Our trip to Canada was preceded by a flurry of unplanned events.
First, there was Luna's illness, which meant almost daily trips to the vet clinic as well as at least 4x/day syringe feeding of liquidy food and squirts of Pedialyte. I really hated to ask anyone to take on that responsibility and commitment, but Charlotte made it clear she was more than willing, that she'd do whatever was needed to take care of 'her favorite cat' for us.
In the end it was her husband Jim who did the actual feeding, while Charlotte did all the ancillary activities (preparing the food, cleaning litter boxes, feeding the other cats, taking Luna out to the field to empty her bladder). They both took Luna to the clinic, and they both gave the other cats lots of attention. Cappuchina performed her usual magic on Jim - snuggling up for naps and endearing herself to him.
Second, there was our kitchen project - a longer than anticipated tiling job of the counter areas. The work was originally supposed to be done by the albanil (cement mason) who works with Miguel in property management, but he ended up 'not showing up for work' for three days, so Miguel was forced to pull in another albanil to get the job done before we left.
It was down to the wire, the albanil finished the areas he could at 11 am the morning before we left (it would take another week after our return to finish the rest). With a house full of concrete dust, I pulled in the cleaning ladies to tackle everything in the kitchen while I cleaned the upstairs, packed, and took care of Luna. After they did the kitchen (just breaking a few little glass things when they moved the cupboard back into place), they did the rest of the downstairs as quickly as possible. It wasn't the best cleaning job, but it was more than I ever could have done on my own. Even so, my body was in agony from all the physical work.
What didn't get done? Loco's fur didn't get clipped (and he still sports a wild mop of fur), the golf cart tires never got checked, Charlotte didn't get to 'shadow' me as I went about the daily routine with the house and the animals, and we didn't have time to eat breakfast before leaving. I was supposed to leave printed instructions about Luna and the house, with phone numbers - in the end I said I would email it. Never happened, by the time I got to the computer a couple of days later, Charlotte and Jim had it all under control anyway and I didn't have to send them anything. I got almost daily updates on their comings and goings, and the status of Luna's health.
We are so lucky to have a handful of people we can count on to take care of things here when we want to leave. This last trip was especially difficult - hard to ask anyone to do what was needed for Luna, but Charlotte and Jim did it without complaint. And after we got back, we were able to enjoy a couple of days together even if Luna's death cast a sadness over all of us. Our last evening was especially wonderful - dinner at Mango Cafe,
a drive along the coast while Miguel tended to the homes he manages, where we saw a beautiful double rainbow (we called it Luna's rainbow),
and finally creme brulee and coffee at Cafe Mogagua. We meandered home tired but satisfied, enjoying the lights of the island and the cooling summer breezes.
There really are no words to describe how much the friendship with Charlotte and Jim means to us, we are very lucky to have them as friends. Thank you, Charlotte and Jim - for everything.