Tuesday, October 09, 2018

MARIA log, Day 55, November 16, Thursday.

It's the raining season. It rains every day. Sometimes afternoons, some days mornings, sometimes overnight, some days all of the above.

Last night we had a huge storm. Okay, Maria was a huge storm!

Last night we had blasting bolts of lightning, huge shake-the-house-and-scare-the-dogs thunder claps, sideways rain driven by the wind.

But no flooding, no pieces of roof flying off. Just a good ol' fashioned tropical thunderstorm. Lying there listening to the storm, I couldn't help but think of people like our neighbor Robert, riding out this storm in a tent behind the remains of his house, destroyed by Maria.

Or the people still living under tarps instead of roofs. How did this storm have feel to them? Was it like deja vĂș?

We were safe in our intact house, under our solid roof. And we are incredibly grateful!

A NOW moment: We had a HUGE thunderstorm--lightning, wind, rain, THUNDER!--last night. Okay, not Maria huge, but big. I was reminded--again--how little lightning and thunder there were during the hurricane. I expected more.

Maria log, Day 54, November 15, Wednesday

Travel around the area has become a cha-cha--one step forward, two steps back, slide to the side, repeat.

FEMA-funded (we think) crews are everywhere picking up debris of the sides of roads. Electric crews are starting to show up as well  When the crews are out, roads are blocked, sometimes completely, sometimes for hours. Sometimes there are ways around the block, sometimes not.
We usually don't find out a road is blocked until we get to the actual work site, to the actual block.

Back up. Turn around. Look for another route to wherever it is you're trying to go. Often as not, that route is blocked as well. Back up. Turn around. Look for another route.

On the one hand it's frustrating and time consuming trying to get anywhere. On the other hand, "you must learn patience, Grasshopper." These are signs something is happening, that something is getting done.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Maria log, Day 53 November 13, Monday

Monday, November 13

We had our first complainer at Helping Horses. This guy was spreading all kinds of horse manure--that we weren't distributing the food properly, that we were selling grain "under the table," that we were keeping most of the grain for our own horses. He said he had pictures of "someone" loading 28 bags of grain in a truck behind the police station. It "had to be someone in cahoots" with the police taking the grain for themselves.

Yeah, he saw someone loading grain at the police station. Me! He apparently didin't see me and our friend and volunteer Ivan driving those 28 bags of grain to the Picadero and unloading them. Then coming back to the police for two more loads totaling 50 more bags. This was the grain the police brought from the race track, the load from when the truck broke down and we had to haul it the rest of the way.

The irony is this guy came the first day and got more aid than almost anyone else. He kept coming back asking for more.

Actually we did have one other person complain. He complained to Annie that we were only doing this in Isabela and not in Ponce. Hey, dude--you're welcome to come join the party in Isabela! Or feel free to start your own program in Ponce.

But stop f-ing complaining!

Caught up in the NOW, October 7

 Flashback to a year ago: Rolf's post-hurricane birthday. Carole wasn't sure she could get a carrot cake--Rolf's favorite--because the bakery in the grocery store wasn't  sure they had enough carrots. I didn't take any pictures this year because I was the cook, flipping pancakes by request.

It may be "now" and the hurricane may have been a year ago, but flashbacks continue.

Last night we celebrated our friend Rolf's 89th birthday. It was a flashback to a year ago: thunder, rainy and cloudy and gloomy all day (after the hurricane, it rained every day for a month; the sun barely showed it's face ). When we got to Carole and Rolf's house, we were serenaded by the neighborhood-wide song of generators. The power was out and had been all afternoon. So like a year ago, we made dinner and sat in semi-darkness, listening to the rain. And like a year ago, our "family" was all together, this year including Jeremy's wife Anna and their daughters Penny and Vivian, gathered around the table, and we celebrated another year of life!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: Last week Michelle, one of our friends and colleagues from Rincon/Aguada, told us she has to return to her home in the UK for a few months. She asked us if she could board her horse Casanova (usually shortened to Cass) with us. We went down to Aguada to see him and--yeah, we'll take him. He's a quarter horse, bigger than Chocolate, not as big as Zip. Nice horse! He'll actually be a good horse for me to ride, especially as Chocolate is recovering from a leg injury.

But--she's leaving Monday and needs us to take him right away! So I've spent the last week putting up an electric fence corral for him and fencing the first pasture area. This is all stuff that needs to be done so we can bring our horses down to Castaways in a couple of weeks. The prospect of bringing Cass in just accelerated the timetable.

Cass was supposed to come Saturday. Unfortunately, Cass was in an accident in a trailer in June. with that memory, when they loaded him in the trailer Saturday morning, he freaked out when they closed the trailer door. His corral and pasture will be here when he gets here. We're hoping that will be tomorrow late morning.

Our other horses are still up the road where they've been for a little over a year. Their living (pasture) space is shrinking as we take down posts to fence in fields here at Castaways.

While all this is going on, Elaine is busy getting all the paperwork--leases, insurance, non-profit applications--in order for Horses of Hope. By the way, we were not chosen as a finalist in the Chipstarter thing. We have to start looking for another funding source to build a covered arena,

It could be January for all the looking forward to an exciting future but looking backward and remembering what was happening a year ago we're doing. (The month of January is named for Janus, the Roman god with two faces, one looking to the future, one looking to the past.) Exciting times!