A Very Strange Rain

I was working away in my room tonight and when I went out to talk to Irving, I noticed a hissing sound, rather like the sound snow makes when it?s falling, that prickly ssss noise. I asked what it was and he couldn?t hear it at first.

We went outside to see if it was the wind . . . but there was no wind! And I figured it was raining since I felt something fall on me . . . but it wasn?t wet.

Finally, I grabbed a sheet of paper and stuck it outside. Moments later, under the light, we examined it and found that it was sand! I guess Volcan Fuego had indigestion tonight and we?re getting the byproducts of it!

All About Dirt

When our house was built, we knew the ground at the back of the property where we were building was not at the right level for drainage to the street. So the house was built considerably above ground level, with the plan to fill everything in later.

Fast forward five years and we?ve been using cement blocks to get in and out of rooms all this time. The bathroom was particularly tricky because when the abañil showed up to build it (the second to work on the bathroom and the 9th builder overall), he declared that the bathroom needed to be higher . . . our original house was built too low, despite days of measuring and doing who knows what with hoses and water and air bubbles to make sure the drainage would work.

So we had two levels of somewhat wobbly concrete blocks going up to the bathroom, a serious dip on the way to the house (the bathroom is built separate from the house) and lots of places to fall over on your way out of the house. Not to mention, drainage pipes that were at chest height as you left our yard. And for years, every time I complained, I heard, ?When we can get dirt in here, it won?t be a problem.?

Well, we?ve got dirt. Not enough to fill in the whole yard yet, mind you, but enough to fill in the entrance and the area in front of the bathroom, so we could finally connect the sink drainage (otherwise the pipe would have been at chest height, blocking our exit) and even the tub is now draining, albeit on the other side of the bathroom from where it should be. The pila has been lifted and placed in its new, up high position.

Now, we still need about 50 square meters of dirt. And around here, dirt is HARD to get. Don?t ask me why . . . it seems that half the people building homes are removing dirt and half are putting it in, so really, why can?t we just all be friends and level things out?

Irving spent a lot of time talking to people who had dirt to give away. One man offered to truck it to us. He paid a driver to bring us several pickup loads. The driver never arrived and it was later discovered that he took the homeowner?s money and then took the dirt to someone who paid him for the dirt . . . so he got paid twice to haul it.

Finally, we found a place that was willing to give us the dirt. A block from our house. Unfortunately, we had no way of getting it from the bottom of the hill to our place. It was too much dirt to haul in a wheelbarrow and pickup drivers wanted to charge us Q50 (about $6.25) per load. The problem? We needed over 60 square meters and a pickup truck only holds a meter. Which means a LOT of trips and a LOT of money!

After about two weeks, Irving found a widow who has a pickup truck and who was interested in bringing in some extra cash. She offered to haul the dirt for Q20 a load, if the guys (Irving and his cousin) did the shoveling. She could only do 3 loads a day before work, but that was fine, because the guys were pretty much ready to keel over by the time they?d hauled the three truck loads back here and they were able to pile the dirt high, so it was more than a meter each trip.

The place where they are building has finished digging out the area where they need to build the first room, so they?ve stopped excavating. We?re welcome to take the rest of the dirt, they say . . . as long as WE pay someone to dig it out. I?m really wishing we lived in a flatter area.

57 Random Bits of Information About Me

Christine just did a fun list and encouraged others to do one, too, so here we go. 57 bits of info about me.

1. I was never supposed to be in Guatemala, I was actually going to travel to Egypt and was even learning Arabic!

2. If I hadn?t decided that Egypt was too dangerous (with the war heating up in the Middle East, bombings in that area, and a tourist attack), and hadn?t decided to travel to Brazil by bus AND hadn?t run out of money in Guatemala, I would never have met Irving.

3. When I was a kid, I liked to organize our extensive library of books in alphabetical order, but always got tired halfway through and left stacks of books around the house.

4. I hated making the bed as a kid and still do.

5. I still want to learn Arabic and hopefully another language or two.

6. I was planning on becoming a doctor.

7. I became a paramedic because being a doctor required too much school at that stage in my life and I wanted to be sure I could handle being around injured people.

