Costa Rica Cost Of Living Update: 4.68 lb box of dishwasher detergent-you’ll have to read the story

“Honey, you’ve been working really hard and the book is selling, I think you should treat yourself to dishwasher detergent,” Rob says this morning.

I look at him as if he just reserved two first class tickets
to Australia. We don’t buy dishwasher detergent because it’s imported and…well…we want to have enough money to actually eat. The only place to buy this product is at the expensive grocery store in Tamarindo. A place I rarely go, but when I do, I walk the aisles with nostalgia as I pass the Pop Tarts and Keebler cookies. Those were good times, I say to myself.

Although Rob tries to convince me that this is a gift for my hard work,  I’m not fooled by his gesture.

It’s not uncommon for him to use every glass, mug, or bowl before 11 AM. You can easily find him drinking orange juice out of a sauce pan in the middle of the afternoon. As the towering pile of dishes crowd the sink, I’ve been known to express my discontent through thoughtful but accurate displays of hysterics. So, as you can see, it’s not for totally altruistic reasons my husband wants this detergent.

When I press him to wash a glass before reaching for another one, his eyes jut out of his head as if I asked him to scale Mt. Everest without a Sherpa or supplemental oxygen.

“It hurts my back when I try to do dishes,” he tells me as he benches another 200 pounds. Apparently, this horrible condition also affects his ability to pick up clothes off the floor or learn how to use the washing machine. I’m thinking about having a telethon.

“Let’s go to the store today and pick up some. I don’t even want you going in. Once you see the price you’ll never buy it,” Rob suggests.

We head out to the strip mall where Rob jumps out of the car and I wait in the parking lot. Tourists are happily gathered around stocking up on groceries. They talk about the many excursions they will do: zip lining through the forest, ATV tours, kayaking. It’s fun to live in a place where everyone is happy to be there.

Rob comes out and I rummage through the bags as we drive home. I not only find detergent but a few boxes of Pop Tarts. “Hey, I figured if we were blowing the budget we might as well go all the way,” he says.

Once home, I look in the bag and find the receipt.

Cascade Detergent-$12.

I’m about to reprimand Rob when he stops me. “Listen sweetie. I love you. I really do. But I will pay any amount…and I will go to any lengths…to buy that dishwasher detergent so you will stop nagging me all day.” With that declaration, he walks away with a flower vase filled with milk and a strawberry Pop Tart.

I now put all the dirty glasses in the dishwasher and carefully measure out the powder. I take precautions to never spill any or use too much. This is still a luxury, and no matter how many books I sell, I will never look at a dishwasher the same way again.

On the flip side, Rob’s never been happier.