Saturday, January 10, 2009

It is Saturday!

I love that usually I don't have to wake up early on Saturday now that my kids are getting old enough to wake up and get breakfast without me. For awhile Joshua would feel the need to let me know that he was awake, but the last few weeks he hasn't done that. Of course this morning I did have to set my alarm for 5:55 because somebody was coming by for a key, but Joel said that Kaleb was already awake so I just went back to sleep. Kaleb being awake that early means that Shadow was feeling pretty playful this morning and the object of his playfullness was probably Kaleb' feet.

I have to teach Sunday School tomorrow for Anna, Joshua and Jonathan's class. That might seem like a pretty easy thing to do; but I have this thing about teaching Sunday School. I am just not so good at it; and I get really nervous. Anyways, I like to be really prepared because Joel is preaching and he could go on for a long time, so I have to have things to keep the kids busy for an hour, I think.

So, today, besides cleaning out the schoolroom which has so many books sitting all over the floor that we can't walk in there (I had to move this years schoolbooks to the livingroom), and cleaning my bedroom (it was really clean and unpacked last Sunday for the first time since we moved into this house) which tends to get used as the place for kids to do their reading or schoolwork when they need some quiet, and of course cooking and catching up on laundry...oh, and helping Kaleb finish up all the schoolwork he didn't get done last week, I need to prepare for teaching the kids tomorrow. If my books (in the schoolroom) were in bookshelves (which we actually don't have) it would be a bit easier to find something to teach.

Well, it is already 8:05! I suppose the 'sleeping in' part of Saturday is over and the 'catching up with all the jobs that I don't have time for during the week' part has started!

Hmmmm....I wonder if I can talk Joel into cooking? I might have to add that to my list of things to do!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


A few weeks ago Jasper hurt his toe; the nail seemed to be split and it was really hurting him. We didn't know what to do but Jamie sent me some information from the internet and we saw some things to watch for. Yesterday his foot seemed to be really hurting him and last night we saw that his toe was really warm, so today we called the local Kabwe vet to see if we could get Jasper in to have his toe checked out.

Before noon we put Jasper in the van and drove off to find the office of the Dr. Geoffery, the vet. The vet had to come in especially for us, and we arrived at the gate at the same time. As we were walking into his office a little kitten was following the Dr. like she owned the place. It was not making it any easier to bring Jasper in, and I wondered why there was a stray cat being welcomed into the office.

It turns out that the stray cat was kept at the clinic on purpose to help keep the rat population down. she had cut her leg and had stitches; but she was a very friendly kitten; the kids were petting her and playing with her.

Jasper, on the other hand, was being quite a handful. We haven't taught him to walk on a leash and we were paying for it today. He was interested in the kitty, and interested in the new building, and the vet, and everything. Once we got into the examining room the doctor calmly told us to lift him up and put him on the table. Well, the table was really, really tall. And Jasper is really, really big. It took both Joel and me to lift Jasper up onto the table. I honestly didn't think it could be done! After some shots for antibiotics and some cleaning of the toenail we were good to go home. Well, we were told to take an old bucket, saw a hole in the end and put it over Jasper's head to keep him from licking his wound. Ummm...I don't think so. We feel bad just making him wear his collar in this hot weather. Can you imagine a big, bulky bucket around your neck? I suppose this is what you use when you don't have those funny, clear, lightweight, plastic thingies that vets use in the states to keep dogs from scratching or whatever. We had to get Jasper off the table which was almost as hard as getting him up on it. He is sooo strong; I think he must be as strong as Jamie's late dog, Jackie, who was so strong that Jamie and I together could not put ear stuff in her ears. Well, Jasper doesn't mind his ears being looked at, but he wasn't crazy about having to sit on a table with a stray cat walking around the room near his kids.

So, Joel asked the vet if we could take the cat home. We need a cat, and Joel thought it was a stray. This is when we found out that it belonged to the vet place; but still the vet seemed happy to find a good home for it. He said it had already been vaccinated, would need to come back on Tuesday with Jasper to get the stitches out (yay; another ride in the van with two animals who are not crazy about each other), and was great at catching rats. Just what the doctor ordered!

We went through a bunch of names and finally decided on Shadow, in honor of Mom's old cat. This Shadow is black and white. I think that she and Jasper will become friends eventually. But at this point, all I care about is that she will kill rats! I am hoping she does anyways!

