Whaddyadoallday? Real Life on a Desert Island Rotating Header Image

January, 2014:

Sometimes things plumb evade me

There is no doubt that after all these years living in the islands, I have become far more accustomed to the ebb and flow of life in the middle of the sea. I certainly don’t think I am quite as expectant or demanding of certain things as I was many years ago. (See last week’s post’s comment about calling NFL Gamepass for an indication.) Although I also imagine you might hear differently if you asked my husband where my tolerance level falls on the scale of NYC to a Tibetan mountain top.  Nevertheless, wherever I fall on that emotional spectrum now I know it is not exactly where it used to be. Even baby steps can get you across a room. Even so, every now and again I am still caught off guard and scratching my head over something that strikes me as odd.  

Sometimes it’s some spoken logic that I just can’t follow. For instance, I went into the phone company the other day to inquire, face to face, about an ongoing fault on my phone/dsl line. I am sure it has been at least two months that I have been complaining about crackling on the phone line and jittery broadband that is affecting my voip phone call quality and NFL football game streaming. The problem persists. I have called. I have waited for resolution. I have called again. Repeat. So I went down to the office to ask the customer service representative how one went about requesting some consideration on one’s bill for inadequate service and inconvenience. Surprisingly, I just have never actually gone so far as to make such a request before because I am sure I would have remembered the answer she gave me. 

Apparently, I have to wait until the problem is fixed. At that time, they will calculate back to the first time that I filed a fault/complaint and then credit me back whatever they determine is an appropriate amount for that period of time. So, let me get this straight. If I understand this correctly, so long as they continue to provide me with substandard service, I pay the full amount. Then when, and only if, they restore my proper service, I can request a retroactive refund which means, I think, that there is really no incentive for them to help me. (If anyone interprets that differently, please let me know.) 

Meanwhile, sometimes I get confused over the written word. Take for instance this admirable public service billboard:Literacy Campaign

It’s a wonderful thing to encourage literacy in a population. I’m all for that. Kudos. But who is the target audience for this campaign? Shouldn’t the message be encouraging someone who can actually read the sign to help someone else become literate today? 

But most recently I was thrown off (or maybe thrown up from the driver’s seat of my car) over this sign:

 Humped Crossing

Again I applaud the fact that someone bothered to actually post a sign warning of a pedestrian crossing (since I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a sign on island before); but this may be because this particular pedestrian crossing is conveniently perched on top of a speed bump (hump). I also apologize for the fact that the road itself doesn’t photograph well. See the white triangle/arrow heads pointing up to the crosswalk hash marks cutting across the road? That’s the promised Humped Crossing.  

Now granted, the United States never did go metric. And granted I am a woman so sizes/lengths can be hard for me to judge (see how I turned that one around?). However, I was lucky enough to get the truck in the photo for some perspective, and you may just have to take my word for it but the distance between the sign post and the danger is NOT 100m unless m is not short for meter, or maybe Georgia is short for Gulliver and this is not the island of Anguilla after all.

Everyday Frustrations

Well, things are moving along with the remodel. The painting and staining and cleaning and reorganizing are nearly complete. It’s really looking wonderful and gives the house a completely (and bigger) feel, to be sure. I haven’t had the opportunity to whip up my new accent pillows, though, and those are really going to bring it all together. But I can’t get to my sewing machine and supplies right now since there is an entire deck’s worth of lumber stacked up in the garage against the cabinets that house all of that stuff. I have no idea how Michael has managed to do any woodworking at all without killing himself tripping over 2 x 4’s and 8 x 10’s and power cords and dunes of sawdust. 

I nearly broke my own leg yesterday. I felt some inexplicable need to get out and do some heavy pruning while Michael was in St. Maarten (unsuccessfully) looking for a part for one of the air-conditioners. (No we do not need air-conditioning right now but better to deal with it when you find it rather than when you need it.) Anyway, I braved the obstacle course that is the garage to drag out an electric hedge clipper, power cord and ladder and hauled them around to the pool. Set everything up, climbed up on the ladder and, in the words of Yukon Cornelius, nothing. Tried a different plug. Nothing. Tried a different hedge clipper. Still nothing. 

So, I took a different approach and went rummaging in the garage again for the small pole chain saw. Found it. But the chain was off. Stumbled around for the two screwdrivers and the right socket wrench. Took it apart. Put it back together again. Voila. Took it around to the pool. Nothing. At which point it finally occurred to me that the problem might be the power cord. Got a different one. Voila again. Stretched everything out to reach the sea grapes on the edge of the property. But the chain saw wouldn’t cut. It would spin. It just won’t cut. I have no idea why. I gave up. Took my working power cord over to the hedge clipper, did the originally planned pruning and called it just another day. OK, in all fairness there was an awful lot of colorful language involved so it would be more accurate to say that I called it just another $@&*-in day. 

