About Me

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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a SCIENTIFIC PIONEER in Commercial Mushroom Cultivation Education. His practical handbook is in 9 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2020/08/modern-mushroom-growing-2020-harvesting.html

Monday, April 29, 2024

My Pieter Captured Spring 2024

 On March 25, Pieter made his rounds for capturing spring 2024
Our azaleas behind gazebo
Azaleas in the South East can put on quite a show!
Carolina Jasmine
Hyacinthoides Hispanica Excelsior - Spanish Blue Bell or Wood Hyacinth
Detail
Again Azaleas
Native Georgia Azaleas
Closeup
Our Somei Yoshino Cherry 
Azalea detail
Azalea detail
Azalea detail
Spiraea Cantoniensis
Always loved shrubs with golden green leaves...

Monday, April 22, 2024

Severe Weather with Bridge Destruction

 Just like to show you some images from early spring, or almost spring.
Sunday March 17, back from singing in the chancel choir.
Wearing my silk clover leaf Escada shirt with jacket.
Pieter wearing his cotton Irish cloverleaf sweater that we found in Dublin, Ireland. I've one as well.
My 94–year old caretaker is frail as he lost quite some weight by doing it all!
On February 12, my Mom's heavenly Birthday, we had severe weather and Pieter had to run both wet vacs to suck the water off the tiles in our Rose Suite.
The builder left tree trunks under the foundation and in 30+ year the wood has deteriorated and water manages to seep in...
Those wet vacs we have for sucking up the water are rather heavy when full. Pieter had to carry those full buckets out the door for letting it run downhill—away from the home.
It was so exhausting for my frail Pieter and I of course was not in the position to help him...
On March 9, we again had severe weather and while I was lay reader at Church, Pieter had to stay home for running the two wet vacs again.
We also found our bridge totally whacked out.
So much hard work by Pieter destroyed by nature—the force of water is incredible!
The pussy willow got crushed by it, so we lost that too. 
Another view and the pussy willow is seen knocked down
So sad seeing all the hours of hard work being destroyed...
On March 22, Pieter hung this new copper hummingbird feeder next to our kitchen bay window where we enjoy watching them drink.



Monday, April 15, 2024

Silver Clock and Oak Wall Clock repaired by Pieter

 From Mom & Dad's Estate in The Netherlands, also came home a silver clock that we once gifted Mom.
It was also a double photo frame...
Here it is — three parts
Sorry for the glare... Placed it on our Corian window sill in the kitchen near the Stephanotis Floribunda.
From the INTERNATIONAL SILVER COMPANY.
This did come home with me on June 17, 2022 when I took my final trip home from Limburg...
More items that were inside my suitcase: Mom & Dad's Trio of Crucifix with Corpus and Plaques with Red Copper Relief Statues ←click link
A very elegant set—except the clock had stopped working...
A better view—without glare...
Photo is from Pieter and me on September 5, 2002 
Pieter wearing his Burberry tuxedo and I my silk Escada rose gown and shoes with Majorica pearls.
Pieter always has been an excellent photographer!
In our office, our oak Meubelfabriek Oisterwijk clock also had stopped working...
But my Pieter did repair both of them!
Wrote him a thank–you letter on October 14 of 2022
English translation follows below...
Dublin, October 14, 2022

Dearest Pieter,

My rock–my intellectual–hardworking, down–to earth 'better half'!
We first saw each other 53 years ago. An inexplicable sympathy that grew into a pure—real love.
More than that: a fusion of two souls.
With the same feelings and drive – never lazy or too tired to do anything.
Committing yourself to many and only thinking of yourself at the end... And that even reluctantly!
A deep faith and with the help of God's blessing, has yielded us so many years.
Also, undoubtedly many souls of loved ones who have accompanied us on our path together.
You asked so little for yourself. Often even pro bono for so many.
We are convinced that God will one day settle it! Our behavior and that of those who scarred your heart. We can only pray and ask: Father, forgive them—they don't know what they are doing—just as Jesus said in all his sufferings.
You are still good to all the birds and animals on our estate. You feed and protect them.
Even more intimate with our cats—they don't hang onto you so much for nothing. Animals feel how you really are and love you unconditionally. How proud I am of you—as I walk through the garden, where your hard work is visible everywhere. And no less in the house—what you've done yourself!!!
There is no second Pieter.
Even the little oak clock that you recently managed to repair. And the silver clock! No, such an intelligent person, who still reads so much, is immortal—if it weren't for the body's inaction.
Thank goodness we captured your intellect in our book in 2020—for others especially. I was also able to highlight some things about our life together. You like to read it on your iPadPro and enjoy it. Makes me feel good and especially because I know there was never time for it before. Always doing a mega job or often driving someone else around and proudly showing our new homeland.
All those memories will remain—that is my anchor when you leave me behind to receive the final reward for your soul. I know you'll still be with me until I get to follow too.

