Just Can't Hit My Stride

February 21 2007

Sure wish it were Friday ... I'm feeling a bit like Paul ... too much work and too little sleep.  Trying to spend some time with the family each evening but it just gets harder and harder.  Most nights are a maximum of 6 hours sleep.

Sadly, have only been able to muster the strength for exercising one morning this week. As for today ... I "slept in" ... 4am get-up instead of 330am.

... sorry this is short ...

Consistency And Balance

February 20 2007

This subject matter (er, title) could make good sermon material for Chris some day.

Consistency - not as the term is used for measuring texture, but as the term is used for describing "the absence of changes".

Balance - not as the term is used to describe a piece of equipment, but as the term is used for describing "not too much" and "not too little".

About consistency - you may recall that on occassion I have opined regarding the lack of hot water in our house.  Well, that was finally resolved - not sure how, but it was.  I can only presume that the hot water heater inlet or outlet was closed or plugged, the pump wasn't working, or the thermostat was turned WAY DOWN.  No matter the reason, we now have abundant hot water.  But ... there is catch ... consistency (or the lack thereof).

First, you have to understand that water systems here are not like the US ... we have city water (with little to no water pressure) ...and we have well water (which requires a pump).  These water streams are mixed together (somehow), run through a water purification system, stored on the roof, then brought into the house as needed.  There are booster pumps in/around the house that provide us with the water pressure for water usage - sometimes the pumps work .. sometimes they do not, and when they do work, they may be intermittant pumps vs constant pressure pumps - I do not know.

Now comes the challenge ... there are so many pieces to water system that it is impossible to maintain consistency of pressure of the cold water line and the hot water line .... imagine you are in the shower ... get the water balance just right .... jump into the water stream and start washing your hair (be imaginative if you are thinking about my hair) ... suddenly hot water pressure drops ... water turns colds ... so you jump out of the water stream ... finish washing your hair ... and wait for the pressure to rebuild ... ahhhh ... perfect ... so you jump back in ... rinse your hair ... but before you finish rinsing the hot water pressure is full bore again ... so now the water is scalding .... so you jump back out of the water stream ... lather up ... wait for the temperature to drop ... ahhh ... perfect ... jump back into the water stream to rinse off ... but then the hot water pressure drops again ... and you are getting iced !!!

A key challenge is setting the faucets so at least "on average" the temperature is reasonable ... and the extremes are manageable ... quite a challenge at 330am ... especially given that the temperature swing is probably 40-50 degrees.  Another key challenge is maintaining the self-discipline to NOT continually reset the hot water / cold water mix .... it is better to set it and leave it.

Now - about balance.  As we all know, an automobile has two primary controls for it heating and air conditioning system.  One control is the temperature control - on some cars this is an actual thermostat (such as is on our Fortuner) - on other cars it is a hot/cold slide bar or spin dial (such as on our CrV).  Now recognize, in Indonesia you do not need a heater (unless you are at 6,000 ft or higher elevation) - so most folks in Jakarta (sea level and below) don't ever use a heater.

Adjusting the A/C on our Fortuner isn't too bad, because you can set the temp you like and just raise and lower the fan speed as appropriate.  On the CrV, however, this is bit of a challenge sometimes ...

During the non-rainy season it is consistently hot here ... say 85-90 degrees.  During the rainy season (and especially after a hard rain) temperatures can drop to 75-80 degrees. This is where the challenge comes .... at the borderline between needing A/C and not needing it.

Yesterday, is a good example, it had rained all day .. it was borderline between needing A/C and not, and I was in the CrV .... our driver Yono had the A/C temp slide bar on the coldest position (where both drivers always keep it) ... as it kept getting colder and colder in the car ... I requested that the A/C be adjusted downward .... so, the fan speed was lowered.  Still being too cold, I asked for another adjustment ... however, Yono (and Mustafa is the same) doesn't realize that to do that requires RAISING the temperature, not just LOWERING the fan speed.  Unfortunately, the "next lower" fan position was "off" ... so that is what was done ... it was turned off.  Within 10 minutes, Yono was sweating to death because of the heat coming off the engine ... so we turned the A/C back on .... and we promptly swung to freezing again.

The above has happened several times.  There is no way I can explain the "proper use of the A/C" in bahasa and the drivers can't understand English.  Hopefully, Decy will be able to explain to both of them how the two functions work together .... of course, once on the rainy season ends ... the borderline situation will go away .... until next rainy season.

 ciao ciao ...

