Saturday, July 31, 2010

Guess I missed the Army Ant Training?

Two days ago, I completely went 'out of my mind' crazy as I walked out the back kitchen door only to be met with millions of big black ants. "Guys, come quick...check this out". The boys came running as we all marveled in this 'attack'...something right out of the movies. Mike did not know what he was missing as he was enjoying a quiet hour in a 'meditation' session at the local Yoga joint down the road. ..or so he thought. I did the only thing I knew how - grabbed for the broom and swept like mad. Everywhere, climbing up the walls just outside the door...few of them making it into the house, behind the refrig. What do I do next? Make the phone call to Mike or grab the camera? I opted for the phone and Mike was on-foot back to the house. Of course, he was thinking the entire time as he rushed home " Wow, I've waited an entire year to catch an 'army ant' attack and they're literally knocking at my lucky could a guy get". When he arrived he was so excited and said 'well, of course Sally, these are army ants", I replied "Guess I missed the army ant training dear husband". Once I calmed down, Mike reassured me that I did the right thing by sweeping the few out of the house since they were just at the entrance. I now know, (for any of you who may find this useful) that if the ants are already in the house, just vacate your dwelling for a couple of hours and they'll clean out all the living insects, scorpions, etc. and move on. Okay, now you tell me. An hour later, as I was grabbing the last of the clothes off the line, I looked down and saw them crawling up my boot, I proceeded to run and do a bad version of a "Sally Dance." So, a nice 'welcome back' for sure. (From Mike: Sweeping the front line was right for her. For me, I would let them march right in and watch an amazing natural predation event occur in the comfort of my own home.)

I was awoken today by my boys "Mom, come see the baby tarantula that's in the kitchen"! Really, it was just hanging out in our kitchen...great! I think this just about covers the insect invasions of this last week.

We've enjoyed some sunny mornings, at least enough to dry our shoes each day! One of the photos shows an array of items lying under the mold killing sunlight. We have bleach cleaned books, blocks, backpacks and will store unneeded things in plastic tubs or bags to keep the mildew away. We are delighted to have a new shelf over the desk in our bedroom. Melvin (the school's handyman) showed up earlier this week to build it on site. Mike helped and learned some of the tricks of the trade. The best thing about this shelving unit is that a single, naked light bulb now hangs from it (and for those of you that video Skype with us) know that this is a GOOD thing....Let there be light!

People are starting to return to the moutain with school starting in a little over two weeks. Mike is over his stomach crud (thankfully it was the 24-hour type) and has been spending some time at school. I have enjoyed my early morning runs and am feeling some relief from my injured thigh. If I ever doubted this was our home, I have no doubts as I wave to friends and acquaintances as I jog by shouting "pura vida". I am now laid up with a bad sinus infection with hardly a voice - three weeks and I finally popped the antibiotic that my doc gave me back in Chicago yesterday. Heres hoping it is fast working.

We enjoyed playing with Veronica's dogs as we had to bridge a gap between when her dog sitter left and she returned from a month in the states. We were greeted by six dogs who were happy to see us. They frolicked in the pasture and tormented the horses, thankfully no trampling occurred.

The boys have enjoyed constructing an airplane in the front yard and we have spent much time re-enacting our flight back to Costa Rica. I usually play the high-stress role of the air-traffic control tower and simulate the turbulence....I'll leave that one to your imagination.

The boys are enjoying the finger paints (thanks Choppy) and we already have new art-work adourning the living room wall. I had to pull all the old artwork off the walls at it was a haven for spiders....YUCK

As I close this post, the boys are making pancakes (bananas and mango) in the kitchen with dad. It is the first Sunday of the month, so that means "Pot-Luck" after the silent meeting for worship at the meeting room at school. Doubtful I will make this but the boys may go which means rest time for me.

We are looking forward to this coming weeks performance of "Oliver" at Bromelias. The rehearsals are fabulous - we can hear them as we are only a stones throw away from the venue - so we should be prepared to step in as an 'under-study' should the need arise :)

To all that have supported the readings of this blog, THANK YOU for following our journey. I appreciate your comments and advice along the way!

Over and Out.
Signed: S

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Creature Comforts to...Well...Just Creatures!

So, here I sit staring at the blank page before me...gosh has it been more than a month since my last post? Oh ya, I was on vacation. Welcome back Sally! I remember packing up to leave last month and feeling a tad anxious about how we would transition back into the States. "Would the boys want to return to Costa Rica for a second year?", "Who and what would the boys remember about Chicago?", what about Mike and me? Well, as we landed in Chicago, the wheels barely touched down at O'Hare and it felt like we never left. How could Monteverde feel so much like a dream, so removed as I looked around the plane while people bustled around to open the overhead bins, turned on their cell phones and jockeyed for position within the center aisle? Life goes on.

While sipping on wine and chuckling over something funny I'm sure with my sister, we started talking about what I have missed about living in the States, undoubtedly, hot showers rank right up there, here are some others that come to mind.

