Welcome, all! Glad to have you. Do you remember when I told you our apartment had been over-run by ants (HERE)? Well, they’ve not really been a problem for us since I discovered a miraculous piece of chalk, which, upon retrieving from the kitchen, I found to be an accurate description.
I was referred to the M.I.C., as I call it, by the clerk at Jame’s Store, the all-purpose shop I’d mentioned in the past (think Jennifer Aniston speakers). The clerk said that it worked wonders and was only $1, so, I tried it. The stuff really does work wonderfully! I simply lined the windows and cracks with it (stopping only to trace a nice, ant-free hopscotch grid in our tiled floor) and poof, the ants stopped coming! Every once in a while I see a stray ant walking around the apartment. I think he’s a scout, sent out to check if we’re still “chalkin’ it up”, as he put it when I demanded that he identify himself.
So, the chalk was a success, except for two details. First, in my efforts to write a truthful, factual blog, I did some research on M.I.C. tonight. Crap. Apparently, as much I love this stuff, the EPA hates it more. Click HERE for the scathing expose’. I was reading it out loud to Jacelyn while she was studying and when I read the part about “several children have been hospitalized after eating insecticide chalk”, I said, “Well, this doesn’t pertain because we’re not eating it.” Without looking up from her diagram of the course of the corticospinal tract through the brainstem, she quietly replied, “Well, I’m gonna stop eating it now.” (She IS truly the funny one in the relationship). For more information on deltamethrin, M.I.C.’s main homicidal ingredient, click HERE.
That was the first issue. The second problem with it is that it does not in ANY way deter the inundation of what the locals call “water bugs”. When searching Google for some pics of what they look like, I was surprised to find only pics like this:
Which makes me think that Google doesn’t know what it’s talking about, since in OUR neck o’ the woods, they look like this:
Now, before you judge me, picture 40 of them appearing on your counter every few hours or so. I can’t seem to find where they’re coming from, but I just KNOW they’re somehow in league with the ants, like an underground, Davidson Apartment Time Share. (For more pics of what Google mistakenly calls a water bug, click HERE)
Last Saturday night, we had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Easter Vigil service in Portsmouth and it was a really great experience. There were two people getting baptized and, when they reached that portion of the night, they proceeded out the side door. Since a bunch of people were getting up to watch, we figured we would, too. It was awesome. Just outside the door, they had filled a kiddie pool with water! (No, not like this. More like this, only blue.) The people would kneel in the water and they’d dump huge pitchers of water all over them (a double blessing: baptism AND getting cooled off from the heat of the night). “I baptize you in the name of the Father”…HUGE PITCHER OF WATER…”…and of the Son…”…HUGE PITCHER OF WATER…”…and of the Holy Spirit!”…HUGE PITCHER OF WATER. It was cool because one of them was a med student and one was a local guy and you don’t see many med students at the local church, mostly because of the length of the service; in fact, other than that midnight service, Jacelyn’s the only “whitey” in the place. (My tan has gotten dark enough that I consider myself to be “one of the natives”, if you will)
We were able to belt out some of the old school hymns, my favorite being “Because He Lives”. One of the coolest parts of the yearly Easter Vigil is when you enter the darkened church with only your candles lit. You sit in relative darkness as they go through 7 large chunks of Scripture, tracing the course of salvation history. When the readings finally reach the “Glory to God in the highest”, all the lights come on and you just belt it out! SO fun. The only hiccup was that, much like I didn’t know we had to bring our own palms for Palm Sunday, I was unaware that we had to bring our own candles for the Easter Vigil. So, while most sat in relative darkness, we sat in complete darkness. (But, guess which un-rhythmic white couple was able to experience the brightness of the light ever more so because of the ignorance and absentmindedness of the husband???)
All said and done, it was a fun experience. It was a bit harder on Jacelyn, since she’s been studying for tests for two weeks, now……………………….and it started at 10pm……………………………….and went for 4 HOURS! However, it was worth all 240 minutes of it! Speaking of Jacelyn, for those of you unfamiliar with medical school finals, here’s what she’s been attempting to do in the last 4 days–and what she’ll continue trying to do for the next 2; reviewing 7 weeks worth of neurology, 2 weeks of gastrointestinal physiology, 2 weeks of renal physiology, 2 1/2 weeks of reproductive physiology, 3 days about skin, anatomy of the head, neck, and abdomen, and a healthy smattering of the biochemistry of metabolism. (And she’s too humble to admit it, but she’s also discovered cures for bunions, road rage, and deja vu)
Hey, you know those big, tall pineapple trees you always see in the pictures? The ones with pineapples growing off of them in bunches? Yeah, I thought I knew of them, too. In fact, I’d have bet money that they grew on big trees. That is, until we were driving past a field the other day and our taxi driver, Kenny, said, “Over there is a pineapple field.” And I said, “You mean that grove of tall trees on the other side of the field?” And he said, “What? No. The FIELD right there.” So I took this picture of where pineapples grow:
Apparently, they grow low. So, in my head, I pictured them growing like a potato does, all buried in the ground, and some strong-armed farmer (or farmess) comes along and plucks them from the dirt. Turns out, not only was I wrong about them growing in trees (don’t pretend you didn’t think the same thing), I was also wrong about them growing in the ground. They grow on TOP of those little tufts of plant you see there. Like so:
You may have heard that I’m currently writing a curriculum for youth ministry, hoping to get it published somewhere down the road and have some small royalties trickling in while we’re on the mission field. One of the aspects of the curriculum is that I record myself teaching each lesson, so that a rural parish could use the curriculum, even if they didn’t have a youth minister, and they’d have an audio “hint” as to how you could possibly teach the lesson. With that in mind, I asked my mum for a recording mic for Christmas. She was wonderful enough to have bought me this and it has helped the sound quality tremendously.
As I’ve been recording these last few months, I’ve been thinking about all the noise pollution that goes on while I’m doing so. Not only is there the sound of the computer fan running, there’s the symphony of sounds from outside (incessant dog barking, cows mooing, this weird bird cooing, the goats chatting, and the weed-whacking ninjas). Then I saw an article on the Quietest Place On Earth, which just happens to be located in Minneapolis and it all got me thinking. How can I get rid of all that ambient noise, without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars? (Because that’s how much it would cost to pay off all the animals and their owners so that they’d SHUT UP!) So, in lieu of that investment, I came up with this:
A combination of couch cushions, pillows, and blankets gets me a pretty good lack of background noise. It feels so rugged and real to switch off all fans and AC, hunker down in the stifling heat under the comforter, and record these sessions, knowing that not only is the Lord watching over me, so is Jacelyn’s epic blanket which features David Bowie dressed as Dorothy and Mona from Who’s The Boss as Glinda. Mmmmmm, comfy.
If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.
On to the next thing…