Sunday, May 6, 2018

Rats


We’ve had several encounters with rats but the battle today was the best one yet.

I was cleaning the kitchen last night and could hear strange noises. I wasn’t exactly sure where they were coming from but was sure it was somewhere by the refrigerator. It was late and I really didn’t want to investigate too closely, so I just left the noises.  

This morning, I went to make my coffee and discovered poop on my counter tops. This was not the little kernels of gecko poop that we find stuck to the walls. Yes indeed, we have a rat. I’m not sure where the little bugger is but I’m hoping at this point that the rat is a he and not a she with a family (that was our last rat incident). I also found poop inside my oven. Now, I’m getting a little concerned. There was rat poop on my new frying pan!

Ross says that we need to set traps and who am I to argue. I have some tasty morsels of chicken to load the traps with. I cleaned my counter tops with bleach and I am scrubbing everything like a crazy woman on a mission. While I am not scared of rats, I don’t like the possibility of them spreading diseases to the humans and dogs in our home. We set a trap behind the microwave and one behind the oven, leaving the oven about a foot from the wall.

I decided to bake a carrot cake to serve to friends that are coming over for coffee tomorrow. I gather all the ingredients that I need and start to mix. It is time to light the oven. I can imagine you can see where this is going. Oven starts to heat. Suddenly, I hear a loud thump and I now know exactly where the rat is.

I peek behind the oven and sure enough, there is one large, grey rat. He’s a little stunned at this point as I would imagine a 350 F oven is not a fun place to hang out. He’s having a sauna. Except this rat does not have his towel and slippers. He’s looking a little stressed out.

Ross, being the mighty hunter that he is, grabs a golf club. Meanwhile, I’m taking a picture of the rat which unfortunately did not turn out. Seven dogs are locked in the TV room as I don’t need one of them getting hit with a golf club.

I slowly slide the oven forward and the damn rat goes running across the kitchen and is now behind the fridge. Ok, enough. Time to get the ratter dogs out. Shelby is a good ratter. I also bring out my other big gun, Xena who is a Dominican Cocomutt which are also excellent ratters. Now, both dogs know that there is a rat behind the fridge. I slowly start to slide the fridge forward, Ross is wielding the golf club and the dogs are ready. We are going to get that rat!

I get the fridge far enough forward, Ross taps the back of the fridge with the golf club (there is a good reach with a golf club so you don't have to get too close) and now the rat is on the move. The rat heads straight into Shelby’s kennel. Score! Shelby heads into the kennel and grabs the rat. The rat is having none of being in a dog’s mouth so he breaks free, runs through the house into the room that Ebony, Gaby and Titch are in. This rat is not going to see the light of day. Surely the three big dogs are going to get the rat and kill it.

The rat is now behind the entertainment centre. The five dogs are going crazy trying to get at the rat.  Ross is still hanging onto his golf club. This rat is going down one way or another. Finally, the golf club comes in handy. Ross slides the golf club under the entertainment centre, gives the rat a gentle nudge and once again the rat is on the move. The rat manages to make it past all five dogs, bolt out the back patio doors and down the steps into the back yard.

The rat is gone.

I have five loser dogs that couldn’t catch one rat and a husband that packs a golf club who is taking credit for getting rid of the rat.

I am shaking my head, laughing and grateful that the rat is gone. He’s probably moved into the pool room now.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Driving in the Dominican Republic

Blog day!

Today I was asked to pick up a friend from his mechanics. Of course I said yes. I’m just a helpful kind of gal. I was asked to meet my friend at the Playero at 10:30. While I have lived in the DR for a while now, I’m still on Canadian time which means on time, not Dominican time which can be any time.

I arrive at 10:20. Great! I have a couple minutes to run inside and grab a few bits (things for anyone not British). Park the car, put the car in park and turn the car off. Not going into get my bits cause the damn key won’t come out of the ignition. Now what.........ok, re-start car and turn it of. Nothing. Damn. Ross is not going to be happy. Start car and drive to where my friend is parked. So, my car is running and I say, alright, let’s toodle. I follow my friend to the mechanics shop (more about the Russian compound later). I turn the car off. No, the damn key will still not come out. Now’s the time I start to sweat. I silently utter several curse words. OK, who am I kidding, the words spewed out of my mouth like a drunken expat.

