Thursday, December 27, 2018

Advent 2018, part three

Here's part one and here's part two. And now, to the third and final part of Advent 2018 in the Lange chaos...

December 17th: I didn't go swimming because I couldn't bear the thought of getting home to a cold shower, but the plumber came at 8:00 to replace the heating element in the hot water tank. Which meant emptying 250 liters of water onto our non-waterproof roof...

See the black part where all the water is puddling? There's a drain about where the left-hand yogurt pot is floating, and the water did go down that drain just fine (and out into the courtyard behind our kitchen, where it is NOT draining very well...), but the reason that area is black is because extra water-proofing stuff has been painted on there over the original white, obviously because it pools there and has leaked before. And it wasn't working. (And the yogurt pot had been to catch a leak from the pump, which the plumber also fixed.) I have since re-waterproofed the entire roof (the roof over the stairs and our landing, that is, which the water tanks are on top of, so not a huge area), but it hasn't rained much since I finished that, so I don't know yet how well it will work. (My paint is white, not black, so that will hopefully help keep it a little cooler in the summer, especially when I've done the whole rest of the roof, over Katie's room, Helen and Elisabeth's room, and the bathroom, which is currently all black. It's only leaking in Katie's room, but I just want to do all of it BEFORE it springs new leaks. I can't do it until everything with our room is finished, though, because wood and drainpipes and tools and such are occupying a large part of the roof.)

The rest of the day was a more-or-less usual Monday, with Oasis in the morning and 3-5-year-old drama class in the afternoon, which was also a Christmas party. I wore my footie pajamas, but I'm pretty sure there aren't any photos of me! (For one, I have the camera during most of the class! There were photos taken of me while I was Santa Claus, but then I'm in a Santa Claus costume, obviously...) here's one of those, taken from Catherine's page. As the page is public, I'm assuming it's okay for me to post this? You can see my pajama feet. :-) (I got those pajamas for Christmas when I was 17, I think, and those are the only ones I own, and I have NEVER worn them to bed, as I really can't stand anything on my legs when I sleep, except bedding. But they're awesome for pajama parties!)

Unfortunately, the evening class for adults was cancelled, as too many people were unable to make it. I really hope we'll be able to continue in January, as I've very much enjoyed the half dozen or so classes we've had in the last several months.

December 18th: Piano lessons for Helen and Elisabeth as usual in the morning, then we stopped by the home of a refugee lady and her month-old baby to give them a gift from Oasis, as she wasn't able to be there the day before. I have lots of photos of Helen and Elisabeth holding the baby. :-)

No English student in the afternoon, as she had left for Slovakia for Christmas, and no dance class for the girls, so I imagine we played games and I probably got a decent amount of schoolwork done with the girls. Elisabeth also declared that she wanted her hair cut, so I went with her to our neighbor at number 3 (we're number 7 of seven houses in this court), who has a hair-cutting salon. She doesn't speak any English, which was why I took Elisabeth with me, to be able to explain better. I just wanted to make an appointment, but she said she had time right then, and when I asked how much it would cost, she refused the idea of any payment. Elisabeth's hair needed to be washed, however, and she couldn't reach the sink, so we went home again and Elisabeth showered. I then took a photo before her hair was cut, but forgot to take one afterwards. It doesn't look much different, it's just that much shorter that Elisabeth can now reach to comb it herself better. Here's the before photo, though:

Oh, and our electric kettle stopped working, and when I unplugged it I discovered this:
I threw the adapter away, but we got a new plug and changed it, but the kettle still wouldn't work. So we had to boil water on the stove for about a week, but now have a new kettle.

December 19th: We cancelled swimming in the morning because of the rain--I took this photo of our garden to send to the friend who said it wasn't raining at her house:

I had my Wednesday afternoon English student as usual, and I took this photo at dinner:
Well, after dinner, to be more precise. The cake Lukas made was delicious.

December 20th: We finally had clear weather, with several consecutive dry days forecast, so Jacob worked on the house. (I think it was about the 18th of December that the news said that there had been 123% of the usual December rainfall so far...there's been a lot of rain, which Cyprus very much needs, but is not conducive to construction!) Here he's filling in a gap between our house and the neighbor's:
All the water from the side of the roof on our room (which is at least 80% of the roof) was running straight down into the space between the wall on the neighbor's roof (that's where Jacob is standing) and the wall of our room, which starts on the top of the wall on our roof, which is about 20 centimeters lower than theirs. The two houses have separated over the years, so there was a gap of maybe 1-2 centimeters between them at the top, which is no big deal with just rain. However, with the addition of the room and the collection of all of the roof rainwater, a huge amount of water was essentially being funneled into that gap. And from there down between the houses and into our kitchen, which is why one wall of our kitchen looks like this:
Hopefully, that problem has now been taken care of, but we won't know until this has dried out enough to re-paint AND it rains heavily again...

In the afternoon Elisabeth had a Christmas party at Midi-club. Parents were invited, but I really, really wanted to be working on the roof in the sunshine, so Joern went for the first part of the party and I went at the very end. Then we had guests for dinner--lots of photos, all of which include one or more adorable children, as well as some of my children. The next day it did occur to me to take a photo of the plate of goodies they'd given us, but unfortunately, not until we'd eaten most of them...

December 21st: Elisabeth wanted a photo of her playing the piano, so here it is. (With no evidence of the fact that she CAN now comb her own hair...)

