Tuesday, January 15, 2019

MARIA log January 15 Day 114 Monday

Monday, January 15 day 114

Put the finishing touches on cleaning the house before leaving for San Juan to pick up Elaine.

We are so grateful to Carole for letting us use her van to go to San Juan. It's SO much more comfortable than the truck.

It rained on the way to San Juan. Then I hit something in the road. I think it fell off the car in front of me. Whatever it was, it bust a tire but good. In the rain, on the side of the expressway, just before the exit to Bayamon, I changed a tire in the rain. I actually had to get out the owner's manual to find out where the tire part are stored. The spare tire is stored under the floor between the front seats and the second row seats. Yeah, I would have found it there eventually. But it's all good.

Picking up people at SJU is a cluster fuck. Too many vehicles, too many paranoid cops, not enough room. They took a ton of space out of use, I guess for "security" reasons. In the end I don't think it makes sense.

But Elaine is home! It wasn't the reunion I'd planned (because of the CF at the airport) but Sshe's home!

Carole had dinner waiting for us when we got home to return the van. Thank you, Carole!!!

Monday, January 14, 2019

NOW January 14, 2019

We had our first party/open house at the new house Sunday. Wow! What a party! More than 70 people came to check out the new digs, including our landlords. They were very impressed with what we've done and are doing with the house and the property. This place is very important to their family. While their approval isn't strictly necessary, it is sure nice to have!

Anyway, thanks to everyone who came. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening. There would have been more pictures but I was too busy having fun!

And it didn't rain on our party!

MARIA log January 14 Day 113 Sunday

Sunday, January 14 day 113

Rain overnight. Lots of cleaning today - Elaine comes home tomorrow!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

MARIA log January 13 Day 112 Saturday

Saturday, January 13 day 112

Fed horses, walked with Oz, then cleaned, then Carole's for dinner. Nothing much else happened.

A little bit of rain overnight and early morning.

That is all.

MARIA log January 12 day 111 Friday

Friday, January 12 day 111

A mixed bag of a day.

I fed horses then went to meeting with the mayor, our state senator, and an engineer from the electric authority, AEE.

Bottom line - it's like Ground Hog Day. They came out of their holes and said "six more weeks of darkness."

Our area has been assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps in turn contracted with a company called Flower. Their plan of work is to restore power to a sizable neighborhood in the Isabela pueblo, then work out a road leading out of the town to an area called Coasta Brava. When that is done, they move on to repair a substation that serves us. From there they work outward from the substation, through several areas over six or seven miles, through Jobos, down the hill and finally to us.

I actually think six weeks is optimistic.

Now that we've been told what the plan is - as opposed to before when we had no information at all - several residents what to get militant, demand immediate action, call the mayor and the governor daily, exercise their (non-existent) political muscle.

You know, I think that ship has sailed. The time for that, if there was a time, was two months ago. Now there is a plan, we know what it is, and "they" are not going to change it because a few people in a sparsely populated area - even if it is a high tourist area - suddenly after four months demand it.

After that meeting, I had to pay the phone bill since they are no longer debiting the account. I had to find an Open Mobile store. There is one by Walmart. I wanted a few things there so I figured two stops with one trip.

Silly me! The Open Mobile store is no longer there. Walmart did not have any of the things I wanted. I had to drive to Aguadilla just pay the damn phone bill.

And now the truck is back in the shop. A thermostat I think.

No rain today.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

MARIA log January 11 Day 110 Thursday

Thursday, January 11 day 110

Quiet "normal" day. Fed the horses, worked Chocolate, walked Oz on the beach, made "best-ever" grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup at Carole's for dinner. Rolf loved it. He ate very well!

Four days 'til Elaine comes home.

A little light rain today.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

MARIA log January 10 Day 109 Wednesday

Wednesday, January 10 day 109

"Mother Mother Ocean, I have heard you call..."

Today's excitement is brought to us by a magnitude 7.6 earthquake off the coast of Honduras. The earthquake triggered a tsunami advisory for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, pretty much all of Central America, the gulf coast of Mexico, Jamaica and Cuba. Just what we need - a tsunami!
The earthquake occurred just before 10:00 pm our time. I was almost asleep. With no electricity (so no local alert system active) I would have slept right through it. Except...

St. Jeremy is in Miami for training. He saw the news about the earthquake and the tsunami advisory o the pilots' weather system. He didn't have my number so he called Elaine in Cleveland. Just before 11:00 Elaine called me. Between us we found out that a tsunami "advisory" means the possibility of an ocean rise of .5 to 1 meter above "normal." Also, the "danger zone" for Puerto Rico would start at 1:24 AM and last about 2 hours.

I wasn't too concerned about a 1 meter wave. To be safe about 12:45 I started loading the emergency take-it-with-you stuff in the truck. To make it easier to load stuff and Oz, I moved the truck right in front of Ola Lola's half in the road with the flashers on. 

