My Mother told me, “Don’t get old.”

wine8/30/2016 I’ve returned from my trip to the US. I was really happy to get back to my little island and my daily routine but every time I have to say good bye to my folks, it just keeps getting harder. They are 95 and 91. Time is of the essence.

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At Appplebee’s

This visit wasn’t a hang out and relax one, I was trying to help my sister, brother-in-law and brother prepare my folks to move closer to my sister Missy.

I arrived in BWI at midnight and made my way to the rental car place. I knew my cell was dead but I had my charger in my carry-on so I was good to go. I got my rental and left the lot, but my cell wouldn’t charge. I went across the street and sat in a vacant parking lot screwing with my phone. I needed my GPS to get to my sister’s house. I could get it to come on but it wouldn’t start to charge, and then it shut off. After about 30 minutes of this crap, I was ready to cry. I was hungry and tired and wanted to be somewhere so I could relax. I decided to go back to the rental car garage and go inside the building and charge my phone. I got the wall charger out of my bag and went inside. I told the girl at the car rental desk what was going on and she said to have a seat and charge my phone. About 5 min. after I went in there, she said, we have car chargers here for sale, maybe that would work for you. I decided to buy one and got my money out and she said she had an extra, I could have it. She made my night. I was finally off to my sister’s house. I arrived there around 2 AM, meaning I had been up 20 hours so far and was running on fumes.

Missy and her husband Mark and I stayed up another 2 hours talking about the situation with Mom and Dad and some of the obstacles they and my brother, P.J., have gone through trying to make this move happen. I feel like a schmuck because I live so far away. Once they move they will be 30 minutes from BWI, not 90 and 4 minutes from my sister, not 90, closer for P.J. also. The move is good for various reasons and I am really happy they are doing it. They will still be living independently but in an apartment, not a condo. There will be someone to clean weekly and change their bedding. The dining hall serves excellent meals and it is in the same building that they live in. Convenience all around.

I stayed with my sister Sat and Saturday night too. I don’t get to see her and Mark much so it was nice to hang out with them. I left Missy’s on Sunday morning and went to Ikea and then to Mom and Dad’s.

My job while visiting my folks was to help (push, coerce, trick) my Mother to part with all the shit she had stored in that condo. THIS WAS VERY HARD. There were 3 expired cans of cheese, 2013. A single serving apple pie on the top shelf of a cupboard from 2012. This was the tip of the iceberg. She had enough Q-tips to clean the ears of each child on the island of Roatan. She did not want to part with her waste cans, she had 7, not counting the big one in the kitchen and the 2 outside the kitchen door in the garage or the HUGE one outside the garage door. I went through all of her cupboards and boxed stuff to get rid of and I threw out trash bags full of dead food, broken scissors, tie bars and cuff links. Jars of nail polish that were hardened in the jar?Enough, no more about the amounts of stuff but the hard time Mom was having parting with it was a very new, different reaction to have to deal with. Like, “really Mom, you want these 11 empty pill bottles in case you travel. Where are you going?” It truly was hard for her to let go of so many things. Usually my Dad is all about throwing crap out. He threw out so much of my stuff, so much of everyone’s stuff when we were little. He never liked clutter; however he has been living in it for some time.

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Cleaning out the computer room

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And I caught my Dad on this stool, I got him off of there quickly and finished the job myself. It’s really difficult for him because he was always in charge of things, everything was always under control when he was around.

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This is how hot it was when I arrived in the Solomon’s

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Dad found a box of these old hair clips and a few of the pins you stuck through the curlers to keep them in place.

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Remember these things? We stuck them into the different colored/sized curlers and actually slept with them on our heads. I remember having dents on my forehead from these pins.

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Found this old pic, I think it was from 1958, Me, my brother and cousin, on the beach in Florida.

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Mom’s idea of tying one on. O’Doull’s through a straw. UGH.

Mom has knee trouble and she just broke her wrist so she has trouble getting out of chairs and out of a car. Every time she did either she would look at me and say,”Debbie-Leigh, don’t get old.” It was really sad because I am getting old, not a damn thing I can do  about it and she doesn’t seem to be enjoying her golden years at all. I sure hope once they get settled in their new place things will be easier and the fact that they are up in years won’t be so evident. Dad is going to stop driving, which breaks my heart and makes me happy. I know it’s his independence but I also know mentally he is a danger on the road to himself and to others. So bittersweet. So many thoughts in this old muddled brain of mine. I find myself trying to exercise in the pool more and to be more active, with Mom’s constant warning floating on the sidelines of my brain.

Mom and I had some disagreements about things to keep and things to donate and things to trash. Keeping was the easy part. Throwing out spices she has not used for 5 years was traumatic. Dad and I had an argument also, he was being very stubborn, changing his mind rapidly and being nasty about it. I feel bad that we argued but it sort of cleared the air and got him on my side disposing of things. We went from keeping 25 photos (wall art) to about 8. Dad gave them to the neighbor who uses the frames immediately, that way Mom couldn’t change her mind. We were donating things ASAP because she was developing the habit of going out in the garage and looking through the boxes of crap we had just thrown out. I had to rein her back in to the task at hand many times.

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I told her to get rid of her LARGE sewing kit. She doesn’t sew, never has. She finally agreed, except she pulled the pinking shears out because they were expensive. Then she threw out all of these flyers that came in the mail only to go back through the trash can looking for one because it had a sewing kit for sale. I died.

Mom wanted a smaller TV stand but didn’t want to spend much money so I suggested Walmart. She and I went and looked at them and she saw one she liked, but they didn’t have it in the store. We went home and I looked online and saw that the store over the bridge had it. We went out to eat at Olive Garden that night but before that we wanted Dad to look at the TV stand. We got to Walmart and he said he wasn’t going in. I said if you think I’m lugging this thing out here to have you say you don’t like it, you’re wrong. Now get out, we’re going to look at it. I had him push the cart so he had something to lean on. We went back and I found it on a lower shelf. Now these things are made out of particle board and weigh a TON. I got it off the shelf and dropped it on the floor. Great, now I had to get it back up and in the cart. Dad wanted to help, I said no way. I asked some young guy to help me load it and he was very nice and put it in the cart. After we paid we asked for help to get it in the car. We had dinner @ Olive Garden and then went home. I was going to get the TV stand out of the back of Mom and Dad’s mini van for them.  Mom was insisting they had a cart to move it but she didn’t know where it was. Dad said the neighbor had it. Mom said, “go get it, we need it.” I have the 3000# piece balanced, ready to slide onto a cart and wheel into the garage when Dad rounds the corner with a walker. A flipping walker. I said, “what the hell is that? ” “It’s a cart.” I said “like hell it is, it’s a walker. How the hell am I supposed to move this damn thing with a walker?” By then I was feeling very Charlie Chaplinesque and had to laugh at the situation. Here I am moving a TV stand that weighs as much as my car with a freaking fold up walker. We’re all insane. I got the damn thing balanced on the walker and held the other end and wheeled it over the lip into their garage. When I went to get it off the walker (am I really saying this shit?) I dropped it on the concrete floor, I tried to stop it from hitting the ground and it landed on my middle finger. My Mom yelled, “Oh my God I hope that stand didn’t break.” All the while my finger is still under the 3000# box.

I drank a shit ton that night.

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My beloved wine

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It came from a Black Box, not a green Bandit box and I have to say, this was pretty decent wine.

The next day Mom and I were going somewhere and as we’re walking out of the house she says to me, “I can see your breasts.” I said “no you can’t.” She said “yes I can and I can see a little of the lace on your bra.” So I pulled my V neck Hurley T down to my navel and asked if that was better. She dropped it.

I took a walk down to the pier one afternoon, it was so hot out and there was barely a ripple of a breeze.

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The Patuxent River.

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Osprey nest

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A view up, the white building is apartments, dining hall and gym of Asbury, the place they have lived for 11 years.

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Mom melts her ice cream in the microwave so she can dish it out easier.

