Sunday, February 25, 2007

Waste Management

First, I have to apologize to everyone whose name I’ve spelled wrong. I’m not going to go through every entry and update what’s already been posted, but I’ll try to use correct spellings from here on out. Thanks to Sharyn for filling me in on the names I didn’t know how to spell, including her own.

Sunday was a continuation of Saturday. We took pictures of Marta’s family to email to Tom’s parents, then headed up to Jim and Sharyn’s so Tom could trim the windows with Jim’s table saw, and Sharyn and I could indulge ourselves with a game of Scrabble. Jim and Tom successfully trimmed the windows, and while Sharyn and I had a grand time talking and soaking up the morning sun on their porch, we’ve both played better games of Scrabble. Since we’re both overachieving perfectionists, we were disappointed that neither of us could get combinations of letters that allowed us to get either high point words, or “good” words that have some merit for word lovers because they’re long, obscure, or somehow elegant. If you’re not a word lover, this sounds totally nuts, but if you are a word lover, you know exactly what I mean. In any case, as we were sitting there relaxing, I remarked that this is how normal people spend Sunday mornings, relaxing and doing something enjoyable. We almost never made the time to do that in New York, and we’re going to have to make sure we continue to make the time to do it here. I think it will be easier here, because our “work” during the week is to work on the property, so we can take a break on the weekends and do something else. In NY, we worked at our jobs during the week, so any work on the property had to be done on the weekends, and that was our down time rather than doing something that the general public might consider recreational.

We came back to the camper for lunch, and the down time was over as we decided that our afternoon task was to deal with waste material. What this meant for Tom was that he had all the neighbors put their garbage in front of their houses, and he loaded up our truck with our stuff, then picked up all of theirs, then headed seven miles down the road to the Georgeville dump. Belizeans don’t have the same attitude towards garbage as most Americans we know, and the Belizeans think nothing of tossing a wrapper out a car window, dumping household garbage in a pit in the backyard or on the side of the road, or burning old tires or plastics. We decided that if we want the area cleaned up so it looks nicer for our guests, we have to do something about it, so we’re hoping that offering garbage service will make it easier for our neighbors to keep their garbage out of sight and dispose of it in what we consider a responsible way – even though we know that with their culture this seems totally silly.

My task on the waste detail was to empty our blackwater tank. I probably could have pretended to be an ineffective woman and hoisted that task off on Tom, but while it’s a very icky task, there’s no reason I couldn’t do it myself, and Tom knew I had lots of practice dealing with camper sewage from my trips to Florida with Karin and the horses. Karin and I dubbed ourselves Wenches with Wrenches and said we were going to go into business with the tagline “We shower in shit so you don’t have to” because we spent so much time spraying ourselves with camper sewage as we emptied our tanks. Before Tom left for the dump, he made sure the sewer hose was securely fastened to the tank, made sure the septic tank lid on the property was removable, and found a bucket that we thought was okay for carrying sewage between the camper and the septic tank. The job was as nasty as it was expected to be, and as I was filling the second bucket with the hose leaking all over the place, Ofelia and Maricsa came up the driveway. I grumbled and we chatted, and then, because we had talked about making a carrot cake over the weekend, Ofelia said, “So, I guess you don’t want to make the carrot cake right now.” Mmmmm….that would be correct.

As I read over what we posted earlier in the week, I realized we had a few loose ends to clean up.

1. The upside down toucan-like birds were correctly identified by Tom’s Aunt Patricia as aracaris. About the time she was looking it up on the internet, Tom and I were looking at a neighbor’s bird book, and we all came to the same conclusion. We’ve since confirmed it with Selwyn.
2. Blackie’s nose is healing, and doesn’t look half as bad as we expected. His droopy eye looks okay, and there’s no sign of infection. Elizabeth’s kerosene treatment seems to have done the trick.
3. Esmerelda’s big bug bite seems to have healed, and she hasn’t had any more overnight bites from vampire bats.

And now for Belize, Week 6…

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