Monday, June 26, 2017

First World Problems

Cranky today. I barely slept last night and I think it's an indicator of my asthma getting ready to ramp up into an attack. I have all the precursor symptoms, bad mood, lots of coughing, no sleep.

It does not help that we're up above Denver as far as altitude and I'm having issues with low oxygen levels. 

I'm a little less enchanted with this place today. The room is just awful, small, pokey and filled with bugs. Not enough electrical outlets to run my various lung appliances. Electrical problems. Every time Jim turns on the light in the bathroom it cuts off the electricity to my VPAP machine.

But... I'm writing a list of what I need to buy on Friday when we take the bus back into Santa Maria to make that pokey room just a little less awful. I feel sort of like this today, I know I'm judging this place on my first world standards, which is so unfair.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

I've Finally Arrived!

Sleep.

That's the main thing I've been doing since landing here in Copey, Costa Rica. Sleeping.

It's hard not too. The remodel of my house was fraught with stress, problems and was turning into an endless money pit. I finally broke, tossed a few things in my suitcases and blubberingly hauled ass across the country to my mother's house. Things didn't go any better once I got down to South Louisiana. I discovered the day that the car was supposed to ship out that I was missing one of the crucial documents for shipping and had to contact Virginia DMV to get a copy sent out. The shipping company handling my household things suddenly decided to bill me and demand payment right then after me calling them for two weeks wanting to pay the bill, at a bank that does not even exist in Louisiana. Add in my mother and her myriad issues including her panic over the Tropical Storm and you have me getting a rental car and decamping early for New Orleans to wait out the time for my flight to Costa Rica.

In other words I've barely slept for months on end, when I wasn't eating Xanax like M&Ms that is. I have hit the wall and crashed. Every afternoon here in Costa Rica during the rainy season you can count on it raining and raining copiously. The rhythm of the downpour on the tin roofs puts me right to sleep.

Jim picked me up at the airport yesterday. I came trotting out in all my glorious white privilege with a train of redcaps hauling my numerous suitcases. That's the funny part of all of this, since leaving my mother's house I've been operating in a very bourgeoisie way. It has nothing in common with our usual simple life. I stayed at a 500 buck a night hotel for next to nothing because I had saved a boatload of travel points with that chain. It's the high end hotel of the chain that uses 'Game of Thrones' actor who plays Tormund Giantsbane as their advertising mascot. I got to see his smiling face all over the place. First time I've stayed at such a luxurious place! But I did the most middle class thing and swiped all their nice toiletries. Lots of room service food too! I rented a bag cart at the airport and even sprung for uber overpriced food on my Spirit airlines flight. Tiniest glimmer of what being rich must be like. I even got to bypass the long lines for immigration and customs courtesy of the redcaps.

The not so fun part of the trip included having to leave the rental car in outer Cajunlandia at the New Orleans airport and schlep all those bags through criminally high humidity levels and heat before getting anywhere near the terminal. Did I mention that Tropical Storm Cindy was bringing driving rain at the same time? Sodden luggage and I made it into the terminal just in time to check in for my 5 am flight.

It was a two hour ride in a tiny car from the airport to Copey. Beautiful countryside, hair pin turns up and down the mountains and the most spectacular views down sheer drop offs into the valley. We passed a waterfall visible from the open road and groves of coffee and apple trees.

The place Jim is staying at, that's about to be my temporary home for three weeks, is a far cry from anyplace I ever imagined I would live. Our 'apartment' is a half of a converted former garage, cobbled together from tin roofing, plastic paneling and tile. It's about 180% from the place I stayed the night before. Yes, there's a Shower of Death, but it seems to be properly grounded, but like all those types of showers you get a minuscule amount of lukewarm water in between rushing gluts of cold water. I am learning to step out for the bouts of cold and wait for the electrified shower to do its thing and make with the lukewarm water.