My sister and I were talking one evening while I was at Mom and Dad’s and she told me a few week ago she took them up to Prince Frederick (about 30 min N) for Dad’s check up. They stopped at Applebee’s on the way home for lunch. Mom said she was cold and Missy said she would run out to the car and grab a sweater. Now Missy moves fast just like I do, so she was back in a flash. And they were gone. Mom and Dad weren’t there. WTH? She looked around and found them sitting elsewhere AT A TABLE FOR TWO. She asked what they were doing and Dad said he didn’t like that spot so they moved and Missy said, “but you moved to a table for two, what about me?” I was dying laughing when she told me the story and she was laughing so hard her dog and cat came running to see what was wrong.

After many days of packing and talking in the evening (through Law and Order, which they watch 4 or 5 shows in a row but the TV is on mute most of the time but they act like they’re the world’s best lip readers and they knew what was going on the whole time the TV was on mute)  {I was so confused} we decided to go to Applebee’s to eat but I told them I wasn’t leaving for any jackets or anything and if I went to the bathroom, they had to stay in the same place until I returned. The Olive Garden and Applebee’s are their favorite places to eat. Not mine.

Obviously I have re-located and not been told. Mom told everyone, this is my daughter Debbie-Leigh, she lives on an island in the Pacific. I say Caribbean. Next person, same spiel, I say Caribbean. I continue to say Caribbean every time I am introduced as the daughter who lives on an island in the Pacific. Geography was not one of her favorite classes.

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I was freezing in their house. I am not a fan of A/C and was really happy I had gotten Bill new socks. I even wore them to bed. In fact, I pulled the floor vent out of the floor in the guest bed room, closed it, put it back and piled pillows on top to keep the cold air away.

My time to head home was drawing near. I was really missing the dogs, it’s too bad they don’t understand words and actually knew I was returning, as opposed to deserting them for the rest of their lives. I couldn’t wait to get their wet sloppy kisses. I didn’t go overboard shopping for them, buying mostly NylaBone toys and a few more stainless food bowls.

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Parting shot before I got in my car and cried half the way to BWI.

My trip home took 24 hours. I left Mom and Dad’s at 10 AM and drove to Baltimore, waited several hours there, then to Denver where my plane landed at 6:01 and the flight I was getting on boarded at 5:55. I had to run again. From Denver I flew  to  Los Angeles, then had to find the Avianca terminal. Once there, they changed gates, I got to the last gate and was sitting there and they called my name. I went up to the counter and they asked about a return ticket to the states, I said, no, I live in Roatan. They asked for my residency card (which I am still waiting for) so I gave them my Constancia that says I am a resident of Honduras and they thanked me and that was it. It was interesting. I was the only white girl on a plane full of Central American’s from LAX to San Salvador. I was bummed because I’m Premier Gold on UAL and had to fly Avianca to San Salvador in row 30D. Turned out the plane was empty and I had all 3 leather seats to myself as well as a USB port and disco lighting. Avianca was a cool flight.

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The whole darn row to myself.

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Mood lighting

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Leaving LAX, headed for El Salvador.

The El Salvador airport was spotlessly clean and vacant. I sat alone for several hours at my gate waiting to board my flight to Roatan. Once again, the plane was pretty empty. There was a couple across the row from me on the way to Roatan. The girl sounded like a drunk Daffy Duck and she was not using her inside voice. They were pointing out Toxic Hole and West Bay and I’m all, dude, that’s NOT even Roatan. I didn’t say anything, I just continued to allow them to be delusional.

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Cool shot of the mountains through the scratched window on my way to RTB.

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HAH! On Roatan, the most popular beer is Salva Vida, or life saver.

I always get teary eyed returning to the rock and this time was no different. My flight arrived at almost 10 AM, making for a 24 hour trip for me. Bill met me, we ran a few errands (still trying to get my replacement residency card) then made our way home, I was so anxious to see the dogs.

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They were all on the porch and they saw me coming.

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It was a glorious reunion, I love these guys so much.

I am thrilled to be back on the rock, I spent a few days organizing all the stuff I bought, getting groceries, all the normal stuff. We have some friends staying here so I had to get the downstairs cleaned up also, Carla came and did that. I’ve spent a few days poolside, today we delivered some soccer uniforms and hopefully I’ll catch up with my friends this weekend.

