I Couldn’t Have Better Timed Adopting a Dog

(Post 74 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I had no idea when I adopted Bonita two and a half years ago that we had come into each other’s life at the exact perfect moment. I needed a presence to keep me company and rooted in Mérida for a few years; she needed a home and creature comforts in her old age. It’s crazy how I had just started to get the travel bug again and was trying to sort out dogsitters when the pandemic hit. As things stand, I suspect I’ll be staying close to home for the rest of her life, which is what my anxious girl needs. We’ve grown so close since lockdown started, finding each other in a way that we had difficulty doing so in our first two years together. My being home all day every single day really gave her the routine and security she needs. She’ll always be an anxious dog wary of strangers but she knows for sure now that I’m her human and that she has a home, of which she is fiercely protective (it took a long time for her to find her voice, but now she’s not shy about using it!).

I don’t know how she knows it, but I’m no sooner up and about in my room upstairs in the mornings that I hear her barking up at my bedroom window. She’s had a night alone and is eager to see me. Our reunion is the best part of the day, when she is most playful and affectionate. If it rained overnight and she got wet and/or muddy, she gets a bath or at least a toweling down, the latter of which she adores.

Ours is a quiet, simple routine. She’s an old girl now (going on 15!) and while she often passes as much younger to those who have just met her, she has the energy of an old dog. By late morning, she’s happy to slumber at my feet or by my side on the couch, depending on what I’m working on. She likes one meal a day, and preferably at the same time as me. She’s developed a taste for cheese, homemade chicken broth, pork gristle, and cooked carrots, but will literally spit out fruit. Her favourite treats are jerky sticks that she can happily spend an hour chewing to pieces. Due to her immune system being weak and there being a lot of feral dogs in the neighbourhood, we don’t often venture out, but when we do, she knows we’re going to her Uncle Jan’s house, something we started doing again a few months ago. She loves going there and feels safe.

Here are some pictures from her lockdown so far, uploaded as WordPress decided they would be, so not in chronological order.

This was today. It was a cold wet day and it was funny to see her timidly head outside to pee and then race back to the warm cosy couch by me!

Cheeky grin!

She doesn’t snuggle a lot, so close contact like this makes my heart go boom.

We had some roof work done over the summer. Her sad expression at her view being blocked is pretty funny. She loves supervising workers!

She will sometimes extend her rear paw like that as an invitation to massage it.

Post bath. She loves snuggling up in a towel!

Snoring and farting. LOL!

Very rare snuggles!

The look of love!

Guard dog mode activated! This was HILARIOUS. My neighbour was working on his roof. She’d periodically run outside to our shared wall and bark up at him to stay on his side of it!

Happy to be visiting!

She’s shyer with Jan at home, but friendly at his house.

She even lets him pet her when she’s visiting.

She was snuffling and “running” in her sleep. I feel privileged that she trusts me enough to fall asleep so profoundly in my presence.

This is her leash for around the house, so I probably had workers. She was happy for a distraction.

When she stares at me like this, she slow blinks a message of “I love you” just like a cat does.

Enjoying her favourite treat! Her teeth had been bothering her for a bit, but it got sorted out.

I was shocked when sharing a picture of her with my professional association resulted in this post by another related professional association that follows their Twitter!

B and Dodger. Because she lived with so many cats and dogs, Bonita isn’t particularly bothered by animal strangers.

Sound asleep!

She’s just so cute. 🙂

These are different, chewier, treats. This one took her DAYS to finish.

She’s so goofy sometimes. Doesn’t she look like a walrus here?

I managed to get a picture of a rare time that she slipped her paw under my hand. She even curls it around to hold it.

Ah, another ritual. When dinner’s done and the kitchen is cleaned and I’ve shut down the office for the night and I’ve finally sat on the couch to watch a little TV, she has to give me a bath. I swear she’s a cat in disguise!

More rare snuggles

How can you not feel seen by such a stare?

Thank goodness she’s not a slobbery dog!

She LOVES ear scritches.

Awww.

I think he found the right spot!

This was during the heavy rain from Hurricane Zeta. Doesn’t look too bothered, does she?

I had a hard time imagining myself with a dog-friendly lifestyle and I can’t imagine it happening again. This was the right dog at the right time and I am so blessed to have her.

First Taste of the “Old Normal”

(Post 73 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

Bast said I should post a picture of my treasure haul from yesterday, so here it comes. But first, a little background.

Areas of high tourist transit, whether it be a snowbird destination like Mexico or a summer destination like the Yukon, are great places for locals to score high quality used goods at bargain prices. The short-termers, especially those with deep pockets, buy things for the time they are there and then discard them when they move on. March-April is the time in Mérida to buy used things like appliances, mattresses, and household goods in pristine condition and to expat standards of quality as snowbirds leave. I’ve seen a 20,000 peso refrigerator bought at Costco and used for four months sold for less than half that, and that wasn’t an oddity.

