Bats, stones and Mothers day

Last Monday, Costa Rica celebrated Mothers Day.  Here, it’s a national holiday and everything closes down; it also has religious significance. It’s technically the 15th, but, since that was  Saturday, they moved it to Monday. Which was also my birthday.  So it worked out nicely that I didn’t have to teach on that day.

The not-so-good news is that I once again am dealing with kidney stones. This started with me rushing to an ER (private, this time) on the 12th. My expensive private doctor decided that I was severely constipated and treated that. I won’t go into details, but it exacerbated the pain. His diagnosis was logical, except for the fact that he didn’t do a urinalysis until I insisted (upon advice from my brother). That gave proof-positive of what we were dealing with.

Almost 10 days later, the little piedra is stuck; we don’t know for how long. So I’m actually not suffering, except from the anxiety that, when the little f-cker starts to move, it’s going to be excruciating. Scotty, beam me up.

My internal plumbing problem was preceded by an external one: I have had an ongoing issue with a break in my sewage pipes.  It hasn’t affected me, but my next door neighbor is not happy with the aguas negras (black waters) flowing down into his garage. The problem is not mine to fix, and the landlady doesn’t want to pay for a repair of a drainage pipe. (A side note about aguas negras: the Health Ministry here has been analyzing the sewage all over the country in order to identify where there might be clusters of covid-19. Clever, no?)

In any event, two weeks ago, when I used one of my downstairs bathroom, I noticed black papery stuff floating in the toilet.  I couldn’t tell if it was organic or not, but I flushed the toilet and closed the lid. I also closed the door to the bathroom and left it alone for a couple of days.

Two days later, I ventured in and opened the lid. Imagine my surprise when I found a bat swimming in my toilet. Yep. I didn’t know they could swim, either. But his or her little claws wouldn’t allow him or her to climb up the porcelain. So, I took a picture, flushed the toilet, and closed the lid (actually lids in all four bathrooms). I put something heavy on top and then contacted the landlady to provide proof of the break and demand repairs.

A nice handyman named Geirvin arrived the next day. He explained to me that it was not possible for a bat to come up from inside the toilet. It must have flown in when I opened a door and then gone to the toilet to drink. With the door closed. And the toilet lid closed.  And, this one-and-a-half bath in the hallway under the stairs has no window. I should mention that ticos are close to nature and not particularly concerned about screens on doors or about leaving them open for extended periods of time. I, on the other hand, keep everything screened; I even built a screen for my patio door. However, given gringos’ reputation for being not very bright and kind of whiny, he would neither accept my explanation nor do anything about it. I also wonder if the landlady instructed him not to find a major problem which would cost her money.

I still keep the toilet lids down, but I have had no more surprises. One bat aficionado told me it was a baby; perhaps it got into the system when it was very tiny.  I might remind you here that I do not live in the jungle or rain forest. This is the Beverly Hills of Costa Rica, and my neighbors are very wealthy people. Our water is clean and private street paved.  And every local to whom I’ve spoken has claimed to never have heard of such a thing.  So I’m special and misunderstood.

As a treat, I read an erotic novel on my birthday. Thought it would be an amusing change. And while the story was charming and sexy, I just couldn’t get past the grammar and syntax errors. (Between you and I?  If I would have known? What??) Who knew a literature major would, many years later, ruin me for literary porn.

Stay safe, and, if you’re squeamish about toilet critters, don’t scroll down.