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Cecelia's Stories

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August 13, 2007

Dear Dad,

It is busy at the office going through the mounds of paper work that was on my desk when David and I returned from our vacation.  Usually, this time of the year business is slow, but not this year.

Yesterday, I was reminiscing about your wonderful birthday party and all the family gathered to celebrate your 80th birthday.  Sitting at one end of the table next to you and looking forward and seeing all the family, well most of the family, and knowing that it all started with you and Mom.  Wow!!!!  You did a terrific job and the smiles and laughter on all the faces of siblings and their spouses and children is tribute.

It is nice to be home and sleeping in my own bed.  I hope that by now, Ira has washed the new sheets and put them on your bed with the new chocolate colored blanket.  I just love new sheets.

I was very happy to have met Ira.  He seems to be a nice man and I am glad you like him too.  Although I spent only a few hours getting to know him, I liked what I saw and feel better now having met the person who is helping you, my wonderful Dad. 

Since I have been back I have been very busy making changes in the menu for Tortuga Island.

One of the cooks, the main cook, is in the hospital waiting for surgery to have her gall bladder removed.  Poor thing has been waiting for a week.  She will probably need a month or more to recuperate too. This is the trouble with nationalized health care. We as employers pay 32% of each employees salary into the caja, the social security system and the employee pays 9% with all the money we pay out, the poor employee is at the mercy of the system. Neomy, the cook was in terrible pain when she went into the hospital and was diagnosed at first with colon problems until she went to a private doctor.  In the social security hospital the only meds you get are aspirin. 

What happens now is that the second cook has moved up and the dishwasher woman is now helping and so is Delfina – the cook for Punta Coral.  I made some recipe changes over the phone and all three are a big success.  I changed the glaze on the desert and also took off the Julianne vegetables (no-one was eating them) and added a carrot and rum flavored raisin and orange juice salad instead.  According to the crew, the tourists are happy with the new changes and eating more of the lunch.  I just hate throwing food away and I am happy that more of the meal is being consumed.  The third change is a new decoration, made from the green part of an onion that is sliced lengthwise, leaving about 1cm uncut at one end, and then place for 2 to 5 minutes in cold water – it makes a flower and this is placed in the center of the chicken that is covered in sauce and grated fresh coconut.  Yummy.

I will go on the tour this Friday to see and inspect the new changes.  I am also working on the Mai Tai drink recipe too; but will have better luck tasting the cocktail first hand. 

Now, we are getting ready for Mother’s Day.  Here it is the 15th of August which is this Wednesday. 

Two years ago, the govt. made changes on all official holidays so that they fall on a Monday giving everyone a three day vacation. Changing Mother’s Day, which is always the 15th of August has caused lots of problems.  Old folks don’t like the changes and therefore next year the government promises to change it back and keep the official holiday on the 15th of August on whatever day of the week it falls.

I remember years ago, in fact it happened twice, when the government tried to introduce ¨day light savings time¨ here.  When the small town of Arenal was filled with water, filling a valley which is now Lake Arenal, to make hydro-electricity for the country there was an accident.  Right before opening the system, the engineers found a crack in one of the tunnels.  To repair the damage, the project was delayed two years. 

In order to conserve a rapidly growing population, the government didn’t want any power shortages and tried to introduce ¨day-light savings ´. The whole country stopped.  No really.  It was impossible to explain the time change.  We would hear ¨what time do I come to work? or what time do I eat lunch’ or what time do I milk the cows?, etc.

Our employees, a lot fewer than we have today, were confused too.

David told everyone to give him their watches and David changed the hour.  It didn’t work they still asked if it was the new or old time even when we explained that there was only one time and to look at their watches. The same questions remained the same.  People here live by the sun that rises and sets almost the same times every day all year long.

We suffered the country wide confusion for two weeks and finally the government ended up rationing the electricity.  Every other day the electricity would be off until 7:00pm.

The sun sets and it is dark by 6:30pm so we waited in the dark for the power to return.

I used to sit in the rancho with the kids and wait.  It was awful.

Wow!!!  Where does the week go?  Yesterday I cancelled my hair appointment in the morning to take the two cats to the vet.  Junior had been vomiting and I knew it was time for shots for parasites and vaccines. 

I had been avoiding going because I knew the vet would ask about Harry.  Harry always drew a crowd at the vet because he was a bigAu fluffy yellow cat that looked more like a stuffed animal than a real cat.

Going to the vet is a real challenge.  If the cats see me getting the traveling cages out, they disappear.  I was careful and closed the doors, but Junior disappeared and I spent 15 minutes looking for her.  I had to use both cages because Boomer got mad and started hissing.  One is very heavy and two….well.  I took my license and keys and credit card out of my purse and after putting the heavy cages in the car, off I went.

There was no parking in front of the vet and I had to go into a parking lot.   I didn’t bring any cash with me. Uh oh!!

Three shots each and a lot of flying cat hair, the vet put the parking charge on my credit card and gave me the cash and the assistant carried the heavy cats and cages to my car.

I went home to drop off the cats and shower to get rid of the cat hair. I inhaled a lot of hair too and kept sneezing all day.

Thursday

Yesterday, David brought me a beautiful arrangement of orchids to celebrate Mother’s Day.  I get to celebrate twice because we also celebrate the American holiday in May.

We also went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch.  Yum.

I went back to the vet today with Junior, the young female cat.  She keeps vomiting and not eating.  We aren’t sure what is wrong but she has too much bacteria I her system. I am sure it is something she caught and then ate.

Yesterday we watched the news all about the big 8.0 earthquake off the coast of Peru.

There was a warning about a possible tsunami coming to the Pacific coast here, but it was cancelled.  There were a few hours of panic and then relief.

I have lots of work to finish before I can leave.

I love and miss you.

Bsitos,  Cecs

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