Did I ever tell you about the time something died in our roof?

29 06 2011

I found myself saying those very words to a friend on a trip to Vancouver and figured that if anything deserved a blog post, it was this story and I’m a little surprised that I have yet to do it!

At the beginning of December we’d been living in our house for about a month, had only been robbed once, and generally felt pretty comfortable there.  As we often do in the evenings, Joe and I were watching TV when I heard some thumping coming from somewhere in the house.  I wasn’t sure if it was inside or out and it seemed to subside quickly.  When I heard it again, I asked Joe if he was hearing the same thing.  He wasn’t – but a few minutes later it came back louder than ever so we decided we had better investigate.

Hesitantly, we moved towards our bedroom in search of this mysterious thumping.  We looked in the cupboards, opened closet doors only to find nothing and hear nothing.  After our search, we stood in the bedroom perplexed when the thumping along with vibrations resumed directly overhead.  Joe and I looked at each other speechless and unsure of what to do – so we ran outside to get our guard.

Sunday night we always have a replacement guard.  Guards work 6 days a week so on their night off someone else replaces him.  On this particular night it was another young guard who doesn’t know us nor speak English so I’m sure he had no idea what to think when Joe and I come running outside and asking that he follow us inside in broken and hurried French.  Nonetheless, he did and stood with us as we stared at our roof waiting for the thumping to resume.  Just as I’m sure he settled on the fact that we were crazy, it came back and the stunned look on the guards face was priceless.

The guard went off to investigate and came back with nothing.  He couldn’t find an entry point nor did he have any ideas what it might be.  I thought it was a bat trapped inside flinging itself around, Joe figured it was a mouse or a rat but neither of us had any idea of what to do.  The thumping quieted throughout the night and eventually, we had to go to bed.

After a sleepless night, we decided we needed reinforcements and that was even more evident mid-afternoon when the smell came.  Whatever had been trapped in our roof must have died and begun to decompose.  (All roofs are tin and in 40 degree heat it didn’t take long to smell.)  The extermination company came the following day but in the construction of our house, no one thought to make any access points to the roof so there was no way for them to actually get in there.  This resulted in more waiting as we needed to hire a contractor to make the access and then wait for the exterminators to return but by the evening, it was clear that we could no longer sleep in our room.  The stench was overwhelming and it was near impossible to breath in the area.  We moved our mattress into the dining room and set up a makeshift bedroom.

Remember the post on ‘Africa time?’  Well this applies here.  The stench continued to get worse as the days went on and when Friday arrived we started to worry.  Our flight to Canada was that evening and we worried if it wasn’t done before we left we might return to an even more unbearable smell.  After a few frantic phone calls, the exterminators arrived again and with newly constructed access to the roof, in they went to get to the bottom of the problem.

Gagging and breathless, out they came with a small, kitchen garbage bag containing ‘it.’  In a strong French accent he exclaimed, “It was a %^*%$ cat!”  While we certainly relieved to have the problem solved, I was sad to hear that it was a cat as a cat suffering in a sauna of a roof seems much worse than a bat.  We boarded our flight that evening hoping that upon our return 3 weeks later, the stench will have subsided and that nothing else will have tried to make our home it’s home.

We’re starting to believe that if something is going to happen, it’s going to happen to us!  We never seem to be short of ridiculous stories but I suppose that’s a good thing for this blog!

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Day 1 to Now

9 06 2011

Sogara Club - lunch on the beach May 2011.

One gorgeous day, I joined some friends for lunch on the beach.  As we were sitting there enjoying the ocean, I reflected a bit on the time we’ve spent in Port Gentil and it reminded me of the first time I visited this restaurant.

It was Day #1 in Port Gentil, in Gabon and in Africa.  We arrived early in the morning and after stopping by Joe’s office and getting checked in to our temporary home at Hotel du Parc (which is no walk in the park,) Joe left me behind to unpack, sleep and ultimately, realise that we just moved to Africa!  He came home for lunch and suggested we head out to Sogara to eat.

I’m sure he took me there as after having my first taste of Africa, he wanted to show me the best part of Port Gentil, the beach.  The setting is picturesque; the sand, the water, the ocean breeze, waves breaking, shall I go on?

Before I continue, I must explain.  I’m afraid of birds.  Not deathly afraid like I’m scared for my life but I just really don’t like them.  I think they’re dirty and I hate them fluttering around me.  I blame this on barn swallows that swoop at your head.  Should you happen to be around me and a bird flies into my vicinity I will duck, even if it’s no where near my head.  I can’t help it.

We get situated and order our hamburgers when a few guests decide to join us.

Here I am trying to enjoy my first lunch in Gabon yet ducking every 5 seconds when another bird decides to join its friends.  I’m sure I looked crazy to everyone else dining outside.

And then, the lizards came.  Remember, this was my first day in Africa and I certainly wasn’t accustomed to lizards scurrying around.  There I sat, legs tucked up under me, dodging birds left and right and managing to get a bite or two of my hamburger in.

As I sat having lunch a few tables down from that first encounter 10 months earlier I couldn’t help but think, “My gosh, I have come so far.”





Home

8 06 2011

Well… I’m home.  Home in Canada I mean.

It’s always a little exciting getting on a plane coming home although this time, I was a bit hesitant as I was leaving Joe behind.  I had to come earlier to work on wedding stuff and Joe doesn’t get enough holidays so here I am and there he is.  Poor guy – he’s probably the one that needs the break!

A few things I’ve enjoyed over the last week:

  • caesars – oh how I’ve missed them
  • roads that don’t crack your back while you are driving
  • shopping – both fun shopping and everyday life shopping (there’s so much to choose from!)
  • steak that doesn’t take you 10 minutes to chew one piece
  • catching up with family & friends
  • lightning fast internet, or at least that’s what it feels like
  • TLC & HGTV
A few things I’m not enjoying:
  • the lack of humidity and my shrinking & shriveling skin
  • my mother’s ridiculously cold house
  • no access to the beach
  • trying to catch my husband on skype calls and usually never succeeding
  • missing out on all of the coffees, parties, gatherings going on in POG without me!
All in all, it’s nice to be back and I’m happy to have more time this time to see friends.  I’m sure I’ll be sick of driving but it’s all worth it to catch up with those I’ve missed.
And one more note:  I have the most amazing husband in the world.

Engagement ring #2 - Exactly the same as the first in every way. It's like nothing ever happened!