Sunday, May 13, 2018

Miles of Jungle, Rain Forest, and Then....

I recall working in the mountains two hours south of San Juan. It was so beautiful there! The rain forest is remarkable and I hate the thought that we might destroy them all one day in favor of industry and technology.

I was away from church, God and all that stuff during this time. So I had no expectation that God would help me. But he did. He sent an ex-marine who spoke good English named Hernandez. Hernandez was a Godsend. I could never have trudged up and down mountainsides, through thick bramble bush and up many flights of concrete stairs if Hernandez hadn’t been there.



He would take my hand and say, “C’mon, Miss Carol. We can make this.”

I would look toward the top of a very steep mountainside and say, “I don’t think we can make this one, Hernandez. Let’s go home early today.”

But he laughed and pulled me upward and somehow we would make it. We trudged through thick woods and across narrow, hand-made bridges. I never understood how people live the way the Puerto Ricans do. Their homes are handcrafted out of odd boards, plywood and cardboard. But this rickety old hut might be situated on the side of the most beautiful mountain you’ve ever seen. I envied them so much.



I interviewed an American who lived there. He said that he had a normal life in Wisconsin working as an accountant. But his grandmother died and left him 20 acres of land in Ai Bonito Puerto Rico. So he flew there to see what she had left him. And he fell so deeply in love with the land that he could never bring himself to leave again.

Instead, he bought some lumber and built a one room house and moved into it. He built right at the top of the mountain. He planned the house so that you could stand on the front porch and see the Caribbean off in the distance. Of course, he made us stand in just the right spot and enjoy his view of the ocean.



It’s hard to describe anything so lovely. We were standing at the apex of a tall mountain. There was half a mile of jungle in front of us that dropped off into a deep valley below. The valley was filled with a white mist. On further in the distance, there it was—the Caribbean.  

It was gorgeous to say the least. The next day I took off work and drove down there. It was only an hour or so away. You can drive from one end of Puerto Rico to the other in about four hours. It takes eight hours to drive across Texas.



I still get reports that Puerto Rico is far from being rebuilt. The problem with places like this is that their government and police force is filled with corruption. You can’t just hand them millions of dollars and expect them to use it wisely. There needs to be an oversight committee that makes sure that the money gets to people who need it.

Louisiana and Illinois are like that too. They have a long history of government and police corruption that dates back for decades. The politicians stick lots of the FEMA money in their own pockets and poor struggling Americans never do get any help rebuilding their homes or buying new stuff. In America, the rich really do get richer and the poor get poorer.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Newly Revised Plan to Save the World (or at least my little piece of it)

I used to be a career homemaker so I’ve cleaned my share of floors and toilets. The last few years, I just don’t care. I even worry myself that it doesn’t matter at all that I don’t care. But then, I went over to visit a neighbor and her house was spotless. I was so envious…and bummed.

Then I went for a walk one evening and a lady had her door open. I could see her bar/countertop from the sidewalk. It was spotless and adorned with beautiful flowers and figurines. My house used to look like that. Again, envious!


So I prayed about getting the money to hire a housekeeper. That seemed like the perfect idea to me. I would just hire someone, they would come clean each week and then the world would be all shiny again.

That idea worked for about 10 minutes. Then, I got notified that my apartment was randomly chosen to be inspected in May. Crap! I had to clean up all those stacks of bills and papers. I wish people would stop sending that crap to me cuz I never open any of it.

But I digress. So for several weeks, I went around sorting through papers. I actually had to pick up all those dirty clothes lying in the floors and take them to the laundry room. That sucked! Finally, it looked decent. My bar area is pristine and adorned with flowers and figurines. My clothes are mostly clean. I only have one stack of mail to open.

I was done and thankful to be done. Then last week, I forgot to put a cup under the Keurig and coffee went all over the counters. I cleaned the counters, sink and the fronts of cabinets. It looked good.



Then I opened and dropped a pouch of oatmeal. Wow! Oatmeal flakes went into some pretty dangerous places. I still haven’t gotten all that cleaned up. I keep finding those danged little beige-colored flakes everywhere. I’m pretty sure that stuff will still be here when I move out.

