Navigate / search

The Sink’s In Here Somewhere…

In the words of Erin’s frog, she is completely harshing my mellow.

I mean, I was happy just floating along, all, “I’m SO ready for this Costa Rica trip.  I’ve got typhoid  shots and a backpack – what more do I need?”

And then came this post.  This awful, horrible, mellow-harshing post that, aside from making me laugh at Erin’s pantaloons, sprouted this demonic little thought in my head that maybe – just maybe – I should think about packing.

Have I been worried about the language barriers?  Sure.  Have I been concerned my fragile little underexposed body might have difficulty adjusting?  Of course.  Have I been concerned I’ll make a true American ass of myself by not understanding the culture?  No doubt.  I expressed all of those concerns here.  I’ve already admitted that when it comes to this trip, this is me:

But in all  honesty, I haven’t let myself freak out about these things because:

a)  I’m doing the best I can to prepare in a limited amount of time by studying up on some Spanish (and buying a phrase book); seeing the doctor and getting proper medications; and reading up on Tico culture in my nifty little guidebook, and

b)  We’re going to be working for a great family who, at every chance they’ve been able to get so far, have been straightforward and quick to reply with what to expect.

But then comes Erin with her post about practicalities, like packing??!

Not to mention the panicked phone call I received from her at REI just yesterday when she was struck with an insurmountable bout of indecision.  (Did I tell you I wouldn’t tell anyone about that, Erin??  It’s a good thing only 6 people read this.)

So I’ve decided it’s time to start assessing where I stand, starting with the GINORMOUS bag of goodies and gifts my exceedingly generous friends from work gave me over excessive amounts of tequila (accompanied by a small amount of margarita fixings) after my last day at work.

Okay.  Wow.

I will admit there are a few items here I may not be taking to Costa Rica.  See, I have a limited amount of room in my backpack, so it’s inevitable that some things out of this huge, thoughtful bag of gifts will get left behind.

Like maybe these:

Peace flip flops

Not because they’re not totally awesome, but I do need to be a little practical here.  I’m only allowing myself to bring 2 pairs of shoes (possibly 3 if I can’t find the right wet/dry amphibian shoes), and I’ll need my 1 pair of flip flops to work with the majority of my clothes.  Unfortunately, I just don’t have that much teal in my wardrobe.  But maybe I should.

And these two items:

Bug Hat

While I understand the practicality of packing the proper head gear, I should probably be realistic about what I’ll actually wear.  For example, the first hat might really come in handy if I find myself devoid of bug spray or if I decide to take up beekeeping, but I’m hoping to avoid both scenarios during this trip.  And the second… well…


There are, however, some really really great things in here that will definitely be making the cut.

Like food.  Can’t go wrong with that.  And while I might not be bringing all of this food, I can definitely see where it might come in handy on the trip out there or during one of our weekend excursions.

Snack Food

And how cool are these nifty little tools??  I find myself walking around the house just looking for an excuse to use these.

These are just a few of the multitude of basic hygiene and toiletry products, which are fantastic (don’t ask about the Gold Bond – hopefully I won’t need it):

And this – this I was really excited about.  VERY few people are cool enough to sport one of these:

Head Lamp

I am lucky enough to be one of those people.  To prove it, here’s me during a Geology field trip circa early 2006:


See?  Cooler than words can express.

They also got me this great little sling bag made out of recycled products.  I haven’t actually tried to take it out of the pouch because I’m afraid I won’t be able to get it back in, but rest assured I will likely get my use out of this puppy once we’re there:

Recycled product bag

There were many, many more things in there as well, including a rain poncho, first aid kit, ear plugs (in case Erin snores), ibuprofen, and sanitary hand wipes, just to name a few.

I’m incredibly lucky to have worked with such amazingly thoughtful people.  It almost feels like I don’t need to bring anything else.  Almost.

I’m also very lucky I look good in a headlamp.

Just sayin’.

Does FEMA Make Housecalls?

So, I started packing for the trip this morning. Seeing as how it’s less than two weeks away, I figured it’d be prudent to start now so that I don’t, in a last-minute panic-blind frenzy, end up with a suitcase containing 20 pairs of shoes, a waffle iron and no underwear.  And, frankly, I’d rather not spend my first week in a Costa Rican jail facing public lewdness charges for trying to mime ‘Where can I buy underwear?’ to the locals.

Besides, my Puritanical beliefs require me to wear old-timey pantaloons to hide my shame from the ever-vigilant eyes of God.  And those suckers are a nightmare to shop for.