Of course, this year, the snowbird repatriation was a rather panicked affair. Folks took their first opportunity to go and did not do the careful preparations they normally would have. There was very much a sense of an evacuation.

Not everyone left. Some folks, even on tourist visas, realised that it was best to make their stand here. Others simply got stuck. It’s only now, as some countries are opening up and Mexico is being added to safe lists (waves to Switzerland!), that some of these tourists are leaving. So yesterday, I scored a haul of fantastic things, all but one of which had been on my “I really want that, but not at full price” list for a while, all from a Southeast Asia-based American nomad who got stuck here but is finally free to head off to his next destination in the Balkans six months later than planned.

My haul included:

– A set of Rubbermaid producer savers. I’ve had many people tell me these would work wonders for my problems with things like carrots going bad in my fridge, but at nearly 900 pesos for three plastic containers, I wasn’t willing to experiment.

– A 4-quart Pyrex baking dish (have duck eggs, 00 flour, and a pasta maker, lasagna is an inevitability)

– A silicon roasting rack. I’d never heard of such a thing, but I can think of uses for it and it was included in the total price regardless.

-A silicon springform pan. Now, this was a gift, pure and simple. I was supposed to get the three items above for an agreed-upon price, but he offered at arrival to throw this in. I’ve wanted a springform pan for ages, but couldn’t justify the cost for the one or two times a year I make a cheesecake!

The total value of these items on Amazon Mexico is about 2,500 pesos. I got it all for 600 pesos.

The seller’s location was just within walking distance of L’épicure gourmet boutique when hauling all those items, so I then hoofed it there to pick up the aforementioned eggs and flour. What a great hump day excursion. I hadn’t been that far in centro (Mejorada area) since probably last year!

Bonus Bonita pic for Bast. 🙂

Another Significant Commercial Improvement to My Neighbourhood!

(Post 72 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

As expected, having the Walmart so close has been a game-changer for me. Sunday night, I wanted to make crêpes with my last egg. But I only had a little bit of almond milk left. I didn’t have to make the choice between having a delicious dinner or having milk for my coffee in the morning. I made dinner, then I took 26 minutes to pop out to Walmart and get the almond milk and some dog food.

But even more exciting than that, I now finally have a proper little produce store right around the corner from me! I’ve been trying not to get too excited, but she seems to have a steady schedule and to always have quality products and expanding based on client requests. I cannot believe how much I have missed being able to get my fresh produce daily like this. It’s almost like back when I was in Mazatlan and I had a veggie truck coming every day. The shop is about two minutes from me. So I’m there and back in under 10 minutes. It takes me longer than that to walk to the Chuburná market.

This morning, I wanted a tomato sandwich for breakfast! So I went and got tomatoes. She also had these beautiful guava that I wish you could smell. So I will also have those with breakfast as a nice treat. Her zucchini was perfect, so I now have a veggie stirfry planned for tonight. Today, I noticed that she added lettuce. She is very busy, so I can’t be the only person in my immediate area who is thrilled that she opened up. We’ve had a little veggie stand on that corner for a while, but it was very limited and not the best quality. All of her products are very fresh.

My neighbour the mechanic mentioned to me the other day that he sees me more now than he ever did even before lockdown. Funny how being able to do my errands so close to home so easily has really changed my routine. Things are opening up here. There are a lot fewer cases and we have had days with no deaths. It’s time to start going out a little bit. I’m still not going to be doing anything like going to a restaurant or anything that’s not strictly for survival. But I am comfortable with doing a little bit of my own shopping again instead of getting everything delivered. Getting fresh air and exercise off the treadmill has been good for morale!

Crazy Day!

(Post 71 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I thought that the only thing of note today was going to be that my fancy new fridge was being delivered by Sears. I reached a breaking point a couple of weeks ago with the little Samsung fridge that I bought when I moved in here. My dream fridge went on sale 40% off recently and I decided that I cook so much that I deserve to have a fridge that I can trust and that doesn’t anger me by how tiny it is, so I ordered it! Great service by Sears as always. They called on Saturday to let me know it would be delivered today, and then this morning they called to say that they had just put the fridge on the truck and that they would be there in about 30 minutes.

I wanted a side-by-side fridge without an icemaker. So I had a choice of an entry-level Samsung model or this LG. I was not doing a Samsung fridge again, of course, so it had to be the LG. It also happens to be a door-in-door model, a feature that I think I am going to really appreciate and use a lot. Besides that, I like the fact that I can electronically regulate the temperature instead of trying to guess what number on a dial is going to be the right temperature, and I love that there is a door alarm if the door is kept open. My kitchen finally feels as complete as it could be as a renter, so I think I’m going to have to do a kitchen tour video at some point. 😆

I had just plugged it in, was waiting for it to cool down, and sat back down to keep working when I suddenly heard the sickening crunch of multiple vehicles hitting each other. Major crash outside my front door. At least three cars totalled and also a truck like a Brinks truck. The problem is that with the mechanic operating next-door, he always has cars parked on both sides of the street and it is very narrow growing through here. There’s always the odds scrapes, but this is the first major incident I have witnessed. My truck was fine and my neighbour asked me to move it into a parking bay so that it would be out of the way of tow trucks and everything. I opened a garage door and gave him keys because I was not going to take a chance manoeuvring through that mess to park. He did a great job getting it in quickly.