Now, let’s discuss the Russian mechanic’s compound. Tall, slim, shifty looking guy. Cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Not sure if he was packing but I wasn’t about to find out. There is something entertaining about a Russian that speaks Spanish. Strangest accent ever. My friend honks his horn when he pulls up to the 10 foot iron gate set it a 12 cinder block wall that surrounds the compound. The gate opens and my friend drives through. I’m wondering if I’ll see him again or I’ll be paying his wife a visit with bad news. Finally, my friend’s business is conducted and the gate slides open. The Russian dude takes one look at my chariot and his mouth drops open. Ok, my car is not in the best of shape but the look on his face was not necessary. Further, he began to laugh....so does my friend. Seriously guys? I’m more worried about the damn key stuck in the ignition then the fact that the paint is a little rough.

Well, the trip from the mechanics did not get any better. Driving down the road, I notice the fuel light is on. Damn. So, now I need to stop at the Texaco for 500 rd of gas – at 214 rd per US gallon so I got 2.34 US gallons or 8.85 litres. Today 500 rd is 13.19 Cdn. So my gas was $1.49 Cdn per litre. Don’t you just love this side story? Ok, time to get back to the real story.

We are driving down the narrow road to get to the gas station. Cars parked on both sides. Off in the distance I see a small white car coming towards me. I have more than enough time to make it through the cars so I proceed and if I don't, the car will stop and let me go through. Ok, stupid little white car suddenly accelerates and meets me head on about half way. I now have four cars behind me so I am not going anywhere. Stupid Russian woman climbs out of her car and begins to yell at me to back up (in Spanish but my friend speaks Spanish so it’s all good.) I just would have told her to take a flying leap. She is adamant that I am in the wrong and I should back up. What? Over four cars? Stupid Russian woman tells me I am in the wrong again...what the hell?? How is it even possible? So, I put my car in park and tell her I’m not going anywhere once she magically changes to fluent English. Then she asks me if I am stupid. Hey, I’m not the one creating a traffic jam. She finally gets in her car and backs up. I drive by and give her a Trudeau salute. My friend called her a really nasty name which I won’t repeat here. Can you say road war? Oh, and where I come from, the biggest tires always win, so I won!

Still need gas. Gas light has been on all this time. I still can’t get the damn key out of the ignition at the gas station. My friend asks me what I’m going to do about this problem with the key and my response is that I’ll let Ross deal with it. He just laughs and laughs.

Driving today in Sosua was like driving in a video game (arcade game for you old-timers). I needed to get from the Texaco turning left back onto the main road. Traffic was seriously backed up. I wasn’t the only one needing to turn left. A van with a local driving pulls up on my left. SCORE! He pulls into traffic blocking it. I slide up beside him and YAY! I also cut off traffic but I’m outta the damn gas station. Rules of the road you ask? Well, yes there are but most take them as suggestions unless there are legal implications such as a traffic accident. Then the rules of the road are most important.

Oh, and the damn key came out of the ignition when I got home. Ross put the car all the way into park, looked at me and rolled his eyes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Laundry Day at the King Casa

Xena puked on Hailey’s zebra print blanket about a week ago. Today she decided that the blanket better be washed so it wouldn’t be stained – dog grass green puke and all. I should also point out that this blanket has been tucked away and not being used (out of sight, out of mind.)

Now, being that today was an extremely busy day, this was perfect timing to wash the blanket. Except the blanket didn’t fit in my washing machine. So, bless our neighbour, she has an extra large twin tub. This twin tub is large enough to bath a six year old child!

We got the blanket (probably weighs 20 lbs dry) into the tub, filled it with soap and water and the green, grass, dog puke stained blanket. It’s on its way to being fresh and clean.

This is while the bread is rising and I am gardening because it’s not raining.