Thank you for so much real love and see you later!

L.L.
L.L. is Lieve Lieverd or Dear Sweetheart

Related links:
modern mushroom growing 2020 harvesting | Pieter's intellect captured in book...
Niagara Falls with Sister Diny | one of the road trips made with family and friends
under labels below my blog, scroll to Mega Task and see the many projects Pieter accomplished


Monday, April 8, 2024

Fond Memories of my Paternal Grandmother and Mother–in–law who were BEST Friends

Had these images for a long time but I myself was not able to remove some 'wild' background...
June 1983 at the terrace of Pieter's eldest brother's home... in Horst, The Netherlands.
From left to right: Pieter's Mom in wheelchair, my Paternal Grandmother (they were BEST FRIENDS and sang in the choir), me and my Mom to the right. 
Ingrid from Meezer's Mews & Terrieristical Woofs ←click on link—even framed it...
Me with my Paternal Grandmother
And in a frame...

On April 5, my dear Mother–in–law had her 129th Birthday in heaven.
On April 11, my dear Paternal Grandmother had her 231st Birthday in heaven.
Mom did fill in for her when she died in 1984 and sang in the choir till her death in 2015.
Very special memories!
Now it is only me singing in the chancel choir as soprano...

Related link:
Angelic Beauties | Ingrid's post about them

Monday, April 1, 2024

My Painful Rescue Action of Kitty Spicy in Acapulco

 On January 15, 2007 we both were back in Acapulco!
We did not see our cat from last year and wondered if she's still here...
Pieter talked with the restaurant guys near the pool and they said yes, she's still there but hides in the shade during the day.
On January 19, after we swam and were gathering the towels, here comes Spicy the skinny cat from last year walking up to us! 
I fumbled to get her treats out of our bag as soon as I could, but than she wouldn’t eat them. No, she wanted to first greet us in her cat–way showing her sweetest side by purring and pressing her head against my hand and letting me handle her like it was our own pet. Also Pieter could do whatever he wanted with her; she was so friendly and seems to recognize us. Well, the name Spicy is from Pieter! After cuddle time she starts to eat her treats and wants more and some more. Even when I tried to re–arrange her treats on the concrete she kind of bit me; not really mean but letting me know that those kibbles are hers! Don’t take them away from me it meant... We follow her, trying to find out where her babies are as I'd noticed again some crusty nipples. If her biological rhythm is the same as last year the babies might still be very small; too small to eventually transport one to the vet and then take home. We’ll see one of these days.

January 20, Pieter did go another time to the pool area with the bag of treats for Spicy and he just got back at 5:00 PM (meanwhile loud music from the pool area) and he said guess what? Under his chair all of a sudden was Spicy and she had cuddled with him again and ate her treats, even went with her head inside the bag to take them out herself. What a sweet feline. When he was swimming and came back to his chair, she laid still under it waiting for her human!

January 21, we went to the pool and swam and read. I had a small zip loc bag filled this morning with smoked salmon and sure enough when Pieter was just in the pool, here comes Spicy. She ate all of the salmon before she leaped onto my chair for cuddle time. When Pieter came she got some more of the other cat treats and she was very friendly! Funny to have our own pet while on vacation! Today I saw for the first time how beautiful her markings are. Her face is perfect with grey whiskers and long grey hairs for eye brows. She has markings around her chin, making a full thin white circle around the black area; what a perfect face with the beautiful green eyes.
Photo is from February 11, 2007
Monday, January 22, today our paid room rate ends. I have checked in on the Internet for 8 free nights for 40,000 Hyatt points and Pieter did check with the front desk. Indeed, we will now move to room 1834 but the room is not yet available. Spicy did come again and she got her salmon meal and some other treats. When she departed she did so with a loud voice as if she was speaking to us. Even our Canadian neighbors (they’re on the adjacent chairs day after day) noticed her talking. Sweet Spicy—but how in the world will we ever figure out where her babies are hidden?

January 23, Pieter had gone to the pool twice in the morning, before eight and some later but no Spicy.  We wait till 4:30 PM for Spicy but she never came. Pieter swam while I waited for her. When I strolled around I did see another cat with leopard spots... but no Spicy.  