Typical Tuesday

February 19 2007

Guess Monday was a holiday in the US ... for us working stiffs in Indonesia it was just another day in the office - however, not many people were there and a lot of extra work seemed to be shoved my way.  Lots of folks already starting to take vacation .... I haven't even used up my 2006 entitlement ...

Really nothing much to blog about today - I could talk about the gully washer we had yesterday ... but I'm sure all of you are tired of hearing about flooding.  Don't know whether to believe CNN (who says the rain is with us another week or two) or the religious advisors who said last Sunday was when the rain would stop - of course, it rained heavily on Monday ..... sooooo ...

Here's a heart wrenching story - I read in the paper the other day that a poor husband and wife went to the hospital to have a baby.  When they went to check out, the bill was ~$400.  The man didn't have the money ... but was able to round up ~$200.  The hospital released the mother but kept the baby "for collateral".  The man went to all his family members, friends, etc. and finally collected the remaining $200. When he went to pay the hospital bill and get his baby (about 10 days later), the hospital said the bill had grown back to ~$400 due to charges over the last 10 days.  The hospital took his $200 but wouldn't give him the baby.  Thankfully, the guy went to the press - there was a tremendous outroar from the community.  The hospital finally acquiesed and gave the man/woman their baby and forgave the $200 for the "10 day overstay".

I visited with Decy RE the above, she says it is quite common for this to happen as most people can't afford any type of health care, much less delivery of a baby ... and so "keeping the baby" is the only way the hospital can ensure it gets paid.  This was heart wrenching to me ... especially given that our maid Wiwi is pregnant.  This WILL NOT happen to Wiwi.

- - - I wonder how many babies have never been collected because a family didn't have the money - - a very sad thought

Ciao ciao.

Challenging Times

February 18 2007

I really don't understand why sometimes I can post pics on phusebox while other times it is virtually impossible.  However, I did slip one through today.

Friday night was our typical night at CJs ... not much to talk about there.  However, Saturday night was our company's employee appreciation event.  The theme colors were: red, black, and silver. There were prizes for the best dressed .... there's just something about being overseas that makes life fun and funny .... for those of you who care ... I was selected (out of about 800 folks) as being the "No. 1 Eunuch".  I am pretty certain the folks meant "first place for unique outfit", but it just didn't come out that way.  When announced, the Americans broke out laughing ... I don't think most Indonesians figured out the enunciation issue.


In addition to getting a prize for the outfit (approx $160 coupon at Carrfour [like a super Walmart]), as a door prize / lucky draw we won a 30 gig iPod.

Sunday was a quiet day ... in addition to working over the weekend "in my spare time" .... we watched a couple of movies and played some pool.  I also got this foolish idea about exercising ... and did 64 minutes on the treadmill ... consuming 450 calories ... and running 8.5 kilometers (~5.3 miles) ... my body is still paying for all that running.

As for the weather here, we are getting very heavy downpours each day again ... but usually only 2-3 hours at a time. Nevertheless, this is still causing localized flooding ... including the area where we almost leased a house (Kemang).  The spiritualist say the rainy season ends on Sunday, 18-Feb - we shall see.

Other than the above, not much else to blog about.  So, I will get some work down before leaving for work ... besides it IS already 501am.

Ciao ciao.


February 15 2007

Well, another week bites the dust.  Had a number of set backs at work during the week ... but a few small successes.  So, I guess I won't complain.  Besides, if I did ... it wouldn't do any good.

Went the JIS yesterday and talked to Chely's counsellor.  We have much to do to get Chely ready for college and to select the proper school - something that is much harder (a) being overseas, and (b) Chely being Indonesian.  Chely has the biggest workload .... hope she is up to the task.

Today, Decy will meet with two of Thasya's teachers as part of a normal Parent-Teacher update.  There is no school today and Monday ... so the girls will have a nice long weekend.

For Decy and I ... much to do today ... then we will probably go to CJs for a while tonight.  Tomorrow is the big company party .... Decy's new dress will be ready today (its a surprise ... so I don't know what it looks like) ... for me ... I bought a nice black shirt ... to go with my black pants.  I will then wear a red wrap around belt (cloth tied in a knot).  Decy is hoping to get a silver scarf (over the shoulders) made for me today ... and I will borrow a black hat from Thasya ..... I'll post a pic when I get one.

Had a bunch more rain last evening ... probably 2-3 inches as the pool filled up pretty fast.  I don't know yet about new flooding in the area.

