Okay, let’s get real…


Everyone knows I’m an optimist. Okay, some may say at times I’m a bit too optimistic. But, hey! I can’t help it if I choose to see the ‘bright’ side as often as I can. I mean, why focus on the negative? So often the negative is the easiest thing to see. But it just ruins my day to spend valuable energy looking at the negative when I’m so adept at finding something happy to focus on that will feed my soul and make me feel so warm & fuzzy. But…..I do have my moments…and I’m thinking maybe I’ll share a few of those. Cuz’ what the heck, it’s realistic and as much as I like to share all the wonderful things about my new adventure living as an expat in Panama, once in awhile I have a bad day! Yep, it’s true…its not always rainbows and flowers and birdsong while sipping margaritas!

So, I’ve told you how I’ve been doing my best to help Scott up at our house project. Well… my job has been a relatively easy one. Okay, it may sound like a piece of cake, but let me tell you, it has it’s challenges and I’m about to tell you about a few of em’. My official job is to transport materials , like rock, sand concrete blocks and rebar up to the construction site where the guys are building the workshop, while Scott is working on the casita. So, I take one of the workers, Edgar, with me and drive down to where we have stockpiled our materials. As you know, the delivery trucks can’t get up to our property so they dump it as far up as they can get, which is just at the very entrance to our property. But, its very steep down and then up again. I don’t know if I can accurately describe our little road so that you can imagine it , but you see, Scott has only poured one ’track’ of cement up the hill…because we’ve had an electrician who told us that he would bring the power lines up that road so we didn’t want to pour concrete if they needed to trench for the wires. All this to say, when one drives up that part of our road through our property you must drive with one tire up on the one track and the other on the dirt. Creating this feeling of tipping off to one side! It’s disturbing at first and I hate it! Okay, that’s just one section of our road, the other one is at the very entrance, you see, upon entering the property, the road goes d-o-w-n…it’s very steep and when its wet and muddy it can be slick, like ice. Mind you….our nearly finished casita is off to the right, and set down from the road so that all you see while you drive/side down this often muddy, icy , slick road is the roof of the casita! It would not take much at all to have a truck laden with sand (and being driven by a panicky Gringa!) to slide, uncontrollably off the road and onto the roof of our casita!!! Gulp! Don’t worry too much, We’ve poured a bunch of gravel onto the slick parts and its a little bit better at the moment, but after a big rain I don’t even attempt it! It will be great when we get cement poured and its more of a road and less of a ski slope!

Driving down the hill...

Driving down the hill…

Have I clearly established my complete and utter distain of driving on our steep, muddy, slick road? I didn’t even mention the fact that the truck is a manual transmission which I’m not especially proficient at driving and feel very nervous the whole damn time. Waaa! Waaa! Waaa! What a winer! I know!!! Poor me! Now….I’m doing my best to be brave and not Wimpy! I just hate being wimpy!!
So other than telling you about my trials and tribulations behind the wheel of the truck, I do not “Bitch & Moan” much. MUCH!… I really want to help and take a little pressure off of Scott but I much prefer working in my new garden or even helping him while he’s working on the electrical wiring and drywall prep in the casita. Let me continue with my tirade about my material transportation job..cuz’ it’s not just the driving part that I hate…Its the maneuvering around all the crap to get the sand and gravel emptied into the areas where it’s stored. Not only do I have an aversion to driving a manual transmission up and down slippery, muddy roads….I hate backing up toooo! Pffffft! And I especially hate backing up into tight places where I can hardly fit and there’s limited visibility! Let me tell you, depending upon a person who has never driven a car to give me guidance as I’m backing into a dangerously tight spot ….it’s not good! Edgar is an indigenous Panamanian who has never in his life been behind the wheel of a car and his ability to tell me how to back up is sorely lacking anything remotely close to helpful! I’m usually a pretty calm, level headed person. I don’t tend to get angry easily and usually have unending amounts of patience. Uhem…let’s just say, I may have taught Edgar a few new English curse words!
I need to maneuver the truck between the big cement mixer and this tall pile of cement blocks that they have set up as a giant sifter thingy they use to sift the sand before putting it into the mixer. Its a tight space I have to back into so that the sand can be shoveled out of the truck. And its just horrible to hear the sound of metal scratching and bending, when the truck has gotten too close to the cement mixer and now I’m stuck and gashing in the door of the truck with the side of the mixer! Ugh!!! While all along my helper is standing behind me giving me the “come on back” signal with his hands! F$!#….Can you imagine my dilemma? There was no way for me to back up or go forward without just munching both the side of the truck and the mixer! And Edgar was clueless! I nearly started crying. Scott was in bed with a terrible head cold and I must admit, I sent him an angery, desperate text after doing my best to get out of this crappy mess I had managed to get into. I said..”I need help! I can’t get the truck out!” “I’m too F-ing (but I used the actual word) close to the mixer!” Just after I sent out my desperate message to a man who was sick in bed, Ricardo came over and stood in front of me and managed to successfully, and calmly (I may add!) direct me out of my tight spot. I quicky sent, “Nevermind!” to Scott, and huffed and puffed back down the hill feeling like an idiot! (‘eye roll here’)
Tonight, we had a wonderful dinner in town with our new friends who own the house we used to rent. On our way home I was driving my car and following Scott in his truck. As you know, his poor little truck is pretty beat up after the little incident it had with the drunken joyride by our employee , but the accident the truck had was on the front, passenger side of the truck, not the tailgate at all..well I counted five big dents in the tailgate that I know I am responsible for! I gotta tell ya, I’m kinda glad the truck is such a mess already, it makes my little scratches, scrapes and gouges look like no big deal! Hah! Boy, when we bought that brand new truck for Scott to use as his work truck, we had no idea just how beat up it would be less than one year later! I really gotta work on my backing up skills! Sheesh! Or I should find some much better “backing up helpers!”