I guess you can live with anything for a few weeks. I'm so thrilled to have a bed, sheets, pillows again that I'm not even concerned about the third world nature of the accommodations. It is scrupulously clean.

The tiny village is charming, chickens, cows and horses wander about at will and there is virtually no traffic. The mountains surrounding the village have clouds dipping down obscuring the tops. We went for a long walk in the village in the morning. Jim took me to the small store to get drinks this morning, juice and his favorite drink – local chocolate milk. After lunch and another in a series of naps I started taking immediately upon arrival we took the bus into the next town, slightly bigger than Copey.

We hadn't been in town more than a few minutes before we spotted that sight you can count on seeing, no matter how tiny the village, worldwide – Mormon missionaries. We talked to them for a few moments, but they immediately tried to convert us, but they quickly figured out that it was the impossible task.

I have been trying new odd things this afternoon. First freshly squeezed raw sugar cane juice, a local delicacy. Was very curious about this because growing up in South Louisiana you get to see the fields of sugar cane growing, the blessing of the sugar cane by the local Catholic priests and you get to dodge the cane trucks hauling the harvested sugar cane to be processed. It's not very clean or appetizing when they first extract the juice, it's gritty and brown. The juice undergoes processing, boiling and skimming to remove the impurities (squashed bugs and dirt) before being reduced down into sugar.

Sure enough, fresh sugar cane juice has gritty dirt a-plenty. Didn't much like it no matter how 'natural' it is, or what the locals claim about it's health boosting abilities. Yep, I drank dirt.

We had ice cream, and I got to encounter one of the things I loved about living in Germany years ago – booze ice cream. I had a double cone of rum ice cream studded with dried fruits heavily soaked in rum. Kill your sweet tooth and get a buzz on at the same time.

Followed by a taxi ride back into Copey and more napping.

Tonight we walked down to the town's only restaurant and had pork, potatoes and steamed vegetables with a tamarind mousse pie. Deliciouso!

More sleep about to happen. I have three months of crappy sleep to catch up on. Pretty easy to sleep with the pounding of the rain on the tin roof and the fact that we're close enough to the equator to get about 12 hours of night.

Tomorrow – mass at the local Catholic church by the local priest – a Tanzanian with limited Spanish skills and likely a lot more napping.

Monday, June 05, 2017

More Goat Rodeoing

I'd have thought by now some of this would have settled down and I'd be closer to moving. Sadly no.

The wrong counter top was delivered. Apparently between the Big Box retailer I ordered it at and what was ordered by the installer someone transposed a number and I got a completely different counter. Much cheaper than the one I ordered.

On the upside I like it better than the one I ordered. So I wasn't upset. I did request a discount because of the screw up and that this one was less.

When the copper sink came out of the box it had two tiny dents. Since it is a hammered copper sink I wasn't particularly annoyed. The dents were also where the faucet plates cover them. Again, I asked for the Big Box retailer to knock something off the price.

The rest of the week was the usual paint this, tote that and I'm starting to cull through and do a re inventory for the boxes for shipping. This time I put back in storage more things.

The weekend was filled with helping my youngest adult children to move from a spacious townhouse in Centreville to a inside the Beltway condo three short blocks from one of the Metro stops nearly to D.C. They start a new chapter in their lives. Time flies. I hope they'll be very happy there, the building is filled with young adults in their age group, and the condo is gorgeous if a little old. Hardwood floors and copious windows overlooking a park.

Then back to the salt mines of the move again. This morning I started going through my suitcases, culling out clothing to bring lamps, books and maps for the Peace Corp run school Jim is at. It dawned on me I haven't seen my passport a few weeks. I remember taking it from the safe and putting it in one of my cases, seeing it while I was staying with my friend during the painting and not seeing it since, but the suitcases had been sitting in the living room with the packing boxes and Cletus and Bubba had started tossing the stuff around and in different  boxes, what was on the coffee table.

