Monday, June 14, 2010

Tick talk

Usually we take it easy on Sundays.  Amaranth goes to the children's mass in San Blas and I go to a nice restaurant that is peaceful and a good place to drop off into a meditative state.  We did those things this morning and then I went to work.
It's the dry season so we have to watch our water levels in the water storage tank under the house.  We use the water for household things and also to water the plants.  This time of the year it's not uncommon to go 3 or 4 days without any water coming into the tank.  We monitor the water levels every day with a dip stick I made up that is marked off in inches.  Yesterday we'd dropped off to less than a third of a tank.  I didn't sleep well last night 'cause my mind was in high gear chasing the elusive solution to our problem.  This morning in my restaurant/church I came up with a solution.  I'd install another pump further down the line to give us more pressure.  I picked up the necessary connectors at the hardware store and went to work.  Connecting the new pump was easy -  the hard part was burying the electric line.   I had to dig a trench over 150 feet long.  It took me 5 hours working non-stop with a small trenching tool.  The devilish part was I had to do it sitting and crawling through a thick tangle of jungle and underbrush that was crawling, and I mean crawling with big ticks and little ticks in all sizes and varieties.  Before starting the work I had wrapped duct tape around the bottoms of my pant legs and the cuffs of my shirt sleeves.  Even with that barrier they found their way through.  I passed through communities, maybe even cities of them and they'd be crawling everywhere.  They let me know when they found some skin and I'd stop to remove them before they dug in. Digging the trench was exhausting but I wanted to get it done cause there was no way I was going back for a second day of tick tag.  I hooked up the pump and literally crawled back up the hill.  I stopped 4 or 5 times, too tired to go on.  When I got up to the house I flipped the breaker to turn on the pumps and headed for the house to get out of my clothes and get at the ticks I could feel crawling on my  back.

As I headed toward the front of the house I became aware of people talking.  A friend, Tom, had stopped by with his wife and kids.  He had a parrot that he wanted to give us.  It  was green and red with a yellow head.  Tom let it run around free at his place but it had been getting into the neighbors fruit trees and eating the fruit, so in order to avoid a war the parrot was relocated to our parrot paradise.  Tom told us the parrot couldn't fly but was adept at climbing.  He also told us not to worry if our dogs would get along with it.  The parrot has a beak, dogs don't.  We're going to keep the parrot on the veranda so we can introduce it to the dogs with some control.
We fed the parrot a banana, plums, bok choy, homemade bread and a small piece of ham.  He loved it all.  He also loves Amaranth.  When she speaks to him in her musical way he arcs out his tail feathers and puffs up.  If he had his way she'd be sitting on eggs tomorrow. Right now his name is Chico but we want to come up with our own name for him.  We'll know when it comes to us.

Oh yes, for those of you still creeped out by the ticks crawling on me, I did slip out to take a shower while the introduction to the parrot was going on.  I found a few more ticks and Amaranth found the rest.  A good way to catch the little ones that are too small to see:  tape.  The tape picks them up and no more tick.  Of course even after you get them all you still feel those ghost ticks crawling around.  Usually nothing more than a good case of prickly heat from working in your tick suit all day.

Tomorrow I'm off to fix a friend's wheel chairs.  One has faulty brakes and the other has a broken arm rest.  I'll fix them and enjoy a good conversation as payment.

OK, another successful blog.  I was in bed and oh so comfortable when I remembered my commitment to you out there.  My bones were creaking like a model-A ford as I made my way to the computer.  Once I got started it was easy.  I really like writing and each day is so full.  It's easy to get a back log of stories to tell and they're never fresher than at the end of another satisfying day.  See you tomorrow.  Love Wally

By the way I checked and we have a full stream of water pouring into the tank.  Gracias a Dios.

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