Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Farewell to Will

Throughout the cycle of life, we continuously experience a mixture of emotions. As we enter the cycle, the process is the cause of great joy, yet simultaneously, great physical pain for our parents. Throughout our lives, we're on a roller coaster of emotions. Perhaps the most difficult mix is that while coping with the death of a loved one. While we are experiencing the pain of loss, there is the relief that the pain of an illness has ended; in turn, the relief can cause guilt for feeling relieved. All of this is part of life, part of death, and part of being human. Humans are the only creatures that have the cognitive ability to realize that there is finality.

With the finality of our humaness, with the loss of someone that we love, at some point, we must find closure. After an illness of a few months, Will Lacey's suffering ended on Monday evening. His friends found closure today with a Celebration of Will's life. Will was present in spirit. This is the memorial to Will.

Mick and Clark went casual. Will was a casual guy.
Gena's dad and RandyMany were in attendance at Casa Ordonez. As Gary said in his few remarks, "this is the place that it began for many."

Linn and Cardell took care of the registry.
Brian, Shelley, and Nancy
Orilla, Garth, and Carol
Susie and Lee

Of course there was food.

Pat and Sue

Kathleen did an incredible job of arranging the celebration.
Carol, Monica, Dean, and Brenda
Bill, Gena, and her dad

Elizabeth, Bob, and Elaine

Roger, Monica, and Tom
Gary and associates
Edd and Cynthia, Karen, Rhonda, and I'm sorry, I don't know the other lady's name.
Brenda, Mick, and Liam
Dean and Gena
What a wonderful celebration! There was food and friends and Will. Will, you would have been pleased.
There are no pictures of Val, per her request. Please continue to remember her in your thoughts and prayers.
We will all remember Will in different ways, but we will remember.
Until next time,
Mick and Kathy

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

There's One Less Smile in Cuenca

Throughout our lives people come and go for various reasons.  Sometimes they exit by their choice, or your choice.  Other times they are taken from us for reasons that we simply don't understand.  We have all experienced loss and eventhough we are able to deal with the loss, some of our losses are always with us.  Today, the Cuenca gringo community is saddened by loss.  Yesterday, an active part of the gringo community, Will Lacey,  lost his battle.

Will loved to be with people.  He always wore a smile and always helped in whatever way possible.  This picture of Will, Gary, and Alberto was taken at Elaine's birthday party, just before he became ill.
Will, all your friends will greatly miss you.  There's one less smile in Cuenca now because you're gone.

Please remember Val in your thoughts and prayers.

Until next time,
Mick and Kathy

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Life Is Excellent

This week has had a couple of beautiful, sunny days, very uncommon for here. Today brought rain most of the day. When you read the many articles about Cuenca being the perfect retirement spot, the land of perpetual spring, the writers fail to mention the extensive rain. For some, that may be important, for us, it is not. In the mornings, the low is usually no less than 52.

Tuesday evening, the weavers met at Gourmand Cafe for a coffee. It was a lovely evening with lots of chatting. Here are Maricita and Cecie.

Joan and Elaine

Patricia, Monica, and Mariana

Rommie and Lourdes

The fellow had burgers at a new burger place on Julio Matovalle, Carbon y Lena. The burgers are excellent. They had coffee at Sylvia's afterwards. Here are Bob, Mick, and Dale waiting for us.
After our little get-together, Mick took Dale and Joan home and was going to return for Bob, Elaine, and me. After dropping Dale and Joan off, he had stopped at for a red light on Remigio Tamariz. Two guys approached the car simultaneously and attempted to get into the car. Fortunately, the doors were locked; Mick ran the red light.

We had just heard the previous day of this happening with someone else. Recently, there was an article about the rise in crime in Cuenca. While out and about, play it safe.

Nikolas has recovered and is doing well. Here he is at the Coffee Tree, begging for and enjoying hot chocolate.
Mick is safe and Nikolas is well. Life is excellent in Cuenca.
Until next time,
Mick and Kathy

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Life Is the Same Regardless of Where You Live

When the idea of retiring to a new place enters the minds of many, their thoughts are of perfection and paradise. Life is the same regardless of where you live. There are problems, accidents, breakdowns, etc., just as in the US. This week began with that.

On Sunday, being obsessed as we are with laundry, laundry from our trip was a huge priority. Of course, once again, the "dryer from Hell" took charge again. Two months ago the actuator valve on the gas line in the dryer died and we were dryerless for more than a week until the part came in from Guayaquil.

On Monday, I called the LG tech, Wilson, who is always prompt, (we're tight, since he's spent so much time with our dryer) said that he couldn't come until Tuesday. It was a quick fix, in that the thermostat was fine and simply had interference from all the dust.

Since moving here, we've had a vet problem. Our first round of vaccinations after coming here was with a nice man, who was educated in Mexico. He was OK, but there was no "click". I didn't feel that he was thorough.

Last years check up was with a popular fellow who was educated in the US. There were personality issues with him; as well, there have been horror stories regarding him and some of the local pets.

