Monday, March 31, 2008

I really could have used a dryer this week...

We still haven't gotten our broken washer and dryer replaced yet. They said it would be delivered by the 1st. That's tomorrow. I'm REALLY hoping they actually stick to what they said this time. (Doubt it's gonna happen though.) ANYWAY... I really could have used a working dryer. On Thursday all heck broke loose in my flat. Mostly because the hose on the water heater in the office broke loose!! There was water everywhere. I was VERY lucky that my steward, Grace, and a maintenance guy were already back there when it happened. In the short time that it took the maintenance guy to turn the water off the office and my bedroom were flooded. If it had happened while we were sleeping or on vacation, it would have been a complete disaster!!

This is the hallway in my flat, specifically the back half of my flat. My bedroom is on the left and there are 2 smaller bedrooms on the right. The front small bedroom we use for the office and back one is guest/storage.

There was water all the way to my bed in our bedroom.

There was enough water that they were scooping it up with dustpans and pouring it into buckets to dump down the drain. They were also using the sheets Grace had just taken off the bed to mop up the water. (Luckily it was clean water, as clean as you can get here, and it was the hose feeding the water heater so it wasn't hot.)

But what worried me the most was all the water in the office.

We pulled Roy's computer up off the floor out of the water. (It was on at the time.) We also quickly pulled the plugs out of the wall, but it did no good. The UPS took over and everything was still getting power.

And of course the UPS was on the floor between the 2 desks. I had to pull the desks apart enough that I could lean in and hold the power button on the UPS to turn it off. What I didn't notice at the time was this.

This is a splice in the cord that runs from the UPS to the power strip that everything plugs into. IT WAS IN THE WATER!! The entire UPS could have discharged into the water on the floor if it had shorted out. We were VERY lucky that it didn't happen.

This is the offending water heater.

The space beneath the water heater is about 6 inches deep... it was full of water AND my flat was flooded. They had to scoop the water out of the hole with a cup and then we had to mop the rest out. Now we have a fan blowing in there to dry it out. (I really hope that it didn't leak into the flat below ours... sorry if it did!!)

Anyway, we found out from the maintenance manager that the flexible hose they used to hook up all the water heaters and toilets is "substandard". The fitting on ours had completely rusted through and the hose broke loose. (The building isn't quite a year old!!) So we asked him what the plan was to fix them since they know about it. And he said "We will replace them as they fail." I'm really glad Roy was there. (I had called him as soon as it happened and he came straight home from work.) I was FLOORED!! I didn't know how to respond to that answer. We were standing in water hoping our computer wasn't ruined and he had the nerve to say, we will replace them when this happens again. Roy immediately told him that was unacceptable and that they needed to schedule replacing every single piece of flexible hose in our flat because we were not going to do this again. (Isn't he a wonderful hubby.)

Once it seemed that things were under control as far as cleaning up the water and getting all the electronics where they could dry out, Roy went back to work. The maintenance guys were still working on getting the water heater repaired though. For some reason, they decided they needed to completely disconnect the water heater and empty its contents in the sink in the bathroom. That normally wouldn't be a problem, but the guy didn't check to see if the power was off to the water heater first. IT WASN'T. When he put his screwdriver to the screw to remove the power... well you can guess what happened. He was standing on a wet floor... He was very VERY lucky that he didn't die. He did however get a big shock and scared the crap out of all of us. There was a huge flash (lit up the whole closet.) He dropped his screwdriver and jumped/flew out of the closet. He was ok, no permanent injury. That was when he decided to make sure the power was off. This whole incident scared the heck out of me. I am deathly afraid of electricity. I don't even like to hook up the jumper cables to jump a car. Scares me terribly. So I was REALLY shook up when that happened. Even dreamed about it that night. Ugh...

But it seems everything is ok now. The water is all cleaned up. The closet is drying out, slowly. All the flexible hose got replaced on Saturday. And it seems that everything that got wet, dried out ok. We were VERY lucky this week. Just thinking about everything that "COULD" have gone wrong with this adventure, makes me want some tomato soup or some mac and cheese!! Anyway, as I said... I really could have used a dryer!! Wet towels... rugs... sheets.... Maybe we'll get it tomorrow. Maybe.

Sometimes it's the little things in life that bring us joy...

