Ack, Computer Problems Again

Don´t you just love computers? They really make life different. While supposedly increasing our productivity, they are also really, really good at wasting our time. Take today for example.

My computer has been running slower and slower these past few days and despite multiple virus scans, nothing was fixing it. So, I decided to bite the bullet and reformat my main hard drive, even if it meant spending an entire day reformatting everything. Since it was basically impossible to work on the darn thing (even when I typed, the letters would lag! I had such slow internet access, I couldn´t do anything), it was time to do a complete scrub.

Well, Irving reformatted the drive for me and then I set about trying to get all my programs reinstalled. And everything froze. Every time I tried to do anything, it would just get slow again and we couldn´t figure out what it was. Finally, Irving discovered that I had some half-downloaded files on my secondary hard drive that were causing problems. And we couldn´t just erase them, they kept reappearing!

I think I finally have the problem solved now, but I spent nearly all morning on this instead of writing or even doing some housecleaning. It feels like such a waste of time. Sometimes I wish computers had never been invented. Well, not really. But I do wish they wouldn´t have so many problems!

13 Things I Love About Guatemala

There are more than a few reasons I chose to stay in Guatemala, instead of continuing to travel or heading back to Canada.

1.    Irving. The best reason I know to stay here. I fell in love and stayed and I am still in love with him, 4.5 years later!

2.    Spanish. It?s fun to be fluent in a second language.

3.    The food. Guatemalan food is not Mexican food, although there are similarities. I love taco, gringas, and pupusas.

4.    The cost of living. I can easily earn enough by working online part time to support us. With Irving?s earnings mixed in, we are doing ok and building a house.

5.    The people. They are very friendly and for the most part, open.

6.    Expats. I have to admit that I don?t really hang out in the expat community anymore, but when I worked in a bar, I saw a lot of them and really enjoyed interacting with them.

7.    Travelers. They are even more fascinating than expats! Again, in my bartending days, I met tons of them.

8.    Quaint streets. Ok, I have to admit that it?s hard to walk on cobblestones, but the cobbled streets of my little pueblo look very cool!

9.    Banana trees. How cool is it to look out your bedroom window and see bananas growing on a palm tree? I like the avocado, mango and pomegranate trees, too!

10.    Fresh fruit and veggies. You can get them so fresh here, picked just hours before. I love that. And fresh fruit in the market is WAY cheaper than buying tinned stuff. So, if you are very broke, you buy fresh food. Tinned food is for rich people!

11.    The colors. Guatemalans love color and it is evident everywhere, from the Mayan huipiles to the bags and purses that they sell in the market.

12.    Market day. There is nothing like squeezing your way through the maze of Antigua?s market on market day, with vendors calling out their wares, a jumble of bright colors of fruits, vegetables, live animals, plastic toys and just about anything else you can imagine! If any of you ever come down here, I?d be happy to give you a free tour of the market on market day, just email me before you come! I love seeing newcomers faces when they see the market for the first time.

13.    Festivals. Guatemalans love to party. So there is a festival every couple of weeks and they always go all out for it. Fireworks, firecrackers, great street food, everyone turns out in droves to celebrate. Half the time they don?t even know what exactly they are celebrating. I ask Irving why there?s a procession and he just shrugs. ?I don?t remember.?

There are lots more reasons, but that?s thirteen already! Maybe I?ll have to do another TT on this topic.

A Day to Myself (Well, a Morning, At Least)

Today, Irving got home at 5 am and so I decided to take advantage of this and go into town (alone, for the first time in nearly 2 years!) to take out my latest money and also to do some much needed shopping. (let´s just say we were surviving on the crumbs at the bottom of the bran flakes box).

It was SO nice being out and about without a toddler trying to grab everything or taking off at the most inopportune moment, without a baby hanging off my chest and having a hunger melt-down right when I am stuck in the longest checkout line in the world. And, I discovered that I´m not as out of shape as I thought! I can walk fast! And not be out of breath! When I don´t have a baby strapped to my front and a toddler on one hip! Who knew?

Anyway, Irving called twice to see if I was on my way home yet (I wasn´t!), but all in all, he did ok with the boys. And I went to the pacas, which is the second hand market behind the main market and got heaps of great clothes for the boys and some big clothes that have nice fabric which will be turned into clothes for the boys and also maybe a bag or two!

