Friday, April 17, 2015

A Nasty Cockroach and Other Bugs

Wouldn't you know - at the end of the day after a maid had come and the house is spankin' clean, we have our first huge cockroach. Always an exciting event. Maybe in her detailed cleaning she disturbed his nest, so he was out on the hunt for a new place to call home. So last night, the kids were all in bed except for Melodie, and Corey was in the front room when he saw a big ol' roach scurry by. He called her to come aid him in the hunt and execution of the unwelcome pest. The roach went behind the coffee table and was trying to hide by the wall. I heard the fun going on and went and got the can of Raid. I got a good first shot at him as he hid, but then he ran out and took cover under where the coffee table had been moved to in the middle of the room. Mel took refuge on top of the table, I was on the east side, Corey on the west. The cockroach ran out Corey's side. Poor Corey didn't have shoes or the can of Raid and quickly hopped out of the way and I ran after the cockroach, getting poison all over the floor as I tried to hit the moving target. He ran against another wall and I almost thought I should try to step on him, but that would be too gross, so I kept coating him with white foamy poison as he tried to run. And then he got away from me behind the crate couches. Drat! So it was late at night, but we had an urgent "must-disassemble-the-couches-now!" emergency and took apart the cushions and crates in hopes of finding and finishing off the nasty creature.
Melodie was a good hunter and found him with her phone flashlight (the lights here are so dim, we can hardly see a thing once the sun goes down). He was on his back and looked pretty much dead. Yeah, take that! Die bug. We moved the crates a bit more until we were able to stick a pole between the crate slats and bat him out from under the taken apart couch. Here he is next to a pencil for size reference...
 
Isn't that disgusting? Ugh, SO GROSS!!!! Cockroaches are the worst! We pushed him outside the front door where his little corpse stayed until we were able to show the other kids this morning. I mopped up the floor, Mel and I put the couch back together. I hope we don't have or see anymore. That's probably wishful thinking. We're not even 3 weeks into this adventure and have over 10 more weeks to go, odds aren't in our favor. And Corey told the kids that where you see one cockroach, there are are 100 more you haven't seen. We'll keep the Raid handy.

Some other bugs that we've thought worthy of documenting ~ here are some weird bugs.
Found these two tiny things on April 9th. I thought they were seeds of some kind but then I saw one moving. Some googling of "bug looks like seed" helped me find the right image, leading to a website called "What's that Bug" that tells me that these bugs are called "case bearing moth larvae." That might be why I found them in our closet. I guess I better shake out our clothes regularly to make sure no moths start eating our clothes?
Corey thought they were really pathetic, giving them a C grade for overall creation design. He was glad to learn that was just the larvae stage though, cause if that was the final measure of their creation, well that would just be sad. They stick their little larvae body out and scoot themselves where they want to go. Weird bug. Then here's another one - Corey saw this one on the 11th, it was out walking across the deck by our bedroom ~
We poked it with a stick and it rolled up like an armadillo. It's a cross between a pill bug and a fuzzy caterpillar and something else... Some googling helped us and we think this might be a puss caterpillar. They supposedly live near coconut trees, and he was on the side of our house where there are coconut trees, so maybe. They are poisonous, so don't touch them! The fuzzier and friendlier they seem, the more poisonous they probably are!

Last one - here's a cool looking spider that was outside the gate, hanging out waiting for food in his web, spun in an aloe vera looking plant. It looks like it has a head with two evil red eyes on it's abdomen...
I thought he looks a little bit like one of the aliens in the Independence Day movie, ready to spring out and jump on ya with his big alien tentacles.
So that's all the weird and nasty and noteworthy bugs we've encountered thus far. Good times, good times.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Maidservant

Yesterday the lady who owns the house we're renting came by. She told me there would be a maid coming by today to clean. I guess that means I wasn't towing the line? Maybe not, cause "everyone has a maid" - it's just something you do here, so I shouldn't take it personally. Corey has told me that "even maids have maids". But then, Corey also said that it was communicated to him that the landlord lady was upset/embarrassed cause our sidewalk in front wasn't clean. Who knew? Looked fine to me, but that's probably just cause most all of the sidewalks look about the same for this slightly ignorant American - I couldn't tell that it wasn't swept or what is supposed to be swept? I see workers over at the park across the street on my morning jog, and they're brushing up fallen leaves with palm branches. Is that what she wants?  I'm assuming she doesn't expect us to cut the grass out there too, right? If she does, she hasn't told me where the clippers or weed-whacker is. (They don't use mowers). So hard to keep up with these unknown expectations!

Corey said it's probably good to have a maid come, cause then she can make sure this house is up to the local cultural standards, which we are clueless about. As far as we're concerned, we might just as well be camping. We've got all the needs for a great camping experience: Mosquitoes? Check. Coat everyone with repellent several times a day? Check. Need to filter the water before we drink it? Check. Dim lights after the sun goes down? Yup. Ants come and eat the food if you don't clean up? Yes sir, we got it all - Corey said it's like we're staying in a really big Deluxe KOA. He makes me laugh. Our apartment in Chile was like a really nice motorhome (note the small kitchen table for our family of 9 that we had there...) And now we're having this experience here - which is more like living large at the posh Brazil KOA for a few month.