Running in 90 plus weather
Keeping dibs on the "On Demand" button on Auntie Beth's TV remote control
Spending so much time and energy getting anywhere (car seats, traffic, road construction)
Missing the temperatures in Monteverde and the ability to walk anywhere
Missing the ability to send the kids outside with a 'Go climb trees....please' command
Making selections at the grocery store
Saying goodbye to friends and family
Explaining to friends and family that you really can get use to the bugs and insects

Running on the 'flat lands' of Chicago
Relaxing in a steamy shower with all the shampoos, body lotions, conditioners, foot/calous removers, etc. to choose from
Crawling into a dry bed; with the smell of fresh bounce fabric softener
Waking up in the morning and not having to sweep up mounds of dead land-shrimp from the floor
Having laundry dry in 30 minutes
Tossing your dirty dishes into a dishwasher
Flipping a switch for your morning cup of java (coffee sock, is that something you wear?)
Seeing the clouds/storms roll in - absence of trees/forest
Spending hours in Mom and Dad's, Aunt Jeanine's pool
Riding cousin's bikes on the sidewalk instead of grass and rocks
Riding bikes without a seat that was taped on and no pedals
Travelling 2000 miles in the car to visit relatives in NC and NY without a portable DVD player

So much fun, great times spent with both my family and Mike's family. Two days before we flew back to Costa Rica, my anxiety level went through the roof – I did not want to return for some reason, perhaps I had gotten use to the creature comforts and spoiled myself a little too much...(knew I should have forgone that pedicure)! I’m sure missing family and friends also contributed to my racing heart beat and sweaty palms….so I tried to press on as we packed up for our second year here in Monteverde. Part of me, I’m sure, was nervous as to how the boys would react to leaving Chicago; however they were ready to return and did not cry out ‘to stay’ longer, so no additional pulling on my heart strings.

We arrived home almost a week ago and were greeted at the airport by Kattya and her husband who drove us up the mountain. So green and lush, definitely the rainy season was upon us – this was confirmed when we arrived at the little brown house, opened the door and were overcome with the musty smells of mildew and mold. Mike actually boiled a concoction of spices on the stove that night in an attempt to mask the must and mold....NICE! Needless to say, I have had my head down cleaning for four days….everything is moldy, we’ve had to throw out puzzles, shoes, books due to the rains and mold. I actually broke down and splurged for a bottle of Lysol as well. We are slowly making headway and had a rain-free/sun filled day yesterday which we took full advantage. A couple of days ago we stole away to one of our favorite hiking spots, the Waterfall off the main road and could not reach it due to trail damage complements of the rain. Mudslides and bridges out on the trail left us with having to improvise and that we did. The boys had great fun mucking around in the river bed and making channels/tributaries with sticks and oh how Mike was back in his element. We had so much rain two days ago that the water started to rush in the kitchen and back bedroom doors. We quickly grabbed brooms and started to sweep like crazy. We propped up a board against the roof to deflect the rain in hopes of helping our 'rescue effort'. All is well with this crew!

The ant hills in the pasture seem to have doubled in size and have encroached onto the yard. We are delighting in the new fence gate which will corral the horses in the pasture but are not so elated with the tiny ants we have all over the kitchen and the main bathroom sink. I think there is a colony in the ceiling (at least that is what Mike thinks as he was perched upon the counter top with flashlight held high this morning). The big black spiders are showing themselves in the house and Mike had to tell me to put the flashlight up as I stood on the bed about 10 PM last night shining the light into the high corner ceiling egging him onto climb up on the dresser with the critter cup in hand, 'you really can reach it' Okay already!

We were welcomed back by a call from our friend, Sue Trossle and have seen plenty of familiar faces already. Not much has changed here on the Green Mountain, perhaps that is its draw. The pulperia at the bottom of the hill is still in business so I’m happy that I can still pick up my box wine and bananas (and more) easily. The vacant space adjacent has been rented by a Gringo couple who has opened up a school for toddlers through Prepa (before 1st grade) - Bellbird School. I hear some other teachers from La Creativa School in Cerro Plano have migrated over so I will check it out as they might offer afternoon activities for the boys. I think it is Montessori based and will offer another educational option to families who are on the MFS /La Creativa waiting list. Both Mike and I are interested to follow their journey.

Now that I am here and have a few nights of sleep under me, it does feel like home – the kids are happy and outdoors, pooped and in bed no later than 8 p.m. (a far cry from the almost midnight bedtime hours they kept in Chicago).

There is so much to be thankful for and we are blessed to have spent 5 weeks visiting with you all. Thanks to Beth and Josh for hosting us as well as Aunt Julie and Uncle Craig, thanks to sister in laws who travelled far to visit and for those just around the corner for sharing their pool for a quick dip. We especially enjoyed the time at the farm in NY state and are happy that the boys have gotten a taste of the farm.

We miss everyone and hope that you will stay with us this year through our writings so we can stay connected. And please come to visit!

School starts in three weeks, I'll be ramping up the new building project and life will once again become routine...really?

Pics to follow

Signed: S