Sunday, December 23, 2012

I may be moving to a different blog format, one that I hope to integrate into our website. I have just posted in the new blog - here is the link:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Excuse #3

3. Family and friends have visited.

Well, guess what? Those family and friends left but now I have more - my brother and sister-in-law, and on Thursday, my cousin. A full house coming up. Some years nobody comes to visit, but we like the years when family is here. They all so enjoy the house and the island and we love to share it and have someone other than each other to talk to and cook for.

Over the Christmas holidays we had former guests and now friends Troy and Carreen come to stay. Carreen has a high-pressure job in Arizona, and Troy is a dog-trainer (really a dog-whisperer). Whenever they are here they get involved with Amigos de los Animales (Alison's house and dog rescue), and they give our brood here at the house lots of attention. Troy also gives tips on managing Loco, who is actually a pretty good dog but he does have his moments and room for improvement when it comes to walking on a leash.

It was timely that Troy and Carreen were here during the holidays because Miguel and I went up to our fourth level roof to watch the fireworks. The only access to the roof is via a long ladder propped against the edge of the wall. Up on that terrace are our water tanks. And nothing else. So when the ladder fell when we tried to come down after the fireworks, we were rather stranded. Nobody available to come and help us at 12:15 on New Year's Eve, no hidden key in case a neighbor could be roused, and no piece of rope. Nothing.

But Troy and Carreen aren't late-night partiers, so after watching the fireworks in town they decided to come back to the house and see what we were up to. The red Christmas jacket that Loco was wearing for the special day was a tip to Carreen that we hadn't gone to bed, rightfully thinking we wouldn't have left him roaming the house dressed like that for the night, and so they decided to head up to the roof to see if we were up there watching fireworks. Thank goodness! They saved us from who knows how many hours of sitting up there waiting to be rescued. We celebrated with chips and dip and cheese and crackers and called it a night. I wasn't sure if it was a good sign or a bad sign that we started the New Year like that, because the very next day we broke the microwave plate, a ceramic spoon that I hadn't even used yet, and a glass candle globe. I guess I should be glad nobody broke their leg jumping from that fourth level (that would have been Miguel because I wasn't about to attempt it), so maybe that means it was a good sign. The jury is still out.

In February we were delighted to have Jen, Miko, and 14-month-old Kyle come for a week. I was able to rent a pack and play and high chair which made the travel much easier for them, and made the week easier here at the house. Kyle adjusted to the pack and play for sleeping, the stroller and the golf cart for napping, and the high chair for throwing Cherrios on the floor.

Kyle's favorite toy turned out to be a ball about the size of a volley ball - he carried it everywhere and had a blast with it. His second favorite thing seemed to be a spoon I gave him to dig in the sand. Oh - he also loved the balloon we bought him at the circus, but unfortunately when we left the protection of the circus tent, the wind grabbed that balloon right off his stick and away it flew.

 Kyle loved riding on the golf cart, even when it was windy

Sometimes he was just worn out from all the adventures

What did he do while he was here? What babies are supposed to do - he explored his environment, played with simple toys, and dug in the sand

Sadly, the week went quickly and I wasn't able to convince Jen to stay longer. We'll just have to hope they come back again soon, and often.

Yesterday my brother and sister-in-law arrived, so we're looking forward to a week of relaxing and eating and lots of pictures. On Thursday my cousin is coming for the first time to Mexico, so that will be an experience for him - staying in the colonias and seeing some of the culture. The house is a great home base for those visiting - and some days nobody really wants to go anywhere, they just want to hang out here. That's ok with us, one of my favorite things to do is hang out around the house.

*Update on the kittens - they are also still hanging around the house. Still living in the back terrace area although they are free to play in the front garden. Each day they get braver but when they get tired, they take themselves to the back shed for a nap. Now I'm worn out from writing this blog, time for a nap myself!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy New Year!

I know I'm just 1 month and 24 days late, but better late than never, right? Because 'never' was definitely an option for this blog, I just don't seem to have the energy to keep blogging. Why? Because...(my short list of 7 excuses coming up):

  1. It's high season
  2. We've been busy with cats
  3. Family and friends have visited
  4. I'm putting my web business together
  5. I built a website for
  6. Keeping (or rather, getting) the house in order is a challenge
  7. I do all the communications for our online businesses
 If you want the details, keep reading.

#1 - It's high season. This means that every day we look at the schedule (based on a database I created) and determine who is checking in, who is checking out, who needs water, laundry, pool-cleaning, housekeeping, cleaning supplies, meet and greet, key retrieval, garden maintenance. Off -schedule are all the maintenance issues that arise on the fly: plugged toilets, broken toilets, broken a/c units, broken hot water heaters, electrical shorts, water leaks, empty water tanks, torn screens, broken water pumps, empty gas tanks, lost keys, clogged drains, plugged showerheads, broken mopeds. Capi's Property Management takes care of 8 properties along with our own 2 - that is a lot of maintenance, a lot of laundry, and a lot of coordination.

#2 - The week between Christmas and New Year's the stray female we call Rabana brought her family of 4 one-month old kittens into the garden, and they are still here, 2 months and many bags of cat food later. We have had a great time watching the kittens play and interact with each other and their mother - it has been an interesting lesson in animal behavior.

We had some chilly and rainy days so Miguel rigged up a little tent roof over a tree stump to give the kittens somewhere dry to sleep. One day Loco found a kitten that was in trouble - it had climbed inside a stack of 2 tires, but couldn't get out, and eventually it gave up and was just sitting inside the tire that was full of water. At this point the kittens had been wild and impossible to touch, but I was able to pick that kitten up, dry it off, and put it in a cage inside the house for an hour or so to get warm again. I fed it and then took it back outside to join its mother and siblings, none the worse for its near-death experience.

We have had our challenges with all these kitties in the garden. Blacky shows some aggressive tendencies, so at first I kept her on a short leash, and later, when the kittens got bigger and started exploring the terrace, I took Blacky over to her other house. The cat family quickly claimed Blacky's bedding.

Rabana also attracted 2 males who tried to mate with her, and they, along with another male who sleeps on a chair on the terrace, eventually grabbed and followed the kittens too. One night a kitten was crying from being held by a male, which caused us to catch the kittens (still wild) and put them on the back terrace. The one kitten I'd rescued from the tire was the only one that was easy to catch, as I'd been trying to get it used to being handled and it let me pick it up.

We went to the clinic for traps, and over the period of two weeks, we trapped all the males and Rabana, and they, along with the 4 kittens (all females!), have had surgery and can no longer add to the over-population of cats. We also caught another female we didn't know, but we took her in for surgery too. Almost all the adults cats were brought back and released in their territory, and they are doing fine. We are still waiting for the last male to come home (the one who sleeps on the terrace). It is nice to not have that odor of male territorial marking lingering around our front door and garden, some days it was pretty potent.

The kittens recovered from their surgery on the back terrace, and in the time they have been there, they have gotten used to being handled. I can't say they enjoy being handled, but they tolerate it, when we do manage to catch them. The one kitten is quite tame and loves to be picked up and petted, she will probably hang around and live on the property, not sure about the others. Right now they keep going to the back terrace to sleep and eat, even though there is food in the front garden and the side door is open for them to come and go. At night I shut them in back there, just to avoid any dangers lurking in the dark.

Well, it is 8:30, I need to get busy with our hopefully will get to excuse #3 in the next few days. Adios for now!