Thursday, February 28, 2019

MARIA log Feburary 28, March 1 Days 160, 161 Wednesday, Thursday

Wednesday, February 28 day 160

No rain, sunny all day.

Stuff must have happened today but I don't remember what it was.

Thursday, March 1 day 161

Ditto yesterday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

MARIA log February 25, 26, 27 Days 157, 158, 159 and NOW

Sunday, February 25 day 157

Sunny and warm morning, no rain overnight.

Also no electricity again from 1:30 AM on.

Only one brief rain shower during the day but howling winds. Then heavy rain in the evening.

Electricity still off when we got home from Carole's.

NOW Monday, February 25

From the Rock at Golandrina a couple of days ago

Light rain overnight. Not enough to relieve the drought or water rationing but it's helping the grass and the pastures. Mostly sunny and windy.

Monday, February 26 day158

Heavy rain overnight. Still no electricity at 6:00 AM. It came back on about 1:00 PM.

NOW Tuesday, February 26

Light rain overnight, then sunny and very windy.  The water was back on so we did some laundry. And since the water was on and I could wash him, I took Coda to walk on Playa El Pastillo  "El Pastillo" translates as "the dough." That's appropriate; the waves are constantly kneading the shoreline and the beach. Anyway, the colors in the water have been incredible.

Tuesday, February 27 day 159

Woke up to:

Light still on;
Breezy but not howling.

A day of cleaning and painting.

The Small Business Administration called today - our business loan for $22,000 has been approved. We're probably not going to take it because of the terms.  We're still waiting to hear about our SBA homeowner's loan. If that is approved, we'll probably take it. The terms are much better.

NOW Wednesday, February 27

Light rain overnight, Sunny and windy. Is there a pattern here? Still not enough rain to end the rationing though. So today is a no-water day which means - among other things - I don't take Coda to the beach. Today was a trail-walk day. A lot of times that means we walk up over the Rock at Golandrina. I love it up there. Whichever way you look, the view is different.

The rock itself is an exposed edge of the limestone up-lift that creates Puerto Rico. The edges have be carved by millennia of wind and sand in to this ragged sharp-edged alien-world-looking rock called aeolianite. It's really cool stuff. And it's fun to watch the ocean through it.

And always, there are those colors.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

NOW Sunday February 24

From our morning walk today: Life on the edge of the endless restless sea

Even Coda Bear enjoyed it. But he always does.

MARIA log February 24 Day 156 Saturday

Saturday, February 24 day 156

Cold rainy windy morning. How cold you ask? I have on long pants and a sweatshirt and I'm still cold. Thunder and lightning out over the ocean. I love that.

No light again this morning. I don't know what time it went off but it was off when I got up a 5:30.

We put all four horses together for the first time. Sprocket has been with the others three individually but this is the first time the herd has been all together. So far it looks good.

Started pressure washing the bar as part of the clean up. Elaine is painting. It's all starting to come together.

Power came back on about 1:30 PM.

Horses were great together. There was some horseplay and working out the herd heirarchy but so far no big deal. We're leaving them together for the night.

NOW February 24, 2019

Water rationing has begun. 

It is very weird having to do work-arounds for water. We're pretty used to  work-arounds for electric. Except for the weeks after the hurricane when we had no water at all and the occasional low pressure day on holidays and high tourist season, we really haven't had many water problems. `

As they said it would, our water went off Friday night and came back on sometime Saturday night. At least it was on when we woke up this morning. 

We stocked up: The water purifier bucket that we've used for drinking water since the hurricane has five gallons of water. We have eight former bleach jugs full of tap water ready to go into the purifier bucket. We keep plastic jugs of drinking water around all the time anyway. The cistern is full. The horses' water tubs are filled each night before the water is shut off. We can go more than the 24 hours water is supposed to be off. And, we can always drink beer!

there is some concern about people hoarding water. I'm not so much worried about hoarding (how much water do you have to have in reserve before it's considered hoarding?) What worries me is all the people who think the only way they can get water is to buy cases of little bottles of water like they do before and after every storm. We may be saving a little bit of water but it scares me to think about the impact that little savings could have on the environment. BTW - all of our bottles and jugs are reused/repurposed.

"They" have posted online the locations of  trucks with potable water for those who need it. It's great for those with online access. I will say, yesterday I saw trucks where they were supposed to be. Some people in other municipios were complaining that water was turned off early or whatever. That may well be. From what I've seen, it's going the way they said it would. Just hope it keeps up this way.

MARIA log February 23 Day 155 Friday

Friday, February 23 day 155

No light again from 3:00 AM until 3:00 PM.

The new wire the cable company strung through the quebrada (the canyon) coming down the hill came loose and is down across the road. Yet another one-lane obstacle on the road.

When we finally got the means to communicate after the hurricane, one of the first things we did was to contact the people who were interested in buying Ola Lola's. We were very stright forward: we've been through a major hurricane, things are a mess, are you still interested? Two of the three said YES! The fist of those, the La Vakes, are coming next week to look things over and hopefully seriously talk about buying.

Our big push is to get things as ready as we can to show them as we can. "Da Guys," Andres and Chino, the brothers who do pretty much all our construction, finished the new bathroom vanity, new track lights and installed the third new ceiling fan. Our friend Chip is cruising on getting the new fence up. He's really good and it looks great!

