Friday, May 02, 2008

Why I am ready to lose it

Warning: Ventfest ahead...

So yesterday is May 1, Labor Day, a national holiday. I actually knew this on April 30, because my car payment and rent are due on the first, so esposo and I were talking about how the banks would probably be closed on Thursday. Still, we both got up Thursday morning and went into San Jose to first make the car payment, then pay the rent. When we pulled into Banco Cuscatlan's parking lot, and saw that there were no cars in a usually full parking lot, we realized what stupid shits we had been, and that we'd driven all that way for nothing.

I had talked to D.'s husband earlier in the day because I wanted to see if he knew anything about Monster Jam and where we could get tickets. It should have dawned on me at that point that, since he answered the phone at home and obviously had the day off, that many businesses would be closed. (This was actually Clue #2.) But no. It did not.

Even before that, C. e-mailed me about playgroup for this week (which didn't happen at all, apparently) because her husband had the day off and wanted to meet the adult half of playgroup. Clue #1.

If esposo and I could have bought a clue that day, I'm not sure we'd have been able to find anyone selling one.

But, in the end, we had lunch at the Plaza Mayor Food Court; Pau Tu Tu's Chinese cuisine, which I have to admit was some of the best Chinese food I've had in this country. They give you gigantic plates full of food for not much. Esposo had the fried tofu thing; I had ma po tofu, and son had noodles with veggies. I think this is probably the best food to be had in the food court at Plaza Mayor.

Afterwards, we went to C.'s house and the kids played all afternoon. So it ended up being a good day, and I didn't even have to use my AK.

Today rolls around, and I still need to go do the car payment and the rent payment. Wouldn't life be easier if I could write a check, stick a stamp on an envelope, and drop it in the mail? Yes, it would. It would take me all of five minutes, maybe. Instead, you people up there in the developed world can laugh at what I had to go through to pay two bills. You people living here in Costa Rica can sympathize with me, because either you've been through something similar, or you will, given enough time in the country.

The car loan is through Promerica. My money is in Banco Cusc. I thought there might be a Promerica closer than San Jose, so I found on their website that indeed, there is one in Alajuela. Also the site of Cusc and Banco NacionalCrapional, which I also needed to hit. First up was going through the drive-through at Cusc to withdraw the money to pay my car at Promerica. That went smoothly, and there was no one besides myself in line. Then I had to find the Promerica branch. I knew it was 125 meters south of Llobet, so the plan was to drive to Llobet and then turn left (south) until I saw the bank. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.... best laid plans and all that...

They are building boulevards in downtown Alajuela. So a whole bunch of streets are closed off while they're under construction. You really have no idea from one week to the next which streets will be closed and which will be open. Esposo assured me the street I needed to go up was open, and in fact it was, but unfortunately, a moron in an SUV and a moron in a taxi ran into each other, blocking all traffic in both directions until the INS could get there. So you had people driving the wrong way on a one-way street to get out of this mess (including me, I'll admit that!), making more of a mess in the process. Finally, I managed to get out of the mess, and drive through exceedingly slow traffic for the next 40 minutes trying to figure out which streets were closed and which were open and which would take me past Llobet (and thus past Promerica). When I finally found Llobet, I had gone as far as the TUASA bus station and backtracked, then at last! Promerica! I think we arrived around 1:00-ish, and there were about 20 people waiting in line ahead of us, with two cashiers open. We finally managed to get out of there around 2:00, and headed for Banco Crapional (if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times -- why anyone in their right mind would get an account there if they didn't need to is beyond me). As we're driving down the road, I realize that Promerica is only one block over from Banco Cuscatlan, and I could have avoided the entire driving-through-boulevards-and-closed-streets-and-slow-traffic thing altogether, had I purchased a clue beforehand.

Banco Crapional also has a drive through, however, since this is the most-used bank in the country, there were at least four cars in each of the five open lanes. When I finally got up there (somewhere in the vicinity of 2:30), I asked for a simple transaction: I wanted to take money from the Crapional account and put it in my landlord's Crapional account. "We can't do transfers at the drive through," was the response. Oh, and this is after I waited an extra five minutes just for the cashier to even answer the call button. Did I tell you we are all on Tico time here? Indeed. Well, you can imagine I was working on a migraine at this point. I was like, Como? WTF? "No can do lady." Crap. Crap crap crap and many other expletives inserted here.

As I'm driving away, I think to myself, why didn't he just do a withdrawal, and let me put that money in the landlord's account? So I figure I'll go to the drive through in Grecia at La Fabrica and try this tactic. It's now closing in on 3:00, and pouring down rain. I am third car in line here, which moves a hell of a lot faster than the line in Alajuela. It's finally my turn, so I ask to do a withdrawal. The cashier at this Banco Crapional is much more pleasant than the one in Alajuela, but he tells me, sorry, no withdrawals at the drive through. I would have to go inside. Now there is no point in asking why you can't withdraw money at the drive through, like I can at the other four banks at which I have accounts, but I can tell you why: Because Banco Crapional is Crap On A Stick. Ok, thank you anyway. I park the car, take out son and head for the inside of the bank. There are like 50 people waiting in line (there were even more in Alajuela). I say, fuck this! and go instead to buy us some crappy burritos and let son play a game of Jurassic Park (he likes shooting the velociraptors, even though I'm actually doing the shooting on the sly with the other gun, otherwise the game would be over in seconds).

By 4:45 I've given up for the day on trying to pay the rent; I've already spent more than three hours and have only managed to make one payment. The rent will just have to wait until Monday. Hey! We're all on Tico time anyway.

I get home and try to buy tickets to Monster Jam online. I know what you all are thinking (monster trucks? what the--?), and all I can say is, if you had a son, you'd probably be going to Monster Jam, too! The site is not working, or probably I'm too late as they stop selling tickets 48 hours before the event starts. Supposedly, you can also buy tickets online through Banco Crapional, but I have not for the life of me been able to find the link to do so (and it's not like I'm technically inept; the link is just not there). So I have no Monster Jam tickets, and if they are not selling them at the gate I have one little boy who is going to be seriously bummed out. It's not like Monster Jam ever comes to Latin America; this is pretty much it.

Sigh. Crap. And as L. would say, Pants. I'm so mad we drank all the wine last night, because I could really use about five or six glasses right now.


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