So, as I said, I started packing this morning and would like to pause for a moment to share with you a photo that accurately reflects my mental state right now.  (Okay, that, and I didn’t feel like doing any more packing.)

Somewhere under there is a kitchen table.  And possibly another cat, because I haven’t seen the other one all morning…

Mind you, this may not look like a travesty just yet, but keep in mind that (a) I’m a neat-freak to the point of being emotionally crippled by mess and disorder, (b) I started packing less than an hour ago, and (c) this is just the dining room.

Believe me when I say that in the bedroom lurks a massacre of clothing, toiletries and unspeakable, butt-clenching horror.  But I refuse to show it to you because what also lurks in there are a few small, mildly annoying mystery stains on our bedspread that have since become one large, gruesome mystery stain after I sprayed stain remover on them.  So, the boudoir is off-limits until our bed no longer looks like the scene of a ritual animal sacrifice because I’d rather not have any of you jumping to any conclusions about what sort of kinky shenanigans go on in there.

Man, I hate packing.  Whether it’s for a weekend trip or a two-month-long excursion, it’s always accompanied by the same irrational fear that I’m going to forget something important and irreplaceable and be royally screwed for the rest of the trip.

Holy crap, Katie and I leave in ten days. TEN DAYS.

That’s not nearly enough time to become fluent in Spanish.

That’s not nearly enough time to become a well-read expert on Costa Rican geography, history, politics, economy and culture.

That’s not nearly enough time to tone my thighs and abs and cultivate a warm, golden brown tan so that I can cavort playfully in the surf in a skimpy gold lame bikini like they do on Sports Illustrated covers.

I’m fully anticipating total anarchy mixed with periodic insanity and bouts of uncontrollable crying before all’s said and done.

(How fun am I??)

I Don’t Know Where There Is

I mentioned way back here that I’ve been getting a lot of questions about this upcoming trip to Costa Rica.  Since then, some people have been acting a little… timid… around me.  Like they’re afraid to say or ask anything lest I bite their heads off with my self-righteous wailing.

Let me clarify by saying that these – well most of them – are not bad questions.  If I seem annoyed when they’re asked, it’s only because I’m irritated with the fact that they force me – repeatedly – to face the fact that I don’t really know what I’m doing.

I do, however, know that when I force myself to answer them, I don’t doubt for a second that this trip will be a worthwhile experience.

And don’t worry – we’ll be sharing our packing list and trip blunders along the way.

But it’s the after questions – the, “What are you going to do when you get back?” and, “How long can you sustain your finances without a real job?” questions that, as much as I hate to admit it, make my pits turn damp and stop me cold.

For these, I really have no answer.  Right now I only know my way out of what I don’t want in this life.  Stagnancy.  Politics.  Achievements in the form of framed certificates I can hang on my cubicle wall.

Slowly, after literally years of questioning the career path that found me, I eventually realized that all I can do is take my exit, as gracefully as possible, and hope it leads me not just somewhere else, but somewhere better.

I picked up on another Avett Brothers line the other day (I’m sorry if you’re sick of the mentions here – but their lyrical wisdom is far superior to anything I could write myself), that translated the plea in my head to real words:

“I’m as nowhere as I can be / Could you add some somewhere to me?”

There’s that word again.  Somewhere

When it dawned on me that I’m only where I’m “supposed” to be and doing what I’m “supposed” to be doing, I wondered why I’m not doing what I want to be doing.  I can’t explain it.  It’s pure selfishness in all its glory.  And I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.

All I knew was that I needed a new experience.  Any experience.

So that’s what I’m after.

(That, and figuring out how to make my thoughts work without ending them in prepositions.  Because like Winston Churchill, “Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.”)

After that?  Who knows.  But I’m sure it will be great.

And even if it’s not, at least it will be me.

*The internet is a veritable soup of hauntingly beautiful imagery mixed in among the muck and grime of other less inspiring, mundane frivolities (like this here blog).  Although we’d like to get to the point where most of the images found here are our own, all of the ones you see in this post were acquired from, which, in turn, compiled the images from other places across the web.  If you happen to find your image here and want it credited or removed, just contact us and we will comply pronto.  Thanks!

Redemption Is Tasty Like Cupcakes

So I know the Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run is so last week’s news and right now you guys are probably rolling your eyes, wondering how much longer I plan to trot out that little anecdote every chance I get. 

Well, I’m here to tell you:  Not only am I trotting it out one more time, but I’m saddling it up and riding it off into the sunset, pardner.

