Dia Tipico

6:00am Wake to the sound of the surf.

6:05am Wake again to the sound of "MOMMMMMYYYY...."
Grumble that it's too early to get out of bed.
Reminder to Self: I should be grateful they slept through the night.
6:15am Inhale coffee while entertaining twins with cute doggie movie.

7:25am Grumble that hairdryer overheats before hair looks good. Reminder to Self: hairdryers on an island are lame.

8:15am Pick up nice lady in front of Corozol snack stand. Talkative twins quiet down to check out Mommy's latest hitchhiker. Lady tells me in Spanish that she raised six children all on her own. I tell her in English that she's crazy. Fortunately she doesn't understand.

8:40am Park at SonRise Mission to wait for Nurse Peggy. Grumble that SonRise isn't open to sell me a cinnamon roll and latte. Reminder to Self: this isn't the sole purpose of the Mission and I don't need those calories anyway.

8:45am Pull over for scruffy, though not alarming, man while driving in Peggy's truck en route to fundraising meeting.

"Nurse Peggy, what about 'dem mattresses?" he asks. "Don't know right now, Victor," she says. "I also need more of 'dem vitamins you give me," he says. "Come by this afternoon," she says.

Continue driving.

"He lives in a box," Peggy says.

"Oh," I say.

"He used to live in a container but the gringo that owned it kicked him out."

"Oh," I say.

"He needs a mattress for his box?" I ask. Try not to think about the number of guest beds lying empty at home.

"Yes, I'm trying to get him one," Peggy says.



1:00pm Fix lunch of "roni" (pepperoni) and cheese. Grumble that Hayden spills his big-boy juice cup on the table just so he can clean it up with a "bunshe" (sponge). Reminder to Self: this too shall pass.

1:30pm Offer to drive housekeeper Maria as far as French Harbour since I'm going there anyway. Notice she has picked two small flowers from our front hedge to take with her back to the Los Fuertes barrio.

1:45pm Give up trying to figure out how to say in Spanish:
"take all the flowers from the garden that you want... buckets of them... we don't need them all..." as we drive in silence. Reminder to Self that she's probably not lonely in her one-room apartment; that really, I'm the only person in her life she can't communicate with. Sit quietly not saying anything. Resolve to give her armloads of flowers on Thursday.

2:15pm Grumble that the "new" Eldon's is already out of chocolate chips. Reminder to Self: I bought two packages last time and haven't done anything with them, so I don't really need back-up yet.

4:00pm Read email asking for volunteers to cuddle and feed babies of HIV/AIDS mothers one hour a week. Wonder if I can squeeze that in because it seems like such a good thing to do.

4:01pm Break up fight over Blue Pens. Suggest going to pool deck to play.

4:03pm Break up fight over Blue Bikes. Suggest snack.

4:05pm Break up fight over bowls of Blueberries offered as bribes disguised as snacks.

4:30pm Listen to Mike repeat "paddle, kick, paddle, kick" over and over in the swimming pool. Pull up by the ear any baby that goes under.

5:30pm Watch the "dundet" (sunset) from screened porch. Act out the concept of clean-up in case this behavior is actually learnable.

6:30pm Kiss babies goodnight. Cuddle Hayden.

"Gracias Moma," he says unexpectedly.

Gracias, Hayden.

Muchas gracias. Reminder to Self: give lots more cuddles tomorrow.



Our ride-to-school routine has gotten a little more interesting, thanks to the twins' impressive conversational skills.

We now have scripted chats that start in the driveway and continue all the way down Mud Hole Road to Discovery Bay.

Alecia: Get in the car.

Delaney: No, Mommy. Me drive.

Hayden: No, Meese (me).

Mike: Mommy's driving. Get in the car. You're going to school.

Wrangle them into car seats. Find sippy cups, reading material, school bag, changes of clothes, shoes, extra juice, etc.

Delaney: Bobbie (blankie)?

Hayden: Wah Wah (blankie)?

Delaney: No, me Bobbie.

Hayden: No, Meese.

Get going down the road after re-distributing the Bobbies.

Alecia: Let's listen to Old MacDonald.

Hayden: Beese (please)!

Delaney: No, AC's (ABC's).

Hayden: Beese (again)!

Reach the big hill, where months ago we saw a truck stuck in the mud.

Hayden: Truhk. Stuck. Mutt.

Delaney: We di 'id! (We got down hill without getting stuck in the dust ourselves).

Hayden: Mutt.

Round the first corner.

Hayden: No dows.

Delaney: No cows 'day.

Alecia: No cows today. Where are they?

Hayden: Awful.

Alecia: They're eating waffles?

Delaney: No!

Hayden: Dass.

Alecia: They're eating grass?

Hayden: Yes. Blue.

Alecia: No, the grass is green.

Hayden: No, blue.

Reach the half-way point.

Delaney: Boo boo. Medcin. On.

Alecia: You have a boo boo?

Delaney: Yes, Aynee di it (Hayden did it).

Hayden: No. Buh Wo.

Alecia: You see a bulldozer?

Hayden: Yes. Blue.

Delaney: Booboo medcin! On!

Alecia: No, the bulldozer is yellow. You don't have a boo boo.

