Thursday, 26 March 2009

Broken Down Bear

Yesterday as I was toiling away at my website, I noticed a funny smell. A really bad funny smell. I sniffed upstairs, nothing. I followed my substantial nose downstairs, and although the smell was stronger, it wasn’t inside. Outside the smell was positively feral.

At the end of my street, about 3 houses down was a bear. You see, the circus is in town and in an effort to drum up business they had sent trucks with the exotic animals and loudspeakers all over the island. Good idea in theory, however, my bear was experiencing engine trouble, judging by the open hood of the truck.

I stood outside and marveled at the smelly bear, thinking “only in Cozumel can a bear break down in front of your house.”

Later I noticed that my friend Tony had posted on his Facebook that the camels were parked in front of his house. He wins, camels are way more smelly than bears.

Monday, 23 March 2009

The Wrong Dog

I have a friend here, on-island, who, according to my husband, plays the role of Lucy, while I act the role of Ethel, aka, the old time TV show, I Love Lucy. Together we do seem to find ourselves in hair-brained schemes, impossible missions, trouble and just plain fun.
I was on my way to Dallas for the weekend. The plan was as follows, I would arrive on Friday, collect all of the supplies that the Cozumel Humane Society would need for the Carnaval parade, some other miscellaneous purchases, shop for 8 hours, and return home.
The day I am due to leave, Lucy tells me that I’ll be transporting a dog as well. Believe it or not, it’s a fairly common occurrence. People come on vacation, fall in love with an available-for-adoption dog, and the wonderful Humane Society volunteers arrange for transportation to the new owners. Happens all the time, and it’s ironically easier to transport a dog to re-locate to another country than a human being.
Since this entire trip was Lucy’s idea, and I’m staying with her family, she and the dog arrive to take me to the airport. The dog is inspected, by the baggage handler, to ensure that he doesn’t have bags of drugs secreted in his body, his crate or his tours. The paperwork clears fine, the dog is accepted, and we’re bound for Dallas. On arrival Dallas goes smoothly, the dog is waiting for me in oversized luggage, I clear customs quickly , spend less than 5 minutes in the US department of Agriculture, and arrive to see my friend’s relived family waiting for me.
“You made it, hurrah,” her father says with a wave of relief, “We thought you’d be arrested or atleast detained.” “We’re sooo happy to see you,” enthuses her brother, “I can’t imagine how many international laws you’ve just broken,” he coos cheerfully. It’s then that they tell me that I’ve brought the wrong dog. It took them about 5 minutes to convince me that this wasn’t some sick joke.
Apparently Lucy arrived, as usual, late and distracted, at the foster family’s home. There were two dogs in the yard, their personal dog, Max, and Jag, the adoptee dog. No one was home so she quickly inadvertently took Max, leaving Jag behind. I stupidly took paperwork listing my charge as a 20 lb. black dog, and arrived in Texas with a 40 lb. brindled Cozumel dog. I didn’t read the paperwork, and clearly, the US department of Agriculture didn’t either.
Max’s owners had already phoned the house, several times. Max’s mom was in an absolute panic after arriving home to find only her foster dog. Max holds a cherished place in her home and has a bevy or personal needs. Max doesn’t eat kibble. He can eat cooked eggs, or salmon, he doesn’t like loud noises, children or chaos.
I’m staying at Lucy’s sister’s house. She has 2 children, 4 dogs, her brother, 3 nieces, a houseguest and me staying at her home this weekend. To call it a fun and loud three ring circus would be an understatement. Throughout the weekend, I saw Max being walked by 3 giggling girls on rollerblades, wearing a t-shirt, and found him sleeping with the boys in a bunk bed. Max ate the same kibble as the other dogs, and generally rolled around and thrived on the mayhem.
Monday morning, Max, the incorrect paperwork, and I arrive at the airport. Dallas was experiencing a unusual coldsnap and I was eager to return home. Lucy’s father had taken several hours and carefully packed everything on 3 49.5 lb suitcases. Apparently it’s an FAA regulation that pets cannot fly in temperatures less than 45 degrees. Temperature upon check in was 42. The airline staff was extremely helpful and waited to load all of my heavy baggage until the last possible moment, however, it was still only 44 degrees. I had the option to fly myself and ditch the dog on Lucy’s father, but Max, wasn’t going anywhere.
Lucy’s father told me to go ahead, with the resignation that only a long-term victim can muster. He assured me, that he was accustomed to situations such as these and would find someone else to take Max home. I knew at that moment, that I couldn’t just leave, we were in this scheme together. The next available flight for Max and I was Wednesday. Together, we went home to explain what happened to Max’s family, as soon as we got back from our “dry run” to the airport.
Wednesday morning we returned to the airport, dog and incorrect paperwork in hand. This time the temperature wasn’t an issue, and Max and I returned to Cozumel. As I cleared immigration, they questioned me about returning with a dog. I filled their ears with ludicrous stories about how, being childless, I couldn’t leave my beloved dog for even a long weekend. Obviously, I sounded deranged, so they stamped my paperwork, glad to see the back of me.
Next came the Mexican department of agriculture. I opened my mouth to again start the “I love my dog” song and dance, when the officer held up his hand and said, “Before you even start, I just wanted to let you know, that I am aware of the full story of the wrong dog.”
“Was it in the local newspaper?, I croaked. I looked through the glass window in his office to find, Lucy, Max’s mom, a humane society vet, a volunteer and 3 friends, waving wildly. I felt popular for a moment, until I realized they weren’t waving at me, it was all for Max.
The agriculture officer went on to say how he would let me go this time, however, the NEXT time I was returning a dog to Mexico I needed additional paperwork, signed by a US vet. I respectfully cut in, to add that this was one of the biggest nightmares of my life and that I would never, ever repeat this chapter in my life again. We ended our meeting by looking each other in the eyes and giggling. “I can’t believe you took the wrong dog to another country,” he said as Max and I left his office.
To this day I have no idea how many laws I broke, nor do I wish to know the jail time associated with said laws. Long suffering husband didn’t even bat an eye. He’s waiting to see what we’ll do next.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Disney Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Yesterday we trapped the mouse that lived in our kitchen. We used one of those have-a-heart traps that keeps them humanely caged until you’re ready to deal with them. So yesterday morning, over coffee, we’re looking at the mouse and discussing our options.