Wednesday, January 24, Pieter did go to the pool area, looking for Spicy and to place towels on our chairs with the Nouveau magazine. First he didn’t see her and when he came back with the two towels she sat next to the chair, with another cat... I did see one yesterday so maybe that same one did accompany her. She ate her treats and Pieter did divide and throw some treats towards the other cat but Spicy was very aggressive and protective of HER food. She pressed herself against him but Pieter was very reluctant to caress her as usual because she seemed to lash out trying to bite out of protection for her treats. Poor feline; what a life day by day! 

Around 4:00 PM comes Spicy and she feasts on the special pouch Whiskas turkey and giblets in gravy that we pour inside the empty traveller’s chocolate tin. She eats it out of the tin like she’s always done so; she sure loves this! With her paw she did take out a small piece that got stuck on the side. She sits on my chair for some cuddling time and when I want to rub her back near the tail she turns around and wanted to grab me... not really but saying like thank you I got my food so let me run now! Our Canadian neighbour laughed as he got the very same thank you from the sea gulls when feeding them French fries from his plate. They grabbed them mid air but one obviously left a thank you on his folded up t–shirt next to his chair. He laughed about Spicy and saw her go through an opening in the ficus hedge, a short cut. I did walk down to see if I could spot her, still wondering about her babies... but I was surprised to find her there near the flower bed with that very same male tiger–cat that Pieter spotted yesterday, sitting on top of her. Oh, are you in love I thought. What a nice way to run off with a belly full to your lover! Well, than she obviously has no longer kittens... or? Did somebody kill her kittens? We probably never will find out.

Thursday, January 25, Pieter went to the pool area to put the towels in our chairs when Spicy showed up. She ate out of her tin and let Pieter cuddle her, seemingly quite happy! Now all of that pouch she’s eaten. 

Okay, there we go again up to the pool area and place our bags on our chairs. When I looked I saw suddenly that Spicy was already waiting under the chair next to ours! I called her and happily she jumped onto my chair for her cuddles and for some food, we did bring her now the last salmon that we’d kept in the fridge. She was happy and stayed there a while before speaking and jumping off under the ficus hedge.

 Pieter did take out the phone book and found a Veterinarian who speaks English. But he reasoned that it’s too much and she never has been locked up and probably would become furious. No, she better stays here he reasoned.

Spicy is on our mind constantly. I know I did have too much coffee, too late... In bed a quarter to one. I said a prayer for Spicy and wished that somehow all would work out for her. Pieter thought that she lives here reasonably well and that she seems quite happy. Let’s spoil her for the time we’re here and then she’s on her own again he said. It will be too much trouble to take her out. You better start with a young one he told me. My reply was only: “That’s YOU telling me?” When Pieter asked me to marry him and to follow him to the USA he also stated that he was so much older but I  replied that it would be the happiest time of my life; however short it could turn out to be.

Friday, January 26, I woke up at 7:15 AM and fell asleep again till 8:00 AM when Pieter did come back to the room. He’d put the towels in the chairs and asked the same older man to put an umbrella up, for the same daily tip... Than the older man pointed at Pieter: "There, there’s a baby". Pieter first thought he was talking about Spicy but no, there comes Spicy walking up to Pieter with a baby in her mouth and placed it on his chair...! What a touching sight, bringing her baby to Pieter as saying, this is what I got. Pieter told me that he could cuddle baby and that she let him do that and also that Spicy ate her wet food again from the chocolate tin. Pieter bought her a new pouch last night. She seemed so happy. He saw her take the baby and disappear under the ficus hedge. He could never make it that quick to go down himself, walking around the balustrade and down the stairs; she long would have disappeared to wherever... Pieter kept telling me, I wish you would have been there! When I asked him how the baby looked like he said a tiny grey thing... no tiger stripes so we don’t know who the father is. We guess that like most times the third generation plays a genetic role and who knows? We do have breakfast and now it’s on to the pool area. When I got there I spotted Spicy with her baby under the ficus hedge, behind our chairs; waiting obviously for me! A beautiful bluish kitten with tail and ears being dark. Indeed no open eyes yet. We both figure out that the reason we saw her only on Friday last week is that she must have given birth at that time. Further we reason that when she was there before 8:00 up till 11:30 AM, there obviously are no other babies. Pieter did notice earlier that she  had only one or two swollen nipples so she must not have been nursing many kittens. Oh, this also explains her bloody and swollen private parts; poor thing she just labored!

