Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fun With Water and Friends

Last night we had dinner with our pastor's wife, Tia (standing next to Don) and Bob and Debi. Tia's husband is in the States attending a pastors' conference, so we had invited Tia out for dinner.  Just as we were about to leave to go pick up Tia, our pals Bob and Debi arrived. I was puzzled for just a second and then realized that they had mixed up their days and arrived one day early for our dinner. Ha Ha! No matter. We just invited them to come along with us, and they did. It was great fun.

I spoke too soon about hoping our water problems were over yesterday. I was standing in the shower, suffering through incredibly low water pressure, hair full of shampoo, legs still lathered up from shaving when the water just stopped. Noooooooo! What dreadful timing! But then I noticed the big bucket of water that we had filled earlier in the day, just in case. Whew! It was too heavy to pick up and pour over my head, but I was able to bend over it, scoop up water and pour it over my head and splash it on the rest of my body. Not great, but I got most of the soap washed off.  
Don went up to investigate the new connections, but everything seemed ok. Suddenly the water returned, so he was able to get a shower. 
He decided to go ahead and fill up our new water tank so we would not run out again. He turned the valves and let it fill while we were out to dinner and the tank was full when we returned.
This morning he again inspected everything, walked under the house testing all the valves and connections. He finally decided the problem was the regulator, which was metal and rusting anyway, so he removed it. Dennis had installed it thinking that our water pressure was too high.
And viola! Good pressure again.
The washing machine filled in the normal amount of time instead of the 43 minutes it took with the last load - that's 43 to fill for the wash, 43 to fill for the rinse PLUS the actual wash, rinse, spin.
I'm very thankful since I have a lot of washing to do in preparing to close up the house.
All was good.
Then Dennis came down.
Seems that when Don closed the valve to allow our tank to fill, once it had filled, it backed up the water in the lines and filled Dennis' tank to overflowing. The float doesn't detect and stop backwards filling apparently. Oops! Lesson learned.

Hummers at the feeder

The hummingbirds have really taken to the feeder Kristin gave me for my birthday.
They've even gotten used to the frequent presence of an anole hanging on the feeder (upper right photo)
and, to some degree, have learned to tolerate one another and share the feeder.
They're going to be very confused when the feeder comes down and
goes into storage until January.
Until then, we'll all enjoy.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

The Countdown

I really can't believe that this is our last week on the island for this year. The time went by so fast. We're going back a couple of weeks early for a very special wedding, our son's childhood best friend is getting married. We can't miss that event!

We're trying to make the most of our last week here. The car seems to be running ok (knock on wood) and  I'm apparently over my stomach virus that spoiled my weekend. I'm just happy to be feeling "normal" again. We've been setting up dinner dates with friends, some for dinners out and some for meals at home to use up the food in the freezer. 

Don now has our water storage tank set and the water lines connected. He just needs to tidy up the area and he's done. We promptly ran out of water once he had the lines reconnected. Seems Dennis had neglected to refill the other tanks up the hill and didn't realize that we were that low on water. He pumps water up from the well everyday and usually keeps the storage tanks full, but because the other houses serviced by those tanks are currently vacant, he hasn't been as careful in checking water levels. He switched us over to the other tank, and we were soon back in business. Our tank has valves that can be closed off allowing the tank to fill with water or both left open to simply let water flow through it. It should prevent us from running out of water.

Carlos is here working on our yard, trying to get it cleaned up a bit more before we leave. He'll work an extra day or two for us this week. We'll have to make arrangements for someone to come clean and trim our jungle every few weeks while we're back in the States.

There are some last minute gifts to be picked up. Rachel has asked me to pick up some rainforest rumcakes (for her)  and a Honduran cigar (a gift for someone else). I'll get to that tomorrow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Sunset Anniversary

Yesterday was our 38th anniversary. It was another really hot, humid day without a breeze. We deliberately chose an air-conditioned restaurant for our romantic dinner.
We got to West Bay in time to watch the sunset and then
we had dinner at The Vintage Pearl.
We weren't disappointed with either.
The Vintage Pearl is a pre fixe restaurant, a set price for a three course dinner. They offer a choice of only four entrees with sides,  soup or salad and dessert. They also have quite a nice selection of wines. It's not cheap, but the food was excellent, the presentation beautiful and the service was wonderful. And it was air-conditioned! Our waiter, Adam, has traveled all over Central America and southeast Asia and was so interesting to talk with. We want to go to Bali now after hearing his adventures.
It was a delightful evening.
And our car started everytime!
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Demise of the Umbrella

We discovered these eggs this morning while moving some things around.