So tonight, I’m making tea and yes, you guessed it … I dropped the tea pitcher. If I had only dropped it three minutes sooner, the tea would not have had sugar it in. I don’t even think you need to clean that mess up because everyone knows how healthy tea is. It’s been used for centuries to dye fabrics and soothe frazzled nerves.  I would have just left the tea on the floors and cabinets.

But no! It had sugar in it and that left a syrupy coating on the floor, the cabinets, the wall and the microwave stand. I would have had ants by morning. 

Or maybe hummingbirds. They like sugar water too. I like to think hummingbirds would have come in and drank down all the sugary tea and cleaned up the whole mess just like in fairy tales.



But that didn’t happen. I had to find towels, wet them and drag them over the floor several times just to get the puddles. Then I had to find clean towels, wet them and drag them over the floor to get the sticky. After a couple of times, the floor stopped feeling yukky. So I did the cabinets, wall and microwave table.

Now I am so tired but I did figure out while mopping the kitchen, what God is up to. He knew I would be happier with a clean house but he also knew that I hated cleaning. So he had to devise a plan. Put me on the inspector’s radar. That forced me to do one big overall cleaning.

Then make me spill crap everywhere I went so that I would be forced to mop the floors. It was a devious plan but it worked. The whole house is really clean now (except this one ceiling fan).

I have to end by saying that I don’t know why God puts up with me. I gave up on me years ago. I’m a hopeless cause and Queen of the Hopeless Cause Club, NE Texas Chapter. In fact, I believe that all of mankind is a hopeless cause. We have always been like that from Day One…literally Day One, Garden of Eden, 56 million BC.

So God must be really patient. And he must be really loving and kind. He must really care about little things, such as your house being fresh and clean. It’s the only explanation that makes sense.



Sunday, May 6, 2018

Tips for Survival - Hurricane, Tornadoes, Floods, Nuclear War

I’ve written so much about disasters and survival because that’s near and dear to my heart. I just read that FEMA is broke. They got a $7 billion loan but that won't last long with the 2018 hurricane season just month’s away. FEMA is saying that people should begin to look out for themselves and stop relying on the government to help them in times of disaster. I agree. You are responsible for you! And perhaps some kiddos and a wife, but the govt is not responsible to meet all your needs.



There are very dangerous men running some of the world’s biggest countries. All these countries have nuclear weapons so never discount the idea that Kim Jung Un and Trump could get into a pissing contest about whose button is biggest. Many people have not lived through a war and have no idea how devastating it can be.

Here are some common sense things you should do to prepare if you live in a coastal area or in tornado alley.

1.      Stockpile some freeze dried food
2.      Stockpile some gallon jugs of water. If you don’t want to buy this, then start rinsing out your gallon milk jugs and fill them full of tap water. Personally, I don’t drink tap water but it can be used for cooking, bathing, etc. I know several cool tricks to produce water out of thin air, but you need equipment like a dehumidifier or water distiller to do this.

3.      Put together your own med kit. This doesn’t have to be large or expensive. Find a shoebox and put in some band-aids, aspirin, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, gauze bandages, tape. Also, be sure to place a needle and thread in there. Mine’s got duct tape in it too because you can do so many things with duct tape. You might also add things like Tums, Benadryl, Ibuprofen.
4.      Matches, candles, flashlights, glow sticks, batteries
5.      If it looks like a hurricane, flood or tornado will head your way, be sure to have a list ready of last-minute things, like your prescription drugs, fresh food items you might take and other stuff like that.
6.      If you have kids, don’t forget to bring their toys or favorite comfort items like a pillow, blanket, stuffed animal.
7.      Weapons-most people take several knives and at least one gun. Though you probably won’t use them, you never know whether a rabid squirrel or a lost snake trying to get in out of the storm might interrupt your evening. The Boy Scout motto about being prepared for anything is good to keep in mind.
8.      Propane cook stove-I believe you do need some ventilation to use these indoors but they’re fairly safe. We always had them around because we went camping and canoeing a lot.
9.      Specific items that your family might use or need.
10.  A radio. The American Red Cross sells a line of hand crank radios that give you NOAA alerts. They’re very well made and will keep you in touch with the world and abreast of where the storm is and what’s going on.