She was so peaceful and she put herself on the chair pressing against me and the baby on my breast and in my neck. We wish we had had a camera for this! It was just an incredible experience; so sweet! Some of the waiters stopped by and looked at the perfect family as they called it. The elder lady next to our chair told us that before we came, Spicy sat there with her baby but she didn’t even let her look closer at it... She was so protective. She could not believe she let us handle her baby the way we did. Spicy had one more tin of food and she put herself to rest next to me with her head on my arm, with one leg up on my thigh so her baby would find her nipples. But baby never drank. It was crying and peeping from time to time and kept quiet when I picked it up and had it in my neck or so. Spicy after a while jumped off the bed, even though we were in the shade of the umbrella, she went under Pieter’s chair for some cool on the concrete. She held her head in my palm and let me cuddle her the way I liked. So sweet! She even slept. Pieter went to the room to get his wallet and to go to Wal Mart for the pet carrier... We decided to take them to the vet! Pieter made the phone call first, from the room and the vet was open from 10–6 except on Sundays. So we decide it’s better to bring her today, so she will have some time to rest before the exhausting day of travel and nurture her baby. Pieter walks to Wal Mart and I stay with Spicy and Sacha. They both are so at ease! Spicy eats one more time from the tin and rests more, like she lets me baby sit! Pieter shows up with the pet carrier, complete with a towel inside and I put Sacha in first and we have no problem putting Spicy in! Unbelievable... Now I hurry upstairs to change, go to the bathroom and to come back for our ride in a taxi to the vet. The driver first couldn’t find the street, didn’t know but we help him, we’d looked it up on the map we had from last year. Not far from our hotel. Oh, before I got into the taxi Spicy obviously was uneasy when we walked past certain hotel workers and through the parking area. She even did kind of spray through the carrier and a little wet my shorts. I had two pieces of paper towel in my bag so I cleaned it up; no problem. So there she was nervous, probably certain people that have hurt her or scared her off... and obviously not her territory either. In the taxi on my lap she was so quiet and so sweet, pushing her face into my hands all the time. Baby was in the back of the carrier on the towel. We can’t believe that she’s so tame, so sweet like she’s with us all the time. The vet had told Pieter that he needed to wash her, clip her nails and clean her ears and examine both of them and give them injections too. So we think they will have time to rest up now. We arrive at the Veterinarian’s clinic, called San Francisco. It could be no better chosen name than that! A friendly young vet who looks at the carrier and states that she’s very calm; indeed she is. Pieter pays US $ 100 upfront with his credit card and the rest we will have to settle on Monday when we have to visit him another time, calling before we come over. Tuesday morning we will pick the carrier with Spicy and Sacha up for the trip home. Hope all goes smooth from now on. We leave them there and go back to the hotel with a VW beetle taxi which is only $ 3.00 instead of $ 6.00... as usual. I talked to the driver while Pieter went upstairs to get money from my wallet and we decide to have this same driver pick us up on Tuesday at 7:00 AM to go to the vet to pick up Spicy and Sacha for our departure. Now to the room; a coffee is welcome at 4:45 PM after all this! But it gives us a good feeling now we can relax too for the coming days.

Saturday, January 27,  new day, feels unreal for not having to feed Spicy twice a day... before 8:00 AM that is and around 3 or 4:00 PM. After our brunch Pieter does call the vet Sr. Gomez, to find out how she’s doing. Spicy is fine he said but Sacha was very weak and needs some help. We wonder if Spicy didn’t have enough milk to nurse her kittens and that she ended up with only one survivor for that reason... We go to the pool area and didn’t see our neighbors from yesterday, the wife and husband that witnessed our blissful moment.

January 28, the husband and wife from Friday were our neighbors as usual and we told them the incredible story. She still couldn’t get over the fact how Spicy did lie with me in the chair and how she let me hold Sacha on my breast or in my neck... She was not even allowed to look at him! Back in the room now, to type the diary and we did study our departure times. We have to catch the earlier flight to Houston otherwise we only have 55 minutes in Houston to tackle customs and to retrieve Spicy and re–check. We hope we will depart at 10:00 AM and not at 12:25 PM! Need to work on that tomorrow. Still some surprises ahead of us but we will manage these two more days till we’re safely home with all our pets! Good thing is that we travelled so light this time.