‘Cause Chuckles just e-mailed me this:

That’s right, folks — the missing money shot has surfaced! 

Wait, there are more photos!  And despite the fact that they capture my stomach in all its pale translucent, deep-sea jellyfish-like glory, I must say I’m damn proud to show ’em off…

Seriously.  Wasn’t kidding about the mud in the mouth-hole.

Ha-HA!  I said.  That race was laughably easy for my superior skills!

My sneaky husband is being extremely coy about how he procured these shots but, judging by their low resolution, I’m going to go ahead and assume it was by nefarious, illegitimate means.  He does that sometimes, the lil’ scamp.

Nevertheless, I am finally able to prove to you all (and myself) that I ran it! 

My conscience is clear. 

My sins have been absolved. 

I have attained sweet, sweet redemption.

And now that I have closure, I am  ready to move on with my life and find other interesting topics to post about.  


Everyone Likes to Get Down & Dirty

So I mentioned yesterday that I ran my first 10K race in Philadelphia’s first annual Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run this past weekend.

However, in all the post-race chaos, I failed to snap a photo of Chuckles and me in all our dirty glory.  I wish I had the excuse of being on hardcore hallucinogenics at the time, but I don’t.  I just totally didn’t even think about it. 

I am, in the words of Napoleon Dynamite, a frickin’ idiot.

Anyway, despite being a total flake, I still pulled it together enough to take some candid photos of my fellow runners braving the mud pit.

And, man, do I love these people.

Everyone seemed to have a different strategy when it came to the mud pit. 

Some tackled the challenge head-on.


Some tried a more delicate approach. 

And some came prepared for whatever happened. 

Goggles.  Genius. 

Then there were those who got by with a little help from their friends.

While some required other forms of, uh, gentle encouragement? 

“You’re a very nice person!” this drill instructor was yelling.  “You’re also a snazzy dresser and I admire your haircut!”

 Basically, the moral of the story was this:  You either embraced gettin’ down & dirty. 

Or you didn’t.

But, it didn’t really matter.  Because, either way, you got down & dirty.   




After all, this wasn’t the “Merrell Clean & Sanitary Mud Run”.

This man had no sympathy for anyone, by the way.

And we all made it to the Finish line with smiles on our faces and mud in our teeth.

And the crowd goes WILD!

And, in the end, it was well worth the dirty running shoes. 

Or maybe not. 

But, hey, at least we got free burgers afterward.

And that’s all I need to call it a good day. 

Long live the Down & Dirty!

I Like to Get Down & Dirty

So let’s ignore for a moment the fact I promised you guys a somewhat useful (and some might even say compelling and delightful?) series of posts reviewing the various infomercial products I have tried–

Seriously, why do you guys always feel the need to bring up old stuff?

–but I did something really dirty with my husband this weekend and just had to share.

I have to say, I was a little nervous at first since I’d never done anything like it before but was surprised by how quickly I got into it.

And it was in public.

It even involved other people.

Lots of dirty, sweaty, half-naked people.

And some children, too.

Wait, this post is taking a really weird turn so I should probably just tell you now we did the Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run before the authorities show up to confiscate my computer as evidence.

To those unfamiliar with the Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run, it’s a national series of 5K and 10K races sponsored by Merrell Footwear & Apparel featuring off-road courses with military-style obstacles and LOTS of opportunities to get mud in your mouth. 

You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Which, it just so happens, Chuckles and I are.

The Mud Run is held each year in New York, NY; Sacramento, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and, for the first time ever, Philadelphia, PA.  The goal is raise money to support our troops through Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit that sends morale-boosting care packages to front-line American service members deployed overseas. 

Since they began in 2004, Operation Gratitude has shipped nearly 560,000 care packages.  As a former deployed service member and the spouse of one, Chuckles and I couldn’t think of a better reason to get ‘down n’ dirty’.

So, early Saturday afternoon, we loaded up the truck and drove the three hours up to Philly to prepare ourselves to join 1,510 other 10K racers (a whopping 4,500 runners in total) participating in the sold-out event early the next morning.

After a relatively uneventful drive…

Welcome to Delaware.  Period.  It’s almost like even the sign understands the irony.

…we arrived just in time to pick up our race packets before registration closed and get settled in at the Philadelphia Hilton.

Now, normally we are not ‘Hilton folk’, but they had a special group rate deal and the hotel is less than a mile away from Fairmount Park, where the race was taking place. 