It’s always nice to visit the US and see my family but I can honestly say I prefer island life to living stateside.

I’m looking forward to getting underwater again and playing with my case for my dive camera, it will allow me to go deeper and take photos, Thursday will be the trial day for it so stay tuned, lots of island info and fun shots returning soon.

I’m growing a tail

 

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08/09/2016 I’m recovered from company and have been in chill mode for many weeks, nothing I have to do except enjoy my life on the island. We spent a few days waiting for Hurricane Earl, who, at the last minute changed paths and headed straight for Belize. They got hit, we just got rain and wind. Very thankful we were spared and sad for the people in BZE.

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This is what we could have been hit with.

A few weeks ago Nidia was contacted by Carnival cruise lines that their employees had taken it upon themselves to organize a food drive for the elderly on Roatan. We met Nidia and Mac at Mahogany Bay at noon to pick up the cruise ship employees and take them and their 60 bags of food to the East End of the island. Due to some snafu, it took longer to pick them up than planned but we got them and were on our way to Pandytown. The people were waiting when we got there.

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Alexi helping load the stuff on to Mac’s truck

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We had the 2 on the right and the girl 3rd from the left riding with us. Two of them were from South Africa and the other from the states.

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I of course, found dogs. I was pulling ticks off this little girl when the owner approached me and said I could have her. I said, Thank you but no. He said her name was Lola. One Lola is all I can handle. She was adorable.

Next stop was Punta Caliente but when we got there a few crew members had to be back on the ship so we left and took them back to Mahogany Bay.

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These are the folks from Punta Caliente coming to meet us. The employees would like to do this monthly, which is pretty awesome!

On July 30th Because We Care did a breakfast for the people in Hottest Sparrow, a community many times forgotten. I got there around 6:45AM and didn’t really do much until the ladies cooking the food were finished, then I helped serve, made chocolate milk for the kids, passed out drinks, some soccer balls donated by Trish and Dave Symons and then helped pass out toys and gifts and clean up. It was a fun morning.

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The kitchen. My friend Carly from Blue Island Divers graciously helped with the cooking.

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Plates of food, eggs, bacon, sausage, tortillas, cheese, beans and juice and milk.

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Lots of hungry kids

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I love the older sibling holding their younger brother/sister.

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Sweet brothers

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There is not much in the way of fruits or vegetables in their diets.

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Of course, I was feeding the dogs all the left overs.

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These kids got some donated soccer balls, some from Trish and Dave and someone else donated a few larger ones as well.

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The school director with the ones I gave him, I also gave him a ball pump from Trish and Dave.

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Little girls with their Barbie (sic) dolls.

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Your guess is as good as mine.

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They passed out balls and were a few short so we gave this guy a soccer ball, he was thrilled.

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What’s a party without a Piñata?

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Nidia was throwing the candy

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Nidia and her box of mystery gifts

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Tom’s shoes

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He was so funny with the ball in his shirt

We were fortunate enough to meet some new friends from California via Alex. Kevin and Pam bought some land near us and plan on building on it. They had never been to the East End of the island so we took them to La Sirena, our favorite place.

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The end of the world.

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We stopped along the way and gave these boys a soccer ball (again, thank you Trish and Dave)

On the way home we stopped at the pirate ship and our friend the guard was there. He gave us another tour and some more wooden stuff, like a Seahorse statue that I am in love with.

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I finally got a decent photo of the chandelier. It’s stunning, as far as chandeliers go.

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And Pam got to hold onto an M 16!

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The mast and rigging on the closed down nightclub

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Oh yes, I got a reserved sign too.

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Rooftop view

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Really. 5 dogs!

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Such a pretty sky

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Barrio and Max swimming

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Maxiedoodle

We have had so many people over for dinner lately and that is always fun, especially when it’s a nice day and we can be in the pool.

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Dave, Trish and Jeanie

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The stunning Duchess of Camp Bay. There is only one.

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Roger and some dogs..

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They love each other.

I picked up my twinnie Ann and we went snorkeling at West Bay again and then had some drinks (of course) at Grand Roatan.