Ok, I’ve mentioned that the dry blanket weighs about 20 lbs....add 30 gallons of water to that. Add to that the fact the blanket does not fit into the spinner.

Two women must now man-handle the soaking wet blanket and try to get as much water out as possible.

But, wait, it still needs to be rinsed.

Repeat above but add this mental picture:

Hailey grabs one end of the 50 lb blanket. I grab the other end of the blanket. She says, “run so we get outside before it drips all over the floor”. Ok, I’m in flip flops, wet floor and am having flashbacks to my broken leg in August. But, in keeping Thing 3 happy, I run.
We make it from the neighbour’s yard to our car port. We are both soaking wet. We are hanging on for dear life to a 50 lb wet blanket because Hailey tells me, “don’t you dare let my blanket touch the ground”. Gotta keep Thing 3 happy.

Now, we are trying to twist this 50 lb blanket to get as much water out as possible. I can hardly hang onto this blanket. Hailey has one end, I’m twisting the other. Hailey has a moment of brilliance. She straddles the blanket while hanging onto one end and I hang on to the other. With her thighs of steel, she begins to squeeze the water out of the blanket. There was a bit of jump and squeeze – it seemed to be some sort of yoga/gym type exercise. I can’t be sure but she did have to go put on dry clothes.

She also wanted to have us squeeze the blanket out by pushing our butts together with the blanket between but that just seemed wrong on so many levels.


This is a picture of Hailey's wet, hairy pants after the thighs of steel workout.

I think I peed myself because I was watching this from behind. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time and it is a true blessing that no one witnessed this event to make a video recording. So to all my special readers (the two or three of you), you will have to use your imaginations.


The blanket is clean...will probably take a week to dry but it is clean.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Tis the Season

For the last few years, I haven't been real good about writing my "annual" Christmas letter.

You will note I said "Christmas" and not "holiday".

I saw a good Facebook thingy (is that even a word?) that talked about Christmas being a celebration and a holiday is something you take and go somewhere tropical or wherever.  Also, going on holiday means that you get a break from making beds and cooking.  Someone is paid to do that for you.

So, back to Christmas. 

We have a tree up, some garland, a few lights, a wreath on the door, and dog hair is settling on the tree for a nice fuzzy affect.  We've bought the required "Barcel√≥ Cream - Licor de Ron" which is lovingly added to my morning coffee.  Does it feel like Christmas?  A big NOPE here.  Why?  NO SNOW.  This is the one time of year that I really, really miss the snow.  Not the bitter cold or shoveling but the clich√© "Winter Wonderland".  I dumped a part of a gallon of paint on the lawn when I was painting the fence but I don't think that counts.  However, if not for the cost of paint, which is getting stupid expensive, I seriously might consider getting out a roller and painting the lawn white.

Now, December 19, my sister con troop will be arriving from Canada - now, having family for Christmas (and she will be on holiday having someone make her bed and cook for her - and it's not me) will definitely improve my spirits regarding the Christmas season.  It's been almost eight years since I have seen my only sister - my liver will recover in time.  I've booked several Presidente trucks to swing by on the 20th.  Hope one trip will be enough!

I have been busy sewing doll clothes for my niece's doll.  Didn't clean the house for over a week as I was in production mode!  King Ross was starting to make a bit of a stink but I reminded him where the vacuum was kept.  That shut him up.  I haven't sewed in a really long time and forgot just how therapeutic it was.

Yesterday (Dec 15) was our 10th wedding anniversary.  Thing 3 (aka Hailey) went out of her way to cook us a lovely dinner and of course, wash every dish in the house that she dirtied.  My goodness but that child is becoming a very good cook - guess I didn't fail at everything in parenting!  Next week might find us making pyrogies.  All depends on those Presidente trucks.

Now, on to the year in review:

Weather was sunny, cloudy, rainy, sunny, cloudy, rainy, freaking hot, sunny, cloudy and rainy.  A couple of hurricanes thrown into the mix made for some excitement.

We made new friends, lost a few friends to illness and lost a few to whatever pissed them off.  I'm always sad when either of these things happen but it's something that can't be changed so you move on with life.  Each day of living is a true gift so make it the best it can be.