Still, waiting for the elevator in the lobby with the fancy chandelier and baby grand piano while holding plastic grocery bags that served as our luggage, I felt like I’d be a little more at home sleeping in the shrubs outside the Hilton than in one of the actual rooms.  And the fact that there were all sorts of classy people in fancy evening attire milling around waiting for a wedding to start in the Hilton’s reception hall didn’t help me feel any less like a hillbilly.

We retreated to our room where I immediately tore into my registration goody bag like a wild, angry raccoon in a burlap sack.  Cause I’m a sucker for free stuff.

Chuckles, however, went about it with a little more restraint.

All in all, we got some pretty decent loot…

…Paul Mitchell samples (no, those aren’t condoms), a few bottled drinks, an awesome moisture-wicking T-shirt, and a handkerchief-sock hybrid thingy I had a little trouble figuring out.

Fortunately, Chuckles was on hand to show me how the hankersock’s supposed to be worn.

Thank God, cause otherwise I might’ve gone out in public looking foolish or something.

Then, of course, I had to check out the other free loot we get…

Crabtree & Evelyn products at the Hilton?  It’s like I’ve died and gone to a small, single-serving Heaven.

After doing a full room sweep in search of any other fancy amenities the Hilton offers…

Hey Katie?  You’ll never guess where I’m calling you from…

…we were ready to go out and experience all Philly has to offer!  See the sights!  Embrace the culture! 

Or not. 

You’re not tired, are you?

I did manage to drag Chuckles out of bed long enough to make him drive me two miles into Manayunk for an early dinner. 

Manayunk is a quaint strip of cute shops, good restaurants and laidback bars.  It reminds me a lot of Frederick.

After carb-loading on tasty cuisine at Munk & Nunn, we headed back to the hotel and watched T.V. til we passed out at 9 p.m.  ROCK STAR!

4:45 a.m. the next morning came way too early.  So early that I didn’t even consider breaking out my camera.  So, instead, I’ll paint you a picture with words. 

So, the night before, we’d decided that our plan would be to wake up super early and drive over to the park so that we could find a good parking space and go back to sleep for another hour or two before the traffic started at 6:15 a.m.  Smart, eh? 

That is not, however, how ‘the plan’ ended up going down. 

What did happen was we drove to the park only to find the entrance gates closed, where we then proceeded to bicker while driving around aimlessly for 20 minutes looking for an open entrance before finally pulling into a grassy field just as the crowd started arriving. 

So we never did get to go back to sleep. 

No matter, we pounded a few energy drinks and followed the equally bleary-eyed mob across the field to the Start line.

As everyone began gathering together in the pre-dawn light, the excitement started building and the adrenaline started pumping.

Despite the day’s rising temperatures and humidity, it was hard not to be happy in such a festive, upbeat atmosphere.  Chuckles and I even made up.

Right, snookums?

And you know what?  As we stretched and hydrated and pinned our numbers, I even started to feel like a real, honest to God runner.

It just so happens 482 is my lucky number.  What a coincidence!

 Now, here’s where this post gets a little light on photos.  I had to check my bag (and camera) because I didn’t want to subject it to the heat and water and mud and all the other horrible, unspeakable things I’d be subjecting my body too.

Suffice it to say, we sat through a race pre-brief telling us to behave ourselves like good boys and girls, filed into roped-off sections for a staggered start, and then gradually shuffled toward the Start line until it was our turn for the cannon to go off.

And then we ran.

And it felt good

The course took us up and down hills, along roads, through snaking woods trails, across a stream, down rocky embankments, and through a variety of obstacles, including a haybale scramble, cargo net climb, low-crawl under netting, rope scale, etc.

Chuckles and I got separated about halfway through the course but I encountered plenty of friendly fellow runners who were down with trading a quick joke or word of encouragement during our 30-second friendship.

To me, the end came all too soon, and before I knew it, I rounded the corner after finishing the last obstacle and came face-to-face with a roaring crowd.

Ah, the Finish line is in sight!

But wait, what’s that just before it?

Oh, it’s a HUGE mud pit. 

That I have to crawl through.

On my stomach.

If I’d somehow managed to stay relatively clean for the majority of the race, this is where all of that ended.

After climbing under the camo netting, I gracefully hurtled face first into the mud pool.


Like this guy, except less graceful.  And less bald. 

From there, I awkwardly crab-crawled through approximately 15 more yards of muddy terrain before sliding down the last embankment on my stomach like a harpooned seal.

Then, with the sound of the crowd cheering in my ears, I stumbled across the Finish line, grinning stupidly and raising my arms in a V for victory. 

And then I spit a gigantic wad of mud out of my mouth.  The end.