Monday January 29, we went to the restaurant La Ceiba for our last breakfast buffet or brunch as we call it. Next Pieter did call the vet to inquire about Spicy and Sacha. He said that Sacha was weak and that we should come close to 6:00 PM so this gives us still an entire day. I do call Continental Airlines at the number Pieter got yesterday at the front desk and now we figure out that our departure is at 12:25 PM and that this is the only flight to Houston! Never mind... I ask the lady how about our pet carrier and she is friendly to inform me just to pay $ 100 and she asks if we want to have it in the cabin. Well, that will certainly help us make the tight connection in Houston with only 55 minutes for passing through customs, going through security check again and take off for Atlanta. You certainly can, she assured me and I told her that it’s a small pet carrier. We will see tomorrow but this helps. Next I call for the confirmation of the taxi that did bring us to the hotel from the airport. It worked out fine and good thing is that I do speak well enough Spanish otherwise forget it! By 9:30 AM they will pick us up with the same luxury van we hope as with which we came. We go to the pool area for the last time and I lie in the sun for half an hour, using a face cloth and next I get in the shade of our umbrella. When I walk over to the pool I was stopped by our neighbors (on the chairs near the pool/beach area) who saw Spicy with Sacha come to us on Friday. She asked me how our pets are doing and I tell her the story.

Now we go to the vet by 5:30 PM walking towards Wal Mart to catch a VW beetle for taxi and in good 3 minutes we’re there. The vet greets us and leads us to the room where Spicy is after he told us that Sacha did not make it... He kept the body in the fridge and asks if we want to see him/her. No thanks!

We than follow him to the room where a strong urine smell overcame us and we were quite shocked to see the wire cages in which he kept the cats. One male cat walked in a cage above Spicy’s. I hardly could see her. She was pressed against the side and she lie on the wire, not moving and being very passive. There was no other material in the cage, all sides wire and no litter box either, that had to run over a kind of gutter under the bottom wire. They’d tied the door with thin plastic tubing to secure it since she’d escaped yesterday when they tried to feed Sacha the vet tells us. Luckily the doors were closed so she couldn’t get out escaping. Poor thing. I reach inside the cage and cuddle her and I felt two rough spots on both of her ear tips... wounds? She didn’t have them before! Oh, she has been scratching herself in the other cage he told us. What does he mean? Scratching on the wire maybe? I tried to pick her up but she did not show any interest in whatsoever, she’s just stressed and maybe in pain from the injections?

So we leave it at that. They did open a can of wet food for her but she didn’t eat, neither did she want any of the treats we still had. We give them to the vet to use on others as we cannot take them to the USA. Now to the business part. He first says he gets another $ 100 and we tell him that we paid already $ 100! O yes, that’s right. Next he starts adding up what the costs are. Three days for the boarding at $ 25 each! What a rip off for such stinky rooms... but what can we say? He still did not produce the bi–lingual paperwork which we need for the customs tomorrow so we keep our mouth shut. He goes on to add for the rabies shot, the quadruple shot and for de–worming her, clipping her nails, cleaning her ears and when I ask about the bath he said we will do that tonight... Oh, we’ve cleaned her up he said because in the other cage she did get dirty. We wonder what kind of cage she must have been in; we probably don’t want to know. Pieter pays another $ 100 and we go to our taxi driver who’d waited outside. He dropped us off at the Wal Mart Supercenter again and we shop for our supper and our breakfast tomorrow plus buy a mini fluorescent light of 9 W (saving–light) that is not available in the US. We walk the 500 yards home and are both still shocked about Spicy’s circumstances. But what can we do about it? Hope that tomorrow morning the paper work will be ready indeed and the good thing is that we have plenty of time since they cancelled our 10:00 AM flight. I will join Pieter since the guy who’s sleeping at the clinic does not speak English. It will be great to have Spicy in our room and have this part behind us. Thinking about how sore Spooky always is after he gets his shots; this will be hard on Spicy as well, besides losing all of her babies... Poor girl! Oh, the vet told us that she is about 1,5 years old, so even younger as we thought she would be! She will make a baby sister to Spooky and Barty. We ate our whole wheat roll with Zwancito (Pieter’s favourite spicy liver pâté...) and a drink yogurt and I do write my diary at the end of this day. Tomorrows is another day and hope a better one for Spicy.

Tuesday, January 30, I woke up at 4:00 AM couldn't sleep anymore... So I get up, dress in my shorts and top for picking up Spicy and work on my laptop while Pieter still sleeps. Turn off the alarm since I don't need it anymore... By 4:30 AM, I hear somebody banging on our neighbor's door... noisy person! So I stick my nose around the door and a chap in shorts mumbles something and is obvious in a state of intoxication. He leaves and I go back to my editing. Oh, how beautiful the full moon was shining over the water in the bay, in front of our balcony. We did have a beautiful view but had the noise from the street since we were the last room with one room adjacent, facing only the street side and no ocean view. Must be for the free points' rooms... You get what you pay for!

