Living in a country with over 500 rivers, one might think that water would not be an issue. We go 4-5 months during the dry season with no rain. I might expect water rationing during these dry months, but the issues seem to come more during the rainy season. There is too much pressure in the lines during the rainy season, or a mudslide happens when it is too wet and things break the water lines....whatever the reason, we can go days without water. It is hard to see so much rain in the rainy season and know that we have no water at the house. In the first couple of years we just relied on more and more storage tanks, but when you see 4-5 inches falling from the sky each hour it is silly not to try and use it.
I can honestly say that having to create a rainwater catchment system is not something that either of us were anticipating when we moved here. Thankfully, Rick is good at coming up with solutions.
The rainwater goes into this little barrel which is then plumbed to take out debris and fill up our larger water tanks. The tanks are then filtered (including a UV filtrations system) and we are back with full water! This system has already saved us multiple times since he installed it. We even have a lighting system to tell us if our tanks are not full, since we are not in the habit of making sure there is water every day.
Very exciting!!! Not only is there water issues here, there are power issues too. For whatever reason, either poor maintenance, lack of planning or insert any other excuse here....the power is not as stable as one might expect when paying a monthly electric bill. One day this month the power went out 6 times, sometimes they are short outages and once it was a 3 day outage when a tree went down on a power line. You just never know!
We do have a cheap generator that was getting us by, but mainly was just strong enough to keep some lights on and run the refrigerators. Gosh forbid, we wanted to take a shower or run any water that is connected to an electric water pump! The poor generator would bog down and so we are really careful when the power goes out.
Once a year or so there is a store in David that has this generator (seen below.) They normally only stock the 1 generator and I don't mean 1 model....I mean only 1 single generator. For a couple of years now, we keep threatening to come up with the money for it and if we were still living in the States with regular paychecks it would have been purchased a lot earlier. However, we live very differently now and having a big generator for power is a luxury that we went without until now.
Rick saw the generator for sale again this month and after some budget discussions, we decided to buy it this year. Yay!!!
Melvin helped him get it set up in place and Rick spent a couple of days getting everything else set and it was time to test it. White smoke.....more white smoke....
We started researching all of the things that could be wrong. Most of the articles made it clear that there was something broken in the new generator. We started thinking about how we would have to take it back and due to the store only having the 1 generator there would not another one that we could exchange it for......well, it was depressing to think about.
Today we learned (through a bunch of trial and errors) that Rick has made our house too efficient. He has tried to limit the amount of power in the house to the point that we are not using 60-75% of the generator's capacity and the generator is not working hard enough, hence the white smoke.
This is not a fancy, high-quality generator. It does not even have a gauge to tell you how many hours you have used it.... The white smoke goes away when we have everything on and even run the microwave. If the microwave turns off, the white smoke comes back....so Rick is back to thinking about what to do next.
He just told me that it also could be a high-altitude issue.....I guess we will be doing some more testing.
Worst Flying Experience Ever
Cole and I flew to the States for a week. This is not something new, we do this a few times a year, so we are fairly prepared now for these long flights. Before we left, we downloaded a bunch of shows and movies for the long flights and layovers. We had our 1 blanket to share while we dozed and watched our movies.....we were ready!
Starting from the top:
After a day in California, my sinuses and ear start hurting. By the 2nd day it was so bad, I went to an urgent care. Turns out that I had a bad ear infection and blew my eardrum, along with a possible sinus infection. I was miserable for awhile. :(
The return trip was just as bad!
I love when Cole and Erik get a chance to see each other. They are not only brothers, but good friends. We all got together at the Star Wars themed party that Erik was hosting, where yes I wore a Princess Leia wig for a while, even though I felt miserable most of the time with my sinuses and ear issues.
There was lightsaber fighting, eating cake with black frosting (that did not go away for hours!) and we even had some hot springs-pool time. Cole and Erik could not be more different and they make the most awesome brothers!
Flowers not Bugs
Orchids grow on ALL of the trees here. I keep forgetting to look up and see them, but Rick took a picture of one of the orchids and Melvin took some pictures of the flowers in the front of the house.....seemed like a good day for flower pictures and not bugs this time. :)
I had to go back to the doctor here in Panama to get another round of antibiotics for the ear/sinuses that are still not better, but everything else is back to normal now.
It is good to be home!