So, with my random thoughts, it is my sincere wish to everyone who reads my blog, to have a Merry Christmas or whatever you wish to call this season (depending on your religious or non-religious affiliation), and a Happy New Year.  All the best to you in 2018 and may you be blessed with health and happiness.

Cheers from the King Casa - Ross, Colleen, Hailey (aka Thing 3), Jack, Shelby, Boss, Ebony, Gaby, Titch and Xena.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Seven Year Itch

We have now been living in the Dominican Republic for seven years. Well, the anniversary date is actually December 2 but close enough.

We have seven dogs. I hope this is only a coincidence because I refuse to continue to add to the pack.

What do I miss about living in Canada other than family? Not much but the following: Big Macs, Coffee Crisps, sunflower seeds, wine gums, the smell of fall, first snow fall, and a whole host of other things that I can’t think about right now. The coffee hasn’t completely kicked in yet.

I miss being able to go to one store and buy something knowing it will always be there.  For example, frozen peas.  Not rock hard pigeon peas, but sweet, green peas.  For anyone who knows me well, I do not eat soft green things but I will eat green peas.  In seven years, I have only found really good frozen peas twice.  Seriously.

Alberta Beef.

I also miss normal driving. Driving with rules of the road. I have always had road rage but driving here has taken it to a new level. Yes, there are traffic laws here but I always say they are “suggested” laws. Not many people actually follow the laws. Green lights do not necessarily mean it is safe to go through the light. One must always check and make sure no one is running the red. I now pass traffic on the right shoulder because that is acceptable here. A two lane highway can very easily be made into a four lane highway and no one really gives a rats ass about the possibility of a head on-collision because inevitably, someone will try and pass in this mayhem.


What don’t I miss? A few things come to mind but specifically shoveling snow.  Frozen boogers from shoveling said snow.

We drive an absolute piece of crap looking car. It used to be a good car but the last year has been interesting. We have had to replace the water pump, alternator, starter, and tires. Ross found this handy little hole in the wall place to get things fixed at a very reasonable rate. Love it when we go somewhere and upon return to the car, we have paint and body shop business cards stuck under the rusting windshield wipers. Ross is now demanding seat covers as the leather has now cracked and unless you are really careful getting in, you are going to need stitches for unauthorized surgery. You don’t want to have a fancy smanchy car here – cars are stupid expensive and you just never know what you are getting as most cars are imported with a host of hidden problems. And the nicer the car, the more likely it will look like a piece of crap from parking lots, four lane highways, livestock on the road, motos on the road and the sun.

Well, about a month ago, Thing 3 (Hailey) moved to live with us - she's having a gap year.  Gap from what?  We'll get that figured out. 

It has been interesting to be empty-nesters for seven years to suddenly having another being (or alien hormonal female) living in the house with us. Kind of like getting another dog except this one is completely house trained. Well, kind of. This one eats about eight times a day/night. This one likes to accumulate dirty dishes. This one has made me realize that floors aren’t just for dog hair. They are for clothing! I never knew that. I am still learning things at this stage of my life.

Thing 3 is starting to make friends. Well, mostly friends with my friends and that is perfectly ok. For anyone familiar with the lay of the land here, any young, attractive, white female is fair game for the local man population. Well, the man population can think whatever they want – this Mama Bear is on over protective drive! She has even had the garbage man’s crew of guys cat whistling and calling at her. We didn’t get our garbage picked up yesterday and I’m secretly wondering if it is because she wasn’t standing at the gate.

So seven year itch – the only thing itchy here are mosquito bites and seven dogs with dry skin.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

How I Lost Weight with Ross

Once upon a time, there was a bold, handsome King named Ross.

Ross ruled his castle with a firm but gentle hand.  He was particularly enamored with his kitchen wench and was it was smiles all around when the kitchen wench provided him with an assortment of tasty, sweet treats, hearty meat and potato dinners, cakes, pies and fresh baked breads.

