The Journey to Casa Madera – Watching the Olympics!

August 5, 2012 – The skies are greying and the distant sound of thunder reminds us it is still rainy season here at Casa Madera Bed & Breakfast in Nuevo Vallarta.  Last night we had a doozy of a storm.  3 or 4 inches of rain and spectacular lightning.  It takes your breath away watching it and now it looks like we are going get to enjoy it again.

Today we decided to do something different with the blog and Heather has taken the time to put her thoughts into cyberspace.  We hope you enjoy it!

Watching the Olympics – Heather Wood

To say that we have felt removed from “real life” since we moved to Mexico would be an understatement.  We do listen to the daily news on CKUA radio, which gives us the highlights, and honestly that is about all I have ever really been interested in.  I have made it a habit since I began living on my own to not watch the evening news.   Call me silly, but I always felt it emphasized the negative, rather than the positive aspects of the world in which we live.  However, even without my daily dose of  the evening news, I was still able to have an idea of what was going on in the world, thanks to everyday conversations I would have with friends, co-workers and family.

Now, by our choice, we live in a different country whose first language is Spanish, not English.  We can watch the evening news, if we choose, and we can choose to buy several newspapers, in Spanish, at any street corner with a traffic light.  That does not mean that we will be able to understand everything spoken or printed.  Even though our language skills have improved 200% since moving here, we still have a long way to go.  Fully understanding a newspaper article or Television broadcast is still far into our future, I am afraid.

Which is why I was so surprised when my friend who lives in the UK started commenting about the Olympics in her Facebook posts.  I used to take major news events like this for granted.  Things like this were something everyone was talking about on every corner, in every newscast, and it was written somewhere in every newspaper for months leading up to the big event.

Perhaps it is the same way here.  I really don’t know, for reasons already stated.  🙂

I can tell you that we are watching the Olympics daily and that I am having a difficult time picking a country to cheer for.  I am torn.  Of course, I will always cheer for Canada, my homeland and where my heart lies.  But, I have a soft spot for Mexico as well.     I am and always will be, a proud Canadian. I  also remember that  Mexico accepted me and my husband when we decided to experience life away from the 9 – 5.  With that acceptance, comes  a certain pride in my adopted country and its achievements.

I am loving watching the  Olympics and consider myself very lucky that Mexico and Canada will not battle it out for the medal in  all events.

GO TEAM CANADA!!!

The Journey to Casa Madera – I said I wanted A cat!

March 7, 2012 – We had to go to Costco the other day to pick up new glasses and supplies for Casa Madera Bed and Breakfast.  It’s funny, a year ago our supplies at Costco generally involved items we could not buy anywhere else and were limited to foods and wine with the purchase every 6 weeks of dog food for Alexa.

We never bought cat food at Costco.  Zorro was fussy and Costco did not carry Whiskas, the only brand he would eat.  The other problem was the large bag would probably go rancid before Zorro would eat it all.

Zorro, the coolest cat I know.

Now for the first 6 months we had him we did buy the cat litter at Costco but we soon found that he stopped using the litter box and used the jungle.  Typical male, the whole world was his bathroom.

We did not complain about that aspect of Zorro’s existence as it was one less item to clean up and 20 bucks we did not need to spend every 8 weeks or so.  Oh how things have changed…..

July 8, 2011 – My annual trip home to Alberta to see my kids, Allison and Brendan and my granddaughter, Elizabeth.  Always a joyous event to see the kids and to spend time with them.  As always when I go home in the summer my brother Alan, his son Jonathan, Brendan and I journey out into the foothills of Alberta to go fishing.

Well that’s what we call it anyway.  Many would wonder if we actually do any fishing as we rarely come home with any fish but do come home with a fair amount of empties.

This year we made a change to the trip due to high water levels where we normally go and headed out to Jarvis Lake outside of Hinton and spent the weekend camping with Heather’s brother, Neil and her brother-in-law, Denis.  The fishing was no different from normal and we were still having a good time.

It was on Friday afternoon while we were sitting around shooting the bull and enjoying the sun when Neil while checking his Facebook said “hey you have 4 more cats”.  Oops I was not supposed to tell you that.

Lluvia the one and only female

Cats??  What do mean I have 4 more cats???  I can’t wait to hear how Heather could get 4 cats.  I had only been gone for 4 days!

Esperanzo - The Union Leader

It seems that the night before it was absolutely pouring rain as it is apt to do in Nuevo Vallarta in rainy season when Heather heard Alexa making strange noises and pawing at the garage door.  When she went down to investigate she saw a little paw coming under the door.