Generators

Generators CANNOT be run indoors! You must keep them outside where there’s proper ventilation. Each year people die because they bring the generator inside the house and the fumes kill them in their sleep. People also try to use a barbecue grill in the house. This will also kill you! You cannot build any type of open fire inside a closed space.

Those cans of sterno work pretty good and they’re safe to use. If you have the time and money, stop at one of those army/navy stores where they sell hunting, fishing and survival gear. You can find all kinds of cool stuff in there like tarps, a compass, waterproof bags for wallets, phones and valuables.

Power Packs

Today, there are so many great options for portable power packs and rechargers. Northern Tool has a good product range priced from $40 to $300. Of course, Amazon does as well. Men tend to overdo and buy something way too big for their needs but that’s up to you and your budget. Don’t forget to bring your cell phone charger.

Reading/writing materials

Books, notebooks, pens, crayons and paper – those are all things I would take with me because I’m a writer, but I think it’s a good idea for everyone. You might want to make a journal of your adventure or the kids might want to draw/color. Most Christians will bring along a bible. If your family is freaking out and scared, reading from the Psalms can bring peace into your midst.



The world has moved into a very dangerous time where it’s easy to get killed. I’ve observed that people are getting killed from very stupid things that shouldn’t even have happened. Sometimes people are so preoccupied with getting a selfie or video of a tragic event that they do not take the time to look around them and see if there are dangers present. Your first thoughts must be the safety of your family. Don’t let yourself get so freaked out that you make some really dumb but deadly mistake. Take a few deep breaths and pray. Think about what’s going on and what could happen. Try to stay calm.

If we are indeed living in the “Last Days” as many believe, then things are not going to get better. The book of Revelations described a chaotic world where violence is everywhere. People are panicked and many get crazy when they feel overwhelmed with fear. I’ve seen grown men fight over gasoline while waiting in a mile-long gas line. This happens just about every year during hurricane/tornado season. You can survive if want to and if you keep your wits about and use some common sense. If you let yourself get distracted, you can get injured real quickly in a Category 3 hurricane.



I know I’m not the only disaster relief person to say this, but I have been injured a few times. I’ve personally gone on board the USS Comfort at the Port of New Orleans for a broken wrist. I spent my birthday in Detroit in a hospital-Big bull dog took a chunk out of right ass-cheek.

I went to the clinic in Jensen Beach, Florida, not saying for what. Also visited an ER in San Juan, PR for some kind of rash or poison ivy. I get at least one flat tire at every disaster and I know how to change a flat…I just don’t like doing it!!


Survival is a mindset. So is being a victim.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Have You Checked Your LinkedIn Profile Lately?

I like to see who’s been searching for me on LinkedIn. Sometimes it's real surprising. One week the Defense Department checked out my profile. I was a little worried. I used to have a friend that I met for lunch at Luby’s occasionally and each time I would try to type “Luby’s” it would auto correct to Libya.



So everyone was kidding me about WHY I was spending so much time in Libya. I remember that we were all going to Luby’s for Thanksgiving Dinner one year. The food is pretty good and its only $15 bucks for a turkey dinner, iced tea and dessert.

So that year, everyone was all like…”Carol’s spending Thanksgiving and Christmas in Libya again.”

I said, “Hey, cut that out. The FBI will be investigating me for traveling overseas too much. The CIA could be listening right now! Big Brother is watching!”



So I got where I was careful NOT to text anyone that I would meet them at Luby’s. Then, when you’re already feeling paranoid anyway, the Defense Department visits your LinkedIn profile. That’s just about how my life usually goes.

After the Obama election I wrote a book about WHY Obama won the election. It was pretty good but didn’t make the best seller list. I did a lengthy comparative analysis of each issue and where the candidates stood on each one. I couldn’t really come to any steadfast conclusions about WHY Obama won, but my gut tells me that America was just ready for a black president.



Of course, it completely incensed that core group of racists and bigots in America who will NEVER want a woman or a black man to be “over them”.

Anyway, I publicly disavow any knowledge of any covert stuff that may or may not be going on behind closed doors anywhere it may or may not be going on.