One long day later of me completely unpacking the storage room all the way back to the safe and it's not in the safe. I've unpacked and repacked my suitcases and the shipping boxes and still no sign of my passport. I have no idea where it's at. Tomorrow I'm going to shuffle through the boxes one last time and then go poke under my friend's guest bedroom where I seem to remember having it.

If it's lost it's really going to delay the trip. They only do 24 hour expediting when a family emergency occurs or someone dies. The earliest I could get it is two weeks. Ugh. I need more Xanax if this is going to be the way the rest of this packing goes.

At least the house is almost done now. Just some minor repairs and waiting for the stove to be delivered along with the usual yard work.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Heavy

Sunday went so sideways after a Saturday and Friday night of misdialed phone calls of horny guys looking for the sex worker with a phone number like mine that I was very done Sunday and much of Monday. Lonely, short on sleep, trying to finish up things. It seems like every single time I think something is done and finished I discover another nail hole incorrectly patched, or a new sprig of poison ivy lurking, or another repair that needs to happen, or Jim Skype's me and asks me to pack or order another item for the move.

I ended up taking most of Monday off and some of today. I'm just beat.

But I did do several very pleasant things. I recorded a pretty funny custom voice mail message on my new Iphone informing the cretins looking to get laid to stop dialing phone numbers with their dicks, stop letting the little head do their thinking for them and adding a message at the end that Stacy should be charging them double for sheer dumbness. Mean, I know, but don't judge until you've had your phone blowing up with middle of the night calls from guys for weeks on end. Now I'm going to turn it to silent at night, and let those calls all go to that voicemail.

While I was doing a little gardening in the patch I grow sweet potatoes surrounded by flowers I've spotted a fat little bunny coming quite close to me, unafraid and curious. I'm also been watching the first of the bird parents of the season taking the babies out to teach them to hunt for worms and best places to get a drink of water.

I was just starting to feel a little less frazzled and depressed today from Sunday's bummer that was my short and last stint at church when I got a phone call at 7 am from the company doing the kitchen counter top install. They'd told me the week before that they expected delivery on the counter top today, but when I called several times late last week they kept telling me it had not been shipped yet, and they still had no real idea when it would really arrive. I kept bugging them because the plumber I use has to be scheduled the day before the counter install to remove the old sink and pipes, and come back a few days after the counter goes in to put in the new sink.

What did they want today? To show up and install the counter top before noon because they had a couple other installs in our town today. Today? With the sink still in? When I told them that the sink was still in situ they said the next time they were scheduled for my area will be Friday afternoon, which means I'll be without a sink until Monday.

Then they tell me that the counter top I ordered and the sink that I bought were incompatible, that the sink was too heavy for the counter top to support without cracking. What??? They knew which counter top and sink I ordered for a full five weeks now! They said nothing, not when I ordered it all, not when they came in to measure, not when I talked to them last week. They sprang this one me like the painters trying to shake me down, insisting I pay them to put in extra supports for extra money of course or switch to a different lighter sink. The stone sink is 37 pounds in the box.

To tell the truth I wasn't entirely wild about the color, it looked much darker at the website and in the store than what was delivered. Plus I had originally wanted a copper sink, much lighter than this stone sink, but it was quite expensive. Since I ordered the stone sink the copper one has been reduced to just under what I paid for the stone and has the exact same measurements. So guess what I'm going to do tomorrow? Return the heavy sink and pick up the 15 pound copper one I wanted in the first place.

It's just the disorganization and incompetence I've been dealing with that's making me crazy, well, crazier than usual.

The rest of the day was shot picking up a pile of toiletries and essentials we will need in Costa Rica that will be harder to get and much more expensive. Looks like I'm getting ready to deal otc drugs and hair products when I get to Costa Rica.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Last Worthless Sunday Morning

 or Why I'm Totally Breaking Up With American Christianity Finally

I've been circling the drain on leaving organized religion for a long time, since well before I switched the name of the blog to Every Breaking Wave. When I heard U2's song of a love gone very wrong by that name I couldn't help but reflect on how I felt about my relationship with God.

