My apologies to the squeamish…..

After our extended visit to LA and Houston, it was finally time to return to Bali. Now that I’ve been back and forth a couple of times, it’s become clear to me why we don’t get that many visitors — the trip sucks! This time we flew through Seoul and arrived into Denpasar at 1:00 am getting us to our house around 3:00 am – needless to say, after traveling for 28 hours, the kids (and adults) were pretty wiped out.

We ended up being away for almost six weeks and during that time, I wasn’t the least bit concerned about being away from our house or stuff. In my vast experience of living abroad (not vast at all), Bali feels incredibly safe. In addition, our staff is exceptional so, I knew everything would be handled and cared for perfectly. The only small worry I had was leaving our bunny. And, even though we had given very specific instructions, and in March, we had been gone for two weeks and found him perfectly healthy and content on our return, I still felt a tiny pang that something might happen this time. We had already suffered the loss of Fletcher’s love bird who made a prison break, (chewed through the cage bars), and escaped. I wasn’t sure I, I mean they, could take another pet debacle.

So, in we stumbled at 3:00 am, almost as wired as we were exhausted. Marc, Indra and I were unloading the car when I heard Allie scream – “something’s wrong with Casper!” and that inkling of worry became full fledged dread. I hesitantly went into her room and was horrified to see that her rabbit’s nose was about five times it’s normal size giving him the look of a miniature, white, fluffy elephant seal. In addition, he was crouched in his litter box dancing in place like his feet were on fire. Guessing this was probably not the latest bunny fitness craze, I was convinced it looked bad for our bunny.

Naturally, the only vet in Bali that treats small animals is over an hour from our house. So, the next day we gathered up Casper and piled into the car for the long ride to the vet — which was exactly what I wanted to do on our first day back! We walked into the vet and she immediately looked at our rabbit and exclaimed — “mange!”…..What? Mange? How could he have mange? Not that we haven’t seen a lot of mange since we arrived. There are plenty of street dogs with mange running around but, none that come into our house and, unless Casper was out cruising the village, I was doubtful he’d run into them.

At first, I was relieved that the vet was able to diagnose him so quickly but, that relief quickly morphed into horror as his treatment and a further explanation of his condition unfolded. If you’re like me and the only time you’ve thought about mange was when someone used the term “mangy dog” please, let me enlighten you. Mange is actually an infestation of microscopic, parasitic mites that live on animals multiplying ferociously, while savagely burrowing and consuming their skin. If left untreated, they will feed on the host until it is overcome by the pests and dies. Pretty great so far, right?! Oh, but it gets so much better!  It can also be transmitted to humans! Anyone heard of scabies? Yes, scabies! I was under the misguided assumption that scabies was one of those diseases like scurvy or plague that was popular with pirates and scullery maids — but, no one gets scabies these days, right?! Wrong! Apparently, people can definitely get scabies from their infected pets — and, as the vet was telling us this, I kept having slow motion flashbacks of Allie and I picking up and holding the bunny the previous night and that morning.

In my head, I wondered how upset Chris (our landlord)l would be if we burned our house down. Clearly, that was the only reasonable option. Another thought….Silkwood showers followed by baths in alcohol for everyone. I then found myself reminiscing about my former innocence when I thought lice was the worst thing that could happen. Lice?! Lice is for weenies. I can take care of lice with a comb and a bucket of water but, this my friends, was a whole new level of repugnant. As I longed for the days before I became acquainted with these tiny, creepy invaders, I was having trouble thinking clearly over Casper’s screams as they pulled the crusty scabs off him (no, I’m not kidding…truly awful!) Our poor bunny! He was a mess! Between the Betadine they used to scrub him, and the blood from his wounds, he looked ready for Easter, like someone had colored him yellow and pink. Fortunately, there is a reliable treatment the vet actually had, (one never knows in Bali), — an injectable insecticide that kills the mites, is harmless to the animal, and generally leads to a full recovery. That was great news….but, I was still wondering how I would disinfect our house and ourselves…..

