Friday, October 24, 2008

Rachel has been busy

We have been planning to make new covers for our couch cushions for quite some time now. It took us a long while to decide what type/color/pattern of fabric we would use. Then of course, we had to find the fabric, within our budget. After that, we had to figure out how to sew the covers, as we didn't want to use zippers (which was the closing used for the original covers).

For more than 3 years, we've been tucking fabrics over the couches, to hide the worn, stained, torn covers, but finally, this week, Rachel finished sewing the new cushion covers!

Here is a picture of one of the couches in its old green cover, which was actually a curtain panel (we didn't love these covers, but they went well with the paint in our old house).

Now here is a picture showing the original flowered cushion covers. Rachel displayed them to show a part of the fabric which, though faded, is similar to what the fabric originally looked like, and a really bad part, showing how extremely worn the cushions were.

And finally, here are the newly adorned couches! Aren't they nice?

What would I do without Rachel?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lots of miscellaneous news!

We've been very busy here. You'd think we'd be finishing up on our unpacking, but in fact, you'd be wrong. Our landlord is still working on emptying the house! He has a large storage room/bodega crammed full of stuff, and he has been having problems with his big moving truck, so he hasn't been able to get it all moved. He has now come several times for smaller pickup truck loads, so he's gradually whittling down the big pile of stuff. But meanwhile, we have our bodega stuff all over the house. Plus, Kirstin is planning to use half of this large room as her bedroom. Since she doesn't currently have a room, her boxes of stuff are also hanging about with no place to go. We are very hopeful that the landlord will finish emptying this room soon, so we can get this house looking more like a home, and less like a disorganized warehouse!

The Hayes family is due to arrive next week! Wouldn't it be nice if we had a house for them? Umm, like we said we would? Well, we don't. We've been trying to rent a house for them, and we've been experiencing the typical Central American problems. So, we are still scrambling for a house, with the family due in less than a week! Prayers on this topic would be appreciated!

Construction has resumed on the buildings out at the property, which is nice. We didn't have any theft or other issues out there while Allen and Russell were away, which of course is welcome news!

In breaking news, the truck in which Russell had a fender-bender in January is almost back from the repair shop. Almost.

We're working on getting our absentee ballots in so that our votes will be counted. It's been a bit of a challenge, as the mail is really slow from here, so we prefer to have our mail hand-delivered to the US, and then put into the US postal system from there. But, we really want our votes to be counted, so we're working out the details. This year, our family has 4 registered voters!

The tropical storm which hit last week really didn't affect us here in Gracias at all, however other parts of Honduras have suffered greatly. I was reading in Dr. Jeff Masters' Wunder Blog at (where I like to get my storm updates):

One of this hurricane season's biggest disasters continues to unfold in Central America, where the death toll now stands at 39 from ten days of heavy rains triggered by last week's Tropical Depression Sixteen and this week's tropical disturbance 91L. At least 10,000 homes have been destroyed and 250,000 people made homeless by the floods. Hardest hit is Honduras, where 23 are dead and 8 missing in flash floods and landslides. Approximately 60% of the nation's roads have been damaged, and the flooding is the worst since Hurricane Mitch of 1998 killed 10,000 people there. The past week's flooding has also killed four in Guatemala, seven in Costa Rica, four in Nicaragua, and four in El Salvador. In Belize, damage is at least $15 million from the floods, and some areas are seeing flooding worse than was experienced during Hurricanes Mitch and Keith. Satellite estimates suggest that up to a foot of rain has fallen over some parts of Central America in the past week. The heavy damage to crops across the region will likely cause severe food shortages in coming months, and substantial international aid will be required.

I know there have been a few landslides closing roads in our area, but that's pretty everyday stuff up here, so I hadn't really realized that the storms were causing major problems in other areas, until I saw it on the internet. Our biggest problem was getting our laundry to dry!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tomorrow school is back in session!

We've been so busy recently, that the children have had some time off school. We didn't try to do any schoolwork during the move. Then, when Allen and Russell returned from the states, we immediately had the monthly Bible Training School.

This month we had a guest teacher come in from Tegucigalpa. Jim Reilly brought his wife and four kids, so that their family could have a mini vacation here in Gracias. Of course, the opportunity for us to hang out with other North Americans (and especially other North American kids) was too rare and precious for us to spend time doing school during their visit! We all had a fun time during the week, even though the weather was pretty rainy. We even went swimming once, at the hot water springs, where it's kind of nice to swim in cool weather.

