Wednesday, October 29, 2008

War Is Ugly



That's right. Bill Murray is my alter-ego right now.


I posted this a few weeks ago. Just thought I should update y'all. If you are squeamish, I would advise you to stop reading right now.


Confession: I used to be squeamish, but war makes you hard. Well, I'm still somewhat jumpy, but nothing like I was when I first posted about this as a novice. Oh what a naive thing I was back then!


Confession: (again) I hate rodents! I hate those bastards!!! There, I said it again, and now I feel a tiny bit better.


Ok, I recorded battle #1, and reported that I thought the surge was working. Wrong. The enemy regrouped and re-invaded. So I raided my piggy bank and went to Lowe's to get some more combat gear, namely, those sonic pest chasers for every room in the house and some different traps. That knocked them back for a few days, but they are persistent little buggers and it was soon evident they were back. Again.


Sometimes you have to use your brains in addition to brawn, so I decided to study the enemy. As my mother always taught me, you must know your enemy. Even if you don't think you can stand it. There is plenty of advice out there. First of all you have to recognize you have a problem that is not going to go away overnight. Tip Diva confirms my feeling that I am not ready for the exterminator...yet.


OK, so right now, a whole bunch of my pantry is boxed up in two plastic snap-tight containers. The dog and cat food is also in one of those containers outside on the porch. Let me tell you, that really ticked those rodent bastards off. ( I feel good every time I call them that!) I put the pet food in a brand-new container and the next morning there were major, deep, gnaw marks all the way around it where they tried to get in...and yes, I tortured them with a semi-clear plastic container. And I feel good about that. They gave up after about a week.


Steel wool is the bomb. It has really helped. All this calmed them down for a few days and then....they came back!!! Not so many (I can tell by the noise level, I am making progress) but one is too many as far as I'm concerned.


I have an area in my bed room where the sheet rock got soft years ago (before I moved here) from roof damage. I recognized it the first time I painted that room, but then I forgot about it. I never had a problem. I did a little patching the last time I painted, still, no rodent problems. Well, they have now found that spot, and they chewed thru it. I blocked it and had some peace for a few days. Then it happened.


I was drifting off to sleep and I realized I had a visitor. Under my bed. Not sure how he got there or why, did not matter. I went to find the cat, who seemed in no big hurry to do anything about it as she curled up with me on my bed. The noise ceased, and I fell asleep. I woke to an epic battle. There was much thrashing around under the bed and I could tell the kitty was winning. Eventually she started making that weird howling noise they do when they're in heat...except she was spayed years ago. I figured that must be her victory howl. So far I have not found the remains of the enemy. But the next morning, I did see signs of the battle. I don't know, and don't want to know, which animal jumped up on my bookcase (next to my bed) but it knocked off a decorative plate that was holding some jewelry and trinkets, AND broke (but did not tumble) a Mexican blue blown glass vase that was holding loose change. Collateral damage. Epic battle. Go Kitty.


Actually, she has been the champion. She has all the gold medals. Here's the score card:


Mom: 1 by trap


Sydney the Ratter Terrier: 1 likely by accident


LG: 2 by BB gun


Kitty: 7 (that I know of)


I have had some horrifying moments that have just left me REALLY POed once the horror and the fear has worn off. Like the morning when Willard dropped out of my pantry cupboard and ran along the backsplash, jumping to the floor only to land in the (empty) mop bucket. From there he jumped straight up, about 2 feet and way clear of the mop bucket to get out, before he scurried into the laundry room to disappear into his hole. I did not know I could scream just like a bad actress in a B movie, but now I know I am completely capable of this. My corgi did not know what to do about all that except bark. Oh, yes, we were one loud upset mess here at Camp Osceola on that morning.


Against all advice, I did put out some poison. I had a solid block of it sitting on the windowsill in the kitchen, since that seems to be the scene of much of this crime. I noticed some gnawing on it, but had not yet noticed any slowdown in activity much to my dismay. One day after I had cut off the food supply, but still had not plugged all the holes (that I knew about) with steel wool, I noticed the block of poison was missing. I was frantic, thinking the bastards (:)) had knocked it on the floor and poisoned my dogs. I checked their teeth for green residue, and my corgi did not like that, I think it brought back a bad bad memory for him...like the time he really did eat the rat poisen, but lived to tell about it...but no residue. I could not understand what had happened to it. It was 3" long, probably 1.5" thick, it was a block! LG and I finally had to conclude they had taken it back behind enemy lines, as it seemed to have disappeared into thin air. Good. I hope a bunch of them died eating that.


Did I tell you this will make you bitter? And crazy???


