Tuesday, April 29, 2008

MBCA's Sports Day

When I was growing up in Paraguay we use to have sports day, too. Only we didn't divide the school into four teams like Nathan's school does. We divided into two teams. The boys and the girls. The boys didn't compete against the girls we competed among ourselves. I liked it that way because I won a lot of the events. I could do the most sit ups, shoot the most free throws and jump the farthest both in the running and standing long jump. I can remember the P.E. teacher telling me to go last in the sit ups because it would save time. All the other girls would see how many they could do and then I would just do one more and win. Made sense to me.

MBCA held their sports day at CCCD, where they had their community outreach last year, because their facility is much larger than ours. The only problem was that the open field had no shade and it was the hottest day of the year so far.

When we arrived they had the football field line out like a track and four tents set up in the middle to "house" the four teams. It was a beautiful place to hold a day full of competitions. Nathan is in the Destiny house (team) and their team is the green tent on the far left.

Nathan right in the middle of the tent.

Destiny house banner.

Each house was judged on their banners, a cheer and a song. When their team was called they had to march in front of the judges and perform.

After all the teams performed for the judges they all went back to their tents to prepare for the various competitions.

Here, Nathan is waiting in line for his turn for the foot race. I was very thankful for the man that held the umbrella for the kids because it was blazing hot out there.

"On your mark, get set, GO!"

Frozen juice bags were provided to help keep the kids cool and hydrated.

Then there were the dogs. These two dogs followed Todd and me around the whole day. They weren't obnoxious just in the way. I couldn't tell if they liked the shade my chair and umbrella provided of if their former owners were white.

Nathan, taking after his Granddaddy, took advantage of the oranges that were provided for the kids as well. He ate three that I know of.

He told me that he loved them and that they were so good. I said then why don't you want me to buy any for you eat at home. He said because you don't cut them this way. Sometimes he really puzzles me.

Nathan was in the Spoon Water (Wata) Race. They had a bucket of water and they had to scoop a big spoonful of water up and very carefully carry it down the lane to a cup that was waiting, pour the water in it, and then run back and hand the spoon off to the next teammate. Destiny won the race.

I got tickled at the judges all trying huddle under this dinky little umbrella. Everybody was hunting for any little piece of shade that could be found.

It was a great day for the kids. We are thankful for any kind of activity that allows Nathan to run around. We got the bad news this morning that his football coach broke his ankle so, there will be no football this week.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Visit to Cornwall Communications

Last week Todd went to our cable company to exchange our cable box remote. I think Nathan had probably dropped it a few times on these tile floors and it just quit working. For about a week we could hit it on something and jar it back to working but, that eventually quit working, too. When he got home with the new one all the buttons worked except the channel up button. It didn't surprise us at all. I knew that I had a month to take it back because when I called my friend, Mrs. Green, inquiring about a new one she told me that we would have to buy one because the remotes only have a month warranty on them. Now, if you haven't read about my very special relationship with Mrs. Green at the cable company, you might want to catch up here.

After visiting the Book Ship again, I went by Cornwall with the receipt where Todd had purchased the replacement. The lady that helped me was very kind. I showed her my receipt and she took the remote in the back and after being gone for fifteen minutes, brought me out another one.

"Here you are Mrs. Hood," she told me to my surprise. I was shocked that she knew my name because I have only been in there a few times back when we first arrived here.

"Oh, are you Mrs. Green?" I asked.

"Noooo, Mrs. Green not here today," she answered in her strong Jamaican accent.

"Okay, I was wanting to meet her. I talk to here on the phone a lot. Although, I haven't had to call her this week. The cable has been working good."

"Yes, yes," she said, "Mrs. Green talks a lot about you."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Book Ship

Last week one of our local pastors told Todd about the Book Ship that was here. He told Todd that it was something that we might enjoy visiting and seeing. He was right. Yesterday afternoon, Todd suggested we take Nathan down to the Book Ship after football practice. So we did and I've got lots of pictures for you Uncle Howie.

They didn't have a lot of information about where they are from and where the books come from, so when I got home I went online and found them. I didn't have a lot of time to read up on all they do but I did find out that they have several ships and that they are a non-profit organization. If you are interested in learning more of the details you can visit their website here.

We took the short drive down to Freeport where the cruise ships dock and after taking two wrong turns and asking several people for directions we found the right road that led us to the "whaf" (wharf).

The street outside the wharf.

After getting through their security, which was trying to handle people for the Book Ship and cars that were going somewhere else and it was mass confusion as most things are here, we took the long walk to pay our admission fee. If they would have gotten out of their lounge chairs it might have been a little easier for everybody.

I thought it was funny because the sign to the right of that entrance says "no children allowed on port at any time." They might should have covered that one up because most of the books were geared toward children and there were lots of children on board.

Nathan wasn't really excited about going. He said that he would rather stay home. I mean how can a book compare to football practice? So he wasn't overjoyed to let me take his picture boarding the ship.

After paying our admission fee, which was $50 JMD (which is about $.75) for Todd and me, we boarded the boat and boy was it crowded. The narrow alley had bookcases along both walls and tables down the middle. So, it didn't leave much room for passing.

This sign was posted at the entrance to let you know how much the books were. All of the books were marked in units. I guess that way they don't have to re-price all the books when they go to a different port. Here 100 units equals $140 JMD which is $2 USD. All of the books were reasonably priced. We started off in the kids section and to my surprise Nathan handed me his DS so he could look at the books.

After looking through a lot of books and making comments on how silly Strawberry Shortcake and Cinderella were he chose a reader about the movie Open Season. He also found a Spiderman coloring book that he wanted. Knowing that he doesn't really like to color, I told him he could buy it with his tooth fairy money. He agreed. I really hate when my son makes a liar out of me, because when we got home he immediately colored a page and then got up this morning and colored another page before he got ready for school.

"Mom, do you have to take a picture of every book I look at?"

Besides the Spiderman coloring book, he found a big hardback Spiderman comic book and as he was reading and looking at it, I couldn't help but video it for his Uncle Howie:

Along the wall they had painted a map that charted all of their ports of call. Sorry the picture is blurry. This one was taken at the entrance. The one below was taken at the end as we were standing in the LONG, CROWDED check out line.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

The end of the alley, which was the back of the ship, was open. Looking at the Caribbean Sea puts a whole new twist on book shopping. They had a large variety of books for all ages. They had Bibles and reference books, devotionals, self help books, biographies, health books, maps, coloring books and sticker books, they even had Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys books. They also had a lot of CD's and DVD's. But, after looking through all the books, there were no fiction, which is of course is my favorite. I was depressed because I do a lot of reading. And besides taking Nathan, it was my reason for going.

While I was shopping, several people asked me if I worked there. I told them no. I remembered the admission lady was white and, I found out at the end that all the cashiers were white, too. I assumed they thought since I was white I must work there, as well. After the third person asked me that, I started to keep a count. A total of seven people asked me and Todd said that one lady asked me twice. It was getting funny.

After making our selections, we headed to the check out lines. Oh my! It looked like a madhouse. But, to my surprise, even though the lines were long, they had four cashiers and each line was roped off. So, it was very organized.

As we were slowly moving up to our cashier, Todd whispered, "I have a book in my back and it has been there since we got in this line." I of course laughed at him. Then he made the mistake of casually turning around. The talky mouth of all talky mouths started in on him. She told him all about how smart her daughter was and how slow her boyfriend's son was and her daughter was younger than her boyfriend's son. Then, she showed him all the things she had picked out for them. When she noticed that the line wasn't moving very fast, she asked Todd to hold her stuff for her while she went to get a dictionary that she forgot to get and that she would be right back.

Todd with all of his "friends" stuff.

True to her word she came back. There were signs all over the ship that they took credit cards, but not to our surprise when we arrived at the cashier and the nice man rang our selections up the phone lines were out, so he couldn't approve a credit card transaction. Our bill was $1400 JMD and Todd only had $1200. Thankfully, he had $20 US tucked away in his wallet and was able to buy our books with it.

Nathan waiting for us to check out.

The girl to his left goes to school with him.

After we paid, we headed downstairs to exit the boat and in order to do that, we had to go through another room. To my great DELIGHT, look what I saw:

The room was full of boxes of, yep you guessed it, novels galore. Todd showed me a sign on the wall that said that these books aren't for sale. Each person is allowed two books or you can buy a commemorative Logos II bag and get three. Since it was getting late and we still had to eat supper, I decided that Todd and I would return on another day since they will be here until April 27th. He doesn't like fiction so I am going to pick out two "for him", if you know what I mean.