We talked to Hotel Mulia last night about the Opera Tickets.  They had a cancellation and upgraded us to center section ... our part was agreeing to pay for the whole table (for 10).  I had anticipated this (based on our "friendships" and likeliness to get preferential treatment) ... and have rounded up another two folks to join us.  We are now at 8 confirmed attendees .... only 2 more folks to line up.

I am going to close for now ... internet access seems to be working pretty well (at least for now) so I will try to post some pics from the Christmas holidays.

Ciao ciao .....

I'm Back ....

February 14 2007

Sorry I have been absent the last couple of days .... we have had severe issues with internet access from home.  And, at the same time we had systems problems at work ... both on the internal network as well as internet access.

I think we have the home issue resolved - after several extremely frustrating days of intermittant to NO access we had a technician come out and check the wiring on the house.  It appears (so they say) that some of the telephone wires used for internet access came loose.  The guy worked on that - and voila we have access again.  Overall, it looks pretty good.  Hmmm, wonder how long it will last.

Ok, about the flooding and Decy ... first, weather ... for the most part it has been dry since about last Thursday ... but that is the "most part".  This is still the rainy season and showers come and go.  Earlier this week while Decy was delivering some supplies to the flood victims there was flash flooding in the area she was at ... and many homes had 3 feet of water come rushing in.

Yesterday (Wednesday) there was a very heavy thunderstorm that rolled through the city.  Decy looked outside our house and noticed we had 18 inches of water running down the street.  This is odd, as during the worst flooding we had no water in the street.  This just goes to show you the flooding can happen anywhere at anytime.   Because our house is 4 ft above street grade it was not an issue.

All week long Decy has been delivering supplies to flood victims ... she has received additional donations of both money, food, school supplies, and even a bed.  With the money, she obviously buys more supplies ... and then makes deliveries.  I think she is pretty much to the end of the finances ... but has a bit left.  She is beginning to shift focus to the schools as many of the schools have lost all their supplies ... books, writing paper, pencils, etc.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day ... and Decy and I spent the evening together .... it was an odd mix of events, and not at all like I had planned/anticipated. She picked me up after work and we debated (in a nice sort of way) where to go ... stopped at the Shangri-la hotel and had a drink and snacks. Then, we ran over to hotel Mulia (where CJs is at) and met with the CJs manager ... and tried to organize seating on some opera tickets we are buying for a first ever in Jakarta event in April.  Then, we got a call from our Singapore friend named James who is here in Jakarta just for Wednesday night and part of Thursday .... so we met him at the Le Meridian hotel at Club 30 (Tiga Puluh).

We haven't been to Tiga Puluh in some time due to the quality of the band and DJ.  They were VERY happy to see us come back.  The DJ has been replaced (actually was last time) and was doing well.  Unfortunately (and hopefully only for last night) between music sets they had this "heckle and jeckle" comedy team ... who talked 75% in bahasa.  As for the band, they are so so .... but their contract runs out in 2 weeks.  (we think we saw the replacement band when we were leaving).

Here's something interesting about Tiga Puluh .... like I said they were VERY happy to see us.  After we ordered our drinks they brought us complimentary calamari (nobody else got any).  Then they advised they were doing a lucky draw and collected name cards from James and I.  Later that night two cards were drawn from a pile of about 50-75 .... first name drawn .... mine (for dinner for two) .... second name drawn .... James (buffet for two).  I recognize the odds of us winning both drawings is about 1 in 2500 to 1 in 5625 ... which isn't too bad ... but it DOES seem odd.  Then, later that night Decy was given a rose.  We left Tiga Puluh at 1230am ... got to bed at 130am ... alarm went off at 400am (I set it back 30 minutes as I usually get up at 330). I'm doing ok.

Today, I work only 1/2 day ... as Decy and I have an afternoon meeting with Chely's school counsellor to talk about college options. Tomorrow morning Decy has a 20 minute conference with 2 of Thasya's teachers.  That one is right in the middle of the morning ... which means I can't attend .... you know - missing 5 hours of work for a 15-20 minute chat.

Weekend is coming up .... my company is holding an employee event on Saturday ... not sure what to expect but it is being hyped up a lot.  It will be held at hotel Mulia. Theme colors are black, silver, and red.  Decy is having a special outfit made ... as for me ... I think I will just dress in black with some scarfs in the accent color.

Notice - that I did not talk about work.  It pays well ....

Well, need to close and take care of some other issues this morning.

ciao ciao.