It was nice. I was running the whole time, trying to get everything I wanted, since Irving is not exactly patient about waiting around while I pick through threads and sewing supplies and rummage through massive heaps of paca clothing for future projects! But I got everything I needed, plus groceries and diapers. You should have seen me loaded down as I staggered through the market, knocking Guatemalans left, right, and center with my million and two bags!

Finally, I got home and no sooner did I walk in the door, but Dorian wakes up from a very short nap, crying and then Dante started screaming because he was hungry and stinky . . . and Irving was stressing because he couldn´t find his black dress pants and he had to write this note for school . . . I kinda wished I´d hung out a bit longer in Antigua, maybe had an ice cream or something.

But, I´m home again. Irving went off to yet another music gig and I have no adults to talk to for another 15 or so hours. However, I do have a big old heap of fabric waiting for me to dig in and start snipping and sewing! So that is something to look forward to . . . if the boys ever settle down and get to bed!

All a Matter of Perspective

Dorian was unusually fussy this morning and by 8:30, it was obvious that he needed a nap. This, despite the fact that he has steadfastly refused to sleep during the day for the past week. So, imagine my surprise when he went down and didn´t even peep! Just straight off to sleep. At 9 am!

He slept for two and a half hours while I wrote feverishly in an attempt to take full advantage of the quiet time.

When he woke up, we realized why he had been so eager to sleep. He had a fever. Our thermometer broke a couple weeks back and I haven´t gotten around to buying a new one, but his forehead was pretty warm. So, acetaminophen it was and then he sat and scarfed down two entire sausages and a big bunch of pasta and a bowl of rice cereal (his current obsession). Then he ran off to play outside. I guess he´s ok,then!

With all this sickness going around, I feel like I´m being horribly unproductive. My nose is stuffy and I keep checking the boys to see if they are ok. Dante isn´t sleeping well and Dorian is having a meltdown every few minutes. Although I know it´s because he doesn´t feel great, it´s hard to take when I am feeling pretty crappy myself. Irving is helping, but sometimes a boy just wants his mommy.

That being said, I was just looking at my tally sheet for today and I realized that really, I have done more writing in the past day and a half than for the past week. It is nowhere close to my daily goal, but still, it is pretty good. And maybe, just maybe, I over-estimated how much I can get done in a day. I might have set the bar too high. So perhaps this will have to be an adjusted tally and I will try to finish my goals in two weeks instead of just one.

13 Things You Will Find on My Floor Any Given Morning

My floor is a mess. But luckily it?s concrete (we haven?t gotten around to tiling) and not carpet, so it mops up very nicely.

1. Coffee. Dorian drinks weak coffee in the morning. I know, bad, bad, bad, but there is actually a reason for this. Because of his condition, he tends to get intestinal blockages. Coffee, for some weird reason, helps. But he?s not good at sitting still to drink it, he runs around with his cup and sloshes it all over. So, really, he doesn?t drink much!

2. Cereal. Again, Dorian. This is why he eats cereal that has only been very slightly moistened with milk, or even dry.

3. Ants. Drawn by the spilled coffee and cereal, no doubt. It?s like a breakfast buffet on my floor for the first hour or so. Until I sweep and mop.

4. Toy cars and pieces of toy cars. Dorian won?t let me toss his broken cars. Every piece serves a purpose, mostly to keep him busy for ages trying to stick things back together!

5. Our blankets. Irving tosses and turns a lot. He also hauls the blankets off of me, so I have long since slept with a sleeping bag (hard to pull THAT off me!). And inevitably, he is shivering by morning, with the bedspread in a heap on the floor.

6. Books. We only have one tiny bookshelf and I have a LOT of books, so they tend to slide off their pile and onto the floor.

7. Sand. Tracked in from the kitchen. Which has a dirt/sand floor at the moment.

8. Tiny blue robots. Penguinos (like Hostess Cupcakes) come with little plasticky toys these days and we always seem to end up with the blue robot. I hate that little guy. I have to sing ?Tengo un Robot? from Hi5 every time we open one of those packets. Course, I could just stop eating Penguinos, I suppose.

9. Hats. This one is on Dante. He throws his hat on the floor at night. I know, he?s only two months old, right? He shouldn?t be able to do stuff like this yet. I think his big brother is teaching him some nasty habits already. He also throws his bottle and then LAUGHS about it.