King Ross with his love of sweets and rum began to experience a hearty barrel about his midsection; and that barrel of belly, grew and grew larger over the years.  The kitchen wench pointed out on numerous occasions that the barrel of belly was going to cause some serious health problems.

The kitchen wench finally threw up her hands one day, wiped the sweat from her brow, and put her calloused feet on the ground firmly and said to King Ross, “Your diabetes is out of control and you simply cannot continue to eat like this.”

Ok, fun fairy tale enough aside, my darling husband is on the road to recovery.  We’ve been working incredibly hard over the last few weeks and the fruits of our labours are beginning to show.  He’s losing weight, blood sugar is now within the normal, healthy range.  Meal planning is still a chore but it is starting to get easier.

Those of you that are close to Ross, ask him about his love of salads!  He’s got a few choice words about each lunch salad he is presented with.  The best thing about this new diet I have Ross on, is I am also losing weight.  I must admit, I miss my mass doses of carbs.  We are surviving on mostly protein, fruits and veggies.  For me, I can make a meal out of mashed potatoes and gravy (this is a food group).  I love rice, bread, and potatoes.  Cake.  Pie.

Ross is going to be a lean, mean……well, we’ll just leave it at that!

So, in other news, my Thing 3 has moved to the Dominican Republic to live with us.  She’s been here for three days now.  Boss is her personal body guard.  As I write this blog, Thing 3 is in the pool, Boss is in the house lying beside the door that goes down to the pool and whimpers.  As soon as Thing 3 is done with the pool floaty, he will be allowed to join her along with the rest of the pack and the noise and insanity of four dogs in the water will begin!


We went out for a lovely dinner last night to support a friend with her new CD Launch.  There was a good sized crowd there to show their support.  The organizers had a draw for six CDs as well as six meals from the restaurant.  Staff handed out the draw tickets to all the attendees.  When they began to call out numbers, excited winners were claiming their prizes.  My friend and I were anxiously looking at our tickets and she’s calling out her number to be drawn.  After about five draws, I looked at her and said, “You have the same number as I do!”  She looked at her ticket and mine, and lo and behold, the gentleman that was handing out tickets, did not put my half into the draw box but gave it to my friend instead. I thought this was quite funny.  Thing 3 called over a staff member and tried to explain what had happened so he very thoughtfully went and got another ticket for us.  But, in looking at he had done, we now had two sets of tickets, but neither of us had a ticket in the draw!


So, after the draws were complete, we went to our friend who was giving away the CDs and she began to laugh when we explained what had happened.  I thought it was really funny.  She was so very thoughtful and gave us both a CD for what had transpired. And, we got them signed so that when she becomes rich and famous, we can flog them on Ebay and get rich too!

Well, enough excitement for now.  Off for my sacred afternoon nap and then NASCAR!

Thursday, October 5, 2017


Jarabacoa

For the first time, we have taken a vacation on the island.  Last weekend, we travelled to Jarabacoa which is in the mountains of the center of the island.  Crazy roads driving through the mountains…hair pin curves climbing uphill and downhill. 

I almost thought I was in British Columbia.  Tall pine trees, cooler mountain air, white water rapids on the river…and then, a copse of pine trees with mango trees and palm trees!

We went with our good friends, Bruce and Mary.  We spent quality time enjoying beverages and golfing.  What an absolutely gorgeous golf course hidden in a really beautiful setting.  Very lush and green.  The quench wench drove around the golf course following us with a cooler on his scooter selling us ice cold, frosty Presidente.  The guy had everything for sale:  hats, beer, and food.  It really didn’t matter what we wanted, he would run and get it for us.

Let’s just say that I really, really suck at golfing.  And, that’s all I have to say about that.

We stayed at the Hotel Gran Jimenoa which was a very nice hotel right on the river.  So, if you have ever read my blog, you know I complain about the heat.  Well, we were in a hotel with air conditioning.  Yes, we turned the air conditioning on.  We left the air conditioning running at 18C.  We woke up at 4 am absolutely freezing.  My nose was cold.  I loved every minute of it.  Two heavenly nights of being cold and sleeping under blankets.  I think that was almost the best part of the vacation!

