August 1, 2021: Our First Firing

Sunday. Up at five, but I convinced the dogs to chill until five thirty before needing to take them on our morning constitutional. It was a nice morning and we managed to do three miles (seven thousand steps) before returning to the hotel. A good walk down to Poneloya. We saw a number of people out at the cafes there and hanging out on the beach.

We had thirteen people in the restaurant when I returned, which was right as we were opening. So likely we were pretty busy even before we had officially opened for the morning! By mid-breakfast we were up to eighteen having already turned over one large table. That is not including us, which is another three.

Today is supposed to be very hot. Thirty six Celsius, which is ninety seven Fahrenheit. So today is a good day to hide in the office as much as possible. Both because it is hot and because the restaurant is busy and we do not want to be taking up space.

I did some work on the book today. The dogs were extra exhausted. Probably from the long morning walk and the general heat. I found out this evening that tomorrow is a holiday, perhaps only in Managua. So there are just tons of people here because of that. The restaurant was totally full for the entire day.

Surprisingly taking the dogs out to walk a few times at the peak of the heat did not really feel all that hot today. There is no question that being here for two and a half months we are starting to adapt for real.

I went out and did some SGL vlog videos to upload to YouTube. I’ve been a few days behind and I managed to all but catch up except that while recording the video for last Thursday the camera shut down from overheating! I was not outside for that long and the sun was getting low, but it was still too much for the length of time that I was recording.

This evening we decided that there was nowhere in our restaurant to even sit and that it would not make sense at all to eat at our own restaurant. While out walking Clive I noticed that Puesta del Sol was totally empty, not a single customer. So we ate there. They will be packed after our last table has left, so they are doing fine. They just do not get the crowd prior to sunset as they are not sitting on the beach. It is great that we have them on WhatsApp so I can just text over, discuss our inevitable special order with them, get the price, put together the cash, and walk over when everything is ready. So handy. As if living within shouting distance was not enough.

Luciana got the walnet and gorganzola rigatoni. My mother’s parents would be so proud to know that their ten year old granddaughter was living in Central America regularly ordering gorgonzola. It was their favourite.

Liesl was not in the mood for anything over there so is getting food from our own restaurant. We can at least do roomservice to keep from taking up space in the restaurant itself.

Dominica got rigatoni pomodoro, and I got seafood lasagna. I also ordered three pizzas and two orders of bruschetta for our crew who are working so hard tonight!

We ended up having to deal with a staff problem tonight. No fun, our first firing event since coming down here. Luckily we have a manager so we only had to deal with so much of it. But it is still stressful, especially when dealing with it in a touch economy like this. But it was a serious issue and clearly she knew that she was doing multiple things that were guaranteeing that she was getting fired sooner or later.

That made for a stressful night. So I stayed up late with Dominica and Ivonne having cosmos while they destressed.

July 31, 2021: Liesl’s First Photowalk

Saturday. July is already over. Our time is Las Peñitas is going fast. We are now on two and a half months here. It feels like we just arrived. But, it also feels like we have been here for forever. It’s got quite a lot of “home” feel to it.

Today Liesl asked to start Unity (the game development platform) classes. She spent a few hours watching training videos on YouTube about it. I spent a few hours trying to get it installed on her gaming machine.

I had no real work today. It was great. Now that we have a weekend guy on staff it is making our lives so much easier. Not only do we have greatly improved overall company capacity, but we have coverage specifically over the weekends when traditionally I was stuck being on call and while things were generally not very hard on the weekends, getting suddenly interrupted so that I could never enjoy doing anything relaxing really wears you down.

This afternoon Liesl and I went out on our first photowalk together. I just used my OnePlus 8 phone with Ektacam to do more traditional street photography while she took the Nikon D90 with the 35mm f/1.8 prime (50mm equivalent) so that she could learn more about that. That’s the camera that she has been learning to use so that she gets the full control experience. She did colour work and I mostly did black and white. We had a lot of fun and walked rather a bit. We walked quite a bit through the barrio and to the south end of town past Barca de Oro where she has never been.

Liesl wants to go out and do photography a lot more often. She enjoys using the camera and going on the walks. It is a good way to get her out and walking, if nothing else. She is one that likes to just stay at home if at all possible. She’s pretty happy just hanging out in her room most of the time. So any voluntary outdoor activity is a big deal. Luciana wants to swim almost daily and wants to go to Carla’s pulperia at least a few times a week; and once in a while she will even walk the dogs with me at night when it is cooler. No one but me can handle their midday walk as it is just too hot.

It is amazing but I appear to be the only person here, Nicaraguan or otherwise, that does not instantly burn when going outside. Even all of the locals are amazed that I get no effect from the sun. I get hot, but not burnt at all. I really do not notice the sun in any way and I am outside more than almost anyone (because of the demands of the dogs.) I wonder if the insane amount of sweat that I generate from the top of my head acts like a sun barrier because it is always there and must impact the light passing through it.