Well, the battle continues. I still have at least one really obnoxious interloper that I can hear banging around under the sink early in the morning. I have a few extra days off this week. I will be spending some it searching for more holes to plug with steel wool, and cleaning up all the clutter I can find. I am angry, and sometimes discouraged, but I am not giving up. Ever. Their numbers are diminished but I will not rest until they are all gone. Over and Out.


The General



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Almost Real

Another dream about them last night. This time they were here in Georgia at somebody's farm, and it was Easter. They were having an Easter egg hunt, and there were a bunch of other kids there too, some of them Haitian. W was wearing this t-shirt (which I bought her) and a pink skort (that I bought for her sister). I was standing on one end of the open green field, and the kids were all outside, except for L. I asked W where her sister was and she said she'd wanted to stay in the house.(? In my dream I did go back to the house to check on her, as that was unusual behavior!) Then in halting English W proceeded to inform me that she was Catholic.(It was super-cute how she said 'Cath-o-lic', believe me this was a very realistic dream!) Apparently she wanted to make sure that the religious aspects of the Easter holiday were fulfilled. I told her that I was not Catholic, but that we would do what she needed to do---basically letting her know I was going to respect her religious background. She was happy with that, and took off running across the field with all the other kids, in search of Easter eggs, in her all-pink outfit.

*************************************

I have no idea what their religious background is. I suspect it was traditional, but I don't know if it was devout. Last Christmas when I was there they were very comforted by the singing of the church group that was meeting upstairs every night, but the baptism in the pool seemed bewildering to them. If they have a strong traditional Catholic background, that would make sense.



Another reason I suspect that it was traditional is because of what I saw on their 'certificat de naissance' (birth registration document)
which is different than their 'acte de naissance' (birth certificate).

Which brings me to another point. Their birth certificates are in (I pray to God!) the National Archives, which is why I only saw the birth registration document when I went to file the I600. M said the father did not bring the birth certificates (I assume she meant when he did the interview, or perhaps she meant when they were relinquished?) so now we are in the process of getting them from the archives through the Minister of Justice. She tried to explain it to me but she talks fast and I could only catch parts. When people talk fast and not in their first language, it can make for some interesting translation, as many of you know! So I found the link to the National Archives of Haiti to help further my understanding of the process.

The girls come from a rural area of Haiti. I would bet money they were not born in a hospital, and that the only birth certificate is in the National Archives. I have no idea how long this takes. M said she would let me know when it was complete.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Walk Thru, Tate II


Yesterday was exciting at work because we had a walk-thru on the new site. The new site is connected to the old site, and I am currently working at the old site, so that makes life interesting. When it is all said and done, the whole thing will be one seamless (?) Student Center and I will have 4 new restaurant concepts to manage. In case you don't know this about me, I thrive on challenge!

Old concept meets new

Three of the four new concepts

(Hotei's Asian Grill looks like 'Hottie's Asian Girl' in the graphic, and I believe that is a picture of a Mongolian Grill, not a donut!!!)
I have been fortunate to have been systematically presented with new opportunities since I came to work here 12 years ago. This is my 3rd time working with new construction
(Chick-fil-A 2002, East Village Commons 2004, and now Tate II)
And I'm pretty jacked.
But then, this is what I had been doing in school. Most people think Interior Design is decorating. I like to say that is the icing on the cake. Interior Design, not to be confused with Interior Decorating, is space planning, and requires a good working knowledge of architecture and construction. Commercial design is what I have been studying so I am in my element. Even though all that is on hold for now, I still love this stuff.




View of the stadium from the 5th floor

Roof not finished here

The Grand Staircase

View from the top of the stairs

I love wearing a hard-hat!

Safety glasses and the neon vest are also a nice touch.

The last 5 pictures were taken with my cell phone; it was pretty dark in there.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How To Influence People And Not Make Friends




I must admit it was a first for me. I was the cause of a 4 car pile up. I've been in a fender bender a time or two, but I have never been in a real accident. Not only was I in one, I caused it.


The good news is, everyone is OK. Also good news was we drove away in our pathetically crippled vehicles.

So, here is what happened. I was driving home for work, and was barely out of the parking lot. The street I was driving on must have been facing directly west, because at 6pm, the sun momentarily was glaring so ferociously over the crest of the hill that it was all I could see. Until I got about 5 feet behind a silver Pontiac Sunfire. I barely had time to hit the brakes, and it was too little too late. BAM! (Also: DAMN!) I got out and still the sun was so intense I did not realize at first that it had impacted the two cars in front of the Sunfire. Everyone was shaken up but OK. The other drivers, all young female college students, were kind of circling their cars in disbelief. The trunk of the Pontiac was crushed like an aluminum can, and it tore the bumper right off my Jeep. Plus damaged the grill and scrunched up the hood. In the middle of that I thought I kept hearing someone calling me my name I was sorta in shock so it seemed kind of peripheral. Finally I tuned in and looked over on the side walk, and there was one of my former employees. Turns out she lived right there in an apartment and heard the noise. While we were waiting for the police to arrive, I looked at the sun which was finally beginning to sink over the hill. I remarked,

"I bet this isn't the first time this has happened here. I could not see a thing"

She said "It happens all the time!"

