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Raindrops on Roses

2016-05-24 09.36.18

The weather has shifted over the last few days. In a blink of an eye our beautiful spring has abandoned us, leaving us in the midst of a scorching hot summer.

It’s not the heat I mind so much, but it’s sidekick, humidity. It soaks into my bones, saps my strength and we won’t even get into what it does to my hair.

So you can imagine my delight when I heard rumblings in the distance yesterday afternoon. I love a good thunderstorm, especially if it serves to break the heat. (Which, granted, had only been upon us for about 48 hours, but still…)

At first the storm was more bluster than substance. The skies darkened, thunder rumbled…and a spattering of heavy raindrops fell. It was entertaining, to be sure, but didn’t really have the impact I was hoping for. (There was no breeze to speak of, and humidity was actually climbing.)

It was in the middle of this lackluster display of Mother Nature’s might that I looked out the window and started jumping up and down with glee. The rosebush outside my kitchen window was blooming!

Now, I should say that while many flowering plants thrive in the sea air and tropical climes here on the north coast, roses are not one of them. I’m not sure if it’s the soil or the salty air, but they struggle while others shine.

One of the few exceptions is this rose bush, sheltered on the leeward side of the house. With minimal care, it blooms year round. And I’m absolutely enamored by its velvety hot pink roses.

I’m not ashamed to admit I wept openly two weeks ago when I returned home to find that Armando had taken a rather heavy hand to it while pruning. While I knew it was the best thing for it, it still broke my heart to see this regal plant so diminished in size.

Within a few days, though, Armando was proved right. The decimated bush seemed to grow a foot of new growth overnight, and its fresh new limbs were loaded with buds. I’ve watched it every day, waiting for those buds to open.

So when I noticed, in the middle of the storm, that one of those buds had chosen to unfurl, I raced outside to get a better look. Because that’s what you do when you’re slightly obsessed. To my delight, I discovered perfect raindrops clinging to its delicate petals.

Raindrops on roses.

Yes, they truly are one of my favorite things.

And Julie Andrews makes a good point, doesn’t she? About changing your mindset when you find yourself mired in negativity.

The humidity hasn’t completely broken, but you’ll be happy to know the storm did realize its full potential last night, and I have a feeling it isn’t done with us yet. But I don’t mind, because my roses seem to love it.

Now, please excuse me while I try to get the Sound of Music soundtrack out of my head. I’m tempted to start singing and, well… You might not want to stick around for that.

Las Cucarachas

I woke up this morning to find a giant cockroach dead next to my bed. It put a smile on my face. Especially when I realized it was still in its death throes. Never in my life has the suffering of another of God’s beings caused me such satisfaction.

Now, in general I’m pretty live and let live when it comes to creepy crawlies. But everyone has their limits. And therefore, I cannot extend to the freakishly large roaches indigenous to the tropics. Nor centipedes. Nor egg-sack carrying spiders. Or ticks. Or…ok. Perhaps I’m not quite as ‘live and let live’ as I make myself out to be.

Which is why I called Armando in to fumigate about 32 ½ seconds after I arrived home from Cabrera.

No offense to the beautiful seaside community of Cabrera, with its stunning coast line and close proximity to some of the most amazing beaches on the North Coast

No offense to the beautiful seaside community of Cabrera, with its stunning coast line and close proximity to some of the most amazing beaches on the North Coast

For the record, I had not seen any roaches in the house. It was Cabrera’s fault. Well, not the lovely seaside town, but rather the apartment Andry had arranged for my stay there.

It was nice enough, despite the damp. The problem was, it was already occupied. Although, in true horror-movie fashion, we were blissfully unaware of this fact when we arrived.

In retrospect, the signs were all there from the very beginning. Like the remains of what looked like a prehistoric monster in the bathroom. And the large cane spider who was so curious about our dinner preparations, that he decided to watch the whole thing from a vantage point above the dish drainer. But you know, you take those kinds of things in stride after a couple of years in the Caribbean.

I should mention that I wasn’t feeling myself when we arrived in Cabrera. I thought myself overheated from the drive and overwhelmed by the mildew smell in our accommodations. It wasn’t until I got into the shower – and the cold water was actually painful against my scalding hot skin – that I realized there was more to it.

You'll be happy to know, the worst of my fever was gone by the time May 9th rolled around. We had an amazing anniversary.

You’ll be happy to know, the worst of my fever was gone by the time May 9th rolled around. We had an amazing anniversary.

The 72+ hours that followed were a roller coaster of high fevers and crushing headaches. The timing couldn’t have been worse. Our anniversary was but a couple of days away, and the whole point of me being in Cabrera was to spend some long-overdue time with my husband, whose job has taken him away from home since the beginning of February. Oh, and my biggest client was getting ready to go live on three new websites. So I was working around the clock on top of everything else.

Some time in the middle of that first night, I got up to get some water. In a feverish haze, I rounded the corner into the kitchen/living area and hit the light switch.

There are a few universal truths ingrained in us from a young age. One of them is that when you turn on the light, things that lurk in the dark – creepy crawlies, evil spirits, etc. – are supposed to scatter. Yeah, well not these $*&#^#!

Have you ever wandered into a real locals bar by mistake, and all the heads swivel in your direction? Well imagine that, only with antennas.

Even in my delirium, there was no question who was trespassing on whose domain.

I don’t know how many there were, because I didn’t have it in me to count. (There are some places my brain just refuses to go.) Suffice it to say I was outnumbered. And to get to the refrigerator, I’d have to put myself in the middle of this platoon of king-sized cucarachas. I glanced at my feet and fervently wished I’d gone for Andry’s tactical boots rather than my own flimsy sandals. The odds were definitely not in my favor.

With one last, longing look at the refrigerator, I did what any intelligent woman would do in this situation: I backed slowly out of the room and hightailed it back to bed.

The light? That stayed on.

And once I got home, I wasn’t taking any chances. Let this be a lesson, little cucarachas. This is my domain.

Welcome to my Dominican life!

One more beautiful shot of Cabrera. It really is an amazing place. Cockroaches and all...

One more beautiful shot of Cabrera. It really is an amazing place. Cockroaches and all…