Well, it was time for this year annual. Caty, our groomer, recommended her vet, Dr. Fabrizzio Guerrero, at Clinica Veterinaria Guerrero. We went for Nick's physical. I liked him. He was kind and caring; Nick was better with him than any of the others we had seen here. The exam, fecal exam, bordatella, combo vaccine (lepto, parvo, etc.) was $23 total. He was thorough. Since I liked him, we set up a dental appointment for yesterday. This is Fabrizzio.
We were back last Thursday. Nikolas, after the morning potty, wouldn't put his leg down. My first thought was that it was his knee; he has slightly luxating patellas. We rushed over to Fabrizzio's. The knees were fine; he had a tiny thorn in the side of his foot.

Mick and I dropped the Nikolas off at 8AM, when I called at 10AM, Nick was fine, just groggy. We picked him up about 12:30 and he was really out of it; his teeth were beautiful. He peepeed around 4:30 and when I picked him up to clean him, there was blood! We were frantic. Additionally, there was a cobbler in the oven and people were coming at 5. I called Fabrizzio and told him I was coming, took a cab and Mick stayed to take care of the folks who would be arriving.

Fabrizzio's first thought was that it was a lack of fluids. It is not common to do an IV during a puppy dental. He said just make sure he gets lots of liquids; there was no indication of pain.

There was still bloody urines this morning; so we were there before 8. He gave him subcutaneous fluids and wanted a urine sample. I got one and Mick took it over. Mr. Nikolas has a urniary tract infection and is now on antibiotics. We've got another appointment tomorrow.

I mentioned the cost of the vaccinations and exam, previously. The dental cleaning was $37. His last in Charlotte was over $400. Yesterday afternoon, there was no charge. This morning, it was $18.

So regardless of where you live, it's the same. You have good days and bad days, weeks where it's one thing after another. Some weeks you hardly have time to breathe. Things break, you get them repaired. Nikolas get's, we take care of him. Life goes on.

Until next time,
Mick and Kathy

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The President? You're Joking!

Before you make the move to retirement, you only imagine what it's like; but you never expect it to be as good as it really is. For us, it simply continues to get better. Some interesting things have been going on recently. A few weeks ago, we were contacted by a reporter or Reuters TV, Cristina Munoz, who wanted to come to Cuenca and follow us around while doing what we usually do. This was to be a follow up to an article that was written about Cuenca being a retirement hotspot. Cristina Munoz and her camera man, Daniel, arrived at our apartment the morning of March 29, for breakfast. Dale and Joan were there, as well as Lina. They went with Joan and me to Distribuidora Barrera for weaving. After weaving, they went to the Coffee Tree to interview Mick. Later they came back and interviewed me. From the hours of filming, it will be shortened to 3 minutes. Needless to say, it was an interesting day.

It had been a couple of months since we'd gone away for the weekend; since this was a holiday weekend, we decided at the last minute to go to Banos. Friday morning, Mick, Nikolas, Dale, Joan, and I left for Banos. It had been a year since our last time in that area.

Of course, the drive was beautiful. With Banos being such a tourist town, it was packed for the holiday. Dinner was at a very nice Swiss bistro. We decided that with the huge crowds, one night in Banos would be enough.

On Saturday morning, Dale and Joan were interested in going to see Tungurahua; however, the tour companies that we checked with only did tours at night. However, one of them said that we could drive up and gave us a map.

We began our drive but were unable to reach our destination that was listed on the map. We turned around and went to Sangay National Park to Mirador del Volcan. It was a bit of a walk up to the Mirador, but Joan, Dale, Nikolas and I made the trek. There were quite a few clouds, but this is the view.

The walk was difficult with the incline. I started back down. There's the car below.
It was a slippery climb up, but even more going down. Nikolas slipped, then I slipped, going down right on the toosh. I managed to get up and remain on my feet. Suddenly a voice beside me said, "Ma'am, do you need help?" I turned around and saw a very handsome, distinguished man, and told him that I was fine. He took my hand and walked with me down the hill. The gentleman, began asking questions, the usual, "where are you from, where are you from originally." I asked where he was from, to which he replied, "Guayaquil." A giant red flag went up. I then said, "you look a lot like el presidente, President Correa. Are you related to him?" He responded, "I am the president." Shocked, I said, "no you're not, you're joking!"
"No, really, I am the President!" He took his wallet from his pocket and gave me his business card. He was Rafael Correa!
President Correa was so personable. Mick was in the car, he went over to meet him; he posed for pictures. What an experience!
I must admit, however, that he was not the first Ecuadorian president that we met. In 2001, we met León Febres-Cordero Ribadeneyra, who was president from 1984-88, in Quito at the Hilton.
After the excitement of meeting President Correa, we drove to Riobamba. Where a new mall, El Paseo, has opened. In the mall is Chili's, where we had dinner. Also, opening soon is Carls' Jr.
As I always say, everything works out the way it's suppose to. Our paths were suppose to cross with that of the President of Ecuador. Great trip!
Until next time,
Mick and Kathy