Me: "Wow. I believe it. I didn't even realize I couldn't see until I was on top of that car"

"At least everyone is OK. Insurance can take care of the rest of this mess"

Me: "Yeah, you're right", feeling a little guilty over the grief I was experiencing over my banged up vehicle. After all, I was the cause of 3 other people's grief over their vehicles. The girl that I hit directly couldn't stop shaking, and when I apologized to her, her eyes just welled up with big tears. "I feel terrible." I told my employee friend. "And I'm going to get a ticket"


She said "Yep, he's gonna cite you. But it's just a thing. At least nobody was hurt"

Me: "You. Are. Right."

Yep. Ain't nothing but a thing. And everyone is all right. Thank God.




Ouch!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Homecoming

Georgia 24 vs. Vanderbilt 14





Wish I was writing about another kind of homecoming! But this is college football. Not much to report. It was an early kick-off (12:30 pm) and we were very very busy for several hours, and then it was all over. I missed a few good photo opportunities...DJ Shockley of the Atlanta Falcons cooking on our outside grill, filming a spot for Comcast. He was a former (brilliant) QB for UGA.


Lots and lots of little girls in their UGA cheerleader outfits with UGA ribbons in their hair! Just to let you know, JC! Did not see a whole lot of Vandy fans, which is kind of sad, because their black and gold team colors are very respectable and worth wearing!


Most of my staff was just thrilled not to have another home game for 4 weeks. I can relate, but I'm a hardened veteran of these things, and we have had much tougher schedules in the past. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to get my week-ends back for awhile! I went home and took and nap, and had no trouble sleeping long and hard last night!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Reality of Dreams

Last night I had a dream about the girls. We were on some kind of group outing, like a camping trip. There were people there that I work with that had their families with them and also some adoptive families I "know" from blogging. I was negotiating a deal with a roadside vendor for a doll house for W. In my dream it was just like the one I had when I was a little girl. The reality is that I never had a doll house even though I always wanted one. The rest of the time in my dream I was chasing L around and trying to get her to behave :)


*******************************************************


I miss those two so much. Sometimes the whole thing seems like a dream to me. A dream that you wonder if it will ever come true. And yet, having been there and lived it with them, I know it's real. I know they are counting on me. Lives hang in the balance. All of our lives have changed drastically, and huge sacrifices have been made.



I knew I would have a difficult time with the beginning process. I knew the months of waiting, stuck in one or more phase for an undetermined time, would be hard for me. I don't think I anticipated it would also be hard on them. I don't think I anticipated that it would be so very difficult at the end for us all. Where you can see the finish line but you are forced to crawl over it.

************************************************************



I called Marie tonight, which is not usual. I wanted to know this: should I make plans to visit again, or should I hold off for pick-up? Tonight, we do not have the answer. I have to call back next week to find out.



I don't want to go thru it again. But....the possibility lurks that it could be many months before pick-up.



If you have read my blog you know the leaving is terrible. My girls are old enough to understand time, and time lost. In December, many mothers will visit, that is the new visiting time. If I do not come, and it is many months later before pick up, how will they feel? I can only imagine.



I said I can't do it again. And I don't think I can. But we shall see.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Georgia VS Tennessee



Georgia 26 Tennessee 14




For me, there were two, and only two highlights of my day yesterday, and both came early. Here is the first one.....


That was one super-cute bulldog. The man was nice too.


The other highlight was when I woke up in the morning and realized that I was going to work at the Tate Center, and that I was done with my other job. Don't get me wrong. I will miss those people and some other things about that job a whole lot, but not only is it really time for me to move on, I am completely exhausted from trying to work, train the new manager, and move office. It was a really hard week, topped off by a big football game, and I hated walking into my new job utterly exhausted but that is what happened. The good thing was I did not have to do much, just be there. I got out of there with less than two minutes on the score board, and crowds were already flooding out of the stadium. I was afraid I would get stuck in the God-awful traffic on my way out of there, but I was barely ahead of the crowd, so it was not too bad.



Now, I have a soft-spot for ole Rocky Top. I go to Tennessee often, think the University, which is located in Knoxville on the river and at the base of the Smokies, is a beautiful campus and I am in awe of their forensics program. Their football team is always tough, although they are getting hammered in the SEC this year. But I have one big qualm about them. ORANGE! How can the fans wear that color????? I wish I had been cognizant enough to get some pictures. Then you would see what I mean.