Tomorrow is Sunday and the kids are all singing in church. Well, Andrew is not singing because he isn't crazy about his voice at the moment. And Anna is only going to pretend to sing since she just came down with a very bad cold the last few days and can barely talk, let alone sing, today. We will see how it goes!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


We have been missionaries for 18 years now. Over the years I have developed a sort of history with rats. In fact, at this very moment I writing about rats on my blog to avoid going into my kitchen where I am almost sure there is a big rat in hiding, waiting to jump out at me if I open the door.

Ok, back to my history of rats. Growing up I lived in an old farmhouse that had mice. I didn't enjoy hearing mice crawling around in the walls or seeing the occasional mouse scoot across the floor. The worse thing was seeing the cat just sitting, looking at the wall, waiting patiently for that mouse to come out so he can grab it. I didn't enjoy this but I wasn't super scared of it. Still, I would give an appropriate reaction of jumping up on the chair and screaming a bit.

When we went to Indonesia we lived with a local pastor for 3 months or so. They had a beautiful house with open sewers which meant that they lived in a beautiful house with lots of rats. You would be eating supper and see the rats crawling around in the kitchen on the pots and pans. You would have the rats run right by you a you sat at the table. They would come into the bathroom; and even get into your bedroom. I had to learn see this without my normal jump on the chair and scream reaction. Hard to do; but probably good for my self control. Anyways, eventually we moved to our own house and we only had one rat I think; maybe two. One came in our bathroom through a drain pipe; and maybe there was one in the kitchen. But that was it. So, not that bad.

In the Philippines I don't remember ever having rats in our house. It might have been that the rats were allergic to the chicken poop messes that were all over the driveway; or they didn't like the huge spiders or lizards in the house.

In Brazil we lived in both Curitiba and Recife. In Curitiba we did have a rat that came to visit us right when my sister came to visit us. The rat came in a broken back door and actually got very close to Jamie at night while she slept (if the rat poo messes were any clue). The next day Joel was moved out to the couch with the rat and Jamie moved into my room. Poor Jamie had thought that there was a little dog outside trying to get in that broken back door. was a rat that actually ate through a peanut butter container she had brought us from the US!!! Very bad rat!

In Recife we didn't have rats in our apartment but we could look out back and see them playing in the garbage heap.

Back in Curitiba again we had another rat problem that lasted for several weeks (happily one of those weeks was when I was in the US). Finally we figured out where he was coming from and they were able to block up the opening and that was the end of the in the house rat problem. We still had lots of rats on the garbage pile (the place we kept the garbage until they removed it daily to the road) by the fence near our house.

Ok, in Malawi we heard about people having lots of rats. I heard scary stories about people having rats climbing up their curtains and running across their livingrooms! ACK! The worse we had was a squirrel in the house at the lake and a dead rat found outside our door in the yard in Lilongwe. I assumed we were just living in a rat free house; but I did know that we hadn't lived in that house in the middle of the rainy season yet and that is when the rats come out and look for a high and dry place to live.

Ok, so now we are in our house in Kabwe. I already shared how we had "a" rat. Sigh. Well, turns out our friends were right; where there is one rat there are plenty more hiding. We can actually hear the rat parties up in the ceiling; they have a soccer ball up there I think that they kick around. Joel closed up one of the holes and we went at least a week without seeing any rats; but the last few days a rat has been hiding out in my kitchen. He then got brave enough to move into the dining room. Then one day I saw him flash out of the livingroom into the diningroom and Jasper did his duty and scared him into the kitchen for me.

Ok, yesterday was my birthday. I had a great day and the ending plan was a movie I wanted to see. I made popcorn and even had a coke for the special occasion. I was sitting in the livingroom watching my movie when a huge rat (think small cat size; not kitten size; but small regular cat size) came running out from under MY CHAIR!!! He started circling the livingroom! He ran from my chair to the couch; behind the TV stand; over by the door but the door was too near my chair and my screaching must have made him scared to go there; so back behind the TV stand; back behind the couch; and then finally out the livingroom door to the diningroom when the kids came running at my screams; and scared him back into the livingroom to do it all again! When the boys heard it was a rat that came running armed with sticks and other tools that might be needed and had a great time chasing it around the livingroom, through the diningroom and into the kitchen (where it has a hole and disappeared). Joshua is my true friend and he closed the kitchen door and put a heavy towel on the bottom to keep the rat from bothering me again. :-)

So, here I am. It is the next morning now. And the kitchen door is still closed; the towel is still there. And I am not going to open that door. I didn't have to cook yesterday because it was my birthday. I might not cook today because I think that I will never again enter my kitchen until the rainy season is over and the rats move to their winter homes outside!