A police car with it's blue lights flashing turned down our road. I thought maybe they were coming to order us to evacuate. They stopped to investigate the truck. I ran down to tell them it was my truck, that it was ok. I asked them about the tsunami; they told me the advisory had been cancelled. YAY!

Of course I couldn't sleep. I laid in bed trying to read, listening to the ocean. I figured if a rogue tsunami came, the waves would go flat as the water receded from the beach. If it suddenly got quiet, Oz and the cat and I were out of there!

I have no idea if this is true but it sounded good at 2:00 AM.

Thank you - AGAIN!- St, Jeremy and Elaine and for cell signal!

We still have water so the shut-off rumors weren't true. The water pressure is very low though, Nothing else much happened today. Oh, no rain.

NOW: Curious - I forgot about the earthquake and the tsunami advisory until I reread and started typing this. 

MARIA log,January 19 Day 108 Tuesday

Tuesday, January 9 day 108

Music! Sweet sweet music!

Every evening we listen to music for a while at Carole's. Rolf likes to watch the music videos on YouTube. All that does is whet my appetite for more.

We had a small portable CD player but it died. I tried to replace it but there were none to be had on the island. So, using Carole's Internet and electricity, I ordered one from Amazon. It came today. Lovin' having music available!

Our hope for getting electricity back soon took a hit. Something brought down four poles around the S-curve past the the UFO (unidentified fried object) empanadilla stand. The falling poles took down electric cables and a brand new communication cable.

This afternoon the horses had some ya-yas to get out. KTJ came running down the hill throwing bucks and rearing with Chocolate and Zip right behind her. They kept this up for a while. Marie and I looked at each other and said, "I'm not being a stupid human. When y'all are done, let us know. Then we'll come in and feed."

I missed getting video of the best parts but I did get this. at the end:

They were so much fun to watch. I didn't know Chocolate could run that fast. I'm so glad they have room to stretch out like that.

The skies clouded up this afternoon. I thought we might get some rain but no-o-o-o.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

MARIA log January 8 Day 107 Monday

This guy has been hanging around in the lily pond for a couple of days. I hope he finds his way to where he needs to be 'cause this ain't the place.

A FEMA inspector came today, a very nice guy named Jesus from San Juan. (I will refrain from making Jesus jokes.)

The inspectors have a very specific scope, a very specific agenda, and they stick to it. Anything outside their purview - don't talk about it. The business? "We don't do businesses." The fence? Don't do fences. Did not want to see photos of damage, "Made note of" repairs already made, like the shutters. Didn't care about time or money spent on cleaning.

Their focus is on actual visible physical damage to your dwelling, your shelter. That's it. Anything else is beyond the scope.

We will probably get something, but not much. Ironically, the room that has the most visible damage is the room we use the least - the guest room/library/laundry room.

Since we don't have electricity, we can't assess damage to appliances. Jesus said that when the lights come on, check out the appliances. If there is a problem, FEMA will come back and do another inspection.

Anyway, that is finally moving forward.

Elaine had a good conversation with Stephanie La Vake. She and her family are still interested in buying Ola Lola's. So that is moving forward also. Slowly, but moving.

Warm, breezy, no rain.

Monday, January 07, 2019

NOW Monday, January 7, 2018

I was out with Coda Bear this morning and came home to this. It made my day. This kind of trust with a horse does not come easily.

Sunny breezy still no rain. Big waves coming tomorrow. Sounds like last year.

MARIA lob January 7 Day 106 Sunday

Sunday, January 7 day 106

The rumor "they" are shutting off water to repair the Guajataca dam is back. Word is water will be shut off Wednesday for three weeks. We'll see. This rumor has been around before.

We're not the only ones with utility issues. Our daughter Amy lives and Elaine is staying in a fairly well-off suburb of Cleveland. This morning they - and many others - did not have water becasue pipes froze in the extended severe deep cold. Also, I now frequently have better cell phone signalthan she does. Go figure.

Sunny breezy, still no rain. Big waves!

Sunday, January 06, 2019

MARIA log January 6 day 105 Saturday

Epiphany. Twelfth Night. Three King's Day. Dia de Tres Reyes. For many Puerto Rican families - and throughout Latin America for that matter - this is traditionally a bigger day than Christmas Day.

There have been big waves all week so no diving. I lost at least surf photo client because we still don't have electricity. I've probably lost a lot more than one. There are surfers and some tourists here. I guess I could drag my desktop computer to Carole's or somewhere that has electricity and set it up. It just feels awfully presumptuous to do that.

Warm and blustry today. No rain.

NOW: Sunday, January 6, 2019

Seems like we're channeling last year except with electricity. Well, mostly with electricity. It went out for about 2-1/2 hours last night. Anyway, waves all week. Sunny, warm, breezy (mostly), no rain and no diving all week.

Waves are supposed to be down tomorrow so I'm going diving whether anyone else goes or not. All my dive buddies have abandoned me.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

MARIA log January 5 Day 104 Friday

Friday, January 5, day 104

So apparently when we went to the local FEMA sign-up site in October, we weren't actually registered with FEMA like we thought we were. Elaine called FEMA today (from Ohio) to check on our status. They have no record of us ever applying or registering. She spent an hour-and-a-half on the phone registering us, something we thought was done two-and-a-half months ago.

