Gotta love the French for coming up with a beautiful way to say something as normal as 'daily'.
The daily norm, the quotidienne, over here seems unworthy of blogging to you all. But every so often it dawns on me that what I now consider 'normal' for our life and work here, is not what most of you consider 'normal'. Here's today's random bit of normal.
Kent is almost home after a 10-day journey to Eastern Europe. Every time he leaves inevitably something vital breaks. I think the machines in our house must feel his absence. They know the genius is gone from the house and decide to take a vacation while they can. Quick! The simpleton is in charge, time to play! Makes me feel a bit like the substitute teacher trying to keep relative control of the ruthless teenaged mechanisms in our household.
So this time the TV monitor gave up (which works for listening to music, but not for watching anything).
And the water pump, which allows us hot water.
I'm not complaining. Heating kettles for bucket baths and watching movies on my computer are not suffering or anything. I felt pretty good finding new solutions to keep up our movie night routine.
I also felt pretty good managing to speak to our guards in Swahili, and understand about 80% of what they said to me (they were probably speaking nice and slow for me =) they are such nice guys that way).
I now know I am a pretty exhausted single parent. I have NO idea how those ladies on TV, who single-handedly worked 2 jobs and raised 6 kids, survived. I need more sleep, but I sleep less as I know each wail for a drink of water or lightning strike in the distance is ultimately my sole responsibility.
Last night at 4:30am I decided to get up and cut our connection to the city grid. I'm one of those people who sees the flash of lightning and starts counting the miles. One, one thousand. Two, one thousand. Three, one thousand... At four the windows start shaking with the CRACK of a peal of thunder. All the previous ones were between 8 and 15 miles away. But four is plenty close for me! Time to shut off the grid. Our house isn't high enough to be hit directly, but we've lost some equipment in the past when our neighbors were hit just because the grid gets super-charged.
So I cut the power and stood to watch the light show by the back hallway window. Suddenly our neighborhood was struck, and it is always more amazing when you happen to be watching out the window! My cheek was pressed to the right window of the back door as it started shaking violently with the very essence of power. I heard a loud zapping/buzzing and ran to check that our colleague and guest hadn't seen any arcs in her room (where we have in the past). She was worried for our power system being blown. We went and checked it out. No smoke. Lights working. I was so thankful to be up to disconnect the house just in time. Being a light sleeper has finally paid off!
The kids did great through their first week of school. It was good for us to return to familiar routines. Anna loves running for the cookie jar at snack time and munching on top of the desk while I read (Alice in Wonderland for this month) before recess in the yard. The boys ramble off to their new friend's house next door in the lazy afternoons and all is quiet while Anna sleeps (or sings) in her own bed.
They grow up so fast! Joel is doing great in his reading. Some invisible switch must have flipped over the summertime, and he is motivated and doing great! He even thought the first couple 'cat sat on the mat' books were too easy! Anna has learned to spell and write her name. James has his 7th loose tooth! Bye bye little babies... hello big kids! Each phase has fun parts of their own.
There's a chicken squawking in the backyard. The neighobor's hen is lost again. Our guards are great chicken-wranglers. It really is an art that takes practice. They convince it to fly back over the wall. Hopefully the right wall...
With the rain pouring down at 6 this morning it is cool, humid and cloudy. It might as well be a snow-day. The rain turns the roads into slick mud that might as well be ice (except that ice doesn't get ruts that can drown a semi truck...). So everyone pretty much freezes in time, hanging out wherever they happen to be. The meetings can wait. The classes can wait. The job will wait. Church can wait. Everything waits for the end of the rain (which is usually less than 2 hours btw). If you want the road to yourself or feel like singing a solo in church, go out anyway. Today I expect our workers will show up an hour or so late. Makes me want to sit in my bathrobe and drink hot chocolate with marshmallows and soak in the slow morning slowly. Rushing doesn't really pay here anyway.
And our days roll on. A funny jumble of quotidienne.