Tuesday, December 09, 2008

T.I.V. Tuesday

We are leaving for the US on Friday and T.I.V. Tuesdays will be suspended until we return in mid-January. Lest my readers think life in Venezuela is solely about food shortages and Chavez's antics, I wanted this final post to be about something positive.

A major benefit of living in Venezuela is that we can afford household help (maids, nannies, drivers, gardeners, etc.). We don't have the need for all of that, but we do employ a full-time, live-in maid who also provides babysitting on nights and weekends. Her name is Mariza, she is Peruvian, loves our boys, is a great cook, regularly cleans, launders and washes our entire house and is a dream come true! Yes, adjusting to someone living in your house can be difficult, but once you realize you haven't done a load of laundry in weeks, you get over the awkwardness posthaste. Mariza is a godsend and makes our lives a lot better than it would be otherwise. I know what you're thinking, "you have a maid, what more do you want?" And it's true, we may not have sugar or milk, but we always have sparkling clean bathrooms!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

"Something Fun"

A couple of weeks ago, desperate to convince Caleb to finish his lunch, I promised him that as soon as he was done we would do "something fun." The tactic worked like a charm, but my steel-trap minded little boy has daily made me regret saying those two words. Now any time he is bored or in need of encouragement or just plain ready for a new diversion he'll come to me and say "Mommy, I need to do something fun." That statement regularly tests my resourcefulness and powers of creativity. Under the guise of doing something fun we have visited the playground countless times, danced to every track on the ipod at least twice, cooked or watched cooking shows (Caleb loves the Food Network), and done every Thanskgiving and now Christmas craft I can think of. Below is a sampling, for posterity's sake, of some of our crafty creations from the last several weeks. Some have been more engaging that others, but I am proud to say I haven't yet failed to produce "something fun" when bidden.
a Caleb sized scarecrow
Indian corn made using punched holes and glue
(this and other ideas are from Amy's blog)
a Thanksgiving crown he refused to wear...
but was happy to share with Isaac
pasta colored with vinegar and food coloring...
for decorating pictures and,
making garlands
it's supposed to be a turkey
yarn stars
more Indian corn, this time painted with q-tips
this too is supposed to be a turkey made from a styrofoam
ball stuck with various beads, strait pins and pipe
cleaners (this project was a big hit with Caleb)
Frosty and Santa
the obligatory hand-print turkey

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

T.I.V. Tuesday

When I was a child, my grandmother, Grammy we called her, used to have her water delivered in 5 gallon jugs. She had one of those water dispensers with both a blue and red nozzle respectively indicating cold and hot water. We thought it was pretty cool -- after all our water just came out of the tap, how provincial! Her brand of water was Arrowhead and ever since I always think of that size of water bottle as Arrowhead Water.
We have running water, but it isn't fit for consumption so our drinking water is delivered in similar bottles every Friday. Though we usually only drain 2 or 3 a week, we always have at least 6 at the ready...just in case (our new life mantra in Venezuela.) I have no idea where this water comes from, but I like to think it too is Arrowhead Water and though thousands of miles away, it's source is lovely, pristine, pure Lake Arrowhead.

Looks inviting, doesn't it? And never more so to me than this last weekend when beginning Thursday night our water slowed to a trickle then stopped altogether not to return until Monday morning. Apparently there was a catastrophic break in a major artery of Caracas' water delivery system and half the city went without running water for more than 72 hours. With the last vestiges in our pipes we filled the bathtubs (and discovered too late only 1 of 3 actually holds water for an extended period), hurriedly washed any dirty dishes and bathed the boys. The bath water was full of red silt and decidedly unpleasant looking so was relegated exclusively to flushing toilets.

Friday morning dawned sans water and with limited options for general cleanliness. Kenny actually went swimming first, but the resulting coat of chlorine solved nothing. We waited as long as possible, hoping for a miracle, but finally we were so offensive to ourselves something had to be done. Enter our emergency "Arrowhead" water. Using a bowlful of heated drinking water and a cup, we took our showers and repeated that each day for the next three. Finally on Sunday night we took the boys to a friend's house for baths. We had tried to keep them clean, but they were filthy and needed a good soak.

The water is back now though rumors are flying of residual problems cropping up as a result of the original break. Our bathtub is full, just in case and we are counting the minutes until we board a plane for UT and my parents' gloriously water-full house. As I stood in the shower last weekend with my cupful of water rinsing soap from my skin I tried to imagine diving into beautiful Lake Arrowhead coming out refreshed and clean. No such luck. It was a beautiful dream never quite realized.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

We Needed A Little Christmas

We are leaving for the US mid-way through the month and will be celebrating Christmas with both sets of grandparents (not together, 2 Christmases). We don't get back until the middle of January so decided there wasn't any point in putting up Christmas decorations only to take them down a week later or be met by them 6 weeks later. But, as I have been reading what seems like hundreds of posts about Thanksgiving turning overnight into Christmas, I have felt like we must do something. As such, I scoured the internet today and happened upon a nifty advent calendar that was easily cobbled together and highly disposable. Though not my own idea I feel confident claiming as proprietary the use of New Yorker magazine covers and patterned plastic bags instead of wrapping paper (we only had 3 varieties). Another twist is I didn't actually place a slip of paper in each envelope for fear the whole thing would come tumbling down, but I made a list of things I otherwise would have included in observance of the advent of Christmas and today's was "Christmas crafts."

We've got Christmas music wafting through the house and gingerbread candles burning...if we don't go or look outside, we almost feel chilly. It is now beginning to look a little like Christmas.


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