Thursday, July 31, 2008
So. There's this family, see, the Manzanos. And there's eleven children who are Manzano-born, and then five more that are Manzano-adopted, and then no one's quite sure how many more that just sort of live there with them. And there's always visitors.
Needless to say, the Manzanos have no money and their house(s, since one does not house 20+ people in a singe house even here in Mexico) are falling apart. So all this week Joel and I have been heading over there to do stuff around the house(s). Our main project has been the clotheslines because when you're housing 20+ people, there is muchas laundry and electricity here is like myrrh. So they had these three nasty clotheslines, and they were way high up (Mexican ladies are short) and had wires jutting out of them and were suspended over quite a bit of dirt and some grass.
The original plan was to tighten up and lower the ones currently in place, add two more, and put a giant sandbox below the lines so that when the clothes fell, they'd fall in sand (which can be easily brushed off) and not in dirt (which can't). So we spent a whole day flattening the area, digging out the grass, and breaking Hannah's van (sorry, Hannah). The next day, the plan changed from 'build giant sandbox' to 'plant grass,' but grass seeds don't work in Mexico unless you can babysit them, and who has time for that when you have 20+ children?
It had taken several backbreaking hours to remove all the grass, and took several more backbreaking hours to remove a bunch more grass from elsewhere in the yard and replant it where there had previously been grass. I took before-and-after pictures, but I'm not on my laptop and also the end product was le hideous. Perhaps I'll show you later.
Working at the Manzanos is awesome because there's always tons of food, and always tons of people. Awesome people. We like to throw lavish DDR parties at Gord and Carol's, because we feel like we should represent them in their absence, and yesterday the older Manzano girls not only brought snacks, but cleaned up after the snacks and left my horrid, fly-ridden kitchen cleaner than they'd found it. Also, they are good at games, and for these reason, we love them and will happily glue their front door together for them.
Today we didn't work at the Manzanos for reasons that involve LOTS OF BLOOD!! Excitement? Return tomorrow for moooooooooooore! (*spoiler* Joel and I still have all of our blood.)
Sunday, July 27, 2008
For one thing, we moved out of the palace with the wireless intarnets, and have been relegated to checking our email in a small, musty room at the missionary base. Alas.
We left the pastor's house to move into the Taylors' house, and our tour of their house was punctuated by the phrase 'That doesn't work.' 'Here's the kitchen. The oven doesn't work but the stove top does. Oh, but the kettle doesn't work. And if you're going to poop, do it in the main bathroom because the one in the bedroom can't handle it.' And yet, even though they have no carpet and the door to their bedroom doesn't shut and the 'dryer' is a clothesline in the backyard and the kitchen is full of flies, we're a million times more comfortable there. Because we can spill things, and no one minds. And there's no elaborate locking-up process (there is, in fact, no locking up process at all, since Carol couldn't find the key to the front door to leave for us), and people just come and go as they please and everyone just stops by on Friday evening to play games in the living room (which I keep referring to as 'the basement' because it's all concrete and basementy-looking).
Mostly, I'm happier here because of the books. I've been borrowing books from Gord and Carol's library since we got here, but now I LIVE IN THEIR HOUSE, so I'm really not borrowing at all. They have piles and piles of books, and not just any books, but all the books I've been wanting to read for AGES. Also, they have kittens. Remember how I hate cats, everyone at home? So much do I hate cats! Except that I don't, I love them, and I love these kittens and behold them as they embrace each other, caught in the act!
All they want is loving and petting and to drink the milk out of my cereal bowl, for which they get smacked on the nose. The other morning, I had let them out of the bathroom where they spend the night and they came into the bedroom to snuggle with us while we read and drank our coffee, and then they went off to catch some beetles, and then they snuck under the bed for a nice little pooping. And Joel and I are there, trying to figure out if we smell poop or not, because sometimes it's just the goats across the road, you know? And then, if it's poop, where is it coming from? And who should have to clean it up?
The poo-scapade was relieved nicely by a trip to the 'good' beach, by which we mean not the close beach but the one far away. Like, twenty minutes.
It has flatter beaches and smaller waves and outhouses that smell like the rending of garments and the gnashing of teeth and a sign on the way out that says 'Thank you for preferring us.' You are welcome, Flat Beach. If you weren't so far away, we'd prefer you much more often.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Also, there are dogs. Everyone in Mexico has, like, eight dogs, and they aren't as mangy as Thailand dogs because these dogs all belong to someone, but that doesn't make them any less free-range and gross. The other day Joel and I were walking to a friend's house and suddenly behind us, on stealthy feet of death, is a giant St Bernard. Like, a giant one. Dogs are everywhere.
The house we're sitting for now (the lucious one) has a short-legged, long-bodied hilarious dog whom I love, even though she refuses to eat anything but canned cat food and table scraps. This is the only house I can think of where that would fly (see: yesterday's references to four-poster bed and massage chairs). It's bizarre living here, because, even though the owners had to leave all of a sudden and their fridge is full of food, there's nothing to eat. Unless I want to stir-fry myself up some tofu and stone-milled barley. And grapefruit.
We went to the Dulceria (sweet shop) the other day, which is, like, a mighty fortress of treats, and bought ourselves a massive bag of Mexican candy (for $7). We've been mostly living off of that and trying to ignore the 100 Immunity Boosters and What Would Jesus Eat cookbooks lying hither and thither. Because I doubt that they encourage downing handfuls of MuBons, which are the poor man's Ferrero Rocher.
It is time for le church now (Thursday AND Sunday nights, with prayer on Tuesdays and Fridays), so I'll have to leave off. We've been hanging out with obscenely cute Mexican children, but I forgot my camera, so no doe-eyed faces for you.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
We're only here for a handful of days, but for now it's fun being Lady of the Manor (and taking care of our pastor's hilariously bi-polar dog, Banana).
