Saturday, January 26, 2013

Slices of Life from Belize: January 26, 2013

Wicked Weather This Way Comes
So here we are living in the tropical paradise known as Belize. One may presume that there are unending days of brilliant sunshine, blue skies, and balmy temperatures. Well I’m here to tell you that’s not always the case. The weather this week can be summed up in two words: It sucks.

There’s some funky front stalled over us that has produced almost a solid week of rain and below normal temperatures. Donning a pair of shorts seems like a distant memory. Long pants, socks, and sweatshirts have been pulled out of storage and worn regularly. And can we talk about the mud? Yes, let’s. It. Is. Everywhere. Our lane and all side roads are quagmires. And no matter how careful we are to try and wipe our feet off when we come in the house, it doesn’t seem to help. Our two adult dogs, Sam and Tanya, despise the rain, so we let them hang out on the porch when it’s really pouring. At this point, I’m not really sure I can recollect what the original color of our floor tile is.
Now I realize that this weather report will elicit little or no sympathy from those readers living through below zero temperatures, snow, sleet, and ice. But you can take some satisfaction in knowing that while you’re dealing with all that, we’re slogging through our own version of winter, and as I eloquently noted before, it sucks. Big time.

Mystery Leak Solved!
We think. We hope. Earlier this month, I posted about a leak we had in our master bath. After David installed shut-off valves, we started the slow process of experimenting to see if we could figure out where the leak may be coming from.

First we tried just using the shower. No leakage. Then we tried using the shower and the toilet. No leaks. That left the sink. Sure enough, we no sooner started using that and discovered the water line was the culprit.

Water line on the left
Fortunately, it was a fairly quick fix and thus far, we have continued to be leak-free. As an aside, after the shut-off valves were installed, David heard water running from outside the house. Turns out that one of the joints for the hot water line had popped. On closer inspection, he discovered that the joint had only the mere whisper of adhesive on the pipe. This seems to be a recurring theme with the PVC lines here. David fixed the joint and we were back in business. Keeping fingers crossed no other water issues crop up.

Dianna’s Desk
Being in between projects at the moment, well, other than figuring out the bathroom problem, David was casting around for something to work on. As luck would have it, Dave and Dianna were in the market for a desktop. Check out the Winjama site to get all the details.

 More Fodder for the Clothes Horse
On Thursday of this week, a bunch of ladies took a field trip to Orange Walk for shopping and lunch. Our first stop was a place called Jen’s, which carries all kinds of things including electronics, small appliances, furniture, and clothes. I found an IZOD skirt and a pair of cropped seersucker pants that set me back $10 BZD or $5 USD.
From Jen’s, we drove over to The Boundary where I found a pair of flats from Land’s End for  $12 BZD or $6 USD. These were a great find, because my favorite pair had been “puppyfied.”

Like my previous trips there, I also scored big at The American Store and came home with two pairs of cropped pants, a wrap dress, and two tops.  Total damages: $25 BZD or $12.50 USD. I’ll post pictures of my finds in an upcoming post, but in the meantime, I need to make room in my closet (and keep my new shoes out of reach of the dog).

Partners in Crime
And speaking of the dog, I don’t know if it’s the weather or what, but Bronte and Olivia have been on a tear of destruction these last several days. And it’s bad enough when they get into trouble individually, but they’ve learned to tag team and the results have been something for the record books. For example:

  • The cat figured out how to knock one of the scrubbie thngs we use in the shower onto the floor. Olivia got hold of it, carried it the living room, and two of them proceeded to rip it to shreds. I’m still finding little bits of netting in odd places.
  • And speaking of ripping things to shreds, the cat has discovered the toilet paper roll. She claws at it to unwind the paper, then the puppy chews and shreds what falls on the floor. What fun!
  • We’ve learned to place our eyeglasses in drawers when not in use. If we don’t, the cat knocks them to the floor, and the dog chews on them.
  • Here’s a handy tip: Don’t leave a pen on the porch coffee table. Somehow, Olivia figured out how to get to it, jumped up on the loveseat, and proceeded to chew off the nib. I’m now trying to get black ink out of the cushion cover.
  • Another quick fact: little dogs like to chew on cables. I discovered this first when I had Olivia on my lap, while listening to some music on my MP3 player. As I’m bopping to the tunes through my earbuds, I realized there was no sound coming from the left side. I glanced down at my lap and realized my dear, sweet canine had chewed through the wire. A few days later, she was laying under my desk – I thought asleep. But no; As I went to move my mouse, the cursor was stalled on my screen. What the heck? Yup, she chewed through the mouse cable. Fortunately, David was able to repair it, but we’ve put in an order for wireless mice.
  • I’ve already mentioned the “puppyfied” shoe.
  • Oh, and Olivia has developed a taste for spackle. It seems any place we have patched a wall that she can reach, it gets eaten off. Lovely.
I could go on, but I think you get the gist of things. I swear, there are some days they should thank God they’re so cute or otherwise...

Which brings to mind this Letter to Pets that gets circulated from time to time on the Internet:

Dear Beloved Pets,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food.

The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort.

Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, bark, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered.

Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -- canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

To return the kindness of your obedience, my dear pets, I have posted the following on our front door for visitors to our home :

Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets
1. They live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)

3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

4. To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted children who are short, hairy and walk on all fours. Although they don't speak clearly, they communicate extremely well.

5. Dogs and cats are better than kids. They eat less, don't ask for money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called (this does not apply to cats), never drive your car, don't hang out with drug-using friends, don't smoke or drink, don't worry about having to buy the latest fashions, don't wear your clothes, and don't need a gazillion dollars for college. Also, if they get pregnant, you can sell the children!

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