Jane Austen Murder Mystery

We’ve heard of Murder Mystery Dinners before as you probably have, but none of us had attended one.  Teresa/Tree made that all change when she convinced our kids to do a Pirate Murder Mystery on Mitchell’s 17th birthday.  We stumbled our way thru it not knowing how it should really play out but once we got one under our belt, well…the possibilities are endless.

It sounds like it wouldn’t be family friendly, but really neither of our Murder Mysteries were grousome in the least.  Not much detail nor focus is given to the actual murder.  Most of the script is about figuring out the relationships between all the characters and the motive they might have in committing the crime.  None of it is acted out so the subject matter may or may not be understood based on the auditory acquisition of the listeners.

Gaelyn, our 11 yr old daughter obviously thought it was fabulous and she quickly took it upon herself to be the hostess of another Murder Mystery.  A Jane Austen Murder Mystery.

CharactersBesides making costumes and antique looking paper props the girls invested time in refreshing themselves with Jane Austen movies.  Not at all a hardship since Pride & Prejudice is one of our girls’ all-time favorite books/movie.

The Story:

John Thorpe has been discovered nearly decapitated in the water closet near the breakfast room.  Lady Catherine is insistent that they discover who the murderer is before the police arrive.

Mr Thorpe had secrets on everybody, so nobody was beyond suspicion.IMG_1269

Of course everybody is surprised by the twists and turns that the plot takes…

  • jealousy,
  • secret and forbidden romances
  • illegitimate children,
  • unpaid debts.
  • theft….

And in the end….

well, I can’t tell you Who Done It…in case you want to play the game at your next dinner party!

 

WTH is Under the Kitchen Sink???

We were just living our day like we often do…kids watching videos or playing video games, Danaka writing something, Maret catering to Epic.  Gaelyn was chopping potatoes to make Mashed Garlic Potatoes for supper, and in trying to find the slow-cookers she looked under the kitchen sink not realizing that we don’t store stuff under there except a casserole dish that catches the drips from the old leaky drain.

I was working on the computer (as usual) when she calmly came to the office and quietly said, “Mom, can you come and look at something?”  I was expecting to find a middle-rotten potato, or at worst a worm of some sort.

But NO!

She pointed to the cabinet, door wide open.  My unadjusted eyes saw black mold covering the walls as I guiltily remembered that I had forgotten (hmmm, oxymoron?) to empty that pan recently.  But no, this was 3 dimensional.  Black mold isn’t 3D.

I looked closer, and my nose deciphered the presence of earth before my eyes and mind could compute!  There was a pile of dirt flowing from where the drainpipe disappeared into the wall!!

under sink

I stared for a moment, dumbfounded.  Why was there a pile of dirt collecting in my cupboard?

I went to the office where I found Tina & Maret making plans for some big projects here at the hotel (like a dog run, and jumps for agility!) Interrupting their plans, I told Tina we had a ‘problemo’ which took her by surprise.  She said we don’t usually have a problem….okay, so we don’t complain a lot, like, well, some others that have stayed here 🙂

I told her she really needed to come have a look, I’d rather not try and explain it to her.

She apprehensively approached the kitchen.  I gently pushed her ownwards, promising that nothing was going to jump out at her!!

Amazed.

She was amazed and baffled too.  She said she would have the guys come by around 3pm (this was noon) when they were finished their current project…but within 15 minutes she had Juan inspecting.  Right away he knew what it was.

Chancharras…..hormigas arrieras

Army Ants…..under my kitchen sink!!

Juan immediately got to cleaning out the mess, dumping out the mud (the casserole dish once filled with water was now full of thickest of all kinds of mud) piled high with fresh earth (where the heck was the earth coming from inside the cement walls????  He started ripping off the previously rotten wood at the back of the cupboard.  And then he whacked away at the plaster that was ready to fall off the wall.

As per this sort of job, the mess increases well before the end is in sight.

Juan and Tom converse about the plan

Juan and Tom converse about the plan

The decision is made to remove all but the cross board right under the counter, the cupboard doors and the sink/counter itself.  Tom gets a new drainpipe and taps while Juan continues to disassemble and clean up.

Well, most of it was cleaned up until he turned the water to the unit back on.  He unfortunately had forgotten to close off the water to the sink.  I tuned in to a distant gurgling from my office and went to check on it, discovering water mixing with earth and powdery plaster, flooding the kitchen floor and running behind our other cabinets.  Argh!

Juan got the bright white drainpipe put in and hooked up the new taps, shining and bright. Photo on 5-29-15 at 5.49 PM #2

There will be more work to be done dealing with the mold and sealing off the cement.  Somebody (Daniel?) will build a cabinet incorporating the salvageable doors.  And we’ll be set.  Maybe the cabinet will be nice enough and dry that we can actually use it for storage?

