Feeling like the weak link in the midst of pack mentality

02/07/2018 It seems like the rainy season may be slowing down. We had an insane 94″ since October, that’s a LOT of rain. I used to be a pluviophile but I no longer am. I’m sooo over this dampness and rain. Everything in my house has mold and mildew growing on it. Everywhere. Bill will have been gone 3 weeks on the 5th and I have drained the pool 5 times, 3 times I drained out quite a bit. Once it was ready to overflow, which wouldn’t really hurt anything but it would be a PITA. (pain in the a$$)

My neighbor called again to ask me what day it was. This is the second time. Poor guy, I think whoever set his clock or whatever set it on PM, not AM because he said it indicated  it was Monday. I worry about him being alone.

Things had been going really well with Bill gone. I muscled up a big 5 gallon water bottle and got it in the stand, hoisted a big bag of dog food and dumped it in the container. I’m a big girl, or so I thought.

I attended the inauguration party for the new mayor of Oak Ridge. I was meeting my friends Diane and Andy there and ended up sitting with them and other friends Don and Janice and another lady who has lived here for 20 years. On my way in I saw Alexi who was there with the Bomberos (Fire Department). When I parked my car I backed in alongside a telephone pole. I was on the left of the pole, the fire truck was on the right. I figured easy peasy, I can pull right out when I want to leave. Totally forgetting where I live.

Our Mayor, Carson Dilbert and his wife at the inauguration.

They had a stage and podium and music and were planning to feed everyone there.

One of Bill’s best friends, Sterling Lucas, he was elected as a council member.

When I went to leave (before meal was served) someone had parked in front of me and the car next to me. Seriously???

A cop went and got the driver of the Bomberos truck to move it so I could get out. Island intelligence at it’s finest. The Bomberos guys were super nice about it.

Friday night I was meeting friends at Cal’s for dinner. I got down my driveway to find a truck stuck sideways. Normally I could have gone around it but the ground is so wet and muddy, I waited. They finally were able to lift the truck back onto the concrete and move the stupid thing.

Only in Roatan do they lift up a truck.

On Monday Miguel and the kids came up and we went to the Vice Mayor of Santos Guardiola’s store in Oak Ridge and bought all 3 kids new school uniforms. I already gave them some Tom’s shoes that were leftover from last year. We will be delivering new shoes to their school again this year. We got a backpack for Naeli, the other two are OK for now. (Miguel said they don’t need new packs, that they will need them when the ones they have are worn out). In other words, they’re not getting them until they need them and I can respect that. He’s doing an amazing job being a Dad. This is the first he’s been with his kids in 2.5 years. He’s doing everything possible to make them grow up as responsible people and he wants them to be bilingual and get an education. He had to quit school at a young age to help pay for his 2 older brothers to go to college. They are both college graduates, Miguel is not. He could have been but was not given the opportunity.

Naeli, Michelle and Miguelito. Bill just told me the two girls are not really Miguel’s kids but he has supported them for years. The oldest, Naeli wants to change her last name to Miguel’s but it’s 10,000L (almost $500.00) to do it.

After Miguel and I got finished buying their school things I ran into the muni and paid our property taxes, $150.00 a year, then we walked down to my friend Gretta’s house to see Bailey. Bailey is one of the dogs Bill found and Miguel was raising. Gretta and her family adopted her and are in love with this dog. She’s grown quite a bit and is extremely happy in her new home.

Wyatt loving on Bailey

I also took the kids to buy some school books, crayons, colored pencils and reading books. I also bought a Spanish/English dictionary to help Miguel teach them English. We got them helmets because they ride to school on their Dad’s motorcycle. Unfortunately no DOT approved helmets here. The soccer shoes were donated by my friends John and Lizeth. They brought sandals, a pair of soccer shoes and tons of notebooks for the school kids.

All their stash.

He is such a cute kid. The school they go to has their own soccer uniforms (donated by Dave and Trish a few years ago) and Miguelito loves to play soccer.

Michelle in her new helmet.