If you know me, you know that one of my sadnesses has been the severe lack of Colby cheese and tomato soup here in Nigeria. Two of my most beloved comfort foods. But during the last couple of weeks we have made wonderful discoveries!!

A couple of weeks ago Roy found Colchester cheese and decided to give it a try. IT TASTES LIKE SLIGHTLY SHARP COLBY CHEESE!!! Heaven!! And then the last time I was out shopping, I stopped in at one of my favorite little grocery stores here and they had Campbell's tomato soup!!!!!!! I bought every can they had (about 8)! And, if there is more when I go back again, I will buy EVERY can again! Because tomato soup with Colby cheese and grilled cheese sandwich is very much a comfort food and for now.... I am happy! (And yes... if you look closely the price on the cheese is N2616.15. That is about $21.80 for approx 2lbs of cheese. That is pretty normal for here. And worth every penny for the delicious colbyness!!)


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cuban Pork Tacos

This recipe originally came from my Aunt Mary. But I think it has quickly become a family favorite and everyone has tweaked it slightly to their tastes.

Cuban Pork Roast
2 lb boneless pork roast

3 T minced garlic
2 T minced parsley
1 T paprika
2 t ground cumin
1 t pepper
1 t salt
2 T lime (or lemon) juice (my mom also uses balsamic vinegar sometimes)
2 T lt corn syrup or honey
2 T olive oil

Cut the pork roast (mom uses pork loin) into smallish chunks (about 2x4"). Dredge them through the sauce and layer up in a slow cooker. Put the cooker on low and leave for at least 8 hours. (It took almost 15 hours for the roast I used this time to be all fally aparty.) When it is done, take the pork out and shred it. Mix some of the liquid back into the shred and serve.

We eat it on Lebanese flat bread with taco fixins!! It's delicious!

Don't you just want to take a bite!! I'm getting hungry.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Yes... sadly this is my kitchen. Oh, the carnage. And even more sadly, I made most of the mess myself. We had guests over for dinner today. I made yummy Cuban pork. And thank you mom for the advice!! After leaving it in the crock pot for about, oh, 14 hours, it was fall apart tender!! (Meat here can be a little tough.) And it was quite delicious. We used Lebanese flat bread to make soft tacos or wraps with it. Lots of fresh veg... (which means soaking it all in Milton to sanitize anything that isn't cooked thoroughly.) Anyway, we took a piece of flat bread and layered up the Cuban pork, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado, olives, cheese, salsa, and ranch dressing or sour cream. Then folded it all up and ate it like a soft taco!! DELICIOUS!! I will have to blog the recipe later with a picture! We also had homemade refried beans, Spanish rice, and jello with fruit. Also I made a dessert. I took a boxed white cake. Made it according to the directions. Then scored the top and took a can of raspberries and blended it all up and dumped it on the top and let it soak in. Then I spread a can of chocolate fudge frosting over the top of it. Raspberry chocolaty goodness without too much work. But I think by the end of dinner, every piece of silverware was dirty, most of the cups, most of the knives.... etc. And now the kitchen is CARNAGE!!

BUT... I have a wonderful husband who saw how tired I was after all that prep and told me to sit down and rest.

I think he is just planning on loading and running the dishwasher. But as you can see by the size of it... it's going to take SEVERAL loads to clean up this chaos! (But, isn't he wonderful!!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I know I haven't posted for a while...

The only real excuse I have is that life threw me for a loop and I was just trying to keep up. Roy and I went back to the US around Christmas/New Years time for vacation, to see family, and to get in those pesky yearly doctor visits. It was a really hectic trip. We were constantly traveling to fit everything in. But it was a good trip. The day after we got back to Nigeria, my mom called and told me that her father had another heart attack and they weren't expecting him to recover from it. Two weeks later he passed away at home surrounded by loved ones. That was the longest/hardest two weeks I've been through. I have been very blessed and have had all four of my grandparents alive and healthy. (I am 31 years old.) He is the first to pass and I wasn't sure how to react. Luckily, for me, the company my husband works for covered the expense of a flight home so that I could go to the funeral. It was hard to say good bye to my grandpa, but it was so good to see and visit with all my mom's family. Everyone was so kind and loving on this trip. Going out of each others way to comfort and help each other. It was nice. And it helped provide some closure. But it still hurts... it probably will for a long time. I love my grandpa and miss him very much. But I know that when I need him, he will be close and watch over me.

Anyway, I was only in Nigeria for two weeks before I left for the funeral. And I was home sick with a BAD cold those entire two weeks. Then I was back in the US again for six more weeks. I stayed at my parents house for four of those six weeks. And in the last two weeks I was there, I ripped the paneling off the upstairs hallway, patched up the sheet rock, retouched the stairwell and downstairs hallway walls, primed it all and painted it and the ceiling. And kept it a secret from my dad for the first whole week. He would get up and go to work every morning and I would get up and start working. About four each afternoon I would stop. Clean up my mess, stash all the supplies in my room, take a shower and plop down on the couch just in time for him to get home. (He had specifically said, "I don't want to take down the paneling upstairs. It will be to much work to fix the sheetrock behind it." But mom specifically wanted it off!!) And since he NEVER goes upstairs, he didn't notice. But once he did find out, he STARTED to get mad and raised his voice and stomped up the stairs. But once he got up there and looked at the job that I did... he couldn't keep yelling. I am pretty handy. At least I think so.

The last two weeks I spent in Houston with Roy while he was on a business trip. We had a great time. We went shopping, to the aquarium and the zoo. We ate out at lots of great restaurants and specifically went to Taste of Texas for my birthday. It was REALLY good steak and they gave me dessert for free. (I need to scan the picture they took and then I will post it here.) I was REALLY glad to be with Roy again. I had missed him so much.

When we finally got back to Nigeria, we had a surprise waiting for us. We got home on a Saturday and I looked into the pantry to see what food was left (Roy doesn't shop much when I am gone.)

This picture is looking straight into the pantry. Around the corner to the left is my washer and dryer. This is what I found:

YES, not only was the door completely OFF the dryer, but the glass was TOTALLY broken. On Monday, I asked Grace (my steward) what happened. She said that she had put the blanket off the bed in the washer and started it and later heard a crash and the door to the dryer was on the floor.

I believe her. These machines have been pieces of @#$%@#$% since we first got them. One problem after another. So we sent an email to the facilities people to let them know that we were going to need a new one.

Then the next day I went in to measure the dryer to see how big it was, when I noticed that the washing machine looked funny. There were clothes in it and the door was shut, but it wasn't. The latch was still engaged, but the hinges had snapped and it was hanging open slightly from that side. UUUGGGHHHHH!!

GINORMUS PIECES OF JUNK. Seriously the hinges of both doors on both machines both snapped within seven days of each other. SERIOUSLY! Another email to facilities. BLAH....

They emailed us back and said, what brand do you prefer. And I said, "Good question." If we were in the US I could tell you exactly what I want. But those don't plug in here so good. (And if you just jam the plug in the outlet, it makes sparks and stuff... not good.) So they told us 3 different stores to go and look at and see what we liked. I found this:

It is a Samsung 7.5kg air wash 3-in-1 combo. It washes, dries and "air washes" all in one machine. It will mean that I can only do ONE load at a time. But it makes MUCH more sense space wise. That pantry closet is SOOOOO small and cramped. We wrote down the make and model and sent the information to our facilities department. They wrote up a requisition and it is waiting approval, I think. Anyway I am HOPING that sometime next week, I will have a new washer/dryer. I just have to keep borrowing the neighbors until then. BLAH.

I think that mostly covers it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Book Tag

I've been tagged..... (my aunt Lucy tagged me)

1. Pick up the nearest book (with at least 123 pages)
2. Turn to page 123
3. Find the 5th sentence
4. Post the next three sentences
5. Tag 5 people

"We are including directions for making cottage cheese; they appear in the original Farm Journal Country Cookbook. Homemade cheese does not have the same taste and texture as do commercial cheeses-- it is impossible to get the same results in home kitchens as in dairies.

The homemade cheese tastes like that our grandmothers made, seasoned with salt and flavored with thick cream skimmed from crocks of milk."

I found this cookbook at the antique store where my mom lives. I got it for about $8. My mom was totally jealous. It is her favorite cookbook and hers is wearing out. I was VERY excited to find this one!!

Now... who to tag...