Laura, being a Clemson alumnus, maybe you can explain it to me....

:)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Golden Week-End



It was a great week-end with PERFECT fall weather. Got some things done that needed to be done. I put a sealer/enhancer on my wood floor in the living room. My floors need to be sanded and refinished but I don't see that happening in the immediate future, so I tried out this product and it is an improvement. At least it gives the worn places some protection so it is not a dirt magnet. If I can just remember to use a neutral cleaner now. I don't want to have to redo it in a month or so, like I am having to re-my kitchen. LG got up on the roof and cleaned the gutters out for me. I have some huge trees on my property, and every year the gutters get pretty bad. The stuff that comes out of there is perfect compost. Luckily, the flower beds are directly below! The gutters were getting embarrassing. I not only had weeds growing in them (optimal growing conditions!) I had a few trees sprouted!
Now that the harsh heat is gone, I really have the urge to get some things done around the house and outside. And I have a love/hate relationship with college football. The hate part is that it steals my week-ends. This was my last free week-end for awhile.
I'm finishing a photo album for the girls, so I got some photos of LG and the big dogs. Trying to somehow prepare my little girls for the reality of living with dogs, which is a completely foreign concept in their culture.


Also took some video of Dina, the Golden. She is 11.5 years old, and I have had her since she was about 6 months old. She was dumped on the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere, and became available for rescue. She has been the best companion evah...the only dog-child for many years. She has a garden variety of health problems, but mostly has good days. She is still crazy after all these years! She is a "talker" but I could not get her to cooperate in the video. That's a dog for ya!

video

Saturday, October 4, 2008

In Black and White




On this last trip, the group had a professional photographer on board. Her photos were stunning, to say the least!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Haitian Beauty





It's been awhile since we got photos, and these were taken in August right after 'Faye'. A sight for sore eyes, for sure! I am so metally ready for them to be home. How long till that happens? Who knows except God. Everyone that knows me realizes I am praying for a miracle and hoping it will be by Christmas. Still in MOI, but the BP interview is done, and that is a huge obstacle. Having that done, and not having to do DNA testing, are big hurdles.
The end is hard. And I'm not even to the Embassy yet.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Manic Monday...Wait, It's Tuesday!

Yesterday started pretty well. It was payday, and that is ALWAYS a bonus. I went to find gas on my way to work and lucked out on my first try. Colonial Pipeline is at full throttle again, finally, but the media says it will take two weeks to assuage the shortage. As I stated previously, I don't believe the media anymore. While the situation may still be dicey in Atlanta, looking around here I started seeing many more pumps open, compared to last week.



Lynda came into the office after I did, which is unusual. She had not been feeling up to par the day before and she still looked under the weather. She also asked to leave early, also unusual, which was fine, because she really was not looking well. She was scheduled to have 2 more stints put in on Thursday, and I was thinking she really needed to get better before that procedure. She never did tell me she was having chest pains. The short story is she never made it out of the parking lot. I would not have known that if her daughter had not called me looking for her. After three doses of nitro glycerin she went to the hospital in an ambulance. The good news is she suffered no permanent damage to her heart and they are going to try to do the stint procedure today. So if you are the praying kind, please think of her today and in the days that follow this procedure.



Lynda did not want to go to the hospital after her third dose of nitro. I got on the phone with Emergency and while I was dialing and told her to quit ***king around. Her eyes got all big, but she said 'OK'. I'm bossy like that sometimes. My dad had a major heart attack at the age of 58. It almost got him. He hated going to the hospital, or the doctor, for anything. He thought he was bulletproof. But he somehow drove himself there that day. The images of him in the ICU (for weeks after) will never leave me. Or the fact that he had to wait 3 months to get his strength back in order to have quintuple by-pass surgery, and it took the better part of a year to recover from that. Ultimately, 18 years later he had valve replacement, and it was complications from that which took him from this earth. I am not prepared to lose my best friend at the age of 48 because she is stubborn.



After all that I still managed to get a some work done, but I left a little early. I went back to Lowes and got 3 more sound devices to plug into my walls, as I continue to fight those bastard rodents that are trying to take over my house. They are called "Sonic Pest Chasers" and I now have one in every room. They have been the most effective weapon. My kitty has jumped into the fight since I trimmed the bushes around the back steps. She has a better view now for her aging eyes. She had one of vermin enemy between her paws, pretty much completely dis-embowled, yesterday when I left the house. Good Kitty. Go Kitty. I am feeding her SPARINGLY.



And finally, in adoption news, rumour has it that MOI is working on adoptions again....yay!

daily scripture