Houdini

As you know, Houdini disappeared occasionally. He came back, didn’t he? For reasons I cannot say, I will be pulling a Houdini, then, I’ll be reappearing. It might be about ten days, not sure. In real life,  Puzzle and I are traveling by broomstick for our yearly Hullabaloo. We’ll be watching all of you, so you’d better behave! Eyeballing you all worse than staff, if such a thing is possible. I know when the cat’s away, the mice…oh never mind..So here we are, folks, laughing our fool heads off till we’re back on here.

Plan G Home made air conditioner you can make at home yourself

I went to see the place where I had met that friendly guy yesterday. However, he wasn’t there. I figured I’d pick up a thing or two at the store and then, return. I don’t often go to Tienda Inglesa, however, that’s where I ended up. Inside the store, I saw a fan that I thought might work as a part for a homemade air conditioner.  Thanks to a blog reader I thought I’d take a peek over at various ideas on You-Tube.

Here’s my initial AC, a large one intended to be placed in the center of a small room:

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You can see a bit of Puzzle in this pic. I have a happy dog now!

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I wonder how soon she’ll start to snore. Wow, I thought by not having a human bedpartner, I was avoiding the buzz saw effect. Guess not. Don’t worry, I like it!

I have modified the AC a bit. I think three bags of ice would have been better. Tomorrow I will buy more so it will be more full. When I am all done perfecting this, I will let you know what works best. For sure, it’s far more bearable in here now.

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I want to cut the foam, but also I want to see what works best before I do so. It is “cool” having it blow right on me now. I hope the AC will also sometimes double as a place I can store things like meat and cheese so long as it’s well-wrapped. I need to raise the ice level for sure. I wonder if adding more “floor” to the bottom insulation will do the trick.

As for the temp, after a few minutes it was noticeably cooler. Now, it’s down to 90 in the room, so much nicer and easier to deal with, and I expect it’ll be in the 80’s before long.

 

Don't let horrific and pointless arguments with family get you down.

So here’s what happened. I couldn’t tell you what time it was. Maybe just prior to 8am New York time. I needed to clarify some money stuff with “family.” I feel so awkward asking.

Meanwhile, I am overwhelmed by the kindness of my true friends, who have nothing, are still offering the shirts off their backs. You folks take care of yourselves and let those who actually have dough chip in. I was about to pick up a sum that won’t even come close to paying my next month’s rent, but will buy toilet paper and got me the water boiler and will feed me and Puzzle for a little while.

Doled out, doled out, doled out in pittances, when really, this is so unnecessary and demeaning. Extremely demeaning. Am I a child? I don’t have representative payee and have never needed one.

I NEVER go to restaurants. I have been maybe four times in a year and a half, only twice actually paying for anything beyond coffee.  I hardly ever buy soda! I do not buy bottled water because I filter mine. I make coffee at home, I haven’t been to one museum, nor one concert, nor a haircut, nor a massage, nor have any appliances except a hotplate a water boiler, not even a hot water heater! While food isn’t expensive here, it’s not cheap. $50 USD won’t last an entire month. Occasionally I can buy a bag of produce for $60 UYU (roughly $2 USD) when the good places are open.

You guys know what’s in the back of my head, and has been for years.  Actually, one of my therapists actually told me I’ve hit the nail right on the head here. My bros figure I’ll croak so that means more for them. This is one reason they dole it out as slowly as possible until that  happens, and then, they can split what remains. All that explains the non-response each time I’ve appealed to them (not for money but for understanding) when I’ve been in rather critical situations. “We do not have time for you.” Yet they would run to any other family member in time of need.

 

I am more than aware of the deliberate emotional detachment that began specifically in 1997, not when my dad died by a few months later. My mom did not detach, but one brother has barely spoken to me since. The other I connected to well during my grad school years. After that it all fell apart.

So the conversation with my sister-in-law was strained from the start. I had to clarify a few things so I did. I have no idea why I even allowed myself to continue the conversation.

I guess she asked how things were going. Well? She asked. I told her my rough “plans.” Then she said to me, “Well, I cannot really advise you….”

Was I asking for advice? No! Do you see the immediate assumption here of superiority? As if SHE were the wise one and I were appealing to her higher knowledge. “All mental patients are stupid, dependent, and inferior.” No, she didn’t say those words, but the automatic assumption that I was advice-seeking implied this assumption of her greater expertise. Just because I’m speculating or speaking of possibilities does not mean “I want your expert advice,” but might mean, “You asked so I am telling you.”

