Today, October 14, 2012, The Little House in the Jungle is getting back into business after a somewhat rocky start. We're both well, and the house, which felt pretty insecure for a while, has stopped jumping at unexpected noises, though the claw-hammer still resides beside this computer.
As some family members and friends already know, The Little House endured a break-in two weeks before our return. All our electronics were stolen--those we had left behind, anyway, which were the Uninterrupted Power Supply, the ADSL modem, the wireless router, and one small netbook through which we ran the ADSL (our Internet hook-up, for those who have "real" cable running right to their houses, instead of just sneaking in on the telephone line). Also missing in action is the TV--an old thing we used for watching DVDs, and the DVD player. Oddly--and really, when you think of it, sort of amusing--the thieves didn't get my ancient printer/copier/fax/scanner, but they did manage to take the power cable that ran it. I guess, when they were in the bedrooms tossing the mattresses to see if we had cash or jewels hidden underneath, they had no clue what was wrapped up in a big plastic garbage bag on a dresser. It wasn't wrapped up to protect it from thieves, but from geckos, who love all its little recesses and nooks for laying their eggs. As in years before, prior to storing the printer this way, we both went through it with brushes and probes (chopsticks) poking and prodding and seeking out geckos and gecko eggs. We found none and gleefully stuffed it in the bag, tied a big knot in the top of the bag and put it away. Well, guess what? When we opened it up before noticing the power cable was gone we found a fair number of cracked gecko eggshells and a few desiccated gecko babies.
Now, don't go saying "Awww..." because, trust me on this, there are more geckos in this little house than anyone could want. Yes, they eat bugs, which is nice. But they don't eat ants, which I think should be their prime purpose in life. That, however, is pooping all over my kitchen. Other places, too, of course, but it's in my kitchen I really wish I could at least litter-box train them, if not house-break them altogether.
While I'm feeling sorry for myself and angry at the violation or our personal space, worse things are going on next door. Our dear friend, Filipe Herrera, who has acted as guardian for our house during our absences for the last six years, was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent a laryngectomy. His prognosis is good, the doctors say, and he is now learning how to use one of those breath-activated voice boxes. It was poor Filipe's absence in the hospital that left our house vulnerable to opportunistic thieves, all of whom fear him and his well-honed machete. To make things even tougher on the Herrera family, his wife, Colleen, who comes in twice a month during our time away, to sweep up the gecko poop, wash the floors and keep the place far more spiffy than I ever manage, is the one who discovered the mattresses tipped up and off the beds, the drawers all opened and emptied, the place in one major, unholy mess. That lovely woman cleaned it all up! I think, under the circumstances, with a sick husband and her own worries, she should have locked up the house again and walked away. But no. She took care of it all, even had someone come to repair the jimmied metal back door where the thieves got in. It is Costa Ricans such as Colleen and Filipe, our other near neighbors, Carlos and Veronica (the lady who makes those delicious patis Bob breakfasts on every morning) and other friends who have offered hugs and words of sympathy, of apology, of sadness, of shared anger, who make us willing to stay here in the warm for six months every year. Not all Ticos are thieves!
Besides, I love swimming in the Caribbean, as I plan to do tomorrow.
In the meantime, I've reconstructed my waterfall, which tumbles from one clay pot to another and, when it reaches the bottom pot, is recirculated to trickle again, creating a sweet, musical sound on my patio. Since we have a screen that blocks out 70 percent of the ambient light, making the patio too dim for plants to grow well, we've provided a little light for them. The heliconia blossoms you see hanging down here, and their tall leaves in the background, along with the fans of palm, are real, in vases of water. The rest of the greenery, well, I must confess it came from Michaels. Now all I need to do is persuade the local bugs--those the geckos don't eat--that cloth and plastic are bad for them.