Kitchen Reno – Day 14

(Post 200 of 263 — that’s 200 posts I might not have written without your generosity in Bast’s time of need. Thank you again!)

Since there was enough purple paint left I was vetoed on repainting the whole under cabinet area. The guys like the purple against the yellow as much as I do!

There’s still so much to do, though…

Bonita’s Back Home

(Post 198 of 263)

I’m very fortunate that Mérida has at least one pet funeral home, Cielo Animal, which is right near my house (I pass it on the way to and from Pilates). Their motto is “por un adíos digno” — for a dignified goodbye. Most of my other fur babies did not have dignified goodbyes — Herman, Peggy, and Samuel went out with the trash as that was what I was told to do by the city in which they died. Tabitha was group cremated. I’m grateful I was able to bury Neelix at Haven. For Bonita, I had a choice of burying her in the garden here or having her cremated. After bundling her up and putting her in the freezer, I just could not handle her one more time. So unless I found someone to bury her for me, that option was eliminated. Frankly, I loved the idea of handing her over to a funeral home, grateful that I had that option.

Being so emotionally drained on Monday the last thing I wanted was to make any difficult calls, but I also knew I could not bear to have B in my freezer one minute longer than necessary. I reached Cielo Animal and a lovely man named Pepe answered. I explained what had happened and that I wanted a price and information for pickup of B’s body, cremation, and an urn. He was so kind, like really kind, not “I’m being paid to be kind” kind. He spoke slowly and enunciated well, explaining the pricing of the two services (cremation cost is based on weight), that he’d send me a brochure with the urn options, and that they’d be over as soon as possible to pick her up.

Early afternoon, he pulled up with a colleague. I told them where she was and said I did not want to get too close. They peered into the freezer, went back to the truck, and came back with a dog-sized body bag. 😭 They gently zipped her into it, told me they’d be back, and took her out to the truck. There, they weighed her. 14kg. Too skinny, but not her lowest weight. I always had to tell myself there are dogs, like whippets, that are naturally very lean. Her vet wasn’t concerned with her weight when he saw her on Sunday.

We did the paperwork when they came back.

I know this is not inexpensive to the average Mexican, but when I think that I paid more than that to have Tabitha put down and couldn’t even collect her remains, it feels like a bargain. They only had one urn I liked, a plain wooden box, and it happened to be the least expensive option. I appreciated that at no time did Pepe try to upsell me anything, like a funeral. I actually might have done that if I’d had more people here who knew and loved her, but most those people are in Canada right now.

This afternoon, another lovely man delivered her back to me.

“Thank you for your companionship. We will always remember you.”

I don’t know if I’ll keep her ashes in the house with me forever or if I’ll end up scattering them around her domain. But I have the choice, and for that I am so grateful.

New-To-Me Washing Machine

(Post 197 of 263)

I’ve had one good distraction in the last few days, in between the nightmare of losing Bonita and the contractors standing me up again. It’s going to sound like such an insignificant thing, but it’s really going to end up being the bright spot of my week.

Last week, I noticed that my washing machine was not spinning. I finally had time to do some diagnoses on Friday and Saturday and determined it was an electronic rather than mechanical problem. Dang. But that washer had cost me $4,500 five years ago and never given me any trouble, so it really didn’t owe me anything.

I have a trustworthy appliance repairman in my contacts who did some work on a fridge for me, so I called him up on the Saturday morning (the 23rd) to see if he could confirm that the washer was not worth fixing. He promised to be here at 10AM yesterday. I cannot remember how I initially found him, but one thing I really like is that his wife comes along, so I always feel comfortable referring him to single ladies who are nervous about having strange men in their house. He’s also trustworthy in all aspects of his work.

As I expected, the washing machine’s motherboard was shot. “Augh, why does my washing machine need a computer?!” I lamented. “I’m not trying to get to the moon!”

His wife laughed and pulled up a photo on her phone, saying that they had a used “American” washer for sale, the old mechanical-type model, Whirlpool brand, all revised, rust painted over, and with a three-month warranty. My jaw dropped. I didn’t even think I could get something like that here. I sure looked when I was washing machine shopping five years ago! I said I’d take it for the $3,300 they were selling it for if they’d hauled away the dead one. They agreed and said they’d return at 4PM!

By 4:27, my old washer (thanks for your service!) was loaded in their truck…

…and I was running a load in my “new” machine.

Despite two trips out to me and the old washer probably not being good for maybe more than a few parts, they dropped the price on the Whirlpool to just $3,000. Call me a happy customer!