Then she continued to berate me. Folks, I haven’t shed a tear except when reading a moving story or seeing cool art in a very long time. Maybe it’s been six months since I’ve shed tears of utter frustration. However, we all know our relatives are the ones who push our buttons the most. I broke down.

Finally, I told her. “All I’ve ever wanted was for my family to love me.”

I was losing my temper, never mind the rising temps in here. Get this: According to my sister-in-law, it’s all my fault. I asked, “What did I do?”

She told me I made “poor decisions.”

Poor decisions? So she said I became distant after grad school. I told her I was being abused by my therapist (Maria). My sister-in-law dismissed this (it’s nothing, right?) and then blamed me for cutting my bro off for a few months in 2013 or so.

I told her I had no choice as he was gaslighting me every single time we spoke. At this point she got all huffy and said her husband doesn’t do that.

Here, I slipped. I agreed that my bro is a very kind man whom I raised myself. However, whether he gaslights her or not is not relevant here. He did gaslight me, and continues to do so. It sort of makes sense that he doesn’t gaslight her. If he treated her as poorly as he treats me she’d have left him by now.

Do you see her assumption here? She was discrediting me totally. “This is not my experience of him, so therefore, you’re delusional.” This is an immediate assumption of wrong perceptions by the mental patient, again, furthering her superiority. Her word must be correct. This never happened.

So here, she blamed me for cutting him off and stated that my reasons were unfounded and due to “illness.” She refused to acknowledge that his behavior could possibly have been at all flawed.

I was losing it at this point. I wish I hadn’t been. But behind me were two decades of being the butt of indifference, two decades of their not even recognizing my existence. Behind me were years and years of wondering why my family no longer loved me.

I told her precisely what my own friends had advised: “Julie, why keep trying? You are only making yourself more frustrated. It’s obvious that they’ve written you off. Try accepting it instead of trying to win them back because it doesn’t sound like that will happen. Families do that.”

I didn’t want to bring up the topic of my other brother nor lump them together. I don’t like it when I do that. During our childhood, they were called “the boys” rather often and I don’t think they liked that too much, seeing as they are like night and day.

I wasn’t sobbing. Just tearful. I was trying to hold it together knowing that any tears would be perceived as “illness.” Or worse.

She continued to discredit me and place blame. However, I stated that this cutting off occurred only briefly. What about the past two decades? I confronted her with that.

She then stated that her perfect husband had  visited me when he came to Boston. I countered by telling her he’d arrive, spend many days here carousing around, without informing me he was here, then call me saying “I came but am leaving now and if I don’t hear back within a half hour I won’t be able to drop by.” So basically I was that last stop, a token 20-minute (time-limited) visit on his way home. I was aware of the setup, of course. I told her I would learn later on that he’d been in Boston a long time and I was aware of the minimal time he spent with me. I also knew that with others, he went out to eat and enjoyed parties too. I was NEVER included in any of that.

Was he or anyone aware of the impact this had on me all those years? “You cannot be included because you are a mental patient.”

She sounded utterly disgusted at the statement that I’d known he was in town all along. Oh no, it couldn’t possibly be true. Again, the patient is delusional.

I told her it was obvious. I’m not as dumb as people think. Yes I do know where I lived wasn’t far from the highway. However, that was no excuse. I’m his sister! I’m not a diagnosis.

Again, to back myself (which I should NEVER be forced to do), I told her I’d discussed this at length with my friends and even with therapists for years. “Why does my family not love me?” Most had told me to accept it, move on, and find love elsewhere.

So she said how much they loved me. I said, “You guys have an odd way of showing it.”

How can any of them love me? They don’t know me. They have made very little effort to get to know me. Except for my brother (her husband) who finds me a great gaslighting candidate, not one has ever even tried to get to know me. They do not know my story, they don’t want to know, they’ve never cared. If I am not even allowed to explain myself, how can they possibly know what has happened, and why I am here in Uruguay to begin with.

So then she blames me further for coming here. Like coming here changed family relations. I doubt it. They never bothered with me before. They wanted to be rid of me, that mess in Massachusetts. Now, they no longer had to feel that tug of guilt when they drove past Watertown, thinking of their neglected sister they’d written off. Frankly, I think it all embarrassed them. They deserved it. What family would neglect someone like they did? Oh yes, they were plenty embarrassed over it.

I’m not sure, but I think many were embarrassed. Ashamed that they’d distanced themselves due to their own outright bigotry and completely wrong assumptions they had held for years. Ashamed because they lost a community member who could, had she been allowed, have contributed so much more. Almost as if I had died and then, suddenly, they realized they’d lost an under-appreciated lost talent.

And here I am, saying “Nyah nyah. You were wrong!”

Don’t neglect your family members. They may do the same to you someday. Seek out capabilities, and value a person for these, instead of highlighting how limited, needy, and weak they are.

Don’t assume “community services” is going to step in as substitute and provide the love and nurturing that you should be providing as family member. You can’t hire out love.

I felt awful after that horrible conversation, but not for long. Then, I felt okay again. Whether my sister-in-law heard me or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am secure in my own mind about all of this, and totally okay with it after all.

 

First coffee in god-knows-how-long

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Today I am so, so happy to have morning coffee! Today is the day to rejoice! Today is the day to appreciate what we have, and to try not to bemoan what we do not have. (Yes I am guilty of that quite often as are all of us.)

I have no qualms with the fact that the filter had a hole in it. Yes, this was a Melitta filter even! I have no clue how that gaping hole ended up in my filter.

Mud in coffee? ¡No problemo! I poured out my coffee into a container with a spout (please remember to do this) and then, poured what remained right through another filter.

No filter cone or coffee machine? ¡No problemo! I couldn’t find my old plastic cone this morning, which is maybe 25 years old and has served me well. I do have it around somewhere but all this unpacking has gotten things shifted around. I didn’t want to waste a half hour searching. So I grabbed the nearest suitable substitute: A similar-sized funnel.

Filter fold-over? ¡No problemo! Ever hear of paper clips?

I’m celebrating not only coffee, but my new water boiling pot. My old one fizzled out on me the day I left here, the 23rd. I use this to do laundry and any time I absolutely need hot water. I figure using gas is most likely not as economical since using tons of gas not only heats up this place but will mean needing a refill much sooner.  These pots are standard fare here and in Europe where the current is 220-240. They come to a boil fast and tend to be inexpensive. In USA, you poor sods have 110, and must wait an extra few seconds for your café. Complain away!

 

Plan F

Today, I am considering Plan F. There are three or four parts to this:

  1. Aquilo temporidado nearby as officina, that is, place for writer to escape to, for only during January and part of February. I am looking at a place today. See, my thought was that I could shuttle back and forth, since it’s very close by but not within view of here, and sleep there when it’s too hot here. I have met the owner. His Spanish is so clear and easy to understand. (I have a soft spot, too. Know what? He reminds me so much of my mother. Don’t tell anyone, okay? You cannot explain to a man that he is like your mom. No, not in appearance, but his gestures, his enthusiasm, his zest for life, and somewhat animated tone. My mom was a dancer, you see.) Of course, he’s also selling something, but still, when I have asked people in the past about year-long rentals I get these indifferent looks or even suspicion. (“What? You’re a foreigner! Let me see how much I can jack up the price for you. Estadosundiense, eh? That’ll be……). His price is very  very high since it’s meant for tourists, but I think I can talk him down. I wouldn’t even bother since the outside is a wreck, but I really want to see the inside of this place. I suspect it is lovely. And yes, there are trees around the house, and no niños, never seen them, and maybe he is the only one in the house if I am lucky. Some quiet guy who hates noise as much as I do. I want an audiologist! Or a jeweler or classical lute player.  I have never heard blasting music nor loud TV from that house. I hope he’s allergic to TV. We’ll see. If there are kiddies, forget it. The nearest houses are not close by.  This is a very convenient location (but yucky street) and he loves the idea of perrita.  The yard is fenced in.  If I am lucky he works all day. I will look closely at the laundry hanging and see if there are kiddie things and/or dama things, and of course, ask who else lives there. And no quimicos para rattas, eh?
  2. Instead of temporary second place, actually move there.  This is another possibility. This would be cheaper than having two places. This means breaking the lease, which I must do with caution. To lose security deposit would be the trade-off.
  3. Go to a doctor appointment and get a doctor note stating I cannot live there and the place is making me very sick. Let’s put it this way: Now, the policio in x town saw the condition I was in and they were on my side, as were the Army guys, 100%. Also, a while back I emailed departmento policio. Yes, the story’s out now, and not only that, the townspeople of x town were on my side!  It won’t take much convincing a doctor and anyone can see I’m not exaggerating. You can see this, visibly, clear signs of dehydration and exposure to too much heat. This morning I was only able to cool this place to a luxurious 86.  The concrete walls exposed to sun stay warm for hours past sundown.  Puzzle, too, is suffering terribly here. When I take her out, upon our return she refuses to walk from the street into the yard even. I have to coax her. This breaks my heart. She is telling me something, eh? I wish a vet note could count as well!  This will easily get me out of the lease I think and I’m likely to get my security deposit back.

