Just not in a Good Mood this Week

If I have an issue that I am wrestling with, trying to solve but see no solution, it puts my world in flux. This flux affects everything I do in a day…it makes me hate all the little things which turn into aggravations that intrude on what I WANT TO DO.

Today is a prime example. Because of the low power situation since the beginning of carnaval and continuing this week, my water pump has acted like a baby. If I try to fill the washer, and the bomba needs to come on to refill itself, both have a fit. The washer stops and gives me the E4 message which means you did something wrong and the bomba starts to just make awful noises instead of the pump working and one or both blows the fuse on the electricity regulator.  Yesterday I ran around town looking for replacement fuses to be sure we had more on hand during this low power period.

When the washer is filling you cannot have the bomba start up or they both go haywire so if I hear the bomba turn on I need to rush over to the washer and pause it and wait until the bomba fills before turning it on again and going back to my other jobs around the house. Today I decided to make a pork roast for BBQ. This is a time-consuming process as the pork needs to marinate overnight in a rub that I make from scratch, then placed in aluminium foil and baked in the oven for 4 hours. I also make my own Southern vinegar BBQ sauce from scratch. All of this needs to be accomplished while two loads of laundry are going, the house is being swept and mopped and the porch is attended to. This morning it is already 11am and I have not had the time to water the plants or the grass…But my garbage is out on the fence when the truck decides to drive by but my ironing has not been touched.

Retirement is not all that it is cracked up to be here in Ecuador. Making your meals from scratch takes a long time, waiting on laundry because of low power or slow water pressure is irritating when your mind is not in the right gear…some days I long for a TV dinner or several restaurants nearby where I can get take out so I can just relax instead of playing mommy. If you are not into home cooking and baking, shopping from a truck that may or may not show up, depending upon workers to arrive when scheduled, making a special trip into town to pick up chicken and find the place closed with no sign of when they will be open again or going to get shrimp for dinner only to find out the price increased by $2 a pound because it is season or a long list of other items that are “how it is here” I would definitely rethink moving to Ecuador or any other developing country. It is like living in the wild west in many ways and if you don’t have the mentality to handle this type of lifestyle you will have many days like I am having today. Normally I am easy-going, take it as it comes and don’t get too uptight…today is not one of those days.

The good news is tomorrow is another day and I am sure my attitude will be better.

38 thoughts on “Just not in a Good Mood this Week

  1. HI Nancy – just remember – through adversity, we gain strength! You should be feeling stronger every day and pat yourself on the back for dealing with things as they come. I hope you post the marinade/sauce recipes (or give it to me when I’m there). I love slow-roasted pork and am always on the lookout for great new recipes.

    • Thanks Marilee, I spent the afternoon on the beach, loving every second of the water, blue skies, calm, peaceful and I feel better already, Nancy

      PS I posted the recipe for the rub and the BBQ sauce in the article called: Another Episode of Little House on the Costa, I really need to get a better way to keep track of these recipes, I need a table of contents page…not sure WordPress has the capability….

      • Hi Nancy – I knew I’d seen something like that. For your other readers – that post is January 30, 2013. I found it through the calendar on your page. I’ve now copied it to my recipes folder. Can’t wait to try it out.

  2. First, hang in there and know that it’ll get better! Second, thank you for being so forthright and sharing your experiences. So many times, retirement in another country is pitched as a Utopian experience. People need to hear the good and the bad so they can make informed decisions.

    Keep up the good work, and may tomorrow be a much better day!

    • Hi David, thanks for seeing that we are not perfect, any place you live is not perfect and that some days things just get to you and you need to yell or cry or a bit of both. I love how many of the folks who read the blog have come forward with words of kindness helping me to calm myself. This week has been frustrating but I know it will get better, things will even out but this is our home – good or bad! We did spend a great afternoon on the beach, it was total bliss. Not having to deal with stupid things at the house made it an exceptional afternoon. thanks again, Nancy