I-net Challenge

February 13 2007
Having severe internet access challenges at work and home ... all is ok ....  Happy Valentines Day !!!

All's Quiet Right Now

February 11 2007

Now much to say ... just Monday morning ... I need to work on taxes this morning before heading to work ....

ciao ciao

Saturday Afternoon - Jakarta Situation

February 10 2007

As you can see, I have posted 10 new pics on the Jakarta situation.  My family knows that for over a month I haven't been able to post pics (due to the earthquake in Taiwan) ... but thanks to God ... these pics are making it through.  Everytime I hit the send button I pray ... and pray while the files are being transmitted ... glory to God !!!

We have a break in the weather here.  Thankfully it hasn't rained in 24 hours (at least not where I am).  Waters are beginning to recede .... clean up efforts are ongoing and will take months.  Unlike New Orleans where the govt can spend billions to help rebuild the city .... and many people have insurance ... the folks here have none of that.  You will see pics of people cleaning furniture, dishes, clothes - things that you and I would throw away ... but this is all they have ... they will scrub and scrub and scrub and get it as clean as possible ... and then just "live with it".  Very few have insurance.

Decy saw one house today that still had water in it.  A frig was floating.  She asked the man what he was going to do about the frig ... he said he will try to clean and fix it ... as he cannot buy another one.  I guess he can clean it .... but I assume he will have to buy at least a new motor and possibly compressor for it.

One of the other expat wives is starting to help Decy.  On Friday they assembled another set of supplies.  On Saturday (today) they delivered the supplies to the a community shelter.  Chely and Thasya and Susie's (not sure of the spelling) two kids also helped.  It was an eye opening experience.  I was not able to go ... but I cried when I saw the pics.

On Monday Decy will go out and buy more supplies with the wonderful donations that friends and family have given. Then she will deliver them - probably Tuesday.

Another expat wife called about trying to help out and make a donation ... as well as help in a delivery.  Step by step people are helping out ... in my heart ... I believe more will help as the stories (like from today) are told.  Even so, after we get through this event ... there are so many needs in the city in the base case .... I can't help but believe in my heart that Decy has started a good work that will help bring many of the expat wives together ... to help the community.

I need to close .... thank you all who have made donations to help the Jakarta victims.

ciao ciao

Are You Ready ??

February 08 2007

Finally a break in the weather .... rain continued on Thursday until 3pm ... not always a downpour like it was around 5am, but still a good solid rain.  According to the security alerts I receive several times a day, the rain cause a 3 foot wall of water to enter back into many of the previously flooded areas.

Haven't had any rain in 14 hours (its now about 5am). However, I hear thunder ... so another wave must be building up. Supposedly this weekend is supposed to be better.

Yesterday Decy made deliveries on all the supplies she purchased.  She assembled plastic bags containing baby's milk, water, medicines, clothes, blankets ... whatever she had.  She used everything and ended up with about 100 "gift baggies".  She and our driver Pak Mulyono went to the flooded areas ... specifically to two facilities for the homeless.  One facility had about 600 people crammed into it (there had been 1,000 before the waters started receding).

Based on Decy's description, the facility was more of a bunch of un-air conditioned hallways and rooms ... hundreds of people living on the floor on blankets, towels, rugs, no furniture to speak of .... what little they have is stashed in plastic baggies by their side.  Bathroom facilities are grossly inadequate and are right next to a rudimentry kitchen.  The smell throughout the place was "strong" to say the least ... consider ... that many people, coming out of a flood ... covered in mud, gunk, etc., with no place to really clean up.  Anyway ....

Decy handed out the gift baggies ... one by one ... focussing on the children as they are helpless and can do nothing for themselves.  She also helped lots of adults.  As you can appreciate ... having 100 baggies ... and 600 people in just one of the two facilities ... meant that she could not possibly give out a baggie to everybody.  Decy's eyes showed much pain when she described how the children faces looked when the "have nots" looked at the children drinking their milk (the "haves").  Painful as it was ... at least she was able to help some.

I strong believe that Decy has planted a seed.  I believe that seed with grow and multiply.  God has given Decy a rare talent where she can bring together all classes of people, all nationalities, all religions.  We are just ONE PEOPLE ... and her love and spirit draw people together.

Yesterday afternoon/evening as we reflected on the events of the day, Decy started receiving SMS's from some of the expat women here about how things went.  I'm not sure what to make from some of them ... I think overall positive.  But one, a very strong positive.  One woman, Susan, is coming over to our house today (Friday).  Decy and she will go shopping for more food, medicines, milk, and clothes.  Together they will make another delivery this weekend - Susan wants her daughter to assist in the delivery ...the seed begins to grow.