Rain in the mountains today but none down here. Actually we could use some rain.

Friday, January 04, 2019

MARIA log January 4 Day 103 Thursday

 Thursday, January 4 day 103

Marie and I hoped to dive today, to get our New Year's and her birthday dive in. Not today!

We  looked at Rompeolas where we did last year's New Year's/birthday dive. Surf was up and the water was ugly - green, murky. At least there is sand for the entry.

Then we checked out Crashboat. It was even uglier. Waves stirred up a ton of near-shore sand. It was completely brown around the end of the pier.

Tonight was Ciudad's Christmas activity with the toys Carole donated. They also took 91 bags of groceries, all of which were taken. Three-and-a-half months after the hurricane and there is still so much need. Not just for some Christmas cheer, but for food, diapers, formula, medicine.

While all this was going on, one guy asked me - in Spanish - if we had any "benge" in the bags. "Benge?" I understood everything he said except "benge." In English he said, "you know, benge. To put on your sore back." Bengay! That's what he was looking for - Bengay!

It was a good night, lots of fun. I was surprised there was no food or music though.

No rain today.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

MARIA log January 3 Day 102 Wednesday

Wednesday, January 3, day 102

Not much today.

Beautiful sunrise.

No rain.

Worked Chocolate. "Stay" is getting better.

Dinner at Carole's.

NOW: January 3, 2019 - Wow! What a day! Our friends and fellow-horse people Chris and Is came over today. Chris is a fabulous horse (and people) trainer. He put us through some paces with KTJ Chocolate and Cass. Chocolate hasn't worked that hard since, well, the last time Chris was here. Isabel is an equine masseuse. We've had some problems with Cass and we wanted to be sure they weren't physical, caused by injury or pain. Is checked him out and then Chris worked and rode him. Nope, there's nothing wrong with him except a whole lot of attitude. Well, we can deal with that!

It was  a great day with great friends. Our horses rocked! And the people got better.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

MARIA log January 2 Day 101 Tuesday

Just a "normal" day:

No lights, no rain
Fed horses twice

Took the great and wonderful Oz for a walk on the beach. Actually, he takes me. It's his walk. He sets the pace. He decides how far we walk and when we turn around.
Marie's birthday
Worked on cleaning the bar. Sometimes it feels like nothing is getting any cleaner, that I'm just moving mud from one place to another place.

We had the "traditional" New Years spaghetti and marinara sauce for dinner tonight.
Carole: "Is it traditional?"
Me: "It will be when we have it."

It was very quiet at Carole's tonight, very still. No wind, no frogs, no traffic sounds not even a dog barking.

We took down the Christmas tree. Rolf and I were sad about it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

NOW January 1, 2019

 Last night we joined the "last sunset" celebration on the beach at Shacks. It was beautiful evening. And it was nice because we didn't have to rush in or out. We did leave a bit early because we had plans to go to our landlady's home for New Years. Wow! A New Year's Eve out. It's been a long time for us.

Our landlady Ivette had a lovely party and it was very nice of her to invite us. We slipped out a little after 10 pm so we could be home with the animals if the night got crazy. I'm so glad we did because it did get crazy!

Like Christmas, there is so much pent up energy after last year after the hurricane. The parandas and Christmas parties were bigger and louder. This year there were lots more fireworks, bigger and louder. Elaine went out to the paddock with the horses to try to calm them and I sat in the house holding the three dogs, the four-and-a-half pound Chihuahua, the 60-pound Chow, and the 100-pound Lab. It was loud and intense - window-rattling booms, bangs, crackles, car and truck horns, ear-blasting music - and lasted longer than usual but we got through it. As much as I miss Amber and Jazz, part of me is happy they did not have to endure that.

Light rain overnight. We're especially grateful for the rain over the last few days with all the fireworks. As dry as it was, there was a real danger of grass fires. There have in fact been several grass fires  nearby. Fortunately none here.

MARIA log January 1, 2018, Day 100 Monday

Monday, January 1, 2018 day 100

Today is Day 100 if you count from September 21, when the hurricane ended which is how I've been counting the days. If you count from September 20, when the hurricane started, today, 01/01 is day 101.

It was a pretty quiet New Year's  A few fireworks but not like some years. No TV, no ball dropping, no football, and that's okay.

Marie and I went to see Sprocket today. He really looks good. The plan for now is to leave him at Kiki's for "unmema." Translated, first in to Spanish, that is "un mes mas" then to English, "one more month." Sometime around the first of February we'll move him in with the other horses.

Most of my New Year's Day was spent working with Chocolate. We're working on "stay." Yes, I tell my hrse to stay.

It's only been 11 days since the solstice, but already the light feels different. No rain today, but that's not different.

We had a fun dinner at Carole's. Jeremy and Anna brought burgers. Anna made the biggest apple pie Ive ever seen. Oh, my! Homemade apple pie - and ice cream!