These are the 3 boys who live down in the village below us. One is the boy who fell out of the tree with a sharp machete in his hand. Bill had to take him to the emergency room to get it sewn up, he has quite a bad scar. They wanted to see if I had any notebooks for them for school. And I did, thanks to John and Lizeth. I also had some shoes left over so I was able to fit the two younger ones. Their names are Milton, David and Lester.

As they started down the hill I heard, “Thank you Miss Deb.”

The dogs are still misbehaving when I leave, it’s actually getting worse, not better as they mature. The other day Max took books off the shelf and chewed them up, along with a Fed Ex folder with Bill’s papers in it. The next day I kept Barrio in with Highway instead of Max and he got a tightly closed bottle of Turmeric pills off my computer desk, OPENED THE BOTTLE, TOOK THE COTTON OUT, SPILLED THE CONTENTS THEN ATE 1, MAYBE 2 OF THEM. They taste awful, thankfully, or he may have OD’d on Turmeric.

This is Max’s mess

And Barrio’s mess, he also got a bag of brown sugar off the shelf and had it all over.

On Tuesday morning it was raining, the back porch was wet slippery concrete. There were some stray dogs in our driveway and Highway saw them and totally lost it. He actually becomes possessed when he sees a dog in the driveway. He cries, howls, barks, whimpers and makes the most high pitched ear splitting noise you can imagine. Since he is Alpha he whips the rest of the pack into a frenzy, barking and howling relentlessly. I got Highway in a kennel and closed the door. He continued to howl and cry, I thought my ears were going to bleed from the noise. Just about then Barrio and Max went after each other under the steps where it’s hard for me to get to. I got them separated and was putting Max in a kennel when Barrio walked by. I don’t know who started what but in a split second there was a vicious dog fight. I was trying to get them separated, pulled Barrios collar off and then fell on the porch. By that time Lola and Gringo had joined in on the fight. Max had Barrio’s face in his mouth, right over his eye, I thought for sure he was going to rip Barrio’s eye out. I tried to pry his mouth off of Barrio’s face, no luck. I got bitten twice, no idea by who. I was on the floor in the middle of 4 frenzied dogs, Highway still in the kennel going completely apeshit. If he had been out he would have been in on it too. Somehow I got Barrio away and crawled to the back door and threw him in the house and got Max in a kennel. I then sat down and sobbed. I had blood all over me, it was the most horrifying experience of my life. I went into check on Barrio, luckily he wasn’t too bad. He has a big gash on his forehead between his eyes and another one that starts at the corner of his eye on his face, that ones not deep. Max was in the kennel holding his paw up. I put Barrio in the bedroom and brought Max in. He had a bad wound on his R leg, his L paw was all swollen and he had several more bites on his back legs. I had a puncture wound on my arm and another on my knuckle. I was beyond stressed out. I called Bill, who was in Oregon and told him what happened. He assured me dogs don’t hold grudges and that they would be fine. Later that night I let them all inside together and there were no problems. I am hoping that the reason this happened is because Highway had them whipped to a frenzied state, they had nothing to do with their excitement so they turned on each other. I’m very thankful they did not turn on me during all the insanity.

Wednesday morning I took Max to Doc Calderon at 6:45 AM. Max’s one wound was so bad he knocked Max out and cleaned the wound, got the blood out from around it and put in 8 stitches. He checked my bites and put Max, Barrio (who I didn’t take to the vet) and I on Cephalexin. Then I started thinking I should have taken Barrio in. I called my friend Pam who is a nurse and asked if she was going to town to please stop by and look at Barrio for me. She came on Thursday and Highway went apeshit again. I put him in the kennel, again, he continued to howl and cry. Max was inside with a cone on his head because when Pam came I was in the middle of trying to change his bandage. He refused to let me so he got the cone. I brought Barrio in to have Pam look at him and he walked past Max and they went after each other AGAIN. I threw Max in the bedroom. Pam felt Barrio was OK and said he would heal but have a scar because he didn’t get stitches.

From that point on I was terrified to have them together again. My emotional state was not able to go through that again. I kind of shut down emotionally and mentally. The dogs sensed my stress too and did not like being separated. Max didn’t want to eat because he wasn’t eating with the pack. It was not a fun time for me, I love all of these dogs and the thought of them not being able to be together and play together was breaking my heart.

Bill was going to stay in Oregon for 2 more weeks and had it not been for this episode, I was totally fine. When he realized how much this had affected me he got a plane ticket and came home. The dogs were super excited to see him.

This is my sweet friend Lizeth. I met her through my blog, she’s the one who said to me (when I was volunteering at the airport) you’re Mermaid on a Raft aren’t you? We’ve been friends ever since. They own a beautiful piece of land here and will be building sometime in the (we hope near) future. She and John and her sister, brother and sister’s boyfriend came to visit. We went to Cal’s for lunch and then came back here for a bit. This pic was taken on our roof.

The parrots were back but the sun was right behind them, crappy photo.

So this is a ReMax magazine that I picked up somewhere when I was with Carmen. I always like to look through them and see who’s selling what. I laid it on the new counter top, meaning to recycle it.

It stuck to the counters and I was freaking out. I laid a hot dish cloth on it repeatedly until I could rub all the stuck on paper off. It didn’t even leave a mark. WHEW.

They DO get along and love each other.

I think I forgot to mention that Bill won a 40″ TV from our internet provider. We didn’t even know it until Trish messaged me about it. Funny, 3 other people I know won one also, including Trish who told us to begin with.

A photo of the house. The paint is fading so badly, this sun is so hard on stuff, paint, stain on wood, you name it.

This photo is of Highway, totally comfy on the stool. The pillow behind him is brand new, found it at Mega Paca, it says Sea, Sand and Sunshine, $3.00 Deal..

This is one of the new TSA approved locks I sent to Bill while in Oregon. Yes, the idiot TSA cut the lock to get in the bag and thoughtfully taped the pieces to their inspection sheet. I emailed TSA and they were worthless so I emailed the place on Amazon that I bought them. They said unfortunately TSA sometimes does not take the time to try and open them, they just cut them because they can. They are sending me brand new ones. Excellent customer service.

My latest favorite movies are Wonder and Lady Bird. Both really good movies, and while Bill was gone (3 weeks) I cleaned up 307 piles of dog poop. Yes I made a spread sheet and kept track.

Signing off on this rainy, windy Wednesday. I’m totally hoping there is some normalcy returned to my life.

Earthquakes, Dementia and other stuff

01/24/2018 Home alone and left to her own thoughts. Will she go stir crazy or not? Answer is, NOT. I’ve kept myself busy, getting some things done that I’ve wanted to do but was too lazy and reveling in the fact that my kitchen and house can stay clean for days on end. It’s amazing. You’re wondering why I have a clean house?? Bill is in the states, he’s been there a week so far and isn’t sure when he’s returning. He’s going to help a friend with a project, but first, he got to spend some time with Trace in Seattle. They went to Everson, where we moved here from, and Bill visited a friend and also went to see our 3 legged dog that Teri adopted. Frito didn’t remember Bill and he was sort of hurt by that. I get it, but I’ll take it to mean she’s happy in her new life and has forgotten the miserable life she had until I found her and had her leg removed. Not really as gruesome as it sounds, if she hadn’t had the surgery, she would have died and the 7 pups she was carrying would have died too. Then I wouldn’t have the dog loves of my life, Barrio, Gringo and Max.

Speaking of dogs, they know Bill is gone and are overly attentive to me. They wait for me to come upstairs when it’s night time, they lay outside the door when I go in the bedroom. They are tuned in. Pretty amazing creatures.

The day after Bill left, the hot water heater stopped making hot water. I am so not a cold shower girl. I went to ACE and bought new batteries for it and changed them but I could not get the door that holds the batteries in to latch. I had to have Kevin come over and do that for me. After several tries I finally got the igniter to light and voilá, hot water! Later that day I dropped my favorite sweeper in my whole life and broke it. It still works but doesn’t stay together. I used some green masking tape but that didn’t hold for crap so Bill said to get some GORILLA tape. That shit works. I think I can live with my McGyver fix.

Other than a few outings, I’ve been at home. The day I took Bill to the airport I stopped at Mega Paca and bought 2 new mattresses for Miguel’s kids. You should have seen the guy and I getting them in my car, hysterical.

Miguel came to get them on Tuesday, on his motorcycle. It was windy out, not just a breeze. WINDY. He tied the mattresses (that were wrapped in plastic so they were slippery) together and wore them home like a back pack. Now, this is not a normal feat accomplished by anyone.

Never saw anyone wear two mattresses as a back pack.

He had to go down our steep drive, get on the main highway for a short distance, then go down a 2 mile mud/dirt road that we can’t get down because we don’t have a huge 4X4. He called once he got the mattresses unloaded.

You have to be a “badass’ as my friend Sue said. And he is, but in the nicest way. We both feel very lucky knowing Miguel, he’s a good man.

He already built his kids bunk beds for the mattresses. The kids were thrilled and so was Miguel, he didn’t have to sleep on a lounge chair any longer. We are waiting for him to get their school records so we can get them enrolled in Marlon’s school, Froylan Turcios. It’s one of the more productive schools I’ve been to. Marlon, the principal and soccer coach is a good guy. He tries and he cares, that’s a pretty big deal. You’ll see pics of Miguel’s kids when the weather clears and I can get down there and go snorkeling with them. Kimberly, Michelle and Miguelito. We’re beyond excited he got to have them for a few months, it’s been years, they are really happy with him, spending every nice day on the beach and in the water. (those nice days have been very few, it’s still ugly here)

So, earthquakes. Yep, on Tues Jan 9th, at 8:53 PM I posted on FB, Umm, Earthquake?? We were all in the living room, Bill on his chair, me on the couch. The boys were all sleeping, Lola was pacing. I leaned over my laptop to do something and all of a sudden everything was undulating. Weird freaking juju..the cool thing is, it lasted so long we were talking about it while it was “quaking.” I had quite a long response to that post as the island felt it but had no damage. The quake itself was very shallow, which is what saved us because it was a 7.8, which is a pretty good shaker. Lucky this time.

We are the blue dot on the map.

I know I’ve spoken about the increasing difficulties my poor sister and brother-in-law are dealing with keeping an eye on my parents. In less than a month my Dad will be 97 and he still dresses as sharp as he did 40 years ago, always a well dressed man. His mind is failing him and he is aware of it and it bothers and angers him mercilessly. Mom on the other hand is 92, 93 this summer, and she is not a picture of health, she has lung issues and a bad knee and certainly not a candidate for surgery, a live with it kind of pain. Her mental acuity is failing also. Not a real capable pair. I was worried about my dad and him not being the man he wants to be. I can’t imagine how he must feel, he was always such a proud but quiet man, this is a terrible thing for him to be going through, and for my sister and Mark.

I recently started watching a show on YouTube called A Mother and Son’s Journey with Dementia. It’s so good, I binged 53 episodes of it. The woman in the show, Molly, is younger than I am and she is way way worse than my Father. He is 30 years older than her. I have been pounding that into my head consistently because I worry so much about them, me being here, them in MD but then I realize, holy shit, he’s almost 97. He can be crotchety and nasty if he wants to. Still doesn’t make me feel any better about my sister and Mark having to do so much for them. After seeing that show though, it really put things into perspective for me. If anyone is dealing with dementia check out the videos, they are very well done.

While Bill is gone I have been watching movies. I was without internet all day one day so I watched a few. I have seen, The Florida Project, The Greatest Showman, Lady Bird, Call Me by Your Name, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Hacksaw Ridge. I’ve also watched Little Big Lies twice. I’m almost caught up on Modern Family and This is Us, the only other TV I watch besides HGTV HHI, and Netflix. I enjoyed all the movies except Call Me by Your Name, it was confusing to me.

Bill took this pic of the pack, L to R Gringo, Highway, Max, Barrio and Lola. What a crew.

Gringo hovering on the corner, Max zzzz’d out.

Chance took this photo of my parents on January 4th, he had such a good visit with them. It meant a lot.

We finished the counter tops in the kitchen. I am in love with the sink, turned out really well. We want to do our bathroom and the kitchen downstairs. Maybe the back porch too.

My camera takes crappy indoor photos. We had everything covered, or so we thought.

Doing to the L of the stove. First some black and white

Smear it around

Mix a little more

Never sure what it will look like. I’m sure with practice and developing a technique, you could somewhat get what you want.

Then you torch it. After it’s torched then you can start spraying 90% alcohol mixed with different powders. Then after you do that you can torch it again. The alcohol makes all the strange effects. It also makes air bubbles, not cool.

We had no clue how to do the sink but wanted it to look like a whirlpool sort of. It turned out awesome.

In the process of doing the sink, drain and garbage disposal were pulled. Bill thought he had enough covered area under the drain hole. Not so much, epoxy resin everywhere under the sink.

It turned out pretty cool.

My favorite part of the kitchen is the sink.

We took the boys swimming early one morning to a beach nearby. They had a blast.

But it started raining

Dog butts

We need to take them swimming more often, not so much to swim but to run. Once the road to Miguel’s is fixed we’ll be going down there with them.

There is a new recycling initiative on the island. Many restaurants have stopped selling single use water bottles and plastic straws are becoming a thing of the past. I cut up 6 yogurt containers and stuffed them all into one bottle along with a big plastic bag and 3 laundry detergent bags. Bill made the stuffing stick for me, helps to really cram the bottles full.

A lot of single use plastic can be stuffed in to a bottle. The SOL Foundation is building a wall with the stuffed bottles.

With these well stuffed bottles and some concrete they are building walls, flower beds and other things. They also are cutting wine bottles and using the bottoms in concrete to make a wall. The tops are then broken up and used as colorful drain catchers at the bottom of drainpipes.

So my 4 year old Google Nexus tablet died a slow death. It won’t recharge. Sad because it was almost an appendage on me. I broke down and bought a BIG 9.6″ Samsung tablet, I love it but hate the cover I got for it and have ordered a different one. Bill bought a new battery for the dead tablet, if it fixes it we’ll either hang on to it or sell it.

When we still lived in PA the boys and I spent a lot of time on the Loyalsock Creek. Almost every day (before we got a pool) was spent there. On my high school class page they posted a contest to vote for the favorite creek. Loyalsock creek won, but it wasn’t for the best creek in PA, it was for the BEST RIVER. How can a creek win the best river contest? So insane. Only in PA.

I’m planning to call my parents this morning. Every single time I call and Mom answers she hangs up on me, usually 2 or 3 times before we actually connect. She says the on off button is on the side of the phone but I don’t think it is. Kind of funny. My neighbor Mr John called me on Friday and wanted to know what time it was. I told him, then he asked what day it was. Then he asked me to call him at 9 AM the next morning so he would know when to go somewhere. Obviously he only has a watch for a clock and the battery must have died. Poor guy.

There are political marches on the mainland as the President prepares to take office. He is hated by many and loved by many. I just wish they would get their crap together and quit fighting so I could go to the mainland and get tile for the kitchen back splash. I’m hoping the madness will soon be over.

Just an FYI for those of you who get email notices for my blog. GMAIL has changed their sorting of mail and it may go in your promotions tab. Part of the new algorithm they are using. Why can’t they leave well enough alone?

It’s a sunny day which is a rarity here, I’m going to head outside and read for awhile. I’ll leave you with a few pics of the bed with all 5 dogs on it. It rained really hard one night so I kept them all inside.

Barely enough room for me

Max is upside down on the right

L to R, counterclockwise. Barrio’s ear, Max, Highway, Lola and Gringo. The cat jumped up, looked around, hissed, said OH HELL NO, and left.

Off to hang by the pool, have a fabulous day wherever you may be.