By 5:00 AM, I hear that particular neighbour coming home to his room; however decently not making any noise. I make the mistake by waking Pieter up following the time on my laptop and not looking at my watch... so that was one hour too early! He did prop the pillows under him and did try to doze off after he'd done his shorts already.

Okay, we make us a coffee and then we head for the lobby and as soon as we got outside at 7:00 AM our guy from Friday last week who did pick us up at the vet's when we'd dropped off Spicy, is waving already (in his VW beetle # 0485). He's glad we held our promise and we're more impressed that he as a Mexican did keep his appointment. Again in 3 minutes we're there and now we ring the special bell on the side wall (glad the vet showed us yesterday!) since the heavy iron gate is closed. After two long rings a head appears through the window above the Estetica room (for poodles etc) and he tells us that he's coming. Well, obviously we woke him up and he has to get inside his pants first. But in no time he shows up with the pet carrier and Spicy inside and holding a map with all the documentation in his hand. Glad that the vet came through! We worried about the paperwork... Spicy looks so much better this morning; having her head up and moving in her carrier. Like she's ready to travel with us. The beetle drops us off at the Hyatt around 7:15 AM and we just walk inside with our Hyatt cat... into the elevator to the 18th floor.

I could barely wait to finally hold our new baby in my arms. Pieter argued that I should not let her out of her carrier though... she will try to escape. I reason that if we don't let her out in the bedroom where she can easily hide under the king size bed and would be hard to retrieve her, but instead going inside the bathroom on the marble floor and maybe she even can do her thing before we have to lock her up for such a long time... So out she goes and she walks under the marble vanity and stands up against the side wall that is entirely tiled too. Oops and now she's gone Pieter said! What?! No sign of Spicy anymore... I lie under the vanity and sure enough there's a hole in the wall through where she escaped! Oh my! Pieter scolded me, how stupid of letting her out; why not better listen to the old guy! I'm sorry, so sorry I said and I could nearly faint. What do we do now? Pieter went to his carry on to retrieve his knijpkat; Dutch for a battery operated flashlight that you can squeeze and it will reload the battery! He shines inside the hole but we cannot see her and I have no more treats to lure her with... I make noise with some plastic bags but nothing. Pieter opens the rectangular wooden maintenance lock next to the toilet to get to the piping. He now can shine inside. Oh my God, it goes steep down, with only pipes and an opening from the 18th floor down! To the right is a larger alley with pipes and drains and to the left he spots Spicy sitting against the end of the wall... He lures her and at one time he reached out to her but due to the very limited space in front of the pipes he misses. Luckily she goes back to the dead–end corner and did not jump past us because the alley has a bend around the corner to God knows where... Oh, what a feeling for having in that corner a prized possession of emotional value sitting and $ 200 paid for what? We're leaving soon; that's a fact. Pieter sees that the wooden maintenance door/lock is larger on the other side and also that it is further away from the pipes. No way that we can reach her form our bathroom. So I get up from my towel under the vanity and go to the neighbor that I heard coming home at 5:00 AM and knock on his room, however discrete not to wake up more guests! First in English but the response was in Spanish so now I had to pitch up my best Spanish that I could master. Well, I managed to get him off the mattress and into his jeans and shirt. A friendly young man who was alone in his room. When I explained him all about the story he wouldn't believe I went to his bathroom, removed the towel in front of the wooden door/lock and noticed that his didn't have a knob like ours. The guy quickly came with a pair of scissors but we couldn't get it out of its wooden frame! Pieter could hear me talk and he did kick it out! Wow, that was a welcome reaction; he could reach with his foot till here. Okay, that was that. Now I had to become a snake woman and wrestled my body through the opening that started about one foot off the floor. It probably made for an unreal sight. Pieter was shining the knijpkat so I could see Spicy as I wriggled my body past the pipes and into a 90° angle to the right... not the greatest feeling. I reached out to Spicy but when I could touch her, she flattened herself more against the wall... Oh my! So I had to wriggle deeper into the hole... almost had thought how to ask the guy in Spanish to shove me by pushing my legs but I didn't. Just used my own muscle power to get there and as Pieter coached me and did command me to hold her secure and not letting her go, I griped her in the scruff of her neck and held her tight, raising my arm up above. But now I had to make the journey back out... and past the pipes to hand Spicy to Pieter. He snapped at me that if I would drop her we could forget her; either she would fall down the deep hole in the centre or jump past us to never land... So I held her by the scruff of her neck and slowly changed snake position and held her now with two hands firmly and elbowing my way up to bypass the pipes and then to the left, to hand her to Pieter. I asked him about three times if he got her... I could barely see... I just acted. Now I had to get out of my snake position back into the daylight and out of my hole. As soon as I pulled my back through, I got an excruciating painful attack in my lower back... as I have had the past several years on and off. I sat there holding my lower back while I was on my knees and explaining ongoing in Spanish what I was now up to... The guy was friendly and we did close the wooden door/lock, kicked it shut and before that, I threw some rocks back in, that I'd wriggled out... Thanked him again and again and gave him a big hug and now out to our room. Pieter had her in her pet carrier; no cuddling or holding her till we would be safely home. My elbows were scraped and my legs were dirty but the shower worked wonders and I just didn't care; we had Spicy back!!! Changed into my pants suit and polo shirt and Pieter into his khaki jeans with polo shirt with jacket and off we went after packing up. Spicy had to see me however, when I walked into the hallway she cried and she needed to see both of us. We talked to her and she was calm and as sweet as ever. Our taxi man had come on time too and by 9:30 AM we rode in an air–conditioned plush sedan to the airport with Spicy on my lap. Checking in was no problem, we paid for her ticket the $ 100 + $ 4 tax and now through security. Those idiots demanded that we shoved her through the x–ray machine. I was quick with my Spanish again and Pieter later said I became too fierce but I would not let those idiots do that to our Spicy. Get her out of the carrier than so we can search. Oh my, not again rescuing her from some area... I kept my leg stiff and finally a tiny room became vacant where Pieter did unscrew the top of the carrier (Spicy didn't want to come out otherwise...) and I lifted her out of her carrier so they could search our Wal–Mart towel and the special padding that the vet provided (such as used on an operation table... to absorb liquids). It was okay. Glad, that was that and we waited in the boarding area. Spicy had lots of attention and especially cute little kids came to pet her. She never ever bit or scratched just sweet as always. No noise nothing. They all loved her. Pieter grew more and more proud of her and she truly is remarkable. Pieter did spot some cute t–shirts with frogs on, for my brother Piet so after I looked at them he went to buy one in a size L, they are 100% cotton and very special.