But, tomorrow, it's back to the grind! Before you know it, the shipping container from Florida will be arriving, full of Christmas gift donations for us to sort and distribute. Then, we'll be taking time off school again! So, we'd better be super efficient between now and then!

Oh, but I've neglected to mention that we are still waiting for our new landlord to empty out the large bodega (storage room) which is part of our new house. He was supposed to clear it out before we moved in, then he was going to have it done within a week, then by last Monday or Tuesday . . . well, you get the idea. Meanwhile, we aren't really moved into this house, as our large collection of bodega items (mostly tools) are all over the main rooms and hall ways!

So, even though school is starting, there is still a lot of unpacking and moving in to do. We'll just have to work on both!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mostly about my cat

Although the main reason for this post is to share some fun pictures of one of our cats, I also wanted to report that the storm I mentioned in my previous post dissipated more quickly than had been predicted, and so although we had a string of rainy days there were no other problems related to this storm. We did find a couple of leaks in the roof, but thankfully nothing major.

Now, on to the cat.

You need to meet Smudge, one of our sweet kitties. Smudge is a perfectly nice kitty, but he pales in comparison to Sandy, our other kitten, who is an absolute cuddle-and-purr machine. Both Sandy and Smudge are about five months old now. Although Sandy has stolen everyone's hearts, Smudge has a very memorable and interesting talent. Smudge is really good at sleeping. And, he sleeps with style. Observe:

(No animals were harmed in the creation of these photos. ;-D )

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Looks like we'll be getting wet here

An as-yet unnamed Tropical Depression is due to become a Tropical Storm and pour rain all across northern Honduras this week. At this time, the storm is not expected to become a hurricane. As you can see from the current cloud conditions in the satellite picture above, and the predicted path of the storm in the picture below, we are going to need to be ready for some rain in the next few days.

It's a good thing we're not in the leaky roof house anymore! Today the weather in Gracias is cool with a misty rain. Not a good day for drying laundry. For that matter, it's probably not going to be a good week for drying laundry!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Luckily, I'm inclined to giggle at this sort of thing . . .

One really great thing about this new house is the presence of three (count 'em!) bathtubs. There was a tub in our previous house, but it was a really strange narrow thing, and wasn't in the least comfortable to sit in. Even my small kids, with their puny bottoms, weren't inclined to sit and soak.

The tubs in the new house are all slightly oversized deep tubs with grab bars on the sides. I've been looking forward to a looooooooong soak, but haven't yet had the time for it. Today, I was checking out the tubs, in anticipation, when I noticed something I'd overlooked before.

Every single tub in this house is installed backwards, so that the sloped end of the tub (where you can luxuriously rest your back while soaking) has the spigot on that end! I couldn't believe it. When I first saw that one tub was installed that way, I thought, "How funny, that the plumber didn't notice that he was installing it backwards." But once I saw that all three were the same, I had to assume that someone thought that was the correct way to install the tub!

Oh well. We can still sit and soak in them, as long as we watch out that we don't bump our heads on the spigots. Kirstin assures me that it's actually quite pleasant to lie back with the water running down your back.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sorry to have been so silent . . .

Of course we've been pretty busy the past couple of days with all of the unpacking, but the reason I haven't posted has more to do with the power being out more than it has been on lately. This hasn't been a major problem, it has probably even helped me get more unpacking done, as I wasn't tempted to spend time on the computer. It has, however, put us waaaay behind on our laundry.

Generally, I try to wash laundry every day, and we try to dry as much as possible on the clothesline. When it is very rainy, or when we fall behind, we use the dryer to help us get caught up. I'm so spoiled to have a dryer! However, since our move, we haven't yet connected the dryer (it uses a special electrical outlet, and in our last house Allen had to create the connection for us). So, I can only dry laundry on the line right now. With power outages (can't use the washing machine) and rain (can't dry on the clothesline) our dirty laundry pile is becoming quite a mountain!

Today, we gave up, and washed several loads in huge washtubs out on the porch. Happily, it was a hot, sunny day, and we were able to dry everything we'd washed before dark. We are very hopeful that the forecast for tomorrow will be sunny with a good chance of electricity!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Back Online and Feelin' Fine!

I'm so excited to tell you that we are now all moved out of our old house, and the internet is working in the new house!

I'll try to write more later, but I was so excited to have a connection, I just had to blurt out the news!

Maybe I'll post some pictures of the piles of boxes in our new house . . .

Monday, October 6, 2008


This is the day we disconnect from the internet. We may be reconnected as soon as later today, or it may be a month or more, depending on how our work goes today. I'll check in as soon as I can, either from my new house, or from an internet cafe, to let you know the score!

We are also hopeful that everything will be done at the old house by the end of today. If we have to, I'm sure we can take one more day, but to keep everything happy and friendly with the landlord (as much as possible) we are striving for today to be the final day.

Please pray for us!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Things are on track for us to finish this job tomorrow! Brad Ward came by for the afternoon, and almost all of the big furniture that we hadn't yet moved - dining room table, washing machine, etc - is now gone.

There is still stuff to be moved from the yard and carport, and I'm planning to push the kids hard for one more batch of moving in the Land Cruiser in the morning. I want to have as much of that done before Brad gets here tomorrow, so that he can spend his time on the things we can't move without him.

I really think we're going to make it by our deadline! I'm feeling hopeful tonight!

I, um, don't want to think about the unpacking which is still ahead of us. I just have my eyes on getting out of this house, for now.

No more internet for Trish!

Today or tomorrow we will be disconnecting from the internet. I hope that we will have a connection at the new house very soon, but I can't be certain of how the work will go. I'll connect two or three times each week from an internet cafe, if we experience an extended time of disconnection.

The move is progressing. We didn't push ourselves very hard yesterday, so hopefully the family will experience a burst of energy today. We have a number of items in the yard and on the carport to move. These are larger, bulkier things, like tires, construction materials, a generator, heavy metal lawn furniture, etc.

Thanks for praying for us!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Are you tired of hearing about this move, yet?

Well then, just imagine how tired we are of living it! Pray for us, leave us an encouraging note, etc. We can use it! Thanks.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday afternoon - and we are soooo ready for this move to be over!

Okay, that sounds pretty bad, when really, things are progressing well. We are very ready for a break, though, and we plan to have a lighter day of work tomorrow. Tomorrow happens to be Kirstin's 21st birthday, as well as Bethany's 12th birthday, so we'll take some hours of rest to celebrate, and also to recharge ourselves for the final days of the move.

Most of the large and heavy appliances and pieces of furniture have now been installed in the new house. There are just a few things we thought would be easier to move in a pickup truck, and our friends Brad and Trish Ward will be coming by with their truck on Sunday and Monday. Brad is also the man we are counting on to help us take down our satellite dish.

Refrigerator, freezer, dryer, couches and tables, loads and loads of tools and construction equipment are all moved. We aren't moving the washer until the latest day possible, so that we can keep on doing laundry - that necessary evil - until the final possible moment. It may take us a while to get the washing machine connected in the new house.

Rachel loves organizing and setting things up, so we've had her stationed at the new house since the very beginning. Things are shaping up well there, thanks to her handiwork.

Kirstin is getting a lot of needed (but not desired) practice with in-town driving. She's doing great, and should be ready for anything these 8 or 9 blocks of the city of Gracias can throw at her, after these days of non-stop driving back and forth between the houses.

Christopher stepped on a piece of graphite from a mechanical pencil just as we started this move, and he has been trying to get a bit of it out of the side of his foot all week. He's been a trooper, loading heavy items into the vehicles all these long days with an aching foot! It looks like the piece has started to work its way out, so we're hopeful this will be resolved soon.

Bethany flopped down beside me last night and declared that she had never ever worked so long and hard in one day in her life. I told her that was because she has now gotten big enough to do a lot of different kinds of work. When she was smaller, she'd often say, "I wish I was bigger," because she felt left out of the things she couldn't do with the other children. After I reminded her of this, she wailed, "I wish I was little again!" We laughed about it - the grass really is always greener . . .

Oh my! We're exhausted!

