Still learning something new every day.

Published: November 5th 2011
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Rain: My best purchase of the month, maybe the year (oh no, I bought my Kindle this year) is my shiny new, plastic rain gauge. I’m so curious about the amount of rain falling here nightly. During rainy season, we get the most incredible storms after dark and sometimes wake up to a village under water! I happen to live in a house that is surrounded my low area that likes to flood….. I call this The Moat. It’s at this time I don’t even feel the need lock up my bike because NO one’s coming through that swamp! We’ve been averaging about 13mm of rain each night (little over a half inch) but we had two nights in a row that had 80mm and 82mm, respectively…over 6.5 inches in two nights! And now I sit here and do I live here and not own any rain boots? Lesson learned? Buy rain boots? A small canoe? Check the yard during rainy season before renting?
Rat Suicide: See pictures. Found in cabinet three days after my students reported the area smelled like poop. Lesson learned? Never ignore smelly cabinets.
Fabric Softener: Since middle school, I’ve been doing my own laundry. Washing and drying in those big white magical machines. But a dryer in Belize is uber-luxury, and I’m lucky just to share two washing machines with the neighbors downstairs. I don’t mind hanging my laundry on the expansive lines around my upstairs deck, but my clothes sure do! Over the years they’ve become faded, speckled with random yellow spots, and stiff as a board. For a year I’ve been looking at the discarded fabric softener containers in my laundry room thinking, “I bet those neighbors are onto something. I need to try that stuff.” But all I knew about it was the …. Tide commercial? … that had the cartoon lady running downstairs exclaiming “I forgot to add the fabric softener!” Anyways, I bought some, added it at the appropriate time, and HOLY COW WHAT AN AMAZING DIFFERENCE in the feel and smell and overall happiness of my threads! Life changer! Lesson Learned!!!
Microwaves: A luxury I’ve always dreamed about since my first apartment in Belize is a microwave. After a couple of years, I’ve resolved to reheating on the stove or just eating things room temperature….and I was telling this to my friend Sonny, one of the elder locals, while we were watching football last week. Sonny and I had the joy of watching the Packer victory on a huge screen TV with an ocean view to the back and a great group of friends. We ate lobster quiche, chili, corn bread, pudding pies, as Dave calls is the National Food League! Anyways, Sonny promised he’d mention this microwave to my landlord and within a week I got a call to pick up my new microwave at the hardware store!
I bring it home and plug it in, putting chili in a small glass bowl with paper towel over it. I’m standing there admiring it when ZAP BLING ZZZZ ZZZZ there’s arcing lighting of massive proportions and loud snapping noises! I quickly open the door and freak out, feeling a bit like I’ve been microwaved myself! Phew. I read the instructions again. For one, it says that it’s important the microwave is grounded. And Oh, hm, it says some recycled paper towels have tiny pieces woven throughout. I’m pretty sure these cheap ass Belize paper towels are not recycled, but just for giggles I try turning it on again, empty. ZAP Z Z Z PING OK OK OK OFF OFF OFF I quickly press Off and get the damn thing unplugged.
The next day I have to wade through my flooded yard holding the microwave high above my head to go back to the hardware store. Without question, they give me another one. They even opened the box and tried it for me, which I thought was a nice touch! I bring it home to finish microwaving my chili and its going great when it starts to dim out, sputter and all the electricity goes out. I wonder, is it just my house? Or the whole neighborhood? Did my microwave do that? Then I heard the generators go off next door….OK – it’s a village wide outage. (Those have been happening often!) I heat my chili on the stove and forget about the microwave.
One day a week I have some kids here for science class. The microwave was used to heat up lunch and after about 40 seconds there was a ZZ SNAP SNAP ZZZ and each of the kids took off running in opposite directions throughout the house! I had to RUN over there and it short circuited itself out with the same loud noises and snaps before I got there and WOW, I’m returning this microwave and not getting another. I’ve learned a few new things, heard some frightening noises, and been microwaved myself! I think that’s plenty for now!

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


Making Oobleck, cornstarch and waterMaking Oobleck, cornstarch and water
Making Oobleck, cornstarch and water

A solid, then quickly melting into a liquid, it was a fun study of mixtures and compounds
My Belizean dinnerMy Belizean dinner
My Belizean dinner

Black Snapper that Dave caught and stewed beans! YUM!

10th November 2011

HI larious
wow, your microwave story was TOO funny! And for being so smart....ok maybe even bordering on rain boots? really? didn't know fabric softener made fabric softer? really? haha

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