Decy says she saw a number of bridges where folks have put up tarps and are living in makeshift tents.  She is seriously considering making her next delivery there.

Some friends and family have pledged contributions to assist Decy's effort .... and on the basis of the pledge she will buy the items and make the deliveries (time is of the essence for these people; thus we cannot wait for the money to show up to begin doing His work).

While driving home last night there were a lot of street vendors in a back alley (unusual on that particular road).  Decy was with me ... and we talked about it ... apparently the shopping area was flooded out ... so they moved to the street.  I saw lots of children's clothes for sale ... many at $0.50 to $1.00 a set ... I talked to Decy about trying to go back there and buy clothes to give away ... I'm not sure if she will do that .. or focus on foods and medicines .. or maybe some of both.

Decy is also buying lots of lotions and powders ... as many people have skin rashes because of the flooding and living conditions.

For those of you reading this and are "touched" ... you too can help ... obviously there are organizations like Red Cross ... but who knows when and how the benefits would flow to the victims.  If you know any of my family members, you can give money to them and they will get it too me.  I recognize that takes time - but time is any enemy right now ... so, if you do want to help ... email me or blog me ... we will act based on pledges .... even $10 goes a long ways ... when there's no overhead, no salaries, no corruption ... just a woman handing out baggies of foods, water, milk, medicine.

God Bless You ....

Arrived at Work Safely

February 07 2007

This is a bad, bad rain ... was plowing water most of the way to the office ... most streets have rivers running through them.  Water in drainage pipes shooting up through the covers in the street (visualize 1 foot fountains in the middle of the street).

It continues to pour ... its now been almost 3 hours ... I feel so sorry for the people ... there is nowhere for this rain to go ... I hope it stops soon.

The Silence Is Broken

February 07 2007

After a couple of days of relative quiet (that is only a little bit of rain), the clouds moved back in.  There were scattered showers throughout the city on Wednesday, but nothing heavy. The problem, however, is that the ground is super-saturated already, the ditches are full, the rivers are full, the lakes and reservoirs are full.  Sooooo ... any rain is too much rain.  And now the city is prone to flash flooding.

Through yesterday the waters slowly began receding in the flooded areas (the press claims that 75% of the city has been affected).  However, that is changing as of right now (438am). Late last night we could hear thunder rolling overhead.  About 330am the rain started again - at least here at the house. It is still going - and its a pretty heavy and steady rain.  Time will tell if it is one of those 12 inch gully washers - but I don't think so.

As I drive from the office (central) to the house (6 miles SE of office), the roads are not too bad ... I generally take good roads.  But, we do take some short cuts along the way ... most of these are in pretty good shape (if they weren't we wouldn't be on them) ... so I am not getting a good perspective on the devastation in/around the city.  The local news shows a lot ... but don't know how good of a sample that is.

Sent an SMS to an Indonesian friend last night who lives in the far north part of town, the "old city".  She has been stuck at home all week due to flooding ... but her house was dry ... until yesterday.  Don't know what happened as it didn't rain that much yesterday ... but as I said ... any rain is too much rain right now.  She says she's ok - I need to try to contact her today.

Yesterday Decy attended an expat women's tea (our companies expats).  Normally Decy doesn't go to these things because she feels out of place and many of the woman are arrogant.  But, overall she had a pretty good time ... and even helped one woman who was from Argentina that could not speak very good English ... so they conversed in a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese ... with the other women watching in amazement wondering how an Indonesian woman speaks English and Portuguese.

While at the ladies tea, Decy presented the need to help those that have been affected by the flood.  Decy received donations of about $300 (plus our contribution) inwhich she used to buy water and other supplies. She will hand out the supplies directly to the needy ... and not go through any agency.  Not sure if she will do that today or tomorrow.  I need to talk to her about "security" to make sure she has at least one of the drivers beside her at all times ... in case the crowd presses in too close.

While $300 isn't a lot of money ... Decy was a stranger to the expat ladies ... she had met only one woman before .... so, I am thankful that they opened up their hearts and wallets.  Personally, I believe this event is really the planting of a seed.  I know that many expat wives have generous hearts ... but in a foreign country they need guidance and help in directing their monies and energies to the right source.  I believe that someday she will get a call asking for her help ... to the ladies .. so they can help others.

It is now 510am ... the rain is still coming down rather heavily.  I can see the pool filling up again, but it is not yet overflowing.

