Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Baby Steps

I have so much fear that one year from now I will still be here, still feeling like a bunny stuck in the corner surrounded by dogs.

Dolfo has left the building. This was not an easy decision to come to, and I feel badly in a way for the way in which things went down, but I don't need another anchor weighing me down. Whipped cream and remote control cars aside, he was a difficult person to say the least. No humility, no shame and no appreciation. But I tried. MIL was planning a visit and we 3 had a plan. Let her see her lovely son in action as we 3 all put our best foot forward. Armed with tons of proof, there was no way this plan could fail.
Dolfo, remember, you are not her son or grandson. She will be expecting to see you helping around the house. Get up in the mornings before she does. Clean up with me. Make sure you clean up after Lucy, and take her for walks. Keep your mouth shut and be respectful. Simple right? Apparently not.
Every. Fucking. Morning. I had to fight with him to get up. He talked back, asked her to buy him things and continually threw my son under the bus. Not hers. "Look, Juanito left half his drink on the table" "Oh look, Mary went to the bathroom by the door" etc...
Her son on the other hand was on his behavior. Or so it seemed. She missed that he would tell me that she wanted me to stay at the house, while telling her I had to work. Or how he refused to take me to buy rinso to wash her clothes until after the bus to school was safely out of range.
But back to Dolfo. Thing was, my MIL is smart. And what she saw was a 15 year old who liked the good life of my home. Assumed that he was making up stories so that her son would have to leave and he could take the place as man of the house. Munching on whipped cream sandwiches everyday while playing with his remote control car.
So she told me and her son to check his phone messages. Which I did. And it was bad. Not only was he talking shit to his family about us, he was communicating with the son of the whore. It got ugly. I told him in front of her that if not for her, I would beat the shit out of him with a bat. Of course the person responsible for all of this had to remain quiet, for fear that the secrets would come spilling out of Dolfo's mouth, right in front of mommy. As far as I was concerned, this was all the excuse needeed to send him packing. MIL agreed, and said that she wanted him gone after she left. That was a Friday.
Feet were dragging, as I suppose someone may have been feeling some guilt. But once he saw that the level of disrespect only grew, he too knew that it was time and by Monday we were Dolfo free.
One step down.
Second step involves trying to loosen my other loads so to speak. One of which being a PC that not only would take up an entire suitcase, it weighs a ton. So with stove paid off I have financed (and am writing on) my very first laptop. Light, compact, and will let me work no matter where in the world I end up. Once I make it through the next thousand steps or so.
Hi Ho Hi Ho

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Endless Pursuit of Pussy

Over the last 3 years, I have come to be amazed at the great lengths - and lies - that a man will go to in order to nab some pussy. Throughout that time, we have been in various stages of the relationship - attempting reconciliation, demand for respect or get out, numbness and of course hatred. At times it has been like a game of cat and mouse, or catch me if you can. And those moments when I did cock block him? Looking back, most make me laugh now.

Like the time when he chose to call me at 9 PM (drunk) to let me know that he was moving out and was going to stay with his step mom. Well good, but you're not leaving me with this stray teenager you picked up. He hung up and stopped answering his phone. His sister called me to say that he had left the house on foot, and that his friend took his truck. Well... I guess since this was at a time when he would often pass out at her house, leaving her to answer his phone, message me with his phone, or call me with his phone, he chose to leave his phone with his buddy. Said buddy unknowingly answered my call, and for 5 minutes me and Juanito (and Dolfo) got to hear them hanging out at a bar. The best moment was when someone asked for my husband and his friend responded "he is at the house of the other woman, and I have to go pick him up at 11. This guy is so stupid, he has a beautiful wife at home and I keep telling him that this bitch is only interested in money." Since they were not answering the phone, I decided to respond with a text: "when you go to pick my husband up at the money hungry whore's house at 11, tell him that he is stupid and he can just go on and spend the rest of his life there." They saw it, because he showed up about 30 minutes later pissed off and with his phone. Pussy pursuit lesson? Don't involve your drunk buddies.

Side bar: It took about a month before this buddy showed his face at my door again. And now? He outright refuses to assist the ass in his endless pursuit for pussy.

Or the night that he called me from work that he was going to sleep, and then drove right past my house on the way to hers. Took him a minute to figure out how to get back to the gas station without me seeing who was driving since his excuse was that someone borrowed his car to go make tamales... at 2 AM. Pussy pursuit lesson? At the very least take the extra 5 minutes to go around the block.

I won't lie. There are definitely more times when I've caught on after the fact than before. And probably even more that I don't know anything about at all. Those piss me off more than anything, since I am not a person who takes being made a fool of lightly. But it's all good now, plans are in place and one day soon it will be me who is having the last laugh, with no way of ever getting caught up in this mess again. Fool me once and shame on you. Keep trying to fool me and I will make sure you regret everything you have ever done.

Hi Ho Hi Ho

Sunday, October 25, 2015


I was around 19, tripping on acid and outside of a club in the wee hours before dawn. As I looked down a side street I could see the shadow of my boyfriend's brother under a streetlamp, and lost my breath as I watched that shadow raise a golf club over his head and with force drop it down onto someone else's. Over 20 years later and that image has never left the darker recesses of my mind.
I am sensitive to seeing or even knowing that others are feeling physical pain. Maybe because as a child and even rebellious teen, I was never hit. Not. One. Time. So to me, this is a method of last resort, like when the flight or fight instinct goes into overdrive.
Recently I have witnessed the aftermath of violence, and will now never get the images of those bruises out of my mind. I think of the pain, and the humilation, and want to cry for that person who was put through that, whether there was reason or not. But my hands are tied in webs of secrecy, which now seems to be the running theme of my life. Protect one at the expense of another, or protect another at the expense of your own self respect or imbedded values and morals. It is a tangled web that will one day unravel into a huge mess, but in the "real" real world, this is what we do to make sure our kids, and hopefully us, survive.
I have changed some since I was 19, and now can picture myself under a similar streetlamp, only I am weilding a bat. Would I use it? That depends on the intended victim, but yes, if given the chance I would. I know that that image will haunt me more than any other for the rest of my life, but I also know that when it comes to protecting my own small place in this world, I have the strength to do whatever it takes. This I suppose is the normal evolution of a once normal person after being over exposed to violence over the course of six years. yet when I cried the other day my heart rested better knowing that at least I have not become immune to it yet.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Dentist

It started about 6 months ago. A day where I could not chew on my right side, or a blaring pain when trying to sleep at night. Inspection showed a long crack in the tooth from top to bottom, and slightly tapping it sent shock waves to my brain.
I got the courage back in July to enter a dentist's office, but my NY impatience combined with my underlying terror quickly had me back out on the street and looking for a pain pill that was stronger than the last.
Yet, I sleep on my right side and am prone to sinus infections there. So each runny nose turned into an epic pain event eminating from this one fucking tooth. One final Sunday of cradling my cheek in agony (and getting no work done as a result) finally sent me back to...
The walls in the waiting area were supposed to be white, as were the doors that led into the torture chamber. But years of patients with dirty hands had turned every surface a murky brown. An odd assortment of seats were strewn about, yet surprisingly the newspapers were all of that day. One person was ahead of me, yet as I waited, each of the mismatched chairs (and couch) slowly filled up.
No desk was present, and no receptionist was on hand to take your name or keep track of who was next. Instead, the "dentist" poked his head out the dirty door after his patient left and asked. It was an honor system of sorts, and the patients honored it.
I was told to lie back in a ripped leather dental chair, and open my mouth under a yellow lamp. With one tap the "dentist" knew which tooth it was, but did not seem to want to pull it out. As he explained, this was not an easy tooth, and a root canal (for $80) would be a better solution than the extraction ($5). Money aside, I could not see myself making multiple visits to this horror house, so I pushed for the removal. Especially after noticing that he was not wearing gloves as he probed my mouth.
Two shots of novacaine later (still no gloves) I was sent back to the depths of the dirty waiting room to wait for it to take full effect as he saw to his next patient.
Back to the chair, and this time he donned some ill-fitting gloves before taking what appeared to be a regular pair of pliers to my tooth. One, two pulls I was motioning for him to stop. The pain was that bad. Okay, more novacaine he said since sometimes if there is an infection the novacaine does not work the first time. So he injected some more and then spent five minutes rubbing my cheek as we talked about the benefits of gas. Then out came the pliers again and one, two, the fucking tooth that had been the bane of my existence for months was finally out.
He proudly showed me the three-rooted giant and explained that it was that root structure which made it so difficult to take out. Then he proceeded to wad up some store bought napkins and shove them in the gaping hole. He grew concerned as he kept changing them, finally having me spit into a rusty sink before instructing me to keep changing them, not smoke and not drink any coffee. My poor son.
So the gaping hole still bleeds, and I have moved up from napkins to cotton balls to tea bags (Thanks Tara) but the pain is now dull. So now I have a tooth to add to the growing list of things I have lost in El Salvador.
Hi Ho Hi Ho

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Whipped Cream Sandwich

Let's just start this off by saying you should never ask an 11 year-old what they want for dia de nino. First off, who the hell thought of this holiday anyway? We don't have a kid's day. In fact, had you asked my father he would have told you that everyday is kid's day.
But I guess I spoil my son.
What he responded at first was cash, and a trip to Walmart. Walmart has been the talk of the house since one finally opened up in nearby San Miguel. For my US-living Walmart-hating friends, you must understand the thrill of walking into a store and having room to walk in the aisles. And of finding things that you miss terribly. So Walmart it was. He did however change his mind about being given cash, and informed me that he would rather if I just paid for the Lego that he wanted. (Thank God Walmart didn't have it). I convinced him that a budget of $10 for a toy would give us more money to spend on food we don't get to have normally.
So off to Walmart, with Dolfo in tow of course. Who despite having just turned 15, making him no longer a nino, and having just gotten a new phone for the accomplishment still felt he was entitled to a toy too. There is something about entitlement and the people here that I just don't get.
Now, where in the US there are the "people of Walmart" who trip over the line of normalcy, Walmart in San Miguel was walking into a higher class world. Christmas and Halloween decorations greeted you at the door, music played in the background, and the aisles were wide and neatly arranged.
If not for the armed guards and lack of too-tight leggings worn as pants, I would have thought I was back in Dacula.
Housewares was after seasonal decorations, and you cannot imagine how exciting it was to find dishtowels that did not feel like 10 year old underwear. (I bought 2, only .75 cents. and chastised Betty when she wanted to use them to clean with) And coffee mugs that won't crack when you pour hot water into them (2 of these too - $1.10). Toys were disappointing, but I think that is going to change once we get closer to Christmas. My son budgeted wisely and chose 5 $2 Hot Wheel Cars. Dolfo tried to convince me that the RC car he wanted was $8. Dolfo does not know that Walmart has scanners, and after a quick check I told him nicely to kiss my Gringa ass for the $25 toy and find something that was under $10. He is still asking me when I can go back and buy it, because... well I guess he feels entitled. He can wait 'til Christmas.
And then we hit the food aisles....
Meats were up first, and to be honest I was disappointed at first price wise. Everything seemed a bit higher than at Selectos, but the reason why is clear when you get it home and eat it. This is quality meat, fish and pork, not the rubber you get at the supermarket in town.
Little things here and there delighted us, like a box of Quaker oatmeal packets in various flavors, and a loaf of freshly baked whole wheat  bread. A box of frozen slices of cheese cake for only $3 and a can of whipped cream to top them off. No Ben and Jerry's, and the Haagan Daaz was like $7 so we skipped that for this trip, but have it on the list for next time.
So we bring it all all home, and I give my usual speech about how we don't need to eat all the food in one day. This has become a problem with a 15 year old boy in the house. My threats fell on deaf ears, and I became tempted to put locks on the fridge and cabinet.
I did allow each kid a taste of the whipped cream, but made it clear (so I thought) that it was for dessert (and maybe a spritz on my coffee in the morning). So, next day, in my room comes running my 11 year old. "Dolfo made a sandwich with the whipped cream!" What? "Yes, on the yummy bread you bought". It was true, not only did the ding-a-ling disobey my order to leave it be, he used it on whole wheat bread, and being that he had never used whipped cream before, ruined it by not shaking the can first.  There was that moment, for a fleeting second, where had I known the words would have told him to turn around so I can shove the can up his ass. But he's a kid after all, (sort of) and I just bit my tongue. But the next time, I am buying those locks for the fridge and cabinet.

Hi Ho Hi Ho...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

There is a Possum Under the Dresser

It starts with some odd noises in the night, crashes and booms and Lucy running around like a chicken with no head. Anyone who has spent anytime in ES knows that bumps in the night are par for the course, and so long as it doesn't sound like a gunshot it was probably just the neighbor's cat.

But then:

"Jenny, venga" from Dolfo, as I sit trying to write about some new fangled back surgery. I am annoyed as I grab my flashlight, "que paso?".

He brings me to his room where Lucy is wagging her tail anxiously as she peers under the dresser. There's an animal he tells me in Spanish. What kind? He tells me the name in Spanish, but only after he describes it as an oversized rat with an oversized tail do I realize he means a possum. Well, it will grow bored if we ignore it and leave on its own I tell him, anxious to get back to lumbar spines.

I was wrong

Minutes later more noise that I assume is the animal making its grand exit to the tree, that is until his highness jumps up out of the bed. Stupid animal climbed into the bed where the two of them sleep, crawled through Juanito's legs and was at the highness' head before he realized that it was not the cat. Now ask me what my dumb ass dog was doing during this time? Abso-fucking-lutely nada. Except wagging her tail.

So it made its way to a corner and I went from jumping onto my desk to running to the corrider to wait for it to be shooed out of the room. That didn't work, but a lasso around the neck allowed it to be dragged out kicking and screaming. Got a photo of that, and when my son shows me how to transport a picture from a phone to the computer, we will post it, and a description of how much he liked the bleach bath I am going to give him in the morning.

Hi ho, hi ho (hopefully without any interruptions from wild animals.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

When It Hits Home

A few months back I wrote about the big jail moves, and how all it would end up doing was make things worse for the "normal" people outside. Well, it has hit home.

I don't even know how to process this.

Early Sunday morning as I sat at my desk my phone rang. It was Chito, Dolfo's dad. I have known Chito for as long as I've know Juan, back in NY where life was semi-normal. He wanted to talk to Juan, but his highness was still sleeping, and not available for calls.

Fast forward less than 2 hours and Dolfo is telling me about some guy who wants to talk to Juan. The guy is on Dolfo's phone and says he is his uncle and needs to talk to Juan about something important. This is when you wake his highness up. From my end I basically here words like killed, where, and who. When he hung up he looked at me and said "They got Chito".

Now, I am a skeptic, and an optimist, so I of course argued. Bullshit, I just talked to him he was fine. "You did? When?" "At 7:30" Quick call back... but no, this had just happened. What the fuck? So we try calling Chito, his phone is off. Try his mom, and after about 6 times she answers. "Everything is good here, the viejo has his birthday tomorrow, are you coming?". She had no idea, and I still did not believe it so I left it alone.

It was finally confirmed by an uncle, as the murder occurred at a cantina that his girlfriend was running. He was one of the first to arrive, and found Chito facedown on the floor. Shot in cold blood, as if there is ever a case where one is shot in hot blood.

Here's the thing. These guys are basically running around trigger happy with very little direction. Young guys who make decisions with their dicks not their heads. Chito was not involved with these people, he just made the mistake of liking the girlfriend of someone who is.

Imagine if you can how this works, because I am still in shock:
Trigger happy punk with a hard on talking on the phone -"So hey, I want to take out this guy who likes my girl"

Guy in charge who has no idea who Chito is. For all he knows they spat spitballs at each other in church growing up - "Okay, go for it" 


And someone is dead. Someone with kids who depend on him to eat. Someone whose father spent his 81st birthday with his youngest son dead in his living room. Someone who just wanted a dance with some trigger happy punk with a hard on's girl.

That's fucked up. I am fucked up by this. Chito was my friend, my go-to guy, the father of the boy who lives in my house. Chito was a human being, Chito was one of 31 human beings who were killed in El Salvador over this last weekend.

It's time that the powers that be realize that they fucked this shit up for good this time. If my estimates are right, there are probably as many gang members in ES right now as there were guerillas at the start of the civil war. And that didn't end well for anyone. It's time for the government to come up with a better solution than just moving the guys in charge all over the country. It's time to cut their balls off all the way so that their dicks stop getting hard for any guy who looks at their girl.

It is with great sadness in my heart, and a simmering hate that I sign off....
Hi ho hi ho