Saturday, February 7, 2015


We are settling into our house! Did I mention how wonderful it is to be OUT of a hotel? (And out of a 10 foot radius of my children). It took us a bit of time to find exactly what I wanted as far as furniture, but finally that feat has been overcome. And the greatest part of getting our furniture was our journey HOME with the furniture. We paid $12 for a guy to move our fridge from the house we had it put in that we were going to rent, to the house we are actually renting. (I know. Insane labor costs, huh)?

THEN we traveled store to store trying to find couches I, I mean WE, liked. We found a set. We held our breath as we looked at the price. $650. Starling grumbled and I rejoiced. (We just sold our 8 year old Ashley's furniture that went through three dogs and.... how many kids have I had living at my house? (No really... I haven't ever sat down and counted all of my foster babies...) for $650 before we left. Out with the old. In with the new!

Something interesting to note: every single thing in Coppel, the store we bought most of our house furnishings, had two prices on ALL its items. A pay now price, and a finance for $12 months price. And I mean everything. Even the $7 pillows. This turned out to be a wonderful thing.

We found a repo table and chairs (normally $500) for $200. We went to Sam's and found a repo t.v. We bought a repo hot water heater twice the size as the one currently hooked up at our house. We bought a repo washer and dryer. And I rode home on EVERY one of them.

Oh yes. Free delivery if we had waited 3 days. FREE DELIVERY. But no. Impatient STARLING (okay you know that's definitely the impatient one in our marriage... hence us driving to MERIDA for a puppy that someone had to have...) insisted we bring the stuff home that DAY. In our van. It's interesting not owning 6 trailers. As much as I complained about all of Starling's EXCESS of "work vehicles" (since he was technically a REALTOR), I sure took them for granted.  The van could only hold ONE thing at a time. We precariously stuffed one item in the back of the van which I had to SIT on so it didn't fall completely out. (Tie it up? WHY would we do that? We have a ME). All went well. Except riding home on our king size bed. We had to put it on the roof. (JUST kidding... we DID tie it on our roof. I just held the rope. It's the only thing I didn't ride on).

I really wanted a stack washer and dryer. They were so cool! Full size, but half the space. SNAPPER CRAPPERS riding that bad boy. Starling went over a speed bump, and I almost took a ski trip into the road riding my new appliance. I yelled, "SLAM on brakes!" Starling complied and it shot us right back into a safer unstable condition.

Of course, when we got it HOME, the washer did not WORK. So, I got to fear for my life AGAIN. We traded it in for an upscale model (since that's all they had) and I got to slip and slide for a third time. We discovered, upon hook up, that the washer and dryer cannot be used at the same time. Starling had the gall to suggest we get a side by side. I quickly snapped, "Or live with it!" Even I have a limit on extreme sports. If anyone ever asks me if I've ridden a bull, I'll say, "No, but I rode a washer/dryer combo in front of a giant bus with its bumper practically touching my FACE. And I rode it for a LOT longer than 7 seconds."

I had my house. I had a place to sit, to eat, to cook (which we've yet to use our stove... but that microwave is getting some serious mileage), and to do my laundry. All I lacked was a little puppy to stroke therapeutically while my children destroyed the upstairs.

I went on a rabid hunt. If Quintanaroo has dog breeders, they stay WELL hidden. (With good reason. The white people here are NUTS. Dog breeding is right up there with trafficking children). So when I finally found a fluffy dog that would stay small, despite the fact it was in the Yucatan, I had to have it. Right then.

Unfortunately, in my efforts to help a bestie, (yes Michelle. I just referred to you as a "bestie." You've earned that title in the amount of food you've fed me), move, I kind of got my bumper stuck on a moving truck. AND it sort of fell off. But the sweet guy popped it back on for me. His TANK of a truck was completely unscratched, and only my van's left eye dangled from its socket. Starling suffered a mild stroke and small conniption. But he didn't turn purple. He only passively aggressively held it over my head. For the rest of my LIFE.

He did try to say he wasn't taking me to Merida to get the puppy, but he liked having something over my head more than he liked sleeping on the side of the road somewhere.