8. I really, really miss the ocean.

9. I?m afraid of water. Call it a phobia, even tubs freak me out on occasion.

10. After having kids, horror movies stopped being so much fun because all I could think of is what if I were in that situation and had to protect the boys.

11. Sometimes, I?m convinced I have bad luck.

12. I?ve never had a long term best friend.

13. At night, I have panic attacks about my teeth rotting away.

14. In my teens, I was a respite care for a boy with Down?s Syndrome.

15. My nose is very sensitive and smells really bother me.

16. After years of blowing up at things that don?t work, I?m learning to just walk away and let Irving deal with them.

17. I wear a hat to bed because I get so cold at night.

18. All through adolescence, I wished I?d been born a boy . . . I hated being female.

19. For 2 years, I worked on an almost all male work site . . . 40-50 guys and me. They were always very nice to me though.

20. I?m still in contact with pen pals that I had as a kid.

21. Despite being DONE with wanting to have children myself, I don? t feel that our family is complete.

22. I have dreams about adopting a little boy. In one dream I protested that we wouldn?t be able to travel if we had 3 kids and someone said, ?What?s more important? Traveling with your two sons, or giving this little boy a family to grow up in??

23. I hated cooking until I was 16.

24. My mom is still the best cook I know.

25. I spent 4 years learning/working on 3D animation back when it was a pretty new technology.

26. I love sniffing perfume patches in Avon catalogs but never order it because I can?t stand the smell on me.

27. At night, I sleep in a sleeping bag.

28. I give myself time outs.

29. My favorite books are sci fi and cookbooks.

30. As a kid, I read up to 7 books a day.

31. These days, I?m lucky to read one a month, if that.

32. I miss catalogs.

33. When driving up hills, I get very nervous at the thought of shifting . . . even though I can do it without thinking when I come to a speed bump!

34. In my head, I?m still 17.

35. All my life, I drew. I haven?t drawn since Dorian turned one.

36. Meat grosses me out if I think about it.

37. So does flour with the little black specks in it that I know are bits of bugs.

38. Makeup hasn?t touched my face in years.

39. I grew up without television and we don?t have it now, either.

40. I like to watch kids? movies with my boys.

41. For those who haven?t read this blog much, I?m a big fan of Supernatural.

42. I?m also a big fan of vampires and was long before Twilight was even thought of . . . I did an independent study on vampires and werewolves in Grade 9.

43. Such was my obsession that the local video rental store ordered old vampire movies just for me!

44. Now our favorite vendor in the market is finding vampire movies for me. lol

45. I took ground school in prep for flying, but couldn?t afford the flying lessons.

46. In two years at Air Cadets, I made it to Sargeant and Level Five.

47. My ears aren?t pierced.

48. Books are my biggest obsession.

49. I?m really very impatient.

50. On my bucket list: Ride horseback on the beach, stand in the middle of a desert with nothing but sand dunes all around me.

51. I?ve written a novel which probably no longer exists. It was called ?After the Storm? and was about two teenagers and a busload of kids from camp who survived a virus that wiped out the world . . . back before 28 Days After and all those other virus movies.

52. I?ve written several children?s books which I even sent to various publishers, but only got rejected.

53. I don?t write fiction now because I can?t make the mental switch between fiction and non easily.

54. With a rifle, I?m an excellent shot. Could be handy in an apocolyptic situation.

55. At one point in my life I could juggle and throw knives . . . albeit, not very accurately!

56. I?ve had several businesses including, a home bakery, a gift shop, baby clothing stall in the market, seamstress, scrapbooking (Creative Memories) classes, a lemonade stand and, of course, my writing business.

57. I worry every day that I?m messing up my kids.

Your turn!

A Couple of Pics for V-Day

On Facebook, there?s a sort of meme going around to add a pic of your significant other and yourself as a profile photo. Well, we attempted some shots and they turned out horrible and then we got this:

So we tried for a happier version and after a few shots that showed off my excess fat stores, we managed this one.

We decided to quit while we were ahead.