Friday, April 3, 2015

Tax Soul Suck

I'm generally pretty proud of myself.  I work hard, fill my life with interesting people who like spending time with me, go on many adventures.  I'm exactly who I want to be at 26.  But when it comes time to do my taxes every year, I dread it.  Taxes make you take stock of the very tangible things that I do not have to show for myself.

Yeah thanks, I'm well aware.

No investments

NO property

But I went to 6 countries in 2014?
Started my dream job?
Am happier than I've been in years?

But yeah, no, I don't have any dependents.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Comedy of Errors

Val and I work very hard: long days, weekends, nights.  So when we have a second to catch our breath, we like to breathe deep.  Val was in Uganda for a conference and we decided to escape to the Nile on the weekend.  We booked a peaceful and luxurious cabin right on the river and begged the owner to let us check in at 1pm on Saturday and check out at 3pm on Sunday to maximize our time. 

Saturday morning I picked Val up at her hotel, we stopped by the grocery store to get food to cook at the cabin and hit the road.  It would only take 1.5 hours to get to Jinja and we left ourselves a bit of time in case of bad traffic.

An old woman, bent over her cane, shuffling her feet without lifting them off the ground, passed us in our car as we sat for an hour in standstill traffic.  We moved a smidge an hour.  Smidge/Hour.  And then my car stopped.  The dashboard lit up all the indicators and then turned off.  I put the car in neutral, like mommy taught me, and drove to the side.  Smoke was pouring out from my hood.  But when the smoke cleared, the miraculous sign “Highway Motor Garage” appeared.  A mechanic came out and poured some water into the thingy to cool the car down.

“There is a leak in your radiator and you need a new water pump and belt and radiator cap.”
“How long?”
“3 ½ hours.”
“Is there a bar nearby?”

So we pulled the car into the lot, let the 20 mechanics do what they do in the hood, and we cracked open some beers (“maybe if I just try to keep opening this bottle with my hands someone will appear with a bottle opener”--someone did) for ourselves and the 30 mechanics and settled into the spare tires that were laying around.

Val chilled on a tire

I preferred the car

It rained, we got wet.  I started teaching some children how to do the Saturday Night Fever Dance.

The car was fixed 4 hours later.  I thank the 40 mechanics, and start to drive away but even when I press the pedal to the metal, there was barely any acceleration.  The mechanics saw our problem. 
“Ok we made a mistake, come back.”
30 minutes and 50 mechanics later, the car is fixed.  It’s not fixed.  But we are too anxious to get going so we get back on the road with our faulty belt and, very slowly, reach our cabin in the dark.  We get unpacked, eat salami and cheese sandwiches (we ditched our dinner reservations because were too tired), finished a bottle of wine and crawled into our beds at 10pm. 

At 4am I heard a loud flutter just above my head.  I turn on the lights and see a fucking bat.  I scream, and run across the room into Val’s bed. 
“Bat!  Rabies!  Marburg!  Nipah virus!  Potentially ebola!” I scream getting my geek on.
“OH shit.  Quick, lay flat on the floor! Bats like height!”
“Is this science or is this your theory?!”
“My theory!”
We slither across the room into my bed, keeping our iPhone flashlights above our head ‘cause bats don’t like light, right?  We jump into my bed and tuck my net into the mattress to create a bat free zone.
Until 6am, when the sun started to rise, I stared at the bat just chillin’ on the top of my net.  Periodically it would use it’s talons to drag itself along the net. 

I made myself wake up at 10am so that I could enjoy the last few hours of the Nile before having to make the trip back to Kampala.  Trying not to wake Val, I snuck downstairs and opened the door to the porch.  A large bat plopped onto my hand.  I screamed.  But it wasn’t a bat, actually just a frog.

Val, now awake, came down, we made coffee and enjoyed the last bit of the Nile before having to check out.  We try so hard to relax but it always ends up just being comical.  Luckily we have a good sense of humor and can enjoy a beer anywhere.

I drove us back to the city, hugged Val goodbye as she boarded her flight to Tanzania, and went home.

While unpacking my car, my wrist bent back, and a ganglion cyst on my tendon that I didn’t know existed, hemorrhaged, and I had to go to the hospital.