One more topic before I have to close to go to work.  Decy has been in contact with her immediate family.  Most live about about 10-15 miles south of us.  The area called Ciputat is a little bit hilly.  That means, of course, the low lying areas are getting severely flooded (as in 6-10 ft of water) while the higher areas less so.  Thankfully all the family is generally on higher ground.  Nevertheless, there is still some street flooding (2-12 inches) in and around the houses.  Back in 2002 when Decy built her house in Ciputat and rebuilt her mother's house (next door) she took a concious decision to raise the elevation of the house.  The workers hauled in truckloads of sand ... created a "pad" and then built over it.  What that means ... is that the two houses are now "above grade".  Decy says that several houses on the street where our two house are have water in them (I think measured in inches not feet.  However, our two houses are just fine - once again ... thanks to God.

Its time to do final prep's for work, so I must log off ... it will be a challenging drive ... I will try to blog once in the office so all know I arrived safely.

And, yes ... the downpour continues ... its now been 2 hours ... while it may not sound like much ... if this continues at this pace for another 2 hours the city will be paralyzed again.  Even if it stops raining right now ... this will still raise the water level for those already flooded out.

Quiet Wednesday

February 06 2007

Finally a night of no rain ... according to the news, things should be quiet today ...although it appears another weather pattern is moving into the area tomorrow - we shall see.

At least so far, it appears the new exercise equipment is being put to good use - I understand that both Chely and Decy are using all of it on a regular basis.  As for me, some basic free weights in the morning .... and (so far) 3 times on the treadmill.  Came home last night and jumped on the treadmill - ended up doing 5.6 kilometers in 45 minutes.  Not bad for an old man that is out of shape - but I was pretty wiped out afterwards ... AND I have to do better if I am going to do some serious hashing (oxymoron).

Decy confirmed we have plenty of bottled gas.  As for money - she withdrew the approx equivalent of US$3k from the banks to hold "just in case" .... over the past few weeks lots of computer servers and ATMs have been down (even yesterday AT the bank) .... we can't risk not being able to get to some cash.

Our issues with Amsouth Bank continue to have a rippling effect.  Seems my medical insurance carrier was trying to make deposits there (although they were informed months ago that I have a new account).  As part of a partial rectifications seems they decided to mail paper checks to me here in Indonesia (dumb !!).  Thankfully, the company agreed to cash them for me and give me the rupiah equivalent.  In addition to the 2 checks I have already received, there seems to be about $1k in other medical reimbursements that we can't seem to find .... ho hum ... its always something.

Think I will close for now.

ciao ciao.

Arrived Safely At the Office

February 05 2007
Lots of street flooding ... went through a foot of water at one point and could see that water had receded about a foot already.  No doubts low lying areas are hurting right now .... office is open ... but that was after I was SMS'g management with progress reports along the way ... I was the guinea pig.

Today Is Gonna Be a Bad Day ....

February 05 2007

Monday turned out to be a good day weather-wise ... after the rain stopped at approx 430am ... there was nothing in the main part of the city (just south in the mountains).  But then all hell broke loose at mid-night.  We have had non-stop downpouring ever since.

The swimming pool in the back yard has been close to overflowing several times over the last 4 days (then it pumps itself down).  Tonight (er, this morning ... its 415am) ... it can't keep up.  Looks like it will overflow any minute.  I'm not too worried about it as it is about 1.5 feet below the house level.

*** I will be posting this in pieces ... so watch this blog ... it will grow over the next 30 minutes.

Decy went to the store yesterday to stock up on supplies.  She said it was a zoo there.  Lots of people hoarding water, dried noodles, and other supplies.  Of course, Decy was there to do the same ... she couldn't find any more 2 liter bottles of water so bought 20 cases of the smaller stuff. Plus, she bought a bunch of other things.  It took about 4 hours to go to "Walmart".  Then, she sent the driver on a "search and destroy mission" ... he stalked a bottled water truck for miles.  When it stopped he went and negotiated for some big water dispenser bottles.  Decy says we now have enough water in the big bottles for 1 week ... plus the 20 cases ... just in case (no pun intended).

At the store there were problems with the computers and many debit and credit cards weren't working (checks are a rarity here due to the ease of forgery).  Thankfully, Decy was thinking ahead and brought cash (that she had taken out of the bank last Friday).

Speaking of cash, our Indonesian internet banking has been up and down for days due to the flooding .... this morning it appears completely down.  A local branch of the bank is only about 10 minutes away and more or less on high ground.  I'll probably send Decy to go pay some bills and get some more cash out.