Boarding was no problem and Pieter did not sit with me but five chairs behind on an isle of the 737. But some nasty flight attendants moved him to the back and he could put her there next to his chair on the floor of an empty seat. She couldn't fit underneath the seat... Wal-Mart sold only one size carriers, not the flat ones.

But we got to Houston and I did lead the way with my carry on to the queue for customs while Pieter with Spicy did merge with me later. He knew what I was up to. Since we only had 55 minutes between landing and again take off, we had to race! We also learned the trick to pass from customs, that went smooth, no interest in Spicy's documentation... straight to the outside exit and re–enter the building anew to bypass the queue of those who re–check their baggage and then have their security check. We swiftly went to our security check and again they demanded I'd take her out. Oh God! But my baby hung limp and I could pick her up and hold her on my shoulder while they x–rayed her carrier. Pieter had to take the laptop out now. It is once okay he's inside the carry on and next person demands it to be out... We liked to have fewer pieces in our hands to juggle.

So we made it to the gate and into our seats. There was a flight attendant as passenger who told me to sit with my husband since this flight was not even half full. Pieter already did go straight to the back of the plane and they didn't let him put Spicy on the floor. She had to be under the chair! A friendly black flight attendant than told him to strap her in on the chair adjacent the aisle. Next appears another Continental Airlines bitch who said that was against the federal rules... What are the rules? She must really have graduated as a super bitch since she told us to get our hand luggage out and take our carrier and get off the plane! We of course resisted but they didn't cringe. Back to the gate where they send us out of security area to purchase a flatter carrier.... and to board anew on a flight three hours later! That drove both of us nuts and I resisted to go with Spicy once more beyond security and back again so Pieter left all the luggage and went with his wallet to that service desk. Service he didn't get of course because a nasty young man demanded to view the health certificate and it had to be dated today otherwise he would ground Spicy and have her examined again for the mere cost of $ 200! The pet carrier was only $ 18 and Pieter was willing to pay for that one and then take her out and change for the purpose of traveling easy. But the young man kept on and on being nasty. The shorter elder gent who had escorted Pieter over there, stepped in and he addressed the manager who just stepped out of his office. The manager admitted quickly that since Continental had made the mistake by not offering their own carriers and by accepting Spicy for the first leg of the journey, they now could do something they'd done often in the past. Just tagging the carrier as an odd sized piece of luggage and handing it in the tube before boarding the plane where they will take it down to a small pressurized area in the belly of the plane. Pieter accepted that and the elder gent did guide Pieter back to where I was waiting on E, coming from C and with an electric car (oh, forgot that a nice black guy let us all jump on before and that's why we made it for the 3:55 PM flight) they came to retrieve me and Spicy and off we went to C from where the three hours later flight would go; same plane but now with a different solution. Why not having done that before? The friendly black person at the original gate did bring me, while I waited on Pieter, three vouchers for $ 6 each for food... but neither of us was hungry. We shared them with two sets of people we'd met aboard the plane to Houston. They too got stuck, missing their plane by 3 minutes, on to Ontario and to Toronto. The customs agent who was traveling to Toronto wondered if ever a person does make his/her connection in Houston as we ended up sitting together again, waiting for our flights.