I refuse to run any of my plans by auto-naysayers or people who continue to act like know-it-alls who have never even set foot in Uruguay. I will say nothing to the overly-critical, since in their eyes, I am stupid no matter what. What good is it to speak to such people? I’ll only get further  demeaning commentary and blame from the ignorant out there yet one more time. (All this following a horrific argument with my sister-in-law yesterday. I’ll get to that in a bit. I have finally figured out how to write about it all, and sorted through what was said.)

So…I know this: If you cannot put yourself in another’s shoes, please do not seek fault in another nor blame. Instead, try some understanding and compassion. The whole world needs more of that, don’t you think?

PS: this might in fact be Plan G. I’ve lost track of my letters. Anyone seen lost alphabet letters en inglés lately? Send ’em my way.

Commentary on news of suicide attempt: How can we be supportive of our friends?

On the first day of homelessness (sort of) and sleeping outdoors, I received this in my email:

No room in the inn: Suicide survivors’ social, and emotional, wasteland

Yes, I was shocked. I had known since Jeanene’s last post that she was in trouble. I was scared for her. I could say nor do a thing to help her. Why? Because she had decided to cut me off sometime in September. I didn’t expect her to do suicide (in late October, she says), but I was scared she’d end up locked up since she had stated in her blog that she was submitting to “treatment” yet one more time. I could do nothing. She said not to write anymore. I waited.

By the way, I did nothing but be supportive of Jeanene but she felt I “emailed too much.” I dunno. Is 13 emails in two months “too much” if you are only responding to another’s email? I felt stumped. So now, emailing too much is offensive. I felt like I couldn’t win with her, so I stopped writing just like she asked me to.

From under my tree, I responded to her blog post, while being eaten by bugs.  I guess either the comment never arrived or Jeanene chose to delete it. I will not try to repost. I am too tired now.

 

What is your opinion? Mental health ed? What would this look like, ideally?

Here’s the link:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/dec/25/teach-mental-health-in-primary-schools-says-advisory-group

This has been proposed in the UK. I am wondering what readers think. Should we educate kids about Mental Health? Should we call it that, or something else?

Remember, there are different definitions out there of health. Wellness is defined differently. I’m not talking about common conversation nor the literary meaning, but in terms of public health or health education, we have to think on what precisely we mean and think carefully on terminology, not only legally, but also implied meaning.

I do think MH ed is a good idea. However, at the grade school level it should consist of the following:

If you have trouble now, you should talk about it with someone you trust, since later in life you might be bothered much more about it.

If you have difficulties you feel you cannot solve, speak to your parents, your teacher or an adult you trust. Your friends are a good resource and are sometimes, the best listeners, but children do not have as much power as adults to step in when necessary.

If your friend has trouble, do not pull away. Instead, be a very good friend, draw closer and be a good listener. If you feel it’s too much to handle, go together to an adult who might help you sort things out.

If you see fire or smell smoke get away from the fire and call the fire department. If you can’t cross the street because of too much traffic, find an adult or crossing guard to help you.  If you get mad, don’t hit. Peaceable negotiation is the best way.

Much of this is often covered in other classes. Kids should be learning “Say no to drugs, don’t do risky sex, etc,” which I believe is already being taught.

In first grade that really should be the extent of it, in my opinion. I don’t think “diagnosis” should EVER be taught. Except as a memory of an ancient, barbaric way of thinking.

What is your opinion?

 

My Christmas living on the playa: The rest of the story

Christmas Eve, Puzzle began to shake, knowing the customary fireworks were beginning. I knew these would build and build until midnight. I lay under my tree as darkness began to fall.