Blanco - trouble with a capital T!

Now a lot of people at that point would have ignored it and went back upstairs.  However, Heather is not like a lot of people.  She opened the door and into the garage ran 3 kittens.  Well this was a bit of a shock, especially for someone who never wanted a cat.  They were all over her and Alexa.  It was then she made that fatal mistake…..she took them upstairs.

Dulce - he is "special"

Kittens are cute.  Even when they are ugly, they are still cute so I understand the pull to protect them.

It was raining, hard.  This brought Zorro home.  He was not impressed to see the little things in his house so this was a problem.  Heather put them into the library where the door could be closed, added some litter to Zorro’s litter box and gave them food and water while the big mean adult male sat outside the door and tried to figure out how he would get in to deal with them once and for all.

The next morning a girl who would walk a couple of dogs for her neighbour yelled up that she saw something strange over on the other side of our neighbours house.  Heather went down so she could show her what it was.  And there laying in the sodden dirt was one very wet and looking dead black kitten.  Apparently there were 4 kittens not 3.

The kitten was covered in muck, flies and eggs.  Apparently it was dead.  Heather went back to the house and called the Vet.  He said to try a little food around its nose and see if it responds.  He was already coming out to have a look at them and deflea them but it would be an hour or so before he got there.

Heather did as suggested and went down with some wet cat food on her finger and waved it in front of the kitten’s nose.  CHOMP.  The kitten was very much alive but weak.  However it still managed to break the skin and cause a little bleeding.  So Heather picked it up and brought it to the house.

Kitty armour

The Vet examined the kittens and made sure they were good to go.  Heather made a trip to Mezcales to see the Doctor about her finger.  He told Heather that if the kitten dies it has to be brought in to be tested for rabies being as it bit her…..great, just what she needs.

Needless to say I was interested to see these little additions to the household when I arrived home a week later but I still did not want them.  I love cats but one cat was enough, we did not need any more.  Heather had been trying to give them away or find a shelter for them but the only one that might be able to take them wanted a $100.00 US a kitten.  400 bucks!  I don’t think so!  However, looking back…that would have been cheap!

It was two days before I arrived home that Heather made the largest mistake.  She named them.  Blanco, Esperanzo, Dulce and Lluvia.  They should have been known as 1, 2, 3 & 4, not real names.  Nope they had names.  I knew at that point that we now have 5 cats.  One whose main goal in life was to kill the other 4.

We still tried to find someone to take the cats.  No luck.  2 weeks after I got home Heather headed to Alberta for 2 weeks.  I put up posters, I posted on Craigslist.  I put them on various Yahoo group boards.  One phone call.  They wanted a fluffy cat.  Something these weren’t.  Why they would want a long-haired cat in Mexico I will never understand but its their furniture.

When I was not trying to give the kittens away, I was running interference, as was Alexa.  It became her duty to protect the kittens from that dastardly Zorro.  It was entertaining watch though I must admit I was getting tired of constantly keeping the kittens in the library when Zorro was in the house which became more frequent as he stalked the kits.

There were no takers on the kittens even after we had them sterilized and they got their shots.  All that happened was they wormed their way into our hearts.  That and they were great fun to watch.

It was early October and the break through was coming.  Zorro was becoming more tolerant.  He still had to be watched but more time was going by when they were all together before he attacked one.   It was apparent that in about a week the worse would be over and they should all be able to live in peace.  He was starting to play with them and it was not all aggressive, we could hardly wait.

If you are going to be around me you must be clean!

It was a couple of days after that when Zorro did not come home.  We called for him constantly but nothing.  He always answered when he was within earshot.  There was no trace of him anywhere.  Last time I saw  him he was walking across the downstairs hallway by the pool with a lizard hanging out of his mouth, his favourite non Whiskas snack.  We don’t know and never will know what happened to him.  It still makes me sad.  He was a really cool cat and we miss him a lot.

We miss you more than you can imagine!

Now we have 4 cats.  They are growing like weeds and are no end of entertainment though I have to say I never thought a king size bed would be too small!

Are you sure we can't go up there?

The standard Costco shopping trip now consists of: a big bag of cat litter(every 2 weeks), a big bag of cat food(every 3 weeks), a big bag of dog food (every 6 weeks) and maybe some cheese….to go with our whine…..

You know, you kids are really starting to piss me off....