10. Pens. These are mine. I often have an urge to write a to do list just before I go to sleep. Then I fall asleep in the middle of it and inadvertently knock the pen onto the floor with my flailing.

11. Raisins. Have I written about Dorian?s raisin obsession yet? No? Well, maybe I should.

12. Plastic bags. I swear, I don?t know where these things come from. They are all over the place. Except when I need one, then they scurry away to a very dark place.

13. Footprints. Namely, tiny, naked ones, in muddy, sandy coffee style. Marching right through the spilled cereal and raisins. Followed by an ?AAARGH! MAMA!? because Dorian cannot stand having anything stuck to his feet.

So, share with us. What?s on your floor?

13 Things That Wake Me Up

I´m super sleep deprived these days and it isn´t just because I have a newborn. I thought I´d jot down all the annoying things that wake me up in the middle of the night . . . or day, if I happen to be trying to take a nap!

 1. Dante. He´s 6 weeks old, what can I say? But he only gets me up 2x in the night.

 2. Dorian. Old enough to sleep through the night at 19 months, but does he? Oh, nooooooooo! He usually times his waking to right after Dante has gone to sleep after his 3 am feeding, which is why I am normally up from 3 am on.

 3. Roosters. The darn things don´t crow at dawn around here, they crow whenever they feel like it and it would seem that the majority of them have insomnia.

 4. Irving. He snores. Loudly. If we had a couch, he´d be sleeping on it, but since we don´t, I sleep upside down in the bed to get as far away from it as possible. I used to sleep on the floor in Dorian´s room, but that just kept Dorian awake. (apparently I snore, too!)

 5. Having to pee. I thought the bladder problem ended after pregnancy, but I guess when you have two kids back to back, something has to fail!

 6. The neighbor´s dog. This darn mutt comes around most nights, nosing at the garbage, knocking dishes into the pila if we forget to put them out of reach and generally being a nuisance. It once even bumped Dorian´s door open and went inside!

 7. Weird waking dreams. You´re going to think I´m nuts, but sometimes I dream that there is a snake or zillions of ants in the bed and only half wake up, so I am acting, but still dreaming. So I will jump up, seeing the snake in the bed. I yell for Irving to get out quickly, or start swatting at imaginary insects. He thinks it is hilarious. But once there really was a centipede in the bed and it stung me and ran under his pillow and he didn´t believe it was real and just rolled over to go back to sleep! It took a lot of convincing to get him to get up and kill the rotten critter.

 8. Irving´s brother, Melvin. He shows up during my naps. Never fails. He comes to use the internet, because the nearest internet cafe is three blocks away and that is just too far to walk (oh, yeah and we only charge him a trip to the store!). Problem is, he´s 14, loves games and frequently downloads viruses onto Irving´s computer.

 9. The neighbor´s kids. The other neighbor, not the ones with the dog. These guys live right behind us and their kids are all small and loud. I think they must have about ten families living in that hut, they sure make a ruckus, and their kids never seem to have naps. And they are up until midnight.

 10. Flies. During the day, we have a lot of flies buzzing around, thanks to Dorian´s rather messy eating habits (sticky little handprints EVERYWHERE). So, about five am, the sun comes up and they all wake up and start zipping around the room, waking me up.

 11. Hunger. Even if I eat a big supper, I´m always hungry early (four or five) in the morning. It´s ridiculous. I think my body figures I´m still pregnant. And I still look it, since I´m eating way too much!

 12. Irving´s cell phone alarm. He doesn´t actually get up until 7:10, but his alarm is set to go off at 6:00. And he just hits snooze, so it goes off every ten minutes for an hour. VERY annoying!

 13. Violent actions. This may sound weird, but when I sleep, I get kind of violent. Sometimes, one of my kicks or punches will actually wake me up . . . usually when my knuckles come in contact with the stucco wall. I can´t tell you how many mornings I have woken up with bleeding knuckles from that darn wall! (don´t worry, Irving is used to this and has gotten accustomed to blocking punches in his sleep. And occasionally throwing himself out of bed to escape!)

 Well, by now you probably realize that I am a super light sleeper. And I wonder where my kids get it from. Sigh. Someday, I´ll build myself a soundproof room, when the kids are old enough to sleep through the night (in about twenty years!) and get myself a good night´s sleep.