I realized that this grassy area had been lawmowered for a reason. This wasn’t truly an empty field. It was a parking lot! An unpaved one. In fact, I was camping right at the back of a beachside parking lot, a small one, but only tonight cars had begun to use it. A car parked very close to us. I knew I could be seen, but not well. Apparently word had gotten out. A strange girl with a dog on la playa. Sleeping there. How odd, but why?

A couple came to me early on. They brought me pizza and meat for Puzzle. Miss Fussy Eater didn’t like the meat, maybe it was the way it was prepared, but I’m not sure. I ate some pizza and gave the pieces I wasn’t fond of to Puzzle. I was so tired I forgot to dispose of the leftovers. I left them outside mostly inside the bucket. Another kind couple gave us kibble that Puzzle actually liked. Imagine that. She has become quite the princess!

Puzzle was tired. She was able to sleep through the firecrackers even as they got worse and worse toward midnight. We cuddled together. It gets cold at night, but that I never experienced in the oven casa where I live. I tried to cover us as best as possible. I didn’t want to put jeans on. I hadn’t showered. Jeans feel gross when you are filthy.

You get to stinking fast on the road. You have no bathroom. Don’t expect one, and don’t expect anyone to be understanding. They don’t want to hear your problems either. Most are uncaring people who don’t want to lift a finger. However, some do give a shit.

That night, I had visitors. Rats, I think, or a rat, who made his presence known by the clanging sound I heard as he walked across my metal dishes. I thought it might be a local dog. But that would get Puzzle alarmed. I couldn’t see without my glasses. I finally located them and peeked. It was small, but I had no clue. Probably a rat. He was feasting on what didn’t make it into the bucket. I figured since he was nocturnal, shining my flashlight on him might scare him away. It worked. I had to scare him away once more that night. In the morning I reminded myself to always dispose of leftovers. Actually, Puzzle enjoyed what the rat never reached, a few more pieces of pizza.

Christmas day was rather silent. Then, people started coming to the playa again. I knew no stores were open. I thought maybe the farmacia might be open, but I didn’t need anything.

I have a battery that recharges my devices. It was losing power and I needed to figure out how to get that, or my devices, charged. Plus I hadn’t gone poop. I needed a real toilet for that.

That evening, i had more visitors. Three big cops. I have no clue what type. Maybe these were departmento cops. I couldn’t see a thing really but they looked official.  They were not local dudes, as the local cops look more “local.” They  came with a big car, asked me one question that I tried to answer, and then they very quickly decided I was not harmful nor had any criminal intent, so they left. They didn’t ask for ID nor my name. I thought that was odd, but I was so tired that I went off to sleep, or at least lay down cuddling with Puzzle, under our tree.

The 26th, honestly I thought it was Friday, but it was Saturday in fact. This was a three day weekend. I had lost track. I didn’t care. Today I wanted to go poop and get a charge somehow for at least my cell. A man came by. I learned his name was Alejandro. Or so he said. He seemed friendly. A young dude working nearby. I asked him where I could find a toilet para damas. He told me the hotel and pointed. I took note of this. I asked if the mercadito was open. Apparently that’s the big one in town, so he corrected me, the “supermercado.” Oh wow, if that’s super, this is one tiny but loud party town. Actually, I didn’t mind at this point. Anything to get away from the oven I live in and the neighbors. Beyond that, I was sure glad not to be in the USA.

So Alejandro asked me if I was headed over to the hotel. I told him I was planning to go later. He asked if he could sit down. I noticed that upon doing so, he moved my red jacket (I think it’s made by Adidas) out of the way and also he moved my shoes (these are Nike). He said he would get me water but oddly, when he returned, he didn’t return with any. He came and asked me again some questions I didn’t understand. Again I said maybe I would go later to the hotel and wondered why he was so curious. I figured any other questions I could ask at the hotel since maybe the hotel dudes speak English.

I went, leaving Puzzle behind and taking with me a bag with essentials including valuables and my belt pack. I was so glad they had a bathroom I could use. They even agreed to charge my phone. Suddenly, while searching for the charger, I noticed something: My entire wallet was gone.

My belt pack had dumped itself a number of times and I hadn’t given it a thought. I assumed the wallet was back at the campo. I told the hotel dude I would be right back. The wallet was not at the campo. I knew now I was in trouble. I grabbed Puzzle and my big pack and came back to the hotel. The manager was getting on the nice hotel guy’s back for allowing me there. The nice hotel guy told me he’d allow me to stay there for free seeing my predicament. No cash, no way to get cash. No way out of town, running out of drinking water, sleeping in the streets.