Ironically enough, the trap directions suggested drowning (have-a-heart my butt!) I pointed out to the husband that it would be wildly hypocritical NOT to beat the crap out of someone who is actively trying to rob your house, but to drown a mouse, who was just going on about the business of living.

I then suggested that we take the mouse down the street and release him in a vacant lot.
“But what if he finds his way back?” husband wonders allowed.
“Babes, this isn’t Disney, and Timmy didn’t fall down a well!”

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Cozumel Intruder

After a long day camping at the beach we returned home exhausted and I feel asleep really early. I woke up to the sound of husband rummaging around like a crazy person in his nightstand. After 10 years together I’m used to the Fab man doing some weird stuff at night, so I just rolled over, however, it really got my attention when he leaped out of bed, grabbed a tennis raquet and charged down the stairs screaming, “motherfuckers!,” like an extra in the movie Platoon.
I heard our front door slam and realized that someone was in the house, so I ran out onto the front balcony so I could inform the husband which way they ran off. Never saw anyone. Meanwhile, he’s conducting a room to room search and finds our burglar trapped in the backyard, attempting to hide behind our grill. (we have walls on three sides and barbed wire on the one open side.)
“Call the police, baby, call the police,” he yells.
From upstairs I dial 066 my hands are shaking and I can barely speak, but I manage to say (in Spanish), “I live at 25c between 21 and 23 and someone is robbing my house.”
The imbecile at the other end of the line tells me she doesn’t understand me, and what was the address again?? I repeat it no less than 3 times, with Fabian, and the burglar yelling at each other in the background.
I’m standing in the middle of my street in PJ waiting for the cops to show up when the phone rings, and it’s the same stupid woman. “There’s no 26 Av. We’ve been looking at a map.”
“No, between 21 and 23.”
“26 and what? (and then as an aside) “It’s that she’s foreign and I can’t understand her,”
“Look, stupid, is there someone more competent that I can speak with?” (ok, not really proud of that one, but it did get results…)
Meanwhile, the husband, still brandishing the racquet, has made the burglar, empty his pockets, and take off one shoe. Our burglar is crying and pleading to be let go. Fabs drops his guard for one second, the burglar sees the opportunity and takes off running down the street, headed directly for me, who is still one the phone with the police.
I realize now that I made the wrong decision and I should have tripped him or kicked him in between the legs, but at the time, this was the best thing I could come up with. I attempted to football tackle him, I drove my head into his stomach and threw all my weight into it. We ended up rolling in the road and into a pricker bush. Burglar gets up and starts running with the Fab man, and the tennis racquet in hot pursuit. It’s then that I realize that my brave husband has NO PANTS ON.
The police show up at that moment, Fabian speeds them off after burglar. I pick burrs off my PJs while convincing Fabian to cover his bottom half so he no longer resembles a cartoon bear. Back at the house, we discover that intelligent burglar left his driver’s license, not to mention the one shoe, intended to hamper his ability to run.
Now, there’s at least 3 cop cars at the house, and I’m making offers of coffee and sodas, when another squad car comes by and they have our guy, and his lookout, who was waiting on a further street corner away.
Burglar is formally identified, the Fab man goes off to make formal complaint, and it’s my job to check our house and see what’s missing, since there was nothing on his person.

He got nothing. I’m so proud of my husband, for holding a robber at bay while half naked! He has to go back later to see the judge, but the case is closed as far as the cops are concerned.
The husband isn’t really ready for the Agassi jokes yet…but we’re working on him!!