I also told them to keep an eye out for a hard-to-find item here, an electric dryer. I am not a fan of using a dryer (bad for your clothes) but I also do not want a repeat of two summers ago when we had three solid weeks of rain and I could not get anything to dry. Dryers here tend to be gas models, but I don’t have gas running to my laundry room

I’ve run two loads so far with the new machine and it works great and takes half the time to do a load! With everything going on this week, I’m so grateful not to have to deal with taking laundry to the laundromat, shopping for a replacement machine, figuring out what I’m going to do with the old one, and, of course, busting my budget to buy yet another disposable appliance. This was just so easy and the new washer is exactly what I wanted even if I could have technically afforded one of those shiny new front loaders that could probably take me to the moon.

Bonita Is Gone

(Post 196 of 263)

Thursday, Bonita started to decline, being lethargic in addition to her usual poor appetite. Her vet said to keep monitoring her and that he’d do a home visit on Sunday, but didn’t think it sounded like anything serious, maybe the dog equivalent of a cold.

Saturday evening before bed, she had a stroke or seizure. While that was very scary, she was orientated and back to being my dog within an hour, so I’m thinking seizure.

Her vet came on Sunday, and from the exam, he said she was likely on last days, as I must remember she was an old dog, but that he would start her on some meds to improve her circulation and stimulate her appetite, then have me keep monitoring her.

I’d seen this before many times in my life. It doesn’t matter if the being is canine, feline, or human, death announces itself the same way, looks the same, smells the same. She had an event early Saturday afternoon that had me calling the vet back to put her to sleep.

The call made, I bundled her up and went to the porch with her, rocking her as we did every night. Because she was going to sleep, I did our usual routine, only this time enveloped by a bright blue sky pillowed by fluffy white clouds instead of under an inky blanket of stars. I reminded her of what a good girl she is and how much she is loved. As always, I thanked for being my dog. All things I tell her every night just in case because we never know what a long night will bring to an old dog.

After a while she seemed to come back to herself for a moment, just long enough to gaze at me with those big chocolate eyes. She gave me a slow blink, dog for “I love you,” and I didn’t realise until that moment how much I needed one last slow blink from her. And then her eyes did that thing that all eyes do before death, and I knew she was gone even if her heart was still thumping against mine.

Dr. Pablo showed up then, cried a little with me, prepared her, gave me one final moment, and then it happened exactly as I wished it would for her, safe at home, without pain, in the arms of the one who chose to be her mommy when so many had refused her that role before. How miraculous that we came into our lives at exactly the right moment.

Of course, these things always happen on a Sunday, so whether I choose to bury her here or cremate her, I couldn’t do either yesterday as the former requires lime and shops were closed and the latter business was closed. So she is bundled in her favourite blankie, sealed up in a large bag, and sleeping in the deep freezer. How horrific that feels, but it’s also right, so that I can decide what I wish to do with her. My first thought was to bury her here, but I’m thinking long-term about the garden and I believe the night’s wisdom will tell me to choose cremation.

I’ve been a mom or a foster mom to a fur baby my entire adult life, 25 years. There was Herman, then Peggy, Samuel, Tabitha, and Neelix to say goodbye to. Then over four years there was, Mechka, Sausage, Pengue, Sassy, Charlie, Gray, Maggie, Leilu, another Charlie, and then Simone to mind and keep my heart busy. And then a stretch of loneliness the likes of which I had never known before until Bonita and I found each other.

I’m not going to say Bonita is going to be my last. I’m too young and have too much life ahead of me to say that for sure. But sitting with her last night and today, I found myself reflecting on who I’ve been as a pet parent. In some ways I was shite at it, but I think in the ways that really matter, I was a good mom. Like when Neelix died in October of ’13, I’m ready to take a break for a bit and see where a pet-less life takes me.

Bonita loved digging holes, cheese, and any treat in the shape of a stick. She had a cheerful disposition and a sense of humour most humans could learn from. She was brave, strong, and resilient, starting off as a dog who cowered at loud noises and strange people to one who was curious, won over anyone she met, and who liked to get underfoot and supervise when her domain was being modified. She was the perfect dog for me and I could not have asked for a better companion.

This one came up in my Facebook memories today. She was radiant.

She really did not care about food much, but never turned down a treat in the shape of a stick!

She might have been a cat in a former life. This was our post-work routine — I’d shut down and go sit for a bit to let her give me a bath.

One of my favourite pictures of her. You can see just how intelligent she was and connected with me.

She was a pro napper and knew that blankies could double as pillows.

One of our last moments together. I love that she learned to snuggle in her last weeks. Maybe she knew the end was coming.

Another favourite photo, one showing off her famous smile!

My guardian angel will keep looking over me as I work.

Thank you, sweet girl, and may flights of angels sing thee to they rest.