Hayden: Yayoo.

Delaney tries again.

Delaney: Buh No work. Bahrries.

Alecia: The book doesn't work? It needs batteries?

Delaney: Yes. Daddy fix it.

Hayden keeps his focus.

Hayden: Truhk. Big.

Alecia: You see a big truck?

Hayden: Big. Blue. Bye bye. Truhk.

Hayden perks up.

Hayden: Ahpillur!!!

Alecia: Where, you see a helicopter?

Hayden (sighing): No. Truhk.

Delaney tries one more time.

Delaney: Me Warrings.

Alecia: When you're grown up you can wear earrings.

Hayden: Dicoke!

Alecia: Yes, grown-ups drink diet coke.

Delaney: Me Dicoke!

And so it goes.

Sometimes, all this gabbing wears them out. As precious as the conversation is, the silence is priceless, too.


Bunnies Hopping

Mike and I haven't had a babysitter break in four days.

We're about to crawl into a rabbit hole for a long, long time.

We're so lucky that friends from Houston, Maine, and just down the road have saved us from the bunny blues.

Here are some Easter weekend highlights:

Thursday I decided I was coming down with malaria. A blood test at Dr. Raymond's office, along the lines of Mike dropping his drawers in the Farmacia, thankfully proved I was wrong. During the hour-long wait I was able to go shopping, scoring a bunch of yellow (not green, not brown) bananas and a watermelon from a fruit stand in Coxen Hole. Watermelon turned out awful; bananas were a big hit back home.

Friday, Delaney and Hayden got to indulge repeatedly in their favorate indoor sport: flour shakers with a side of playdough. At least it kept them happy. And really, what's a little dusting of flour over all your surfaces a few days before company's coming?

Saturday offered a blissful respite: a three hour nap. (For Delaney and Hayden, not Mike and Alecia. Darn.)

Easter Sunday dawned bright and sunny, and earlier than usual, causing Mama and Daddy Bunny to scurry to hide the eggs that Mama had dyed the night before. Mama improvised Easter baskets out of egg cartons, just like Wondertime magazine told her to. Daddy hid the hard-boiled wonders in the garden along with a plastic Elmo egg or two. Mama had bought little treats to put inside the plastic eggs, but, as Delaney says, "No fit." So the plastic eggs just, well, came apart.

In the afternoon friends joined us in the swimming pool and on the lawn for another egg hunt. Delaney and Hayden hosted their friends with a joie de vivre I can only envy.

Today, the Honduran holidays continue. No school til tomorrow (who's counting?). Mike heroically set out to wash the dog with the twins' help. Delaney was hip to it (she has just mastered washing her own hair, so washing Sonoma's was a transferable skill).

But, Hayden refused to follow any directions and washed the sliding glass doors instead. And soaked (drowned) the container basil. And showered his sister. And sprayed his Dad. Agua everywhere but on the dog.

Fortunately this water show was interrupted by the arrival of Paradise Computers, whose techies were making a house call to install new internet service. Yes, even in paradise, techies are needed. Oh, yes.

Tomorrow, in my mind, the Easter holiday comes to an end and the new beginning begins. But my dyed eggs are still so pretty. I may keep them for a couple more days.

Happy Spirit of Easter from our casa to yours.


Easter Prep

All last week I made frenzied grocery lists in anticipation of Semana Santa. The island's busiest seven days of the year. Most expats leave or hide as Hondurans from the mainland come to rediscover their country's own Caribbean beaches.

It's a short work week: banks, stores, even restaurants will close by Wednesday or Thursday, and won't reopen til the day after Easter. All the resorts are full and the car rental companies are sold out. You can earn easy money by renting your house. Of course, you might not like the outcome a week later. Holy Week celebrations tend to be a little rowdy.

Since my top priority was, as usual, food, I hit either Plaza Mar or Eldon's each day to see what was new. My memory of last year at this time is of bare shelves and gasoline shortages. Mike reminds me it rained all week, adding to the misery. But this week has dawned sunny and breezy, and the markets are better stocked than usual.

Of course, some items are nowhere to be found. There are plastic eggs, but no baskets to put them in. There are lots of fresh eggs in cartons, but no egg-dying kits. There are bags of hard and sticky candy, but nothing approaching good chocolate. There are some frozen turkeys, but no hams.

But the biggest surprise, for the first time ever, was the bag of Starbucks. If there's one thing Honduras doesn't need to import, it's coffee. But here we have it, for 225 lempiras, bags of Breakfast Blend next to cans from historic Copan Ruinas. About the same price as in the U.S., maybe a little more. I resisted the temptation, choosing instead to put my $11.90 into the unexpected tub of Friendly's chocolate chip ice cream and the Stouffer's frozen pizzas.

For Easter Sunday ourselves, we're planning a pool party featuring grilled burgers and hot dogs. More like the 4th of July, with the addition of an egg hunt.

And something else to look forward to: on April 16, the brand new Eldon's super-supermarket is set to open. Rumor has it that it will feature a misting system in the produce section and carry more specialty products like skim milk. Wow. Fresh vegetables and drinkable milk. A new day really is dawning. Bon appetit.