Chuckles wasn’t far behind and I got to watch him slither across that mud pit with the agility and grace of a man who did this for a living for many years.  I’d never been more proud of my boy.

Here’s where I have to admit I totally pulled a Katie.  After the race, we were so high on adrenaline and so disgusted with ourselves (seriously, I had mud up my nose) that we ran off to the showers without even thinking about stopping by Bag Check to pick up my camera and get a picture of us in all our filthy glory. 

Sorry, guys, but there’s no ‘money shot’.  I know, we’re totally ashamed of ourselves, too.

But the good news is there were professional-looking photographers there at the Finish line taking pictures so hopefully some photo of us will surface on the Interwebs over the coming days.  Unless those photographers were just taking pictures of strangers for their own private collection.  Which is just kind of creepy.

Anyhoo, I’ll be sure to keep a lookout and post any ‘After’ pics I find. 

In the meantime, I did muster enough common sense to grab my camera and start taking pictures of the other runners.  And, man, were they a riot. 

But I won’t post those pictures until later because:

1. I took, like, a thousand photos and need to wade through them all to find the top blog-worthy contenders.

2. This post is already ridiculously long.  In fact, you guys have probably stopped reading by this point and now are just skimming for any key words that might grab your interest.  In which case, BOOBS, PORN, HOT NASTY MONKEY SEX.  (Paying attention again?  Good.)

3.  This morning I’ve been busted writing this post by almost every single one of my coworkers.  How I suffer their steely-eyed judgment for you all.

So anyway, expect more pics up soon (but not like the infomercial series — I’ll actually follow through on this project.)

Oh, but before I go… the best part about this little story?

I ranked 13th in my age group!

Here’s mud in your eye, other runners!

When Does the Fun Start?

On my way to quench my coffee addiction this morning (a habit on my list of things to kill before the big Costa Rica trip), I decided to stop over at the military hospital to get my second shot for Hep A and B.  Ouch.  (But I’d rather take 8 more of those in one arm – no, in my face – before I’d choose to subject myself to another Typhoid shot.  That’s just the kind of baby I am.)

Frequent responsible and health-conscious travelers, how do you do it??

At least I got a hot pink band aid out of the deal.

(‘Scuse the image quality – that was taken with my phone.)

As the nurse drew the curtain closed and pinched my arm fat so she could administer the medicative juices, I started to consider the fact that there’s a lot of merit to just taking off one day with absolutely no initial research or preparations.

I read an online article over the weekend about a kid who did just that.  He was fresh out of college and had been running a hospital shuttle bus for a few months, and then BAM!  He saw an ad on Craigslist or something for a room for rent in Costa Rica and just decided to go for it.

No vaccinations, no Spanish-English dictionary, no trip insurance.

He brought just himself and a strong pair of cojones.  And his brother.  And his brother’s cojones, if you want to get technical.  Okay and maybe he brought a toothbrush.  And maybe he put that toothbrush in a backpack – but I’m guessing he didn’t try on a bunch of packs at the store and post questions on travel forums about the best way to carry his DSLR.  That’s all I’m sayin’.

And I thought, how great would it be to have the guts to just go for it – don’t worry about professional courtesy of giving work notice, don’t worry about reading up on the history of the country, don’t worry about contracting potentially life-threatening blood borne pathogens – it’ll all work out in the end.


But then I realized.  I may not be much of a planner – I’m not good with itineraries or playbooks or remembering which day of the week it is – but I will always be a maximizer.  (It’s a word I learned during an office retreat, so it must be real.  And it must always be typed in bold font.)  At any rate, I will always try to make an experience the best it can possibly be.

The maximizer in me knows that if I go into a trip like this without understanding anything about the local people or the ecology of the region, I’d spend so much time while I’m there trying to figure those out while not looking like an ignorant idiot that I’d forget how to just enjoy.

So I’ll deal with the shots.  And the hot pink band aid.  And the questions about what I’m going to do when I get back.  The works.

And I’m bringing a damn dictionary.

And I think – I really think – it’ll be worth it in the end.  And maybe my shoulders will thank me for doing a little research about the pack.

I’m Too Sexy for my Hep Shots

Since Erin is busy gettin’ busy with her hubs who made it home yesterday, I thought it might be helpful to address some of the questions I’ve been getting about my level of preparedness for this upcoming trip.

Do you remember how my prep work for our trip to Hawaii entailed attempting to get bikini-ready by faking a tan and trying to work out?

Well, my preparations for our (much longer) trip to Costa Rica are panning out a bit differently.