So, I was told the maid would be here at 8. And that she had a key, so no need to worry about letting her in, she knows her way around the house too (was a maid here before) so just go about my business as usual. She also asked if I had cleaning supplies. I said yes (I have a broom, squeegee, the floor towels, and a little bit of soap. She asked again if I had supplies and I tried to say yes, but I don't know if they are the right cleaning supplies that she'll need. Corey told me to next time just say no, I don't have anything to clean. Ok. I was gone on my morning walk when she arrived. Corey hadn't left for work yet, and I had given him the heads up. But he said it was a little weird (again, for us Americans and our culture of personal/private space) to just see her walking by the window, not announcing her arrival or having a token greeting per US culture, just coming into our home and yard and beginning her servitude. He also said the landlord was going to the store to buy cleaning stuff. She came back and dropped off four bags of supplies. I had some of the things she bought, but whatever. The kids took them back to the maid.
She seems nice enough, but she's older than us, and I guess for me that's part of what just doesn't seem right. It's like if people have to be maids, it should be a right of passage, like teenagers working at a fast food chain before they get a real job. It shouldn't be something that my mother does to support herself for the rest of her life. A lady her age should have moved beyond this by now, right? Or is that just my American way of thinking. I guess I feel bad about it, but maybe she's grateful for work, I don't know. We're trying to figure out what is behind our feelings and why we feel the way we do. She was here all day - from 8 until 4 and I gotta say the house looks great, I didn't notice if she took a break for lunch, I hope she ate something. When the kids were having a break for ice cream I wanted to offer her some but didn't know if you're not supposed to do that? I didn't see where she was at or what she was working on at the moment, as I was making sure little people didn't leave the kitchen with their bowls of food and make a mess upon the just cleaned floors. During the day she cleaned out the "maid's quarters" and outside storage area where the pool stuff and water/gas tanks and other things that I-don't-know-what-they-are are (like this contraption pictured below...)
I think this is what gives our faucet and shower head water it's heartbeat. Have I mentioned our water has a heartbeat? That machine there above makes this pumping sound that is in sync with the water movements whenever we turn the water on or flush a toilet - I think it is what makes us have a slight bit of water pressure, it's like it has a pulse. Kinda strange. Although Corey learned that without this thing we wouldn't have any water pressure at all, it'd just drizzle out. So it's a good thing that our water has a pulse, not a bad thing. Still, that was one of the things that I first noticed when we got here that made me feel the reality of the fact that I was not in Kansas anymore.

What else... she also cleaned out underneath the crate couches and table in the front room and dining room, that impressed me.
That's our crate dining table. We had quite a bit of dust in between the slat pedestals. She swept and mopped the floors, sprayed off the side patio ~
That's a view of the patio looking southward. The door on the left there goes to the front yard deck. Below is a view of the patio from inside the front living room looking northward. Floors all very clean
She took the hose around to the front deck (I didn't know we had a hose), And also raked up leaves in the yard and swept off the walkway. She just did a great job everywhere. She left before Corey got back from work with money to pay her, but said she'd come by again tomorrow (I think) and that she needed to go, cause it was "tarde" and her home is far away. So, that was our first maid experience. For all that work of 8 hours, we are paying her R$120, which is about $40 bucks I think. If that is all she is expecting then we definitely got a steal. She's scheduled to come again on Tuesday, not sure if that will be 8 hours again? But still, I do feel bad about servitude in general - like I can do this stuff or would like to have my kids do this work, it's good for them. And now that I saw a little bit of what is expected I know what to do, but maybe she's glad to have work and would feel bad if I didn't want her to come back, like I didn't think she did a good job. The kids did clean their own rooms and bathrooms, though. And she didn't come back into the room areas at all, and I did all the dishes and kept the kitchen clean, and did laundry, trying to do my part as a homemaker.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lunches and Lessons

As Abi was splurging on jello yesterday, she asked Bianca "Can we come here everyday?" Bianca is so nice, she said yes. Me, being an American who tries to have and give people and families their personal space, didn't think that was a good idea. But they insisted we come back for lunch again. So we went again today. There was wonderful company - three sister missionaries and 7 other guests, plus the Martins family. It was another delicious feast - roasted beef, mandioca (a root they have here, a little like a potato in texture but different in taste, really good!!) salad, rice and beans - and of course more popsicles and ice cream for dessert. Then there was more swimming and more soccer. I brought Sophi and Natalie's swimming suits this time, they loved it.
 Are you happy Sophi? I think that face says yes
 They didn't swim as long this time. They went in and played in the toy room for a bit, fun toys.
And then we had a Martins vs. Wrides soccer game. They won. Wesley kept saying "One thing I don't like about Brazilians is that they are too good at soccer!" So it was another wonderful afternoon. We excused ourselves earlier than we did yesterday, cause we had to go home for a Portuguese lesson from Renata. She's a new member in the ward who wants to improve her English, so we've arranged for all of us to get together three times a week. It's a win-win with all of us trying to communicate for an hour. This is a picture from our lesson on Monday.
She comes Mon, Wed, and Friday. Monday was our first lesson and even Lily and Natalie joined in.
Yesterday it was just Hyrum, Wesley, and Abi, but they were good students. I kinda came and went depending on what the little girls were doing. So it was another good day, we're staying busy and time is ticking by. Last night Corey bought our return tickets - we're going to push through and leave the July 1st for an all night flight to Orlando, then instead of getting a hotel, renting cars, and moving luggage back and forth, we opted just to hang out at the airport from the time we arrive at 7:30 until the direct flight to Salt Lake at 5:30 Florida time, arriving at home around 8 pm Utah time. That will be a very long trip, but I know we'll all be anxious to get back, and I'm hoping that excitement pulls us through!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Birthday Lunch