Thought I could finally sit back down and focus on some work… when I felt something pop in my mouth. One of the ligatures on my braces had broken! 🤦‍♀️ Called the dentist and they could take me late tomorrow afternoon, which worked really well with my very full work schedule. So thank you again to them for being so awesome!

But, wait, there’s more! 😳😆

I had barely hung up with the dentist that the phone rang . What the heck?! This time it was a guy from Coppel! He said he was one of their drivers and he was around the corner from me. Could he come by and have a look at my TV stand before writing off that they were not going to do anything for me about the manufacturing defect? Wow! I was not expecting that! I was sure that case had been closed. So I had to go out and tell the police to let him onto the street on foot because it was all cordoned off. He came in and he was able to fix the problem! I thought the pieces had all been glued together, but they weren’t. But he said it’s a good thing I didn’t try to do anything myself because then he could not help me. So it worked out really well. You probably can’t really tell the difference, but I sure can! The shelf is resting on supports that have little dowels that are supposed to fit into the shelf to keep it stable. Well, the cross pieces with the little dowels were installed upside down so I had the dowels hanging down like little nipples. It was very distracting. 😆 He was able to get them in the right direction and now the shelf is also a lot less bowed because it’s got the proper support. That is how you get a happy customer!

I cannot believe it is 4:16 PM already. I still have a ton of work to do today and I also want to get my new fridge organized now that it has reached temperature. Hopefully that is all the excitement for today. For this week even. I do love how the day’s excitement was balanced with two good things and two bad things! 😆

Not So Extreme Makeover: Living Room Edition

(Post 70 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I have really got to get better at taking before pictures! At any rate, I had to get rid of the TV console that I was using as a TV stand because termites loved it too much.

It was disappointing because this is a beautiful piece, but I couldn’t keep fumigating it, plus I was worried that the structural integrity was going to go on it. Moreover, it was not working as a TV stand. I just had a mess of wires collecting inches of dust. It looked awful and frankly embarrassing.

I haven’t had much luck with used furniture here, so I decided that I would just go to Coppel and pick up something cheap there. I’d be paying the same for particle board as for pine, but at least I’d be guaranteed the piece would be termite- and mould-free. I found this on their site at a clearance price because of a small manufacturing defect (can you spot it in the picture?).

It seemed perfect for my needs. I’d have a shelf for my electronics with a hole through the back part to feed wires, allowing for a much cleaner look. One drawer could be for storing my Wii remotes and games, the other for storing my headscarves, masks, and other bits that always accumulated around the entrance.

I am very happy with how everything came together. I got some extra cables so I could have everything hooked up at once instead of having to manually switch between the cable box, the Wii, and the Apple TV.

My lovely new entertainment centre now made my ottoman look even worse than it did!

The green colour only barely worked in the room, so the intention was always to have it recovered. Well, around the time that I did the TV stand swap, a friend posted pictures of her newly recovered dining room chairs. So I got the contact info for the company that did that and got a quote to have the ottoman recovered! The price was very reasonable, especially since they have high-quality fabrics and were willing to come across town to pick it up and bring it back. I was hoping for purple since I have purple coverings over the couches, but they didn’t have a purple that was saturated enough for my tastes. So of course, the backup was pink! 🙂

I am thrilled with the job the guy did. The fabric is beautiful and should hold up (I have Scotchguarded it for additional protection). So treadmill and turquoise towel under the fan notwithstanding (I have a spare pink one, so I should swap!), the living room and entrance are looking rather lovely!

I do my proofreading work from that chair as it is MUCH more comfortable than working from the sofa. I like to do that work in the living room as the air flow and views are better than in the office.

The fact that the ottoman and the yoga mat match is purely coincidental. 🙂

Close-up. The only thing I’m not happy with is the way that corner and the seam don’t match up perfectly the way the other three corners do and there’s a tiny bit of puckering. Minor issue, of course!

Next project is replacing that dining room tablecloth. I can’t believe how much trouble I am having finding a replacement flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth in a colour I like. I finally ordered one for $$$ from Amazon.com… and it got lost. My alternate plan will be to use the cotton tablecloth I bought in Oaxaca and cover it with clear vinyl.

The entrance is looking so much neater now. I’m surprised that this purse I bought in Oaxaca has become my everyday purse. Love it so much. It’s so lightweight. I put a purse organizer at the bottom of it (one I bought but never found the right purse to use with — until now!) and I have plenty of room to add purchases.

Bonus Bonita pic for Bast. 🙂