Jacob got a great deal of the plastering done, and I took this photo from the parking lot behind our house (not our parking lot):
The dark part (looked nearly black before it dried, now it's much lighter grey) is our room, and that little balcony on the top right is off of our bedroom. (And a whole bunch of water was pouring into Lukas's room, which is just under ours, but I don't have any photos. It's in the process of being dealt with.) The big balcony underneath that is Lukas's, and his room and his balcony are over the kitchen. The green mesh is on the wall around our garden (yard in American). The building to the left is a separate house.

And yes, Jacob is in a safety harness in the photo, suspended from ropes over the roof and tied to the frame holding the water tank.

In the evening, Sue and Richard came for dinner, as they do every Friday, along with their son Tim, who was here from the UK for just a week.

December 22nd: In the morning, Helen went to Tim's house for a sort of "master class" in music (he was her first piano teacher, an extremely accomplished pianist and all-round musician), which she absolutely loved. I basically did understand the theory the two of them were telling me about, with accompanying chords and such, but I still can't do what Helen was doing, which was singing a melody and accompanying it with broken chords. It sounds awesome. (Our piano does rather desperately need tuning, though...)

While Helen was out, Joern and Katie went shopping, and Lukas was still in bed. Elisabeth used to complain mightily when she was the only child around, but she was quite cheerful about it, and while I worked on the roof, she entertained herself in the garden. I took a photo of her, but you can't really see her, so took a blurry close-up, as well:

At some point, I went to run some errands, after having Jacob jump start my car, then having to have it jump started again, then going to the mechanic, which was closed, but one guy was working on his own car and looked at mine and said the battery and the alternator were both fine. He turned the engine off and it started again with no problem. It started again all the other times I used it in the last several days, but not this morning. Not cool.

Anyway, when I got home, I found out that Elisabeth and Sophia had been on the phone quite a bit. (This is why, when Joern suggested that maybe we don't need a land-line anymore, I said yes, absolutely we do, as long as we have children too young for cell phones. And Sophia's mother is of the same opinion, especially when Sophia and Elisabeth are talking to each other on their respective mother's cell phones...) They've been trying to talk us into a sleepover for ages, and I'd said not until the girls' room was cleaned up. So Sophia phoned ME and asked if she could come over to help clean up the girls' room! I caved and said yes. However, they didn't finish it, and Saturday is not a good time for a sleepover anyway.

We did keep her until after 9:00 p.m., though, as we went to the carol service at the Greek Evangelical Church. (Where, incidentally, some songs were sung in Greek and some in English, but the lyrics were up on the screen in both, and were often not even an attempt at a translation, but simply an entirely different song! Also, I interpreted the sermon for Katie, but before anyone gets too excited about my Greek, there are three points to make: the speaker is a non-native speaker of Greek (but very, very good), which means that he speaks Athenian Greek and is very clear; the sermon was quite short; and the topic was Light and the phrase "Jesus in the light of the world" was repeated in various ways many, many times, so it really wasn't too challenging.)

December 23rd: This was the fourth Sunday in Advent, but the morning was rather hectic and I didn't get a photo of the Advent wreath until later. We were allowed to take photos at church (usually, we weren't), but still can't post any faces on-line of anyone except our own children, and I don't have any of mine without other people. I did love this photo I took of one of the other teachers and two angels, which I think is okay to post:

Our friend Ingeborg and her friend Pamela (whom we've met several times at Ingeborg's house) came for lunch, as did Sophia, who spends many Sunday afternoons with us, and from whose mother I have permission to post her photo:

And we set up and decorated the tree:

Later in the afternoon we went to a "Christmas drop-in", where we saw lots of people and had a wonderful time, but of course, lots of photos with lots of other people! Here's one of Joern and Katie, though:

December 24th: I went swimming in the morning, and when I got home, the door to the girls' room was open, and this was what I saw:
It's taken a long time, but I love seeing Helen enjoying reading now.

Helen still had a couple of Christmas presents to get, so while we were out, I finally took her to get her promised tenth-birthday present (and yes, her birthday was in September):
If I think about it at all long, I really don't have a very positive opinion about bodily mutilation for the sake of fashion, but I'm just generally not at all legalistic, so now Helen has joined her two older sisters and her mother in having intentional, permanent wounds through her ears.

And I liked this photo of Katie using Connie to keep her feet warm:

In the afternoon we had more guests, a family who moved to Cyprus just a month ago and have two ten-year-olds. We had a very nice time, and I took a few photos, but once again...other children are in every photo!

The plan to finish Advent with finishing our "Advent of Gratitude" donation jar didn't go so well, as when I went up to my room after dinner to get it, I discovered that most of the money had been stolen from it. So I got my car keys instead and took a book and sat at the Salt Lake Park for three hours. Which is not festive and not something I should write, but it is what happened. I didn't take any photos. I did finish my second Agatha Christie (Murder at the Vicarage), which I enjoyed very much, but I think I liked Murder on the Orient Express better, which I read last week.

Christmas Day is a whole 'nother story that I probably won't blog. Short version is that I've never cried so much on Christmas day in my life, Jesus was not, that I recall, mentioned a single time (I imagine he was mentioned in grace before lunch, but I wasn't at lunch), but I did get the whole roof over our stairs and landing painted, so that's good. It's been raining off and on for the last two days, with no leaks, so that may have worked, but then again, it hasn't leaked in Katie's room in that time either, and I haven't done the part over her room yet, so it might not have leaked only because there hasn't been such heavy continual rain as there was before.

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