Plagues of (almost) Biblical Proportions

Floods. Eyeball infections. Cement-eating ants.

All of these happened within a 24-hour period.

The Great Flood: It was early evening and I had just finished translating a monstrous 22-page document into Spanish.  Unbeknownst to me, while I was working, a natural event of unnatural proportions was taking place the next room over. Outside, rain smacked into the house, punching the tin roof. Water rushed down the hill towards the houses on my street with such fury that it became a river with its own current.  And then, as I finished my work and went into the front room, I discovered that I had a small hole in the side of my wall.  Water came in.  I was ankle deep.  No mops.  Just brooms.  I took the broom and swept the water out over and over.  Mani decided she, in fact, is not opposed to being wet, and runs out into the rain and then runs onto my bed.  I run outside too.  Now I was calf-deep.  “What’s going on?!” I yell, to nobody in particular.  I go to my neighbor’s house who comes over and helps me shove a few plastic bags into the hole, and his daughter helps me sweep out most of the water.  I dry the floor and the dog with my bathrobe.

The Incredible Eyeball Infection: A couple hours later, in a newly cleaned and dried bed, I was watching TV with the puppy when I felt something go into my eye.  Assuming it was nothing, I swiped at it and resumed watching Modern Family Season 3.  Five minutes passed and my eye started to feel dry.  Weird, I thought, as I went to the mirror to have a look. OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT THING?! I thought, once I saw myself. The white part of my eyeball (the sclera, for all you technical people) was swelling. A bump was forming on my eyeball.  And it kept growing.  And my eyeball got too big for my socket, so the sclera folded over–like your skin does when there’s too much of it.  I gasped at its hideousness. At MY hideousness. And then I went to the emergency room.  Of course at 9:30 at night, I run into everybody I knew at the hospital.  There was Felix, the guy I work with at an NGO in town.  There was Doña Elba, my old neighbor. There was one of my new neighbors.  And there was the hospital staff.  When I saw Felix I said, “something happened to my eye!” and he said (avoiding eye contact), “uh…I can see that…”  So I saw the on-call doctor who flushed out my eye and applied some medicine. She plastered an eye-patch to my face.  And by eye-patch I mean a piece of gauze with tape going up to my forehead and down to my chin. Arrrrrgh, I wish I could have said.  But alas, I did not look like a pirate.

The Amazing Cement-Eating Ants: The next day when I awoke, my eye was better.  Around noon, I began cleaning my house to prepare for my sister and friend Becca, who are coming to Nicaragua tomorrow (!!). In the process, I saw several mounds of dirt going along the side of my bedroom wall. And hundreds of tiny ants. Along the side of my bedroom wall.  Which is in my bedroom. I run to get the Raid and I spray. I spray with menace. With vigor. But then, without warning, it runs out. So I get my broom.  And for the second time in 24 hours, I am sweeping something vigorously from my house. I go outside to the front porch where the ants had chewed through the concrete to get into my bedroom.  They’re all emerging from their holes at this point, escaping the poison I had just bestowed upon them.  As they come out, I’m thrashing and bashing and sweeping and generally using my broom as a weapon in any conceivable way possible.  You will not win! I’m thinking to myself.  And then as the thousands of ants are dispersing, they start to encroach on my personal space. I’m forced to run, because the ants are biting at my feet and it hurts.  I call Alison, who is on her way to my house and ask her to buy more poison, but  It’s too expensive.  Instead, I leave some of the dead, twitching ants as a warning for the others.

Were these plagues of cosmic significance?  Probably not.  But they did make for an adventurous 24-hours.  I hope that when Nadine and Becca come the rain will be moderate, our eyes unscathed, and the ants…anywhere but in my house.

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