Not sure where we are on gas for cooking ... I think we are fine. But need to check on that today (we buy bottled gas).  I've also reminded Decy to keep the cars full of gas.

As for school, late yesterday JIS advised they would be open today.  Of course, that was before tonight's downpour.  One of the JIS campuses is having all kinds of problems - water has been cut off and they are TRYING to truck in water.  They are asking kids to bring bottled water to school.   The girls' campus hasn't asked that ... but Decy is going to give the girls some water just in case.

A number of people at work (expat and Indonesians) are having problems.  One Indonesian family had to be rescued from the 2nd floor of their house.  Had another co-worker call me from home ... their home was ok, but flooding is so bad they can't get out.  Even had some expat co-workers not doing so well .... with sewage starting come out backwards from the toilets and drains.

We are very blessed in this house.  Although the process of finding and leasing it was difficult ... and we lost several before we got to this point ... God was clearly watching over us.  We are in a good sub-division, it has stable water and electricity.  Its elevation relative to the rest of the area is good.  We are not near any drainage ditches, culvert, rivers, etc.  And, the house is about 4 feet above grade .... just in case.

It would not surprise me if we closed the office today.  If we do ... then we will activate the warden system ... and I have to call 55 people on my list ... that will take 2-3 hours (again).  So, if they wait much longer ... I won't be able to reach everybody before work time.  On the other hand .... yesterday we told people to "use their best judgement" RE coming to work or not ... and we just might leave it at that.  I am certain that a lot of people won't make it to the office today.

As per the press, there are now (yesterday) ~350,000 out of their homes ... with 25 dead.  Tonight's rain will raise the numbers.  Lots of finger pointing right now RE who's fault is this.  Obviously, weather has a lot to do with it.  Sadly, the local culture has brought a lot of this on themselves.  I recall in December when I went to south of town to Jatiluhur (where much of the rain is coming from).  I saw one of the reservoirs - and I saw some places were "deforestation" had taken place.  I specifically remember looking at it and thinking that it would be very flood prone as there is nothing to catch the rain ... and no grass has been planted .... and now here we are.

Some people are blaming the flooding on the rich (building big houses in the water catchment areas). Some people are blaming it on "too many malls" ... meaning large buildings that take up precious soil that could have absorbed rain water.

The city has talked and tried to build canals to divert the water.  There is a major one they have talked about for years ... but they say that the land is "too expensive" to buy ... so they can't build the canal.  Guess what they are saying is it cheaper to let people get flooded out every year ... and some to die - - there is much that I could blog on RE thoughts about life and death for Indonesians ... but that will have to be another day.

Pool is definitely overflowing ...

Well, I better close for now ... have some things to take care of.

ciao ciao


February 04 2007

In answer to Grandma Suzy - we did not leave the house at all on Saturday and Sunday.  Monday - I am working.  Monday - school is closed again.

Future flooding will be largely dependent on the strength and duration of the showers/downpours - a 2-4 hour downpour will paralyze the city.  We are in the deepest part of the rainy season where anything can happen or nothing can happen.  A lot depends on how much water they release from the dams upstream of the Jakarta.

Decy is at the store as we speak picking up more supplies, including emergency bottled water - we always keep bottled water in the base case ... but this is EMERGENCY water.

I'll blog regularly, internet access permitting.

ciao ciao

And The Saga Continues

February 04 2007

According to the press, there are now >300,000 people flooded out of their homes here in Jakarta.  The death toll climbed from 6 on Saturday to 20 Sunday.  According to the press (and it seems right) most of the rain on Sunday was south of the city, in the mountains .... however, there are about 12 rivers that run from there into the city .... so the rain there just moves into Jakarta.  As for here in the city .... it began raining heavily again last night (Sunday night) at about 1am.  It is now 435am ... the rain has just now lightened up ..... more flooding on its way ... no doubt.

According to the press/weather forecasters .... we have 2 more weeks of this.  Don't know if that means .... on / off rain ... or pretty much "on".

Disease will soon become an issue as people run into sanitary and drinking water issues.  I need to have Decy double check our bottled water supplies and bottled gas supplies.

Because of the unstable internet access, I will post this blog and then "edit" it from time to time.  That will ensure that at least some of what I write will be saved, even if I lose the connection.