The truth of the matter is, in my attempts to resurrect my feelings of carefree youth by quitting my job, booking a ticket to a foreign country, increasing my alcohol tolerance level – the works – I’ve started to realize that in light of this upcoming experience, I’m going to be regressing a hell of a lot further back than I ever wanted to go.

You see, I’m not just reverting – I really am a baby.

I’ll explain:


The most glaringly obvious sign of my unpreparedness is the fact that I don’t speak a lick of Spanish.  Okay, fine.  I learned the words “platos” and “cerveza” from some of the guys I worked with at a restaurant, but that’s really about it.

Enter Rosetta Stone.  I’ve been working my way haphazardly through the lessons over the past couple of weeks, but I’m going to have to pick up the pace if I want to do anything more than tell people, “The cat is black.”  El gato es negro.  And there’s a good possibility I screwed that up.

Let’s face it – it’s unfair of me to expect people to speak my language while I’m living in their country.  But with my computer’s microphone not cooperating, the best I can expect in the end is to sound like a 2-year-old.  But I can deal with that.  Oh, and I’ll need to be spoken to the same way.  “No, Katie – caliente!”


Once I (finally) graduated college and joined the real world (I may have had a couple of missteps along the way), I thought I was free of the back-of-the-mind burden that comes with living paycheck to paycheck.

Well, it turns out that the idea of living with no paycheck at all is a bit more daunting.

Of course, I would not have quit my job if it would’ve meant losing the house or becoming delinquent on my student loan payments – I’m not an idiot.  But still, it was kind of nice having my “cushion” of pay every couple weeks.  It was nice to be able to spring for the fancy $10 bottle of wine, ya know?

But you know what?  A little bit of life experience holds more value to me right now than a new car or hardwood floors.  Besides, my ’99 Chevy Tracker only has 140,000 miles – she’s still got a lot of life in her.


Do you remember the plethora of immunizations/vaccinations you needed to get when you were little?

They usually came in the form of a shot administered to your arm, thigh, or my personal favorite, your butt.  Well up until a couple weeks ago, I didn’t really remember these shots.  I’m not really a queasy person when it comes to needles or blood, but let’s just say that a Typhoid vaccination injection is not one of the key ingredients to a kick-ass party.  The shot for Hepatitis A and B wasn’t too bad, except for the looming thought that I need to have it repeated two more times.

By the way, here’s a text excerpt from several hours after I got my immunizations, one in each arm.  (For some reason the nurse wouldn’t honor my butt request):

Me: I am now immunized against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid.  My arms hurt.  They hurt so good.  :)

Erin: Lucky!  I want MY arm to hurt!  (Haha, and why not Hep C?  Guess they knew they’d be wasting their time.  Slut.)  ;)

Ahh, I love traveling with loving, trusted friends.


So I just want to clear a little something up from this post, in which Erin described some of the lovely ailments her doctor told her to look forward to experiencing during a trip to Costa Rica.  Anything we might acquire while there would likely be due to us being travelers (aka. babies) in a foreign country.

See, our bodies are used to little buggies in the water here, but American little buggies are different from the little buggies in the Costa Rican water, which can lead to something known as travelers’ diarrhea.  It’s not because their water is unsafe – unless we decide to drink directly out of a river, which wouldn’t be smart no matter where we are in the world.

We’re lucky enough to be staying with a really great family (more on that later), and we anticipate many, many good times to be had in the sweltering jungle heat between bouts of the craps.  Which, it turns out, can be caused by more than just exposing our unacclimated bodies to the elements.  According to our host:

“LMFAO, you will most likely not get the craps unless you drink a lot of Guaro, the Tico moonshine, the water is good to drink right out of the tap in the whole country.  It is no hotter than Frederick Maryland in the summer, or NC.  There is a possibility of being wet during this time of the year and you could be very wet, like Seattle wet, with the small difference that there are dirt roads everywhere and you will most likely be wet and muddy.  But it’s nothing that an icy cold cerveza can’t take care of.

Just wanted to clarify that your doctor’s are quacks and if I am wrong I will buy you both a beer!

Adios from the malaria filled, steamy, sweaty, hot world of Guanacaste Costa Rica!


Okay, so maybe we won’t be adhered to the toilet with explosive diarrhea (darn).   Maybe we won’t be able to fry eggs on our foreheads.  Maybe our bodies won’t be so bloated and water-logged that friends will send us boxes of gas-X and ShamWows.  There is just the slightest, teensy-weensy-tiniest chance that we were exaggerating our hardships just a bit.  But hey, we’re writers – that’s what we do.