The hotel restaurant served good food.  Breakfast was the only meal that was so so.  The Dominicans really, really like mashed things for breakfast.  Mashed potatoes, mashed plantains, and mashed plaintains with mango and onions.  The plaintains with mango and onions was a lumpy grey/brown looking mass.  Ross was brave and tried it.  Can you say, “wall paper paste?”

This area of the island rarely sees gringo tourists and as a result, everyone speaks Spanish and very little or no English.  Good thing Bruce and Mary were with us as they both speak pretty good Spanish.  I didn’t realize how much Spanish I have learned as when we went for breakfast Monday am (no buffet), I had to order breakfast in Spanish.  I did pretty darn good because everything I ordered, we actually got what we thought we were going to get.  Can you say queso frito?  (Fried cheese is to die for!)

Ross ate beef both nights and enjoyed it.  I had chicken one night (very, very good cordon blue which they call “Gordon Blue”) and pork medallions in passion fruit the next night.  Both were fantastic.


The trip home was rather uneventful until we were approaching Moca.  The area around Moca and La Vega is a rich, agricultural area.  Large potato farms, corn farms and of course banana and plantain plantations.  We were almost at Moca when we came upon a truck hauling what we think was corn feed.  Now, when transport companies in Canada haul loads of feed, there are height restrictions, weight restrictions, proper ways of securing a load.  Well, not in the Dominican Republic.  This guys load was very slowly slipping sideways.  He would hit a bump and the load would shift some more.  This was an accident waiting to happen.  We knew this was rather unusual because as the guy drove through town, even the locals were watching, pointing and laughing.  We were scared to pass the guy because we knew that if that load finally went, the truck would roll and the highway would be blocked for hours.  We finally managed to get past him.  If there ever was a time for a cold beer, that was it so we found a Colmado on the side of the road, pulled up and the dear fellow working there sold us cold beer and we carried on our way.  (No cold beverages for the driver though!)

Ticks

This blog is from about three years ago.

I forgot to publish it.......


my bad......

I hate ticks.  We have been enduring an unbearable outbreak of ticks.  The hot, dry summer has been the perfect combination for these little pests to breed.  Our dogs have been banished to outside..tough life for a dog!  They have been sleeping in our basement bedroom which isn’t so bad because they have their own ensuite.  We are going through weekly baths and tick treatments.  Try bathing a 80 lb dog that hates water.  Jack and Shelby have cooperated extremely well but Boss has his own thoughts about having a bath.  Ross has to hold him with every ounce of strength he has while I give him the bath and treatment.

For the better part of three weeks, we have been fumigating and vacuuming up hundreds of these little blood suckers.  I am so sick of tick patrol but we think we have things finally under control.

For the first treatment (we didn’t really know what to do), we packed up all three dogs in the car.  Oh, how the boys love to go for a car ride.  I think they thought they were going to the beach for a run….Oh, I don’t think so…not on my watch anyway…horses, runners….not a friggin chance.  Anyway, we head off to Judy’s Pet Lodge for a bath and tick treatment.  Upon arrival, I take Jack first to the bath area only because he is quite cooperative.  In the tub Jack goes…Ross is still in the car with Boss and Shelby.  By the time I have started back to get the next dog, Ross is being dragged across the parking lot by Boss.  Now, when we arrived at Judy’s, I had left the back window open about a third of the way so they wouldn’t bake. 

Boss can climb out of partially opened car window.

There is a Dominican family living next to Judy’s who has a number of free range chickens. 

Boss really likes to chase chickens.

Ross almost had heart failure trying to catch Boss as he chased the chickens and scared the life out of the family that lives there.  Boss is a big baby but looks pretty intimidating.  Ross is yelling at the family to catch Boss’s leash (we learned from the beach experience that it is a good idea to leave the leashes on the dogs) and they are backing up from Boss not really giving a rat’s ass that he is scaring the chickens half to death. 

I think Ross was angry…..

Our dogs should have movies made about them…..