Meanwhile, down the street from the hotel live a couple of Expats. The lady came and told me, “If you need to call the States, just come knock on our door anytime.” She described her house. The hotel dude told me maybe I could store my pack there for a few minutes while went back to the campo to get the rest of my stuff. Meanwhile, I’d already canceled two cards and was trying to phone one more bank. I had to leave the hotel. Boss’s orders. The nice hotel dude told me the following very true statement after he heard my story about the casa being uninhabitable:

“Some people are just shit.”

I keep this in mind as I continue to write these words. I went to knock on the Expat’s door. Oh, so nice and cushy, their lives together, happy Christmas in their cozy home where they have all the fixings and have no clue how the other half lives.  I spent my Christmas alone hugging my dog, which was better than being in a hospital and better than psych threats in the USA, but not cozy since it’s tough holding piss until no one’s in the parking lot. Oh, and also, underneath me was a bed of prickly aloe. How was your Christmas? Did you spend it in a manger? Tell me that one.

The woman and a dog answered. And behind her, a husband or boyfriend. Immediately, they said, “You can’t come in. We’re leaving town right now.”

That was interesting. Changed plans that fast? Ha ha.

So the man started berating me. “You have no plan.”

How could I have a plan? Plan? No, I save my life. What’s to plan? Plan what? When you do CPR, are you planning or saving a life? When you run from abusive husband, do you make retirement plans and do your taxes, or do you RUN? You’d better run! There was no sense in talking to these rich snobs. If anyone’s in the area, s0tay away from them. They are the shit that guy was talking about. Just because they were  from USA does not mean they take care of their own kind. They didn’t see me as such.

It’s complete baloney that the members of the expat community take care of each other. I have only seen the opposite. I have seen a lot of deceit and dishonesty. I have seen people who came to escape the law in their original country. People who owed taxes they didn’t feel like paying. I’ve seen outright criminals and drug dealers and people doing shady business. I stopped calling myself  Expat early on. I am a refugee. A grateful one.

I headed to the police station. I do have the law on my side in this one. They were kind. They even got meat for Puzzle. They phoned the consulate.  The consulate wasn’t much help. This woman actually offered me a “loaner” of a free one-way ticket to USA. Are you kidding? I didn’t say that.

No way. No way. No way. I know here, I have no label, and in USA, with the worsening of the laws, and HIPAA eroding, sharing of medical records is going to be the norm with or without permission for the diagnosed. You see, we are not considered human, so we don’t deserve human rights. The Constitution  and Declaration of Independence are terrific, but these didn’t apply to the slaves. So why go back where I would be seen as subhuman all over again? You have no rights. Even my shrink said it, and I wish I had this gem on tape:

“Human rights are trivial.” Dear Dr. Kimberly Pearson, I hope you eat those words and get very sick from their poison. If human rights are trivial, then someday when  your own rights are violated and you can do nothing (since rights are trivial) then I think you might regret saying it.

I said nothing. I said, “Oh, I’ll consider it but probably not.”

She wanted to call me back so I gave her a number. She said she’d try to find a homeless shelter in the area but I know they’re all in Montevideo. How would I get there? I didn’t even have bus fare, and too much stuff to carry on a bus anyway. Clearly no one would store my stuff.

I count on myself these days. I seem to be mighty reliable, and I’m proud of that. Hmm…so those docs claimed I was needy and dependent. I beg to differ.

I kept trying to tell the cops I needed to get back to the rest of my stuff. I knew it could get pilfered staying there without me. By now, it had been an hour.

Finally, the cop walked me back, noting where I was staying. I figured that until I got myself to elsewhere, they’d keep an eye on me.

Funny, that red jacket was missing. Nothing else. Inside the pockets were sanitary supplies and a working flashlight. I can replace both. When I get cash. You know…stuff is just stuff, but that was an expensive jacket. If you see a guy named Alejandro wearing a red Adidas jacket, tell him off, will  you? I’d say the sleeves were long on me, maybe it would fit a skinny guy up to 5 foot 5 inches tall. No, five foot four. Maybe his kid or girlfriend is wearing it. I wish I had USED sanitary supplies in that pocket. For his benefit. Ha ha. You stink bad when you are homeless so that would be my Christmas gift to him. I don’t know if he’s the one who took  my wallet or not. Possibly. I could have just dropped it.