Contemplating Waves

A jet plane and a big idea
I jump over the sea
What ifs hot on my trail
But that can’t catch me, no…

-Avett Brothers  

Don’t worry kids, even with all of this Costa Rica talk, I’ll still continue to post about some of our house projects and my attempts to cook.  It seems like so long ago that I showed you our crime-scene guest bathroom, and I haven’t forgotten that I still need to show you how it turned out.  

In case you forgot, the last time I showed it, it looked like this:  

Kate's Guest Bathroom Crime Scene


But since this Costa Rica thing is currently still so fresh – so mind-numbingly, eye-openly, heart-palpitatingly new and exciting, I can’t help but talk about it a little more.  

First, let me just say that the hardest thing about going to work when you know you want to quit, is going to work when you already have quit.  The gray cubicle walls seem a little… grayer… and the harsh neon lighting seems a little… neonier.  It’s like the last couple weeks of a prison sentence.  Except with coffee breaks and I don’t have to worry about my co-workers shanking me on my way to the bathroom.  Usually.  

The interesting thing about going back to work after making such an announcement are the slew of questions that follow.  And the questions with their associated reactions to my answers are different depending on who’s asking:  

  • So you’re leaving here to go work on a farm?  For free?!
  • What does your husband think?
  • Why??
  • Can I come with you?
  • A farm?  Working for free?  REALLY??!
  • What will you do when you get back?
  • So like… aren’t you afraid you’re going to get raped?
  • Isn’t it going to be hot there?

And my personal favorite…  

  • What are you trying to accomplish by doing this?

And my answers are:  

  • Yes
  • Why do you care?  (He’s supportive, by the way.)
  • The heart wants what it wants.
  • Do you want to work on a farm?  No?  Then no.
  • Yes.  Yes.  Yes.
  • I have no clue.
  • Always.
  • I ain’t afraid of a little sweat.
  • I realize an existential heightening of awareness and enlightened state of mind along with the final, clear realization of what I’m supposed to be doing with my life might be a bit too much to ask out of this trip.  So let’s just say I want to do something fun.  I want to meet new and interesting people.  I want to experience life for a moment unchained by the conventional constraints that have me constantly worrying about the future.  I want to see the sights today. Smell the smells today. Taste the tastes, hear the music, and walk the trails that don’t have to take me anywhere other than where they actually go.

Seriously, guys.  I know to 70% of you this sounds irrational.  And the other 30% tell me they want to do this as well, but it’s not the right time, those loans still need to be paid, they need me right now at work, and on and on and on.  

And on.  

So if you still think we’re crazy or need a better explanation for why we’re doing what we’re doing, please read this.  It should make it a bit more clear.  

And remember that I defied death to take this:  


And Erin and I have both done this:  

Skydive Hawaii


Oh, and Erin has a BIG tattoo:  


So maybe we are a little crazy.  But only a little.  

And I will tell you this – it’s never a good time to quit work.  It’s never a good time to be selfish.  It will always conflict with somebody’s schedule, somebody’s budget, somebody’s feelings.  

A very good friend of mine, Christy Lowery, wrote this:  

“Closing ear to the voices that call,
Would be as seeds of adventure unsown.
Heed not the doubts, feed not the fears
For they will surely blind your path.
Spirit yearning for freedom is your driver now.
Let it take you where it may.

So take all of your questions and turn them back on yourself.  There is a consequence to every decision we make.  If you’re happy with your life, if you are content with your job, then there is no question for you.  But if you long to do something else, then what’s stopping you?  It’s only fear.  But as wise old Amazon book reviewer once told me, “Fearlessness is only attained on the moving side of action.”  

You could stand around and contemplate the waves…  

Heather Brown Print
(Click photo for link to artist's website)


Or you could just jump on in.  

I’m tired of contemplating waves.  

Photo by: Leah B Photography (click photo for link)


In the end, we all have to make our own choices and take our own risks.  

Find the quotes, song lyrics, or other inspirations that work for you.  Of all the ones I posted here, this one was the table-turner for me:  

“It is never too early to start beefing up your obituary.”  – Dos Equis commercial.  

‘Nuff said.

This Blog Is About To Get Even Better. If That’s Possible.

I know, I can’t believe it either.

But as riveting as posts about pet dust bunnies and senseless wine glass violence are, we’re kicking it up a notch, folks.


See how I did that?  That easy.

As Katie revealed earlier, very soon here we’re about to get even less domestic than we were to begin with.  Normally, I’d say the only way that’d be possible is if we moved to rural Arkansas and spent our days on a rickety porch in bare feet and rolled-up overalls blowing mountain songs on whiskey jugs.