We had supper at KFC and when we got home, Nathan was on his way to his room and (unprovoked, all on his own) he said," Thanks for taking me to the Book Ship, Mom and Dad." I love when he does that. That is one of the small rewards of our hard parenting work. Oh, and he won't have to buy the Spiderman coloring book out of his tooth fairy money either. He has no idea the rewards he would get if he would always remember his manners.

I am off to the Book Ship to pick out my two books and two for Todd. Who would have thought a Book Ship would have come my way at this time? They won't be back to Jamaica for another six years. Thank you Lord!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another visit from the Tooth Fairy

I had to pull another tooth the other night. Nathan's two top front teeth have been lose for a while now but he hasn't wanted me to get near them. The other night though he asked me to look at one and see if it was ready. When I looked I told him that it was. We got the paper towel out and I yanked two or three times but it wouldn't come out. I broke my thumb nail a while back and I just couldn't get a good grip. He got tired of me trying and so we quit on it for the night.

The next night, however, we were eating supper and he was biting his broccoli and I told him to be careful biting on those lose front teeth that they were going to come out. He said, " No they won't mom. Watch." Below is the result of what happened when I watched.

It became obvious that it was time to pull this thing. So, after he pitched a small fit and we had to send him to his room to quit crying, he finally came out ready for me to pull it.

Enjoy the pulling:

And just like that it was over and he was back to watching a Power Ranger movie. The tooth fairy came and brought him $500. Jamaican dollars, that is, which is about US$7.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Star Apples

We have a handful of people that attend our church that live up the mountain in a small community called Nigger Ground. Todd went for a visit the other day and one of the ladies gave him a star apple. She showed him how to eat it and sent one home to Nathan and me. The star apple is nothing like the jack fruit I wrote about awhile back. Although, not as unique as the jack fruit it is like none I have ever seen before.

The outside skin is smooth and a dark purple. If you cut it cross ways, the inside resembles a star. However, it isn't at all like a Granny Smith or Fuji apple.

Todd didn't cut it crossways, he just torn it down the middle so, we didn't get to experience the "star." The pulp close to the outside skin is a deep purple. The lady that gave it to him told him not to eat the purple pulp because it will "bind you up." And we sure don't won't to get bound up around here!

The inside consists of big black seeds covered in a white membrane. The membrane covering the seeds is the part you eat.

Nathan was all about tasting the star apple his daddy had brought home. That is unusual for him because although he is a very healthy eater he isn't big on tasting things that are new to his palate.

Todd told him to take a big bite, but to be careful with the big black seeds. As far as the taste goes...well, I can't say that it resembles anything that I am familiar with. It's sweet and tasty but not something I would spend money on.

Bite #1.

Bite #2.
And, let me end this post by saying, "It sure is nice to have our internet back on."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Getting In The Last Word

My brother, Howie and I, use to always see who could get in the last word. My son inherited that from one or both of us.

Todd and I alternate taking Nathan to school in the mornings. It was Todd's turn to take Nathan and I kissed them goodbye and quickly went to my bathroom in the back of the house because I had to go. I had just sat down and here Nathan comes busting in the room.

"Mom, I want you to take me to school this morning," he said.

"No, I will come and pick you up this afternoon. Now go." I wanted to "go" myself, in peace, and without an audience if you know what I mean.

As he reluctantly left, I hollered, "I love you!"

He hollered back, "I double love you!"

"I triple love you," I yelled.

And before he slammed the bedroom door letting me know that he was getting the last word in, he hollered, "I fourple love you."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cable and Wireless

We have been without internet for the last six days. When we don't have internet we don't have American phone service. (Vonage) It is our lifeline to home. And when I don't have it, it doesn't make me very happy. Thank God we do have the ability to go to the Yacht Club and get online but that requires going out and fighting the traffic and maneuvering the pot holes and it's just a chore.

Cable and Wireless is the phone company here that provides our internet service. It took me awhile to get use to that because I thought they offered cable T.V., too. But they don't. The cable company is Cornwall Communications.