We woke up at 3:30 a.m. (Yes. Despite the teasing and the mocking and the wretched face book posts of my follies, he obviously loves me. A LOT. Or fears me. Maybe a little of both). We loaded our children in the car and headed to the car ferry. THAT, in and of itself is always an adventure. $36 just to GO to the mainland. One way. WITH our van's handy dandy local sticker. (A little bonus for buying a vehicle from a local).

The ride isn't bad. (WITH the exception of the swishing ocean churning my stomach into a rubbery glob of "don't throw up.. don't throw up"). We just sit upstairs in a air conditioned room watching a movie until the boat reaches land.

The drive was gorgeous. I am officially obsessed with tropical vegetation. It's gloriously therapeutic. Ropes were strung across the road for the monkeys to pass from one jungle to the other. Vivid colors of greens, reds, and yellows lined our path. Workers manicured the median with machetes. Beautiful.
The directions given by the puppy owner were, nicely put, HORRENDOUS. But, before Starling flipped an entire script, we found the right Oxxo, and met the chic on her scooter. I fell in love immediately, squishing the little ball of fur up to my face, watching her curly little tail wag in anticipation of having the most spoiled rotten life on earth.

At that point exhaustion hit us like a freight train. We checked into a GORGEOUS $26 hotel. (And THAT is why I will never go into the hotel business).

I carried Liahla in my beach purse. She was fantastic. I did have an interesting moment that night when I took her to go potty outside. I stuffed her in my shirt since I didn't know if pets were allowed or not. A man was in the pool and tried to hold a conversation with me. He probably thought I had the strangest looking body ever. 'Is she pregnant, over loaded with love handles, or are her boobs falling down to her waist...?'

It was an awkward moment.

The kids watched planes fly overhead in complete awe, as if each plane was a rare meteor. Dropping gold. (It's the same with the gas truck that goes around town singing Zeta, Zeta, Zeta Gas. It's a catchy tune, but good grief! If the truck passes the house and you are in between Boeing and the window, you WILL get trampled). The kids used palm leaves as boats to carry their flowers they collected under the trees. Then they collected oranges to race in the water.

The next day we went on our way. There are police crossing/station things (like intimidating deer stands) every so often on the highways. Since the police are pretty awesome here, my heart doesn't turn into a trapped rabbit and I don't get the shakes. It makes me feel safe. If someone commits a crime, they better be equipped for off road travel, because they aren't going anywhere on the street. For the first time, EVER, a cop told us to pull over. The officer was real nice and told us seat belts are required in the Yucatan. Starling went with the cop to his station. My kids were terrified, buckled up, and Brooklyn asked in a trembling voice, "Will they give Daddy food?"

I looked at her, "What?"

"In jail..."

I rolled my eyes. "He doesn't have to go to jail. And yes. They feed prisoners."

The officer said the standard procedure is to take his plate and get it back when he pays his fine at the place you pay fines. Starling said, "Can I just pay it now? How about a hundred pesos ($6)?" The officer said, "It's up to you... the ticket is only eighty pesos ($4)." Starling paid the two extra dollars.

We went to Zoo Animaya. It was awesome. I carried Liahla in my beach purse, of course, and we rode in the truck/trailer/train thing IN the zoo pens. WAY cooler than observing them from behind a fence. They had zebras and giraffes and those animals that the lion's eat on Lion King. They had little monkey islands and flamingos, amongst other animals. The hotel and zoo were worth the drive to ME, even if we didn't go all that way to get a puppy. 

Thinking on the subject, Starling said, "We should go ahead and get the little boy pup. We could save some girl like you, obsessed with fluffy purse dogs, a trip to Merida. And help with travel costs." So we met the girl again and bought the boy pup. Adorable little Maltis-Bichons.

Two pups were a little more difficult to manage since I didn't have collars and leashes. (I'm picky about those things, too, and the selection was limited). It was an event to take them potty every time we stopped.

We WANTED to stay longer in Merida, BUT, since the house we are renting is also for sale, we had to be back for a showing the next day at 11:30 in the morning. We drove the "scenic route" home. (That means we got VERY lost and I relished in the sights while Starling's head made gurgling noises). 