But, in this instance, it means we’re blowing off our household duties (ha!  like we did them to begin with) and hitting the road for two whole months.

And this ain’t your grandma’s annual road trip to the Atlantic City slots, either.

All right, we’ve toyed with your emotions enough.

We’ve explained, for the most part, about why and for how long, but it’s finally time to tell you where we’re going–

–And to do so, we’ve arranged a month-long series of events featuring increasingly elaborate tasks our readers must accomplish prior to the “GRAND FINALE REVEAL!” on August 30th at the Molson Amphitheater in Ontario, Canada.  Tickets are on sale now!

–Or I can just tell you that we’re going to Costa Rica.  Hah, how I slay myself!

But, in all seriousness, Costa Rica is, in fact, where we’re going.

And while we’re there from mid-August to mid-October, we’ll be doing some volunteer work for a chili pepper farm, taking a metric ton of photos, sampling fascinating cuisine (for a related topic, see list item #1 below), venturing out on exciting weekend excursions, and generally trying not to contract malaria.

Ok, I’ll admit that was kind of a weak reveal after weeks and weeks of buildup but, in all fairness, we kind of trapped ourselves in a situation where anything short of hearing that we’re launching into outer space was going to be a disappointment to some reader out there.

Plus, it’s not like we’re getting paid to do this blog.  So walk it off.

Besides, going to Costa Rica isn’t even the most exciting news.

In fact, Katie already mentioned the best part in her last post, but you were probably too busy staring at her boobs.  But that’s ok.  I know it’s hard to resist their sweet siren song.

So are you ready to hear the good news (again)?

Cause here it comes…

You’re coming to Costa Rica with us!

 And here’s a little taste of what you’ll be experiencing…

Miravalles Volcano in Guanacaste

Llanos de Cortez, outside Bagaces

Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja

Now, before you arm-sweep everything off your desk into your trashcan and start flipping off coworkers while lugging a briefcase full of smuggled office supplies to your car, I feel I should add a caveat here.

We can’t literally take you with us since you probably have families who’d get all weird and start putting up “Missing” posters with your face on them all over town.

Besides, with six hours of direct, unadulterated exposure to Katie, me, and our incessant, senseless chatter on the flight to Costa Rica, the odds are extremely high that you’d be clawing at that emergency door handle somewhere shortly after takeoff, ready for sweet, silent oblivion.

But we can still take you with us in a less “suicide-y” way.  And we intend to — by continuing this here blog from Costa Rica, so that the tales of our shenanigans might be a shining beacon of light in your otherwise crap life.

Or, you know, just a way for you to burn a quick five minutes each day.

Anyhoo, now that the secret’s out, let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?

Based on my research of the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica in which we’ll be visiting and the opinions of a doctor (or I assume he is… whatever, he wears a lab coat) — as well as the unsolicited advice of a large number of nosy strangers — apparently, Katie and I can look forward to the following:

1.  At least one or more vengeful bouts of “travelers’ diarrhea” that will literally make us wish we’d never been born, let alone left the States.  My doctor gave me the sunny prognosis that there’s about an 85% likelihood that several days of the trip will be spent in agonizing torment in the seventh circle of hell (otherwise known as “the crapper”).  Awesome.  I’m debating whether or not I will subject you guys to this apparently inevitable little incident.  It will largely depend on how bitter and hate-filled I’m feeling after all’s said and done.

2.  Extremely hot, humid conditions.  It will be muggy and steamy and damp.  Also, it will be oppressive and suffocating and moist.  Basically, it will be like living inside someone’s mouth for two months.

3.  Being wet every moment of every day until our skin has absorbed so much water that we look like bloated, Jabba-the-Hut versions of our former selves.  Our little excursion directly coincides with the rainy season, which means fewer tourists (good, cause I hate those people) but also lots of, well,  rain.  Who knew?  So much rain, in fact, that mud becomes a big problem and many roads are impassable during this season.

So that’s the short list of what to expect, for starters.  Rest assured, there will be plenty more related posts to follow as we gain a better understanding of what exactly we’ve gotten ourselves into…

But you know what?

I’m still insanely, unbelievably, losing-my-mind excited about this trip!

Because, after years of living comfortable, unassuming ordinary lives, we’re embarking on a journey that will be equal parts frustrating, enlightening, scary, freeing, challenging, beautiful, lonely, interesting, and different.

And, well, ain’t that what life’s about?