This will give you an idea of how small they are. That's my Blackberry phone laying next to the eggs! I'll bet you're wondering what kind of eggs they could be. I'm guessing they're gecko eggs. We have lots of geckos both inside out outside our house. We have a new crop of tiny little geckos about one inch in length. Are you wondering where we found the eggs?

Inside this shaggy looking umbrella!
You've probably seen this umbrella in many of my photos of our deck. I loved it because it looked like a thatched roof - so tropical. After a couple of years of intense sunlight, the thatching was rotten. The stuff would come off with every bump or breeze and blow all around. It also sticks to damp skin extremely well.
We haven't been using the umbrella for awhile and just had it stored in a corner of our quarters. Don had to pull it out today so he could climb up and put away some things that we are storing for our friend, Kris.
As long as we had it out, we decided it was time to dethatch it and see if it was even salvagible, so I got out a seam ripper from my sewing kit and starting pulling out stitches, then I was able to rip loose a section at a time.

We filled two kitchen trash bags with the thatching. Our very damp skin was covered in the stuff, too. We didn't find anymore eggs inside the umbrella, thankfully. We're testing the naked umbrella. It doesn't look as good, that's for sure. I probably wouldn't have tried to save it if we could easily obtain another umbrella, but I've never seen any for sale on the island.
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More of the Same

Yep, you guessed it. More car trouble.
Don's tightening up the battery cables and our friend Rick is sitting in the driver's seat periodically trying to start the car. We're parked at the new mall in French Harbor and had just finished eating lunch at Caribbean Pizza (very good, by the way). We came out, got in the car and...nothing.
We had spent the morning running errands without problem. We picked up Rick and Luz and also John from the catamaran moored near them and drove to Coxen Hole where the guys did some banking and I bought beans, tomatoes and another phone card. No problems with the car.
We drove up to French Harbor, dropped John off by Hybur Marine to buy boat parts, and ran up to the HughesNet office and a few doors down and renewed our car insurance. We wanted Luz along to translate because the woman at the HughesNet office understands English fairly well but can't speak it too well. Our contract is nearly up and we wanted to explore our options.
Next stop, Eldon's for a few groceries. Rick is throwing a big birthday bash for Luz this weekend and needed several things. We noticed the shelves are not as well stocked as usual (although they did have a fresh supply of Bimbo bread!) and wondered if the tropical storm was the cause. John had told us that there are a lot of large trees, logs, out in the ocean that are interfering with shipping operations. Then we went over to the mall for lunch. The car had been behaving itself during all these little hops, but when we came out after lunch, it wouldn't start. I was so glad Don was along and that he had brought his tool bag. It wasn't an easy fix either. He suspects that the battery cables just need to be replaced. Finally, he got it started and we headed home, dropping off Rick and Luz along the way. I'm not going out alone in that car again!
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A Moment of Panic

This is such a restful view - it's hard to imagine that anything could cause a moment of panic, but I had one yesterday. I went over to help Debi with some computer issues and drove our newly repaired Rav4 to her house. The a/c was really cranking out the cold air, so much so that my glasses fogged up when I got out of the car at Debi's house. It's been so hot and humid with lately and no breezes.

After a successful resolution of her computer woes, we decided to hop in my car and go visit the vegetable truck in West End. We locked up the house, hopped in the car, turned the key and....nothing. Nada. Zip. What now!?!
We got out, raised the hood and looked under there. Looked at the new battery. "Why won't you start?", I asked. Carlos (who works for us part-time and Debi part-time) came over and looked under the hood with us. We indicated that the battery was "muy malo. No trabaja." Carlos jiggled the battery cables and I'm thinking "he's 18 years old, he's never driven a car, his family can't afford a car; wonder if he has any idea what he's doing." I tried to start it again. Nothing. 
We looked to see if I had an battery cables. No. We looked to see if Debi did. No. We called Marco over and asked if he had any cables. No.
Bob wasn't home to assist us.
With that we closed the hood and went in the house. 
I took a deep breath, exhaled and called Don. I asked if he was sitting down. No. I suggested that he might want to. I explained the problem and what we had tried. He took it fairly well, I thought. I suggested that he call Fredy and see if he could come out and look at it. He finally agreed.
Debi and I sat out on the deck and played a came of cribbage to pass the time while we waited.
Bob came home, so I called Don and offered to come pick him up. Turns out that his phone quit working right after he last talked to me; he hadn't been able to call Fredy or me. He did want us to come get him so he could try a couple of things before calling Fredy.
So we did and he did and the solution was so simple. The battery cable was loose!
Who knew?
(Perhaps Carlos did know something after all, but with the language barrier wasn't able to convey it.)
Why was it loose? Who knows.
The moment of panic had passed.