I will be receiving some money soon. It will not cover rent. I’ll need more. We’ll see. I walked to the office to receive the money but the office was closed since it wasn’t Friday at all. It was Saturday. I headed back to the police station. They gave me tons of water and showed me where I could refill the bottles for free. They also gave Puzzle more meat. She got new amigos!

Hours passed. Several hours before dark, some more cops came, not the local ones. They were dressed differently. One spoke good English. He explained they were from the Army. I told him much of the story.

Now listen: There are shit people in this world. I’m not saying it’s all black and white and some are shit and some aren’t. I’m just saying that some act like shit sometimes. They don’t know what they are saying or doing. They are ignorant. Lack of knowledge or refusal to learn brings fear, hatred, and hostility.

We are all shit people sometimes. We hope we are shitty the minimum. Some act like angels and you want to kiss them when they surprise you with pizza on Christmas Eve, or a bone for your thirsty dog when others have shut the door on you. We wish we could be kind and generous souls. We are not always that way. We screw up sometimes, this cannot be helped. We get scared and make mistakes. We can only apologize and hope for understanding.

The army dudes didn’t take long. This wasn’t some long debate between them. They saw my plight, knowing I was honest and meant no harm. The one who spoke English told me most likely I was better off back at my casa where I had water and electricity and adequate food until I could get the needed cash to tie me over till my replacement plastic arrived. This was true. They had some work to do, but told me that in two hours, they would return. I packed.

They came like clockwork. Of course, they’re the Army. They got all my stuff into the pickup. At the last minute, a lovely local woman came to me with a gracious smile and handed me a package of crackers. I thanked her, from the bottom of my heart.

God bless my new country. God bless these people who understand and are so helpful and kind. True, you will see crooks wherever you go. But here it is the most democratic country in Latin America. The crime rate is low. There isn’t danger for a woman traveling alone. That kind of attitude is old-fashioned maybe. The funny think is that many women I have known have enjoyed solo travel, and almost all of them are writers.

So there I was, going first class in an air conditioned vehicle. I felt like royalty, me and Puzzle.

We came home to a loud party next door, another two doors down, and right after I arrived, the noisy ones on the other side came rumbling in with their motorcycles. I fear they’ve purchased AC and are running on my electric account, so I have as many outlets as possible switched off. The most important are the outside ones where I think they have drawn current. The parties lasted well into the morning hours. It also reeked of garbage in here. Remind me next time I am fleeing to empty the trash first, eh?

I need to get so much work done. I’m covered with bug bites. Other than that, fairly okay. My spirits are good. Funny, if you can survive psych labeling and all the nonsense I endured in the USA, all this is a piece of cake.

It’s 100 degrees in here. It’s been 100 for several hours now. I need to do something. Who knows. Maybe some other brilliant idea will pop up. If it is called help I will turn it down. Help is a four-letter word full of lies. Help comes from within, folks. You are the most reliable source of strength. Go there and find it.

 

 

God Made Buckets For Girls and Women

God made buckets for girls and women,but not so we would be slaves. These are so we can run away should we need to.

God gave men penises. God didn’t give women the ability to make convenient piss in the woods. I have no clue why this was done. This is why we have buckets.

I taught myself various ways to discretely pee in a bucket.

#1. The secret wrap-around skirt method. Wrap a blanket around you as if it were a wrap-around skirt. Pull down your drawers as if you are only fussing with your wrap-around. Now, have the bucket lined with a plastic bag. It had better be a decent plastic bag. Don’t use a sandwich bag, you dig? Sit on the bucket. Pee. Wipe (we’re girls, remember?). Be sure NEVER lose that toilet paper. NEVER. Now it’s safe to put paper in this toilet. No worries about clogged pipes. Immediately, tie the bag. Knot it. Stand and pull up your drawers.  Please do not think you won’t spill the bucket, so tying that bag ASAP is extremely important. Story coming up about the time I did not.

#2 method: Tarp. With the inside lights out and your entire self covered entirely with a tarp, using moonlight, sunlight, or lights of passing vehicles, position the plastic bag, do a moon and pee as above.

#3. No one’s around. Screw it. Find a log or rock, sit on it, pee. Just don’t pee near your campo.

If you have no soap and water, use ethyl alcohol. This isn’t available in all countries. I would not suggest booze because the sugar in it makes it sticky as a cleaner.