For the last month the internet has gone out every other day if not every day. One of us would call the service rep and they would make us unplug the power cable to the modem and type in a series of numbers in the address bar and blah, blah, blah. I grow weary of doing the same thing over and over. Just fix it and make it stay on! Sometimes they would get it up and it would work for a day, two if we were lucky. And, it always seemed to go out on Friday, just in time for the weekend. This last time they weren't able to get it working even after walking me through all 542 steps. So, they said that they would send a technician out in one to five business days. That was on Friday. I woke up this morning to rain and the Jamaican phone ringing. After I woke Todd up to go answer the phone, he said that Cable and Wireless wanted to know if we were still having trouble with our internet. He told them yes and the man told him that he would be here sometime today. When I looked at the clock it was 6:37 AM. Now, I have never had a service call that early in the morning. But, since it was the internet repairman...he could have called me at 3:00 AM and I wouldn't have minded. With it raining, I quickly asked the Lord to not let the power go out just in case the repairman were to come. That would be just my luck. The internet service man here but he can't fix it because the electricity was out. Sure to his word, he was here at 8:30, the power stayed on through the rain and now I just pray that the internet will stay on.

While we are on the subject of utilities. How many of you have your cable company's phone number memorized? Well, I do. Let me tell you about my special relationship with Mrs. Green at Cornwall Communications. I think the cable goes out more than the internet does. So, we have to call Mrs. Green and let her know and she tells us to put the box on channel five and turn it off and she will reset it. We do this at least once a week. Sometimes I have to unplug the box and read her the 39 digit number on the bottom of the box. Awhile back, I wanted to get ESPN and Todd wanted the Golf Channel. They call it a sports package and it costs a few dollars more but we agreed that we wanted it. We called and they told us to put the box on channel five, turn it off and they would add it. Sure enough they did. However, every time Todd would have a few minutes to watch golf, the channel wasn't working or if the power would go off which here that can happen daily, we would have to call and tell Mrs. Green our sports package wasn't on. She would tell us to put the box on channel five and turn it off and she would reset it. This last time Todd went down to pay the bill he told them we didn't want the sports package anymore because it was never on. They told him that all he had to do was call them and they could add it back on. He told them that he was tired of calling and that he shouldn't have to do that. They told him that if he changed his mind to give them a call. After all, isn't that what every satisfied customer should have to do? Yesterday was the Biggest Loser finale and NBC wasn't coming in good so I called Mrs. Green. I didn't even have to identify myself. After I said, "Hello Mrs. Green." She immediately said, "Hello Mrs. Hood, how are you today?" Something is wrong with the system when the cable company recognizes your voice. I bet you can guess what she told me to do. That's right, put the box on channel five and turn it off. But this time she told me that she knew the number on my box that I didn't need to read it to her.

Note: Sorry Uncle Howie, no picture of Nathan calling one of the utility companies.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"You Are As Blind As Your Granddaddy!"

...is what I tell Nathan when I send him to find something and he comes back and says, "I can't find it." So, I go to find the object and it's right there in plain view. I was the same way though because I remember my mama telling me, "If it were a snake it would bite you." But Nathan is worse than I ever was. Every time I send him to get something, I know that I am going to have to go get it myself.

When we were home for Easter, I got pictures to show just how "blind" he is. When we went to Grammy and Pappy's to hunt Easter eggs I hid one of Nathans eggs a little lower than eye level on the side of the fifth wheel. I don't know how many times he ran past it, looking right at it and never seeing it.

It's an orange Easter egg, not a running light!

Then one day when we were at Mama and Daddy's, Uncle Howie hid the eggs for Nathan to find and I told Howie about the incident at Grammy and Pappy's and that he needed to remember where he hid them because Nathan would never find them all. I was in the house and he came and got me laughing and told me to get the camera that Nathan couldn't find an egg that was in plain sight.

There it is in the tree.

He couldn't find it. Uncle Howie started doing "hot" and "cold" with him. When he would get close to it he would say, "You're getting hot." When he would move away from it he would say, "You're getting cold."

"You're looking right at it."

He even posed for the picture with his egg!

"You're getting colder."

He still doesn't see it.

"You passed it."

"Look in the tree."

"I found it!"

He did finally find it but it took him a very long time and way too may hints and clues. We really had fun laughing at him and he didn't even get mad at us and run and tell his DeeDee.