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Neon Goby on coral

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Ann in the swim

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Parrot fish. I love their lips.

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Lots of small Chromis.

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Love the coral

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I see you!

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More cool coral

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Sucks that we live somewhere so ugly.

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My favorite beach

This past week I did something I’ve wanted to do for a long long long time. I got my dive refresher and went diving. Thanks to Eric White of Blue Island Divers, he made my dreams come true once again. It’s been over 12 years since I dove and I really wanted and needed a refresher. Diving is dangerous, it’s good to go over these things. Eric was excellent and made me feel very comfortable. I’m looking forward to diving again with him as soon as I return. Thank you Eric! (his wife and I are friends and she cooked at the community breakfast, great people)

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We did a 62′ deep dive, the water was 80 degrees. I was able to dive in my swimsuit. I had my Ariel moment and will be doing it as often as possible now. There is nothing like being down there and looking at the vast world under the sea. Fish are so lucky.

Speaking of Mermaids, Robby and Julie brought me this mug. It keeps water cold and ice stays ice for 12 hours. It’s an Ozark Mtn. mug.

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Love this mug.

All was fabulous with the mug until yesterday when I took my mermaid cup to our friends Dave and Trish’s for a party.

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Trish in the “pink hat.” That’s another story for another time.

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Dave (Trish’s husband) and David on the raft

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The guys

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The sky, part way down their road.

The ice stayed ice, just had to refill the water several times while there. (in between glasses of wine) Even after the cup sat along the pool in the sun, the outside was warm, inside ice cold. I filled it again before I left our friends. We got home, put things away, fed the dogs and I laid down to watch some Netflix. I filled my cup w/ more water when we got home and had the cup sitting on the floor while I was on the couch. Around 9 I got up to go to bed and wanted to put more ice in the cup, I took the lid off and there was a small 1′ long Gecko floating belly up in my cup. I FREAKED OUT! Needless to say, I was over the top out of my mind thinking I might have sucked it up in the straw. OMG. I am going to devise something to keep the hole small enough that nothing can crawl in it ever again. Never ever ever again.

Today we delivered the clothes that Robby and Julie brought for Alexi’s brother, nephew and sisters. It was a success because everything fit. They were very appreciative and said thank you very much. I also gave Efraim and Osman a soccer ball donated by Dave and Trish. Earlier I took Alexi to Mega Paca and bought him 2 long sleeve white shirts for school, 3 pair of long pants, 2 black, 1 navy, some underwear, a few pairs of athletic pants and a couple t-shirts. Then we went to LST and bought him a brand new pair of black shoes for school. This is just the beginning of helping him. Thanks to Liza and Mike, Karl, Christy, Brenda and Sean. Thanks also to Tarra for the Old Navy flip-flops. They fit Alexi and he was thrilled to have a few pairs of new shoes. We’re going to take care of a few months of school for him also ($15.00/mo). I’ll keep you posted. Thank you all so much. The little boys and the girls were so excited with all of their new things and Alexi is looking forward to starting school with new clothes! 

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Alexi and his Mega Paca haul.

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New kicks

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Alexi’s younger sister Jessica, she is a beautiful young girl. She said that her step dad won’t allow her to talk to any boys and he hits her if she does. He’s a sick man.

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Alexi’s 19 year old sister Julianna. She has a 4 year old son, Osman.

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Osman

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Bill with Alexi’s 7 year old brother. He is the same size as his 4 year old nephew.

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Bill and Osman

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This kid is adorable

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Mother and son

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Max and Efraim, Alexi’s little brother

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Alexi and Juliana hauling their load of clothes home. They were so excited.

That’s it, I’m off to bed. I just wanted to get this stuff out of my mind because I’ll be gone 2 weeks and won’t have time to do any blogging then. Mom and Dad have finally said they would move closer to my sister Missy in Olney, MD. They will be 5 minutes away instead of 90+. So much easier. I plan to help them go through stuff, donate and pack, should be an interesting visit.

I’ll post this mañana, I’m off to fill up my water mug (and check for geckos) and then going to bed.