Yesterday (Sunday) was an incredibly frustrating and emotionally draining day.  The 3 hours I spent implementing the emergency warden system did me in.   The basic approach works good .... we have wardens in various sub-divisions that then call the 4-6 company people that live in their area.  The wardens act as a "messenger" for any emergency.  Having 4-6 people to call is one thing ... but I am the HOTEL warden ... and currently we have 55 visitors in 3 different hotels.  So, not only do I have a gazillion calls to make ... but I have to go through an operator ... and the list, which is always changing as people arrive/depart Jakarta has too many errors.

Everybody has been instructed about the warden system and that they need to keep the organization informed of any travel changes .... but they don't .. then when you add in a bit of human error ... it becomes a mess.

I wasted a bunch of time trying to call one visitor that was supposed to be here until 8-Feb ... but seems they checked out on 31-Jan.  Then, I accidentally called somebody that was supposed to have checked out at 31-Jan ... and they were still here.  Then, there is the family that have moved from a hotel to a house ... but the records haven't been updated (for whatever reason).  This family is on my list to call ... but the only number I have is the hotel.

Add to the above, that I was on the phone for 3 hours ... if I hadn't had my charger nearby, my phone would have been dead.  Then - because of the rain - many of the phone circuits are down ... which means I often had to call 3-4 times just to get through to the hotel once ... so you do the math regarding phone usage ....

Also had some technical issues at home. First, I couldn't find my call out list ... and call record log.  So I tried printing it ... had printer problems ... got one printer to print ... but it was out of color ink (nobody replaced the cartridge, which we had).  The list was in black, red, yellow (while that printer did not do gray scale) ... so, half the list was missing (red colors).  I kept flipping back and forth between the PC ..... the new (black only) print out and the old color print out ... I got confused which list I was on ... which is how I happen to accidently call somebody who SHOULD have left the city .... but didn't.

As you can tell, this was a very frustrating event.  I will write a report today and spell out all the ugly details.  Some people will be offended .... but if I don't highlight the weaknesses in our processes then we can't improve them ... and in the event of a major emergency (riots, earthquake, evacuation) .... accuracy and efficiency will become critical.

Enough ... I am already tired and it is only 455am.

ciao ciao

This One's For Chris ...

February 04 2007

So why did my last blog include a message to many folks, but not Chris?  Its because I was replying to THEIR emails via the blog because I couldn't get Yahoo to accept my emails.

Soooo .... Chris ... if you had sent me an email then you would have received a personalized message inside my blog.  BUT, having said that ... nobody has made any comments about my recent flooding blogs .... but because you did comment on the last one ....


BTW, we are still ok. The rest of the city is challenged.  And, we have activated our company's emergency system, of which I am a part ... and I have just spent 3 hours on the phone ... but God watches over us.

It is pouring rain again ... we are ok ... but I hurt so much for the less fortunate .... every drop of rain we get just adds to their situation.

Please pray for the less fortunate in Jakarta ....

Sunday Morning

February 03 2007

It was a relatively quiet night last night ... some very heavy rains around 2am, but it did not last long.  Don't know what the weather will be like today - obviously - but the paper says we should expect more of the same.

We told the drivers not to come in today (just like yesterday).  There is no where we have to go ... so that allows the drivers to take care of their families.

Access into Yahoo is virtually non-existant, and replying is usually impossible.  So if anybody is trying to email, I am probably not seeing it.

Norma - thanks for tax information.

Paul - go ahead on the medical stuff you mentioned.  Ok on the car - keep me posted. Good luck.

Josh - thanks for tax info confirmation.

Mom - yeah, heard about tornado ... and checked to see which counties.

As for us ... we're ok.  We can easily manage in this house for a week or so ... 40 pounds of rice goes a long aways ... if necessary - but we have plenty of other items too.  We were able to contact the extended family in the Ciputat area (Decy's mom, bro's, sis's).  Lots of flooding in and around Ciptuat ... and some some of the subdivision where the houses are (Villa Mutiara) have water, even on the street where Decy's mom lives.  However, both houses there are ok and above street grade - and the property where others live (boys you remember) is ok because its on a small slope and the water is running past the houses and not collecting inside.

Didn't go hashing yesterday, it would have been a dumb move. However, I did use the treadmill. Not as much fun .. but it suffices. 

... Better close before I lose the connection. ciao ciao

To All .....

February 03 2007

Don't know how long the connection will last.   We are all ok ... high and dry for now ... still with electricty and water. sometimes internet. not much on phone.

We have extra food, water, gasoline, and backup power generation.

Others aren't so lucky.