This evening was some Genshin Impact with the girls. The three of us played for maybe an hour. We never get a lot of time to play. But I am steadily making just a little bit of progress. The girls did not have anyone come over tonight so it was a good night for us to hang out together. I have seen very little of them in the evenings this week because Michellez has been over so much and they are all so excited to have access to their big Steam gaming rig again and the Oculus VR system. Ivonne is really enjoying that, too.

I got to bed at a semi-decent time. My late night walk with the dogs went pretty long. We did about two miles before calling it a night. My watch has measured my month of July as coming it at just a hair over one hundred miles of walking! That’s a lot to keep up for a whole month. And I am not sure if that is tracking all of my walking or if it is only the time that I am running the GPS tracker, which is just a fraction of my overall walking time.

It is amazing how much I can just feel myself getting healthier being here. And we are making absolutely no effort to eat healthy food. Everything is just naturally healthier and there is almost no snacking or dessert. Having our own chefs means that we can order real food, including healthy food, and do not have to worry about how long it takes or the effort. Instead of going for chips because they are ready and I can just grab them quickly, I can text the kitchen and ask for a real meal, and ask for it to be delivered to my office. So I do not have to think about it again until it arrives and ready to be eaten. So I can just keep on working without having to involve myself in the food process.

March 27, 2021: Packing the Kitchen

Saturday. Packing is heavily underway now. After the past few days seeing the living room, bar, and the girls’ room getting lots of packing this morning saw the kitchen getting packed up and this afternoon attention turned to the girls’ classroom space which eventually turned into Paul’s office.

This past week the Burger King in Geneseo, New York which is the BK that I grew up going to and was the site of one of my first jobs, was torn down. After I had left GMI in Flint, Michigan and before starting classes at MCC in Rochester I had been working at the Pizza Hut there in Geneseo as the crew chief and one day walked over to the BK next door (we shared a parking lot) to see if I could pick up some spare cashier hours on the side. They instead hired me as a regional assistant manager (like an AM but not assigned to a specific store) and I did all of my training there at the Geneseo store. So I have a lot of memories there. Plus, of course, that store must have been there from before I was born as I have no memory of it ever not being there. The store could easily be fifty years old!

It got really warm today. We were sweating in the house after having fleeces on yesterday. In the afternoon it was seventy nine in the house!

There is so much school stuff that needs to be boxed up. The old dining room that turned into the school room eventually turned into school storage and is totally full of home schooling materials. Over the years all of the different projects, books, attempts and whatnot of home schooling just collected there and has now become the densest storage in the house.

For dinner everyone was tired, so we just ordered delivery from Dominos.

I did a lot of work on MangoLassi today. The site has been horribly out of date for a long time and really needed attention. There have been all kinds of factors keeping it from getting regular updates and I am attempting to fix a lot of that and, potentially, move it to a more modern and, hopefully, much cheaper hosting option. It has been on the same Linode instance since about 2015, that’s six years without upgrading the hardware. It’s run great, but there are so many versions newer database, programming platform, operating system, and platform itself. It is time for some love and attention.

I put in many hours working on the MangoLassi updates. We went from NodeBB 1.12 all the way up to the current 1.16? We took MongoDB from 3.2 all the way to 4.4 (going through 3.4, 3.6, 4.0, and 4.2 along the way.). We updated from NodeJS 10 to 15!

Then the even bigger change. Backing everything up and migrating from CentOS 7 running on Linode to Ubuntu 20.10 running on Vultr! What a day.

We all worked very hard today. There was almost no downtime. But the vehicles are quite heavily loaded up already and there is more to go out to them in the morning. MangoLassi has been moved to the new site. The girls have made a lot of decisions about things that they are not going to keep. Paul made two donation runs today as we filled his SUV twice with stuff to donate! We have a few full bins and some furniture all going to Emily, rather than to our storage unit. It’s a crazy amount of stuff that is done. The kitchen is so empty that it is nearly useless other than the food in it. Everything has been packed.

I leave for Atlanta the day after tomorrow (late on Monday) and will be gone pretty much the whole week. They think that they can get the rest of the house painted and enough packing done that I will have to do another run to Houston to the storage unit next weekend.

TakeFlight Grand Tour 2 Ep 6: Crete, Greece – Beach Drinking, Cretan Folk Dancing, and a Green Huntsman Spider

Episode six of the footage that we shot while in Greece with Emily and Madeline Grice last summer is now up on YouTube. This is shot on June 22, 2019 on Kolatsos Beach at the ALmy Hotel, and then that night at the folk dancing demonstration at the Cretan Corner and then in our AirBnB house in Aptera on the Greek Island of Crete.

TakeFlight Grand Tour 2 Ep 5: Crete, Greece – Knossos & Psychro Cave (Cave of Zeus)

In the fifth installment of TakeFlight’s Grand Tour of Europe 2, we go back to the Ruins of Knossos where Dominica, Liesl, Luciana, and I visited in 2016, to tour it again with Madeline and Emily. It was hot and busy so we did not stay too long. Since we had driven to the east side of the island, we took the time to drive south into the mountains to visit the legendary cave of Zeus as well, officially known as the Psychro Cave.