Friday, January 2, 2009

Where I live...a doll's house

Hey, there's a coqui in the bathroom!

Where I live, nature is my closest partner and imposes herself on every aspect of my life. The weather is generally hot. This morning, when I went outside to check, the temperature was 70 degrees (Fahrenheit). I feel cold. No, I'm not exaggerating. Right now, I have on a pair of heavy long pants, a shirt and a long pink sweater; I'm still not warm. My nose is cold, my ears are cold, my toes are cold. No, I am not going to put on a hat or socks! This state of affairs is ridiculous! I'm originally from the north but my body has acclimated so well that I'm most comfortable when the temperature reaches about 80 degrees. But to wear a hat indoors in this weather? I just can't be that foolish, or can I?

Our driveway is lined with nine stately pine trees, one orange tree, one grapefruit tree, one Buddha-bodhi tree, and two other long needle pines. (I need to look up their names.) Their form is clear in my mind because I've just walked down to the gate to collect a bunch of green bananas that the neighbor left there for me. Soon I need to start boiling them or they will turn ripe. I notice that all the pines are so tall that they tower above every other landscape feature here on this tropical mountain side. When we first moved here, these trees were tall but now after 10 years, they reach a height that I can only guess...50 feet? The taller they get, the smaller the house's like living in an artist's study on perspective. We live in the tiny white doll's house tucked in the green landscape.

Sometimes, nature is idyllic and other times it provides a shock. Don't worry, the shocks are few and far between, and usually accompanied by severe storm warnings. Mostly, the shocks are mild, really more like tremors... or a surprise. Like this morning, the shower was cold (to me!), and while I was adjusting to the chill, something landed on my shoulder! Scream! Oh, it's okay, just a coqui again! I quickly throw on a towel, exit and call for some backup. No one arrives; they are desensitized to this routine penetrating scream. What is it now? A lizard, a spider, a water bug (cockroach really), bee, flaming red ant? "Could you just get it out of the bathroom?" I'm not really afraid of bugs unless it appears that they are after me, in particular.
Like the other night, a huge flying bug landed on my head and I brushed it off. (Okay, I admit it, I screamed first.) Then I realized the unidentified intruder was on my neck and it disappeared down my collar. Oh! Oh! Oh! I tore off my shirt. Where is it? I ran to the bedroom and threw off the rest of my clothes. Is it stuck to my, no, no. Then I shook my clothes out. It's got to be gone now. Shower just in case. Out of the shower, I shake my clothes again. ( I take several showers a day.) It's okay, Cynthia. Just to be sure, I give the clothes another good reassuring shake...I'm okay...NO! What is that? It's on me? Off with the clothes again!

I feel mildly mental, like Grandma Alice who insisted that little black bugs were crawling on her skin. Indeed after many months, some bugs were found in the cupboard, though probably not the ones she felt. Nevertheless, she was vindicated. And now, dear blogger friends, I confess. I killed it. I don't like to kill bugs or anything else but I did. When it fell upon the ground, I picked up a shoe and I smashed it. I've just learned to accept that the little creatures must live outside so if they can't be safely captured and returned to their proper home, they must die. That proclamation means that the salamanders and other amphibians get a reprieve but the mosquitoes and such are on the hit list. All coquis must be captured! That's the Puerto Rican mascot and should be respected above all other unwelcome household intruders. I'm just glad that they don't stick to me or inhabit firmly shaken clothing.


  1. Cynthia-
    Now this really had me laughing! Is a coqui a tree frog? You have frogs in your bathroom!!? I would probably have names for them - like I do for my squirrel who I allow to tear up my terrace on a regular basis. I ALLOW it! (His name is too ridiculous to admit to.) And I photograph him all the time. I'll have to post his photo - turn him into a superstar and make some money off of the little varmint! Thanks for your many friendly comments and compliments this weekend. I am just now trying to catch up with all the posts. I haven't read Julie/Julia but know of it and will check it out. Also - I admire Hillary too. And also - I do the same thing---make resolutions all the time---although maybe what I do is more like a constant mental readjustment in order to get along with all the people who refuse to make resolutions! Did that make any sense at all? Talk to you later.

  2. Catherine, so glad you had the time to read my story...I post too many sometimes and they get overlooked-then I don't know if I communicated well or not...I think about that a lot because humor doesn't always translate-and it's not about language either. I was watching Bridget Jones last week (again...# 1 and #2...-the first one is the most entertaining but both are worth watching...again in my humble opinion.) I've read the books too, I found The Edge of Reason tedious at first...then I got a copy from my daughter and I was duty-bound to persevere...I laughed so hard that my husband came into the room to see if I was fine. He thought I might be crying! Back to my point --that digression strayed quite far---humor doesn't always translate. So in the commentary, there is a controversy over selecting Renee Zigweller because they thought she couldn't handle the role as a native born Brit could...she had to study British humor to get why something was funny and to know how to deliver her lines. Interesting. Here in Puerto Rico, my funny bone had kind of weakened by disuse (my son's phone just went off...the ring tone?..."Oh my God, Oh my God"...screaming music...Ugh..)---no one laughed at my jokes about myself and my foibles! People here usually do a kind of physical commedy; or they have buffoon type characters...making fun of yourself, not so popular, unless you come out a hero. If people laugh when you make fun of yourself and your own mistakes, it's read as disrespectful. I'm so glad to have found an outlet in blogging...I think I was getting dull...sooooo serious. And I love having more friends to confide in...I'm such a teller of secrets! No...but I've learned how to gossip with my Puerto Rican's a high art here. (I'm careful not to really hurt anyone...just play...oh my aching conscience!) Gossip a big No-No! Do tell...! BTW I call my resolutions, goals, and have had lots of success with them. But I take them very seriously! (please!)- hence, the New Year's crisis of 2009.