So Spicy got from the elder gent a tag on her carrier and we would have to retrieve her in Atlanta at a special place for pets... I worried already, since we would arrive 10:10 PM, if there would be somebody still handling that. When Pieter finally boarded, and I stood with Spicy in the tube till the actual person carried her down the stairs outside into the belly, and cold outside air. Upon arrival in Atlanta we were surprised, when I walked past the cockpit the flight attendant said already they have your cat here at the gate! I got her from a black guy who carried her out of the tube and we did stop at the restroom area to take out the wetted white blue blanket and left her on the dry towel. We paid our $ 160 for the parking and Pieter drove us now home to Dublin! It was sure cold for her, she's only 3 kg (6.6 lbs)! Our poor tiny baby. But once inside the car she was no more shivering.

Wednesday, January 31, only the last 15 minutes when we got off I-16 she started softly crying... she'd reached the limit. Well we made it home by 0:50 AM and Spooky and Barty greeted their sister. (Yes, in June of last year we installed our cat doors and we had a cat sitter to come feed them!) They had to sniff and sniff. I let them have my clothes to sniff her out while we put Spicy inside the Rose Suite bedroom with litter box, food and water and where I would sleep with her. Pieter had driven home; I had a migraine developing and was no good for driving that way. All night Spicy kind of kept me awake. I had to grab her off the duvet one time when I thought she would vomit, sounded more like she got hair in her throat from licking herself constantly clean; poor thing! Held her over the litter box and it went over without any problem. She will however not use the litter box! We showed her and I put her inside about five times during the night but no, she kept coming back to bed with me. Towards the morning she even got under the duvet and a few times during the day she went back to bed. We have let our two boys greet her and amazingly was that Spooky showed tender care and Barty started roaring somewhat, which made Spicy also hiss at him. Spook then walked outside... but later they've been together again and I played with a sponge ball with Barty on the floor of the living room, while holding both at bay and touching both. Slowly it's getting over, we have to ignore it just.

At breakfast I saw my back and my elbows... they're black and bumped up like I've been tortured. Well, that's the price for having one more pet! Never mind, I'll cover it up and it will heal fast enough. My right knee is also swollen and painful and the left elbow has one scratch mark from the rough wall.

We're anxious to introduce our baby–girl to our extended family! She's real pretty and so sweet. Pieter too cannot get over the fact that we can do all the handling with her the way we did. Never did she strike at us.
She's now behind the side–by-side fridge/freezer in the pantry; guess it gives warmth off. Well we think that's how she's stayed alive for the time she was in Acapulco, hiding wherever she could find shelter. 


BIRTHDAY POEM FOR MARIETTE

Happy Birthday Mariette
We are so glad you're back From your mission of rescue With Miss Spicy, the cat!

Yes Spicy is home, and what a tall tale
She almost escaped, and she almost fell
But Mariette, like a serpent
did slither and crawl, folded and bended right into the wall!

She delivered the kitty from the jaws of sure death then folded and bended and reversed herself
Back out of the crawl space and into the light- -surprising the Mexican she had met just last night!

Now everyone's happy, or at least almost so,
but Mariette has some bruises and sore muscles I know

Thank goodness you're flexible, thank goodness you're thin Please use this appointment to massage your blue skin

Becky & John 


Related posts:

Our Acapulco, Mexico Vacation I  | previous post

Our Acapulco, Mexico Vacation II | previous post

{Telling YOU the Tale of our 4 Feline Girls} | previous post by me

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