Elaine finished cleaning/painting the library/laundry/guest room and it looks fabulous! Da Guys did a great job installing the new tile floor. Just keeping  on keepin' on!

Cold, rainy, windy afternoon.

Friday, February 22, 2019

MARIA log February 22 Day 154 Thursday

Thursday, February 22 day 154

High wind and hard rain overnight.

More dealing with SBA bureaucratic  B.S. Now SBA wants "stamped" copies of our last five years tax returns from the IRS. Apparently, "the system" isn't giving Ernest Jackson, the guy we're dealing with at SBA, the kind of access to our tax records he thinks he should have.

So I called the IRS and they have no idea what he's talking about, no idea what a "stamped" copy is. The woman at the at the IRS said she could send me certified copies of our tax returns. Certified copies are $50 each (!) and can take up to 6 months to get.

 I spent more than four hours on line, on the phone and waiting for a fax that never came. But the woman from the IRS was really nice. Once we figured out what Ernest Jackson really wanted, she said, "I can just fax that to you! Do you have a fax?"

"Uh, no."

"Well, we'll just stay on the line while you drive to Kinko's."

"Uh, no Kinko's. The nearest Kinko's is 900 miles in Miami. I can get to a fax machine but I will lose the call."

"Waddya mean?"

"Well, I have to drive up the mountain through a narrow rock-walled canyon to get there. There is no cell signal in the canyon."

"Waddaya mean 'no cell signal?' How do you get by with no cell signal?"

"It's just for a few minutes in the canyon. It's just the way it is." I didn't bother to explain about the months we'd been without cell signal at all. She was really cute about it.

MARIA log February 21 Day 153 Wednesday

Wednesday, February 21, day 153

Still incredibly windy, 20-30 mph, day and night.

Hard - but short - sideways rain overnight.

More hassles with the Small Business Administration trying to prove I/we own this property. The problem is the difference here between postal/mailing address and what are called physical addresses. They are not the same.

Most places outside of towns don't have actual street addresses. For example, our postal/mailing address is "332 Bo. Bajuras." (Bo. is the abbreviation for barrio.) Bo. Bajuras is just a descriptor, not a street. The road we live on does not have a name or a number. "332" is just a box on a post. It has actually moved several times. It is not connected to the property. If you put that address into GPS, Siri would say, "Hunh?" because it is not a street address.

To actually locate the property you need the physical address, which is long and complicated. And, you have to know what it means to know what it means, to find the place. If I just gave you the physical address, you still couldn't find us. GPS and Google Maps don't recognize our physical address as an address at all so don't bother trying to find us that way.

Anyway, SBA needs some document that connects us as owners of the property and owners of the business to the actual physical address. Some documents use the postal address, some the physical address but none of them have both;

I found three different documents that, if taken together, I think connect all the dots. I hope SBA thinks so too.

We tried to see an attorney about all this but he's closed on Wednesdays. We tried to see SBA at their Isabela center but high winds and a hard afternoon downpour drove them out.

Frustrating day.

This whole issue of proper documentation is frustrating many people trying to get help. In some cases, because of how property sometimes changes hands in PR. "Hey, I'll trade you an acre of my land for four of your cows." "Okay." Handshake. That was four or five generations ago. the guy who traded the cows built a house on his new land. His kids upgraded the house and raised their kids there. Now the house is destroyed by the hurricane. But because generations ago no deed or title was ever filed, the great-great grand kids can't "prove" to SBA or FEMA's satisfaction that they own the land, even though their family has lived there for more than 100 years. That's the first question SBA and FEMA ask: do you have title to the land? No title - no help. Oh you rent? Sorry, can't help you.

A lot of people will be living under tarps for a long time.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

MARIA log, February 20 Day 152 Tuesday

Tuesday, February 20 day 153

Five months today since the hurricane.

Only 99 days until the 2018 hurricane season starts.

Windy, no rain

MARIA log February 19 Day 151 Monday

Monday, February 19 day 151

Today Elaine  took off to the mountains to deliver food and other supplies with volunteers from Ciudad de Salvacion.

After loading trucks, cars, and vans with food, water, and other supplies, they headed off on the nearly three-hour drive to Morovis in the mountains in the center of the island. This area was devastated by flooding caused by Hurricane Maria. On the only roads into one small community, flood waters swept away the bridge.

Full disclosure: this is not my photo.

Even now, 151 days after the hurricane, the bridge is still under construction.

The caravan of supply vehicles had to cross the river on the ford, the same way the residents get in and out. If the river is high, the ford is impassable and the communities beyond are isolated.

Fortunately, the river wasn't high on this day. 

The people at the church expect this to be their last food and water run in to this area. Grocery stores are starting to be stocked so food and water is becoming more readily available. There is still a great need however. 

From here the caravan moved on to another stop passing more signs of destruction, recovery and continued need for help.

I didn't go on this trip, something I truly regret. I had to be at home waiting for delivery of some construction materials. I also regret that I/we didn't go on any of the earlier trips, either with Ciudad with other groups. Unfortunately, we always seemed to find out about them after the fact. 

"You ask me why I'm not leaving. The process has changed but the goal hasn't." -- a sign in a store in the mountains. 

That kind of says it for all of us.