  3. Catherine, also, I will be looking for a photo of your intrusive squirrel with the mystery name.

  4. I keep the Manor at about 65 in the winter. You would freeze to death! ;^)

  5. True, willow, but I would eventually get used to it. Plus, if you have a fireplace---what consolation! Oh...I miss fireplaces...I was always called a "fire-bug" I burn candles...lots of candles.

  6. Would you believe that the merry coqui frog is considered a pest in Hawaii. They are finding new ways to poison them off the islands. In Puerto Rico they are consider to be a symbol of Puerto Rican identity for its uniqueness. You have a little piece of tropical paradise up where you live. It is the greenest place with vistas of the tropical forest. I would imagine it to look quite mystical when the fog settles in. I felt warmer after your description.

  7. I found your blog from Suki's blog and enjoyed reading your last post and look forward to looking thru your archives when time permits. I liked your little comment about how blogging is like have friends over but not having to clean true!

    Teri and the cats of Furrydance

  8. I would have been freaking out! Eeeep!

  9. HDD-Charmaine, But you live in the country...oh, I forgot, bugs shut down every winter...that's the blessing of the great freeze.

  10. TPC-yes, I knew about the coqui frog "problem" in Hawaii. It's more of an immigration issue to them---Hey, these fellas were not invited to the party! Noise, noise, noise! Sort of like the monkey issue in Puerto Rico ..wreaking havoc on the farm crops...but some people want to help them...the clever escapees made a colony!
    I've always wondered if there is a competetion between Hawaii and Puerto Rico! Seems like there are issues...what do you think? Many are personally offended by the Hawaiian attitude to the "pest" coqui. Isn't there a large PR population over in Hawaii? TPC's knowledgeable opinion sought.

  11. I like your posts Cynthia, and have finally been allowed to comment.

    I too would be running,screaming and doing the buggie dance - often :O

    I don't like to hurt creatures either and only really get mad when they are near my babies. We try to take them outside where they belong.xx

  12. In 1903 the first wave of Puerto Rican immigrants left the Caribbean for the Hawaiian archipielago. They were poor families that worked in the sugarcane fields. Their descendants still carry their heritage on in the form of music ensembles and social clubs. Puerto Rico and Hawaii have similar climates so they adapted very easily.

  13. Natalie, welcome, have you been having trouble leaving comments too? I think a couple of post were kind of blocked for a while...and I was feeling quite neglected by my blogger friends. I think the problem is solved now...I hope. Yes, if it's between the bugs or the babies...the babies win, hands down!

    The Pink Cowboy, thanks for the info...I wonder if they continue to speak Spanish? I can look it up...I'm abusing TPC's information service.:)

    Plenty of air kisses to all my blogger friends xxx

  14. oh dear...i'm afraid i don't like big bugs either but i don't mind spiders !

    wish you a peaceful bug-less week end !

    also, i love love that song Downtown by Petula Clark. I find it so..refreshing

    Happy happy New Year Cynthia !

  15. MCS Lala, you're back from vacationland? Thanks for your well wishes...I only mind the spiders that might be poisonus and I can't tell which are which!

  16. Cynthia, I think that since I've been married to Tana, there is not a bug that has survived for more than a minute once its presence is detectted.

    Here in Michigan all we ever see indoors are tiny spiders and be it Marysol or Tana, the screams for my name to come and kill the thing are loudly heard from whatever part of the house the critter has been spotted.

    I usually just grab a glass, cup it in, slide an envelope over the opening and it immediately drops to the bottom of the glass. This is then followed by a flush down the toilet.

    Sometimes some of those little buggers will actually spin a web and try to save themselves from the whirlpool by threading to the side of the bowl, so it becomes a battle to get them to let go.

    Once gone, there is peace again, but I can still see that uncertain look in the girls' eyes. That lingering dreadful feeling that the little guy may still be hiding somewhere in the netherworld of that bowl.

    So whose the first to sit...not me?

  17. No...Passion4Blue, the poor spider desperately is trying to survive. A call here from one who believes in respectful distance, "Put them outside!" Your solution, though heroic, makes the bathroom treacherous ground anyway! Be conflicted! Fear and concern!

  18. Oh no! I didn't mean to laugh, but I did. I think I would have screamed too. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your tropical lifestyle. I loved your story.

  19. Thanks tangobaby, I love it when you comment! Laugh all you want!


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