  3. amiga! how well i remember one rainy season in costa rica. it rained and rained and rained.. 50 inches in three weeks; everything was saturated, and the clothes molded before they dried, so they had to be washed again.. and again… mold grew on everything – even candles! i was in town and sitting out a rain (i lived in the bosque) and a burger king commercial came on the restaurant’s television set. it showed a whopper made with a soft warm bun, melted cheese, all the trimmings and a coke on crushed ice. i thought, ‘oh.. how i’d love that right now..’ — i had never really cared for whoppers, but at that moment, i would have paid a small fortune for one!

    yes, the pressure tank/pump problems sound bad; that couldn’t be good for the equipment.

    i have some great big boulders in front of my house that need to be chiseled; would you like to come take a turn with the axe?!!!! that might be fun for a short while, and oh, that cervesa would taste soo good after transferring the frustrations to the rocks!!!

    your dinner sounds wonderful!

    • Z, I love your stories. You make me laugh and then think how stupid my silly little things are…50 inches of rain could change your world. I think rock bashing has its merits, it could be therapeutic and should be used by some psychiatrist…dinner was great! I love pork tenderloin, no fat just all meat…yummy Nancy

  4. Ahhhh, From a gal who is on the brink of leaving everything I know and heading to Central America, I thank you for your honesty about your bad day! I know it’s just a temporary bad day but I appreciate hearing your honest telling of the things that really get to you at times. Everyone who has gone before me often say, “Do your research!” Your story today is a reality check and really helps me to stop and think honestly about my ability to live in a place where everything is very different and often not in a good way. Hmmmm! I gotta say, when I contemplate the difficulties of my current life ( and the list is long), I am reminded by you that I will certainly be trading the annoyances I know for sparkly new annoyances . And as you said, Tomorrow is another day! Cheers! Thanks ! : )

    • Holly, most days are great, but once in a great while I have just about had enough with the silly stupid things I used to take for granted..like even power…finding chicken for dinner, etc now I do try to laugh it off but when you have a washer full of half-washed sopping wet clothes it takes me to new places of unhappiness…tomorrow is another day and I know I will wake with the optimism I normally have each day…lets hope things are going my way, ha ha Nancy

  5. Time for a drink. Long cool one, sangria, vodka, gin, tonic, ice tea, whatever. And hit the sack. Throw Joe a loaf of bread and butter and have at it, then pop open the bottle of wine and enjoy the evening. Then go back to bed and you are right my love tomorrow is another day. Repeat as necessary. Theresa

    • T, you sweet thing you…I love your suggestion and if you and I were closer we would be doing this often, for medicinal reasons only ha ha Love you, kisses to you and Robert, Nancy

  6. Hang in there Nancy. As an expat living in Thailand, I know exactly how you feel. There are days when you question your sanity about the move. Hopefully, like here, it doesn’t happen again lot.

    • Lionel, thanks for your kind words, we really love our choice and our life here…just some days it is trying and some days my patience is not what it should be for a trying day!!! ha ha

  7. Remember the song-Tomorrow I love you tomorrow–I often sing this song loud enough to annoy my wife & kids -whenever the things don’t turn out my way! This is the only blog I saw my friend Nancy complain! It must have been bad enough for me to sing the song even louder! All the best–Yusuf

    • Yusuf, you sweetie you, thanks for sending me this comment. You are right, I normally do not complain but I am human and you know some days and some things just bring you down….today was one of those days ha ha Better days are coming, xxxooo N

    • Erin, I know, shame on me,,,the weather here for the past month has been outstanding. Hot, but not to hot, with just the right amount of sun, perfect water temperature, great sandy beach…I could be back in PA shoveling snow…I could never take Fargo at -5 degrees…shit I hated being in PA shoveling that darn snow from the car, the drive, the sidewalks…this all before heading to work…yuck yuck and triple yuck….I really have so little to complain about I just need to vent some days…thanks for your wake up call. Nancy

  8. You had low power–I had BIG SPEAKERS and low water in Dolega..

    There is no cure for my problem but I have a suggestion for your power problems.

    There is a device called a Voltage Regulator, that have become avialble here in Panama at reasonalbe prices. They UP the voltage if it is low and LOWER it if it is to high–and they also act as surge protectors. One of those (if you can find one that will handle the starting load on your motor, which is two to three times the run load) would prevent the low voltage problem for anything connected to it. Things not conected to it would have a harder time though, because it would suck down the availble voltage slightly in order to raise voltage in its output.

    I use one on my fridge, as well as the special fridge surge protector that has a 3 min delay on power resumption when the power goes off (that’s important if your power goes off for a minute or so very often). I also use one each on my computers. Low voltage is very hard on electrical devices–especailly things that have moving parts, like fridges and motors.

    Voltage regulators that handle 250 watts cost about $20-25, ones that handle 500-750 watts cost about $50-75 here in Panama. They are ‘heavy’ so shipping one from the US might not be cost effective.

    You would probably need one for the washer and one for the pump–or one BIG one that would power both. Note that a big one would probably cost more than twice two small ones… They make Kilowatt ones for an entire house, but I don’t know what they cost. Not owning my house I wasn’t interested in that.

    If you have a electrinic washer–your really need one of these on it to prevent damage from voltage variations and spikes. When a large motor starts under load, like your water pump, it sends a several thousand volt spike back into your house wiring–that is probably what it trips the error message on the washer. You should at least get heavy duty surge protectors for both the motor and washer…


    • Hi Keith,
      We have three regulators two large ones and one small. We have the refrigirator hooked up to one of the large ones, the water pump and the washer hooked up to the other big one and the small one has our two computers and printer hooked up to it. We also have a surge protector on each of these. That is the fuses I needed to run all around town looking for when the washer and water pump came on together and had a fit and blew the fuse. Today I have been pausing the washer while the pump is running to fill its tank…this is something that happens here during this time of year…so I will make the best of it for the next few months. Joe and I want to get a small generator so we can hook our refrigerator up to it when we totally loose power. A few times the power was out for over 6 hours, that is a very long time to have your freezer and frig without power…

      thanks for all your sound advise, you are the best, be well, Nancy

  9. Hi, it’s me again.

    While I’m not sure just what you mean by a “low power situation” — whenever it occurs, I’d recommend turning off anything in your home that has a motor. Continuing to attempt to run any motors during these times can only result in “bad things” down the road.

    Suggest breaking out the ‘ol scrub board if doing laundry is an absolute must – and if you don’t have one of those – maybe just break out a bottle of scotch – the dirty clothes may still be there later – but you won’t care! ;o)

    Seriously, when ever a “brownout” (low voltage situation) occurs, it is best not to operate things with motors. Remember – those fuses (aka protective devices) blew for a reason.

    • Terry, you are so right, but a scrubbing board, oh you are killing me…I guess I need a laundry lady who will do that hand scrubbing for me during these times…and your suggestion of breaking out a bottle of scotch sound pretty good. Get someone to do my laundry and I will sit around and drink…you are the best. But how can you not run your refrigerator??? I have been told to buy a new transformer but if the electricity is weak a transformer is not going to help me at all…what I guess I need is a generator but do they have one that is smart enough to turn on if the power goes below a certain level…that would be a very valuable thing to have during this time of the year here. Okay now we need someone to develop this type of generator just for me.

      Joe and I have talked about a small generator that would run the frig and maybe a fan…Nancy

  10. Beach therapy is very good, and Theresa’s cerveza (or drink of choice) therapy is recommended also. I wish i could send you some electricity! and a washer that didn’t freak out if the power flickers. Posts like yours remind me of how easy we have it here in David. We sometimes have temporary problems with no water, usually a few hours in the afternoon, but everything else has been reliable and steady.

    • Kris, I love Theresa she and I did our share of therapy sessions at some of the local grills in Kennesaw when I lived there and we worked together…really miss Girls Night Out or Girls Lunch Out, they sure were fun.

      The one big issue I remember from our time in Dolega was the awful thunderstorms and monsoon rains….oh my I do not miss those afternoons at all. Nancy

  11. If you were closer in Ecuador I’d invite you for dinner and cook for you and Joe…I owe you one some day …but as always you sum up all sides of the expat experience…and I have become a more creative cook over the last few weeks . I hope tomorrow is a sunnier day in your life…

    • Eileen, thanks just thinking of making me dinner makes me happy. Glad your getting into your creative cooking, I knew you had it in you. Just remember cook a larger quantity than you normally would and make several different dishes out of it. That is what I do cause I hate to heat up the house for only one meal. I do feel that Joe and I will add an outdoor kitchen at some point, where I will put my oven…my wish list is pretty darn long, ha ha

  12. Sorry to hear you had a bad day. Power was always a problem in Crucita. A generator is the way to go. Don’t know if you could find one that turns on automatically when the power goes out but at least a manual start one would supply the steady power you need to run your neccessary appliances.

    • Hi Ken, Joe and I have talked about this exact thing…Ecuador has issues with power and to have a generator would be just the thing to keep things less stressful. On our next trip into Portoviejo we need to do some research on what is available. Thanks for your comment. Nancy

  13. Isn’t it funny how some days we can easily laugh it off by reminding ourselves that even THIS ( power/water/food supply issues) beats getting ready for a 2 hour commute to a corporate job — and some days you just can’t…for instance, color in my hair and no water…it takes a while to laugh about that . 🙂 My husband and I have spent the last year and a half in Panama and Nicaragua, and Ecuador is on the list too. I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    • It is so true, I know when I was doing my hair in Panama I was afraid that one day the water was going to go out and I would find myself with that dye in my hair for hours…Where in Panama were you living? Thanks for reading about our little life, Nancy

        • Hi, Joe and I lived in Dolega, Panama for 3 1/2 years just down the road from Boquete. We are happy living in EC three years the middle of March this year, we love the idea of the beaches on the coast of Ecuador…We really do not enjoy the itty bitty rain that Boquete always seemed to be having..if you liked that rain you will probably love Cuenca. I think the weather there would be more similar to what Boquete gets. My dear friend Deborah Gohring livies on Ometepe Island you may know her, she does a blog called Retired and Rewired in Nicaragua…. Thanks, Nancy

          • We found the rain in Boquete to be tolerable — do your outdoor things in the am, and bring raingear with you the rest of the day! – , but we are hoping to find a place with water in a different form — thus the interest in Ecuador! I know of Debbie, from following her blog, and am hoping to meet her before we leave Ometepe.

  14. Nan, Sorry to hear you had a bad day! You’re usually so cheerful. Surprised to hear your voltage regulator still has fuses rather than a reset button! Perhaps you should look into a new one! I have one for my computer and it has a series of lights on the front so if the voltage drops you can see how low the lights go. But it doesn’t have a fuse it just clicks to switch the voltage back up where it belongs. So the output stays the same no matter what the input is. There are whole house generators that will kick in when the electricity cuts off but I’m not sure how they handle low voltage. There are battery back-ups that work for computers but I don’t think they work for big motors. You should probably look into why your regulators aren’t doing their job properly. Something has to be wrong or else they wouldn’t be blowing fuses all the time. Here’s to better days!

    • Thanks Tim.
      My bad moods don’t last long so the next day I was back to my happy self again, thanks for thinking of me.

      We purchased three new regulators just a few months ago while our house was being renovated. This is what they sell here, remember we are in Ecuador so we don’t always have the latest. Joe and I have been thinking about a generator, but for when the power goes out completely and that has been happening several times a week from an hour to 8-10 hours at a time…it would be to keep our refrigerator and water pump working. Seems that power on this part of the coast is really bad now during our summer. So many more folks visiting and the strain on the system shows. My neighbor Nellie told me yesterday that her refrigerator is not working properly and it is because the power is so low. Our new refrigerator came back (the freezer was solid frozen while the refrigerator part was actually warm spoiling our food) on Tuesday after being in for repairs for two weeks. I made them take it back again because after 3 hours of being plugged in it was not even cool in the refrigerator part. And after speaking with Nellie it could be because of the power situation here…and I don’t think anything can be done…this is just another of the things that would drive some folks crazy…if you want the paradise part of living here you do have to put up with a lot of things that you are not used to, might make a person have a bad day ha ha thanks again Tim, have a wonderful weekend. Nancy

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