On Sunday, one of Melodie's young women's leaders, Bianca, talked to Corey and I to make sure we knew about an activity they were having at her house on Tuesday (today). She said she could come by and pick up Melodie. Then she said "Actually, why don't you all come by for lunch?" So we did. And we had a grand time. Corey had a presentation in Sao Paulo, so it was just me and the kids. So get ready for an overload of pictures that I took this afternoon. They have a beautiful home and were such gracious hosts. We all enjoyed a wonderful lunch of salad, grilled chicken, ham lasagna (yum), cheese potatoes, and corn. After than we took a quick break outside -Natalie headed straight for their playground - she's doing a full on toddler sprint toward the slide, pretty cute.
Do you love slides, Natalie? If you do, show me a big smile...
That looks like a yes to me! But don't have too much fun yet, you need to come back in for dessert! When we arrived, Sophi told them about her birthday (cause every day is Sophi's birthday). Well, they just happened to have chocolate cake, so we played along and sang happy birthday to Sophi after Bianca lit a candle for her...
Sophi was so pleased, her master plan worked!
But it's actually Lily that has the next closets birthday in June, so we decided to sing to her, too.
Anyone else want a birthday? Abi? Okay, Happy Birthday to you too, it's just a big triple birthday party lunch today!
Sophi scooted her chair up to the dessert table and kicked up her feet - feeling pretty comfortable.
Sophi, are you a little embarrassed to be making yourself so at home?
Natalie slurped up the jello. The jello cups all had cute little umbrellas in them that the girls are saving for their Disney "polly pocket" toy dolls.
Then we spent the afternoon swimming in the pool. I didn't bring a swimsuit for Natalie or Sophi, cause I wasn't planning on swimming, and thus Natalie was out, and Sophi refuses to swim here at home and won't wear a floatie, so that means she's out too. She was pretty sad that I didn't bring her suit. Let's see your pout, Soph...
Oh come on Sophi, be honest... you haven't willingly gone swimming even once during the two weeks we've been here. She was screaming bloody murder as Corey held her yesterday, thus why I didn't think you'd be interested in swimming and thus didn't bring your suit. My bad. But it's kinda your fault, so you're gonna have to deal with it. Natalie didn't care about not having a suit - she was quickly wading into the shallow end of the pool anyway.
 And then was completely drenched. 
 Playing swimming peek-a-boo games with Abi and Wesley...
 "That looks fun, I think I'll submerge myself too..."
Diapers sure can hold a lot of pool water.
It was a warm Brazilian "fall" day. I think those wet clothes probably felt good.
They brought out some water balloons that up'd the fun level.
Wesley and his new friend Carlos making balloons to throw at the fish in the pool.
Everyone outside had a fun time swimming.
Our pool at home doesn't have a shallow end like this, and it doesn't have any stairs leading into it. It's deep all around, and you gotta jump in, then sink or swim. 
It was nice to be able to let Natalie play in the pool without someone having to hold her. 
I went to find what Sophi decided to do with her time. She was able to find some fun for herself in their playroom - cute kitchen set!
She really liked the teapot, it made sounds.
 Back outside to watch kids in the pool
 The water balloon fight was still going strong.
Lucas brought out their pet turtle
 Then time for a races across the pool - ready, set... go!
And time for a snack ~ Natalie liked the grapes....
 Abi all prepped to overdose herself on blue jello.
"Do you have some whipped cream to go with this?" Then Wesley wanted some, but no jello, which started this activity among the kids...
 Hmm, should I be embarrassed yet?
With pampering like this, my kids won't ever want to go home! Soon we heard lightening and all went inside, where Sophi was still sweetly entertaining herself
They had come by our house at the beginning of our family play date to help give me and the kids a ride since we don't all fit in one car. And after giving us a ride home and as we said thanks and goodbye, we talked of when we'll go by again. Her husband is going to help teach Corey the secrets cooking an awesome Brazilian BBQ. We had a little more dinner when we got home, then the sun was going down (goes down here at 6) and they got ready for bed. After Wesley was finished, he came and gave me a hug and said "Thanks for taking us here..." I guess that means they had a good day. :)
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