Friday, November 14, 2014

Quotes from Abigail

All in the car on the way home:

A:  Mommy, why isn't X married?
V:  Because she didn't meet someone she wants to marry yet.
A:  But when you meet someone you should ask "What is your name?" first, then you can ask them to marry you.
. . .
A:  Mommy, do you know what I'm going to be when I grow up?
V:  What's that?
A:  A Mommy!
V:  Wow, that's a great job!  I love being your mommy!
A:  Yeah, but you're probably going to die before I do.

A:  Mommy where are you going to live when I grow up?
V:  What do you mean?  Am I going to live in the same house?
A:  I mean where will you sleep?  Because I thought I was going to sleep in your room when I grow up.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Today I feel like I live in a third world country . . .

I realize, of course, that I always do live in a third world country, but honestly, I am so spoiled compared to almost everyone around me that I don't feel too deprived.  But tonight, with my kids armed with flashlights and with candles placed strategically around the house, in a completely quiet neighborhood, I feel like I live in a third world country.

Every Thursday the power goes out.  There are surprise days here and there, but we can set our clocks by the Thursday power outages.  They start by 8 or 9 o'clock and go until around 3.  We have an inverter, so when the power goes out we still have lights and can use fans.  But it does usually mean that we don't have water during the time that it's out because the water pump doesn't work.  We also can't use the washing machine, the toaster, the microwave, a hair-dryer, or anything else with a heating element.  And we get to think of our milk and groceries in the fridge all going bad.  We're gone most of the time the water's out and typically not too affected by it, but it does affect our maid (who comes on Thursdays) when she's trying to clean and do laundry and sometimes can't do much of either.

Today when we woke up, the power was already out.  We hadn't noticed overnight because the fans switched over automatically to our back-up power.  That was a concern only because it almost never happens (and because we can't shut off the air conditioner in our room when the power is out--when it comes back on, so does the air).  It was also a bummer because our maid usually gets the laundry in before the power goes out.  But when I called her from the school, she told me that at least there was water to clean.  We realized that the maintenance guys from the school must have hooked our water up to our inverter, so the power outage affected us less than usual.

But when it reached 5:00 and the power still wasn't on, we started to get a little uneasy--well, OK, I did.  An inverter only lasts for so long before it needs to get charged again.  We've never been on it for a full 24 hours, and I really don't want to play the How long can this thing last? game.  It went out sometime overnight, and it's now 9:00.  We're approaching our longest time on the inverter.  And on top of that, the water pump has been coming on all day long and using the inverter power.  So we started switching off everything in the house.  We have 2 fans on upstairs for the kids, because it's hot with no breeze, but we made them read with their wind-able IKEA flashlights (best invention ever) instead of their lamp and we turned off every other light and fan in the house.

I don't know what noises we usually hear, but it's a marked difference tonight.  It feels peaceful and weird: I hear crickets and notice every car that goes by, and I hear my neighbors talking quietly.  Occasionally, the street dogs go crazy when someone walks by.  But the later it gets, the less that happens.

Probably the power will come on by morning, I pray that it does, it always has before.  But the thing about living here is that nothing ever feels for sure.  And we need to save our power as much as possible so that we can have water and fans--and our house alarm.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dog Update

So Grenade is now officially this dog's name.  And she hangs out outside our gate all day.  When our car pulls up she runs to greet her.  We pet her and then go in and wash our hands.  And sometimes we go out and pet her and give her a dog treat.  And sometimes she leaves and goes for walks.  But she hangs out near us most of the time.  We went for a walk with her the other day, and she totally knew what we were doing.  In the mornings we see her jogging with other people in our neighborhood or joining people walking their dog.  The neighbor across the street feeds her each morning.  But she guards our house and barks when people go by.

And she loves us, and we love her.  I'm thinking this is a great relationship.  She stays free, we stay free, and we can enjoy each other.  Not sure everyone will agree with me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Determined Street Dog

Today was rainy, and Grenade (as dubbed by Micah), the street dog who is not our dog spent much of the day on our porch and in our garage.  Eventually the heartless author of this blog and her heartless spouse put up chicken wire to block the low fence she was entering.  She licked my hands while I did it and laid her face in the way.  She was wet and smelly and very cute and she snuggled right up against me while I worked.  We are truly the worst.  I feel like the villain in a Disney movie.

Huelga Day and Rain

Today is exciting for several reasons.  First, it is a huelga day!  Which is like your northern snow days.  Unexpected fun!  The purpose of the huelga, of course, is more serious.  People in the poorer neighborhood near our school are striking to get paved roads and sewage repairs done.  Last time we held school on a strike day there was a minor incident with a small explosive being set off close to the gate of the school.  So the school is taking the strikes very seriously.

The rain effectively stopped the strike, so now we have no school on a day when we probably could have--but better safe than sorry.

With the rain comes wet-vacuuming.  The slope of our back porch angles toward the house, so water comes right into our office.  But it's totally worth it.  Because it's been cool and drizzly all day so far.  And that hasn't happened here in about half a year!

We've had a wet dog visiting already.  We really need to get up that chicken wire.  She's way too cute!  If we don't do it soon we'll lose our nerve.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Oops! We accidentally adopted a street dog . . .

I am famous at the school for my refusal to get a dog.  Most people here get them for security, but we've resisted (we did get an alarm system).  Everyone knows how much I don't want to get a dog.  But of course my kids are thrilled any time they get to play with a dog.  And this super friendly street dog appeared in front of our house the other day, well-trained and lovely.  So we gave it some dog treats (which we had for our old neighbor's dog, to make it hate us less) and some attention.

And it seemed to go well.  It stopped by from time to time, but kept to the streets.  But then today it got bold enough to squeeze through our gate and visit (after we fed it through our gate and gave it some attention).  And though we chased it out, we found it sleeping in front of our door when we got home from church.  Owen says it's a problem of our own creation: if you pet and feed a neglected dog . . .

Now we need to buy some chicken wire.  Because a dog living at our house is precisely what I was trying to avoid.  I don't want to hear it barking at night, I don't want to deal with fleas and vaccines, I don't want the puppies that will no doubt be forthcoming (it's a girl!), and I don't want to deal with what to do with it every time we go to the beach or leave for long stretches to visit the states.

Why does it feel just a bit unfriendly to put up chicken wire to block some want-to-be family member?