Even when I just want to relax, life can be hard. Consider watching football. Having cancelled cable at the start of football season, I signed up (read purchased) NFL Gamepass which allows me to watch any game live or later for one year. In a peculiar twist of fate, this service is the polar opposite of other services like Hulu or Netflix in that you can only access it if you are NOT in the United States. That would be perfect, as I am not in the United States except that they also exclude Antigua and my dsl provider is apparently headquartered out of Antigua so that’s where my ip address says I am. And my ip address is dynamic so before every log in I have to call the support people and wait on hold to tell them my new address so they can override the system so I can access the game.  

The other day when I called the support guy said that I was the fourth person he had talked to that day from Anguilla. I said, sorry, we are clearly a very demanding bunch. He responded that in fact the opposite was true. He was sorry that we had to be bothered to call every time and that we are all surprisingly nice about it. And I said, aw shucks, you just have no idea how annoyingly difficult our days are normally. At least in this instance, sure I have to call, and then I have to wait, but then you answer, and then you fix it. That’s about as easy as anything gets here. 

Of course we all have our limits. Take last Sunday for instance. I had the Gamepass working well ahead of game time. The computer was hooked up to the TV. The sound bar was working. I was all ready for the game to start when my computer froze. And then it wouldn’t reboot.  It kept freezing. Kickoff came and went.  So I set Michael up watching on his little wee laptop and kept working on my computer. Booting. Rebooting. Safe mode. Unsafe mode. Nothing was working. Finally, it game back to life; and all connections were reestablished. So I went to get a bottle of wine. I picked one from my trusty list, located it in the wine cooler and then………………it would NOT come out! It would not budge. Sure I could have picked a different one, but by then I was obsessed with getting that one out. I had had enough. Come hell or high water, game or no game, in one piece or many, THAT bottle was coming out!

Live and Learn. Today, I get the drinks ready first!

Go Niners!

Another New Year

In spite of his worst intentions, the Grinch couldn’t stop Christmas from coming. Likewise, apparently in spite of the fact that I went to bed early and did not personally herald in the New Year, it also came just the same. It is now 2014. (I’ve properly noted that on every check I have written so far.) That means that we have now lived in Anguilla for 13 years. Thirteen years?  

Where did all the time go? I can distinctly remember ringing in 2000. I actually stayed awake for that one because the world was going to come to an end and who would want to miss that? It was Y2K. Every computer in the world was going to crash sequentially as the clock struck midnight – time zone by time zone around the globe. So that year we started watching the celebrations in Sydney or, wait, was it some little Pacific island that was first to turn over?….anyway it was high drama for about 60 seconds until it became apparent that nothing untoward or even exciting was going to happen. I also remember my stepdaughter and her boyfriend stopping by to wish us Happy New Year on their way out to a party. They are married now and just had their first baby two days before this New Year.  

Where did all the time go? Speaking of which, yes, I realize that I haven’t posted anything here in ages. The last few months are a blur. We got a bit sidetracked by some health issues. We’re both OK, but we had to make one trip to St. Martin and three trips to the United States to take care of everything.  That takes a significant chunk of time and other resources and obviously distracts a person emotionally. Luckily, nothing serious is wrong. But, sadly, we are of the age where the odds start turning against you in that regard. Something is going to come up, and all I can do is count my blessings that it’s not something bad. But how did we ever get this old? 

Where did all the time go? In all fairness there was also some fun travel tucked into the last few months. We enjoyed a week on a United States government sanctioned trip to Cuba. Had one full day back at home and then ran off in search of ‘festive’ holiday weather and decorations. That took us to Copenhagen for a few days and then landed us with friends in the countryside of England for the week of Christmas for a wonderful time full of twinkling lights, holiday cheer and good friends – with the added benefit that I probably won’t find the need to seek out cold weather again for another decade or so. 

Meanwhile, at last report on this blog, I think we were struggling to get a working TV. Three months later we finally have one but we still haven’t figured out how to really use it without cable. We have no idea how to really take advantage of our Roku and have, for now, settled into just watching content on our individual devices. Someday things will calm down and we’ll have the time to explore all of our viewing options but probably still not anytime soon. After all, there’s that new grandson to meet. And we are still working on a remodeling project. We had someone enclose the open courtyard in the middle of the house and are turning it into an entertainment room for that now nearly obsolete television (take that Y2K). So I spent last week on ladders and scaffolding staining ceiling beams and painting while Michael is repurposing teak panels into a very attractive bar.  

There’s always something, of course whether you are living in Maryland or Illinois or Anguilla; but at least as far as posting on this blog is concerned, I hereby resolve to do better.