home? That would hardly be gracious. I have simply chosen to assimilate this particular aspect of the culture. Yeah, that's the ticket. Yeah.

As for translation, I've been doing it for over 12 years now and I guess you could say I'm just burned out. With other, more exciting options--like quilt retreats--starting to develop, I just don't have the attitude for it anymore.

I'll start one and then sit there making faces at it for longer than it should have taken to complete the whole thing, just because I can't bring myself to deal with it. It's starting to ruin whole days for me, so it's not worth it anymore.

Although it looks like quitting is going to take a little more energy and creativity than I expected, so we'll see how that goes

Amanda Griffin August 20, 2006 12:40 PM  

Hi. My name is Amanda. I have a blog at: http://streetdogsofcostarica.blogspot.com I am spreading awareness of the seriousness of the situation of street dogs here where I live. Please feel free to comment or write me an e-mail. All the stories are my personal stories, and will be updated regularly.

A click a day for good causes

The Hunger Site The Breast Cancer Site The Child Health Site The Literacy Site The Rainforest Site The Animal Rescue Site

Added 6/12/06

  © Blogger template 'Personal Blog' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP