Infested

Tonight I made pesto pasta in the electronic teapot in my hotel. And it made me so fucking happy. 

Little pleasures like this really matter while enduring a harrowing bed bug infestation. In the last 6 days I've accumulated around 50 bites covering my upper back, face and arms, oh and 9 on my knee, for good measure. For those of you that don't know, bed bugs hide in mattresses, bed frames, walls and travel in clothing and other objects. They can lay dormant for up to a year as they wait for their favorite thing, human blood. For some reason, they LOVE mine. So although I was staying in a relatively nice hostel, someone before me must have left them behind, because, 24 hours post check-in the nasty bumps made their debut. 

(L to R: selfie on day 2; note-to-self in phone; gratitude journal, May 17th)

After a day of scratching I went to a dermatologist who immediately diagnosed me and prescribed some stuff (ugh $). Then I washed all 15kg of my clothes on the hottest setting and was moved into another dorm room in the hostel, with promises of an exterminator. But hello, I woke up this morning with new bites. Cue 3 more rounds of laundry, bagging of belongings, checking into a hotel to cortisone my naked body on repeat while I Netflix & chilled with bae (me), and the teapot pasta. 

tick infested pups, bed bug infested Lulu. samesies.

tick infested pups, bed bug infested Lulu. samesies.

Most of you haven't had a skin condition that marks you in such a miserable and obvious way since the chicken pox, so let me explain, the red bites come in clusters, mostly on your arms, back, face - they can raise into hives, and are so itchy that each night I wake up scratching the shit out of myself. These welts then either blister or open into sores, and as of Day 6, are still quite visible. Did I mention they were on my face? A quick Google search yields interesting responses to bed bug outbreaks such as alienation, depression, oh and suicide. Nice. 

So, I did what any logical woman would do. I joined Tinder. Insert Marilyn Monroe voice "If you can't love me at my worst...blah blah..." In fact, this was not my reasoning but still pretty funny. My first dating experience in Portugal was nice, but isn't that the kiss of death? Nice. Although my sores didn't frighten him away, his lack of a job did frighten me away. 

Through all this I've managed to work, buy a bike, find an Airbnb for the next 2 weeks and volunteer with the dogs at Goldra (a dog sanctuary with 110+ dogs!!). While picking ticks and fleas from the body of an abandoned 4-week-old puppy, it dawned on me that maybe I don't have it so bad. 

Cliff Adventurez

el-nido-taraw-cliff-aerial-view

Recently i had the joy of exploring the Taraw Cliff and surrounding cliff-sides with T. It was a crazy experience because we took *the path less traveled* aka the free way (finances + $ hackz are still a huge personal theme, tracking here). In order to find the way up, enjoy the view and avoid paying for use of the rope bridge, one needs to navigate through the non-tourist neighborhood and ask a few locals (it's on a side street in Barangay Maligaya). Then look at the rock formations on all side and see where there are wear patterns, then proceed. Once up the Taraw Cliff you will then find that all of the other rock formations are higher and with better views. 

After we came down a different way than we went up, we had to ask anywhere from 4-8 locals for the path to the higher cliffs. You'd think they were protecting the Dead Sea Scrolls or some shit, not just a grueling hike to a different vantage point...

Back down to Barangay Suerte and deeper into the 'hood we walk wooden planks around huts, naked children, wild dogs, and finally an 8 year old girl points us to the path. And up we go!

At three different points the well worn path has huts and the higher of the two are most definitely homes. An old man we pass is using a machete to chop down bamboo, and so we ask him which way is up. the path we proceed on leads to hut #2, which is likely his home, 50 minutes up the steep and winding path - this guy is the Palawan Thoraeau for sure.

The path gets murky at this point. We are undecided on which way to go, but give "up" a try. After hut #3 the path is pretty obscure and soon brush gives way to steep rock formations. My 2 favorite interactions were by far:

"Babe, there is a chance we will encounter a wild boar, what do you do if that happens?"
"Scale a tree... duh."

"OK, babe it's steep after this point and will require quite a bit of vertical climbing - if one of us gets hurt, the other will have to leave and get help and it could be hours before a rescue would occur... if you want to turn back now is the time..."
"I'm fine - keep climbing."

Obviously I'm babe. And obviously T has us covered in case shit hits the fan. 

After approximately 1 hour of vertical movement we get to a spot where there is a glorious vantage point, about 70% of the way to the top. We savor the view and an orange from a spot that we are pretty sure no tourists or locals frequent. And fortunately neither of us was impaled by a wild boar (wear bug repellent though, I ended up with somewhere between 30 and 1 million bites).

Pimp My Hut

hut-bungalow-pai-circus-hostel

Circus life continues. Free lodging in exchange for a few shifts of "work" per week. Me coloring on chalk boards while showing guests to their room, T staying up late night and hushing guests/breaking up debaucheries of all sorts... Sex on the trampoline + fist fights to name a few.

Our bungalow (hut?) just got pimped out (like pimp my ride but more of a glamping twist). I was whining about my sore back and trying to get a back-rub out of the deal but somehow this inspired T to renovate our space (and once began he was a man possessed). AKA borrow mattress pallets + plastic rug + fan from empty staff bungalow next door, rotate bed and bug net horizontally for optimal space utilization, check on-site storage for odds and ends to score a coffee table and re-jigger our clothes line inside so towels would be out of head range. Plus I scored the backrub as well.

Benefitz of pimped bungalow:

  1. Cozy environment to invite in others for a smoke of Indonesia's finest
  2. Babe magnet, "So you're T... I hear you have the best bungalow and you pimped it out... Can I see?" - "Probably not a good idea, my girlfriend is in there sleeping right now." "Oh"... I WILL CUT YOU
  3. Menta l health and less of a feeling of transient-homelessness

Breathe

What's new you ask...

  • Hit by an SUV yesterday (no damage to the bike or me), hustled the guy for a ride to work + $45 in potential damage (mental? lol)
  • Won a trip to tahoe for this weekend from an outdoorsy dating app I recently looked into via Bostinno (but didn't really pursue for one specific reason or another... that's a whole 'nother tale) AND get outfitted in reebok gear to do my first ever Spartan Race!
  • Launching studdly.com next week
  • Cleaning up the brand new site I've mothered from infancy at my actual job
  • Cali in 9 days to see the love of my life, Melissa (one of them, sorry Eileen, Maggie, Stephanie...)
  • Then right into a 20 day magical mystery tour
find your soul soul cycle meditate boston bike bicycle

It turns out I can be an absolute fucking machine (no not a fucking machine, or can I...?). When it comes to getting shit done I am a perfectionist and I push myself really hard. This can be a blessing and also a curse. When it comes to social commitments, however, it can become deadly to my mental health. As an introvert (yes, truly) I stop functioning when I overcommit. Last saturday my angel (Maggie) came over and I couldn't dress myself because I had filled my itinerary and queue so full. So some things got axed (some really hurt to let go, like committing to learn Wordpress - she's a total babe and yet a total cunt). 

Wanting to do it all vs. wanting to retain my humanness - the ongoing struggle.

Over the last year (since the break) I've started to meditate 2-4 times each week as well as take a regular inventory of my life. The things that are not giving me joy, exciting me and furthering my goals have been sacrificed one by one. My friendship circle has grown smaller, and yet stronger. My passions are becoming more refined. And allowing some time to breathe has opened up the door to extraordinary possibilities. If something doesn't bring you joy LET IT THE FUCK GO. Do. It. Now. 

UPDATE. Some rules were made to be broken... I have been so #cheapasfuck that I had a friend cut my hair a few weeks ago and almost had another friend highlight it this weekend, but the cost/time analysis did not work out in the favor of buying supplies for and then learning a trade. So my one true splurge lately is for an appointment with my hair soulmate Kashmir tomorrow - #wwlbwd*

*What would Luke Brian's wife do? A hashtag crafted during a long ride back from Buffalo w Maggie where we decided we should marry hot-southern male-country-singers. My plan to marry Luke Bryan involves an elaborate scheme of catfishing his wife into cheating emotionally with another hot-southern-country-male-singer then exposing the truth to Luke, wherein is in unable to resist my charms and we live happily ever after. Oh, and he has a big dick. Also oh, Maggie has dibs on Sam Hunt. 

Crash

My nickname at 16 was crash. Cute right? The Botzenhart Brothers (our mechanics) named me that after frequent (monthly) visits to their shop to fix my 3 (4?) car accidents that year. Now at 31 my grand total is 14, and 3 of those accidents totaled said vehicles. 

Yay money! Yet somehow I worked it so that in high school to always had 2 jobs which covered the accidents and insurance premiums, and then in my twenties it just seemed like insurance rates couldn't keep up with me. The frequent moves? Constantly changing aliases? Sex operator phone skills? However all that spending had to have had its toll. Now for the first time I dive into the true ramifications of putting me behind a wheel... (numbers are approximations due to prompt destruction of records post-calamity):

  • Accident 1: hit the house with the neon, damage to siding and car - $350
  • Accident 2: ranger, hit the cement barrier in the garage at the galleria - $200
  • Accident 3: ranger, falling off of a cliff in canandaigua - $250
  • Accident 4: ranger, hydroplaned into another vehicle - $250
  • Accident 5: ranger, totaled by a semi truck - $0 (it wasn't my fault!!!!!)
  • Accident 6: totaled a rental car - $0 (thank god for rental insurance...)
  • Accident 7: scion, let dumb bf drive and he ran a red, got t-boned - $500 + renting a car $300 (yes I paid, my poor dating decisions is a separate topic)
  • Accident 8: scion, reversing back into an intersection - $500
  • Accident 9: equinox, rear ended a truck - $0 (no damage)
  • Accident 10: equinox, side swiped a guy who was high as a kite, totally my fault but when I mentioned a police report he peaced - $0 (same day as accident 9)
  • Accident 11: mini cooper, hydroplaned after intersection - $250
  • Accident 12: mini, side railed by another vehicle - $0 (woooo, not my fault)
  • Accident 13: mini, took a left turn into a vehicle passing me - $500 
  • Accident 14: mini, totaled on the pike - $500 + miscellaneous broken foot fees... $1000?
  • Insurance ranged $60-120/mo during this time and I was not driving during 4 years while in college: $90 x 12mo x 11yr = $11,880
  • Car payment years were 2006-2014 ranging $250-450: $350 x 12mo x 8yr = $33,600

Assuming an 8% interest rate and compounded interest from the middle age of my driving years (16-31 = 23 years), this $50,080 would equal $1,269,001.25 at retirement. 

And that is not including gas, excise fees, planned maintenance and tolls...

OK, so kill me.

This is part of why I chose to be car free as of 8.6.15.

car-bike-commuter-eco-boston