I’m baaack

Wow!  Lots and lots to tell.

First of all, I am back in sunny, hot Palm Springs.  I became accustomed to cool breezes blowing through my house all day and night. I am now hermetically sealed in an air-conditioned condo trying to hydrate as often as possible.

Leaving CR was a massive undertaking, as was securing places to live here (notice the plural).  As we approach high season in the desert, rents are increasing monthly. I had to take one place for three months and another from December on.

I had to get rid of as much of my stuff as possible, since I was not going to pay thousands of dollars to ship it.  This meant selling and gifting 45-plus years of the beautiful things I had accumulated. The process was complicated by 1) the pandemic and 2) the fact that there isn’t a big market for such luxury items as teak buffet tables, Peruvian foyer cabinets and mirrors, ceramic statues and Mexican sunbeds.  Ultimately, I had to rent a small bodega (storage unit) for my most expensive items and several boxes.

And, to make things more fun, I was in excruciating pain in my back, neck and right kidney. Unable to bend or lift, I was helped enormously by some dear and more capable friends. But I will truly miss that beautiful, spacious place.

I flew first class because I needed to take three 70-pound bags; the limit in economy is two at 50 pounds. Prior to departure, I read that food-service had been restored; during previous flights over the past two years, I had received a sealed box with crackers and dip.  The flight attendant was young and bubbly but not up to running the first-class cabin. We didn’t get a bottle of water until 45 minutes into the flight, and only after I asked.  She then asked me which box of food I wanted; there were two. I reassured her that I was not blaming her, but I was surprised to get only a box after hearing that food-service had been restored.  She explained that Delta is in phase 5 of 10; I countered that I would imagine first class would be in an early phase, as it is the bread-and-butter of any airline. She then countered that this was a domestic flight. I then asked her if she remembered departing from Costa Rica. She said that Delta considered Costa Rica to be domestic. I suggested that Delta did not have the authority to redefine geographical boundaries. She said that the US, Canada and Mexico were considered “domestic.” I agreed that they were indeed, for many service industries, one region; but Costa Rica was very far south of Mexico and in no one’s world “domestic.”  This friendly back-and-forth continued until I saw the futility of it; she was clearly grasping at straws to appease me with no real understanding or answers.  I reassured her that all was well, and I thanked her for her time.  She even gifted me with an additional box of crackers.

Upon arrival, a nice gentleman named Carlos met me with a wheelchair. At baggage claim, I expected him to enlist the services of a porter. Carlos had other plans. He crammed one bag under my wheelchair and rolled one bag to my right side and the other to my left.  I then gripped the handles as he pushed our little caravan from baggage claim to the exit; we both struggled quite a bit on the long, uphill ramp. I’m pretty sure I saw people taking videos of us as we passed. A less-than-dignified arrival.

The landlady/realtor in charge of my current rental is a rather severe woman of eastern European descent. One could say ”difficult” might be an appropriate term. She had been demanding during the negotiation of the lease; she, in fact, is charging me at least 20% more than this unit is worth at this time. The furniture is very expensive and handsome.  However, while unpacking, I noticed that there was no bedside table in the master suite.  There are two six-foot dressers next to the bed. When I told her that I needed a bedside table, she suggested that I use a box. Yep. You heard me. A box.

I told her that, in these high-end vacation rentals, renters expected and did normally not have to negotiate for bedside tables.  I also informed her that Motel 6 offers bed tables. And, no, I would not use a box; at my age and at this price, I don’t do boxes. She relented and found me a very nice bed table.

I also lamented that the enormous bedroom furniture blocked access to electrical outlets.  I have an alarm clock, a phone charger, and a heating pad which require electricity. Ever the problem-solver, she recommended that I abandon the master suite and move to the small guest room in the back. I mentioned that I liked having a bathroom connected to my bedroom; she informed me that the hallway bathroom near the guest room was really the same distance. I thanked her for her suggestion and told her that, again, at my age and at this price, I would stay in the master suite. I bought an extension cord, and all is well.

So now the medical appointments begin.  Pain management this week and spine specialist in early October. And acupuncture! Thank god for acupuncture!

Still consulting and teaching online. And writing.  I am feeling better after a grueling month and trip, and the stress is abating.  I hope to feel well enough soon to start walking and exercising. And I hope it cools off.

That’s it for the moment, friends and loved ones.

Stay strong.

(The photo at the top is from my room at the Hilton Gardens la Sabana, where I spend my last night in Costa Rica.)