As soon as we returned home from the vet, we went to work on the house and scrubbed every inch as if there had been an industrial accident. We decided that the cat that sneaks into our house in the middle of the night must have been the culprit so, I’ve resorted to sleeping with one eye open and a spray bottle next to my bed that I can wield at the first sign of the pernicious creature. I’m proud to say I’ve landed a few direct hits in the last few nights which I’m hoping will encourage him to find another place to frequent for his evening activities. I’m also happy to report Casper is doing much better. If all goes well he should be fully recovered in a week or so. Phew!

The adventure continues!

Day after his trip to the vet - looking much better. His nose is raw due to the removal of the enormous nest that had been built which created his enlarged nose. The Vet removed it and estimated there were millions of mites living in it. Horrifying!!!!

Day after his trip to the vet – looking much better. His nose is raw due to the removal of the enormous nest that had been built which created his enlarged nose. The Vet removed it and estimated there were millions of mites living in it. Horrifying!!!!

Casper day after trip to Vet. Looking better - crust still very noticeable on his feet and he is still very itchy! Poor bunny!

Casper day after trip to Vet. Looking better – crust still very noticeable on his feet and he is still very itchy! Poor bunny!




Summer in LA

I took the summer off. From what, you ask? Good question! Not that anyone would confuse my schedule here with a Bangladeshi factory worker or even Ryan Seacrest’s — still, I have things to do, sometimes very important things. Seriously, the spas here aren’t going to stay in business if I don’t get my $12 massage at least once a week. And, last I checked, those green smoothies after yoga don’t just drink themselves. Honestly, I just wanted to spare everyone updates from our trip to Los Angeles that were likely to read as follows: “Look at us! we’re driving on the 405…….and now, here we are on the 10 freeway driving some more….oh, and brace yourselves – here we are on Wilshire Blvd — you guessed it, still driving.” Pretty exciting stuff!

Although the immediate urge to update everyone on our summer activities didn’t hit me during our visit, there were a few things that jumped out at me that might bear mentioning. We flew into LA on one of those hazy, mid-summer days, and looking out as we landed, I was struck by the contrast between the color saturated jungle island we had just left and the sprawling, lusterless concrete jungle we were coming to. I’ve lived in Los Angeles most of my life and often the city simply fades into the background as I go about my daily life. But this time, I felt like I was seeing it with new eyes. It’s funny (at least to me) what you notice. First, I think I spent three hours on one trip to the grocery store. I’m fairly certain the produce guy asked security to follow me around the store due to my overexuberant handling of the nectarines. Have you seen (or really looked) at what’s available at the grocery store? I can tell you, I used to shop every week but, I never noticed or appreciated how amazing it is to have all that, right there, anytime you want it! Thank you Trader Joe’s!

Second, being away from advertising is a relief. The first ad I noticed when we got back was a Target ad – where a mom is shopping for back to school stuff and filling up her cart – it was sped up to happen quickly. To me, it looked more like frenzied, crazy person frantically grabbing everything she could rather than a sensible mom shopping for school supplies. Instead of creating a longing for #2 pencils, I just wanted that woman to get some adequate medical care. Yikes!

And thirdly, back to LA means back to driving, myself. Now I’m not going to sit here and say I love sitting in traffic on the 405 or that spending hours in my car on mind numbing errands is my favorite thing to do. Nonetheless, there is a certain freedom I miss about having a car, driving that car, by myself, and going wherever I want. If I need Millk of Magnesia or Preparation H, I don’t need to ask someone to take me to get those things! As one crazy, English mom at Green School explained to me — “it’s impossible to have a proper secret love affair when your driver has to take you to the trysts” Now that’s something I hadn’t considered…but, you have to admit she does have a point. At the risk of sounding entitled and ungrateful, and as much as we love our driver, Indra, I can’t wait to get behind the wheel again.

Now, the real reason we went back to LA was to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday. My mother planned a lovely party for him and we didn’t want to miss the festivities. In lieu of a real present, we made him a movie. It “stars” many of the friends we have met here in Bali including Indra and Gede who I’ve mentioned many times on the blog.

If you’re interested here’s the link: