Thursday, August 29, 2013

7 Quick Takes - a week of surprise tests

Yes, well this has been QUITE a week. Last week, remember (those of you who are regular readers of this blog) that we had Tropical Storm Ivo come through on Friday and Saturday. Sunday there were little white clouds and perfect weather. So far so good. Then it was Monday, the week of the surprise tests.


Monday our cleaning lady was sweeping the kitchen floor when she called out to me "Look! A big scorpion!" (I hope you're reading this, Jen). Alive, of course. She put the broom over the top of it and swept it out the back door, where I killed it with a big rock. Having dirt right outside the back door comes in handy sometimes, although calling the raw earth "dirt" is giving it a label better than it deserves. On to surprise test #2:


Tuesday and Wednesday the cloud cover continued to build and the weather report said that Tropical Storm Juliette was headed our way. Since we had just had a tropical storm 3 days before, we prepared for this one based on our experience of that one. BAD FAIL! By 10:00 Wednesday night the wind had really kicked up, and at 10:30 the electricity went off. Then the full force of the storm hit. We have been in hurricanes here, but none of them was as bad as this storm. I think the difference is that the hurricanes we've experienced passed to the west of us so we only felt one edge of them, whereas this storm passed directly over us. This had the strongest winds (with rain) that I've ever experienced. While we were in the thick of it I realized that the cushions from our outdoor furniture were getting soaked even though they were under a roof 6 feet from where the rain was. So I ran out and grabbed them all and brought them inside (sopping wet, of course). At the same time our two dogs, who we had chained up on the porch, were both standing, not in the shelter of the porch, but out in the storm, so we decided to unchain them, expecting them to go to David's workshop, where they generally stay during storms. We stayed awake and alert to the noise of things falling and breaking until the wind died down (after midnight) and finally fell asleep.


The next morning we woke up to find a mess. It was hard choosing only one photo to show, since everywhere we looked there was stuff broken, flooded (the upstairs bedroom!), covered in leaves and palm branches. And it was raining, steadily. So out we went into the rain to deal with the things that had to be dealt with. We got soaked; I ended up changing out of soaked clothes twice before giving up and just staying wet. The electricity was still out, and it looked like it might be out for days, since we saw power lines down all over the place. So David went to the store and bought 4 big bags of ice for the refrigerator, and I figured out what meals to make over the next 4 days that would use up all the perishables before they went bad.


Meanwhile, neither of the dogs were to be found. In mid-morning Quila showed up but Huerfa didn't. We were concerned, so we got in the truck and drove slowly around the whole neighborhood, but there was no sign of her. David went out a second time in the truck, and then on foot with Quila (hoping she could lead us to Huerfa), but no luck. Our good friend Diego and his two boys joined us in looking for her, but as of tonight (Thursday) she's still MIA.


Having nothing better I could do since the electricity was off, I worked on my latest handwork project which is a crocheted modesty top to wear over camisoles. I had already completed the back and one side when I found out that although I had carefully measured the gauge more than once, the finished pieces were quite a bit smaller than they should be. I thought about ripping them both out and starting over, and couldn't bring myself to do it, so instead I decided to increase the width of the back by 3 inches and leave the front alone since for some reason it was close enough to gauge that it would be usable. So I had to figure out how to add crocheting to the 2 sides without it looking like I had. I ripped out the top part of the back which is a more complicated stitch pattern and just added width to the bottom which is simple filet stitch. I think I came close enough, don't you? Next - redo the top part.


On Monday our fumigator had made his monthly visit. Usually he just sprays outside (mostly for fleas) but since we had just found a scorpion in the house that morning, and since we were also seeing flying termites in the house, we had him spray inside as well. Thankfully the termites here are only about 1/5 the size of the ones in Mendocino, but they swarm the same (that means there are always hundreds or thousands together). We thought that would be the end of the problem, but no such luck. When I got back from mass tonight (Thursday), a swarm of them showed up on the kitchen table. There were even more outside in the summer kitchen. The photo above, by the way, shows a flying termite stuck to my gin and tonic. Oh, and as David was trying to reduce the number of termites in the kitchen, he looked down at the floor and found...

a dead scorpion! No idea who stepped on it or when....

[7] DID I PASS? Rather than fretting about Huerfa or our lack of electricity I prayed the rosary. Every Thursday I pray the rosary for specific groups of people - the men and the youth of our town, those who have strayed off the path to the Kingdom, those who are in perilous situations, and the disregarded, sick, poor and otherwise unvalued people of the world. Today this had the extra effect of taking my mind off our post-Juliette problems, which were minimal compared with some people here. I also made myself keep to the commitment I have made to go to adoration and mass every Thursday. So I got through the day with much more peace than I would have done in times past. And...the electricity came back on just before I left for adoration! God is certainly our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble! LATE UPDATE: I was in bed praying for God's continuing grace to keep me from being too sad about Huerfa disappearing when I felt Him nudging me to go look out the window, and there she was! Thank you God for Your great love toward all your creation!

For more quick takes, probably quicker than this one, hop on over to Jen's at Conversion Diary.

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