Monday, October 20, 2008

New England Beauty

New England in the Fall is a beautiful thing. I was in Washington DC October 11-16 for a reunion of my high school friends. Unfortunately, most of the spectacular color was gone…except for 2 trees at the home of my teacher, who was so gracious and let me stay with her and her husband. One tree was glorious in yellow and the other was absolutely beautiful in all its red. If you’ve never been to New England in late September-early October, you really are missing out on one of the most beautiful areas of our country. I’ve made the trip during ‘leaf peeping’ season several times and am still in awe of the beauty. My eyes are treated to such beauty at every turn.

The tree with the red leaves is included in the registry in Chevy Chase, Maryland so you know it’s special! Sherry, my teacher, told me that people often stop to take photographs of it and school children stop to collect leaves for their classrooms.

By the time I left, the vivid red had turned to a dark rust and the leaves began falling…and falling and falling. The front lawn was a carpet of color, a mixture of greens, reds, browns, yellows, pinks, beiges….it was beautiful!

The only way I could have gotten a picture of the entire tree was to cross Connecticut Avenue and I didn't want to do that. You'll just have to take my word for it that these 2 trees were a magnificent sight!

Maybe one day I'll be able to visit this area every year and enjoy the beauty. One thing is for sure...this was definitely not my last visit there!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Rain In My Living Room

Last weekend was definitely not one of the better weekends since I arrived in Tegucigalpa the end of May.

Saturday, the sky opened up and a deluge of rain pounded the city. At about 7:30 PM, I was sitting at my dining room table, listening to a DVD of Jeff Foxworthy, a truly funny guy. If you ever need a good laugh, buy one of his CDs…worth the few dollars. Anyway, back to my evening. I could hear the rain coming down in buckets outside. I got up to go in the kitchen and was washing something at the sink and when I turned the water off, oddly enough, I could still hear water running. I walked into the living room and apparently the roof had a weak spot because it was literally pouring in my living room! In just 5 minutes, my living room went from nice and dry to Niagara Falls of Tegucigalpa!! It was coming down the walls, over the edge of the upstairs loft, was already running down the stairs from upstairs…it was coming in from so many different places, I didn’t know what to do first! I quickly moved the furniture away from the waterfall (and I do mean waterfall…it was coming down from upstairs in a sheet of water 10 feet wide!). I then ran upstairs and nearly slipped and fell on my butt. Never try to run on wet ceramic tile! The stairs were already flooded, the water was running down each step to the step below. Water was running down the walls in about 6 places and dripping from the stair-stepped corners at the tops of the walls. My stereo…it was soaked! I grabbed it and threw it in my bedroom, moved my gorgeous picture of the ocean off the wall since it was about 6 inches from a waterfall, and grabbed 3 pictures I bought in Hawaii that I JUST had framed…one is ruined, the other 2 seem OK. I then called Bryan, one of the security officers I work with, and told him I was in trouble. He called the embassy GSO person on call and told him to get here quick. Bryan came over with towels and by that time, the rain and indoor waterfall had slowed down. But not before the carpet in the living room was soaked in one corner and one of my tall plants collapsed from the sheer force of the water coming down on it from upstairs. It just snapped. GSO finally got here and of course, told us there was nothing that could be done tonight. He also told me that another American had 12” of water in his house from this storm. It looked like the rain was letting up, but you never know. I sent Bryan back home and I rung out the towels as best I could, rolling them up and placing them on the floor, just in case it started up again during the night. Before I went to bed, I went in to my office to make sure I had turned off my desk computer and was pleasantly surprised to see my desk covered in water! UGH! I quickly unplugged everything and moved it to…jeez, where was it safe??? I went back downstairs and got some large trash bags. I put the CPU and monitor in a bag and put them in the bathroom. Don’t ask me why…I just figured it was safe there. I had to take the glass off my desktop because the water had gotten underneath and was just sitting on the wood. The carpet was all wet underneath the desk. I finally got things squared away in this room and decided to do a sweep of the house once more. I half expected to see a puddle on my bed but no…it was dry. I found no more water and fell into bed.

On Monday, the owner of the house came by and had his man go up on the roof. They found all the drains stopped up and cleaned them out. He said that would fix the problem. However, I have no idea how clogged drains would cause leaks in the roof at the tallest point. Oh well, we’ll see. The next time it rains really hard will tell if he really did fix the problem. Something tells me it wasn’t the drains but I’m not the expert.

One thing’s for sure…when I leave for El Salvador and Washington DC next week for 10 days, I’ll have big sheets of plastic covering my furniture and my computers will be in plastic bags!!