I have to smile as I tell you about some of my, not so great moments here in Panama. Ohhhh, how my life has changed. I just have to laugh at how different my current ‘bad days’ are from what a ‘bad day’ would have been like in my previous life in Los Altos. A bad day in my old life may have been having several ‘no shows’ at the salon. Or the shampoo bowls getting clogged up! Gasp! Being the owner of the salon, all eyes were on me to fix it!! And Fast!! I mean there were women with chemicals on their heads! Did I mention…GASP!!! A bad day might have been getting a big hair color stain on a brand new outfit, right at the beginning of my day! Ugh Or, of course there were the countless times when I accidentally cut myself with my very sharp scissors! OUCH! People really don’t appreciate you bleeding all over them while your cutting their hair! Okay, then the bad day to trump all bad days….making a terrible mistake on someones hair! YIIIIKES!! In my thirty year career I’m glad this was a rare experience but….I’m human so it’s bound to happen! And when your a chit-chatter like I am, well….those damn texture sheers could easily be mistaken for my regular sheers… and suddenly when you hold up a big chunk of hair right in the crown of the head and expect to only cut a bit of texture with those afore mentioned “texture sheers”…only to find that what you had in your hand was your regular sheers…cutting that entire chunk right OFF! GASP!!! That, my friends, is a BAD DAY!!!! It’s near impossible to convince your client that she would be a ‘trend setter’ with that ‘spiky’ crown! And that you ‘meant’ to do that!! Pffffft! Hah!

My ‘bad days’ now are so very different. Helping build our new home, learning spanish, adapting to a different culture and learning to do many things very differently from how I’m accustomed to doing them. So many changes and so many mistakes to make and situations to get a little frustrated by. At times being forced to teach the locals a few choice swear words in English along the way! Not to worry, I’ve also learned a few choice spanish swear words too! I did say I was learning Spanish! Hah! Some day’s I just don’t get to sit on the terrace and ‘marvel’ at the beautiful surroundings, the views, the birdsongs, the rainbows! (Eye Roll here!) Nope, I have plenty of day’s when I get so frustrated and mad my ‘Tranquilo’ goes right out the window!

I just wanted to make sure I am including not only the wonders and pleasures of this Awesome Adventure, because the reality is life is full of plenty of challenges no matter where you live. And as I love to express my glee at all that this new life has brought my way, it would be unrealistic to leave out some of the bad days that just aren’t any fun! And in this post, I’ve only glazed over a few little frustrations…believe me I have more! Hah! This optimist could only bare to share a little bit of my yucky, frustrating moments. Now…back to the butterflies that just flew past my window as Im typing…Oh! Did you see that beautiful Bird? And Gasp! Today is such a sunshiny cloudless day and on and on and on and on…..And now, time for a Margarita!


6 responses »

  1. I am here in Nicaragua with our fellow blogger friends and we are all talking about how much we enjoy your blog, how you honestly let us see your life and the processes you go through in building your new life, the difficult parts as well as the fun parts. Good luck on your latest job, and remember that any tool used well will show signs of the work it has done, including the truck!

  2. Look on the Bright side, you’ll be a manual shift aficionado when the job is complete and the truck will blend in to the Panamanian landscape complete with wear marks. I can tell you some backing up stories that would curl your hair.

  3. ha! you’ll master the stick shift, and eventually you’ll conquer the backing up- challenges! the former is so much easier on the auto and gives you a bit more protection – re: using the clutch instead of always one foot on the brakes, and one day you’d step on the brakes and realize you’ve ruined them and then what will you do if you’re careening downhill?

    easy if you’re using stick shift.. just put it in first and let it slowpoke on down to a safe place to stop!

    backing up is a bit of an art.. some do it well and some don’t.

    just remind yourself during those frustrating times that you are growing so much and learning so much and are becoming a powerful SUPERWOMAN!


  4. Holly darling you know Mom Loves you right, however I have to say reading this blog…..well I was laughing sooooooo hard I was crying. 🙂 You are such a HOOT OMG 🙂 🙂 LOL. Papa Glen and Dad must be laughing while you are doing your job to 🙂

    Keep up the good work and I will request more angles around you (with ear plugs) while you are working 🙂

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