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go eat some of the giant bag of exotic fruits I bought yesterday for THREE DOLLARS!!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
So, at the end of the first day, we pretty much just had the walls and roof bits assembled and sitting in a pile.
By the end of the second day, we'd knocked those walls together and slapped a roof on top, and also, I did some tarring, and I really just wanted to post this picture because I AM THE BRIGHTEST THING IN THE WORLD! Look at me! I look like ice cream!
We spent the third day mostly inside, putting up some center walls to make rooms (plural) and slapping together some bunk beds and a kitchen table and some shelving.
The last day we wired up the place so that it had lights, knocked out a couple of windows, and painted the thing PINK OHMYGOODNESSITISPINK! And she chose this color.
So the she for whom we were building the house (along with her many childrens) cooked lunch for us every day, and on the first day there were bologna sandwiches *dry heave*. And then on the second day there were tamales, and then on the third day there was pasole, and then on the fourth day there were floutas and also one less chicken running around the yard.
So. I am painty and sore, and have tar on my pinkitypink shorts (and also on your painting sunglasses, boo, which I borrow-stole and still have), but I can hammer mostly without hurting myself and I can cut things with a saw. Look out, world.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Ok, firstly, I would love mucho to throw a bunch of pictures up here, but I've spent the last twenty minutes just trying to get online and get blogger up, so you'll just have to check my facebook later (if it ever loads). Many sorrows.
Now. Friends, there were dolphins. There's a beach just by here that we like to drive the truck up onto after a long day of house-building (read: today and yesterday) or on a sunny weekend (read: three days ago), and Joel and Greg boogy-board while Alyson and I sleep in the sand. So Joel and Greg are out the other day, frolicking in the waves, and all of a sudden THERE ARE DOLPHINS! There were seriously maybe fifty feet back of the boys, and they were splashing and cavorting like dolphins do. I wanted to swim out and hug one, but supposedly dophins hate that. Who knew?
Alyson's hilarious aunt and uncle were out last week, and so we joined their group on Friday night for dinner at Gaston's, a little restaurant ON THE BEACH! And there were ribs and I had ribs and the ribs, people. Ribs. Joel had something fish-like, and I had ribs. Also, Gaston's has cats in order that Gaston's will not have rats, and so we're eating and we're watching the sun set over the water and there are cats and baby kittens frolicking just outside. Smooches.
We had tacos at a little stand by the road and Joel tried covertly to get a picture of this little Mexican girl in pigtails and a purple dress. We got one, but she looks daft, so I won't post it.
Also, you know what is fun? Dance Dance Revolution. You know what is exhausting, and will also make me feel foolish? It is the eye-feet coordination that is hard. And sweaty. And hilariously exerting. And a poor post-ribs activity.
I had many stories, but they are gone. Joel and I have been building a house for the last two days, so amusing updates are on their way. But the office is shutting down, so I'm out.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
So Greg and Alyson's aggressively friendly cocker spaniel is sitting on the back of the chair yesterday like she does, because all the cats around have her kind of thinking she's feline, and suddenly she tumbles off and is twitching on the floor. And this was, like, a good six-minute seizure, and all we could do was stroke her and gaze soulfully into her eyes and try to communicate osmotically that it was going to be ok. Because dogs don't speak English or Spanish, and they come out of seizures all confused.
Is this not bizarre? Epilepsy is a people disease, no? The things you learn.
The weather remains cloudy and Joel and I remain slightly lazy and mostly unoccupied. Joel helped put up a fence yesterday, and I made a strawberry-and-cream tart.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
The plastic thing that attaches the chain to the flusher in the toilet broke, so now we have to lift the back lid and reach into the water (which, I know, is clean...but toilet water!!) and pull the little chain to flush.
I ate a piece of cactus fruit. There were seeds, but no spines.
A chihuahua nipped the skin at the back of my upper arm...you know the skin. Very sensitive. I guess he doesn't realize that I could toss him.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
The weather thus far has been moderate, by which I mean cold. We're quite close to the water (the other day we drove the truck up ONTO THE BEACH and then grumbled because there were, like, ten other people on the beach...they left right away) which keeps things cool. Unfortunately, I was thinking that August + Mexico = hotness and shorts. My one zip-up's looking a little ratty.
Greg and Alyson (the couple that's letting us live in their spare room and tag along with them) have four cats and a rather earnest half-cocker-spaniel which, apart from my total loathing of cats, is kind of awesome. At any given point there's something else breathing and sleeping a foot from your face.
We've been doing a lot of sitting the past few days - we sat in the car/plane/van all day Saturday, on the beach all day Sunday, and then jaunting from errand to errand yesterday. Apparently, things will get really busy next week, but for right now we're mostly eating tacos and doing aerobics in someone's basement.
Friday, July 04, 2008
Speaking of no nets (in a roundabout fashion), I need to go finish packing my bags because we are flying out tomorrow! Adios, amigos. See you in Mexico...or in August.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Today we scoured the suite from top to bottom, and I can't tell you the pain I'm in just typing this because my fingertips are shredded raw from all the bleach. Anyhoo, we rented a carpet cleaner that the person who rented it (Joel) and no other has to bring back to the Superstore he rented it from (in Abbotsford) and nowhere else, and with one thing and another (i.e. burgers and wine) we ended up here until after Superstore was closed. Hwoops.
Our options, then, were to drive to Chilliwack, sleep there, and drive the cleaner back in the morning OR SLEEP OVER AT OUR LANDLORDS'! So we've moved out, except that we're still here. Also, as of tonight, we sleep here rent-free. And in their guestroom instead of on our floor.
My fingers feel like bee stings.