The lyrics fit the way I was starting to feel after 20 plus years doggedly hanging onto my faith in the face of abuse, ugly behavior of people that claimed to be my brother or sister in the Lord. So many things, too many to list here.

It's felt like a break up with a lover to me. Over a long period of time. Like a longer, more hurtful version of my divorce after my early marriage. In the course of the ten years I've been out of Evangelical Quiverfull Charismatic movement this has been an ongoing thing.

What makes my shifting theology so difficult is that I cannot just go full out balls to the wall atheist like so many I know coming out of toxic abusive faith environments. Why? Simple. I have had just too many experiences with the dead since I was three years old, seeing spirits, talking to the dead. I know I don't talk about that aspect of my life much here. But it is the one thing that prevents me from letting go of the idea that there is another dimension out there. To quote a worship song I still love "It shines in the darkness and I've touched it at times."

But I think the realities of the spirit world and what's in the Grand Adventure beyond death is nothing like anything in American Christianity.

When I came out of the old toxic church ten years ago I followed Jim to our local Methodist church while my former friends were lobbing stones at me. I wasn't entirely happy to do that, but as someone that has spent many years on worship team I could see why I was supposed to be there as the Methodist church was starting up a contemporary worship service. I was immediately asked to join because the team was minuscule and only the leader had any worship team experience. I was so burned out from being part of the 5% of hardcore True Believers at my old church that I was relieved to only being involved in worship team instead of the myriad of teams, services, prayer teams and complete drama at the old place. Being able to simply sit on the pew was a relief after all those years.

The church kept trying to plug me into the activities, but I resisted. My experience at Possum Creek taught me that small groups, cell groups and prayer circles that were toxic with the possibility of abuse and gossip. I held myself pretty aloof at the Methodist church because the theology being taught seemed shallow, simple and pretty middle of the road.

The problem of my inner damage and spiritual abuse from my old church robbed me of my ability to participate or be open to anything besides our little worship team family. There, I could be myself and continue on. After the pastor found out I'd been a major part of the old church's healing and prayer team I got recruited for that as I started to feel a bit more comfortable and grounded there. But it was a total disaster. I got called upon the carpet hard after operating in a word of knowledge for a lady, something simple and encouraging. Turns out this was extremely frowned upon and I got quite the dressing down. I quit the prayer team.

When we first joined the Methodist church and I joined the contemporary worship team the service had perhaps 20 attendees. Over the last nine years it grew to the biggest service in a church that is the biggest one in three counties. But I started just gagging over the flood of new members carrying in clearly IFB, Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God theology and trying to take over the contemporary service. The very Evangelical theology started to trigger me horribly. I could not even sit through the sermons any longer.

During this same time I'd been doing a great deal of reading of things that would have been frowned upon, like Bart Ehrman books, historical books on the origins of Biblical translations. The church has started to turn more ridiculously conservative.

While I was only participating with worship, aloof and quiet I could see that many of the members were more pontificating, self-focused and hypocritical. I got more and more turned off, I stopped reading anything Old Testament related, only concentrating on the worlds of Jesus, gagging over the sermons of submission of women.. I'd started to realize that the things people were praying for, both at the new church and the old were ridiculous, stupidity like the closest parking space at Wal Mart and against gays, transgendered, the poor. Prime Donald Trump territory.

During my last three years at Possum Creek I'd gotten heavily involved with volunteering at the homeless shelter, the soup kitchen the USDA surplus commodities give aways and the senior nutrition site. I was dismayed to see that a few of those things, while they were happening in the Methodist church, there was a great deal of people behaving horribly to the poor, yet were going on mission trip/vacations around the world. I took my volunteerism to the poor going on but not affliated with the new church. That people at the other traditional services behaved horribly holier than thou towards our service, making cutting remarks if our service ran five or more minutes late. I remember one instance where a blue haired older lady in her expensive suit started railing at me that the service was very late and it was going to inconvenience her by making her late for her Sunday dinner at the steak house, while I hissed through gritted teeth that someone had a heart attack at the first service, meaning every service was running late and someone's life was more important than being the first one at the restaurant.