This is officially day 3 of our move . . . of course, the moving of the tubos actually started 2 days earlier. The entire crew is really dragging today, and tempers are just a bit shorter than usual. But, we're still pressing on, and Kirstin estimates that we are well past half way done. I'm sure she's probably right, but I am renowned for my ineptitude in estimating anything, so I withhold any personal thoughts on the matter.

We will press on with emptying this property as fast as we can . . . then of course we have to get crazy about unpacking and settling into the new house.

Hmmm, I'm pretty sure we'll have to declare more than one day of rest, once we're done here, before we can get busy on anything else!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Heavy Day Today!

This was the day we scheduled to move our heaviest items. The chest freezer, much of the larger furniture, and the dryer all left the house today. A lot of boxes and mattresses also went, used as padding between the large items.

We stopped loading and delivering loads in the Land Cruisers a little earlier this afternoon, so we can spend some time preparing for tomorrow's move. Things like taking apart bunk beds, packing dishes into boxes, etc. We also are trying to start doing some unpacking at the new house.

We lost count on how many trips were taken back and forth today. Kirstin, who is our driver, estimates a dozen trips. It was a lot, and as we have a similar sized crew coming to help tomorrow, we hope to do as well then. Although, after two days of this, we are all pretty much wiped out.

Oh, and the power was out almost all day. Except for not having fans and not getting laundry done, it was a good thing, as it kept me off the computer. But, that's why you're only getting one update today.

I hope everyone is satisfied with leftover pizza for dinner!

We interrupt this move for a special news bulletin:

Russell, our 19 year old son, was just accepted to be an official missionary with our mission organization, Missionary Ventures International. We're extremely proud of him, of his love of God, and his desire to follow God's will for his life.

Russell will be continuing to work with us here in Gracias, but as an official co-worker, instead of just "the missionary's kid." Congratulations, Russell!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Overall, a profitable day

Day 1 of our move is now behind us.

We got off to a late start, of course, and that didn't help our load tally. Plus, Rachel was trying to clean at the new house, so that meant she wasn't always available for unloading . . . although, to give her due credit, I think she probably got sucked into the unloading quite a bit, anyway.

In spite of these obstacles, we delivered eight loads to the new house today. Tomorrow, a group from one of the churches in town is coming to help us, so that should make things move along even faster.

Tonight, we have a few things we want to do, to make sure that there are plenty of boxes and pieces of furniture ready to be moved tomorrow. We don't want to see that manpower standing around doing nothing!

Overall, we're tired and ready to eat pizza and go to bed!

We're moving in!

There are still a few items (including a large metal desk and some computer equipment) in our new house, but they are all in one place, and we are going ahead and starting to move in anyway! Yeah!

So, two loads down, and who knows how many to go!

More updates later!

Two Land Cruiser loads is a lot of stuff!

While we waited for 9 am to roll around, we went ahead and loaded the Land Cruisers. We have two now, and the plan will be for us to split our workers into two groups, with one team loading one vehicle here, while another group unloads the other vehicle in the new house at the same time. But for this morning, we just loaded both of them.

I was impressed at how much furniture and stuff went into them. Each vehicle held 3 bookcases (those of you who know me, know that my books and bookcases are a high priority to me), and then small boxes were placed between the shelves of each bookcase. A huge mountain of boxes in the living room looks amazingly smaller already.

Kirstin drove Rachel and Chris over to the new house a bit before 9. We knew the people there were loading up a big container truck, and we wanted to get there before they all left, so we wouldn't have to track down the house keys. I haven't heard from them yet (it's now 9:30) so hopefully that means they are unloading. Rachel took along cleaning supplies, and will start right in on that job. I think she'll be cleaning all day! The house isn't especially dirty, but there are lots of windows with those long louvered panels of glass, and they are all quite dirty and dusty! That will be slow work!

First Moving Day Setback

Well, hopefully this won't be a big deal. We just called the owner of our new rental house, to see about getting the keys to the house from him (we currently have keys to the front gate), and he said that they are still in the process of moving stuff out of the house.

He suggested they might be ready for us at 9am. Which, in Honduras, doesn't really exactly certainly mean 9am, but really means "later."

The delay of a couple hours isn't a big deal. I'm pretty certain, though, that this will mean that the house won't have been cleaned before we get into it. So, that will slow us down a bit more, but we'd sort of planned for this possibility.

I'll let you know how things are progressing, later.