Sure thankful that Gaelyn was on kitchen duty today!!

 

Dog Agility and Puppy Love

Hotel Perico was the site for the Agility Jalisco dog event last weekend in which famed Ian Dunbar was in attendance (he was our neighbour for most of the week!).

Our kids LOVE dogs, and especially puppies.  So to have the hotel grounds littered (!) with canines was a little bit of heaven for our kiddos.  At the same time it was a bit of a challenge for the resident dogs here who naturally wanted to protect their own turf from all those intruders.

Epic, still in major training-mode as we’ve (Maret, really) had her less than 2 months, did amazingly well.  She barked at the new vehicles and new four-legged potential playmates that paraded past our suites, but for the most part we passed the weekend with little incident.  Was helpful, I think, that I parked our big van in front of the patio doors so she could see less…but she still heard and smelled tons of attractive things.  Walks on leash were undoubtedly tiring for Maret as Epic had a kazillion new aromas to sniff out!!

Collage Dog staffBack to the Agility event…..our kiddos joined the Staff and had their ‘jobs’ for the weekend. Danaka and Toveli (along with Colleen {left} and E, another traveling homeschooler) were helping with the drinks/snacks and got to enjoy the shade of the terraza (terrace/patio) for the weekend.  Gaelyn & Toveli made posters to advertise the concession.  Gaelyn was in charge of Missy, a rescued dog we’ve had at the hotel for a month+  and Anders helped her parade Missy amidst the attendees in hopes of being adopted (its sounding like she might have found her fur-ever home!!)  Anders put flyers under the wipers on vehicles.  Maret was to keep an eye on garbage, but alas the visitors are so used to picking up dog poop none of them bothered to litter!!  So Maret visited, showing herself hospitable, and took photos/videos.  Laars also cuddled with puppies….a non-official job.  Me?…..I wandered (no staff shirt!), kept my kids fed, and Epic quiet.

Puppy Love.  One of the pups was adopted by a resident here at Hotel Perico so Gaelyn gets to puppy sit India now.

Puppy Love. One of the pups was adopted by a resident here at Hotel Perico so Gaelyn gets to puppy sit India now.

Spectators.  Missy watching, too.  And Tina.

Spectators. Missy watching, too. And Tina.

The official event was Saturday and Sunday.  Contestants came from all over Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain and the USA.  Some of the dogs were taking in their first agility event ever.  Some were so distracted by other scents in the course they just couldn’t stay focused.  There were handlers that totally lost it, their frustration and anger resulting in their own public temper tantrums!!  Pure entertainment, I would say.  Others pushed thru, trying to regain their dog’s attention and finish the course in good sportsmanship even though they were eliminated early in the course.  And some recognized the futility of asking their dog to respond when there was this fascinating new world out there for them to explore, and the handler quit and walked off the course….not tantrum-like but just in total acceptance of that which was out of their control!

It sounded like most people/dogs had a wonderful time over the weekend, in spite of being under direct sun in the heat of the day.  I heard that one dog said, “Forget it…it’s too hot!!” and laid down in the shade of one of the tunnels mid-course.  Smart doggie!!

Collage Dog Jump Collage Dogs jump

Sure, there were winners!  I think the top prize went to the handler/dog in the video I shared above.  But it’s more about the Experience than about the Outcome.  I’d say, the Experience was pretty awesome for all.  They’ve already booked to come back in the winter!

Collage Dog winnersTina & Maret are talking seriously about making some jumps and getting their own dogs trained….potentially for a competition, but more so for the fun of it.  Maybe they’ll be able to participate when they come back in November??

 

Girls Take-over

Four young girls converged on the hotel reception and took over for the night.  They organized a sleep-over… why it’s called a sleep-over, I have no idea.  I could hear them thru our bedroom wall at 2am!!

These are friendships we had no idea would be discovered and nurtured when we hit the road in 2007.  Language isn’t a barrier.  A challenge, yes, but not a barrier.Collage sleepover

Oh, the Things They Will Do

Collage snake

 

Not my cup of tea.  Snakes and I don’t like to occupy the same space.  Hard to believe I used to play with garter snakes as a child, and touched a snake when my niece Alexandra once asked, “Aunty, why won’t you touch my snake?”

And although I don’t like snakes personally….I can marvel at them when they are behind glass.  They can actually be quite fascinating.  I sat spell-bound watching a snake peel off its skin in about 20 minutes, when I initiated a visit to the Rattlesnake Museum.

But to choose to wrap a snake around my neck….No Thanks!!

Yeah for Gaelyn, though.