We missed the ferry ride back to the island. (Kind of the down fall to living on an island... you can't be late or you can't go home). The next ferry didn't leave until 4 a.m. When we went to buy our ferry ticket, the ticket booth worker said, "This ferry is only for gas trucks and other dangerous things. You, sir, can go across in your van, but you can't take your family."

We are law abiding citizens. We really are. But we really had to get home and I wasn't waiting until 8 the next morning. We did what anyone else would do in that situation. (Or maybe what no logical person would do). We loaded all of our luggage into the front seats and smuggled ourselves in the back, and onto the boat. It was a little wild smuggling three kids and two dogs in the back of a van, knowing that if any of them decided to be uncooperative we would be compromised and thrown in jail. But it was a chance I was willing to take.

I explained to my children that we were playing a sneaky game where we all had to hide and we couldn't talk or sit up or MOVE. Surprisingly they quickly obliged, covered up, and fell asleep. We waited in the gates for several hours before the 4 a.m. ferry arrived. (No way were we paying for a hotel in Playa, where hotels are expensive, to leave at 3 a.m.).

Luckily by 3 a.m. when the cars lined up for the 4 a.m. ferry, our van windows were completely fogged. I hunkered further down when a tap finally sounded on Starling's window. Starling paid for the ferry and moments later our van began to move. When the pups woke up and wanted to play, I wasn't worried. The roar of the boat engine covered up all noise, thoughts, and sanity. Despite the fact that it sounded like we had entered the inside of a tornado, the children didn't wake up. I breathed a sigh of relief as the doors closed and the people dispersed inside the upstairs cabin. It was a little more uncomfortable, riding the boat in the van instead of in front of a movie screen, but less stressful since Boeing was sleeping instead of trying to climb out a port hole.

Then I had to pee. There is only one bathroom on the ship. And to use it would require me to give up my position. There was no grass to hobble to. No secret passages. I thought hard. Then I had a stroke of genius.  I emptied a zip lock bag of pretzels into a Wal-Mart bag, peed in the zip lock, and zipped it up. I'm pretty sure I should patent a pee product of similar nature. It worked like a charm.

I dozed off. I didn't wake up until we drove onto land.

We got home and crashed. (Into our bed, not into another car). I did NOT want to wake up and clean my house for the stupid showing. I drug myself out of bed and looked around. Half of our stuff was still packed and strewed. I kind of swished it around. Then I turned on the water.

Oh. No water. FAN-fricken-TASTIC. How do you CLEAN with no WATER? We couldn't even FLUSH the toilets. Awesome.

Starling got on the phone. We used our drinking water to wipe up the messiest spots, namely, the foot prints in our kitchen.

Because I don't know if we are allowed to have pets or not and I don't want to stir up drama, I threw my kids and pups into the stroller and walked down to the park. WHERE my kids got FILTHY.
Meanwhile Starling made some calls and discovered the city turned off our water because they thought the bill wasn't paid, when it actuality WAS paid, and they had made a minute mistake which they said they would fix. Well. They didn't. We called AGAIN. FINALLY at 6:00 p.m. our water returned. I stuck all three of my children into the bath tub where the water turned a lovely shade of DIRT. We then spent an evening at our friends' house.

Today Starling posted our boy puppy on the Cozumel 4 You page for only $200. (Okay? Same dog in the States costs between $400-$800. Not making a killing here). I don't know if he would have gotten more back lash from tree hugging, close minded, bigots if he'd announced he was euthanizing an orphanage. It was INSANE. Seven people PRIVATE messaged him immediately that they were interested in buying the puppy. The public messages were enraged citizens (oh wait. NOT citizens. Know it all white people with nothing better to do than play dictator of all things that do not concern them).

 I tried not to be a smarty pants, but failed. Miserably. To BUY a dog from a breeder!? I might as well burn down the animal shelter. How DARE I buy a dog when hundreds of dogs on the island need a home. Never mind that I volunteer there weekly. It was pretty comical, actually. But we sold the puppy within an hour and then Starling removed the post entirely. (He was afraid I might say something (more) to instigate further outrage). Drama in paradise.

But on a happy note, because I always like to end on a happy, Starling and I made friends with another evil couple that like purse dogs.