It wasn't an ending to my faith in a huge severing of everything I believed, it was more like a gradual drip drip drip of a Chinese water torture.

But it spend up quickly in our last two years at the Methodist church. People started fighting, gossiping and trying to tell people they were doing things very wrong among the church. Jim was recruited to run the offering counting team, and he begged me to help him. Biggest church in so many counties, taking in as much as anywhere between 20 and 50 thousand in offerings each week. We both started getting a lot of push back from church members when we reorganized how it was to be done to make it conform to IRS rules and state rules. I had many experiences where I walked into a room only to hear the church mega gossip Faith complaining about Jim or calling him incompetent. She kept interfering in much that we did and started complaining that to anyone that would listen that we were craven liberals that were leaving for Costa Rica to 'run away from Donald Trump."

The church service started to have people engaging in power struggles to control everything. One man I don't agree with or like much seized control of the prayer team and just about everything else. He would get up and teach on things that run counter to the teachings of the United Methodist Church's stated positions, like he taught on how evolution was a lie of the devil. Over the course of the last year he told me I had severe asthma because I didn't take communion, not realizing that the worship team members took communion together before the service. He started nagging me to attend home group, telling me I was sinning by not attending a home group.

Things started to really fall apart and the contemporary service that we'd grown from 20 people to standing room only of around 700 has slid to about a 100 folks that would have fit in perfectly in my old cult church due to these politics in leadership and power struggles.

All of this started triggering me horribly, I never got the space and opportunity to heal from the spiritual abuse from my old church and as things got worse and I started to think seriously about large swathes of the Bible and believe that much of it was a misinterpretation mish mash. The behavior of so many up at the church acted more and more like self congratulatory assholes I knew I had to leave, and the move to Costa Rica would solve that.

I couldn't support the theology, stand the behavior of the most unloving people on the planet and kept backing away, only still loving worship, even if I was having to watch the dismantling of the dismantling of our service.

As soon as Jim flew off the Costa Rica last month and I stayed to finish the packing and remodel I started staying home from church every weekend. Two weeks ago I ran up against someone else that the church gets so wrong. I was attacked and sustained some injuries from the rogue painters. Jim was concerned because every time we used Skype I was in tears over what happened and getting the mistakes fixed. Jim decided he would call on his Wesleyian Building Brothers to help me out. I held out little hope because it was my experience that no one at the Methodist church helped out with anything that didn't earn them brownie points with the clueless pastor.

I have to admit this is one of the big things I miss about the old Quiverfull church. People would come out of the woodwork to help members, casseroles, help moving, so much help and support it was a blessing.

After Jim emailed the list, got no response, emailed the pastor who emailed the list again no one volunteered to come by and help me at all. I was not surprised at all. They just don't help anyone. It' all about them.

For the last two weeks I've been listening to scads of worship music here, feeling at peace, feeling connected to whatever force it is that exists in this realm. I've been thinking about how far from the words of Jesus and other great spiritual gurus across the world these people at the Methodist church were acting, how religion in America bears zero resemblance to anything spiritual at all. It's a mean spirited game.

This morning I decided to go to church just to say goodbye to the few people I am friends with, like the worship leader that I had helped train at Possum Creek as a teen, who now leads worship here. I got there just in time to discover she's been fired. Several people approached me in the narthex to tell me that they didn't respond to Jim's email because it was not the role of the church to help the members with crisis like that. The pastor himself talked to me for a few moments and he was very dismissive of the fact that I hadn't attended church since the confrontation with the painters, insisting everything worked out fine since I'm such a strong woman.

I turned around and walked out forever. Another cult, but more like a society country club cult that resembles the churches mentioned in some of Jason Uptons songs 'Freedom' and 'Lullaby For a Petrified Sacred Society'



I'm going to continue on with my meditation, my journey to what is truth and worshiping when I feel lead. But I am done with American Christianity.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Stacy's Grandma Ain't Got It Going On

I'm up late and experiencing more of those phone calls and texts looking to party with Stacy. Snoozing hard, the phone rings, jolting me out of a dream involving demon trees, flying cats and my ex pastor from the cult church. My groggy ass has to explain that I have no idea who Stacy is and how the only partying I do involves Netflix binging while crocheting.

Now that I'm awake, just like last Friday night,from repeated calls and text, I ask the guy where he found Stacy's number and I discovered there is a big website for the D.C. area escort services. I look up this Stacy and discover all these middle of the night horny clown are just transposing the last two digits of her phone number, which would be my phone number.

I guess when Mr. Happy starts doing all the thinking instead of the brain then dialing the wrong number happens more frequently.

What makes this particularly annoying is that I spent today mowing our lawn after all most two weeks of rainy days, pulling weeds and trimming bushes while not cutting any limb, toe or finger with the rusting trimming shears. That's when I want furiously poisoning the sea of poison ivy that is trying to carpet the back yard. A hard work  day since the grass was really too soggy to effectively mow and the contents of the grass catcher felt like I was mowing brick it was so heavy. I crashed at 9 pm accidentally from lifting that bail of hay and toting a barge filled with mulch. I am dog tired, too tired to deal with idiots that cannot dial the right number.

Almost 28 years ago when we moved into this house we used to get drunken middle of the night phone calls trying to order a pizza for delivery from Pizza Hut. Same situation, except these folks were more beer-addled than horny. After telling many of them that they had transposed the last two digits in the phone number and dealing with some belligerent people jonesing for pizza I just started sighing before pretending to take their orders. It was just easier than trying to get a chemically addled caller to accept they screwed up.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

In Which I Lay Around Crocheting

Not really. Just at night when my allergy meds and the Xanax kick in and I'm incapable of doing anything more complex than stare at the television catching up on things like "The Handmaid's Tale" and the third season of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmit" with some "Law and Order: SVU" thrown in for good measure.

This week the very sweet young man I hired to repair the nefarious wall painting shenanigans of Bubba and Cletus showed up, painted, patched walls and ceilings and did a bang up job! He was amazing.

Turns out the counter top for the kitchen is being delivered sooner than expected, on next Tuesday. So there's forward progress.

I'm still not done with the weeding and annual spring mulch-a-thon of the garden because we've been having lots of rain for over a week here. Garage needs some work and every day I'm discovering some small new thing I must do, like mounting in new smoke alarms, cleaning and whitening the grout around the fireplace tiling, putting in new shower curtain rods and some sockets because Cletus painted right over them. Today I removed the oak soap dish and toothbrush holders from the downstairs bath and replaced them with pewter-toned ones. Cletus and Bubba also managed to chip up the edges of the mirror in that bathroom so I decided to put a grey circular tiling up on the edges of the mirror to hide that fact.

This remodel is costing more money at a faster rate than I ever imagined. Every day I'm having to run down to the building supply place for something else. I've had to do some jobs I'd never handled before, like get a pair of tin snips and cut away the old gnarled metal fireguard curtains from the fireplace right after the chimney was cleaned. I had to laugh because by the end of the night I looked like I belonged in the chimney sweep song sequence in 'Mary Poppins', like a sooty little urchin.

Today I did very little. The asthma suddenly reared it's ugly head with no warning. One minute I was sitting here trolling through a local appliance site for a new gas stove, not eating, not drinking, not around anything that I'm aware that I'm allergic to when I suddenly felt my throat start tingling and it tightened up. Just like that the day was done, meds and a nap. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

It is my son's 29th birthday today so I did talk to him awhile. I'm visit him and bring him a gift this weekend. Has it really been 29 years? Seems just yesterday that he was a newborn that I could not put down, that I wanted to hold and be with every second of the day.